Today, I reviewed the 77 appearances of the words “pride” and “proud” in the Book of Mormon. Here is what I learned:
- Pride means thinking too highly of yourself, failing to acknowledge your limitations. Throughout the Book of Mormon, prophets use phrases like “lifted up” or “puffed up” to describe proud people. For example, Nephi told his neighbors in Zarahemla that the pride which had entered their hearts had “lifted [them] up beyond that which is good” (Helaman 7:26). Both Alma and Captain Moroni sought to “pull down” the pride of their people, bringing them back down to reality (Alma 4:19, Alma 51:17-18, 21).
- Prosperity can lead to pride. One symptom of pride is the flaunting of wealth, including “wearing costly apparel” (Jacob 2:13, 16, 20, 22, Alma 4:6, 8, 4 Nephi 1:24).
- Another manifestation of pride is boasting. Proud people draw too much attention to themselves (Alma 31:25, Helaman 12:5, Helaman 13:22). Note: one of the Greek words which is translated as “pride” in the New Testament is huperephanos (ὑπερήφανος), which literally means “excessive shining.” (See 2 Timothy 3:2, for example.)
- Pride clouds our judgment and leads to poor decisions (2 Nephi 26:10, Helaman 12:4-5). Another Greek word which is sometimes translated as “pride” is tuphoó (τυφόω), which means “surrounded by smoke,” and therefore unable to see clearly. (See 1 Timothy 6:4.)
- Pride grows automatically; it will attach itself to our hearts unless we intentionally remove it. In Helaman 3, Mormon describes how “a little pride” in the church grew through stages, until it became “exceedingly great pride,” which “did grow upon them from day to day.” Alma asked the people of Zarahemla if they were “stripped of pride” (Alma 5:28). He wanted them to make the effort to keep pride out of their hearts.
- Pride leads to disaster. The great and spacious building in Lehi’s dream, which represented the pride of the world, “fell, and the fall thereof was exceedingly great” (1 Nephi 11:36). Jesus quoted the prophet Malachi saying that the proud will eventually be “as stubble” (3 Nephi 25:1). And at the end of the Book of Mormon, in describing the tragic end of his people, Mormon observes that “the pride of this nation…hath proven their destruction” (Moroni 8:27).
Today, I will watch for symptoms of pride in my heart, and will strive to eliminate it. I will notice when I am drawing too much attention to myself. I will remember that pride clouds my judgment and leads to unhappy outcomes. I will strive to strip myself of pride today in order to save myself heartache tomorrow.