Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle presented his latest paper entitled "Human Knowing" at the Firm Foundation Summit at Utah Valley University, April 7, 2017

Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle presented his latest paper entitled “Human Knowing” at the Firm Foundation Summit at Utah Valley University, April 7, 2017


Human Knowing

A presentation by Chauncey C. Riddle, 7 April 2017, Firm Foundation Expo held at Utah Valley University. (Originally a Powerpoint presentation.)

This is a collection of the works of Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle.

It has been said that three of the greatest teachers to grace the halls of Brigham Young University in my generation were Hugh Nibley, Arthur Henry King, and Chauncey Riddle.

I have to be careful. He may not let me publish this site if I praise him too highly, (that is partly why I keep the password to this blog!)

The Education of Zion-Conversations with Arthur Henry King, Chauncey Riddle, and Hugh Nibley

He has been likened to a modern day Socrates; a latter-day Socrates. Socrates taught with questions; Chauncey taught with questions. Socrates never wrote much that was published. In fact, if it wasn’t for his more famous students Aristotle and Plato, the world may not have known much about Socrates. But Socrates inspired the greatest philosophical thinkers throughout all of history. His students sat daily face to face with greatness.

As far as I know Chauncey wrote a book called “A Generalization of  Tolstoy’s Theory of Art” in 1951, his unpublished doctoral dissertation at Columbia University in 1958 called, “Karl Person’s Philosophy of Science,” and “Think Independently” in 2009, long after his retirement from BYU.

When I was sixteen years old I was given a printed collection of notes that two students took from a class of Dr. Riddles in 1965, the year before I was born. The top of the talk was ripped off but it was about what he called “The Deadening Sensation.” I later found the title of the paper was “The Path to Redemption” and it was a class taught by Dr. Chauncey Riddle. It changed my life. I got to know several of his students who passed me another talk now and again and I was enthralled with the clarity of his thought process. I went to an Education Week lecture or two of his and was even more amazed at the bright light of his understanding.

Chauncey says his entire mission is to turn people to Christ by getting them to think.

I tried a few times to play golf. I can actually pick up the ball and throw it better than hitting it with those sticks. One technique that worked for me was to look far down the fairway at the hole, then to find a small item as a landmark that was much closer to me. If I focused on the small landmark, I was hitting in the same direction as the hole, but I could keep it in sight while I swung the club. That is what Chauncey is to me and countless others in relation to becoming like Christ and finding truth, and turning us in the direction of Christ and truth.

I heard he was about to retire. I had just finished my degree at the University of Utah after two years at the United States Naval Academy and two years on an LDS mission to South Carolina. I decided to move my family to Provo, Utah, so I could take one class from Dr. Riddle. I was compelled to. I enrolled and audited the class during the summer prior to his final year of teaching. It was Philosophy 110.

I was told (or warned) that it would be rigorous, but I had no idea.

The first day of class Dr. Riddle told us of his  unorthodox grading regimen. He graded from 0 to 12. If I remember a 9 or 10 was considered to be an A. He told us that he wasn’t sure that anybody would be able to get a 12 on an assignment. I learned later that to receive a 12, he had to receive revelation that the student had received revelation or inspiration about the assignment. My first grade on a paper was a 2. I had a 0 or two. I was half way through the course and my highest grade was a 6. I had considered myself rather bright.

He taught us how to ask questions; all different kinds of questions. He taught us about systems thinking, strategies, metaphysics, epistemology, language, and worldviews. He helped us compare summaries of each philosophical and theological thought process and models to each of the others. We had to come to class fully prepared by having read the entire assignment(s) and having three well thought out questions written out and prepared. He cared more about thoughtful questions than answers.

I was putting in more time on this class than my full time workload at the U of U or Annapolis, and loving it. I was learning. I was thinking. I wasn’t cramming for a test, or psyching out a professor.  I was lifting heavy loads with merely my neurons. I honestly remember my brain hurting. I was obsessed with getting a 12. I had finally achieved an 8, then one 9.

