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"We come out of the world into the kingdom of God. In the conversion process, we experience repentance, which brings about humility and a broken heart and contrite spirit, preparing us for baptism, remission of sins, and receiving the Holy Ghost. Then, over time and through our faithfulness, we overcome trials and tribulations and endure to the end." — "When Thou Art Converted, Strengthen Thy Brethren," General Conference, April 6, 1997
"We learn to endure to the end by learning to finish our current responsibilities, and we simply continue doing it all of our lives. We cannot expect to learn endurance in our later years if we have developed the habit of quitting when things get difficult now." — "Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure," General Conference, April 1998
"With the restoration of the priesthood in 1829, there was a restoration of prophets in this dispensation. Living prophets are leading this church today. The greatest security of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes from learning to listen to and obey the words and commandments that the Lord has given through living prophets. I would hope that the world would understand the importance of having a living prophet on earth today." — "Hear the Prophet's Voice and Obey," General Conference, April 1995
"Powerful impressions of the Spirit come like flashes of light on receptive photographic film. Like the chemicals needed to develop the picture, certain spiritual conditions and experiences are needed in our lives for our personal testimony to develop into a certain truth and knowledge. And like a photograph, a testimony, if not carefully preserved, will fade with time." — "The Importance Of Receiving A Personal Testimony," General Conference, October 1994
"When we return to our Heavenly Father, he does not want us to come back alone. He wants us to return with honor with our families and those whom we have helped along the road of life." — "We Can't Do It Alone," General Conference, October 1975
"Some of us have strayed at one time or another. Some have repented and come back; but some, for one reason or another, are still looking for the right moment, the right person, or the right set of circumstances to come back. As member shepherds of our Father in Heaven's flock, we should not judge why some have strayed, but rather should try unceasingly to bring them back again into the fold, knowing Jesus can heal them when none other can." — "Some Have Compassion, Making a Difference," General Conference, April 1987
"All of us influence one another by doing good or evil. We can be a good example or a poor one. Ultimately we must all answer to the Lord." — Robert D. Hales, "Return with Honor," "Ensign," June 1999, p. 12–13
"So many of the poor decisions we make we want to blame on others. Some of us come from backgrounds of difficult circumstances, but we can do our utmost to learn from these experiences and determine not to repeat them in our own families. We must strengthen ourselves so we will not give in to impulsive behaviors and then blame others. Ultimately, we must come to the conclusion that we are responsible for our actions regardless of what circumstances we find ourselves in." — Robert D. Hales, "Return with Honor," "Ensign," June 1999, p. 13
"Like Joseph [Smith], many of us find ourselves seeking the light of truth. Just as the world was prepared for the Restoration, each of us is prepared to receive the light of the gospel in our own lives. Sometimes that preparation comes through a change in our circumstances-through meeting a new friend, moving to a new community, a change of employment, the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, illness, misfortune, and even tragedy. During these times of transition, we seek answers to the important questions of life: Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here on earth? And where we are going after we die? Joseph was not born with this knowledge, and neither were we. We must find it." - Robert D. Hales, "Receiving a Testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ," General Conference, 4 October 2003
"Conversion requires consecrating our lives to caring for and serving others who need our help and to sharing our gifts and talents. The Lord didn't say tend my sheep when it is convenient, watch my sheep when you aren't busy. He said feed my sheep and my lambs; help them survive this world, keep them close to you. Lead them to safety--the safety of righteous choices that will prepare them for eternal life." - Robert D. Hales, "When Thou Art Converted, Strengthen Thy Brethren," General Conference, April 1997
"We are taught in the scriptures that there must be opposition in all things (see 2 Ne. 2:11). It is not a question of if we are ready for the tests; it is a matter of when. We must prepare to be ready for tests that will present themselves without warning." - Robert D. Hales, "Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure," Ensign, May 1998, p. 76
"My dear brothers and sisters, when pain, tests, and trials come in life, draw near to the Savior. 'Wait upon the Lord,... look for him' (Isa. 8:17; 2 Ne. 18:17). 'They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint' (Isa. 40:31). Healing comes in the Lord's time and the Lord's way; be patient." - Robert D. Hales, "Healing Soul and Body," Ensign, Nov. 1998, p. 17
