These quotes are both about Dr. Riddle and by Dr. Riddle, often mentioned in passing by others.


“A real test of a man’s words are his works.”
Chauncey Riddle


“Our religion is the sum total of our habits.”
Chauncey Riddle


His Father in Heaven asks Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” and Cain fires back, “I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)  Maybe the answer to that question is—as Professor Chauncey Riddle once said to me—”No, Cain, you are not expected to be your brother’s keeper.  But you are expected to be your brother’s brother.”  (On Earth As It Is in Heaven, p. 142) – Jeffrey R. Holland


Brother Chauncey Riddle in the Philosophy Department made the statement that “the greatest kept secret in the Church is the gospel.” – Robert L. Millett


Among the debates sponsored by the Academic Emphasis Committee was a thoughtful exchange between University of Utah dean of students Lowell Bennion and BYU philosopher Chauncey Riddle regarding “The Liberal and Conservative View of Mormonism.” The two participants concluded that liberal Mormons tend to stress the spirit of ecclesiastical law rather than the letter of the law, submitting everything to “the test of reason.” Conservatives, on the other hand, were said to submit to priesthood authority, whether right or wrong, and to emphasize faith over intellect.

Brigham Young University
A House of Faith
Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis



Philosophical Love

I recently discovered a blog written by three BYU students combining their study of philosophy with that of the scriptures. It reminded my of one of my favorite classes while I was there: Philosophical Skills and Doctrines of the Gospel, taught by Chauncey Riddle. The following quotation from Riddle captures one of Dr. Riddles perspectives very nicely.

A new insight in one area of ideas sheds light and new perspective on every truth hitherto discovered. Thus, one must constantly readjust his thinking to new and grander perspectives as the panorama of the Father’s marvelous love for his children slowly takes shape and detail. This is exciting to experience. Of all the experiences a person can have, I suppose that learning the ways of God is perhaps next to the greatest of all experiences. I believe that the greatest experience is to have the privilege of putting those newly learned truths into action, to do the work of righteousness that correct concepts and true understanding make possible.

Author: Chauncey Riddle, Source: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6980&x=22&y=10

That was such an awesome class. “If this class is not the focus of your semester, I suggest you don’t take it,” he told us the first session. A number of students did not return. Thankfully, Patricia did return. She and I spent many hours that semester studying, reading, and writing for Riddles class. Our discussions of the gospel served as rich soil in which our mutual respect and friendship would flourish. Eleven years into our marriage, we still talk about that class rather often. Needless to say, she got the better grade. I did get the girl, though. Thanks Dr. Riddle.




A new insight in one area of ideas sheds light and new perspective on every truth hitherto discovered. Thus, one must constantly readjust his thinking to new and grander perspectives as the panorama of the Father’s marvelous love for his children slowly takes shape and detail. This is exciting to experience. Of all the experiences a person can have, I suppose that learning the ways of God is perhaps next to the greatest of all experiences. I believe that the greatest experience is to have the privilege of putting those newly learned truths into action, to do the work of righteousness that correct concepts and true understanding make possible.

Author: Chauncey Riddle, Source: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6980&x=22&y=10


Quote ~ Chauncey Riddle

June 27, 2010

We bring to every encounter our very essence. If we love and care and are concerned, those feelings go forth to bless others and return to bless you. You are twice blessed. Love is the greatest healing force and power in the universe.

~ Chauncey Riddle


Contemporary philosopher Chauncey Riddle also acknowledged this human tendency to adjust responsively to each particular life-context; he maintained, “We create ourselves in every relationship.” Again, this responsive influence of behavior occurs not only through the passive physical presence of others, but also the imagined presence of others. And when relations become proactive, the impact increases commensurately. In both active and passive scenarios, behavior is mutually influenced and altered.



As Chauncey Riddle reasoned, “the self is a myth to the self,” meaning, every person develops a theory of who they think they are based upon feedback from others. In his pithy statement, Riddle uses of the word “self” two times. His first mention of “self” refers to self-identity, and the second mention of “self” refers to the tangible, touchable self of body and being. It is self-identity, . . . or who you imagine yourself to “be,” that is a myth to the self. The word “myth” comes from a Greek word meaning “tale, talk, or speech” and is defined as:

1) A story of such a nature as to explain certain customs, beliefs, or natural phenomena;
2) A person or thing existing only in one’s imagination.