Dr. Riddle said sometimes an idea was so strong it might be a pure concept. He said sometimes it didn’t need lots of words. Towards the end of the class he gave us an especially difficult assignment. I saw other students finish it early. Some with as little as 8 pages, or as much as 25. I couldn’t get around the fact that I strongly felt I could encompass everything he was asking me on one single piece of paper; in a table, almost a picture. I understood it completely, and it was simple. Too simple for a long drawn out writing assignment; just because I could. I remembered Mark Twain, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter.” But now I had time. And I knew.

I knew he would know.

I turned it in.

I got a 12.

I’ve never forgotten that day.

I am no Aristotle or Plato. I am just Ken Krogue, my day job is President and Co-Founder of InsideSales.com. I’m the volunteer webmaster for this site, and a former student of Dr. Riddle who convinced him to let me make this site available to future generations of students. I spent several years and over 350 hours transcribing his talks and audio recordings into this collection. If there are typing or grammatical errors, they are mine. I learned to type 75 words per minute in the process and gained temporary discipline to get up day after day at 5am. I call it my “Masters Degree in Thinking.”

The views contained on this site are merely thoughts and reflections on the doctrines of Christ and philosophy. Dr. Riddle does not claim to speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His only goal (and he has reminded me of this even this week) is not to focus on Chauncey Riddle, but to turn people to Christ.

I welcome any and all other students, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Riddle to join me in this celebration of his life’s work by making it available to others.

We are pulling together an Editorial Board of interested parties to work on this blog and another website called www.RiddleAcademy.com that will be based loosely on the Khan Academy concept.

We hope to make the curriculum and thought process Dr. Riddle taught through his own version of the Socratic method and by the Spirit of Christ for 40 years, available to future generations. Please email me at kkrogue (at) gmail.com if you want to help, just want to read, or have additional materials, thoughts, ideas, or questions.

Why am I doing this? I want more people (including my kids) to learn to think.

Like I did.

Come join me on the journey.

Ken Krogue, a student of Dr. Riddle nike thea schwarz nike thea schwarz

50 Responses to Welcome

  1. Jeff Driggs says:

    I had the pleasure of having Elder Riddle in my district and zone while serving in the Illinois Peoria mission. I have a two page work entitled “Working By Faith is Mental Exertion” written by Chauncey Riddle in response to a mission wide effort to obtain “an eye single to the Glory of God”. To my knowledge this work hasn’t been published anywhere, I am happy to forward you a pdf copy if you would like.

    • admin says:


      I have transcribed the work you sent me entitled “Working By Faith is Mental Exertion” and added it to the list. Thank you so much for contributing. I’m still working on the other one.


  2. Brian says:

    This is an impressive collection. Thank you for compiling it and making it available.

    I am hoping to find a template which was part of the Phil. 110 sylabus which was useful for studying gospel topics. It has been many years, but I remember it contained elements such as:
    Celestial, Terrestrial, …
    Heart, Might, …

    Ken, are you familiar with this, and can you point me to where I might find it?

    • admin says:


      I took the same course! It is the course that changed my life. Dr. Riddle is helping us pull it together again in an online course that will allow anyone who is interested to go through it. It will be a self-study course much like KhanAcademy.com. It will be called RiddleAcademy.com.

      I remember every single one of those topics. Stay tuned!


  3. Doug Ealy says:

    Thank you for all your work. I am not familiar with Bro. Riddle. I bought his book “Think Independently” and I loved every word. I googled his name to see what else might come up and I found this site. I can tell that you have done a ton of work and I wanted to pass a note along to thank you for it.

    Doug Ealy

  4. Tim Williams says:

    Thank you Ken for starting this site and for the work you have done in assembling brother Riddles writings. He mentioned this site to me several days ago when he attended my mothers funeral. My mom was he and his wife’s long time friend and a member of a long standing “study group” that has seemingly spanned 50 years. His talks and discussions have had the most important impact on my thinking and understanding of the gospel – and I told him that Thursday (which he deflected in his humble way). I have over the years bugged him to send me anything he might have written down but not “published”. He has sent me some items and I will forward them to you.

