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Beware of Pride – President Benson

President Ezra Taft Benson’s well known address on pride in the April 1989 159th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was read by his First Counselor, President Gordon B. Hinkley. President Benson began by commending us for striving to flood the earth and our lives with the Book of Mormon (reading the Book of Mormon was a central theme of his Presidency). He then cited several Doctrine and Covenants and Book of Mormon scriptural references to pride bringing about the destruction of people and nations.

He tells us the central feature of pride is enmity toward God and our fellowmen. We pit our will against God’s when we let our desires, appetites and passions run wild. Our competitiveness tempts us to elevate ourselves over our fellowman, thereby putting them down. A proud man gains pleasure in being above the rest.

President Benson uses Proverbs 13:10 to point out contention can only come from pride. Pride limits or stops our progression. The antidote for pride is humility. There are several choices we can make to humble ourselves. Among them are conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, receiving counsel and chastisement, forgiving those who have offend us, rendering selfless service, going on missions, attending the temple more frequently, confessing and forsaking our sins, loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives.

President Benson closed by repeating twice, “Pride is the great stumbling block to Zion” and sharing his fervent prayer that we will put off the prideful “natural man” so we can go on to fulfill our divine destiny.

Its hard to believe this talk was given over twenty years ago. It seems like just a few years.

The talk was fairly lengthy, so we wordled it twice. Once in the default settings where only the most frequently used 150 words appear in the wordle, and again using all the words (except the stop words).

The 150 word Mormon Wordle below captures the essence of the talk

Beware of Pride

Beware of Pride - President Ezra Taft Benson 150 word wordle

but the white on black Mormon Wordle of the full talk below also has some interesting points of its own.

Beware of Pride wordle

Beware of Pride - President Ezra Taft Benson wordle

Just like several oft repeated talking points by the Brethren, I struggle with this one too (I have problems putting off the prideful “natural man”). However, I am glad report I have made at least some progress since the talk was first given, but that prideful statement in itself may have taken me back to where I was in 1989 ……

In September 2011, we placed a larger version of this wordle on MormonCharts.com.

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Comments

  1. Let me start off by saying I am no longer an active member of the Church. I still have several friends and many positive feelings. However, it was just not a good fit for me. The first Relief Society lesson I ever gave was President Benson’s talk on pride. It is probably the most influential article I have ever read in my life. I am a teacher with a Masters Degree in Education so I have read many articles! After observing the behavior of some students today, I wanted to reread this article. I teach 8th grade and often wonder why kids do what they do. Probably the same reason adults do what they do. Human nature…we are insecure and selfish.
    I hope to share parts of this article with my students. If I reach one student and help them to be kind and loving then I (and President Benson) will rejoice!

    Susan

    PS I learned about Wordles in my Masters program

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