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Robert Dean Hales (August 24, 1932 – October 1, 2017) was an American businessman and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1994 until his death. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Hales was accepted by the church as a prophet, seer, and revelator. At the time of his passing he was the fifth most senior apostle in the church.[1]

Robert D. Hales
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 2, 1994 (1994-04-02) – October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)
LDS Church Apostle
April 7, 1994 (1994-04-07) – October 1, 2017 (2017-10-01)
ReasonDeath of Marvin J. Ashton
at end of term
Gerrit W. Gong and Ulisses Soares were ordained following deaths of Hales and Thomas S. Monson
Presiding Bishop
April 6, 1985 (1985-04-06) – April 2, 1994 (1994-04-02)
End reasonCalled to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
First Quorum of the Seventy
October 1, 1976 (1976-10-01) – April 6, 1985 (1985-04-06)
End reasonCalled as Presiding Bishop
Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 4, 1975 (1975-04-04) – October 1, 1976 (1976-10-01)
End reasonPosition abolished
Military career
Service/branchUnited States Air Force
RankUS-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Personal details
BornRobert Dean Hales
(1932-08-24)August 24, 1932
New York City, United States
DiedOctober 1, 2017(2017-10-01) (aged 85)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting placeBountiful City Cemetery
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Mary Crandall
Signature of Robert D. Hales


Hales was born in New York City and raised in both Queens and Great Neck, New York. He was the youngest of three children born to John Rulon Hales, an artist who worked in advertising primarily, and his wife, Vera Marie Holbrook. The Hales family was heavily involved in the LDS Church. Their ward met in rented space, and as a youth Hales would help clean it from the party that had occurred the night before.[2] The family attended the LDS Church's Queens Ward.

Hales played baseball while he was a student at Great Neck High School and then later at the University of Utah. He also played in some semi-professional leagues, but hurt his arm from pitching that was too intense while playing in Arizona.[3] Prior to this injury, he had been considered to have a strong chance of playing in the major leagues.[4] After the injury forced him out of baseball, Hales joined the Air Force ROTC unit at the University of Utah. While he was a student at the University of Utah, Hales worked for KSL-TV. He also worked at KDYL.[citation needed] After obtaining a bachelor's degree at the University of Utah, he was a fighter pilot for four years in the U.S. Air Force.[5][6] Hales later also received a degree from the Harvard Business School (HBS).

Hales married Mary Crandall, whom he met in New York the summer before his sophomore year of college, in the Salt Lake Temple on June 10, 1953.[7] During the summer they were married, Hales was working at the United Nations building. Crandall, who was a student at Brigham Young University, had moved from California to New York shortly before she met Hales. They had two sons.

During his professional business career, Hales served in executive positions with four major national companies. His first job out of HBS was with the Gillette Company. To ensure a broad perspective of the business, Hales convinced management to let him work some on the factory floor and also in stocking razors in drug stores. This gave him a broad perspective that allowed him to quickly rise to senior management.[8]

After joining the Gillette Company, he became president of Papermate, a division of Gillette. He later joined Max Factor as a vice president, and later headed the Hughes Television Network. Just prior to his call to be a general authority, Hales was president of Chesebrough-Pond's. One of his strengths as a businessman was being able to synthesize both financial data and a strong sense of where the market was going from interacting with it as much as possible. His presentations of new products and marketing approaches were presented in ways that to some seemed like painting ideas.[9]

In 1987, Hales was appointed to the Utah State Board of Regents.[citation needed] In 2010, Deseret Book published a book written by Hales entitled Return.

