I have been a member of this beautiful gospel of 26 years and have witnessed many beautiful opportunities of my brothers and sisters through the gospel, supported, served, and cared for one another. Yet, I too have experienced periods of seeing how we have hurt one another, as well as ourselves because of prideful thinking and behaviors. I was asked to discuss about Pride and will be referring to several scriptures and a talk by a previous prophet of the church, President Ezra Taft Benson call, “Beware of Pride.”
Several examples of pride includes….During the premortal existence, Lucifer’s pride of wanting to attain all glory to his own, led him to become disobedient to our Heavenly Father…. in the the Book of Mormon, the Nephites became prideful and eventually a fallen nation…in the New Testament, Christ was crucified because of pride as the Pharisees were offended when Christ claimed himself to be the Son of God, which threated their position, therefore plotted our Savior’s death.
I do not stand before you to speak about pride and pretend that I am innocent from ever having a prideful heart. I do not stand here to point fingers at anyone in this room. I stand before you to provide a talk that was asked of me by the bishopric on a topic that appears to be a concern for us all. So, how can I discuss this topic and not reflect about my own character regarding pride? I would be such a hypocrite to say I have not experienced a prideful heart.
I too have offended others and have been offended by co-workers, close friends, family members, and members of our church. I too have compared myself to others and wondered “could I ever attain what they have physically and spiritually? I too have been lazy and not prayed as I needed. I too dangerously relied on questionable opinions of others rather than ponder and seek the opinions of my Father in Heaven, church leaders, or righteous members. I too have felt my opinion was more important than the leaders of the church. Pride is such an ugly thing and I know we all have experienced it at some point in our lives.
I pray my brothers and sisters that I will convey this message in a way that will unite us all, to stand beside one another with a humble heart and have a greater love and respect for the gospel and especially for one another….within and out of this church.
According to President Benson, “Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many of us sin in ignorance.” In Mosiah 3:11 it states “for behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.” President Benson further shared, “there is no such thing as righteous pride, and 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 our fellowmen.”
According to Webster dictionary enmity means, “Active and typically mutual hatred or ill will, a very deep unfriendly feeling, hostility…which may be concealed or open.”
Examples for the word enmity provided by the dictionary includes….
There’s a long history of enmity between them.
His comments earned him the enmity of his coworkers.
We need to put aside old enmities for the sake of peace.
Words similar to enmity includes….animosity, antagonism, bad blood, bitterness, gall, grudge, hostility, rancor, feud, vendetta; hate, hatred, loathing; vindictiveness, alienation, disaffection, estrangement; discord, friction, strain, tension; unfriendliness; malice, spite, spitefulness, venom
President Benson further shared, “Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves.” He shared about the concern of pride manifesting itself in so many ways…such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means-I believe the term could be “keeping up with the jones,” envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift one another, being unforgiving and jealous.
I am curious of what you all may be thinking right now. For me, I am standing before you and wish I could walked out of the chapel right now. If I was sitting on the benches with you, my tooshie would be squirming because at some point in my life, I have experienced those prideful behaviors. I know I am not alone in this and have dangerously trended waters to experience enmity toward individuals outside the church, within the church, against the gospel, and against God.
President Benson further shared, “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.” As Paul said in Philip 2:21 “they seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” It is further stated by President Benson, the proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, and their accomplishments against His mighty works. Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, offend and being easily offended. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.”
