Along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon is central scripture to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon church). The Book of Mormon teaches many doctrines and gives many warnings. One of the most important lessons taught in the Book of Mormon is the devastating effects of pride. The Book of Mormon also gives counsel on how to repent from pride and how to find true happiness in Jesus Christ.
What Pride Means in the Book of Mormon
We hear the word pride often in society, and it’s not often meant negatively. In the Book of Mormon, though, pride is not a virtue and can actually lead to apostatizing from The Church of Jesus Christ. What pride means within the doctrine of Christ is an enmity toward God, a love of self over love of God. Timothy describes pride this way: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, . . . Despisers of those that are good, . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (3:2 – 4).
The Book of Mormon is replete with examples of those who choose pride over obedience to God’s commandments. Over and over again individuals and groups of people think they they know better than Heavenly Father and choose to follow their own wills rather than hearken to the will of God. These are the same people who cast out prophets and persecute believers in Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon shows the fate of the prideful: they suffer from spiritual death and often destruction.
The Book of Mormon also shows us what happens to those who are humble and repent before God. Alma the Younger is a man in the Book of Mormon who was very prideful and who actively sought to destroy the church of God. An angel visited him and made him aware of the severity of his sins, and Alma chose to repent. Once Alma repented he became a great leader and missionary. He and his people prospered as long as they kept the commandments of God. One of the central patterns visible in the Book of Mormon is that the pride leads to destruction and humility leads to prosperity.
Pride Leads to Other Sins
Pride is more than its own sin. In a spiritual sense, pride is a gateway drug. Once you become addicted to your own will and desires, you care less and less about what God thinks, and the enmity between you and God grows stronger. This will lead you to make more choices contrary to the commandments of God, and you may become more enthralled and less inspired. When you accept a state wherein your desires are more important than God’s, you will be on a slippery slope leading to more sin and more unhappiness.
Sins come in varying degrees. Lying, for example, is a sin, and in many instances, one that can be remedied in a simple and straightforward way. Sexual sins, on the other hand, are more serious because they often involve another person, can lead to irreversible consequences, and deal in more serious matters of the soul. Repenting from these sins is difficult and painful, but still possible. The root of all sin is pride, and if you can head off pride when you first see it taking root, you will avoid a whole slew of pain and heartache. President Ezra Taft Benson, a late prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ said, “The antidote to pride is humility. . . . We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives.”
We Can Apply Lessons on Pride in Our Own Lives
The lessons found in the Book of Mormon can directly aid us in our own lives. Everywhere you look you see people caught up in the selfishness of their desires and worldviews. Opinions on everything from politics to family life are subject to the snare of pride. Especially where spiritual morality is concerned, I’ve seen men, women, and even children blatantly mock commandments and doctrines that I value. One of Satan’s greatest tools is pride.
The consequences of pride are real and severe. Those who become caught up in their own pride may often seem happy and prosperous, but their spiritual state is not one to envy. Ultimately those who embrace their pride will have to answer for their choices. The blessings of humility and obedience are also real. Adherence to God’s commandments results in peace, spiritual safety, prosperity, and an increased testimony of Jesus Christ.
We can find strength and courage from reading in the Book of Mormon about men and women who choose to follow the Savior and value God’s will more than their own. In fact, continued obedience and faithfulness will result in your will becoming more and more like Heavenly Father’s, so there’s not such a disparity between the two.
If you find yourself wrapped up tightly in your own pride and wish to be free, all you have to do is look to Jesus Christ. The man I told you about earlier, Alma the Younger, hit rock bottom when the angel visited: for the first time Alma saw the reality of the damage he was inflicting on the church and on himself. What freed him from his sins was remembering what his father taught him about Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and will redeem us from our sins. This gift is not just for those who severely sin–it’s for all of us and for all of our sins, big or small. Pride starts out small and can become very big and very serious, but it’s never too much for the Lord to handle. If you want to change your life and discover God’s will, Jesus Christ and His gospel can pave the way for your recovery.
The Book of Mormon Provides Answers
This approach to pride may be new to you, and you may not understand what this all means. I encourage to seek your answers in the Book of Mormon. This book contains perfect truths and has real answers to real problems. If you think you are struggling with pride (which I think that we all are to some degree) look to Jesus Christ and seek to become more like Him. In reading the Book of Mormon, not only will you better understand pride and its devastating effects, but you will also come to know the Lord, Jesus Christ, in a more personal and intimate way. I know that I have found peace, answers, and forgiveness for my own pride through the doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon. I know it can offer you the same.