Beware of Pride

Lesson 10

Topics: Pride, Selfishness, Unrighteous Dominion, Secret Combinations, Liberty.

Some might wonder why the topic of pride would be included in a course on Liberty? One of the fruits of pride is secret combinations. Pride results in a loss of liberty. It is only righteousness, repentance and following God’s Law that leads to Freedom and Liberty. Pride is therefore one of the greatest enemies of Liberty.

From the talk “Beware of Pride” by Ezra Taft Benson (delivered in LDS General Conference by Gordon B. Hinckley):

When pride has a hold on our hearts, we lose our independence of the world and deliver our freedoms to the bondage of men’s judgment. The world shouts louder than the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. The reasoning of men overrides the revelations of God, and the proud let go of the iron rod.

Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.

Disobedience is essentially a prideful power struggle against someone in authority over us. It can be a parent, a priesthood leader, a teacher, or ultimately God. A proud person hates the fact that someone is above him. He thinks this lowers his position.

Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. “How everything affects me” is the center of all that matters—self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking.

Pride results in secret combinations which are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world.  This fruit of the sin of pride, namely secret combinations, brought down both the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations and has been and will yet be the cause of the fall of many nations.

Another face of pride is contention. Arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, generation gaps, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances all fall into this category of pride.

In Ezra Taft Benson’s message “The Price of Liberty: Eternal Vigilance“, he spoke of a political cycle very much similar to the pride cycle Latter-day Saints are familiar with, from reading the Book of Mormon:

Great nations do not usually fall by external aggression; they first erode and decay inwardly, so that, like rotten fruit, they fall of themselves. The history of nations shows that the cycle of the body politic slowly but surely undergoes change. It progresses—From bondage to spiritual faith—From spiritual faith to courage—From courage to freedom—From freedom to abundance—From abundance to selfishness—From selfishness to complacency—From complacency to apathy—From apathy to fear—From fear to dependency—From dependency to bondage.”

Quoting again from “Beware of Pride” by Ezra Taft Benson:

Pride affects all of us at various times and in various degrees. Now you can see why the building in Lehi’s dream that represents the pride of the world was large and spacious and great was the multitude that did enter into it. Pride is the universal sin, the great vice. Yes, pride is the universal sin, the great vice. The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit…

My dear brethren and sisters, we must prepare to redeem Zion. It was essentially the sin of pride that kept us from establishing Zion in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was the same sin of pride that brought consecration to an end among the Nephites. Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion. I repeat: Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion.

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Lessons on Liberty – Table of Contents