Sunday, October 25, 2015


It would be extremely difficult to put a date of initial input on when I became aware of and interested in the concept of a Zion Society.

I do remember in Junior High or maybe it was in High School wondering how much more wonderful those Happy Days (1950’s) would be if Garden Grove, California, weren't plagued with racial bigotry and people who felt that bullying was normal and acceptable.

I don't think that while I was doing my Army basic training at Fort Ord, California, that the thought of a Zion Society entered my thoughts very much, if at all. I was too busy learning the ‘Spirit of the Bayonet’ and learning how to kill efficiently. I suspect if any such thoughts did enter my mind they would have been along the line of ‘Zion will not be anything like this.’

I do remember while I was in Northern Mexico on my mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that I came to realize that people can still treat one another with love and kindness regardless of their economic, cultural or racial backgrounds. It was also the first time I was really affected by the concept of everything not having to be labeled as mine or yours. I was introduced to the wonderful principle that another’s needs are always more important that my personal comfort.

Even though I had been raised by loving parents, I don't think it was until I married Kathleen and we started to raise our own children that I began to understand the amount of love needed in people’s hearts in order for them to be able to think of others as being as important as themselves. When I encountered the beginning of the love, which I would have, to extend to all mankind if I were ever to be able to be a candidate for membership in a Zion Society the realization of the difficulty of the journey started to be a reality.

Once I started my 50 plus years of teaching for the Church Education System, (which included time as an Early Morning Seminary teacher, decades as a full time employee of the Church Education System and as a volunteer Adult Religion teacher,) I doubt there were many days during half a century that I wasn't thinking and teaching about the principle of a Zion Society. Sadly, most of those thoughts and lessons were aimed at how far we were from putting the principles into effect in our daily walk.

During my retirement years and after I finally left the classroom, which at this writing has rapidly sped through five years, I have been writing these weekly Thoughts for a Sabbath Day as well as a collection of week day thoughts called Life’s Lessons Learned. Even though few, if any, of these writings have been titled ‘Zion Society Principles’, I suspect almost all of them were about these principles.

And my point would be?

After this life expectancy exhausting period of life and all the experiences I have had, I still find that when the subject of Zion comes up in a discussion, it is usually about how close the inhabitants of the world are to being wicked enough for the Lord to intervene with the prophesied destruction preceding His introducing His millennial reign.

News Flash!

The world had already risen to a qualifying level of wickedness during those Happy Teen Days of my youth.

The world was definitely wicked enough when I was being prepared to kill all the evil people who lived anywhere but on the chosen soil.

The world was certainly wicked enough as I served among the citizens of Mexico, who only a short time before I had been prejudiced against.

The world had arrived at high levels of wickedness as we raised our family during the nuclear bomb stock piling years.
Even though we think that there has been a continual rise in the collective wickedness of the world during the last 50 years, I believe the Lord could have chosen any time along the continuum for the ushering in of His reign.

In fact if we go back to the history which even predates geezer’s like me, the world was ready during the days of Sodom, the days of Alexander, the days of Caligula, World War I, the Roaring Twenties, World War II. I think you get the idea.

Put the timeline of the history of the world on a wall, throw a dart, where it hits, the world had probably reached the necessary qualifying level of wickedness.

So what is the Lord waiting for?

If my understanding is correct He is waiting for a people who are entrenched in the principles of a Zion Society, so that he will have a Zion people to dwell among.

He is waiting for me, not just my neighbor, to know, understand and live these principles.




Sunday, October 18, 2015



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Every ‘fresh’ ingredient of Grandma’s fabulous famous Stew recipe had been carefully measured and added together in the bowl. I then dutifully followed the instructions in the microwave cookbook and then visited with our guests as we waited the few minutes which were required by the instructions in the microwave cookbook. While we were waiting, I once again assured everyone that they were about to enjoy one of the most succulent delights of which they had ever partaken.

I had even borrowed some of those bowls with the blue painting on the rims in an attempt to make every detail perfect for Grandma’s stew.

In a magical few minutes my short order stew was steaming and we were seated at the table. I smiled as I anticipated the great satisfaction which all of us were about to have as we sampled the delectable dish which was before us.

My first taste brought a horrible realization that all the promises I had made to our guests would not be fulfilled with this terrible imitation of Grandma’s Stew. As if the taste wasn't condemnation enough, some of the veggies were rubbery while others were mushy and the stew meat was so tough it could hardly be masticated. In a word, this concoction was very un-grandma-ish. In fact the stuff in these blue rimmed borrowed bowls would not even have measured up to something which came out of a red and white can and had been bought at the local supermarket.

Apologetically, I bid farewell to our guests and then ran to the recipe box to see what I could have done wrong in order to make such a mess of Grandma’s revered Stew. I carefully and methodically retraced the steps outlined in the recipe and I felt assured that I had been faithful in measuring every pinch and dab indicated.

I was about to chalk this failure up to not possessing something magical with which only Grandma’s had been gifted and was putting the card back in the box when I saw some smudged writing in bottom right hand corner where my thumb had been holding the card only moments before. There the secret was revealed, ‘cook stew meat in a crock pot at low heat for 4 hours –add all the rest of the ‘fresh’ ingredients and cook at low heat for another 4 hours or until the meat is tender.’ (I suspect many of you who have often had ‘gourmet’ added to your cooking experiences were way ahead of me on the ending of this story.)

When I recall this embarrassing experience it brings to mind that an evaluation of our lives ought to include:

Whether time tested formulas should be modified and modernized just because we have found a faster way.