People indeed develop a “story” that wraps around and supports who they think they are; a story that helps keep a personal sense of identity and worth in balance. This story about self is what forms and justifies one’s self-identity (self-worth, and/or self-esteem), which in turn is a product pieced together in one’s imagination using fragments of meaning-full feedback from others.


Over the years I have been in?uenced, guided, and mentored by a great number of individuals who have earned Ph.D.s. I would like to make a particular mention of the following: Mikal McKinnon, Doug Lemon, Chauncey Riddle, Melvin
Luthy, Larry Christensen, Tony Martinez, Walt Hensley, Harry Miley, Deborah
Frincke, Karen DePauw, Lane Rawlins, and Rollin Hotchkiss.

A dissertation submitted in partial ful?llment of
the requirements for the degree of



I must confess that I enjoyed his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature back in college. I still have a copy. Originally I was pointed his way by some strange figure in the rows of book at the BYU library while a freshman researching a paper for Chauncey Riddle’s Epistemology class. I’ve no idea who this person was, but he seemed to think this would be very funny. I heard a rumor, which I’ve never verified, that Riddle was Rorty’s home teacher when he lived back east. In any case he never commented to me about it and I lost touch with Riddle over the years. Still Rorty was my introduction to pragmatism although I grew out of him before I even graduated from college. He just never seemed rigorous enough for me. One of the more enjoyable reads though was a debate between Umberto Eco and Richard Rorty over the limits of interpretation using Eco’s novel Foucalt’s Pendulum. The debate was published as Interpretation and Overinterpretation. The debate was a thoroughgoing attack or defense of what Eco considers the “hermetic hermeutic.” Ironically the debate was one of the O. C. Tanner Lectures – a rather notable rich Mormon who has a store across from the temple in Salt Lake City. (And many of the lectures involved noted “Mormon” philosopher Sterling M. McMurrin)



It is one thing for a professor friend of Chauncey Riddle (a BYU professor of philosophy who I admire) to spend seven years praying an hour a day to get an answer from God.  It was great advice when Dr. Riddle passed that along to freshmen in college as a guide.  Or for Alma to have the Church gather together to fast and pray for his son, Alma the Younger. – Steven R. Marsh


Chairman of religious education was Dr. Chauncey Riddle, 1962 Professor of the Year.


Chauncey C. Riddle
“Though there be gods many and lords many, there is but one God, and that God is the priesthood-ordered community of all the righteous, exalted beings who exist . To be invited to join them by hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ is to receive the greatest message in the universe; to be enabled to join them by receiving the new and everlasting covenant is to have the greatest opportunity in the universe; to be joined with them is the greatest gift in the universe, which gift is life eternal, sharing with them all the good they have and are.

“This good that they share is righteousness. Righteousness is that necessary order of social relationships in which beings of knowledge and power must bind themselves in order to live together in accomplishment and happiness for eternity. They bind [seal] themselves to each other with solemn covenants to become predictable, dependable, and united so that they can be trusted. They bind themselves to be honest, true, chaste, and benevolent so that they can do good for all other beings, which good they do by personal sacrifice to fulfill all righteousness.” (emphasis added) (The New and Everlasting Covenant;” Doctrines for Exaltation: 1989 Sperry Symposium on the Doctrine and Covenants, p. 225)


The author Chauncey Riddle is a Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia, one of America’s prestige universities.  Of his academic credentials, this philosopher told me once, “The only reason to get a doctorate is that some people won’t listen to anybody who doesn’t have some letters after his or her name.”

Of truth, Dr.Riddle references scripture, saying that truth is a knowledge of things as they were, are, and will be.  That immediately places it beyond the reach of the most brilliant mind working solely with its own resources.

That makes sense to me. We don’t even have a full knowledge of things that are in our everyday world.  Our senses can deceive us.  Our Minds can play tricks on us.  Our biases and prejudices filter the incoming data.

How much confidence then can we have in histories, archaeologies, geologies of the past?  How reliable are prognoses of the future?  Yet the experts speak with finality on these subjects as if they knew.  I like the story of the museum guide telling the visitors, “That dinosaur  is eight billion and 14 years old.”

A visitor said, “That’s incredible.  How can they date it with such precision?”

