Sunday, October 6, 2013


Meet William L. Riley

We'd like to introduce William L. Riley, a new guest author on our blog. William Riley is a wonderful writer and a true inspiration to all those who are fortunate to hear his words. In an effort to get to know him a little better, we've asked him to tell us about his personal life, career, what inspires him to write, and more. The following are his words.

I was born in Pocatello Idaho on the 28th day of March 1939. My wife Kathleen and I were married in the Los Angeles Temple on the 6th day of July 1962. We are the parents of six sons and a daughter and the grandparents of 16 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

My formal education includes graduating from Garden Grove Union High School in 1957 and gaining degrees of Bachelor, Master and Doctorate from Brigham Young University. I have enjoyed a life time of personal study in a broad area of interest with an emphasis on the scriptures and ancient history.

Other than being a paper deliverer, Journeyman Lather and a salesman for Pillsbury during my youth, I have spent my entire professional life teaching in the Seminaries and Institutes of the Church Education System. I started teaching for CES in 1961 and other than the time Kathleen and I spent in Bogota, Colombia my teaching career with CES was uninterrupted for the next 45years. My assignments included teaching Early Morning classes in Westminster, Buena Park, Garden Grove, California and Reno, Nevada. My full time Seminary assignments were in Kearns and Tooele, Utah. MY assignments in the Institute were in Reno, Nevada and in Mission Viejo, California where he retired in 2006. After retiring I taught an adult education class in the Mission Viejo Stake Center for the next 5 years as a volunteer.

I have had the opportunity and privilege to serve in many callings in the Church which include, missionary in the Northern Mexican Mission, Stake Mission President, High Councilor and Bishop in the Reno North Nevada Stake. High Councilor and Stake President of the Reno Nevada Stake and Mission President in Colombia Bogota North Mission. While serving in other capacities I was also a regional advisor to the Young Single Adults in the Reno Nevada and South Orange County regions. I am currently serving as a Sealer in the Newport Beach Temple.

When I returned from my mission in Mexico my Stake President James Hobbs counseled me that every week of my life, whenever I didn't have a lesson to prepare, I should write a talk. He told me whether I would ever give that talk or not was not important, but that I should write it. During most my life there were not many weeks when I wasn't either teaching or speaking in church or at firesides, so the assignment was fairly easy to complete. When I was asked to give the spoken word for the radio show Sabbath Day Reflections which Carl Chamberlain produced in Reno, Nevada I was able to write a short talk most weeks of the year while also teaching several classes each day.

When I retired several things happened to aid me in being faithful to the challenge President Hobbs had given me 50 years earlier. First I joined Face Book and rapidly was reconnected with many of the wonderful missionaries we had served with in Colombia and with many former students. I also was joined on Face Book with most all of my children and several of my grandchildren. I thought writing these weekly talks would give me something to say to the wonderful people I had reconnected with, a way of keeping the creative part of my brain alive and it would enable me to be able to share with those I love some of the things I believe and hold precious. Since I was writing to my weekly talk, which I now was calling Thoughts for a Sabbath Day and which were being translated into the Spanish version called Pensamientos Para un Dia de Reposo, I decided to start emailing these thoughts each week to all my friends on Face Book and to others who avoid social media. This little project has now grown to where my weekly personal emails number over 3000 and are posted on my Face Book blog pages as well as my personal blogs. It is fun to see that the potential weekly readers of my Thoughts which came as a result of following the counsel of President Hobbs now has spread to many parts of the world including such places as India, Russia and Indonesia.

I was blessed with a questioning spirit unlike my wife who was blessed with a believing spirit. I have come to believe that either spirit can be a great aid as long as we are moved on a continual quest to come to understand truth. Those things which I know to be true include the understanding and knowledge that: we are offspring of Heavenly Parents, that Jesus the Christ is the Savior or the world, Joseph Smith is the prophet of the restoration, we are led by living apostles and prophets today and The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price contain the Plan of Happiness, Salvation and Exaltation. The truth I know most firmly is that what we know is far less than what we can eventually know if we continue faithful in the pursuit of coming to know the Characteristics, Attributes and Perfections of God.

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