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While I was preparing my recent story about NFL Draft prospect Jaren Hall’s mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he told me that a lot of his leadership traits developed in the home where he was raised.

One of my follow-up questions was whether his father, former BYU football running back Kalin Hall, had some regular phrases to drive home lessons he wanted to impart to his son?

He sure did.

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“All of them stick with me to this day,” Jaren Hall said. “I still say them to other people in conversations. I remind myself by keeping them running through my mind. They’re very helpful. My dad is a great speaker, has been in business for a lot of years, he taught, coached, and so he’s very good with his words, and he finds ways to say things that stick with you.”

Here are some of the phrases Jaren said his father repeated often.

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall (3) comes off the field after the Cougars’ loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Las Vegas.
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) comes off the field after the Cougars’ loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

‘Holy habits, righteous routines’

Kalin Hall learned this phrase from a friend named Mark Larson while they served together in a bishopric.

Jaren Hall said he heard it from his father all the time.

“Man, that’s such a good phrase,” Kalin Hall said. “If you’re doing things daily that are based around Christ, at least if you’re trying to, then the routines that you follow up with are gonna be good routines, right? They’re gonna be good things.”

Building habits around gospel principles leads to good routines will follow, he said.

“It doesn’t happen any other way than that.”

Dating advice

Kalin Hall grew up with a single mother in some trying circumstances in Dayton, Ohio, and Las Vegas. After becoming a football star at a Nevada high school, he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while playing for what now is Utah Tech in St. George.

That led to a scholarship offer to BYU, where he met and married Hollie Hall.

The Hall men agree she is their greatest asset, and Kalin reminded Jaren and his brothers of that fact constantly.

“When we got a little older,” Jaren said, “and we’d talk about finding girls, he’d always say, ‘Your wife should be so lost in the Lord that you have to go through the Lord to find her.’

“That was his biggest thing, because my mother was an absolute angel, and my dad was not an angel, going through some of his stuff. He always references how amazing my mother was. If it weren’t for joining the church and finding Christ in his life, he would have never, never imagined finding a girl as amazing as my mother.”

Jaren Hall married former Utah Valley University soccer player Breanna McCarter Hall in the Mount Timpanogos Temple in December 2019. He has said regularly that she has had a powerful influence on him.

Together, they have started their own family with a 1-year-old daughter, Jayda.

‘Plug in the Lord before you plug in your phone’

Kalin and Hollie Hall didn’t give their children smartphones until after they reached high school. Then they taught them how to use them.

“Plug in the Lord before you plug in your phone,” Kalin Hall said.

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“That was a big one, as technology start to get bigger in high school,” Jaren Hall said. “He’d always say that when you wake up, the first thing you should do is say your prayers and have that in mind before checking your texts or checking your Twitter or whatever it was at the time.

“That’s another cool saying I keep with me.”

‘Keep the Lord in the middle of your life’

Kalin Hall constantly taught his sons to put Jesus Christ in the center of their lives, saying that if they did, everything would work out.

“As a missionary, obviously, the Lord is right in the middle, and every crazy day works out,” Jaren Hall said. “You find the silver lining in everything you do.”

He’s tried to do the same since returning from his mission, through his BYU football career, marriage and now preparation to play in the NFL.

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“In my marriage with my wife, every day is gonna be different,” he said. “We might have our fights or our arguments, but if our covenants are at the forefront of our minds, if the Savior is important to us, and we remember we’re sealed for eternity, we remember the temple and what that meant that day, the Savior is at the center of all of that. If we can keep those things on our minds, there’s no argument that could ever push the Spirit away forever from our house. It’s very easy to get it back. Usually it’s me and I gotta say, ‘Sorry,’ you know?That’s one way to get the Spirit back.

“For all husbands, tell your wife, ‘Sorry.’ You say, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ When the Savior’s kept at the center of everything you do, everything works out.”

Note: There was no newsletter last week because I was off. I hope your holidays were happy and your New Year is bright. I’m grateful to be back with you and look forward to an eventful 2023.

About the church

President Russell M. Nelson offered 3 deep sea fishing lessons to help improve lives in 2023.

Watch the music video for the 2023 youth theme song “I Can Do All Things Through Christ” here.

The church helped build and rebuild nine schools in Uganda.

Gladys Knight acknowledged her Latter-day Saint faith as she received Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievement in an event broadcast on Dec. 28. Here’s a piece about her sweet relationship with Garth Brooks.

What I’m reading

The Deseret News reprinted a chapter from the book “The System,” because it details the influence LaVell Edwards had on Mike Leach. It’s an outstanding read that starts with how he met his wife at BYU. Highly recommend.

What’s the religious makeup of the new U.S. Congress?

When Pele ruled soccer in the U.S.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” was a staple in my home growing up. I didn’t know that it was a flop when it first reached theaters. Or that it became a hit because of a copyright mistake that put it in the public domain and led to its repeated use on television. (Paywall)

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Here’s a fun story. Two of the youngest stars in the NBA are the sons of former WNBA players.

Behind the scenes

This photo first appeared in the Deseret News in five years ago this month as part of my feature story on President Nelson when he became the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His New Year’s message reminded me of this image.

President Russell M. Nelson salmon fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska, in July 2016.
President Russell M. Nelson salmon fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska, in July 2016. | Courtesy Nelson family

We’ve had quite a lot of snow in Utah lately. Wednesday was sunny and clear and relatively warm, but the snow remained and was perfect for snowmen and snowballs and walking our dog, Joey.

Maybe some of you can share some photos or videos with me from much warmer places. Happy New Year!

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