Before exploring something both Babylon and Zion have in common, let’s take an even closer look at two conclusions we came to in a previous column: “Pride is the stepping stone to Babylon” and “Humility is the stepping stone to Zion”. How can pride lead to Babylon and humility to Zion?
Imagine wearing a pair of glasses. The left lens is the pride lens, the right, humility. The lens through which we view our neighbors directly determines whether we personally and collectively are moving towards Babylon or Zion.
The pride lens is the belief that we need to be better-than (or even less-than) others. We seek to prove our value to an often long-gone “stressor” parent or to ourselves. We do that by belittling others. We imagine reasons why we are better than they are; we have more money, nicer clothes, houses, or cars, we went to college, or we have “important” callings in the ward or stake. These all tempt us to see ourselves as superior to others, thus giving evidence of our worth.
Unfortunately, habitually viewing others through the lens of pride leads us to act in ways that draws us towards a corrupt and violent society. History is replete with examples of groups that were mocked and derided by others, and then condemned and persecuted. Once these attitudes become expressed in new laws, the government becomes as corrupt as the hearts of the people. This opens the gate to wholesale plundering, pogroms and gas chambers, accompanied by the tyranny of those who think they know better than “the masses” – Babylon at its best.
In sharp contrast, we can also view our neighbors and family members through the lens of humility – enlightened by the truth that “all men are created equal.” Seeing others as being of infinite worth and equal in value as ourselves makes it impossible for us to condemn and persecute them. In fact, it is only by looking through the lens of humility that we can keep the second great commandment of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Using the lens of humility makes cooperation, compassion, kindness, patience and peace possible. We simply cannot be of one heart and one mind unless we habitually view others with humility.
You can download a picture of the Two Lenses and study the supporting verses found there. See http://bit.ly/TwoLenses.