    I remember when I was struggling with what I should do to expand my mind – what I should study, who I should read – and he gave me some suggestions, but said, what would really expand my thinking would be to learn another language. I never have, and wish I would have gone on a foreign speaking mission. Its still on my list.

    For me, I think his essay on the New and Everlasting Covenant is inspired and revelatory. It just puts it all in perspective for me. I look forward to seeing the contributions to this site grow.

    Tim Williams

  5. Hugh Vail says:

    Where might one such as I obtain a copy of the book “The Education of Zion”?

    • admin says:


      It is actually a video, and can sometimes be found on Amazon or eBay. I was able to find one recently.


  6. Lynda Wilson says:

    Thank you for all the effort that has gone, and is going, into this. Chauncey Riddle was a huge influence on me during my BYU years, even though I never did have a class from him. But I heard him talk whenever I could. I suspect that there are many like me who never took classes from him, but who admired his rigorous and unflinching way of thinking about life and the gospel, and were shaped by it.

  7. Greg Miller says:

    I was fortunate to take freshman honors Book of Mormon classes from Brother Riddle in 1966-67. Each class felt like a really good sacrament meeting, and I felt that he “brought” rather than “turned” me to Christ, as if he were right by him. He taught me to use the gospel. He invited the class to his home, but I had gone to my mother’s funeral and missed out. I felt I had a great young mission, largely due to the preparation he gave me. I am now a senior missionary. When I am finished doing that, I want to read your entire site. Thank you for making his teachings available.

  8. Gary Woffinden says:

    I have copies of the following papers by Chauncey Riddle:
    Symbols and Salvation – BYU Studies
    Freedom – typescript – January 1965
    The Key to Religious Knowledge – Address to the Seminary and Institute Faculty – 6/21/1962
    The Mormon Intellectual – typescript
    How Shall We Pray – typescript

  9. mary darling says:

    My nephew Scott Bybee had him and graduated in philosphy. He loved him and what I have read of his, I too feel akin to his teachings. I am grateful that his works are now available. I was present when he participated in a round table discussion with Arthur King, Hugh Nibley, and Terry Warner as the moderator. I have been trying to get a copy on a vhs or dvd for many years. I have seen it on byu tv only once. Are you aware of this discussion, and if so, is their a dvd that can be purchased? Thank you very much for the work you have done. I feel Dr. Riddle is one of the choicest son’s of God.

    • Ken Krogue says:


      I was able to get a copy on eBay and one on Amazon. They come up occasionally.

      If I see one I’ll let you know or grab it for you.

      Ken Krogue

      • Abby Priedeman says:

        What is the name of the DVD of that round table discussion, please? Our former temple president, Ed Brandt, spoke of Bro. Riddle in glowing terms. My boss speaks about Arthur Henry King with deep respect. My daughter introduced me to Terry Warner’s work. To hear them all together would be a treat!

        Thank you for making all this available; it truly must be a labor of love. No amount of money could entice someone to do all this as an “extra.”

        • Ken Krogue says:

          It is actually a VHS video called The Education of Zion: Conversations with Arthur Henry King, Chauncey Riddle, and Hugh Nibley. They come around occasionally, and can be checked out or viewed at a few libraries like Orem City Library.

          Ken Krogue

  10. Russell Gunther says:

    Ken, thank you for this most valued site! The most influential class and teacher I had at BYU back in the early 80s was Philosophy 110 by Chauncey Riddle. I am so glad I googled Chauncey’s name!

    • Ken Krogue says:

      I am glad as well Russell. What about the class had so much influence? Ken

      • Russell says:

        What about the class had so much influence?