The guide replied, “When I started working here they told me it was eight billion years old, and I’ve been here for fourteen years.”

Fortunately, so we are told, we don’t have to depend on authoritative pronouncements today because we have science.  We can examine the research and test the experiments ourselves to assess the truth of the claims.  This works great if you happen to have a hundred mile circular atom smasher or a billion dollar medical research lab.

Oh, and it also helps if you know how to operate that stuff.  Science and authorities are valuable, yea verily (truly) essential in our complicated world and so we trust the experts and hope they are telling us the truth.

Dr. Riddle’s contention is that we have a conduit to pure truth from a source that never lies, and who is anxious to share the truth with us.  In these mixed up times I am heartened to know that such a source and system exists.  And actually, I kid you not, to tell you the truth, I’ve tried it, and it works.



It is such an important issue that a favorite college philosophy professor of mine once commenced a course by asking, “What is a good question?”

We spent the entire class on the subject. My professor’s answer was that a good question is always on the edge of what an individual knows—on the edge of one’s construct (or schema) of reality. To be able to see that edge—to recognize when one is approaching it—is the beginning of all inquiry and a necessary skill.

Author’s recollection of Professor Chauncey C. Riddle’s opening remarks to an honor’s philosophy seminar taught at Brigham Young University in winter 1986 (originally discussed in Callister, supra note 11, at 34). – Paul D. Callister


That was poetic.

Though, if like the wild geese you were true to your essential, eternal, nature, what would you do? Chauncy Riddle used to teach at BYU (in the 70s) that mortality really just let us sort out our enduring, eternal natures.

An interesting approach.

Angie — you need to look to Jesus, all the rest only helps give you a framework and direction. Remembrances.


Callister referred to Chauncey C. Riddle who said once that the scriptures are our Urim and Thummim.

“Indeed they are,” Callister said.


Keith on November 1, 2004 at 3:46 am

Here’s my thought on this:

I agree that there is something more “communal” about what happens at Church (but for that matter, so is the Temple). It is at the same time very personal and the connection with God should give personal help to the individual _and_ tie him closer to the Saints who are collectively the Temple of God, the body of Christ. So maybe we should just expand what we mean by “spiritual experience.” I don’t want to just feel the spirit of my neighbors or have them simply feel my spirit. If this is all Church is then what we have, as Chauncey Riddle used to say, are desperate and inept people trying to help each other. That may be an admirable in many circumstances, but not here because we can’t save each other. And a mutual support society without God’s Spirit is not what the Church ought to be–that isn’t what priesthood and the authority of the Church is for. We come to partake of the emblems of the atonement, something we do individually but also together. We come praying for the gifts of the Spirit, so all may be benefited–gifts that Moroni says are essential to doing good. We should come hoping for God’s Spirit–for me and for us.


Clark Goble [Member] says:

Justin (#36), it seems to me that one can be wise without a knowledge of good or evil quite easily. But I’d suggest that it isn’t at all clear, despite what Tim says, what exactly Adam and Eve’s thinking capabilities were like before or after the fruit let alone the fall. I think the idea that Adam and Eve went from being totally unwise to totally wise rather a dubious assertion.

Further I’d suggest (and this is a point Chauncey Riddle often brought up) knowing good from evil doesn’t imply wisdom after. After all nearly all humans know good from evil in some level, yet we’re not exactly a wise race.

Regarding what knowledge Adam and Eve had of the plan of salvation. Once again I’d simply suggest we don’t know much about what Adam experienced or knew in the garden. Little children are also innocent, but I think if you visit Primary you’ll find a lot of little children younger than 8 who have a fairly robust understanding of the plan of salvation – often in certain ways better than some adults.



I was department chair for nine years. But first I was chairman
of the Undergraduate Department and then I became the chairman of the
Graduate Studies Department. We had “Undergraduate” and “Graduate.”
Those were the departments. We didn’t have Old Testament, New
Testament, so forth. So it was different then. Chauncey Riddle was the
chairman of the Graduate Studies Department in the College of Religion,
and when they made him graduate dean over the whole university, I took his
place as Graduate Studies Department Chairman. Later, we changed the
departmental names and we had the Department of Church History and
Doctrine and the Department of Ancient Scripture. I was the chair of the
Department of Church History and Doctrine. So I was chairman three different times in three different departments in nine years. – Lamar C Barrett


My next big project is our vegetable garden. I am so excited about this. Our current landlord has been gracious enough to grant us plenty of space to do so, and has even scheduled trimmers to take out a few trees to enable more sun and beautify the space a bit.

