Sunday, January 12, 2014


Robert Frost in his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ leads us to the conclusion that by choosing the road less traveled it will make all the difference in our lives. Although I think I understand him well, after seven decades and more of observing the scant representation of humanity that I have been blessed to be surrounded by, the paths we walk in life are as unique and individualistic as finger prints, snowflakes and as we are discovering, the stars in the heavens.

I have no record of how often someone has said to me ‘that’s exactly what I think’ or ‘that’s exactly how I think’ or ‘that’s exactly how I do that’ or ‘that’s exactly how I am’ or ‘ that’s exactly what I believe? I have often thought but never previously expressed, NO YOU DO NOT or NO YOU ARE NOT.

Looking upon the outward appearance we seem to have so very much in common, but as Samuel was instructed when he sought for a righteous king to replace Saul, ‘man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart.’ Indeed, we commonly share many physical features which with hurried glances seem to bear a strong resemblance, but on closer examination are universally unique in every way. If we could do a similar examination upon everyman’s heart, mind and soul, my suspicion is that we would be as overwhelmed as we were when the Hubble telescope opened to our vista the individual print of the stars which seem so similar when viewed with our myopic eyes.

As the choices we make hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly divergently accumulate throughout our lives we become increasingly who we and we alone are
Think of the myriad of interpretations a microscopic examination of the simple responses of some of life’s less meaningful questions, with only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, would reveal about each of us.

Do you exercise?
Do you have a healthy diet?
Is being blond really more fun?
Is living in a small town better than a big city?

If by some Human Hubble introspection we were able to examine the true meaning behind the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ of each of 10,000 responders I am quite certain we would at the end of the examination find 10,000 human prints as individual as their eye prints.

What then would we expect to find hidden behind the simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if the questions were of weightier matters?

Do you believe in God?
Are you a person of integrity?
Are you virtuous?
Are you honest?

I think the scale of differentiation by what responders meant by their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses would be astronomically astonishing.

I have no doubt that if it were possible to examine all of historical mankind, really understanding each individual’s meaning behind their ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response, we would with this test alone know definitively that none of us are alike nor do we think alike.

In the third chapter of the beautiful little book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price, Abraham receives the understanding of differences which exist in all of God’s creations. Whether speaking of stars in the heaven, sands of the sea or spirits of men, the Lord tells Abraham that none of His creations are the same.

Lest we hasten to use that old ruse of an excuse, ‘ah ha, I am this way because God made me this way.’ We must remind ourselves that Eternal wars have been fought over the Eternal principle of Agency which was to be given to Heavenly Father’s children so that they and they alone would be able to choose what and who they would become

If you were to examine my personal belief on this matter I would have to confess that I believe that this developmental choice making, which would result in me becoming uniquely me, started long before my mortal frame was started and will continue long after the dirt rains down upon my coffin.

I believe that during our supposedly 16 hours each day when we are generally awake and conscious there is no moment when we are not in the choice developmental process. I was about to write 24 hours each day, but then I realized I know very little about the subconscious Id and Ego stuff that happens during those appointed 8 hours of sleep nor whether or not they contribute to what we are becoming.

I believe that the gift of agency is so eternally important that everyone should be deeply concerned when they chose to relinquish the use of this gift to some mind altering substance. I wonder what the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ differentiation score would on that question?
I also believe that in this infinite process of self-becoming that there are no idle choices which have no impact upon the ultimate me.



  1. One of the nicest things about the "Thoughts" writing that you share is never having to prepare a talk again.

    Steven Paul Nord

  2. "Agency"...our greatest gift, or worst curse!
    "All" depends on how we use it...priceless!

