Sunday, February 2, 2014


Not so long ago Kathleen and I entered that phase of our lives where programs such as Jeopardy have become part of our evening’s television viewing. My mind is definitely not as quick as it once was and I would never be able to physically out buzz those quick, bright young contestants. Even so, I am amazed at the amount of information that seems to be stored in our gray matter just waiting for the proper stimulus to bring it into our consciousness again.

This is just one simple example of the continual amazement I have with the human ability to bring forth the seemingly endless amount of diversification of ideas they have stored in their minds.

A few nights ago, when I was not really thinking of anything, it seemed like out of nowhere a story from my youth about a wrinkled old man came rushing back to my consciousness. In my mind’s eye I envisioned the wonderful illustrated book which showed this funny bewhiskered old man who happened upon a rather unusual bowling game, and while enjoying the company of some equally unusual little people, he imbibed a strange brew. (I suspect imbibed is an embellishment of the development of my vocabulary and not part of the original story).

As my mind rushed forward I was reminded of the similarities between this story and its later counterpart of a young man who slept in space for five centuries before awakening to his strange new world. The only difference in the two stories seems to be that upon awakening, Rip Van Winkle found himself in a frightening, cruel world where he could find little or no acceptance, while Buck Rogers awakens into a beautiful modern world where he becomes a universal hero. (For those generations which came into mortality after the 1950’s and 1960’s, you might have to ask parents or grandparents to find out who Buck Rogers was – if they don't know, just think of him as a prequel to Star Trek and Star Wars).

Now my mind really went a wandering. What is it that causes us, in a world where we are continually aging, where there seems to be so little time to accomplish all that we desire, a world where we fight with all means available to cling to life, we seem to fritter away countless hours? It seems that one of life’s great dichotomies is, in this world where time is a premium, a great deal of our allotted time is exhausted in trying to find ways to escape from our realities and somehow waken into some bright and new tomorrow.

It almost becomes mind boggling how sophisticated we have become in our ability to subdue our realities through chemicals and electronics. We have simultaneously acquired an insatiable fetish to make our bedrooms and beds more grand (with adjoining sitting or exercise rooms – and we label them suites so that others will know of our wonderful uncommonness), which seem to be symbolic of our desire to no longer live in the present. When our minds aren't being numbed artificially we escape to our slumber palaces hoping to be transmitted to some dream world where our problems will dissolve and from which we will awaken and come forth renewed, reinvigorate and rejuvenated into a bright new tomorrow.

We think upon how our society has become fixated and exhaustively works to open up free time; time which often is then lost through our escaping from reality either through artificial numbing or walling ourselves up in our massive space capsules.

Our mind races to the question, ‘Why?’ ‘Why when life is so short and precious, do we spend so many hours trying to imitate Rip and Buck?’

The thought springs to mind, that surely by now, after all our experimentation, we must realize that upon awakening from self-induced or natural slumber there will be no new life welcoming us into thrilling new frontiers. The life we left before our nap will be there to greet us.

Now see what the Neurons bring to thought: “Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.” (Doctrine and Covenants 60:13)

And from the preacher: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest…For man also knoweth not his time; as the fishes that are taken in an evil net…so are the sons of men snared in an evil time when it falleth suddenly upon them.”(Ecclesiastes 9:10, 12)

And one last prescription for success in life: “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13)

One more thought in closing – maybe ere we sleep again it might be well to remind ourselves, life is for living and those who are most often awake and productive will be blessed with greater joy.



  1. 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

  2. Agree...totally...some would like to blame others for their short comings or choices in life :)

    Reneh Lehman

  3. Mil gracias, hermosa reflexión…una pregunta el nombre completo de Jesús era así ? Joshua Bar Joseph ?


    Rene Jimenez

  4. Bill,

    "because we have all decided to live after the Lord’s Plan of Happiness."??
    "because", a conjunction used universally to begin an excuse for some inaction or offense. Pretense at reason.
    "we have all", followers, disciples, of "Gautama, Mohammed, Moses, Lehi, Joseph Smith Jr. and all who have received revelation from God", each and every one of us have all decided. And thus there are wars and rumors of wars. Note, Joseph Smith had no longer discovered the "one true religion" until his followers too were at it with all the other christian sects, especially those vile followers of the pope, the most universally odious of them all at that time among protestants.
    "decide" Agency! That precious gift that we learned last week was to be so diligently protected. Do the mass of those followers, especially those apostles (the innermost core) really decide, or are they fortunate to have been born into the religions that they so fervently support? What about the 12? What about you? Were any of the original 12 born into Christianity? What was once a call from God is pretty much an organizational issue now. Yes, I know, because ....
    "to live after the Lord’s Plan" Didn't you mean to say, "after one of the Lord's plans"? What's with the reverence for all these prophets if one doesn't wish for people to live by the dictates of their prophesies? "because" one wishes, not above all, but above almost all, to remain open and accepting. Good, I agree!
    "of Happiness." Happy! Happy! Happy! My son is struggling to make a success of a business in fashion photography. One of his mentors does photography for advertisements of happy people having fun. The work is a grind and he's a great success. Nothing is particularly happy about his work except the end appearance. And that works. At risk of pushing this metaphor, I suspect that much of the happiness in this world is appearance, some conscious as with the photographer, much of it, more destructively to our selves, below our consciousness. We wish to believe ourselves happy; so we are.
    When happiness is a goal it is unachievable. Happiness is a collateral result of more noble goals, whether achieved or not. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God." That seeking, situationally dependent, may take many paths; each path, as you have pointed out, is unique. When "God's will, i.e., to love as He loved us, is sought "with all [one's] heart, (a universal), "Happiness" is inevitable.