As for the vegetables, I will be learning as I go. I’ve only done a little gardening with a lot of help and guidance from a master gardener, our previous landlord and friend, Chauncey Riddle. I’m really planning on trying a lot of stuff and just seeing what works.



I [had] attended a two week seminar at BYU where I had learned to “capture.” The teacher, Brother Chauncey Riddle, had said, “When you read the scriptures, don’t just underline the standard verses. Pray for the Spirit to highlight the verses–or even single words or phrases that you need to pay attention to. And then pay attention by taking the time and effort to write out the thoughts that are coming to you through those words and phrases.” Then he gave us an assignment to go home and practice by capturing every verse in the 32nd chapter of 2 Nephi. (There are nine.)

I did the assignment, and I could not believe the difference it made to me and how much the scriptures opened up to my mind and made sense and made a difference in my thinking. It was as if I had finally taken my finger off the fast forward button on my CD player and let the words slow down enough that I could actually understand them.



President Hinckley once teased Elder Maxwell that his handwriting was “unreformed Egyptian,” getting a roar from Elder Maxwell and the others present (I don’t know who was in the group, but some of the Brethren). Elder Maxwell’s penmanship was notoriusly difficult to decipher, even for his experienced personal secretary. It seems to me that the key would be the same principles governing other types of relationships (closing verses of D&C 121). We need a sound relationship to start with; the person needs to feel secure and trusted. And whenever there’s teasing, it should be followed with an “increase of love.”Teasing can be an effective means of strengthening bonds. It can also be an effective means of gentle correction. Of course, that presupposes that the teasing is well-intentioned, not mean-spirited.Chauncey C. Riddle, deceased (I better inform her he is alive) philosophy professor at BYU and one of the brightest, most humble men I’ve ever met, commented once about the “devastating cruelty” of elementary schools. He was speaking to a relatively small group, mostly home-schoolers, and it was clear from his words and their intensity that he had been the subject of extremely cruel teasing as a boy.

For me, that raises the question: If there is no (well-intentioned, love-filled) teasing at home, are we adequately preparing our children for what they’ll encounter at school and elsewhere?



nike air max günstig nike air max günstig

7 Responses to Quotes

  1. Pingback: Forbes - Level 5 Time Management: Beyond Stephen R. Covey and Ben Franklin | Ken Krogue

  2. Raleigh Johnson says:

    Reading Doctor Riddle’s articles is a fulfillment of the promise made in section 89 that we “shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures”.

  3. Alex Treharne says:

    Ken, I heard Dr. Riddle lecture once – probably mid 90’s? – he told the story of how one of his children contracted an eye infection that would not respond to any kind of treatment or medicine and continued to progress dangerously. Without going into detail on this post, Sister Riddle was inspired to do something very strange to her child’s eyes, and this cured the infection. It is a miraculous story. Do you have the speech where Dr. Riddle told this story?

  4. Pingback: Welcome Ward Mission Leaders! | WardMissionLeader.com

  5. John Nilsson says:

    I will be honest and say this paragraph from Riddle’s entry on Philosophy in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism has never made any sense to me:

    Answers to the questions How may I know? What is the seen world? What is the unseen world? and How shall I be wise? are all answered personally for every fully participating Latter-day Saint. The equivalent of epistemology in an LDS frame is the ordinances, focusing on the ordinance of prayer.

    Through the ordinances and in connection with other epistemologies come all of the light and knowledge sufficient to live a spiritually successful life. Questions about the natural world are answered by one’s culture as corrected by personal revelation. One must have some guidance on questions of metaphysics, and such is found in holy scripture and confirmed to each individual through personal revelation. The ultimate question as to how to be wise is answered both in general and in particular. The general answer is that to be wise is to love God with all of one’s heart, might, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as God loves us (D&C 59:5).

    The particular answer is to repent of sinning and to live by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit and the counsels of the living prophet (Isa. 50:10-11).

    • Ken Krogue says:


      It sounds like you have come to many of the same conclusions that Dr. Riddle helped his students come to. You must be listening to the same source. Thanks for the great comment. – Ken

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *