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Return: Four Phases of our Mortal Journey Home

4.46  ·  Rating Details ·  251 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Church leader and business executive Robert Hales discusses the four stages of life's journey--preparation, decision, serving, and enduring--and considers how each stage prepares us for eternal life.
Hardcover, First Edition, 432 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Deseret Book Company
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Apr 10, 2012 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
This is a wonderful book! Elder Hales outlines four phases of life – the decades of preparation, the decade of decision, the decades of serving and pressing forward, and the decades of serving and enduring to the end. During each of these times there are important and eternal principles that we must learn and live in order to return to live with our Heavenly Father again.

I loved learning more about Elder Hales and was inspired by all that he teaches here. He reminds us of the simple and clear pa
Jul 26, 2010 Dave rated it really liked it
What drew me to this book and why I enjoyed it is because it is not a compilation of Elder Hales' talks. Nothing wrong with bundling up several talks given in general conference or at firesides and making a book; I don't see how they have the time to do otherwise. However, I would love to listen to any one of the Brethren share their insight on almost any topic in book form if the book is a single topic, single product instead of a combination of random talks on the same subject.

In this book El
Kay Carman
Feb 23, 2016 Kay Carman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian, mormon
From the flap: "'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 U. S. 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 he ...more
May 27, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it
This was a great book. I only wish that I had my own copy instead of borrowing it from the library. I think this would be better read over time so that more attention and time can be given to each topic. It started to get a little long when I had to read it in a short amount of time. I was expecting it to read more like a novel but I would consider it a reference book. I loved how this book can apply to everyone. It made me grateful for the experiences I have had in my past, excited for things t ...more
Jul 01, 2010 Ane rated it it was amazing
I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It is one I would personally buy and keep next to my bed with a highlighter and pencil!!! It's hard to describe the book except that Elder Hales takes you through every phase of your mortal journey and then some. He tells his own life's experiences - which are enthralling - He gives advice, hope, doctrine and also lovingly reminds us that we are not perfect, but we should strive to be because we want to become like our Savior. It is perfect for youth, parents, gra ...more
Jun 04, 2010 mtw rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by the meat in this book. I was also impressed by the way Elder Hales engaged a few topics that are not typically addressed, like suicide, serving as a bishop, singles and the status of singles wards, and young men who do not serve missions. This book is full of deep and profound gospel insights and interesting stories never before told or related by Elder Hales. I would highly recommend this book to anyone at any stage of life. Elder Hales first book (what a way to st ...more
Jul 13, 2010 Annalisa rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book by Elder Hales going through the different decades in our lives and how best to focus on an eternal perspective with each phase. He relates wonderful stories from his life and unlike some of the other recent books published by apostles this is not a reiteration of previous talks. I would recommend it to everyone. While it is a 425 page book don't let the size deter you - it is broken into short segments within each chapter that you could select from in any order you wish ...more
Peter Wolfley
Sep 04, 2011 Peter Wolfley rated it really liked it
Elder Hales walks you through the great goals and achievements each phase of your life should include. It is well written and it contains a lot of stories from his life to illustrate the points he makes.

