In April 1989 President Ezra Taft Benson gave a powerful address to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His talk, titled “Beware of Pride,”was recognized almost immediately as being a classic, one that would be referred to and quoted from for many years. A recent Ensign carried a shortened version of President Benson’s talk in an article titled “The Great Stumbling Block to Zion.”
In his talk President Benson reminds us that the Nephite nation destroyed itself because of pride. He read the words of the ancient prophet Mormon who explains in these words: “Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction” (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Christ, Moroni 8:27). President Benson than reminds us that the Lord also warns us to beware of pride. “Beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:39).
President Benson explains, “In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride – it is always considered a sin…. Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.
“The central feature of pride is enmity – enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means `hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.”
So there it is: Pride is hatred, hostility, or opposition. Nations are divided because they hate God and other people who may be different – different in race, religion, income bracket, etc. Could this be why liberals and progressives do everything they can to divide the citizens of the United States?
President Benson continues with his explanation of pride. “Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of `my will and not thine be done.’ … Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled…. The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives.” He suggested that enmity towards God includes “rebellion, hardheartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. He says that “The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.”
This definition seems to fit the conditions in our nation at this time. The LGBT movement desires respect for their same-sex attractions and even demands society’s “blessing” on their same-sex unions by calling it “marriage.” They claim to not believe in God, hoping that their “non-belief” excludes them from His commandments.
The other part of President Benson’s description of pride has to do with “enmity toward our fellowmen.” He says, “The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others.” He quotes C.S. Lewis as saying, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man….”
The race problems in our nation are caused more by manipulation for gain than for actual racism. There is no doubt that racism exists in the United States, but it is not as abundant as the race-mongers would have us believe. I believe that there would be far fewer incidents of racism if the race-mongers would stay home. The “protesters” in Charlotte were not local people but people from other states brought into town on buses.
So, how does pride destroy nations? President Benson explains that “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. (See Ether 8:18-25.)” History tells us that nations that succumb to pride are ultimately destroyed.
President Benson continues, “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….
“God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble….
“We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives…. Let us choose to be humble. We can do it. I know we can.”
Right now our nation is headed for very difficult times. I believe we are headed for something worse than the Civil War – another time when God humbled our nation. Our government is operating under the control of secret combinations and has much corruption. (Proof of the corruption is the fact that Hillary Clinton is not in prison!) I believe our lives will continue to be very difficult until we shut down the secret combinations and force the rule of law. We must humble ourselves and turn to the God of this land who is Jesus Christ – or be destroyed.