        I immediately was drawn to something different about Brother Riddle – he had a calmness and softness about him. He was very precise and thoughtful in his responses and teaching. His teaching to ask questions and then answer them had perhaps the biggest impact. Next I would say his teaching us how to determine the “world view” of others. One assignment was to find out the world view of perhaps 5 individuals. I started that assignment and probably interviewed 15 or more. 5 of the people were bishops and I was fascinated to find their worldviews were so different. I could say more but suffice it to say that I would put Brother Chauncey Riddle in the top 5 most influential teachers I have ever had. Some of the others in that list include Truman G. Madsen & Catherine Thomas.

        Thank you again.

        PS. I would like to send you a token of my appreciation for your work here. Please email me an address that I could send you this token.

        • Ken Krogue says:

          The class taught me how to think and ask questions. And the spirit was the most powerful I’ve felt in an academic setting.

          Ken Krogue

  11. Alex Treharne says:

    I took several classes from Dr. Riddle and have a lot of great memories. Not sure what the class number was, but one especially memorable course was a 6 hour honors class (3 hours Phil. credit and 3 hours Rel. credit). The grading system described above sounds familiar. I remember once sitting in Dr. Riddle’s office talking with him about some assignment, and as a young naive student, asked why he never bore his testimony in class. He looked at me and asked “do you think I have a testimony?” I realized then that I knew he had a profound and working testimony, and that I had never seen him “bear his testimony” as is the cultural practice in the Mormon church, meant nothing. It was one of the early and powerful lessons on “being” and “doing” that I learned in the Philosophy Department. Thanks for putting up this website!

    • Eric Johnson says:

      Hi, Alex. I remember you from a formal logic class we took together, but we didn’t take Dr. Riddle’s class at the same time. Youre description of Dr. Riddle’s method and demeanor is spot on. Don’t you just feel as though you stumbled upon an oasis having taken Dr. Riddle’s class?

  12. Thanks for this site. My wife and I met in Dr. Riddle’s class in 1991. We were both freshman, and both took the class at the insistence of our fathers. After we each served missions, we were married. We have 7 children and will be celebrating 17 years of marriage in June.
    Anyway, I googled “Riddle and ways of knowing” because I’ve wanted to share that concept with some family members and friends. I am glad I found this article; and I plan to visit this site often to read more. My wife has the syllabus from our 6-credit class we took. I think we must have taken it the year before you. His son was in our class, the class was being filmed.

    I have so many great memories from the class. I remember on day one he said: “If this class if not the focus of your semester, don’t come back!” My roommate didn’t come back. Thankfully, I did. My then future wife and I spent 3-4 nights each week studying for the class; and I attribute the foundation of our relationship to these study sessions. Because of this class, I grew to know Patricia and realize that she is a woman of God and someone who I would love to marry.

    I will send you any information we have that I don’t find here at the site.

    Thanks again and God bless.


  13. Ronald Fuller says:

    Is “The Education of Zion” transcribed on this site?
    Thank you

  14. Chip Browne says:

    Thank you Ken. What a work of love you have created here. I was a student back in the early 80s and attended his Philosophy class. My wife attended it during a different semester. I so appreciated the principles that he shared. I have never met a more thought-out person in my life. Thank you again Ken.

  15. Jim Sabey says:

    I read a quote by Chauncey Riddle while I was teaching seminary a few years ago, and now I can’t find it.
    In essence, it said that the purpose for Heavenly Father giving people wealth was to provide honorable employment for others.
    I have used the search function on this website, and still cannot find it.

    Can you help me locate that quote?

  16. Eric Johnson says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time and care to create this site. Finding it was like discovering a new bike on Christmas as a kid.

    Every now and then, when I find myself doing my best thinking, I inevitably tie it back to Dr. Riddle. I took a course from Dr. Riddle too, and it too changed my life. Best college course I ever took, bar none.

    I can’t remember its name, but the substance was, essentially, “The Philosophy of the Restored Gospel,” in other words, how the Restored Gospel stood as a philosophy. The class was, as you described Dr. Riddle’s other courses, rigorous to say the least. In the first two weeks or so, he deluged us with massive readings and essay requirements and then give you a 1 or a 2 (out of 12) on your best work (or what you thought was your best work). I thought of quitting several times because the workload was crushing, but something about it made me say (I’m not ashamed to admit) “I won’t let him beat me.” I am so glad I held on. ‘Turns out that this was Dr. Riddle’s way of thinning the herd to a reasonable class size, and Dr. Riddle admitted it.