    Patricia Walters

  3. Refreshing read, Pres. Thanks for the Thoughts.

    Michael Christensen

  4. Kathy and Bill,
    Thanks for your message and for your beautiful card. I was going to send you a note anyway to let you know that for the first time ever I didn't get all of my Christmas cards sent.
    I haven't been playing golf either but Bill, I'm so happy for you, getting back into the game and shooting in the 70s. Maybe I'll be able to shoot my age when I get into the 90s.
    I spent the Christmas holidays with my sister, Emelene, her husband and his large, loving family in Arkansas. It was a wonderful time.
    Yes, I was involved, a little, with the WASP float. I got to see it up close and personal before the parade on New Year's Eve at the big warehouse where it, and 12 other floats, was built. The fellow, who was instrumental in getting the money raised and the float built, knows my WASP sister Doris, and he called to invite me to come to see it before it was on public display after the parade. It was so exciting meeting the 8 WASP, I know two of them, almost all in their 90s, who rode on the float, and all the other WASP and their families who were also there. To think those 8 could ride the length of the parade, coupled with all their other accomplishments during WWII, made it a very special time for me. They were applauded all along the route and their float won an award. Too bad it was the last one so the TV coverage left a lot to be desired but since then, there has been a lot of press coverage and the WASP are basking in the well deserved recognition. I've talked with Doris and the Laguna Woods WASP that I know and all are still excited about pulling this off.
    I knew the current Sparks owners had pulled out leaving the future of the franchise in question. I didn't know til your message that the WNBA has rescued them. Thank you for that great news. Sure would have been a shame for Los Angeles to lose such a good team. The Sparks are one of the only teams still standing, that were there when the WNBA started.
    I don't know where the time goes, but I seem to be busier than ever. I went to the "Elder Law" Christmas party. It was really nice of them to invite me and I loved seeing the all the group from the "other side."
    I think of, and miss you, so often. We sure had a good time together. Please stay in touch and I'll do the same.


    Sallie Russell

  5. Dearest Bill!

    I believe I sent you an e-mail last year (anyway, I sure thought I did!) informing you of my accident that broke my back last October 17. Sitting for any length of time at the computer just about kills me and so after the accident, I tried to send a note to all on my e-mail list informing them of my plight and to not wonder why I can't answer e-mails they send to me. I'm finally feeling well enough to sit a little longer at the computer and I chose to write to you tonight to let you know how much I've appreciated your sending your "Thoughts" to me even though I haven't responded to them in so long.

    I always look forward to reading what you have to say ~~ you write so well!!! So, thank you for your patience with me and please keep your "Thoughts" coming my way, okay?



  6. Que tal presidente como le va

    Eric Merida

  7. Bro Riley,
    I got both my knee replaced on Monday, the 6th! As you can imagine, I'm pretty miserable right now, but will feel better soon
    I hope this comes to you only and not everybody.


    Emily Pugmire

  8. Aveces no nos damos cuenta cuan diferentes somos y cuan grandes podemos llegar a ser...

    Muchas gracias

    eulises lotero torres

  9. Bill, as you must know by now, that's exactly what I think.
    I look forward to sharing a couple or so more of my thoughts along those EXACT lines later.
    Thank the (l)ord to have found such a comparable sojourner,


    Paul Maddox

  10. Bill, Thanks again for your insightful, inspiring, intuitive mind....

    Tom Borgquist

  11. You never cease to amaze me. For a devotee of Mad Magazine you have come a long way. For a psuedo scientist requiring only 8 hours of sleep; you are truly amazing. I miss your classes and look forward to your thoughts. The uniqueness of the particles of creation is just another testament of His infinite greatness.

    Paul Hansen

  12. I think that is one of the choices (accepting and living worthy of the affects of the atonement) which makes you the wonderful person you are!!

    Wendy Cecil

  13. Bill,

    "Are you a person of integrity?" is the elemental question by which the others may be considered:
    "Are you virtuous?"
    "Do you believe in God?"
    "Are you honest?" I'm not clear on your distinction between honesty and integrity, so I'll use honesty as external and integrity as internal.

    But getting past that beginning, "do I have integrity", is problematic. It is almost a universal truth that we each perceive our integrity, at whatever level we see it, to be greater than it is. If we see others through a glass darkly, we see our reflections by peering through that darkened glass and then seeing our reflections back through that same darkened glass yet again, by now almost opaquely. Even so, we fancy in our hearts that we understand ourselves best of all.
    Then again Bill, no one has or lacks integrity. We each have more or less integrity. So as much as we would see our world as black and white, and each other as true or false, we are each a little or a lot of both. No man after all, save One, is without sin. Yet we hurry to draw battle lines and build for ourselves barricades behind which we huddle to protect ourselves from enemies of our creation. And we tell one another, convincing ourselves, that we are made safe from those devoid of integrity, honesty or godly (based on our doctrine) beliefs.

    I remain,

    Vain-fully self-aware,

    Your apostle,

    Paul Maddox


  14. I needed to be reminded of that today.


    Patricia Proffit

  15. Buenos Dias...muy buen mensaje..........eso pienso yo..........hay personas que ya nacen para hacer el bien o el mal.......los buenos o malos sentimientos ya nacen con uno.........porque lo veo en mi vida diario, hay gente que esta mas predispuesta hacer el mal y otros nos aterra hacer lo mismo...........

    Que pasen buena semana

    clarita torres gonzales

  16. Thank you Brother Riley. No one can articulate so well what many so of us are feeling. I wish we could publish this in every paper across our so very weakened nation.

    Nancy Sutherland