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Wilford W. Andersen|Nov. 7, 2017 It has been said that a good talk will always comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. As you listen this morning, you might consider which of those two applies to you. If my message accomplishes either of these two results, I will feel it has been worthwhile. I have prayed that the Holy Ghost will carry my words to your hearts and that you will then apply them in a way that will bless your lives. There is a prevalent pattern of behavior in the Book of Mormon commonly referred to as “the pride cycle.” It is repeated so frequently that one begins to sense that the Lord and His prophets are trying to teach us something important—that perhaps its inclusion in the record is meant to be a warning from the Lord to each of us in our day. Pride is a serious sin. In fact, in the book of Proverbs we read that it is number one on the list of seven deadly sins that the Lord hates.1 Using a clock as a metaphor, let’s say that the pride cycle begins at twelve o’clock—the pinnacle of pride. When we are at twelve o’clock on the pride cycle, we, like the Nephites of old, feel so successful, so intelligent, and so popular that we begin to feel invincible. We enjoy it when others compliment us on our successes, and we are irritated when others around us receive compliments on their successes. At twelve o’clock we tend not to listen to the counsel of others. We don’t need others. Sadly, we often conclude that we don’t even need God or His servants. We bristle at their counsel. We are doing just fine on our own. We forget or we reject what King Benjamin taught: that we “are eternally indebted to [our] heavenly Father, to render to him all that [we] have and are.”2 Our modern-day prophets have warned us against unrighteous pride. President Ezra Taft Benson called it “the universal sin” and “the great stumbling block to Zion.”3 President Dieter F. Uchtdorf compared pride to “a personal Rameumptom, a holy stand that justifies envy, greed, and vanity.”4 However you define pride, its consequences are always the same. It alienates us from God. It pushes us around the pride cycle to two o’clock, where we offend the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Initially we may think that offending the Spirit of the Holy Ghost is inconsequential. Nephi described it as being “lull[ed] . . . away into carnal security. . . . All is well in Zion [we think]; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well.”5 Interestingly, at two o’clock on the pride cycle, if we are honest with ourselves, we really are not that happy. We have this gnawing sense that we are slipping. We try to fight back against the uncomfortable currents of the pride cycle. We cling to the memories of past successes and insist on putting our trust in the arm of flesh. This is a serious mistake. Jesus taught that you and I are l
Carl B. Cook|Oct. 10, 2017 Brothers and sisters, it is nice to be with you. You are an amazing sight. Being here today reminds me of an experience I had a few years ago. Sister Cook and I were asked to speak in another university setting, and when my mother-in-law heard about it, she said, “Oh, aren’t you scared?” Actually, I was a little scared, but feeling somewhat curious, I asked her, “Why should I be scared?” She said, “Because students are so intelligent!” That was a nice compliment for the students, but it didn’t say much for what my mother-in-law thought of me and my intelligence! Today I realize that I am speaking to a group of very intelligent and educated people, but I am not scared, because the topic I would like to address is applicable to each of us in a very personal way. It is how we can put off the natural man or the natural woman and become Saints through Jesus Christ and His Atonement. This is something I have been working on for many years—battling with the natural man. But I am determined to never relax, retreat, or retire from the fight. Putting Off the Natural Man or Woman The natural man or woman is the mortal part of us that allows the physical, the temporal, or our own desires to overrule our inherent spiritual goodness and our desires to become like our Heavenly Parents (see Spencer W. Kimball, “Ocean Currents and Family Influences,” Ensign, November 1974). Of course the fight will not be won immediately. It is a daily battle for each of us, and we are dependent upon God and Jesus Christ to help us change our nature. We are taught in the Book of Mormon: For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. [Mosiah 3:19] Spinner I actually had a horse who helped me appreciate the amazing process of change. When our children were young, my wife and I looked for a gentle, well-broke children’s horse. Our neighbor had such a horse, but he would sell us kind and gentle Bob only if we also bought his other horse, Stubby. The names alone describe the horses. Eventually we decided to purchase both horses in order to acquire Bob. Sure enough, Bob was wonderful, and Stubby ended up being, as expected, a stubborn, strong-willed, obnoxious animal who consistently acted up and caused trouble with the other horses. Because of our limited number of horses, I usuall