This hits home for me in many ways. Several years ago one of my sons informed me of experiencing same gender attraction and in the midst of it all, he was suicidal and hated himself. Immediately I informed him, “I don’t understand all of this but one thing I know is that we as a family love you, no matter what and will figure this out together.” It was not an easy journey of figuring “this” out. I spent countless of moments on my knees, begging for the feelings he was experiencing be taken away. I begged for forgiveness for whatever I may have done to have caused “this” and take it away. I begged Heavenly Father to please forgive his soul and please recognize the goodness of this wonderful son he provided our family. I experienced confusion and shame. My journey included reaching out to others, to members and non-members who experienced similar situations and inquired how they handled “it” all. I discovered a pool of various opinions… some non-members and members experienced anger, fear, and hatred toward their beautiful child or family member and casted them out of their homes and family. There were some who walked away from the church as they did not agree with the doctrines and teachings of the gospel, and some create attempts to change the doctrines of the church according to what they believe is or should be right. And then there are others, Christians and those within our gospel who continued to believe in the doctrines while questioning even after not understanding all of “this stuff.” They advocate for families to love, help, and accept their children, they educate and warn about the high rates of suicide among teens and adults because of “this thing” This group of people unconditionally love and permit their gay child or family member continue to be a part of their family.
I was confused and honestly did not know what to do. I questioned everything I valued and believed in. I questioned the gospel, I questioned the leaders and needed understanding and peace. This situation became much greater than what I could bare. Eventually, I begged for understanding and acceptance to love our son unconditionally without fear for his spirit, not according to my own will but the will of my Heavenly Father & Savior. Eventually, I stopped listening to everyone else’s opinions and put aside my own pride and opinions of all “the shoulds” and worked on what Heavenly Father wanted from me and needed. By doing so, one night as I knelt in prayer for peace and understanding, after several minutes of outpouring my tears, a quiet and peaceful feeling overcame me and I knew our Heavenly Father and Savior continues to love our son, that he is still a child of God… and I knew all would be well, and I knew the need to love my son unconditionally is what our Savior has taught, to be Christ like. Without a doubt, I knew with all certainty one truth remains, unconditional love is attained through our Savior’s atonement. I still do not have the answers to all the “shoulds and should nots,” yet for the first time I knew all would be well and I found peace.
President Benson explained in his talk…The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other world measuring device against others. Fear of men’s judgment manifests itself in competition for men’s approval. In John 12:42-43, it says “the praise of men more than the praise of God.” In John 8:29, our Savior shared, “and he that sent me is with me: The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Brothers and Sisters, I ask, does pleasing one another and ourselves take president over pleasing our Father in Heaven?
When pride has a hold of our hearts, our opinion only matters and we lose our independence as we bond with what the world think is right for our spirit, for our well-being, and for our state of existence. This is a frightful path to consider, to participate, and occurs to the best of us. Because of pride, I have witnessed people hurt themselves and one another.
President Benson also shared in his talk, “The reasoning of men overrides the revelations of God and the proud let go of the iron rod. Pride adversely affects all our relationships, our relationship with God and His servants, between husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, teacher and student,” nation against nations, and “all mankind.” “Our degree of pride determines how we treat our God and our brothers and sisters. Christ wants to lift us to where He is, do we desire and encourage this for others?”
President Benson explained the antidote for pride is Humility. According to Webster’s dictionary… humility is “the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: given or said in a way that shows you do not think you are better than other people: showing that you do not think of yourself as better than other people.
Let’s become a humble people by letting go of Pride, of enmity toward one another, toward our family members, toward our leaders, and especially toward Heavenly Father. As we forgive, as we love, as we respect, care, and serve one another we are being Christ like, according to our Father’s and Savior’s will.
Let’s consider the Words opposite of enmity which are…
amiability, civility, friendliness, hospitality, neighborliness; empathy, friendship, goodwill, sympathy, understanding
One of my most favorite area of the scriptures is in Mathew 5, the beatitudes Christ preached on the sermon of the mount; which are my to do list in attempting to learn Christ like attributes….
Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
Further on verses 14-16 Christ encouraged…
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
I testify brothers and sisters, seeking and acting on the will of our Heavenly Father will provide us not only peace and comfort but clarity of consciousness and spirit which our Heavenly Father, Savior and the Holy Ghost Savior provides. May we stand alongside one another with humble hearts, be a forgiving people, be a people of spiritual strength, and follow our Savior’s guidance to bless and love one another (members and non-members). In Jesus Christ name, our Heavenly Father’s beloved Son and our Savior. Amen.