Thursday, June 22, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

It seems a bit different than I learned as a youth – but I do believe – you to be rubber and I to be glue – all that I say bounces off you and sticks to me!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

One of the witnesses of the foresight of the Lord – is that as the challenges sent forth by the advisory seem to magnify – the strength of the spirit children of Heavenly Father – being sent in these latter days – are living testimonies of their abilities to overcome those challenges!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

It has been humbling and amazing – to witness the growth of the restored kingdom – during my short span of mortality – however – I often wonder if I have kept pace with my own personal growth!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

The tree of life – representing the love of God – should be viewed more as a place to renew our energy – on the pathway to Eternal Life – rather than the ultimate goal!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

LEARNING – DOING – BECOMING

How did we get from a lying on your back on the grass at night gazing at the stars generation to this present day instant gratification, constantly connected generation? I have even thought a time or two that such words as contemplating and pondering may soon become superfluous or at the very least their meanings will be lost.

SLOW DANCE

Credited to David L. Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round or listened to the rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.


Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask ‘how are you?’ Do you hear a reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.

Have you ever told your child ‘we’ll do it tomorrow?’ And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch? Let a friendship die, ‘cause you never had time to call and say ‘hi?’

You better slow down. Don't dance so fast. Time is short. The music won't last.


When you run so fast to get somewhere you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift…thrown away

Life is not a race, do take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.


As one who has had a life time avocation as a people watcher, I have observed that even in matters which involve the eternities we want to have it all done right now. We want ALL the answers – We want the WHOLE story now – We want to ACHIEVE perfection yesterday.

Even with all his accomplishments, Brigham Young, the Mormon Moses, built stoops and verandas on his homes. He once said it would not surprise him if after death it would take him millions upon millions of ‘years’( as we count them) to learn and understand enough to be prepared to be perfected.

I know it isn't a formula for ‘all of God’s children’, because it is based on patience or dancing slowly, but I have become comfortable with a slow dance formula for working on putting on the characteristics, attributes and perfections of Godliness. Even in my days of lengthening shadows, I am grateful that the Lord has promised me that the song will not be over until long after I pass from mortality and receive my Final Resurrection.

THE FORMULA

LEARNING DOING BECOMING

(Lectures – Study) (Laboratory of Life) (After all I have done)

LEARNING – (Principles – Doctrines – Attributes – Applications – Methods)

If I do not know a principle or characteristic it will become impossible to practice it in the laboratory of life or have the grace of God make it a sure part of my being. Therefore, I must listen and watch and see all that I can in order to gain a foundational understanding of a principle, doctrine, attribute, application or method.

Line upon line, indicates that principle one is necessary and needs to be completed before I will be ready to go forward to principle two. A sure way to stumble or fall is to attempt to jump to a higher plane before we have gained stability on our present level.

DOING – (In the laboratory of Life – Family – Church – Community – World)

All too well I have learned that those things I learn which do not become part of who I am, are soon lost or forgotten. Once I study the principle of love sufficiently to understand what it is in reference to a characteristic of Godliness, I must practice that type of love in an ever expanding circle. I have found it wise to start practicing with those who seem to be most accepting of my efforts before venturing into larger arenas.

I mentioned line upon line, but life has taught me that in reality we seldom are able to work at charity without working on faith, on faith without working on trust, on trust without working on patience. However, I have found it helpful to at least have a dominant principle which I am concentrating on practicing in the laboratory of life.

BECOMING – (It is by grace that we are saved – after all we have done)

Before going any further, you need to be warned that on this latter point of the formula I often find myself on shaky ground when I am trying to explain what I think is happening and on even shakier ground when it comes to knowing if it is really happening in my life.

After exhaustibly learning all I can about a principle, such as love. Then after I have spent time extensively practicing the principle in the Laboratory of Life, when the Lord sees fit, by His grace He changes my nature into being more Christ like. (This has to be the explanation for the mighty change which was wrought upon the Nephites at the time of Benjamins discourse from the tower)

When my nature is changed I will feel the joy of coming closer to God and my love for him dramatically increases.

In a very beautiful moment I am filled with God’s love for me.

My love of others increases and I am filled with the desire to know more doctrines and how to apply them.

GO BACK TO LEARNING STEP AND REPEAT UNTIL…….


Life is not a race, do take it slower. Hear the music, the eternal song is not over.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, June 17, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The goal of universal oneness – will hopefully – one day penetrate all of our hearts!!

Friday, June 16, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Only love will help us overcome – the dysfunctions which corrupt the happiness – of the human family!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Death may bring to man – not only an assurance of the continuation of life – but also the bounteousness of God’s mercy and love!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Moments of enlightenment – can brighten our paths on moonless nights – helping us reach goals we were once unaware of!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

We will never do enough – to earn any eternal reward – the grace and mercy of God – alone assure us of receiving these blessings!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

There is no act we can perform – which will ever make us entitled – to blessings from our Heavenly Father!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCES

In the Thought for a Sabbath Day I posted on April 2, 2017, I mentioned that Kathleen and I been blessed with a tour of the Holy Lands as part of my employment with the Church Education System. I won't say this experience was dramatically life changing, but there will be forever engraven in my mind and in my heart the memories of the many wonders of the historical monuments of the world we were able to visit. As vibrant as the monument memories of those sights are, they cannot match the spiritual and emotional feelings that constantly hover in my heart and soul.

In Rome, I tried very hard to feel what Michelangelo might have felt as he accomplished the works which would have taken several normal life times to complete. We were left to wonder, why would someone be gifted and have the fortitude to use their time, talents and resources to build St. Peters Cathedral, paint the Sistine Chapel along with other works in the Vatican, sculpt all those marvelous marble creations, come up with all those inventions, paint enough art work to fill a museum along with all the other contributions he gifted to mankind?

Although few of Heavenly Father’s children have been able to generate the kind of consuming dedication that he demonstrated and I certainly count myself among this group of underachievers, I do remember leaving Rome with the feeling that I was certainly capable of accomplishing much more than I had in the past.

While we were in Egypt I spent most of the time being overwhelmed. I was constantly amazed that men could be so convinced of their own self-worth that they could move entire nations to dedicate themselves to the construction of a worthy final resting place, ignoring the cost of suffering and expenditures of life required to make sure their remains were secure. It is difficult to conceive how any mortal can convince themselves of their self-importance to the degree that they would be able to justify building massive pyramids and monumental replicas of themselves to be displayed for all to admire and even worship.

It is little wonder that the Lord has warned us of the ultimate degree of pride, where we make ourselves gods. Whenever the green goblin of false pride starts to color my countenance I worry about being afflicted with false pride and that I need to be diligent in trying to keep my ego in balance. Strangely, since those days of walking in the sands of Egypt most of the time when I have my picture taken I feel just a little bit Pharoah-ish.

In Jordan it was easy to be amazed at the ingenuity and determination of mortals. Wandering through the valley of Petra we witnessed the leavings of a civilization which inventively took their available resources and created a beautiful city. It filled us with excitement when we entered into those great halls carved out of solid rock. Not only did they use their resources to the greatest extent, but they ended up with dwelling places which had tremendously thick walls which kept them cool from the heat of the desert’s summer and warm in the winter.

It made me tingle to think that I belonged to the same eternal heritage as this people who did not just subsist in their environment, but in most cases made vast improvements which improved life for the entire community. It was hard to leave Petra without a feeling of added responsibility and accountability to make sure in the stewardships which would be bestowed upon me, a necessity to magnify and improve whatever my surroundings might be so that the lives of other’s would be more comfortable and improved.

While we were in Israel I was constantly aware of the mixed feelings and thoughts I was having in my heart and in my mind.

Since reason, blessings and research remind me that I am a descendent of the ancients who lived in and loved this land, there were times when I had a great sense of having returned home. I’ll never forget the feelings which surged through my being, as I sat on the banks of the Galilee near where the Jordan River begins to flow. In those few moments I was filled with the sense that I had never felt more at home in my life.

A different feeling came to me several places while we were in Israel, but most powerfully when we visited the museum dedicated to the Holocaust. My soul was filled with grief and sorrow to a greater degree than I can remember before or since. I grieved for the many acts of man’s inhumanity to man. I sorrow for the depth of inhumanity the children of God are capable of.

In contrasting the two feelings which seemed to control my entire being for a time, I knew I most desired those I felt on the banks of the Galilee far more than those I felt in the Museum of the Holocaust.

I was probably less than honest when I said in the opening paragraph of this Thought that this Holy Land trip was not life changing. Because from that day until now:

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure my working to the fullness of my capacity

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure how well I have been able to keep my ego in check

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I never score anywhere near 100% when I measure how much better the lives of others are because of the way I have served in my stewardships

Whenever I do a self-evaluation I score nearer 100% when I measure having a life filled with Galilee feelings and void of Museum of the Holocaust feelings than any of the other lessons learned on that memorable trip


We don't have to travel across the globe to have our lives filled with lessons we need to learn and apply, but I am convinced, wherever we are the more we daily seek these lessons and dedicate ourselves to applying them, the better chance we will have of making our time on earth fulfilling and successful.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY
EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, June 10, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Once we recognize – we all fall short of having all the answers – we will not only become more teachable – but we will also become someone who is more tolerable and enjoyable to be with!!

