Like pilots, LDS must follow rules to avoid disaster

Just as aircraft pilots must obey certain rules in order to avoid disaster during flight, there are laws, ordinances and covenants that Church members must understand and keep to avoid disaster during life, said Elder Robert D. Hales.

Speaking May 3 to cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy chapel here, Elder Hales, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and a former Air Force jet fighter

pilot, said, "If we refuse to pay attention or deliberately ignore the warnings we receive from the Holy Ghost we will wander off course and may crash before reaching our goal."The Church Educational System fireside address was transmitted to more than 100,000 seminary and institute students in 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Elder Hales' address will be translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean and distributed to young adults throughout the world.

During his visit to Colorado, Elder Hales also spoke at a combined sacrament meeting for single adults in the Colorado Springs Colorado North Stake and at a dinner buffet at the Air Force Academy Officers' Club.

Members of the Air Force cadet choir sang Church hymns at the fireside, the first CES broadcast to be transmitted from a building not owned by the Church. Retired Air Force Gen. Robert C. Oaks, president of the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Stake, accompanied Elder Hales to Colorado.

During his address, Elder Hales paid an emotional tribute to the Air Force cadets and other "defenders of the constitution - defenders of freedom: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of enterprise."

He explained that freedoms ensure an individual's right to make choices. "Because of you and many others like you who are willing to spend a part of your life to defend freedoms around the world, the world will be a better place; you will be a better person; and your children and grandchildren - and mine - will remain free because of your example of patriotism. Thank you for all you do, from all the citizens in our nation."

Elder Hales, who served in the Air Force from 1955 to 1958, noted that members of his 31st Fighter Bomber Squadron had mottos to inspire their efforts. His motto, "Return With Honor," graced the side of his aircraft.

"Return with Honor" was a constant reminder to return to home base with honor, only after having expended all effort to successfully complete every aspect of the mission, Elder Hales said. "This same motto, `Return with Honor,' can be applied to each of us in our eternal plan of progression. Having lived with our Heavenly Father and having come to earth life, called mortality, we must have determination to return with honor to our Heavenly home."

Elder Hales noted that the scriptures teach Church members that honor includes such things as faith and trust in the Lord, paying tithes and offerings, fear of the Lord (meaning to love Him), humility and obedience.

He told the young adults that like aircraft pilots they must obey certain rules and understand how to use certain instruments.

"The compass on the instrument panel of an airplane gives us the relationship to true north. . . ," he said. "The Holy Ghost is like a compass because both give us direction and help us find the way to our destination no matter how stormy the weather."

The fuel gauge indicates the amount of fuel consumed and the amount of fuel remaining. "No one would go into the air without enough fuel to complete his mission," he explained. "In the gospel, we must maintain enough fuel to complete our mission, and that fuel comes from daily replenishing our spirituality through praying, studying the scriptures, living more Christ-like lives, consecrating ourselves to building the Lord's kingdom, keeping sacred ordinances, serving one another in a spirit of love, attending Church services and being obedient."

The altimeter allows a pilot to know his altitude so he can fly above all obstacles that will cause him to crash, said Elder Hales. "As followers of Jesus Christ, let us live our lives so that we can be above all things to receive the great blessings which are promised us."

The attitude indicator gives a continuous and accurate relationship to the horizon. "We have to be careful to beware of our personal attitude," he said. "Are we positive, loyal, and trustworthy in all that we do? Don't be negative. Strengthen and lift those around you."

Elder Hales told his listeners that the Savior does not want them to crash. "His desire is for us to choose the right course that will bring us back on the straight and narrow path to live with Him eternally."

He reminded the young adults to avoid selective obedience, machoism, impulsivity, and anti-authority (not following orders, not following the proper flight plans, not learning the proper procedures).

"If we will remember who we are - sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father; why we are here - to receive our earthly bodies, gain wisdom from our experiences, and endure to the end; and where we are going - to return to our Heavenly Father, we will be able to live by the example given us by our Savior."

Elder Hales said Church members can avoid tragedies in their lives by avoiding poor judgment. "The light of the Holy Ghost brings great comfort by giving us guidance to stay on the straight and narrow path. There is nothing more lonely than to be left alone without the guidance of the Spirit. To have the Spirit with us each day it is necessary to be obedient, to keep the commandments, and to humbly pray often to express gratitude for all we have been given."

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