“There is no middle ground.”

Two of today’s speakers in General Conference–Elder Callister this morning and Elder Oaks this afternoon–used the phrase “there is no middle ground.”  Elder Callister was referring to the origin of the Book of Mormon, Elder Oaks to our duty to be loyal to Jesus Christ.  It was the exact same phrasing–“there is no middle ground.”  Interesting.

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7 comments on ““There is no middle ground.”

  1. In principle, one might say that as Latter-day Saints, we can’t really expect to be taking a neutral attitude toward the BofM. But certainly there is a continuum with infinite number of positions between a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-mormon crusader and a fervent believer.

    Thing is, often we see the believers described as half-witted zombies, who just take everything they’ve been told by their parents and Church leaders, and haven’t considered their position at all.

    Well caricatures are usually just that–they catch a glimpse of what they’re trying to portray.

  2. Well, it’s because there really isn’t a middle ground. We are either following the teachings or we are not. The Book of Mormon is true or it is not. If we are following some teachings and not others, we aren’t really following the teachings at all, therefore we are not being loyal to Christ. That’s my belief, anyway.

  3. IMHO, Velska perspective is correct. While we all aim for the perfection Erin speaks about, we (especially me!) all come up short, woefully short if we were ever measured on some imaginary perfection scale. Thankfully the Atonement offers us a chance to “try his works to do” without being unduly burdened by guilt and remorse.

  4. I’m not saying we have to be perfect. I’m saying it is our intent that is the problem. People so often justify reasons to not follow certain principles (sports on Sunday, just a little bit of gambling, it’s okay to overcharge a person who can afford it, scriptures are too boring to read, etc) and that is where the ‘no middle ground’ comes into effect. If we’re not striving to be like Christ, we are not on His side. So, I hope you can understand that I’m not saying we need to be perfect. I’m saying (as was everyone who spoke at conference) that we need to be trying to follow ALL the gospel principles and not just the easy ones.

  5. Erin, I appreciate the clarification. The key word you stress is ‘try.” What I’ve come to understand is that each of us has a different level of “try” in us and that its impossible for me to judge anyone’s effort or intent. I’m way too tough on my own efforts to think I should even hazzard a guess at anyone elses attempt to live the a Christ-centered life.

  6. This is why Christ says not to judge others. Nowhere has anyone ever said that we are to judge the efforts of others. The prophet and apostles chastise because they know, through divine inspiration, what things they should counsel on. They aren’t judging us. They’re just doing their jobs. And I’m certainly not saying *I* am perfect or that I have any right or means to judge another. I’m just expressing my opinion of what I think they’re statement means.

  7. Erin, I’ve enjoyed this back and forth and appreciate reading and thinking about your perspective. There’s a great story about President Kimball counseling then Relief Society General President Bella Spafford after Sister Spafford gave a wonderful general conference talk centered around the ‘all debate stops when the prophet speaks’ concept familiar to members during that era. After the conference session was over President Kimball caught up with Sister Spafford in the underground passage way between the old Tabernacle and the Church Office building. He complimented her on her talk and then chided her ever so gently by saying even though what she said, that all debate stops once the prophet speaks, may be true, he didn’t think it was appropriate to be preaching that from the pulpit at GC. Sister Spafford told the story upon President Kimball’s death as the most important lesson she learned from him. I concur with President Kimball’s approach and am more than a bit uncomfortable when told there is ‘no middle ground.’ It encourages blind obedience instead of the responsibility we all have to work out our testimony and salvation with My God.

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