Friday, June 9, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Words whether spoken, sung or written – will never affect or soften our hearts – unless we yield to the spirit of their messages!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Having a difference of opinion – does not mean my neighbor – is evil or wrong!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

It would be foolish – to limit the degree of change – that the love of the Lord – can cause to take place in our lives!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Forgiveness of others – becomes an easy task – when we come to the realization – how much forgiveness all of us require!!

Monday, June 5, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

It is not the iron – but the Refiner – that determines the amount of heat required – to temper the ore into steel!!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

VANITY THY NAME IS EVERYONE 2

I had not intended to write a second Thought on vanity, but I received a very nice note from a friend, Elayne Allebest. She wrote the following: ‘I had a memory pop in my head when I read your Thoughts today. I was with my mother and Howard W. Hunter and I heard him say, "I wouldn't give a nickel for a woman who didn't have a little scoop of vanity." Would you like to comment on that subject sometime? How much vanity is allowed and what might he have meant? I have my own ideas, but would like to hear yours.’

I finished reading her note with two questions in my mind. I have no idea what constitutes a ‘little scoop of vanity’ and I wouldn't ever presume to know exactly what President Hunter meant when he stated a women is of little worth without at least that much vanity in her character.

Since I used the world’s definition of vanity for last week’s Thought, for this week’s Thought I went to the Bible Dictionary in the LDS set of scriptures and found two words used in defining vanity * FALSEHOOD – DECEPTION * along with some of the terms which were in the secular definition such as *EMPTY –

TRANSITORY – FLEETING*.

Speaking of fleeting, I will quickly put the thoughts which are racing through my mind on the computer, before they flee and I am left with an empty page.

I have several times in past Thoughts written about the principles of humility and pride ultimately having to do with the relationship between Heavenly Father and his earthly children, while acknowledging that these principles also have connotations which sprinkle upon our mortal relationships.

Using the Bible Dictionary definition of vanity being falsehood and deception I find that we oft times attempt to practice vanity with ourselves, with others and shamefully, with God.

I used the word attempt, because in the end our vanity in all of our relationships is empty, transitory and fleeting.

SELF - VANITY

The words William Shakespeare had Polonius speak to his son, Laertes, about being true to himself as he was departing, spring to my mind. Long ago in my junior year English class I read those words and wondered how it might be possible to deceive myself into thinking my bad decisions are good.

During the multiple decades which have followed I have had many occasions to ponder on choices I have made where I was deceiving myself into thinking that it was OK this once or multiple times. In the end I found this self-deception left me feeling empty and I always came to understand that ultimately I had to strip myself of my self-vanity and confront the reality of the real me.

I suspect it will be with all what it was with me. Self-deception will ultimately fade because it is based on that which is empty, transitory and fleeting.

MORTAL RELATIONSHIP – VANITY

I am not certain, but I suspect this is the type of vanity President Hunter might have been talking about when he said women should have ‘a little scoop’ of it in their lives.

My jump to conclusion thought on his words was something about having enough self-respect to keep oneself clean and presentable, but pondering took me into deeper and perhaps dangerous areas.

There is no doubt that in our lives we carry a bucket full of masks around with us so that we will be prepared to fleetingly play a character we believe will be liked by a certain audience.

We have a mask we pop on when we enter our place of work.

We have a mask we pop on when we enter a Chapel or a Temple.

We have a mask we pop on when we are with our children.

We have a mask we pop on when we are with our spouse.

We have a mask we pop on when in social gatherings.


Although I have barely begun to sort through the masks in our abundant bucket full, I think you get the idea that we spend a lot of time during the days of our mortality fleetingly switching from the wearing of one transitory mask to the next inappropriate one. The play goes pretty well except on those occasions when we mistakenly pull the wrong mask out the bucket.

As I have examined this part of my own vanity, I have come to realize that no matter how thick I put on the grease paint or how well I try to fit my costume to the mask or how exact I hit my mark on the current stage, sooner or later the masks are discovered for what they always were – falsehood and deception – and I am left bare faced and it is known by all who I really am.

Therefore, it would be wise if I were to dump the bucket of masks in the trash and wash my face and clean my clothes and present myself striped of my vanity before all of my brothers and sisters.

VANITY – WITH GOD

I learned as a little boy that this attempt at deception was the vainest of all. As my mother always reminded me – Heavenly Father knows.

I guess it would fall under His attribute of being omniscient, but since I am sure my mother was right, any attempt I might make to deceive my Heavenly Father would not only be transitory, empty and fleeting, but instantaneously known as false.

A few acts we try to throw a blanket of falsehood over in a foolish attempt to deceive our Heavenly Father come to mind:

He tells me I am a child of God and I try to deceive myself and others into thinking I have already received my everlasting inheritance.

He tells me I was created a little lower than the angels and I try to deceive myself and others into thinking I have been successful in elevating myself above them.

He tells me I belong to the only true church on the earth and I deceive myself into thinking my membership gives me exclusivity to all truth.

He gives me dominion over a few things and I immediately think I have a scepter with license to rule and reign.

He gives me stewardships and I think it means my word is a command.


The wonder of wonder of it all is that in spite of the common frailty of vanity His children continue to exercise in their relationships with self, others and Him, He unceasingly and unconditionally continues to love us.

Since we all seem to have vanity as a common trait in our makeup, when one of us is daring enough to reveal at least a of portion of their true identity, it would be well if we accepted this gift with whatever degree of love and understanding we might be capable of manifesting which is void of vanity.

THOUGHT FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY
EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, June 3, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

One of the marvelous miracles – of the restored organization of the Lord’s church – is that throughout their lives – there will always be work for the members to do – to help them wear out their lives in His service!!

Friday, June 2, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

It may not be in this life – but the day will come – when we recognize the greatness of the blessing – and the magnitude of the responsibility – the Lord has placed on those who hold a portion of His priesthood!!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

It may not be during our mortal life – but the day will surely come – when we recognize – the greatness of the blessing – and the magnitude of the responsibility – the Lord has placed on parents!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

Our greatest strength against falling into temptation – may well be – a constant remembrance – that we are offspring of Deity!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED

One of the greatest truths – we may ever come to know – is that we are not only sons and daughters of earthly parents – but we likewise are eternal offspring of Heavenly Parents!!

Monday, May 29, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It is perhaps more important to learn – to hear the whisperings of the Holy Spirit – than it is to fill our minds with the words of wise mortals!!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

VANITY THY NAME IS EVERYONE

Small thin lines are easily stepped over or ignored. Most of us have at one time or another justified sticking a toe or two over those lines, with the self-assurance that we will easily be able to quickly retreat to the safe side of the line, only to wake one day and realize the line is hardly visible on the horizon behind us.

One of those lines comes under the heading of vanity. Although it may include the kind of vanity upon which the cosmetic and fashion world have amassed fortunes, the more inclusive definition from the dictionary says vanity is that which is worthless, futile or a state of being falsely proud of oneself. We can easily see how the common use of covering physical flaws with camouflaging cosmetics or shape changing clothing can be referenced as a form of vanity. If used in the correct way, there would be few of us who have not done the two step dance over vanity’s thin line.

When we read of the scriptural condemnation of vanity, we should understand that the reference may have included painted Jezebels and Cleopatra’s, but the proclamation that vanity was one of the most destructive sins of mankind encompassed a much larger congregation.

Old Testament prophets identified vanity as the cause of the judgements of God coming upon the people. Modern revelation reaffirms that they of old did not have exclusive rights to the consequences of vanity.

New Testament apostles identified vanity as that which caused people to turn from God. Modern revelation brings meaning to the ancient words by saying vain people become gods unto themselves.

Modern day prophets have proclaimed and pinpointed vanity as that which brings us all to be governed by frailty and foolishness.

There have probably been times for each of us when it could have been said, even if but for brief line crossing, toe tapping moments:

Do you really think the world revolves around your head?

Do you really believe if you were not, neither would the world be?

Why are you acting as if everyone were subservient to you?

Do you really think that cap is a crown?

Do you really think your position on every matter is the right one?

Do you ever wonder if the day will ever come when you realize you do not have a corner on correct ideas and answers!


Of course, during this last phase of my mortal life, I now stay well away from the thin line which separates my normal modest self from any form of vanity. However, there was a time when I kept a list in my pocket to remind me that the vanity line I was just going to briefly cross with my littlest toe, was approaching the far away horizon in my rear view mirror.

WATCH OUT – When you are getting upset that others are talking so much about themselves that you can't interject the words which would help them understand how wonderful you are!

WATCH OUT – When you become convinced that your trivial squirts of facts are fountains overflowing with wisdom!

WATCH OUT – When you think the inch of territory you have gained makes you a ruler!

WATCH OUT – When you think the rut you are in indicates you are in the groove!

In just a short time of rummaging in garbage heaps, salvage yards and even in museums and libraries, we will soon come to the realization that these are all repositories of yesterday’s latest and greatest which are now looked upon as outdated and antiquated.

Book shelves in the dingy basements of libraries are overflowing with seldom-read best sellers of ages gone by.

Salvage yards expand their fences in order to accommodate the accumulation of the dreary remains of Detroit’s dream designs.

Mountainous monetary gain is being accumulated as new ways of disposing of Mt. Everest sized heaps of yesterday’s indispensables are engineered.

VANITY THY NAME IS EVERYONE!

