Return: Four Phases of Our Mortal Journey Home
“Return with honor” is a call that has become familiar to every Latter-day Saint. For Elder Robert D. Hales, this stirring directive was his unit's motto when he served as a jet fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, and he uses it often in his teaching. During his military days, the motto was a constant and powerful reminder to complete each mission honorably — and now it reminds us, the Lord's children, that what we do on earth can make it possible to return with honor to our heavenly home.
A beloved member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Hales writes with keen insight and compassion about the orderly preparations we need to make as we travel through mortality. Our journey of life has four vital stages:
- Decades of Preparation
- Decade of Decision
- Decades of Serving and Pressing Forward
- Decades of Serving and Enduring to the End
Elder Hales considers each of these essential periods using vivid stories from his own life, compelling scriptural insights, and the wisdom he has gained through a tender relationship with the Savior.
Whatever your stage in life, the message Elder Hales offers in Return: Four Phases of Our Moral Journey Home is clear: Keeping sacred covenants, prayerfully making life's important decisions, and embracing the Savior and His Atonement can prepare you for eternal life — the greatest gift of God. This volume is an inspired guide to your journey home.
Table of Contents
1. Our Journey Home
DECADES OF PREPARATION
2. Always Preparing
3. Remember Who You Are
4. Faith unto Salvation
5. Forgetting Those Things That Are Left Behind
6. The Gate of Baptism
7. The Gift of the Holy Ghost
8. Personal Revelation
9. Choosing Friends Wisely
10. The Preparatory Priesthood
11. Daughters of God
12. Lacing Up Your Boots
13. Overcoming the Adversary
DECADE OF DECISION
14. Making Life's Most Important Decisions
15. Becoming Fishers of Men
16. Moving On
17. Avoiding Spiritual Shortcuts
18. Education for Life
19. Choosing an Eternal Companion
20. The House of the Lord
DECADES OF SERVING AND PRESSING FORWARD
21. One Church Fits All
22. Fearless Love
23. Building a Sound Financial Foundation
24. True to Ourselves and Our Mission
25. Strengthening Families
26.Feed My Lambs, Feed My Sheep
27. Feasting upon the Words of Christ
28. Following God's Prophets
29. The Journey of Lifelong Learning
DECADES OF SERVING AND ENDURING TO THE END
30. Learning from Life's Trials
31. Like Simeon and Anna
32. Facing Death
33. The Atonement
By Noelle, Submitted on 2016-12-12
As a first semester freshman in college, needing some direction, I decided to read the book Return, by Robert D. Hales. This book had quite an impact on me. Hales knows that here during our mortal journey we have many questions we are asking and decisions we are making. Because I’m a college student, I found this book to be very applicable. I found the wise counsel Hales gave about how to make life’s most important decisions, very relatable to my stage in life. After reading, I felt counseled in making decisions about mission, marriage, education, occupation and staying on the straight and narrow path. But Return isn’t just addressed to the young adult. Masterfully, I think Hales addresses the joy and importance of this life no matter what phase you happen to be in; therefore, making it a great read for all ages. Another element of Return I enjoyed was Hales personal stories, which in my opinion are a big draw to reading a book by a general authority because I like learning about their personal lives. It is fascinating to get a perspective into Hales life which has been so abundant and joyful while also understanding the gospel so much more deeply. I liked how Hales can tell these stories while still making gospel parallels. Overall, this book added depth to my life and broadened my understanding of the importance of following the straight and narrow path in this life, so that we can return to our Heavenly Father in the next.
By Jake L., Submitted on 2016-11-14
This is book is perfect if you have just returned from serving a mission and needed some structure to guide your spiritual and even educational life. It is basically a guide to young adulthood. Elder Hales lays out different stages in what he calls the decade of decision. This book is worth the read because of the profound points that are brought by each chapter to the reader. Elder Hales gives you checkpoints at the end of each chapter that remind you of what you have learned and gives you questions for introspection. I highly recommend this book to young adults, especially returned missionaries, because of the powerful insights it contains pertaining to college, dating, marriage, and professional life. Not to mention the great spiritual insights of an Apostle with over 80 years of life experience. This book is worth the read any day.
By Kristina, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Elder Hale’s book was extraordinary and I recommend it to anyone who is dealing with struggles in their life because it really lays out the “four phases of our journey home.” Elder Hales gives such a great insight on life and uses examples from his own life to help us see why and how we go through these phases. Throughout the entire book I felt the spirit testifying to me of the truth written in this book and could feel the Saviors love as I read through the pages. Elder Hales truly was inspired by the Lord to write this remarkable book.
Usually when I read a book I skip sections that I don’t think pertain to me; like going on a mission for example (I have made the decision not to go on one). However, Elder Hales section on missionary work totally opened my eyes to the fact that throughout our entire lives we are consistently serving a mission. Every day we pass people who need to be taught or reminded of our Savior.
I found this book to be one of those books that are written to answer questions. Whether if I had concerns about marriage, my education, or the Savior, this book always gave me an insight to answer them. As this book gives answers to our questions, it is also guiding us to making the right choices. It helped me have a clearer understanding of the path we take in life and how to correctly pursue this path.
This book was written for all ages whether if you’re a child, a teenager, or an adult; it was inspired to teach us all how to return with honor to our heavenly father. Hopefully other people will pick up this book and have the same experience I had. Thank you elder Hales for taking the time to writing this book.