One of my all time favorite stories from Elder Hales is after years of paying his dues, being a poor student, working his way up the company, and finally landing as CEO of Gillette, he buys his wife an extravagant fur coat. When he gives it to her she asks, "Did you buy this coat for me or for y
Apr 24, 2011 David rated it liked it
There's some gold in this book. It lays things out simply and clearly, with verses that stray from the scripture mastery, and the checkpoint questions at the end of each chapter are certainly worthy of asking and pondering over. However, in covering every phase of life, it may be difficult to find a reader who is the proper audience for the entire book. Each of the four sections could probably be th marketed as their own book. I found great insight from the second and third sections, found some ...more
Aug 22, 2010 Scott rated it liked it
I would classify this as a "practical guide." Elder Hales kept my interest throughout the book, and his insights were spot on. Not surprisingly, there is nothing new in this book -- but he clarifies several gospel principles from his own perspective. I was understandably drawn to the section related to marriage and family but saw how others might connect with other sections of the book. I also saw glimpses of my own life in his anecdotes and brief stories. I think I would place this next to "Fai ...more
Jason Caldwell
Oct 01, 2013 Jason Caldwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: gospel-study
I wasn't too sure I would like this book. It started off a little slow and I was tempted to call it quits. I am certainly glad I did not. It was a delightful book. I love the way it was laid out and the stories and doctrine he shares are very motivating and inspiring. I would recommend it to anyone. It is easy to Elder Hales (and the other leaders of the church) as just an old soft-spoken man who cannot relate to my life and trials. It was neat to learn a little bit about his life and the experi ...more
Jul 21, 2012 Dave rated it really liked it
Wonderful book, filled with personal stories and insight from a great man. As it progresses through the stages of life, I felt a little strange reading advice for the years I've already passed through, focused on my current stage (for which I felt like he had the least to say), and intrigued by his thoughts on the later years and particularly the end of mortal life. Great counsel for any age reader. I would say that it would be most valuable for those who are youngest but I wonder how many of th ...more
Sep 19, 2010 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church-books
This one took me a long time to get through- each chapter was a wealth of information that I wanted to ponder over before moving on to the next chapter. I bought this book as a gift, but once I started it, I never got around to giving it away! (this happens to me more often than I care to admit) I learned so much from this book. I got some great ideas for connecting with my kids and for strengthening my relationship with Jesus Christ. The book goes through the four phases of mortality, and will ...more
Aug 04, 2013 Kristin rated it it was amazing
Seldom have I felt tempted to reread a book but after looking through some old journal posts from 2011, I realized that “Return: Four Phases of our Mortal Journey Home” needed to be revisited. This is the only book of Elder Hales that I’ve read but I would highly recommend it to everyone because it encompasses every possible topic and speaks to men and women of all ages and in all circumstances. My copy is highlighted with notes all over it! If you haven’t read it…I would suggest you place this ...more
Brittany Leder
Feb 17, 2013 Brittany Leder rated it it was amazing
This book is the best book I have read in a long time! Not only because of the contents, but because of how I felt while i was reading. it was a very calm, and peaceful feeling. A lot of church doctrine topics that I didn't fully understand before suddenly made perfect sense. The writing was very natural, and the questions at the end of each chapter helped to encourage further contemplation and study. I will for sure be reading this book again in the future and will encourage my children to do s ...more
May 05, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Very, very good. I loved Elder Hales's stories and thought he related them very well to the principle he was presenting. I also really liked that he integrated scripture into the narrative (as you would expect), but oftentimes used scriptures I wouldn't have thought of or wasn't very familiar with. The book is generally about our mortal journey, so there's something for everyone. He also put a checklist at the end of each chapter to help you reflect on how well you are applying certain principle ...more
Oct 02, 2012 Sandra rated it it was amazing
This was actually my second time reading this book. I guess that says what I think about it already. He writes about all aspects and challenges of life and how we can stay on the right path throughout the different times in our life. I guess what I love most about his book is the way he makes everything seem so simple to understand. This is a great book no matter where you are in life. I imagine it is a good one to pick up at different times. Hmm...maybe that is why I have read it twice.
Sep 05, 2012 Catherine rated it it was amazing
I wish this book would've been out when I was still single. It talks about the phase in life when you're making decisions about schooling, marriage, missions, etc. It would be good for high schoolers to read before they get to these points in life. But the book also talks about other phases in life, some that I haven't even reached yet. I enjoyed reading about Elder Hales's life experiences and the lessons he has learned.
Oct 29, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it
Some parts were amazing, others I was reading but not soaking anything in. But overall I think everyone should have this book in their house for reference. It covers so many topics of life and he's got so much insight. I learned most from his personal growth stories, naturally. I wish there were more in it! It has made me want to read books by other Apostles. There is doctrine in there you just don't hear about week to week.
Apr 25, 2011 Keri-Lynn rated it it was amazing
The best endorsement I can give this book is that my 18 year old son actually looks forward to reading the parts we are going over together. He has loved the stories and examples and is listening to things he would likely ignore if I said them. Not only did I enjoy reading the book myself, but any time an 18 year old is also willing to sit down and listen to something that does not have guns, aliens or dangerous adventures it just has to be good.
Irene Perez
Feb 02, 2011 Irene Perez rated it it was amazing
My favorite book I've read. I laughed, I cried, and most important, my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ was strengthened. I'd recommend this to anyone and everyone. Also, I plan to buy my own copy and read again and again. I'm so thankful he wrote this book as I've learned more of him and gained more respect and appreciation for him and all leaders of Christs' church.
Jul 14, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Fantastic read. I love that it is broken up into decades, but you learn something from each decade even though you may not be there currently. I also love that it isn't just a compilation of talks. It really feels like you are having a discussion with him. There are great reflective questions at the end of each chapter that really gets you thinking. Great book.
Sep 24, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it
Elder Hales details the stages of life and the challenges and opportunities that we all face in each.

Why I started this book: Mom recommended it to me and lent me her copy.