I have no idea what reminders would be best for each of us as we twinkle a toe over that thin line of vanity, but it might help if we are feeling especially pleased with ourselves to blow some dust off of some half read books or go to a junk yard and scrape some rust off of a Pontiac or just drive by a garbage dump and take a big sniff. And then maybe, just maybe, we will remember for a moment the mite that we really are, and quickly pull our toe back from that thin line of vanity.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY- WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, May 27, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It is interesting – that to many – the events of life are all opportunities – while – to others they are all burdens!!

Friday, May 26, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

In the end – it is probably the reciprocal interaction – between the love for the Lord we extend – and His love extended to us – which overwhelms us with warmth!!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We can ponder at length – but will probably never discover – whether loving the Lord – or – feeling His love for us – causes the greatest warmth!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The inconsistencies of the moments – we are warmed by feeling the love of the Lord – don't come as a result of His love not having been extended – but probably because we have slipped – in our ability to feel His consistently sent love!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

There are few things – which will warm our souls more – than the feeling which comes to us – when we feel the love of the Lord!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

One of the greatest insights – we may ever gain – will come when we are struck with the realization – our thoughts and words – were of no more value – than those of our neighbors!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

GETTING TO KNOW ME

Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

During the time when I was having such a marvelous time sharing with some of the adults of South Orange County, California the wonderful talks by Elder Maxwell, periodically I would be struck with inspiration which led to an additional lesson on a talk. These lessons I called transitional, but I felt then and now feel that they were much more than that.

Therefore, this week’s Thought for a Sabbath Day will be based on one of those transitional lessons which were developed from feelings I had while leading those adults through several lessons based on a talk of Elder Maxwell’s which he had entitled All Hell Shall Be Moved.

*****

I know I am not alone when I recognize that oft times I have fallen short of fulfilling my responsibilities as a Kingdom builder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The problem isn't that I have been unable to realize my short comings, but I think it is my not really understanding why I so frequently felt that I was falling short of my capabilities.

A dear friend and colleague of mine Jack Rushton who is now laboring on the other side of the veil, spent many years of his mortal span as a quadriplegic after an accident which happened while he was enjoying a day at the ocean with his family. With the help of family and friends and most especially his beloved wife, he dedicated many hours of that later span of his life, fulfilling his responsibilities in the kingdom as an ordained Patriarch, Sunday School teacher and entertaining speaker.

Jack’s explanation for why he was able to continue faithfully fulfilling his building the Kingdom duties was that the Lord had given him a vision which blessed him with the knowledge of who he really was.

There have been times during my various stewardships in the Church and as a father, when I have had eternal glimpses of who family members or those who fell under the umbrella of my stewardships really were. As I tried to express to them – if they really understood who they really were – I knew I was falling fall short of moving them forward to that understanding. The bonus for me, having received these brief incites of both family and friends, has been that in spite of what detours they might take away from the path during their lives, I know who they are and know the day will come when they too will know.

I have often wondered why we so often fall short of gaining those kinds of insights which would help us know who we really are. The problem seems to be that we often fall short of being able to distinguish between:

(1) The image of ourselves we have when we try to interpret the feedback from others of the impressions we think they have of us.

(2) The image we have of ourselves as we ponder and evaluate our thoughts, joys, sorrows, desires, reactions and struggles.

(3) The perception we think Heavenly Father and Jesus the Christ have of us, when we think of all the decisions we have made contrary to their desires.

THIS ABSOLUTE TRUTH REMAINS

I CAN ONLY COME TO KNOW WHO I REALLY AM WHEN GOD BLESSES ME WITH THAT UNDERSTANDING


We need to be ever on the alert that we are not creating faulty impressions about ourselves, based on superficial impressions others have of us as they see us through a dense fog. It would be a damaging mistake which could lead to halting performance in the Kingdom, if we were ever to allow the superficial interpretations of others to influence our belief in who we really are. We would really do damage to our future progress if we allowed these images to persuade us as to what our eternal possibilities or outcome might be.

At any given preliminary stage of our existence, we in and of ourselves will never have a complete knowledge of who we are. We are at times are blinded by too much light and at other times we stumble in darkness. We would drastically error and could even be led to fall short of our capabilities in the Kingdom, if we were to judge our eternal worth based on today’s product. Once again, we could do great harm to the level of our desire and performance, if we were to ever think that that which we are today is what we will ever be.

We all should have long ago come to the understanding that God’s knowledge and understanding are not our understanding. Therefore, whatever guesses we might make as to what Heavenly Father or Jesus the Christ might think of us we will always fall short of the mark.

We are left with two possibilities, we can either be blessed with an inspired understanding about who we are, such as that given to Jack Rushton, or falling short of that gift. We can begin by believing what the prophets have been inspired to tell us about who we are and what are our performance possibilities.

Through the Prophets of God it had been revealed:

We are children of Heavenly Parents

We progressed and passed the requirements of our First Estate (Also call our Pre Mortal Estate)

Whatever assignment we might have in the Kingdom – we should remember we have been called, ordained or set apart and been promised angels would attend us

Our eternal outcome will be perfectly and individually administered by Jesus the Christ

We can receive the gift of a personal understanding of who we are by receiving a patriarchal blessing

We can have the blessing of personal revelation assuring us who we really are

The Holy Ghost as the Comforter will bring peace to our souls as we haltingly attempt to do Father’s will

The Pure Love of Christ can be poured upon us, filling our soul with joy, as we attempt to put upon ourselves His attributes, characteristics and perfections

Although the glass I view eternal truths with continues to wobble between moments of clarity amid hours of opaqueness:

I have come to know that as we peel away the masks of deception molded by believing in the superficial interpretations which others have of us, we will with increasing frequency have a closer image of our own reality. And we will be of greater value in the Kingdom.

I further know that as the scales of misunderstanding we have of who we really are fall from our eyes, peace, happiness and joy will be more constant companions. And we will be of greater value in the Kingdom.

I absolutely know that as our understanding is enlightened by prophetic and personal revelation, we will find ourselves feeling an increase of love towards Heavenly Father and, more importantly, we will feel an increase of love from our Heavenly Father. And we will be of greater value in the Kingdom.


TRUE JOY CAN MOST FORCIBLY BE FELT AS THE BODY APPROACHES AND EMBRACES THE KIND OF LIFE THE SPIRIT REMEMBERS HAVING LIVED WHILE IN THE PRESENCE OF HEAVENLY PARENTS

IT IS A GREAT BLESSING THAT WE ARE ABLE FOR BRIEF MOMENTS DURING MORTALITY TO FEEL AS IF WE ARE ONCE AGAIN DWELLING IN THE KINGDOM OF OUR HEAVENLY PARENTS


THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Saturday, May 20, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Why should we think ourselves worthy of a grander steed – than that ridden by the King of Kings – when he entered into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey!!

Friday, May 19, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We enter the castle of disillusionment – when we think we understand – the trial endured by people – of another time or place!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We enter into the realm of a house of mirrors – when we think we can walk in the shoes of another – and understand their troubles!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The words – ‘you will never walk alone’ – are not only wonderful lyrics for a song – but a loving promise from the Eternal Father – to all of His children!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Glorious earthly mansions – will never shine as illustriously – as a humble heavenly abode!!

Monday, May 15, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We need to be careful – that the concern for our physical health and well-being – doesn't diminish our regard for our spiritual well-being!!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

ENGRAVEN UPON OUR COUNTENANCES

For some reason during the time I was writing the Thoughts I shared during the 12 Days of Christmas, I also managed to get about 10 weeks ahead on the writing of my weekly Sabbath Day Thoughts. The reason I am mentioning this is that today is March 8, 2017, but as the date on this Thought notes, I am writing the Thought which will be posted and published on May 14, 2017, which also happens to be the day Mother’s day is celebrated in the United States of America.

Ironically, the day March 8, 2017 when I was doing this writing, was also the International Day of Women and the women in the United States of America were staying home from work in protest against President Trump. I am not sure if these two events are coincidental or somehow deeply symbolic.

I am one of those strange creatures who has never understood the battle of the sexes or the race each seems to be waging for one to gain superiority over the other. I believe if I were to take an inventory of people who have been meaningful mentors in my life the balance between men and women would be pretty equal.

However, I being a man (I believe that is the universal excuse used when a person of the male gender lacks understanding about a trait which usually falls into the female gender’s psyche), I must confess I am more impressed by the mysteriousness which emanates from women, than any such phenomena from men.

For example, there are two rituals dealing with the birth of a new child, which I have found it wise to drift into the background when they are taking place. I have found that this distance barrier makes it possible for me to remain aloof of personal involvement and also gives me a panoramic view from which I can gain a great deal of undetected pleasure. It is almost like having a box seat to a wonderful play.

The first is the naming of the child. We all understand that this is definitely one of those arenas of life where pleasing all the members of the family falls out of the realm of possibility. I must make a bit of a confession here. That would be that I gained most of this wisdom long after Kathleen and I had named our six children pretty much on our own.

The second is a ritual about who the baby resembles once it has arrived. I have watched this identification ritual with wonder, coming to the conclusion, if you use enough of the features of the child, you can satisfy the entire ancestry possibly back to Noah. Eyebrows, nose, hair line, ears, eyes, chin, cheeks, fingers, toes etc. help parents, grandparents and every other member of the clan to feel they have gained a small bit of immortality through the perpetuation of their features.