"To Elijah, Jehovah said, 'Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.' Elijah obeyed, and after a storm of wind and earthquakes and fire, he was finally visited with 'a still small voice.' To Elijah, who had hid himself inside a cave, the Lord asked, 'What doest thou here, Elijah?' And Elijah answered, 'Because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.' But the Lord had important work for Elijah to do, and therefore 'said unto him, Go, return on thy way.' (See 1 Kings 19:11-15.) So Elijah went. We too must come forth from our secure caves, for we have important work to do. Through the still, small voice of His Spirit, the Lord will protect us, help us, and guide us." - Robert D. Hales, "Faith through Tribulation Brings Peace and Joy," General Conference, April 2003
"Share our testimony. 'O that I were an angel,' proclaimed Alma, 'and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God' (Alma 29:1). Let others know that you know. Bear your testimony in fast meeting. Tell your family; tell your friends. You will find when you share your testimony it becomes stronger, and there are many others around you who also want to embrace the truth." - Robert D. Hales, "The Importance of Receiving a Personal Testimony," Ensign, November 1994, p. 22
"It is also God's plan that we cannot return to his presence alone, without the help of someone else. James put it best: 'Faith without works is dead, being alone.' (James 2:17.) The gospel plan requires giving and receiving. Faith alone is not enough. We need 'works' to serve and to be served. We can't do it alone." - Robert D. Hales, "We Can't Do It Alone," New Era, Jan. 1977, p. 35-36
"Pondering takes our thoughts from the trivial things of this world and brings us closer to the gentle, guiding hand of our Maker as we heed the 'still small voice' of the Holy Ghost (see 1 Kgs. 19:12; 1 Ne. 17:45; D&C 85:6). In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord spoke to David Whitmer: 'Your mind has been on the things of the earth more than on the things of... your Maker... ; you have not given heed unto my Spirit' (D&C 30:2).
"Pondering the things of the Lord—His word, His teachings, His commandments, His life, His love, the gifts He has given us, His Atonement for us—brings about a tremendous feeling of gratitude for our Savior and for the life and blessings He has given us." - Robert D. Hales, "Healing Soul and Body," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 15
"In our day, the steadying arm of the Lord reaches us through the ordinances of His holy temples. Said the Prophet Joseph to the early Saints in Nauvoo, 'You need an endowment, brethren, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things.' How right he was! Being blessed with the temple covenants and endowed with power made it possible for the Latter-day Saints to endure tribulation with faith. At the end of her own pioneer journey, Sarah Rich recorded, 'If it had not been for the faith and knowledge that was bestowed upon us in that temple... our journey would have been like... taking a leap in the dark.'" - Robert D. Hales, "Faith through Tribulation Brings Peace and Joy," Ensign (CR), May 2003, p.15
"Sometimes people ask, 'Why do I have to go to sacrament meeting?' or 'Why do I have to live the Word of Wisdom, pay tithing? Why can't I have one foot in Babylon?' May I tell you why? Because spiritual pedaling takes both feet! Unless you are fully engaged in living the gospel—living it with all of your heart, might, mind and strength—you cannot generate enough spiritual light to push back the darkness." - Robert D. Hales, "Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light," Ensign (CR), May 2002, p.69
"The generation of spiritual light comes from daily spiritual pedaling. It comes from praying, studying the scriptures, fasting, and serving—from living the gospel and obeying the commandments. 'He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light,' (D&C 93:28) said the Lord, 'and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.' (D&C 50:24) My brothers and sisters, that perfect day will be when we will stand in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ." - Robert D. Hales, "Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light," Ensign (CR), May 2002, p.69
"We cannot find Enos-like faith without our own wrestle before God in prayer. I testify that the reward is worth the effort. Remember the pattern: (1) hear the word of God, spoken and written by His servants; (2) let that word sink deep into your heart; (3) hunger in your soul for righteousness; (4) obediently follow gospel laws, ordinances, and covenants; and (5) raise your voice in mighty prayer and supplication, asking in faith to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I promise that if you do these things sincerely and unceasingly, the words Christ spoke to His disciples will be fulfilled in your life: 'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' (Matt. 7:7)" - Robert D. Hales, "Finding Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," Ensign (CR), November 2004, p.70
"The Lord is the ultimate caregiver. We must surrender ourselves to the Lord. In doing so, we give up whatever is causing our pain and turn everything over to Him. 'Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee' (Ps. 55:22). 'And then may God grant unto you that your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son' (Alma 33:23). Through faith and trust in the Lord and obedience to His counsel, we make ourselves eligible to be partakers of the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that one day we may return to live with Him." - Robert D. Hales, "Healing Soul and Body," CR, November 1998, p. 14
"The law of tithing prepares us to live the higher law of consecration—to dedicate and give all our time, talents, and resources to the work of the Lord. Until the day when we are required to live this higher law, we are commanded to live the law of the tithe, which is to freely give one-tenth of our income annually.
