Sunday, May 11, 2014


I seldom spend much time envying the youth of today, but on days like today when I wanted to find out a little about the history of Mother’s day, I turn a little green just thinking about what it would have been like to have had access to the internet when I had to do those research projects in high school and college.

In what seemed like nano seconds compared to the time I used to spend finding out about California becoming a state or the development of the bicycle I was able to glean the following interesting facts about honoring Mothers.

1. Most ancient civilizations including the Persians, Greeks and Romans had at least one God who was a Mother God whom they revered and venerated. The name of the Greek Mother Goddess was Rhea, and since I had a sister who bore this name, this information was a little bonus from cyber space.

2. As early as the 17th century, England had set apart a day to celebrate Mary the Mother of Christ.

3. This day was eventually expanded to include all mothers and the 4th Sunday of Lent was set apart as Mothering Day. Wealthy landowners were encouraged to give their servants the day off so they could return home to be with their mothers.

4. Mothering day eventually was blended with another day which had been designated, with the spread of Christianity, as the day to celebrate the Mother Church.

5. With the harshness of life which existed during the settling of the Americas, the honoring of mothers was largely forgotten by the founders of this nation until after the United States civil war, when Julia Ward Howe (she who wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic) started a movement for peace, appealing to womanhood to unite against war.

6. Julia Ward Howe’s movement had some international success and for about a ten year period during the latter part of the 19th century the 2nd Sunday in June was celebrated in some locations as Mother’s Day for Peace.

7. When her mother passed away in 1905 Anna Jarvis decided to dedicate her life to getting a day set apart to honor womanhood and mothers. After a spirited letter writing campaign, May 10, 1908 was set apart as the first official Mother’s Day in the United States of America.

8. By 1912 a day set apart for honoring Mothers had gone sporadically international.

9. In 1914, by presidential proclamation, the 2nd Sunday in May was set apart as the official day to honor mothers in the United States of America.

10. National Leaders started wearing white carnations on that Sunday as a sign of their support of the official Mother’s Day.
11. The customs of giving carnations to mothers on Mother’s Day lasted for almost a century, but as of late all flowers have joined in the celebration along with chocolate and eating out.

While in the speed of cyber space I was also able to find some quotes about mothers which touched a chord with me.

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. (Rajneesh)

Most of all the other beautiful things in life come in twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world. (Kate Douglas Wiggin)

A mother understands what a child does not say. (Jewish proverb)

Woman knows what a man has long forgotten, that the ultimate economic and spiritual unit of any civilization is still the family. (Clare Booth Luce)

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts. (Washington Irving)

When you were small and just a touch away, I covered you with blankets against the cold night air. But now that you are tall and out of reach, I fold my hands and cover you with prayer. (Dona Maddux Cooper)

Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. (Erich Fromm)

During my internet aided search of the history of Mother’s Day, where I probably dug deeper than I had for many of my high school English assignments, my heart didn't sorrow much about the disconnect which has happened between Easter and Mother’s day; nor did my spirit sink that Mother’s Day has been largely separated from any other kind of religious connotation. I won't even mourn over the fact that the carnation has been usurped by chocolate, but I do regret that the movement Julia Ward Howe started as a movement for peace and against war did not become the dominant theme in the celebration of Mother’s Day.

If William Ross Wallace was anywhere near correct when he stated “A mighty power and stronger Man from his throne was hurled, for the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world,” it would stand to reason that if peace is ever to become dominant in the world it will not come from the hands of warriors, but from the hearts of women.

Therefore, wouldn't it be marvelous, if unitedly the women of the world used this innate power to become the mighty army which publishes peace, whose feet Isaiah saw were beautiful upon the mountain?

That would indeed be reason to proclaim every day a day of veneration and honor to the women of the world. Until that long hoped for day comes to pass we will individually just have to honor and sustain the women around us who are lifting the ensign of peace, by returning their acts of kindness and love each passing hour of each passing day.


  1. Dear Brother Riley,

    Your prayers mean so much to us. You have a special way with heaven.

    We returned two days ago. It's good to be back in our comfort zone. Sean's pressure sores on his lower back opened up, though, probably from aggravation of travel. We will be at Wound Care Center at hospital at Mission. I wish I felt more comfort. Nothing has been as hard as this for me. Maybe I've been spoiled/protected/sheltered.

    Thank you for all you do and all you are. Indeed, I and many others are blessed to know you.

    Bonnie Lynn

  2. You would not be receiving this unless you have or are still contibuting to my knowledge file; you have enriched my life.

    Paul Hansen

  3. Muchas Gracias !!! Feliz dia para su esposa y fliares mujeres !!! En mi pais se celebra en octubre ,


    Mercedes Castillo

  4. Dear Bill and Kathy,

    Thank you for this Mother's Day Thoughts. Yes the "cyber space" has really helped w/research :).

    Thank you for your time and devotion to these Thoughts, I really enjoy them!

    With Love,

    Karen Perkins

  5. Haven't told you recently but I love my Sunday reading! Always inspirational!
    Happy Mother's Day to Kathleen!
    See you soon at the concert. Our patriotic concert is really thrilling!!

    Kathie Brooks

  6. Excellent message. Thanks so much!

    Danny Sommers

  7. Well done Dr. Bill.There was an interesting article in the news the other day relative to a placenta DNA swap that protects the mother from disease. That is miniscule compared with the love that flows the other way; impossible to measure. thanks again for your thoughts.

    Paul Hansen

  8. Dearest Bill,

    Thank you for the research you did in putting this e-mail together! You did an amazing job ~~ and I appreciate your efforts. This was so interesting to read ~~ such a great one to forward to others, so they can enjoy it, too.

    I'm so thankful to be on your mailing list! Have a beautiful weekend!


    Carla Johnson

  9. Bill,
    Following is my tribute to another side of women less apparent to the unperceptive male:

    I don't know, but I've been told
    That women are fiercely cunning when men are simply bold.

    WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
    He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
    But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
    For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
    Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
    Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
    Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
    To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

    Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
    To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
    Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
    Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

    But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
    Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
    And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
    The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

    from "The Female of the Species" by Rudyard Kipling

    But then again,
    Paul Maddux

  10. Thank you for this, Bill and Kathy
    So beautifully written and informative. It touches the heart and brings to mind the most treasured gift I ever received, my mother.

    with Love,


  11. Gracias y felicidades para Katy en su dia


  12. Hello Brother Riley:
    It's been a long time, but I am thankful to Sandie Johnson for forwarding your first Easter message. This is Gayle Randall. I was formerly Gayle Jordan from Lakepoint who attended Tooele High Seminary from 1969 to 1973. I love these messages, but I love even more the flood of memories that comes back to me when I think of our association together as student and teacher at the seminary. Back in November of 2011, my husband and I entered the MTC for our third mission, this one to Sierra Leone. On the row in front of us a couple introduced themselves as Elder and Sister Grover. I knew it had to be Ron or perhaps a brother ( I had not seen him for many years). When I asked him if he taught seminary at Tooele Seminary, Erica said, "Gayle, is that you?!" What a small world and what a fun experience to be in the MTC together. I would never have predicted that 40+ years ago! So glad to reconnect with men who made such an impact on my teenage testimony. Brings tears to my eyes to think of it!

  13. And may we always remember those women who surround us with great examples and their love for all others, then emulate them in our own lives.

    Jean Seavey