These customs which surround the coming of a new child along with baby showers and every woman who ever comes near the newborn wanting to hold it in their arms, I try to understand, but I am sure I will never truly appreciate as does another women.

With that introduction, which I am pretty confident will end up being longer than the body of this Thought, I will switch gears and write about the contributions the mentors in my life, who just happen to be female, have given to me during my life. I will mention only two by name; my mother, Nina, who nurtured and mentored me daily for the first 19 years of my life and has left an influence upon me which will extend eternally, and my eternal companion, Kathleen, who as of this writing has been my companion, mentoring and influencing me, for almost six decades.

Benjamin, one of the great prophet/kings of the Book of Mormon, as he was teaching his people about being a child of the Savior Jesus the Christ, asked the question if He (Christ) could be seen in their countenances. (Maybe there is something to this seeing ancestor’s features in the newborn). The Savior added to this theme when he encouraged us to let His light shine through us.

Now let me attempt to tie my mother and wife as primary mentors in my life to the concept of what we should be striving to emulate in our beings to be seen by others.

These are a few of the things I have been taught by precept and example:

Our feet should be seen ever walking on the straight path, pressing forward toward righteousness, shod in holiness, never kicking against the pricks.

Our hands should be lifted to heaven as a sign of gratitude, doing acts of kindness, gently giving comfort, warding off the darts of the adversary.

Our heart should be warm, easily entreated, full of feeling toward the needs of neighbors, never hard.

Our shoulders should be willing to bear the burdens of others, lifting a neighbor, never shirking.

Our head should be bowed in humility, resolute in choosing righteousness, never lifted in pride.

Our eyes should be filled with the light of Christ, single to the glory of God, never looking lustfully.

Our mouth should teach, expound and exhort, bear fervent testimony of truth, never bearing false witness.

When the entire being is properly framed, others should see the image of Christ engraven upon the soul.

When life is over the only success which will really have any eternal bearing, is how closely we have come to emulate the life of the Savior.


I am pretty sure there have been many men who have added to my mentoring in these concepts about having the countenance of Christ engraven upon my own countenance, but like finding the best name for a baby or seeing grandmother’s twinkle in the newborn’s eyes, they will be more accurate and leave a lasting impression upon us and will sink more deeply into our natures because they emanate from the God gifted tender nurturing souls of women.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, May 12, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The Savior assures us – that if we learn to love God and our neighbors – we would thereby have gained the secret – to being able to obey – all laws!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The gospel becomes simple – when we realize the requirements for obedience to the law of love – is sufficient to bring us to obedience to all the laws!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We would be wise to make full use of today – since none of us has an assurance of tomorrow!!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

There is really only one climatic event – in the history of this world – the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ!!

Monday, May 8, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

There will never be a greater manifestation of our love for the Savior – than our daily observance of His commandments!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

MY BRIEF SPAN OF MORTALITY

Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

I never realized while I was deeply absorbed in my career with the Church Education System, that I was usually so preoccupied with preparing and presenting lessons, doing administrative and supervision duties that I seldom took time to ponder about what I was preparing and presenting.

One of the great blessings of having my life extended into the retirement years is that I have a lot of freedom in what I do with my mind. Although I know I spend a lot of time letting my mind wander in fairly meaningless arenas, there are times when I do what I think the Savior admonished us to do, which He referred to as pondering.

One of the little principles I have been pondering of late involves all of mankind for all eternity. When we contemplate the various stages we all pass through during our eternal existence we quickly realize that even for those who are blessed or cursed (I will leave you to ponder on what you think is the best descriptor) with lengthy lives, mortality makes up but a very minute fraction of our individual eternal existences.

Not only does our earthly journey constitute a minuscule part of our eternal existence, but when we think of the billions of Heavenly Father’s children who have paused for various lengths of time on this earth, it doesn't take long before our pondering leads us to understand that only a few of those billions have had the full opportunity to use their agency concerning accepting or rejecting the fullness of the gospel plan while treading the continents of this beautiful globe.

As we examine the verity of the mortal experiences of beings, it would be difficult for us to come to any conclusion other than that He, who will judge righteously, will have an individual measuring device for determining the progress of each of His children. Not to belabor the point (pondering often extends the gestation periods of birthing thoughts), but my brother Fred who passed away after only eight days of breathing this atmosphere, will not have his mortal tests measured with the same yard stick as I, who have had the privilege of almost eight decades and continue to count. The abandoned sewer children of Bogota, Colombia, will not be measured upon the same scale as father Abraham.

I won't even begin to suggest my pondering has led me to a total understanding of the eternal existence of beings, but I have been significantly impressed that the preponderance of all beings undergo the vast majority of their agency tests during stages of life other than that which is called mortality.

I am about to make an abrupt shift in my pondering and hopefully I won't cause any of you to suffer whip lash.

Of all of the billions of Heavenly Father’s children who have or who will spend at least some moments dwelling upon this planet, I definitely know myself better than any other being. Therefore, excusing myself ahead of time, I will present some of those things my ponderings have led me to believe apply to me and to my test during my brief span of mortality.

Since I have been blessed or cursed (you be the judge) with having my mortal span extend beyond the three score and ten allotted on average to my generation, I have had the thought pass through my mind many times about those things I need to be doing to maximize the extended examination I have been given during this phase of my existence.

As Elder Neal A. Maxwell has taught, the closer I can come to arriving at correct understanding of the purpose of my life, the greater opportunity I will have of conducting myself in an appropriate way, which should make me a more worthy servant in the Lord’s marvelous work.

Correct Understanding


I have been blessed with an abundance of opportunity: to listen to a mountainous number of mentors, to exhaustibly study the words of men and prophets and to prepare and present the teachings of the inexhaustible gospel, but with all those gifts I know that correct understanding comes to us most powerfully when the windows of heaven are opened for precious moments and truth consumes our whole being.

With such a foundation, which I pray is continually strengthening, I should be able to see more clearly the path upon which I need to be troding.

Appropriate conduct

President Ezra Taft Benson once said ‘the most important thing we can discover in mortality is the purpose for which we were sent.’

On a personal basis I feel this must begin by correctly identifying the talents which I seem to have brought with me from my previous stage of life. As the Lord declared concerning the gifts of the Spirit, they are diversely given to each of us so that all may be edified as we share our gifts.

After making a correct assessment of my gifts and talents, a major part of my test will be to develop them so that the exercise of those talents will benefit a maximum number of my brothers and sisters.

Though this appropriate conduct, I become enveloped in that wonderful cycle of learning, developing, serving and knowing.

Serving in the Lord’s marvelous work

When Kathleen and I were serving in Colombia, there were several early mornings when I found myself awake long before any appropriate hour. On occasion, I would ponder and perhaps have the boldness to pray about, what kind of an instrument I could be in the hands of the Lord, if I had such an experience as Saul on the road to Damascus or Alma the son of Alma had as they began their missions.

On those mornings when the window of heaven would part briefly, I was always left with the understanding that I had been given sufficient to do the work in the part of the Lord’s vineyard to which I had been called.

It has been important for me in my stewardships over myself, with my family and with those whom I have been called to serve in the kingdom to always remember I have been given sufficient to accomplish the task I have been given.

I must confess that my personal journey has not been one of lacking understanding, nor of knowing the appropriate conduct, nor of having opportunities to serve, but I have had to guard against stagnation when I have trod the same path too continuously. I have had to guard against running too fast toward faintly defined goals and I have had to guard against misinterpreting the importance of my role.

The conclusion of all my pondering is that this is Heavenly Father’s work and His glory and He has dedicated the eternities to bringing it to pass and I should and will be grateful to have been included in laboring in a small corner of His vineyard during my brief span of mortality.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, May 5, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It is good to have special days of remembrance – to remind us that there are many things – we should be thankful for every day!!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

For some reason – we are surprised by the fact – that today – is also part of eternal life!!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Of all the mentors we have in life – we will be most blessed – if we learn the greatest of them all – is the Holy Spirit!!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We can be certain – we will never find the pearl of great price – if we never seek for it!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We can be certain we will never receive an answer – if we fail to as the question!!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

HARD LESSONS

During the early years of my mortality, when my father was trying to establish himself in some kind of a stable career situation, we made several moves mostly in the northern Utah, southern Idaho regions of the United States of America. Although it was during my preschool/beginning school days, which was a very long time in the past at the time of this writing, some of my clearest and most vivid memories come when I think of those few years our family was residing in Roy, Utah.

Although I have changed my conclusions 180° about it, there are some nightmarish memories which, at the time, left me with the feeling that my father had extreme tendencies of cruelty.

We lived on a small acreage which I thought was vast. Our home was a small wood framed and wood sided house which was painted white with no contrasting trim color. My father planted a vast garden of many of my favorite foods. We had peas, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe and I suspect several other food plants which I have probably chosen to wipe from my memory.

I would say my father also raised some chickens for eggs and Sunday dinners, but in reality it was mainly my mother who raised the chickens along with a little help from two of my older sisters and me.

Anyway, back to why I have the memory of thinking my father had extreme tendencies of cruelty.

We had two animals with habits which were dangerous and in some cases destructive.

One was of a beautiful dog with long red hair. Today we would probably say he was an Irish setter, but since all the dogs we had while I was growing up were mongrels of unknown parentage, we will just say it had long red hair. The dangerous habit this lovely creature had was chasing cars which drove along Roy Road. Luckily, the traffic was very light on Roy Road, in the mid 1940’s, and so it was rare when two cars might be passing on the narrow lane when the dog went bounding out into the street.

In order to change the dog’s dangerous and destructive habit, my father tethered the dog in the front yard with a semi-choke collar around his neck. For several days I sat at the large front window, shielded by the lace curtains and watched as every time a car passed the red haired dog would leap to his feet and dart to the end of the rope and then suddenly his hind legs would fly past his head and then he would dazedly limp back closer to the house. During that training period, I seldom left my window perch without having to wipe the moisture which had accumulated at the base of my eye lids. I was absolutely forbidden by my father, who was cursed with these extreme tendencies of cruelty, to remove the collar or the rope which tethered the dog with the long red hair.

The other animal was a horse which my father used to plow the area for his great garden and my sister Lou Ann used to race the other horses in the area. The horse was named Chubb. I have no idea why that was the horse’s name. Since my father came from a family of 11 siblings and my mother from a family of 13 siblings, I have often wondered if that was the only name they could come up with which was not shared by a family member. Anyway, Chubb had a spectacular roan colored coat and to me seemed to be the most powerful and beautiful animal which was ever created. The problem was that this stallion had an overpowering wanderlust for the neighborhood mares. After the umpteenth time my father had to get up in the middle of the night to retrieve Chubb from a neighbor’s corral, he lined our small farm with an electric wire which Chubb quickly discovered delivered a very shocking jolt when touched. The problem which added to my feelings of my father having extreme tendencies of cruelty, was that for several days after being harshly jolted, Chubb not only shied away for the electric wire surrounding our property, but also all other objects which seemed to have a barrier around them. I really thought his end would come soon, since his feed box and water troughs looked as if they were surrounded by barriers.

To my shame, I clearly remember telling my father, during both of these events, what a terrible person he was to inflict such hurt upon these animals. I was tremendously surprised at how few days it took before our dog lazily confined himself to the limits of our yard and Chubb ventured outside of his fences only when being led by my sister or my father. Things quickly returned to normal on our little farm in Roy, Utah.

The incident was pretty much forgotten until one day our family was taking a day trip to the big city of Ogden, Utah. Besides the scene of the beautiful mountains, another scene vividly comes to view as I remember that particular drive. There was a beautiful horse lying dead by the side of the highway. My sister Geraldene cried and sobbed what a horrible thing it was that that horse had been let out of its protective pasture. My father very quietly said, ‘That horse might have jumped a fence.’ Although, Chubb eventually allowed his wanderlust to overcome his fear of being shocked and he ended up with the same fate as that horse on the highway between Roy and Ogden, he definitely had a longer productive life because of the electric wire my father put around our small farm.

I don't exactly know when it was, but I know I finally started the long process of becoming aware of the difference between cruelty and life preserving lessons.

Not only in the classroom, but also in very personal ways, the dramatic lesson I learned in this way from my very kind and loving father, is that although there are events which we pass through in our lives which may at the time seem unfair, restrictive or overwhelming, the probability is that they will eventually be revered as lessons of love which allowed our lives to be filled with greater freedom, safety and preparedness.

All of us have probably been blessed with the 100% clarity hind sight gives us or the absolute wisdom we have as Monday morning quarterbacks. Likewise, few of us were capable before the actuation of events of foreseeing or foreshadowing what was about to happen or the lessons we were about to learn.

Hopefully, we will be quick learners and come to realize that many of those ‘hard’ lessons were administered by a loving Father whose main concern is the Eternal preservation of His children.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY
EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, April 28, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

We can be certain that doors – will always remain closed to us – if we fail to knock!!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Putting a limit on one’s ability to press forward – is a sure way to limit their enduring – and – stopping their progress!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

If the goal of mortality – is to attempt to gain a greater degree of one-ness with God – then confusion as to the source of our words – whether they come from the storage of our grey matter – or – inspiration from the Holy Spirit – either way it is a good thing!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

There isn't anything worn – and probably a good deal that is right – when it becomes difficult to know – whether the ideas you are expressing – are your own – or – you are repeating promptings you have received from the Holy Spirit!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It is important – but also sometimes frightening – to be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit – rather than relying on your own talents and intellect – but being a conduit for the Holy Spirit – will always be more rewarding and life changing – for both the speaker and the listener!!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

EXAMINATION OF A TESTIMONY Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

I think it was probably sometime early in my days as an Aaronic Priesthood bearer when I first started thinking about whether I had a testimony or whether my testimony was very strong.

The first time I recall wondering about my testimony was when we were on some kind of a special Stake youth outing which concluded with a testimony meeting. One of the first boys to go to the pulpit to bear his testimony was a bit older than I and, therefore, was one of those models I was supposed to be using as a guide for my life. Anyway, as he was concluding his testimony he challenged all the young men from our ward to come to the pulpit to share their testimonies. I wasn't the only young boy from our ward that didn't respond to his challenge. I have no idea why some of the others failed to respond, but I remember well that I had some very uncomfortable feelings about bearing a testimony as a result of being challenged to do so. Like many of the things we never become comfortable with in our lives, being challenged to bear a testimony is one that still lingers with me.

During my life as an active member of the Church I have had ample opportunity to teach and speak and bear testimony to others. Therefore, I have seldom taken the opportunity to bear my testimony during the special Sacrament Meeting which is set aside monthly for the bearing of testimonies. I always felt the members of my ward or stake heard my declaration of my beliefs enough and that these meetings gave others the opportunity to bear their testimonies.

Shortly after returning with Kathleen from Colombia where we had served for three years presiding over the Bogota Colombia North Mission, (during which time there had been very few days when we hadn't born our testimonies of the truthfulness of the restored gospel) ironically, at the end of one of the first classes I taught after resuming my career in the Church Education System, a bright young girl approached me and asked why I didn't bear my testimony more during the lessons. Evidently, the brother whom I had replaced often bore his testimony on points of the gospel during the lesson, emphasizing his words with ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’. My self-examination on that occasion ended up with me in exactly the same place I had been before her inquiry. This was, that I felt the entirety of my lesson preparation and presentation was me bearing my testimony.

One of the last major times I had to examine my testimony took place after I retired from full time teaching, but was still teaching an adult religion class once a week. One of the experienced (a euphemism for old) brothers in the class was working on a project building a model of the plates which Joseph Smith had removed from the Hill Cumorah. He had bought an engraving machine and was able to engrave on plates. He offered to engrave my testimony on a plate and I accepted. This now has a place among the most treasured of the articles of remembrance I have from my 50 plus years of teaching.

I believe on all of these occasions, whatever was said or whatever I felt was an honest expression of my beliefs and in some cases my knowledge, of principles and doctrines of the gospel of Jesus the Christ.

I suspect, all of you will be able to relate to my words when I say that what I felt was my testimony as a young man, what I felt was my testimony as I have served in various capacities and callings, what I felt was my testimony after Kathleen and I served in Colombia and what I felt was my testimony which is now engraven on metal plates has gone through many phases and had a wide band of variety and has many degrees of depth and growth.

In fact, my testimony has not only tossed to and fro over the length of my life, but I find if I really examine what I am feeling and what I am believing in, it seems to be in a state of change with each passing moment and with each situation in which I find myself in life.

There are times when I am overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or enjoying an expanded vista from high on a mountain top, or even like this morning as I was out driving and the hills near our home made me feel like I was in Ireland or back in Colombia, where velvety green is the year round dress of the hills; it is during these times my heart fills with wonder and awe at the magnificence of this sphere we call our home. Even when I was young and my friends and I would lie on the lawn at night and gaze into the heavens that feeling of awe overwhelmed me and I had to turn my head so my friends wouldn't see my eyes leaking. The glorious pictures from the Hubble telescope have increased my vision, almost to the explosion level, about the wonders of the Creations of God. This WONDER part of my testimony has undoubtedly been the most constant constellation in the vastness which makes up my belief system.

There is another part of my testimony which I refer to as my GENERAL beliefs. It is just always there, but seems to ebb as the tides sometimes come crashing upon me and other times it seems as smooth as a giant mirror as far as the eye can see. This is the testimony which I express with the words ‘I know’. I know the church is true. I know the gospel is true. It isn't an overwhelming emotion like I feel with my WONDER moments, but it never seems to fail. It keeps me praying. It keeps me reading the Scriptures. It keeps me going to church and to the Temple. It makes me say I know there has to be a power greater than men to have all this govern such an extensive and positive part of my daily life.

I have known for a very long time that I feel the sustaining witness of the Holy Spirit most abundantly when I bear witness of specific beliefs. Obviously, I call this variety of my testimony SPECIFIC. I think the best way to explain what I refer to as my specific testimony is to give you a few examples. I have had Moroni’s promise in the 10th chapter of the book in the Book of Mormon which bears his name, fulfilled by the Holy Spirit planting deeply in my heart the truth of words in that book of scripture. I have had such a powerful witness by the Holy Spirit that Joseph Smith saw and spoke to God the Father and His son Jesus the Christ in the grove near his home in Palmyra, New York, that I would have to deny my own existence before I could deny the actuality of that event. I will include just one more example. I have had individual confirmations from the Holy Spirit that David O. Mackay, Spencer W. Kimball, Neal A. Maxwell, Jeffery R. Holland, and Bruce R. McConkie along with many other men and women have spoken with the tongues of angels as they bore witness of the truths of the gospel and the reality of Jesus the Christ being actively engaged in the work of the kingdom.

There is a part of my testimony which probably shares DNA with all the other parts of my belief system which I call my OBEDIENCE testimony. Once again, although I feel this is a distinct area of my belief system, it cannot be separated from the rest of the constellation of my being. It is that force which causes me to continue to accept assignments and callings in the church and attempt to magnify them. It is that force which moves me to follow the living prophets. It is that force which gives me a desire to congregate with the saints and receive the synergistic stimulus of group worship. It is that force which compels me to find ways to share my understanding, knowledge and beliefs with others. It is that force which makes living according to the word of wisdom, paying of tithes and offerings and makes being a lay minister a joy and not a burden. It is that force which moves me to wear out my life serving in the House of the Lord. I know that that which pushes and sustains me in obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel is real and mandated from heavenly sources.

The last division of my belief system and probably the most difficult to share and express is what I refer to as my PERSONAL testimony. It consists of the following very personal feelings which have been cemented in my being by the Holy Spirit. I have a love for my Heavenly Parents and for my Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ which is as real as the completeness of my love for Kathleen, my offspring and my parents. There are times when I am so filled with the love I feel from my Heavenly Father that I have a sense of being suspended between mortality and immortality. His love lifts me and makes me joyful as I proclaim that I am a child of God. There have been too many occasions when, during the process of repentance, I have felt consumed with the grace, mercy and love of my Redeemer as sorrow for wrong choices was evaporated by His Atoning gift. I wish I could say it was ever constant, but I am more than grateful for every moment I have been enveloped with a heightened desire by the Holy Spirit to move closer to becoming like my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ.

I am grateful for the path my Heavenly Father prepared and planned for my mortal existence. I am not sure what part of my belief system it falls under, but I do believe as part of His work and glory to bring to pass His children’s immortality and eternal life, He has a plan for each of us which will enable us to maximize our progression wherever we are placed or whatever path we find ourselves traversing.

I so testify in the name of Jesus the Christ – Amen

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, April 21, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Sometimes we are influenced by the Holy Spirit – when we are preparing a talk or a lesson – there are also times when powerful promptings – come to us during our presentations!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

If our desire is to increase our spiritual strength – we must increase the number of reps of those exercises – designed for strengthening the spiritual part of our beings!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Spiritual strength is acquired much like physical strength – if we want any port of us to be strengthened – we must increase the number of reps – which affect the part of our being we are trying to strengthen!!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

If it is true that the forgiver always receives the greater benefit – which comes from the application of the principles of the law of forgiveness – would this not be another manifestation – of the greatness of Heavenly Father and His son Jesus the Christ!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The rewards which come from the true application of the principle of forgiveness – will always be greater for those who forgive – than for those who are forgiven!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

COMING TO KNOW HIM

Although it has now been decades since my sister Geraldene gave me a collection of six pictures which Richard Hook and his wife, Frances, painted, while I sit at the computer it only takes a slight lifting of my head left and I am once again able to see and appreciate this thoughtful gift given so many years ago.

Geraldene had mounted them on plaques in a process I think was called deco-paging, which had its 15 minutes of fame along with stuffed geese and resin grapes among the members of the largest women’s organization in the world. Except for the three years Kathleen and I spent in Colombia presiding over the Bogota North Mission, they have always adorned a prominent position on the walls of the various offices I have occupied during my career and now in my retirement years.

Although all six plaques depict Jesus the Christ, the Savior of mankind, they each fill me with different emotions and sensitivities. His universal-ness is magnified as one inspects the paintings more closely and notices that the faces of the Savior are different in each picture. I have always thought this was an excellent way of depicting that indeed He is every man and every woman and there is no one left unrepresented in His life and mission.

On this Easter Sunday, I would like to take a few minutes to describe these paintings and the feelings I have derived through the years while sitting and pondering at various desks in a variety of chairs. Over the years they have been mounted on walls in a variety of designs and combinations. Currently, Kathleen has arranged them all on one row above the window in our home office.

The first picture, starting on my left, is a frontal bust of the Savior with tousled hair and a pleasant beard. Looking at this picture I get the sense that He is full of excitement for life and all of its infinite possibilities. I see joy in His eyes as I envision Him looking forward positively toward the experiences of mortality. I feel energy emanating from His countenance, which floods me with an assurance that all things are possible for those who walk upon His paths of righteousness.

Moving to the right, in the second picture, we see the Savior gently conversing with four young children, who I would guess to be three or four years old. He is cradling one of the children around the neck and under the chin with His mighty and great hands. It is not difficult even with a short glance to be struck with the tenderness and compassion which was a hallmark of His mission then, is now and will be forever. I am left without doubt that He is indeed the Savior of even the least of us. I am enlightened with the understanding that we are called to minister in all of our stewardships with that same tenderness and compassion.

In the third picture, Jesus the Christ is grasping His forehead in an attitude of prayer. Much of His face is eclipsed by His hands, but there never has been a doubt in my mind that this was meant to be a depiction of the Savior. One quickly understands the prophesy pronounced, that every knee would bow and every tongue would confess, even included the Son of God. A simple picture with such a profound reminder that if He must submit Himself to prayer, then certainly all of Heavenly Father’s children, likewise, need to be ever faithful in seeking guidance and giving gratitude through prayer!!

In the fourth picture, we once again see the Savior surrounded by a large group of children, this time they seem to range in ages between seven to ten years. The Savior has His arm around the shoulder of one young lad and a young miss is leaning upon the shoulder of the seated Lord. I guess it is because this picture shows a group of children slightly older than those depicted in the second picture that I am often struck with the thought that in the sight of God we are all children in various stages of progression. I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I envision Him patiently lifting and sustaining us all; regardless of what decade of our apprenticeship we might currently be passing through. My attention is also drawn to the attentive attitude of all the children in the picture and I am renewed to a degree in my commitment to Him. I come to understand that my commission is to love my brothers and sisters regardless of what degree of progress they are currently in or in which field they have been planted.

The next to last picture is another bust of the Savior, who in this one is looking slightly over His left shoulder. In this picture His hair is combed nicely and His beard evenly trimmed. The Master’s eyes are looking afar, as if being focused on a home far away beyond the range of mortal sight. His eyes fill me with the sense of homesickness I experienced on my first night of my first scout camp, and I think of the home and Parents I left to come to earth and a twinge of scout camp loneliness creeps into my soul. I am reminded that we must take time to dismiss our mortal short sightedness and focus on eternal realities if we are going to return to live with Them again.

The sixth and last picture shows the Savior in a pastoral scene. He is the Good Shephard leading His sheep to green pastures and away from perilous canyons. He has a previously lost lamb cradled around His neck upon His shoulders. His face depicts the glee of finding one that was lost, but now is found. Gratefulness fills the heart of this lowly lamb as I recognize the need for the protective guidance and protection which can only come from the Good Shepherd. I am further struck with overwhelming appreciation because I know that no matter how far I might stray He will always be there to lift my burdens when I feel faint and do all in His power to bring me safely home.


I don't have a picture of any of the traditional pictures of the Trial, Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Savior on my wall, but in a very real way, every day as I glance at those six pictures, I am filled with a vibrant reminder that all He was and all He did would have been for naught if He had not completed the work His Father sent Him to do.

I suppose over the decades, hundreds of hours have been spent pondering while looking at those pictures, which were a gift from my loving sister who has now returned home and no longer feels the pangs of being a stranger in a strange land.

I know they have helped me gain a greater understanding of the meaning of life.

Many days of stress have been eased as I’ve been able to sit and think of them during a few minutes of quite meditation.

I have thought several times, if these earthly attempts at depicting His character and countenance have worked such marvelous wonders in my life, what would be the result of being able to enjoy His presence.

I have come to believe with all my heart, that whatever effort it might take on one’s part to be able to have the privilege of such an audience, the price could never be too great.

I know He has paid the uttermost farthing, and that all He asks is that I cast in my mite.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, April 14, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Although our example – may be the most powerful testimony we can provide – there will be many times – when it is essential we express it verbally!!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Opening the gift of assurance – from our Heavenly Father – is an individual responsibility!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Faith is our gift to God – assurance is His gift to us!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The constancy of the companionship – we enjoy with the Holy Spirit – is generally dependent – upon the sincerity of our personal invitations!!

Monday, April 10, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Because of their inexhaustible mercy and grace – Heavenly Father and His son Jesus the Christ – are able to put equal importance on all prayers – whether they are offered by an individual – or – when the voices of thousands petition in unison!!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

THE LORD’S LABORATORY OF LOVE

Thoughts stimulated by – The Inexhaustible Gospel – by Neal A. Maxwell

There has been a shift of epic proportions from the family of Father Knows Best starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt even beyond the dysfunctional family of Al and Peggy Bundy in Married With Children to where we have finally arrived at the realistic portrayal of the modern family in the situation comedies of the 21st century.

Even from the glass dome of my ivory tower, the picture seems pretty clear that in an effort to portray a ‘true’ picture of family life, there has been a deliberate move toward portraying the ‘traditional family’ in such a negative way, that any arrangement of communal groupings has to be a better situation than the ‘traditional family’.

Having been the beneficiary of growing up in a ‘traditional family’ and having shared my life with a loving wife and family which tried to sustain the values of the ‘traditional family,’ I would like to spend my efforts in this week’s Thought defending two points.