"To those who faithfully and honestly live the law of tithing, the Lord promises an abundance of blessings. Some of these blessings are temporal, just as tithes are temporal. But like the outward physical ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, the commandment to pay tithing requires temporal sacrifice, which ultimately yields great spiritual blessings." - Robert D. Hales, "Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings," Ensign (CR), November 2002, p.26
"With the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, we feel a love for God and all His children. This love casts out fear and fills us with the desire to open our mouths. There is no greater gift we can give others than to bear our testimony to them. There is no greater joy we can have than to bring even one soul unto Christ. (See D&C 18:15.) And there is no greater way to strengthen our own testimony than to share our witness of Him with the world. As we do, our families will be strengthened. Our wards, stakes, and communities will be filled with peace and love, and, ultimately, the earth will be prepared for the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." - Robert D. Hales, "Receiving a Testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ," Ensign (CR), November 2003, p.28
"As with voices from the dust, the prophets of the Lord cry out to us on earth today: take hold of the scriptures! Cling to them, walk by them, live by them, rejoice in them, feast on them. Don't nibble. They are 'the power of God unto salvation' (Doc and Cov 68:4) that lead us back to our Savior Jesus Christ.
"If the Savior were among us in the flesh today, He would teach us from the scriptures as He taught when He walked upon the earth. In the synagogue at Nazareth, 'there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.... And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.' (Luke 4:17, 21.) Later when the Sadducees and Pharisees posed a difficult question, 'Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.' (Matthew 22:29.) And after His Resurrection, on the road to Emmaus, His disciples 'said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?' (Luke 24:32.) To His disciples then and now, His words ring out: 'Search the scriptures; for ... they are they which testify of me' (John 5:39.)—a testimony borne by the Holy Ghost, for 'by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.' (Moroni 10:5.)" - Robert D. Hales, "Holy Scriptures: The Power of God Unto Our Salvation," Ensign, November 2006
"We pray to our Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the great Mediator. Though omnipotent and omniscient, all-powerful and all-knowing, He is our friend. After counseling early Brethren of the Church to 'set in order your own house,' He said, 'I will call you friends, for you are my friends' (D&C 93:43, 45). With all of His greatness, He has said that He is our friend. We have been asked to be a friend to our neighbors and to teach them the gospel, and to be a friend to new converts, that the fruit of our labors may remain (see John 15:16). Our prophet has asked us to be a friend. Can our prophet expect anything less?" - Robert D. Hales, "In Remembrance of Jesus," Ensign (CR), November 1997, p.24
"Growing up on Long Island, in New York, I understood how vital light was to those traveling in the darkness on the open sea. How dangerous is a fallen lighthouse! How devastating is a lighthouse whose light has failed!
"We who have the gift of the Holy Ghost must be true to its promptings so we can be a light to others.
"'Let your light so shine before men,' said the Lord, 'that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' (Matt. 5:15-16.)