LDS Church serviceEdit

While Hales was a graduate student at HBS he served in the LDS Church as an elders quorum president. He also served as a seminary teacher while he lived in Downey, California. Hales served three times in the church as a bishop (in Weston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and Frankfurt, Germany). He served as a branch president, both in Weston and in Albany, Georgia. The assignment as branch president in Weston was while he was a student at HBS, with one of the counselors in the district presidency being Henry B. Eyring. Hales served in the branch presidency in Seville, Spain and while living in Germany. He also served on the stake high council, both while living in London, England and in Massachusetts. He was also a counselor in the stake presidency of the Boston Massachusetts Stake when it was first organized in 1960. He later served as a regional representative, with assignments in both Louisiana and Minnesota.[10]

General AuthorityEdit

In 1975, Hales was called as a general authority and became an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In 1976, the role of Assistant to the Twelve was discontinued and he, along with others serving at the time, became members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He was the last living person who had served as an Assistant to the Twelve.[citation needed]

During his first decade as a general authority, Hales was given assignments related to the physical and financial operations of the LDS Church. He oversaw a reduction in the number of the church's welfare farms and also divestment from the Utah and Idaho Sugar Company.[11]

In the late 1970s, while serving as a general authority, Hales also served as president of the church's England London Mission. After his service in London, Hales was appointed the church's Area Supervisor in Europe. In this capacity, he worked with Thomas S. Monson on supervising the church in East Germany and worked towards the building of a church temple there. He also served for a time as a counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency.[12]

Hales served in the First Quorum of the Seventy until 1985 when he became the church's eleventh presiding bishop. He served as the presiding bishop until 1994, during which time he emphasized the importance of the principles of the church's welfare program.[citation needed]

Hales was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve on April 2, 1994. He was ordained an apostle on April 7, 1994, filling a vacancy created by the death of Marvin J. Ashton.

In 2002, Hales served as chair of the church's Olympic Coordinating Council.[13]

As a native of New York City, Hales was often the church's "point man" on dealing with issues in the city. He was involved in some of the early planning that led to the building of the Manhattan New York Temple.

Health issues and deathEdit

Over the years, Hales had several health issues impacting his church service. This included missing the church's April 2011 General Conference. In September 2017, he was again hospitalized and a church spokesman noted that, in view of the recommendations of attending physicians, Hales would not participate in the upcoming General Conference.[14] Hales died on October 1, 2017, shortly after the conclusion of the conference's Sunday morning session.[15][16] Henry B. Eyring announced his passing at the beginning of that afternoon's session. Funeral services for Hales were held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, on October 6, 2017. A private burial service followed at Bountiful City Cemetery.[17][18]


  • Hales, Robert D. (2010), Return: four phases of our mortal journey home, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, ISBN 978-1-57008-769-1, OCLC 562780912
  • —— (Winter 1987), "The British Contribution to the Restored Gospel", BYU Studies, 27 (1): 12–24

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Apostolic seniority is generally understood to include all 15 ordained apostles (including the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles). Seniority is determined by date of ordination, not by age or other factors. If two apostles are ordained on the same day, the older of the two is typically ordained first. See Succession to the presidency and Heath, Steven H. (Summer 1987). "Notes on Apostolic Succession" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 20 (2): 44–56..
  2. ^ Lawrence R. Flake Apostles and Prophets of the Last Dispensation
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Robert Eaton and Henry J. Eyring. I Will Lead You Along, p. 364
  5. ^ article on Hales
  6. ^ Eaton and Eyring. I Will Lead You Along p. 364
  7. ^ "Prophets and Apostles: What Are Prophets?—Robert D. Hales",, retrieved July 26, 2015.
  8. ^ Eaton and Eyring, I Will Lead You Along p. 365
  9. ^ Eaton and Eyring. I Will Lead You Along p. 364
  10. ^ Elder Robert D. Hales: About the Lord's Business
  11. ^ Eaton and Eyring. I Will Lead You Along p. 366
  12. ^ LDS newsroom article on Hales
  13. ^ Deseret News article on Hales
  14. ^ This article verifies the particular details relating to Hales' current condition.
  15. ^ "Elder Robert D. Hales Dies at Age 85: Elder Hales was called to the holy apostleship in 1994", Newsroom, LDS Church, 2017-10-01
  16. ^ "Elder Robert D. Hales passes away". Deseret News.
  17. ^ "Elder Robert D. Hales Funeral Arrangements Announced - Church News and Events". Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  18. ^ "Funeral Services Held for Elder Robert D. Hales". 2017-10-06. Retrieved 2017-11-04.


External linksEdit