“Lest Ye Become as the Nephites of Old”

Prosperity without pride is a worthy goal.

After Lehi and his family abandoned their home in Jerusalem, leaving behind their gold, silver, and precious things (1 Nephi 2:4), the Lord promised them that, if they would keep His commandments, they would prosper in their new land (1 Nephi 2:20).

After arriving on the American continent, they found gold and silver in abundance. Unfortunately, affluence led to callousness, as Lehi’s son Jacob observed:

The hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.

Jacob 2:13-14

In the years that followed, Lehi’s descendants struggled with the temptations that come with affluence: to assume that you deserve your good fortune, and to be unfeeling toward those less fortunate than yourself.

Nearly a thousand years later, the prophet Mormon wrote to his son Moroni, “Behold, the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction except they should repent” (Moroni 8:27). Soon after, the Nephites were gone.

Moroni warned us to avoid falling into the same trap:

I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.

Mormon 8:35-37

In January 1831, after instructing a group of church members to relocate to Ohio, the Lord gave them a similar promise and a similar warning:

If ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the richesof the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.

Doctrine and Covenants 38:39

In the same revelation, He commanded them to “look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer” and for everyone to “esteem his brother as himself” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:24-25, 35).

Today, I will overcome pride by looking to the needs of others. I will find ways to serve others and to share what I have with those less fortunate than myself. I will remember the warning to avoid the fate of the Nephites by remaining humble even as I receive blessings from the Lord.

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