    The course covered the broadest, deepest material of any course I ever took (and that includes law school). I remember the grading system for “quizzes” (which could consume an entire week’s preparation) in the course I took was 0-3, and if you got a 3 (and he never gave charity grades) you felt like a genius (and you probably really had approached it too). Read and study Chauncey Riddle and, though you will be wrung out by it, you will be a better person, a better Christian, and grateful for the experience.

    • Ken Krogue says:


      It sounds like he had somewhat the same effect on you also as myself and countless others… many are following this blog.


  17. Eric Johnson says:

    Do you welcome support for this site with donations of money or labor? If so, would you please tell me what is most wanted and needed?

  18. Erik J. Smith says:

    Thank you for your work on this site. If there is any need you have that you feel a middle-aged man with some thinking ability could render, please do not hesitate to request it. This site is such a blessing !

  19. Fred Dodini says:


    I would like to include a synopsis of Dr Riddle’s talk The Deadening Sensation (also known as The Nozzle of the Gospel) in a book I am writing. Do I need permission from his estate or will a citation of the talk be sufficient? Please advise.

  20. Leon Colman says:

    Ken, I want to thank you for putting together this site.

    I had the opportunity to meet Elder Riddle and his wife while they served a temple mission in Mexico City. I had the privileged to share my Tai Chi with him. While he is a great example of what a teacher should be, he is also a great student, devouring content and expanding on concepts. And yet, the genius of his teaching is turning everything back to Christ. (Because, in the end, everything is about Christ.)

    The most memorable words I recall him saying were those he spoke after many of us cajoled him into giving a series of lectures at the CV. He said,”My job as a teacher is not to answer your questions, but to help you ask the right ones.” It has changed the way I teach, the way I think of the gospel and the way I live my life.

    Thank you for this site.

  21. Lee (Spickelmire) Slichter says:

    I think of Brother Riddle often. I was a Freshman Honors student in the fall of 1984. My daily intellectual workout facilitated by this great mentor and witness of truth changed my life forever as my testimony grew deeper and broader. Later, he taught my mother, Judy Spuckelmire, as she did some courses in Provo through a program she was participating in. I know he will likely not remember either of us, but he has definitely touched my family’s lives for good.
    In my Honors Philosophy/Religion course, we used text that was incrementally available because it was actually being collected into an anthology of sorts as the semester progressed. Did that string of articles, talks, excerpts, etc. ever become a book…if so, can I buy one somewhere? My notebook which contained all my (“captured”) summaries and the original texts has been lost somewhere in the intervening 30+ years.
    Brother Riddle may be interested to know that as I experienced his class, I made a promise to myself to follow his example in this way: no matter the calling, those in my stewardship will know 1. They NEED their Savior. 2. He is ABLE to save them. 3. He is WILLING to save them. Whether they are Primary children or my Gospel Doctine class,
    Blessings on your work. Let me know about the availability of that book.
    Lee Slichter

  22. I had the honor of taking an introductory, 6 hour Honors Philosophy seminar from Dr. Riddle (with support from Monte Shelly) my first semester at BYU after having completed my mission, in 1982. It was a great foundational course for the rest of my academic career. I continue to use the strategies and skills of thinking and becoming that Dr. Riddle guided us through in that intensive seminar. Dr. Riddle had personal meetings/interviews with each of us periodically during that semester. I met with him at his home, also. I once asked him, “If there were only one question the Lord would ask of us at a final judgment, what do you think it would be?” He furrowed his brow, thought for a brief moment or two, and then replied, “Have you learned to love?” Thank for you creating this blog to give others the opportunity to benefit from Dr. Riddle’s work. I know he would never seek attention. This blog will help direct others’ attention to Christ.

  23. Marina says:

    Good article. I’m dealing with a few of these issues as well..

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