1. Heavenly Father, long before Adam and Eve, established the family as the fundamental unit where the essential Eternal attribute of love could be learned and practiced.

2. Satan is well aware, that if he can destroy the family in mortality and diminish its fundamental role, there will be one less force helping to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal Life of Heavenly Father’s Children.

Before going any further, I want it to be understood: this is not a Thought denouncing anyone or any group who have chosen to live in a non-traditional family situation, but merely an explanation of why the ‘traditional family’ is essential to Heavenly Father’s advancement of His Plan and why Lucifer would expend so much effort in trying to destroy the ‘traditional family.’

The statements advocating the value of point number one will be in bold type and can be referred to as Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness, while those revealing the demonic destructive tactics of the Devil will be in regular type and can be referred to as Satan’s Plan of Misery.

*****

Teaches – Heavenly Father is a loving parent – who places an eternal importance on the institution of family

Teaches – the intact family – is no longer a socially needed or useful institution

Teaches – concern for the entirety of the soul of His children and their eternal progression – placing an emphasis on the nature of the whole being

Teaches – us to be consumed with the importance of the physical body – encouraging us to strive toward the Venus or Adonis ideal – while at the same time enticing us to consume trendy, exotic and less nutritious foods

Teaches – the importance of keeping children safe from the storms of life – by providing a protective umbrella – which includes Family Home Evening – Family Prayer – and wholesome activities – and believes parents have the primary stewardship – for the eternal development of their offspring

Teaches – the stewardship for the education and production of good human beings – lies primarily with community and governmental institutions

Teaches – the rolls of father and mother – are eternal stewardship callings – which hold a preeminent status on earth and in the heavens

Teaches – the necessity of creating and re-creating patch up institutions – whose failure ratios far exceeds their successes

Teaches – the family is the unit ordained to guide the newborn – from its state of innocence – encouraging growth toward self-identity and maturity – while maintaining purity

Teaches – purity is a fantasy – not to be accepted by mature self-identified humans –expounding the need for more and more elaborate ways – of avoiding the consequences of impure acts – or inventing methods to mop up messes created by immoral decisions – thus encouraging their continuation

Teaches – self-esteem is the foundational element of healthy communities – projecting positive parental patterns onto posterity – is the most important element in building self-esteem

Teaches – the values of the world change so rapidly – that each new generation – would be foolish to use the example of previous generations

Teaches – the importance of education of parents – constantly upgrading and improving their skills – in order to qualify them to deal with changing conditions

Teaches – a constant demeaning of the effectiveness of parenting – by pointing out the broken and dysfunctional units – while encouraging an ever increasing preponderance of parenting by permissive-ness

Teaches – the main source of parental guidance – should be living Apostles and Prophets – who are able to see afar – with spiritual eyes

Teaches – a way of dealing with life’s calamities – by building institutional fences – around the evils of the entrenched calamity – as failures encroach upon the continuation of the species

Teaches – women will find their highest fulfillment – through the nurturing and educating of their children – leading them on the paths toward Eternal Life

Teaches – women will find fulfillment – having their value and talents recognized by mortal peers and governmental institutions

Teaches – the role of father – is the only eternally important stewardship – given to men during mortality

Teaches – fathers are mostly self-serving, malfunctioning beings – who are insensitive to others needs – especially those of women

Teaches – parents must instill the importance of – accountability – responsibility – cooperation – based on absolute Eternal truths


Teaches – the importance of – independence – competition – legality – based on current fancies and trends

Teaches – parents must instill – righteous indignation – which is based on respect of others, their opinions and beliefs – and never gives license to demean or undermine

Teaches – whatever means which will help me achieve my goal – are in play – any harm to others during the process – is all part of the game

Teaches – parents must instill – forgiveness as an act of love – imperfections in others should be viewed as an invitation for help – help should be given by – never letting the right hand know what the left is about

Teaches – when person arrives at the point where they recognize their own significance – they can judge the imperfections of another as a reason for rejection – likewise – a person who is full of hate – is enlightened to the defects or others – and has a duty to pontificate personally and publicly other’s shortcomings

Teaches – the day will come when the scales are lifted from our eyes – we will then see clearly – things as they really are.


Teaches – there is no God or Satan – therefore I am both the employee and employer of my life

Teaches – by striving to live according to Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness – we will continually have a sense of being fulfilled

Teaches – us to concentrate on feeling unfulfilled – always needing to quest for more – leading to us to misery – which is the end game of his plan

*****
Hence, we all live in a world unalterably founded upon the principles of the laws of agency. Thereby, our societies and cultures, including our homes are going to come in innumerable variations. Our loving Heavenly Father has given us His Plan of Happiness which is founded upon the institution of a righteous family, and left us with the choice of how much of the consequential happiness we will enjoy because of our faithful obedience to His outlined principles.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L.RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, April 7, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Because of their omnipresence – Heavenly Father and His son Jesus the Christ – are able to give equal attention to all prayers – whether they are offered – in chapel, church, cathedral, synagogue, mosque – or – Temple – on mountain’s top, ocean’s vastness, desert’s desolation, forest’s shadows, home’s hearth – or – a stranger stranded in a strange land!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Because of their universal love of all mankind – Heavenly Father and His son Jesus the Christ – listen attentively to all prayers – whether they emanate from Asia, Europe, Africa, North or South America, Australia or any of the isles of the seas!!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Because they are divine – Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ – will always hear all prayers – whether they are offered habitually and casually –or – come from the depths of a sincere heart!!

Monday, April 3, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

When a tally is made of all our prayers – Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus the Christ – will have attentively listened – to a far greater number – than those which were sincerely offered!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

BETWEEN DESERTS AND PARADISE

It was during the summer of 1978 when Kathleen and I sat together in a beautiful air-conditioned bus looking out the window at a very interesting phenomenon.

What we were looking at was a well-defined line where the sands of the Sanai merge with the fertile productive loam distributed along the Nile Valley during millennia of flooding.

As we witnessed the stark contrast between the barren desert and the fruitful valley, I couldn't help but think of Moses as he stood somewhere along this line. I wondered what he thought as he turned his back on the bounties of Egypt’s storehouses and faced the bleakness ahead and led the children of Israel into that blistering desert.

This moment must have been a climatic symbol of the great change which had come upon him when he had turned his back on being a prince of Egypt and accepted the Lord’s call to become His prophet.

I doubt that in his wildest dreams he would have ever envisioned that the innumerable earthly treasures of his princely life would be have to be sacrificed and the Lord would put him on scorching path which would lead him and countless numbers of Heavenly Father’s children to Eternal Treasures.

We, much like Moses, often stand on a line which divides:

Bleakness from Brightness

Gloom from Glitter

Futility from Fertility

Calamity from Calmness

Recklessness from Restfulness

Sadness from Serenity


Sadly, when standing on a line with our limited understanding we are often confused between:

Bleakness and Brightness

Gloominess and Glitter

Futility and Fertility

Calamity and Calmness

Recklessness and Restfulness

Sadness and Serenity


And, thereby, lose the blessings the Lord has in store for us.

The struggle which attends these dramatic choices we are called upon to make in our lives:

Brings a little trauma into the life of every single person as they contemplate sacrificing the spoils of mortality for the promise of receiving joy in their posterity

Brings a little trauma into the life of every graduate as they contemplate an entry level job for the promise of some future comforts

Brings a little trauma into the life of us all as we stand in every store or showroom and struggle between self-indulgence and being a charitable person

Brings a little trauma into the life of each of us as we try to decide how to divide our precious hours between hobbies and recreation, and our family and church stewardships

Brings a little trauma into the life of every one of us as we struggle between minding our own business and being our brother’s keeper


Many times since that day Kathleen and I sat together gazing out the window of our comfortable air-conditioned bus entering the desert just outside of Cairo, Egypt, I have figuratively found myself on that line between desert and paradise; torn between the comforts of the now and the unknown of what might be out in the desolate hot sands.

Not yet as Moses, but to a small degree, I have come to realize that decisions made with the understanding of the natural eye are usually very shortsighted. Only as I attempt to see with the visions available to the spiritual eye do I gain the strength to reject the treasures of the world and begin to be led in my wanderings toward the promised land of Life Eternal.

THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, March 31, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

Allowing all – the privilege to worship – or not to worship – according to the dictates of their own conscience – are words which must – be deeply felt in one’s heart – and – diligently put into action – as well as uttered!!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

If during an act of service – our right hand is unaware of what our left hand is doing – we may in those moments – find ourselves being counted among – Heavenly Father’s unrevealed Angeles!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

If during an act of service – our right hand is unaware of what our left hand is doing – we may in those moments – find ourselves being counted among – Heavenly Father’s unrevealed Angeles!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

I suspect we will all be amazed – when the frequency of the attendance of angels in our lives – is at last revealed!!

Monday, March 27, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It is impossible to enter into – an act of service – if I cannot find a neighbor in need!!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

HEAVENLY FATHER’S PLAN

I have never considered myself anything more than ‘a researcher during times of need’. I always admired those who were able to immerse themselves into a subject until they had exhausted every available word or revelation that had been written about it. But, alas, other than writing my thesis for my Master’s degree and my dissertation for my Doctorate, I don't believe I ever scratched the surface of any subject beyond the immediate need to be prepared to teach the next class I would be teaching.