By Jean, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Elder Hales' clear and insightful message is valuable to people of every age and stage of life. I've shared this book with a struggling missionary, a mother of young children and a newly married couple who have all found encouragement and direction that strengthened them in their challenges. As an empty nester who recently lost my father to cancer, this book has also been a comfort and motivatior for me. I highly recommend this book!
By Connor , Submitted on 2015-02-25
Robert D Hales writes this book to help our journey through life. He talks about many things that can help us focus and realign our lives. He uses great examples that apply to a wide variety of readers. He never puts us down for the decisions we make or the circumstances that we are in, he only focuses on lifting up our spirits and confidence in his text. Robert D Hales is an apostle of the Lord and gives us divine guidance to all of our problems, he also relates the scriptures in his book and uses examples on how to be more Christ like. He lets us know that we are loved by Heavenly Father and that we should be striving to make our journey back to him as enjoyable as possible. He gives advice in many different areas, such as finance, religion, family, activities, righteousness and many others. I would recommend this book to anyone that needs direction in their life for any circumstance that they are in. This book can only help. It is a little bit lengthy but focusing on one chapter at a time and trying to get the most out of each chapter will make the book fly by and help you with more then you can imagine. Overall I though it was an amazing book.
By Robert, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is just a fantastic book. I havent completed it yet. But just those few chapters I have read just edified me. The book is contantly in the back of my mind. I cant wait to go home and start continuing to read !
Elder Hales recent General Conference talk was so touching (Oct 2011), in backdrop of that this work becomes even more inspiring.
I hope I had this book during the first phase of Preparation itself. I could have prepared better for the subsequent phases.
Surely I will be teaching the principles to my dear Children- Caren and Chelsea.
By Bobbie J, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I read alot of doctrinal books and highlight what stands out to be helping me in the experiences in my life. Return has helped me in so many ways and I have also shared some of his ideas in Relief Society.
By Breanne, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book is a great read if you want to start from the beginning and read through in order or if you want to focus and study on a specific topic. I love this book and am sooooo grateful for its words. It is a fantastic add to any gospel library.
By Eunice & Ed , Submitted on 2015-02-25
Well written with so much for us to ponder and helps for us to make our own course corrections if necessary. I am really happy Elder Hales wrote this. I don't think it was an easy read. I found myself rereading the same paragraph sometimes up to three times before moving on. Also as I read, other thoughts would come to mind and I would take time to consider them so it isn't an easy, highly entertaining, quick read. However, it was well worth reading and I highly recommend it. I was happy to find an index in the back and will be placing this book on my gospel reference shelf.
By Pam, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I loved this book! I don't normally read doctrinal books, because they are usually a little deep for me and don't keep me engaged! However, "Return" isn't like that at all! I was "hooked" from the first pages, and read it from cover to cover. The language is so simple, yet the stories and doctrine are so profound. Much like his conference talks, Elder Hales' book is easy to read and understand. It is intertwined with personal stories, scriptures, and quotes from other General Authorities. Each chapter is thought-provoking, with a list of "checkpoints" at the end, for the reader to evaluate his/her progress. I think it's a "MUST-READ" for late-teens to the elderly! (My 17-year-old daughter loved the sections I had her read!)
By Cherilyn, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This is one of the most inspiring books I have read in a long time. As I read, the Spirit showed me ways principles Elder Hales shared applied to my life even if they were in sections that I didn't fit into. It reminded me of the open canon of scripture: the Spirit helps us learn exactly what we need most right now from particular messages, even if it's not the same as what others need. I don't generally mark books, but I certainly did this one, making sure I could find messages that struck me again, and gave a copy immediately to someone very close to me. This has messages valuable to everyone. Thank you, Elder Hales!
By H. Duane, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Thank you Brother Hales & Family. My wife & I are reading the book together and getting additional copies for un-expecting recipients to enjoy & encourage. Refreshing & Rejuvenating! ... We have had Family members serve both World War I and II Infantry, Railroad, Fighter Pilot and Bombers one plane inscribed The "Upstairs Maid" returning from a bombing mission over Europe badly damaged crippled Home ... "With Honor"... Thank you.
By Emily, Submitted on 2015-02-25
For me, it's always a joy to discover fun insights into the lives of the Apostles. I enjoyed reading about the lessons he has learned throughout his life and that it has been quite exciting! Throughout this book, it's easy to feel the love Elder Hales has for us and how much he wants us to return to our Heavenly Father.
By LynnEl, Submitted on 2015-02-25
This book is incredible! I pre-ordered it and it came just before I had to speak at a Sunday Evening Discussion. It was PERFECT. It helped me so much with my discussion to the youth. This book is for every age, for every leader in any capacity in the church, for the youth, for parents, for you! It gives you questions to ponder at the end of each short chapter, and it is such an easy read. It makes you feel good and helps you want to do better all at the same time. Thank you Elder Hales for this wonderful book!
By Rick, Submitted on 2015-02-25
I was deeply moved. It is well written and engaging.
By Chad, Submitted on 2015-02-25
Part of what appeals to me is Elder Hales’ breadth of experience—as a jet fighter pilot, an athlete, a business executive, and a Church leader. He shares vivid and memorable stores from his life--many I'd never heard before--as well as fresh insights into the scriptures. There are photographs and other graphics that make the read even more interesting. This is a unique and enlightening book. I was drawn in by the warmth and the stories in the book. It almost feels as if I am in a private conversation with Elder Hales where he is sharing his experiences and insights. I recommend it to everyone.