    Having so little to offer
    I offer so much;
    Yet wishing to remain,

    Your friend,

    Paul Maddox

  5. Bill,

    This was excellent! Thank you so much for your thoughts which inspire, uplift and edify!

    Best wishes,

    Ed Torriente

  6. Wow, Brother Riley...SOME thoughts for a Sabbath Day. I thank you. So insightful and inspiring and thought-provoking. I thank you. This I will keep for further reading.

    Sherri Bewsey

  7. Thank you for sharing with me your "Thoughts"! I appreciate your comments throughout, but I especially enjoyed your closing statement: "Likewise, if division is to die ........." ~~ sums it all up! ~~ Beautifully done, dear Friend!

    Carla Johnson

  8. Hermoso!!! Me encanto su pensamiento para este día de reposo!!!

    Muchas GraciasSonrisaPulgar hacia arribaÁngel

    Mercedes Castillo

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts from Maxwell's writings, interesting...

    Jenny Henao

  10. You are always an inspiration! Thanks so much! What are your thoughts on Elder Holland? He is the one who amazes me continually with his words, along with Elder Nelson.

    Love to you & Kathy,

    Jill & Tim Dyches

  11. Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Few bits of news to share with you: first, George and I have FINALLY become grandparents 😊 I will exercise restraint and only send you two photos. We have discovered the fullness of knowing joy in our posterity by watching our big football player son so tenderly minister to his wife and newborn son. This is just the ultimate FUN! Secondly, I just returned from a three day visit to Dixie Oveson in Provo. She asked me to send her greetings to you. We were privileged to see the magnificent "Sacred Gifts" art exhibit and highly recommend putting it on your list of "must do" before it's gone in April. It is such a profoundly moving experience to see those treasured original paintings depicting the savior by Bloch, Hofmann, and Schwartz. Also sat in on a class being taught by Richard Holzapfel on Paul's ministry. We were so richly fed! Last, I've been taking institute classes from our dear friend Roy Christensen at the NPB Stake center reminding me of all the wonderful classes we took from you and wanted to take time to thank you again for helping me develop my strong testimony of the truthfulness of the church and our Savior's love. What days/shift do you work at the temple. Perhaps I'll see you there, Brother Riley. Take care and with fondest thoughts,

    Nancy Sutherland

  12. I have a book shelf that accepts donations! HA! Just how many
    duplicate books do you have. I think Elder Maxwell would want you to
    SHARE! HA!

    What book would you suggest on PRAYER? It was so good seeing you on
    Thursday. You will always have such a special place in my heart!


    Marcia Recendez

  13. Yes, Elder Maxwell was (and is) a great source of knowledge. It always amazes me how perfectly he uses the English language to express principles of the gospel. You defined the three p's perfectly, reminding me to once again reread his books.


    Jean Seavey

  14. thanks...again. just what I needed to hear.


    Patricia Profitt

  15. Hi Rileys.

    Thanks for another week of THOUGHTS. I'm printing this one out to hang above my desk. Very good!! Very sobering.

    Sharon Cocanour

  16. Your words to me are as those of Nathan to David: "Thou art the man!" I stand guilty as accused, without defense and with nowhere to hide.

    There is another insidious side to the manana problem which afflicts millions. Let's call it "The River Jordan Syndrome".
    "Roll Jordon Roll"
    "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"

    There is a time and season during which one's faith that, despite one's current unbearable condition something better awaits them, is beneficial. Such a belief may, I don't know but I've been told :), give them not only the strength to survive but to be a blessing to others even as they and others suffer. Even though I haven't had that experience, when it comes I hope to have a faith such as that.
    There is a time and a season after which hanging onto that loadstar, any such loadstar other than faith and love of God Himself, becomes a misdirecting rather than a guiding light; providing false comfort rather than supporting a path to fulfillment. That which provides strength, such as a crutch or cane, become a hinderance promoting weakness. So it is that the mighty River Jordan may guilefully be transformed into "The River Jordon Syndrome."

    Or so it seems to me,

    Paul Maddox

  17. Great reminder of how we spend our precious time..

    Kathleen Eastwood




    Miguel Ale

  19. But we get sooooo tired!!! And it takes us so much longer to get things accomplished than it used to! Jeopardy has become a family favorite. Youngest son's family has a family tradition that has lasted years. We are just beginners and watch it about once a week, when the schedule allows.

    Jean Seavey

  20. Great insights and questions to ponder.


    Larry Profitt

  21. Presidente Riley,
    como siempre un excelente mensaje. Muchas gracias.

    Tengo una pregunta:
    tengo entendido que el 66 es tanto un cuantificador literal en las escrituras como un número simbólico. En su mensaje, usted nos dice que es requerido un 66% de personas preparadas para la Segunda Venida. ¿que fuente puedo tomar como referencia para compartir este mensaje?

    De antemano muchas gracias,

    Juan Carlos Borja

  22. Excelente pensamiento. Me encantó mucho. Muchísimas gracias por compartirlo conmigo. Es importante darse cuenta que no hay que desperdiciar el tiempo, que es muy valioso. Y vivir el tiempo de tal manera que le agrade al Señor.


    Un abrazo desde Colombia, Barranquilla.

    Laura Burgos Restrepo

  23. And yours!!! I love the "quicken your shuffle" quote!

    Jean Seavey