Why I finished it: I really liked the questions at the end of each chapter and will need to spend more time pondering them.
Ryan Withrow
Dec 24, 2010 Ryan Withrow rated it it was amazing
An awesome book to help you understand the four phases of life, as relating to the Gospel. I feel like this book was a handbook to life in general. If you're looking for guidance, or maybe some help with a trial you may be facing, or if you just want to know how to increase your faith, this book is a must-read.
Stephanie Taylor
Jan 11, 2011 Stephanie Taylor rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book and guide to making decisions and living the life we were meant to live. I wish I would have been able to read it when I was younger and then read each phase as I moved through this journey. I wil read the sections again as a reminder of what is truly important to focus on in each stage of my life.
Oct 06, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing
This was an approachable book that would be a perfect wedding gift. I wish I had read this at the beginning of my marriage or as a youth, but it wasn't written then! :) It has practical advice and wisdom throughout and it caused me to have moments of reflection that I needed.
Jan 28, 2011 Becky rated it really liked it
Elder Hales divides our mortal journey into 4 phases. In each phase he reflects and gives advice. If you're looking for "the mysteries of the kingdom" this isn't the book, but he was spot on about everything and it really makes you think and evaluate your life. It was a really good book.
Aug 12, 2012 Ginger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
I really liked this book. And now I know that if I ever get married, I'm supposed to go straight from the wedding to the store to buy separate tubes of toothpaste to avoid contention on something that simple.
Mar 21, 2016 June rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the perspective from Elder Hales that backed up many of my own conclusions. I also appreciated the extra insights into life and relationships. Great read!!! It's one of those books you wish others would read so they would have greater understanding of events in their own lives.
Kim Dennis
Jan 23, 2016 Kim Dennis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: z-2016-religious
I really enjoyed this book from Elder Hales. There were some things in there that I read just when I needed them. He included several personal stories and I loved learning more about him. It was a great book.
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“One of my greatest concerns for the young women of the Church is that they will sell themselves short in dating and marriage by forgetting who they really are--daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. . . . Unfortunately, a young woman who lowers her standards far enough can always find temporary acceptance from immature and unworthy young men. . . .

At their best, daughters of God are loving, caring, understanding, and sympathetic. This does not mean they are also gullible, unrealistic, or easily manipulated. If a young man does not measure up to the standards a young woman has set, he may promise her that he will change if she will marry him first. Wise daughters of God will insist that young men who seek their hand in marriage change before the wedding, not after. (I am referring here to the kind of change that will be part of the lifelong growth of every disciple.) He may argue that she doesn't really believe in repentance and forgiveness. But one of the hallmarks of repentance is forsaking sin. Especially when the sin involves addictive behaviors or a pattern of transgression, wise daughters of God insist on seeing a sustained effort to forsake sin over a long period of time as true evidence of repentance. They do not marry someone because they believe they can change him. Young women, please do not settle for someone unworthy of your gospel standards.

On the other hand, young women should not refuse to settle down. There is no right age for young men or young women to marry, but there is a right attitude for them to have about marriage: "Thy will be done" . . . . The time to marry is when we are prepared to meet a suitable mate, not after we have done all the enjoyable things in life we hoped to do while we were single. . . .

When I hear some young men and young women set plans in stone which do not include marriage until after age twenty-five or thirty or until a graduate degree has been obtained, I recall Jacob's warning, "Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand" (Jacob 4:10). . . .

How we conduct ourselves in dating relationships is a good indication of how we will conduct ourselves in a marriage relationship. . . .

Individuals considering marriage would be wise to conduct their own prayerful due diligence--long before they set their hearts on marriage. There is nothing wrong with making a T-square diagram and on either side of the vertical line listing the relative strengths and weaknesses of a potential mate. I sometimes wonder whether doing more homework when it comes to this critical decision would spare some Church members needless heartache. I fear too many fall in love with each other or even with the idea of marriage before doing the background research necessary to make a good decision.

It is sad when a person who wants to be married never has the opportunity to marry. But it is much, much sadder to be married to the wrong person. If you do not believe me, talk with someone who has made that mistake. Think carefully about the person you are considering marrying, because marriage should last for time and for all eternity.”
“All men and women--including young men and young women--should wear clothing that covers the shoulder and avoid clothing that is low cut in the front or back or revealing in any other manner. Tight pants, tight shirts, excessively baggy clothing, wrinkled apparel, and unkempt hair are not appropriate. All should avoid extremes in clothing, hairstyle, and other aspects of appearance. We should always be neat and clean, avoiding sloppiness or inappropriate casualness.” 1 likes
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