"We never know who may be depending on us. And, as the Savior said, 'we know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.' (3 Ne. 18:32.)" - Robert D. Hales, "Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light," Ensign (CR), May 2002, p.69
"By choosing to be in His kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world. Our dress will be modest, our thoughts pure, our language clean. The movies and television we watch, the music we listen to, the books, magazines, and newspapers we read will be uplifting. We will choose friends who encourage our eternal goals, and we will treat others with kindness. We will shun the vices of immorality, gambling, tobacco, liquor, and illicit drugs. Our Sunday activities will reflect the commandment of God to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. We will follow the example of Jesus Christ in the way we treat others. We will live to be worthy to enter the house of the Lord." - Robert D. Hales, "The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom," Ensign (CR), November 2000, p.6
"Each of us has been sent to earth by our Heavenly Father to merit eternal life: 'And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.' (John 17:3) How do we know the Father and the Son for ourselves? By personal revelation. Personal revelation is the way Heavenly Father helps us know Him and His Son, learn and live the gospel, endure to the end in righteousness, and qualify for eternal life—to return back into Their presence." - Robert D. Hales, "Personal Revelation: The Teachings and Examples of the Prophets," General Conference, 7 October 2007
"Zion is characterized in scripture as a city in which the people 'were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.' (Moses 7:18.) Zion is 'every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.' (D&C 82:19.) This promised Zion always seems to be a little beyond our reach. We need to understand that as much virtue can be gained in progressing toward Zion as in dwelling there. It is a process as well as a destination. We approach or withdraw from Zion through the manner in which we conduct our daily dealings, how we live within our families, whether we pay an honest tithe and generous fast offering, how we seize opportunities to serve and do so diligently. Many are perfected upon the road to Zion who will never see the city in mortality." - Robert D. Hales, "Welfare Principles to Guide Our Lives: An Eternal Plan for the Welfare of Men's Souls," Ensign (CR), May 1986, p.28
"Choose to put yourself in a position to have experiences with the Spirit of God through prayer, in scripture study, at Church meetings, in your home, and through wholesome interactions with others. When you feel the influence of the Spirit, you are beginning to be cleansed and strengthened. The light is being turned on, and where that light shines, the darkness of evil cannot remain." - Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," CR, April 2006
"The calling of father or mother is sacred and carries with it great significance. One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities given to us is that of being a parent—helping to bring to earth a child of God and having the sacred responsibility to love, care, and guide children back to our Heavenly Father. In many ways earthly parents represent their Heavenly Father in the process of nurturing, loving, caring, and teaching children. Children naturally look to their parents to learn of the characteristics of their Heavenly Father. After they come to love, respect, and have confidence in their earthly parents, they often unknowingly develop the same feelings towards their Heavenly Father." - Robert D. Hales, "How Will Our Children Remember Us?", Ensign (CR), November 1993, p.8
"It is of special significance that whenever Heavenly Father wants to introduce His Son to us, He commands us to listen—to 'hear' the words of Jesus." - Robert D. Hales, "Gaining a Testimony of God the Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost," General Conference, April 2008
"Experience shows that seasons of negative publicity about the Church can help accomplish the Lord’s purposes. In 1983, the First Presidency wrote to Church leaders, 'Opposition may be in itself an opportunity. Among the continuing challenges faced by our missionaries is a lack of interest in religious matters and in our message. These criticisms create . . . interest in the Church. . . . This provides an opportunity [for members] to present the truth to those whose attention is thus directed toward us.'
"We can take advantage of such opportunities in many ways: a kind letter to the editor, a conversation with a friend, a comment on a blog, or a reassuring word to one who has made a disparaging comment. We can answer with love those who have been influenced by misinformation and prejudice—who are 'kept from the truth because they know not where to find it' (D&C 123:12). I assure you that to answer our accusers in this way is never weakness. It is Christian courage in action." - Robert D. Hales, "Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship," General Conference, October 2008
"The basic requirements for enduring to the end include knowing who we are, children of God with a desire to return to His presence after mortality; understanding the purpose of life, to endure to the end and obtain eternal life; and living obediently with a desire and a determination to endure all things, having eternal vision. Eternal vision allows us to overcome opposition in our temporal state and, ultimately, achieve the promised rewards and blessings of eternal life." - Robert D. Hales, “Behold, We Count Them Happy Which Endure,” Ensign (CR), May 1998, p.75
"If we had lived in the days of these prophets of old, would we have believed on their words? Would we have had faith in the coming of our Savior?" - Robert D. Hales, "Finding Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," Ensign (CR), November 2004, p.70
“Our challenges, including those we create by our own decisions, are part of our test in mortality. Let me assure you that your situation is not beyond the reach of our Savior. Through Him, every struggle can be for our experience and our good (see D&C 122:7). Each temptation we overcome is to strengthen us, not destroy us. The Lord will never allow us to suffer beyond what we can endure (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
“We must remember that the adversary knows us extremely well. He knows where, when, and how to tempt us. If we are obedient to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we can learn to recognize the adversary’s enticements. Before we yield to temptation, we must learn to say with unflinching resolve, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan’ (Matthew 16:23).” - Robert D. Hales, “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually,” Ensign, May 2009, 7–10
“Brothers and sisters, you may already know, deep in your soul, that God lives. You may not know all about Him yet and do not understand all His ways, but the light of belief is within you, waiting to be awakened and intensified by the Spirit of God and the Light of Christ, which you are born with.