During this past year, I have watched Kathleen read and sometimes reread the talks of the early leaders of the restored church found in the Journal of Discourses. Beginning with the first talk in volume one and continuing onward with the goal of reading every talk in all 26 volumes, I have often had the thought go through my mind – ‘I could never do that’. I was always consistent in being a ‘researcher during time of need’, with my use of the Journals just as I had with all resources during my life. When I wanted to know what the Early Brethren had said on a given subject I went to the index and then explored the talks which had addressed that subject.

With that exhausting explanation and confession of one of my many shortcomings, I will introduce my approach to this week’s Thought.

Time has erased the exact stimuli which caused me to dig into what the Early Brethren had said about the principle of Harmony or Unity, but I do remember that it was with some frequency that they used these words in connection with their teachings about maximizing the benefits of Heavenly Father’s Plan.

We all understand, since confusion cannot be part of His plan, there can be only one plan which makes provision for the independent variety of paths each of His children will take as they, with the exception of His Only Begotten Son in the Flesh, wander here and there during the stages of their existence.

Since I am almost positive these words will be read by those of us who are in the second stage of our existence, affectionately called mortality, I will confine my Thoughts to how His Universal and Eternal Plan applies to us in our present condition and what I understand the principle of Harmony has to do with our progress during this stage of being proven.

Although, as I previously stated, there is but one plan the prophets throughout the ages have used various descriptive words when talking about His Plan. The prophets through the ages have talked about points of His Plan in various ways. It has been referred to as the Plan of Happiness, The Plan of Salvation and The Plan of Exaltation.

For our purposes this Sabbath Day we will be using these sub titles for His Plan as I will now define them.

Plan of Happiness – The principles and doctrines which when lived will maximize our chances of happiness during mortality.

Plan of Salvation – The principles and doctrines which will help me qualify for the full benefits of the Atonement of Jesus the Christ.

Plan of Exaltation
– The principles and doctrines which will help me come to know God and increase my desire to become like Him.


PLAN OF HAPPINESS

If we believe that we are a duel being, one part a spirit body is an off spring of Deity and the other a physical body born of mortal parents;

If we believe that our spirit body progressed and passed its first stage of existence, at least to a sufficient degree to have earned passage into its second stage;

Since we know that misery, conflict and dissension are antithetic to happiness, and since the spirit portion of our body has already proven itself to some degree by accepting and covenanting to live Heavenly Father’s Plan;

There needs be a Plan to guide the mortal part of our being into Harmony with the state of our pre mortal spirit body.

Since, if it were left to each individual to determine ‘the best’ path for our mortal journey we would end up with billions of paths, there needs be an Eternal Universal path.

Hence, the Path of Happiness is, by bringing my mortal body into Harmony with the principles and doctrines of the Gospel which the Spirit body knows to be true and has chosen to live, I will thereby be eliminating the conflicts and dissensions which cause the two parts of my soul misery and I will have achieved happiness.

PLAN OF SALVATION

If we were an island and we all lived alone in our little glass house, the Plan of Happiness as it relates to Harmony, would be the end of ends of His Plan. However, since none of that is true there must be more to Heavenly Father’s Plan than the principles and doctrines which bring my mortal body into Harmony with my spirit body.

There has to be a reason why the Savior taught that besides loving God, if we wanted to live all the commandments, we likewise had to love our neighbors and by so doing we would thereby be living all the commandments. I think it was the Savior’s desire to cement that concept into all of our hearts by giving us His last commandment ‘to love one another’.

It should already be obvious where I am going, but bear with me in all patience. Just like bringing Harmony to my whole being is essential to Happiness, coming into Harmony with my neighbor by eliminating discontent, dissension and division becomes the beginning of the pathway to qualify for all the benefits of the Atonement.

It is true that the Savior by summing up the qualifications for receiving all of the benefits of His Atoning act, said that we must love one another. I have come to believe that He easily could have said, it is essential that you come into Harmony with one another by striving to help one another walk upon ‘My Path’.

Hence, the essence of the Plan of Salvation is that just as we seek happiness by bringing our spirit body into Harmony with our mortal body, in order to receive all the benefits of the Atonement of the Son of God, we also must be about the ultimate act of love by helping our neighbor come unto Christ and thereby bring all of us into Harmony one with another.

PLAN OF EXALTATION

The prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith, taught in The Lectures on Faith, that it is essential to come to know the attributes, characteristics and perfections of God, that it is essential to believe He has all these attributes, characteristics and perfections in their ultimate and total state, and that in order to become one with God, we need to be striving to put upon ourselves those attributes, characteristics and perfections.

In his Sermon on the Mount the Savior admonished us to be about the business of becoming perfect like our Father who is in Heaven,

As long as there is a significant difference between the degree to which we understand and live a characteristic, attribute or perfection of God and His Eternal Exalted state, to that degree, we will be out of Harmony with Him.

Since our Father cannot diminish His Exaltedness in order be in Harmony with us, any movement toward being in Harmony with Him must come from us.

Hence, even though our pace may be slow, cumbersome, halting, misguided or repetitive, every minuscule movement toward understanding and putting on a characteristic, attribute or perfection which He is possesses, puts us just a tiny bit closer to being in Harmony with this part of Heavenly Father’s Plan.

THEREFORE

If we truly love ourselves – we will do all in our power to bring our mortal being into Harmony with our spirit being!

If we truly love our neighbors – we will strive to bring them into Harmony with the teachings of the Savior, so that they can be beneficiaries of that which the Plan of Salvation provides through the Atonement of the Son of God.

If we truly love God – we will learn of His characteristics, attributes and perfections and strive to take them upon ourselves so that we can in some degree approach being in Harmony with Him.


THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY

EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY

Friday, March 24, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

I will feel an increase of love for my neighbor – when I allow the lover of the Lord – to flow into my soul!!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

he world will become a happier and more peaceful place – as I put my efforts into being happy and peaceful – rather than sad and full of contention!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The world’s progress toward tolerance and inclusion increases – when we put our efforts into lifting up – rather than putting down!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

The measure of our success in life – may well result from – who we have chosen to follow – more than who we are assigned to lead!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

LIFE'S LESSONS LEARNED!!

It is always the strength of our anchor – which keeps us from drifting into dangerous storms!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN

I could easily have searched almost any decade and found an article like the one written by Stephen Ford in the Mesa Tribune, dated 6 February 1975, ‘The mascara-ringed and shoulder-length hair now believed to be worth approximately $17 million and only 27 years old, he is a pop deity. But despite what at first appears to be a pampered life … and all the money needed to support any life style, the rock star’s life emerges as a pathetic and pointless existence. He is a very lonely and confused person. He agreed to do almost anything to ‘make it’ and now that he has done that,, he’s frantically running around trying to get out of the image he’s locked himself into.”

If this were an isolated case it would be sad enough, but we know that throughout history earth’s inhabitants have repeatedly placed their feet on a path they thought would lead them to the pot of gold and everlasting happiness, only to arrive in the place of their dreams and then realize a tragic finish at the end of their often self-shortened trail.

I am grateful to have had instilled into my psyche the importance of knowing well the path you are going to trod before taking the first step. I am not sure I really appreciated those oft repeated hints which indicated the importance of knowing where the steps I was about to take would surely lead me.

Make sure the grass is really greener before you climb over the fence!

Make sure the ladder is leaning against the right wall before you start to climb!

Make sure there is a safe place to land before you jump!

Make sure you understand what constitutes gain before laboring in a field!

Make sure you understand what constitutes happiness before going to the circus!

The Lord’s warning about ‘ever seeking and never finding’ applies to so many paths we may choose to walk upon during our lives.

We jump from the path of faith in God onto a path of imagined security in the arm of flesh.

We wander from the doorway of the Temple and stumble among greater and greater towers of confusion.

We ignore the simple directions of the Plan of Happiness and collect complicated maps leading to misery.

We find it difficult to walk with those who are trying to walk toward the Light and find solace with those who try to hide from the light in dingy domains.

We forget for whose glory we toil and shamefully seek the accolades and honors from the deceivers of the world’s.

When will we ever learn – when will we ever learn?

There is no better way – there is no other way.

There was, is and ever will be only one way, wherein the children of God can find the joy they so desperately seek and desire.

He has marked the path and He has shown the way.

His commandments have been given to bring salvation to the children of men.

His doctrines have given to prepare the children of men for Eternal Life.

When will we ever learn – when will we ever learn?

No matter how high we are able to pile our accumulated stuff and no matter how many of our brothers and sisters we are able to enlist into serving us, we cannot, we will not, gain happiness until we absolutely and finally decide to go and do the things the Lord has commanded. (1Nephi 3:7) For behold he is mightier than all the earth. (l Nephi 4:1) Therefore, inasmuch as we keep His commandments, we shall prosper in the land. (1 Nephi 4:14

Indeed, we really are left to choose liberty and eternal life by adhering to the teachings of a loving God … or to choose captivity and death from him who seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself. (2 Nephi 2:27)

And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God. There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until one hundred and ten years had passed away, and there were no contentions in all the land. (4 Nephi 1: 15-18)

When will we ever learn – when will we ever learn?


THOUGHTS FOR A SABBATH DAY – WILLIAM L. RILEY
EDITED BY – KATHLEEN W. RILEY