Kim B. Clark|Sep. 29, 2009 I am grateful to be with you today. I pray that the Holy Ghost will be with us and that you and I might be taught and edified by the Spirit. One summer many, many years ago, my mother decided it would be a great project for her children to refinish the dining room chairs. The chairs were painted a dark cherry color, and my mother had discovered that underneath that paint was good, hard maple wood. I will never forget that experience. We began by applying a nasty solvent called toluene to all the painted surfaces, and then we scraped the paint off. Once the paint was removed, we had to sand the wood with several grades of sandpaper in order to remove the very last bits of paint and to prepare the wood for a new finish. When the sanding was finally done, we applied a finish to highlight the grain and enhance the wood’s natural color. In the final step we sealed the new hardwood finish with two coats of varnish. Those chairs were transformed! I think about that experience every time I read Alma’s penetrating question to the members of the Church in Zarahemla: Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.1 The words “are ye stripped of pride?” evoke in me images and smells from that summer. I think of toluene and scraping and stripping and sanding to get down to bare wood. When I think of the finishing process with a vibrant color and the protecting sealing varnish, I think of the description of the Savior as “the author and finisher of our faith”2 and the words of King Benjamin to his people: Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his.3 My message today is about being stripped of pride. I want to talk with you about overcoming pride and becoming humble followers of Christ. Pride—The Universal Sin, the Great Vice Twenty years ago President Ezra Taft Benson delivered a powerful sermon on pride. It is a talk all of us should read carefully and often. Speaking in general conference, President Benson said: 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. . . . Pride affects all of us at various times and in various degrees. . . . Pride is the universal sin, the great vice.4 Pride in all of its manifestations has played a central role in the struggle between good and evil, a struggle going back to the War
David Day|June 9, 2009 I am both grateful and humbled to be with you today. It is often the case in Church assignments that the one who is called to serve is not the most qualified; rather, those with a need for growth or insight are given the task. I have been greatly blessed by my preparations—blessed in more ways than I could begin to share in the time allotted. I pray that through the influence of the Holy Ghost you may benefit from what I have learned and that we may all be edified together this morning. In my preparations I have felt guided to focus my comments on the theme “Lessons of Pride and Glory from the Doctrine and Covenants.” I should clarify at first that this is not intended to be a pep talk about worldly notions of fame and glory or honor and glory. Pride is a sin—the universal sin, as described by President Ezra Taft Benson in his seminal conference address of April 1989 (see “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4–7). I have personally come to believe that pride is Satan’s great counterfeit for glory. As with so many other principles and potential heavenly rewards, Lucifer seeks to deceive us by offering a lesser compromise that may for a moment bring gratification but ultimately leads to remorse and sorrow. And as for defining glory, we may ask ourselves: What is glory? What is the eternal nature of glory? Why is it mentioned so frequently in the scriptures? Why is it correct and even essential that we aspire to glory, while the very notion of righteous pride is a grievous sin? What are the potential dangers of confusing the two? Within the Church we refer often to the concept of glory. We speak of the three degrees of glory as described in section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants. In President Joseph F. Smith’s vision of the spirit world, he noted among those assembled to greet the resurrected Lord the presence of “our glorious Mother Eve” (D&C 138:3839). Many of the hymns that Christians sing invoke glory to God, suggesting a form of praise. In many scriptural passages we are admonished to live with an eye single to the glory of God. Earlier versions of the BYU logo even prominently displayed the scriptural phrase “the glory of God is intelligence” (D&C 93:36), as if to imply a mantra for our pursuit of truth at the university. I recall from when I was a teenager and young adult that President Spencer W. Kimball often began his remarks in Church meetings by stating what a glorious occasion it was to be gathered together. I confess that as a teenager I failed to grasp what was so glorious about all those Church meetings, but President Kimball’s enthusiasm and insistence that the occasions were glorious always left an impression in my mind. My point is that we tend to think of glory only in abstract terms without giving careful thought to its full significance. In my personal study of the Doctrine and Covenants, the principles and narratives associated with glory have a
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