What’s wrong with Elder Hales?

If you saw General Conference, you definitely noticed that Elder Robert D Hales looked significantly different. He looked “puffy”, spoke from a chair, and had oxygen tubes in his nose. He didn’t say what was wrong with him. Elder Ballard and President Monson both referred to how it was nice to see him, but no one shared what was wrong.

Yesterday and today the Church News & Events page, the LDS Newsroom, and the Deseret News all posted about a statement issued by Elder Hales:

I continue to work with doctors and physical therapists to regain my strength. I am grateful for the faith and prayers that made it possible for me to participate in general conference and resume my responsibilities. I am touched by the many kind expressions of love and support shown to me and your continued prayers.

None of the three sources I mentioned talk about what the health challenges were that Elder Hales faced.

Do you think it was a good idea to post the statement, or does it lead to more questions? Part of me says they should share what is wrong with him. There are millions of people who are concerned about him, and continually using the phrase “health challenges” seems pointless. Another part of me says that it is his health, and he deserves privacy, so we should all back off. Yet another part of me says that if Elder Hales shared what is wrong with him, there would be critics of the Church who would use that as an excuse to talk about the “old men” who lead the Church and that they aren’t capable.

I’m still not settled on what I think the best way is to handle this, but I do know that I hope for the best for Elder Hales. I hope and pray that he isn’t suffering, and that he recovers.

Published by Graham

Former YM President, EQ President, Bishop, and Stake Institute Teacher. Now back to being the YM President. Happily married to Lisa, with 3 beautiful children.

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  1. I, too, wonder about Elder Hales’ health. I would just like to know what his current health issues are, though I think they are probably heart-related (I believe he has had heart problems for much of the last twenty years).

    Having great love for him and his teachings, it would be quite a loss to me personally, if we were to lose him. His talk in conference was so inspired and inspiring. He has certainly been through the “furnace of affliction” and the Lord speaks through him!

  2. My brothers and I had Christmas dinner with our Grandfather over the weekend. I’ve had a lot of people asking about his health status, and people need to understand that while He does appreciate prayers and good thoughts that people have for him, his health and personal life is not the congregation’s business. Not trying to offend anyone, but please be understanding in this.

  3. I agree with family member. Although I recognized Elder Hales’ outward physical appearance is an indication of illness, it is very important that we not attempt to pry into specifics. If Elder Hales or members of his family wish to share it, then let it be their decision.To date, I am praying for him and his family for a speedy recovery. God bless Elder Hales.

  4. Elder Robert D. Hales is so dear to my heart because of the most important words he delivered in ’83 at a special Relief Socirty Meeting held at the Tucson North Stake where I was a member. The results of his words gave me courage to proceed in a direction with my life that was scary to me at that time. My life has been greatly blessed for following the advice I heard in those words shared that evening. I will make a more conscious & concerted effort to remover him in my prayers. I love this man!

  5. From family member
    Elder Hales has a rare lung disorder as a result of open heart surgery. An autoimmune response. The lungs hardened, hence the long term oxygen. Then was required to have two seperate lung surgeries over a two year period. Dr’s opening his back ribs, scraping the scar tissue off and reattaching the lungs to the diaphram. The steroids added over 50 lbs. He also had an ,18″ blood lot in his thigh that partially paralyzed his leg. He is now improving and comments often that he feels the faith and strength of the saints on his behalf and prays that those praying for him will be blessed equally when they face their “Goliath” in life. I feel this needs to be shared so those wondering will know The Lord has a firm hand in sustaining our leaders lives and those tending to our needs are guided by Angels and that glorified Angels do visit us and are our also sides, many of which are our ancestors comforting our Spirits as we suffer through fear and mortal pain.
    Thx for your gifts and prayers

    1. I did not want to pry but I do appreciate knowing as I have read and heard Elder Hales having exactly some of the same thoughts I have as I fight Cancer. I knew it was not cancer but now I know his challenges are serious just like mine. I hope and pray he can feel much better.
      He has so much wisdom and experience to offer.

  6. Thank you for sharing his condition. What a sweet kind man he is. My heart and prayers go to you and the rest of his sweet family.

  7. Congested heart failure. They also have cleaned out blood clots from his lungs, and he had R& R in my friend’s home in Hawaii.

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