“So come. Believe the testimonies of the prophets. Learn of God and Christ. The pattern to do so is clearly taught by prophets of old and prophets today.
“Cultivate a diligent desire to know that God lives.
“This desire leads us to ponder on the things of heaven—to let the evidence of God all around us touch our hearts.
“With softened hearts we are prepared to heed the Savior’s call to ‘search the scriptures’ and to humbly learn from them.
“We are then ready to ask our Heavenly Father sincerely, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, if the things we have learned are true. Most of us will not see God, as the prophets have, but the still, small promptings of the Spirit—the thoughts and feelings that the Holy Ghost brings into our minds and hearts—will give us an undeniable knowledge that He lives and that He loves us.” – Robert D. Hales, “Seeking to Know God, Our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ,” Ensign, November 2009
"In these latter days, as in the times of old, we must avoid being acted upon by acting for ourselves to avoid evil. The Holy Ghost will prompt us. Joseph was told to flee from Potiphar's wife. Abraham obeyed the commandment to flee out of the land of Ur. Lehi was instructed to flee Jerusalem before it was destroyed. And to protect the Savior's life, Mary and Joseph were prompted to flee into Egypt." - Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," (CR) April 2006
"An equally important part of fulfilling our parental duty to God is teaching our children the gospel and preparing them to participate fully in the Savior’s restored Church. Remember the lesson of King Benjamin’s people. As a result of his teachings, many of the adults had a mighty change of heart (see Mosiah 5:2). But then it says that 'there were many of the rising generation that could not understand the words of King Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe. . . . And their hearts were hardened' (Mosiah 26:1, 3).
"It is our imperative duty to help youth understand and believe the gospel in a deeply personal way. We can teach them to walk in the light, but that light cannot be borrowed. They must earn it for themselves. They must obtain their own light of testimony directly from the source of spiritual light—God Himself—through prayer and study and pondering. They must understand who they are and who Heavenly Father wants them to become. How do we help them?" - Robert D. Hales, "Our Duty to God: The Mission of Parents and Leaders to the Rising Generation," Ensign (CR) May 2010
"But think of it: in our premortal state we chose to follow the Savior Jesus Christ! And because we did, we were allowed to come to earth. I testify that by making the same choice to follow the Savior now, while we are here on earth, we will obtain an even greater blessing in the eternities. But let it be known: we must continue to choose to follow the Savior. Eternity is at stake, and our wise use of agency and our actions are essential that we might have eternal life." - Robert D. Hales, "Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life," Ensign (CR) October 2010
Does this mean we will always understand our challenges? Won’t all of us, sometime, have reason to ask, “O God, where art thou?” Yes! When a spouse dies, a companion will wonder. When financial hardship befalls a family, a father will ask. When children wander from the path, a mother and father will cry out in sorrow. Yes, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Then, in the dawn of our increased faith and understanding, we arise and choose to wait upon the Lord, saying, “Thy will be done.”
What, then, does it mean to wait upon the Lord? In the scriptures, the word wait means to hope, to anticipate, and to trust. To hope and trust in the Lord requires faith, patience, humility, meekness, long-suffering, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end. -
Many lessons can be learned from the account of the Atonement. It is comforting to know that, though suffering, Jesus Christ was able to look down from the cross and be concerned for His mother, that she should be properly cared for, as He asked for the help of a disciple. This is one of the great messages we have heard this conference—that we turn some of our attention from our own trials and tribulations to concern and caring for others. - Robert D. Hales, "
As I have read these testimonies—and many others like them over the years—it has always touched my heart to sense how deeply Heavenly Father loves His eldest Son and how Jesus shows His love by His obedience to His Father’s will. I testify that when we do what is necessary to know Them and know Their love for one another, we will obtain “the greatest of all the gifts of God”—even eternal life. For “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” – Robert D. Hales, “Eternal Life—to Know Our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ,” Ensign (CR) November 2014
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