Robert D. Hales has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since April 1994. Prior to this call, he served as a General Authority of the Church in various capacities beginning in 1975. For his professional career he “served in major executive positions with several prominent companies, and over the years [he and his] family lived in several countries as well as several locations in the United States.” As a young man he served in the United States Air Force as a jet fighter pilot.
Like the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Hales has had a Facebook account since 2013 “to provide people a safe and official way to follow the ministry of the Brethren.” Twice a month he posts a spiritual thought and occasionally includes a picture.
On July 29, 2016, Elder Hales posted a three-paragraph message about receiving answers to our prayers. Upon closer examination, Elder Hales’ Facebook post is a chiasm that reinforces his testimony that “His answers will come.” This article presents a diagram and analysis of Elder Hales’ Facebook chiasm.
Diagram and Analysis:
A: In my life I have learned that sometimes I do not receive an answer to a prayer because the Lord knows I am not ready. When He does answer, it is often “here a little and there a little” because that is all that I can bear or all I am willing to do.
B: Too often we pray to have patience, but we want it right now!
C: As a young man, President David O. McKay prayed for a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel.
C: Many years later, while he was serving his mission in Scotland, that witness finally came.
B: Later he wrote, “It was an assurance to me that sincere prayer is answered ‘sometime, somewhere.’”
A: We may not know when or how the Lord’s answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I testify, His answers will come. For some answers we may have to wait until the hereafter. This may be true for some promises in our patriarchal blessings and for some blessings for family members. Let us not give up on the Lord. His blessings are eternal, not temporary.
A=A: “He does answer” equates with “His answers will come.” Although it may not happen immediately, God does answer our prayers. He knows when we are “ready,” what we “can bear” at any given time, and what we are “willing to do.” Consequently, some answers will come in “the hereafter,” including “some promises in our patriarchal blessings and for some blessings for family members.” We need to trust in the Lord’s wisdom and believe that “His blessings are eternal, not temporary.” Further, we need to acknowledge our limited capacity to recognize and follow inspired promptings.
B=B: “[W]e want it right now!” contrasts with “sincere prayer is answered ‘sometime, somewhere.'” Patience and perspective are needed as we seek answers to our prayers. We shouldn’t expect His timing to always line up with our timing.
C=C: “[P]rayed for a witness” is complemented by “witness finally came.” To illustrate that prayers are not always answered immediately, Elder Hales tells how a young David O. McKay had to wait “many years” to receive a “witness of the truthfulness of the gospel.” But the witness did come. David O. McKay would later serve as President of the Church.
Chiasmus in Robert D. Hales’ Facebook post emphasizes his conviction that God answers our prayers “sometime, somewhere.” He teaches us that patience is the ability to trust in God’s timing and is made possible by being able to see beyond our immediate circumstances. These abilities — patience and perspective — are required in order for us to follow Elder Hales’ plea to “not give up on the Lord.” As with the other examples of chiasmus in the Facebook posts of the Apostles that we’ve written about (Henry B. Eyring, Russell M. Nelson, and Dieter F. Uchtdorf), this chiasm serves as a reminder for us to slow down and ponder the words of the prophets, even though they may appear in ordinary places.