Whether the processes of an enlightened era, ought to reject the formulas of a slower but surer era just because they are more efficient.

Whether rules which have governed the ages should be rejected because we think we have found a better way.

Whether we should ever begin a project without first reading and understanding all the instructions we have been given.

Whether we should be so quick to discard the ‘old ways’ simply because they are the ‘old ways.’

Yes, and even whether we should reject such wonderful teachings such as ‘the golden rule’ simply because our neighbor has a better car as a result of ‘taking advantage of his neighbors.’

The next morning, surrounded by a ‘fresh’ batch of fixins, I carefully measured the ingredients down to the smallest dab and pinch and then ‘cooked the stew meat in a crock pot at low heat for 4 hours – added all the rest of the ‘fresh’ ingredients and continued cooking Grandma’s stew at low heat for another 4 hours or until the meat was tender.’

That evening, in plain white bowls, our family enjoyed the gloriously delightful ‘genuine’ Grandma’s Stew.

A few days later, when with my red face I was sharing this revelatory experience with one of our disappointed guests, he commented, ‘I guess that’s true in many of our experiences these days.’

When I asked him to explain what he meant, he replied, ‘I am afraid too many of us are trying to enjoy crook pot delights with microwave mentalities.’

Although microwave cooking might have its place in our ever improving world, hopefully we will retain in our minds that it may never substitute for low heat and time in a crook pot for bringing to life Grandma’s Stew.

Hopefully, we will always be willing to include in our lives those very important final steps which allow the mixing and blending of juices and spices.

Even in the convenient modern world in which we are privileged to live, there may be many of life’s experiences which can only successfully come together slowly, in a crock pot environment.



Sunday, October 11, 2015


Monday, May 25, 2015: Words spoken in anger – will never have the power – to bring calm – to a tempest tossed relationship!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015: Kindness should be our response – in all situations – where we have differences with others!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015: Even baboons are probably wise enough – to realize that words printed on social media – and spread on smart instruments – are not always true – let alone wise!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015: Greater truths can only – be built on the foundations – of known truths!!

Friday, May 29, 2015: The moment that parents are not teaching – may not exist – the ‘what’ they are teaching – may not always be desirable!!

Monday, June 01, 2015: No one was ever given the right – to choose who they would forgive!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2015: The valiant go forward – in spite of their weaknesses!!

Wednesday, June 03, 2015: The voices we choose to follow – will determine our destination!!

Thursday, June 04, 2015: Many blessings befall – they who are diligent!!

Friday, June 05, 2015: We have never been asked – to do more than we can – or give more than we have!!

Monday, June 08, 2015: In all our seeking – let us seek to lift the hands that hang low – and the heads which drop with heaviness!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015: It is difficult to follow a certain path – when the destination is unknown!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015: It is unwise – to think that you understand – the circumstances of another!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015: One should not make the mistake – to think that if they had been born in another’s shoes – they would have done much more with their lives!!

Friday, June 12, 2015: When we get our priorities muddled – we will probably find our futures filled with rusted and decayed minutia!!

Monday, June 15, 2015: Becoming anxious about things – we cannot change or control – is a great waste of time and effort!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015: No matter how noble our goals – we will never reach them – if we have chosen the wrong path!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015: Just because something is the latest and greatest – does not mean it is worth – my attention, time or effort!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015: The sooner we learn which activities should be done in moderation – and which should be done with diligence and dedication – the more productive will be our lives!!

Friday, June 19, 2015: Testimonies like prayers – seem to be most powerful – when they are concerned with particulars rather than generalities!!

Monday, June 22, 2015: A testimony is a living and growing thing – as with all living things – it will only continue to grow as it continues to be nurtured!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015: It is not only immediately after death and destruction – that care and comfort are needed – but also during the long healing period which follows!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015: It would be enlightening – if we were able to see our own blemishes – as clearly – as we seem to be able to see – those of our neighbors!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015: It would be wonderful – is we were able to give allowance – to the behaviors of others – as quickly – as we seem to dismiss our own negative actions!!

Friday, June 26, 2015: If I have shielded my eyes from the light of truth – it could cause me to become blind – to my own weaknesses!!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Notification about weekly Thoughts and my books!!

I have had a slight interruption in the posting of my Thoughts for a Sabbath Day on Face Book and my blog pages due to the wedding of one of our granddaughters (Brooke Riley-Vidal and Joshua Vidal) and General Conference.

Since I have lost contact with many of those who formally were receiving my Thoughts by email, I thought I would take this break opportunity to try and convince some of you to rejoin me by reading my weekly Thought on my blog pages or on my Face Book pages.

I recommend reading them on my blog pages, over Face Book, because Face Book is very limited on how you can present the material. My blog pages can be easily accessed by clicking on either the English or Spanish links below.

By bookmarking these sights you can have easy access any time you would like to read them.

All my previous Thoughts are archived on the blog sight and can be easily searched by title and date.

I encourage any comment which you would like to post either on the Face Book pages or on the blog sites.

While I am paying the price (it will take me most of the week to dodge yahoo’s blocks) to send out this email I also want to make you aware that both volumes 1 and 2 of my Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days are available in soft cover and eBook and can be purchased on Amazon/books/Thoughts for 100 Sabbath Days.

I do have a few copies of both soft cover volumes available for those who live close by if you would like to contact me by replying to this email.

I have appreciated the support you have given me on my little retirement adventure.

William L. Riley