Dr. William M. Taliaferro

Dr. William M. Taliaferro, otherwise called Bill, is universally described by students as being a masterful teacher of the Science of Mind (SOM) philosophy, able to deliver a clear, memorable message laced with humor. Bill delights in telling that he “stole” his wife, Lisa, from Cary Grant, who was one of her suitors when they first met. They have been married since September 19, 1964. Bill encouraged students to become life-long learners by reading at least 20 minutes a day from spiritual and psychological books.

Bill credits Dr. Earl D. Barnum, affectionately nicknamed “Barney”, as having had a major influence on him in how to embody and successfully live by the principles of the Science of Mind (SOM) teaching. Barney was one of the first ministers Dr. Ernest Holmes, founder of SOM, licensed, according to Bill. Bill studied SOM with Barney from 1969 to 1973 at the West Valley Church of Religious Science in Canoga Park, California.

When Bill arrived as senior minister of the First Church of Religious Science in Eugene, Oregon, it was a small work that met in a converted house. Under Bill’s guidance, the Church acquired a large piece of land suitable for new building construction but later traded it for a beautiful church building, which is still there. By the time Bill left as pastor four years later, there were 250 plus members and ¼ million dollars in the bank.

Bill then joined the Science of Mind Center in Ft. Lauderdale, where he served as the senior minister for almost 15 years. When he completed his ministry at the Center in 1994, there were almost 700 members and a building owned free and clear, without a mortgage.


Bill’s proudest achievements are having taught 13 Religious Science ministers active in the field and inspiring their leadership in the overall Religious Science International (RSI) organization, now known as Centers for Spiritual Living. Bill fondly remembers his service on the RSI Board on Education where he wrote the fourth year curriculum for ministerial students. He earned an honorary doctorate degree from RSI based on his leadership and contributions to the Board of Education. Bill also encouraged Avis Ziegler, a member, and leader at the Ft. Lauderdale Center, to write the Sunday Youth Curriculum for RSI.