To Pull Down Their Pride and Their Nobility – Alma 51:13, 17-18, 21

13 And it came to pass that when the men who were called king-men had heard that the Lamanites were coming down to battle against them, they were glad in their hearts; and they refused to take up arms, for they were so wroth with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country….
17 And it came to pass that Moroni commanded that his army should go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility and level them with the earth, or they should take up arms and support the cause of liberty.
18 And it came to pass that the armies did march forth against them; and they did pull down their pride and their nobility, insomuch that as they did lift their weapons of war to fight against the men of Moroni they were hewn down and leveled to the earth….
21 And thus Moroni put an end to those king-men, that there were not any known by the appellation of king-men; and thus he put an end to the stubbornness and the pride of those people who professed the blood of nobility; but they were brought down to humble themselves like unto their brethren, and to fight valiantly for their freedom from bondage.

The words “noble” and “nobility” ordinarily carry positive connotations for me. I generally associate them with integrity and honor, with fulfilling my duty to God and to other people. But in this passage, Mormon is talking about an ugly form of nobility, an exclusivity which places some people above others and motivates people to seek power and authority over their neighbors. As Mormon reminded us in the prior chapter, this is not only contrary to the commandments of God, but it leads to conflict and ultimately to destruction (Alma 50:21).
Alma cautioned the people of Zarahemla against this sin: “Will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?” he asked. “Yea, will ye persist in supposing that ye are better one than another” (Alma 5:53-54)? When the Savior appeared to the Nephites, this was one of the first topics He addressed: “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away (3 Nephi 11:29). 
Pride is part of human nature. We don’t have to cultivate it. It grows automatically, like weeds. Humility requires deliberate effort. We need to be vigilant to identify signs of pride or exclusivity within ourselves and uproot them before they grow and weaken us spiritually. Just as the king-men weakened the Nephite defenses by their words and actions, pride within our own hearts can weaken us spiritually and render us vulnerable to temptation. Just as Captain Moroni found it necessary to eliminate the treasonous factions among the Nephites before dedicating himself to fighting the enemy, we may need to eliminate feelings of pride or arrogance within our own hearts before we can effectively address the external challenges in our lives.
Today, I will look for signs of pride in my own heart. I will consider the situations in which I feel enmity toward others, in which I think of myself as better than others, or in which I seek to exercise control over other people. I will work to eliminate those feelings of pride and “nobility” so that I can enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and be prepared to withstand the challenges I will face in the coming week.

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