Until We Meet Again

The Great Stumbling Block to Zion

By President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

Thirteenth President of the Church

From “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, 4–7; punctuation standardized.

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Pride is essentially competitive in nature.

man playing trumpet

Illustration by Digital Vision/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance (see Mosiah 3:11; 3 Nephi 6:18). In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. …

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 is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s. When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of “my will and not thine be done.” …

Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled (see Alma 38:12; 3 Nephi 12:30).

The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives (see Helaman 12:6). They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.

… The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.

Another major portion of this very prevalent sin of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen. We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them (see Helaman 6:17; D&C 58:41).

The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone” (Mere Christianity [1952], 109–10). …

The proud stand more in fear of men’s judgment than of God’s judgment (see D&C 3:6–7; 30:1–2; 60:2). “What will men think of me?” weighs heavier than “What will God think of me?” …

When pride has a hold on our hearts, we lose our independence of the world and deliver our freedoms to the bondage of men’s judgment. The world shouts louder than the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. The reasoning of men overrides the revelations of God, and the proud let go of the iron rod (see 1 Nephi 8:19–28; 11:25; 15:23–24). …

Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion. I repeat: Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion. …

We must yield “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit,” put off the prideful “natural man,” become “a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord,” and become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble” (Mosiah 3:19; see also Alma 13:28).