President Ezra Taft Benson gave a stirring talk in the April 1989 General Conference titled "Beware of Pride". I was living in Fontana, CA at the time. I don't recall hearing this talk in 1989. This talk was the backbone and springboard for our lesson in seminary today.
President Benson defines pride as ENMITY (hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition) toward God and/or others. It can be seen as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended. It is also faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, unforgiving, jealous, disobedience, and selfishness, just to name a few.
We took a brief True/False quiz on PRIDE at the beginning of class:
- If you don't like someone, then you have pride.
- Arguing is a form of pride.
- The way to overcome pride is by going to church.
- There are some forms of pride that are good.
- Disobedience to someone in authority over you is pride.
- Gossiping is a form of pride.
- If you have pride, you welcome input from others.
- Poor people don't have pride because they don't have money.
- Holding onto grudges is pride.
- If someone offends you, then you have pride.
Going over the answers of this quiz made for a good discussion. Our class was a bit surprised that some of these behaviors were forms of pride. I brought a mirror to class to make the point that in order to overcome pride, we had to be able to identify it, then we had to be willing to look for the pride in ourselves before looking for it in others. We can't overcome what we don't acknowledge.
What is beautiful about the Book of Mormon is that it not only identifies and defines pride in the Nephite people, but the solution to overcoming it is given as well. 1.The two groups in the Book of Mormon that seemed to have the greatest difficulty with PRIDE are "the learned, and the rich." (2 Ne. 28:15) In several chapters previous to this, Jacob teaches that "...to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God." (2 Ne. 9:29). 2. He addresses the rich by stating, "Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God." (Jacob 2:17-18)
The application of this to ourselves is key! The Book of Mormon was written for us to bring us closer to Jesus Christ through his teachings. We overcome the world by becoming like him. The Book of Mormon also shows us how to overcome the struggles the Nephites/Lamanites had in common with us. If we can implement the teachings of Jesus Christ in this book, we will be able to sidestep a similar destruction.
President Benson concludes his talk by stating, "God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble. Alma said, “Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble.” (Alma 32:16.)
Let us choose to be humble.