’twixt will and will not
January 1971

“’twixt will and will not,” New Era, Jan. 1971, 45

’twixt will and will not

“The Spoken Word”, from Temple Square, presented over KSL and the Columbia Broadcasting System, November 8, 1970. © 1970.

There is a sentence from Shakespeare that suggests the agony of indecision: “I am at war ’twixt will and will not,”1 he said. Positive people are sometimes positively right and sometimes positively wrong. But indecisive people often torture and frustrate and defeat themselves “’twixt will and will not.” Students learn that when they change their major field they lose much time. It is better to change direction than to continue in a wrong course. But uncertain starts and frequent stops relatively go little of anywhere at all. One of the essential things in life is deciding what to decide—and a person doesn’t really arrive in his own right until he learns to decide for himself; not stubbornly, not without counseling, not without facts, but thoughtfully, prayerfully, there must come a time when we have sufficiently considered, and should decide. Decisions of principle ought to be easier than they sometimes seem. It shouldn’t take long to decide not to steal, not to be dishonest, not to be immoral. We shouldn’t be indecisive in matters of right and wrong. Nor should we let the lesser and trivial decisions waste our lives away. “To do nothing is the way to be nothing,”2 as a homely proverb put it. To be something, we have to do something; and to do something, we have to decide. In marriage we should decide to live in honest faithfulness and fairness; to cherish loved ones and make a happy home. We should decide to keep our covenants and contracts. We should decide to pay our debts when due. We should decide to see a doctor when we have persistent symptoms. We should decide to continue our education as fully as we can—and not drop out, but become qualified; to work honestly and earnestly. We should decide to be a self-reliant, productive, helpful, clean, well-groomed, respectful person. Not much worthwhile would ever have been done if someone hadn’t decided to do something on the positive side. Thoughtfully, prayerfully, we should decide to live a useful, wholesome, happy life—and not lose ourselves “ ’twixt will and will not.”


  1. William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene ii

  2. Nathaniel Howe, A Chapter of Proverbs