Elder Hales called as an apostle

Elder Robert D. Hales was sustained as the newest apostle in the Saturday afternoon session of general conference. He fills a vacancy in the Council of the Twelve resulting from the death of Elder Marvin J. Ashton on Feb. 25.

Elder Hales, 61, had served as Presiding Bishop of the Church since April 1985. He was called as a General Authority in April 1975, serving first as an Assistant to the Twelve and later in the First Quorum of Seventy, when that quorum was organized in October 1976.After the Saturday afternoon session, Elder Hales and his wife, Mary, were introduced to the media at a news conference in the North Visitors Center.

"This is a unique time in one's life," Elder Hales said. "I just appreciate the opportunity of serving and having my wife at my side.

"My feelings are very close," he affirmed.

"Imagine what it means to be a young boy from New York who memorized the names of all the apostles when I was a deacon. I never thought I'd be among them."

Elder Hales said he felt "very inadequate" in his new calling. "One of the beautiful things about the gospel is that you're always improving." He said that his apostolic call has taken him through a self-evaluation.

At the news conference, he referred to two heart attacks that he has suffered. "I'm just grateful to be here. My doctor says I have defied the odds and seem to be doing well."

Elder Hales mentioned his experiences in the business world before his call as a General Authority. "I'm glad for those opportunities. It was excellent preparation to be the Presiding Bishop of the Church."

As a special witness of Jesus Christ, Elder Hales exclaimed: "I can tell you with surety that Jesus lives. Now it will be my responsibility to tell the world that I know."

Elder Hales was born in New York City on Aug. 24, 1932, to John Rulon and Vera Marie Holbrook Hales. He grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., with an older brother and an older sister. The family attended Church 20 miles away in Queens.

He loved baseball and was an outstanding pitcher. He went on to play for the University of Utah team until an injury ended his career. He earned money for his schooling working full-time for KDYL and KSL television.

He met Mary Elene Crandall at Church in Queens while home from school. In the fall, he returned to the University of Utah and she went to BYU. They continued dating and were married during his senior year in 1953.

After graduating from college, Elder Hales went into the Air Force, flying F84 and F100 aircraft in the strategic and tactical air commands. Following his military service, he attended Harvard Business School, where he earned a master's degree.

During his distinguished professional business career he served in executive positions with four major national companies. After joining the Gillette Co., he became president of the Papermate Co., a division of Gillette. Then he joined Max Factor Co., as a vice president, and later headed Hughes Television Network. Just prior to his call to be a General Authority, he was president of the Chesebrough-Pond's Co.

He moved around the United States and lived in several foreign countries. That led to a diversity of Church leadership positions. He served as a branch president, bishop, high councilor and stake president's counselor.

He was a regional representative for five years prior to his call as a General Authority. He was president of the England London Mission in the late '70s, and has served as first counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency.

The new apostle and his wife have two sons.


President Benson participates in ordination and setting apart

President Ezra Taft Benson joined his counselors, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson, in the Salt Lake Temple Thursday, April 7, at which time he participated in the ordination and setting apart of Elder Robert D. Hales as a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles.

All members of the Council of the Twelve were present when Elder Hales was ordained an apostle and was set apart as a member of that quorum.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed