Sunday, September 2, 2012


In light of all the superficial interest Mitt Romney’s run for president of the United States has brought about Mormons (not an officially recognized name for the Church or its adherents), I thought it would be worthwhile to reintroduce a thought I wrote many years ago while preparing for a weekly radio show called Sabbath Day Reflections. There are a few of you who have already recognized that periodically I revisit these mini radio sermons as a basis for my Thoughts for a Sabbath Day. So if you have the time and the self-published little books, I challenge you to find this one.

Anyway, some years ago I read a publication on the early life of Joseph Smith by Ernest Taves. He titled his book Trouble Enough: Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon with a subtitle of “An expose of a charismatic liar.” Taves, a psychiatrist and also a contributor to Playboy and Galaxy, came to the conclusion that Mormonism, (which I think, in this case, is a substitute word for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ) like other Christian religions, ought to modernize its doctrines and renounce the antiquated teachings of its pioneer fathers. With deep sincerity he invites Latter-day Saints “to join the rest of the world.” I guess I should be flattered that he is willing to include Latter-day Saints as part of Christianity, but becoming what he envisioned the rest of the world should be, was far from what my understanding of what defined a person as a Christian.

As I pondered his modernization of Christianity I found that in order to comply with his request the following changes would be required in my life
1. I would need to relinquish the comfort and security which comes from the knowledge of a personal Heavenly Father, believing instead in an impersonal absentee creator or some other theory which might arise about our existence.

2. I would need to move from the belief in individual accountability where everyone is responsible through their use of agency, becoming an excuse-tion-ist joining the crowd which makes up the blaming, non-guilt, non-responsible modern world.

3. Abandoning my belief in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the universal resurrection, becoming cynical about what awaits me beyond the portals of death and live with gusto as I only go around once.

4. I would need to put aside the counsel and commandments of an Omniscience Savior which defined the life which would maximize happiness in mortality and bring eternal joy, believing instead that everyone has sufficient intellect to determine the boundaries and laws of their existence without antiquated restraints.

5. I would need to repent of the understanding that before coming to mortality I rejoiced with all of Heavenly Father’s children about the possibilities awaiting me on this beautiful planet and the eventual eternalness of my existence must be wiped away and replaced with the dismal belief in the temporariness of our three score and ten years troding along earth’s muddy paths.

6. I would need to deny the existence of living prophets who are inspired by an Eternal Lord to aid the children of the earth though revelation which continually keeps them congruent with a changing world, helping them make correct and joy-producing decisions. Instead I should be content to wander through the constant decision-making processes of life using the help of less enlightened men making educated guesses.

7. I would need to put aside the organization which teaches, inspires, entertains and strengthens my posterity so that their choice to turn to using drugs, embracing immorality, unabated rebellion and ever seeking excitement might be freely lived without any mediating influences
8. I must replace the teachings of the scriptures from which I find hope for the brotherhood of man and an admonition to become my brother’s keeper and enter the concrete jungle where all are fair prey in my quest to survive and succeed.

9. Of necessity I would need to develop a political philosophy that politics are to be used for individual aggrandizement and corporate advancement and abandon my beliefs that patriotism, honor, love of freedom and peace are a preferable alternative and that governments exist to insure these privileges for all.

10. The rights to an eternal marriage which was solemnized in the Temple of the Lord must be forgotten along with the promises which bind and solidify my spouse and our posterity. In its place I could need a pre-marital divorce contract, which would ensure that my unfaithful spouse would not rip off my temporal belongings when, not if, we divorced.

I am sure that my list could extend and become more numerous if I were to continue to ponder upon what I might have to give up if I were to join the rest of the Mr. Taves’ world, but I do have my limit of 10 to contend with and my conclusions would remain. I must with clear conscience decline Mr. Taves’ invitation to join his world and with joyfulness of heart continue in my devotion to the time-proven doctrines and teachings of my pioneer fathers.

Just a personal observation: Being a devout people watcher I want to declare that over the years, since I first read Earnest Taves book, I have witnessed that most of the people I have come into contact with have rejected his modernization invitation and generally unashamedly tread the paths their forefathers trod.


  1. Muchas gracias presidente Riley...

    Roberto Guzman

  2. hola hno william gracias por responder el mensaje. el domingo pasado estuve en el barrio cartago y asistio un joven llamado erick que es norteamericano y lo salude me dijo que se habia casado con una colombiana hace quince dias y que viajaria a california en dos semanas porque estaria en colombia estos dias. bueno la idea es que lo anime a seguir adelante en la iglesia su esposa no es miembro y me gustaria saber de su progreso si puedes hacer algo por este hombre le agradeceria. el es alto de ojos azules y como de 35 años aproximadamente.

    gilberto antonio valencia Quiceno

  3. What else can one do when another's notes are either reminders of lessons learned, or really thought provoking? (Or just funny) Thanks to you and Kathleen.. and Yah, you did tell me, but you don't need to..

    Jean Seavey

  4. It is one thing to hold steadfastly to the foundation or cornerstone of one's belief system. But when one finds oneself unable to give serious consideration to any alternative to any of the myriad of teachings that he has adopted, yet pretends to himself to "ponder" those alternatives, his open mindedness is pretense.
    As a man is in his heart, so is he. So it is not that such a man is a hypocrite in the ordinary sense. His deceit is first to himself. Once his own heart has been corupted, hardened, what flows out, be it love or any other emotion which comes from that heart flows from a heart which has willed self-deceit. The deceiving of others is merely a sharing of himself. Being is the result of becoming.

    Live to give!

    Paul Maddox

  5. We have so much to be grateful for. Thanks so much for your thoughts today. Miss you

    Carolyn Hildt

  6. Excelente, me gustò muchisimo.

    Miguel Angel Garcia Lòpez

  7. Que bueno esa reflexion.Siento que en el diario vivir y en el trato con los demas es donde se ponen a prueba nuestro verdadero fervor a Dios.........Cosa que es unreto.....pero todo esta en que clase de corazon tenemos..gracias por sus reflexiones........un abrazo

    Clara Torres Gonzalez


  8. Muchas gracias por este correo, que el Senor le bendiga.


  9. Simplemente... una vez mas... ¡que buena inspiración! y cuán reflexivas y palabras justas, para entender por donde pasa la mejora del mundo. Será por esto que siento un mundo que es posible mejorar y transitar, siendo una influencia poderosa, pues como hizo el gran predicador : "... anduvo haciendo bienes."


    Julio Medina

  10. Buenas noches hermano Bill Riley..

    Tengo la colección de sus mensajes pero creo que no tantos como para tener este en mi colección, los tengo desde el 10 de julio del 2011 cuando me puse en contacto con usted y comencé a recibir sus valorados pensamientos.. los cuales han sido de gran ayuda, inspiración, consuelo, apoyo, animo y muchos apelativos mas que quisiera escribir, pero en estos momentos bastame decir que son muy especiales.. las historias, anécdotas y demás que usted ha compartido tienen un gran significado cuando los leemos detenidamente y los analizamos y podemos poner en práctica algo de ellos.. una vez mas mil gracias por esa labor tan bonita y por tenerme incluida en su lista de contactos para compartir sus pensamientos para un día de reposo...

    Que pase una feliz noche y un resto de semana muy buena...

    Con aprecio

    Claudia González

  11. Gracias hno Riley!
    No he leído el libro de este hombre Ernest Taves pero he leído su pensamiento y estoy muy de acuerdo con usted.


    Osiris Navarro

  12. Good Evening Bill,

    I have a thought that I would like to ask you. It is a small question but one that has been with me since my youth. It involves Judas Iscariot and whether he is a betrayer or did he do the job he was asked to do out of love.

    I would be interested in your thoughts (by the way, this would have made a great topic in seminary)

    Thanks - Maureen Sidley

  13. presidente gracias por sus pensamientos me han ayudado muchos es una mano amiga que no se olvida de mi así lo siento, le cuento que me estoy esforzando al máximo por cumplir con el día de reposo y enseñándole a mi niña y así lo esta entendiendo, ruego que encuentre la salud que necesita.

    julio escandon julio

  14. Bill, I enjoyed your "Not Worth The Change" article very much. I love to read, however some authors just make me angry, so I try to avoid them as best I can. Ernest Taves is one of them .Anyone that writes such nonsense makes my head ache. I was so pleased to see your comments or rather thoughts that so clearly explain the true meaning of his words. Sometimes people read or are told something and accept it as gospel and never seem to challenge what they have just been fed. I am so thankful that you choose to share your knowledge with me. Many times you have hit on an item that has sometimes baffled me, but thanks to your knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, you so clearly explain with examples through your writings that suddenly it is very obvious to me what I had either misunderstood or simply mentally set aside for another time.
    You are a very special man, and I have always known that about you and I thank you for including me on your "list" of your Thoughts For A Sabbath Day. Keep sharing Bill, the world needs you.

    Hugs and Smiles, Erma Neff Ward