Return With Honor


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Robert D. Hales

"...As a young man, I had an opportunity to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a jet-fighter pilot. Each unit in our squadron had a motto that would inspire its efforts. Our unit motto—displayed on the side of our aircraft—was 'Return with Honor.' This motto was a constant reminder to us of our determination to return to our home base with honor only after having expended all of our efforts to successfully complete every aspect of our mission.

"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, we must have determination to return with honor to our heavenly home.

"Just as aircraft pilots must obey certain rules in order to avoid disaster, there are laws, ordinances, and covenants we must understand and obey as we go through this earthly life—this preparatory period—if we are to reach our goal of eternal life.

"In pilot training, we spent hours in a training device that simulated real flight. There an instructor would teach us about emergencies which could occur when flying a jet-fighter at the speed of sound. For each emergency, we were taught the procedures for avoiding disaster. We would practice each procedure over and over so that when a real emergency came, we would have developed what was called an automatic, or conditioned, response. We would know exactly what to do if the fire-warning light lit up or the panel indicated some other technical failure in the airplane. We would then predetermine the safe altitude at which we would bail out if the plane were on fire or out of control.

"The training process can be compared to the lessons we learn in our homes and (in our church meetings)...

"As a father, I put my arms around each of my boys as they left to serve their missions and whispered in their ears, 'Return with honor.' I can picture our Father in Heaven putting his arms around each of us as we left his presence and whispering, 'Return with honor...'"

Bishop Robert D. Hales, General Conference Address, April, 1990