Thoughts on Zion: Replacing Pride with Humility

pride
LDS prophet Ezra Taft Benson

Along our journey here in this column, we came to conclude that:
1. “Babylon” is any culture that has incorporated pride-based beliefs and customs into its social organizations, such as families, schools, businesses, and government,
2. “Zion” is any culture that institutionalizes humility-based beliefs and customs into its social organizations, and
3. If we want to ‘flee Babylon’ and ‘build Zion’ we must follow the process of identifying pride-based elements of our culture, root them out, and integrate humility-based replacements.

Let’s take a closer look at that first conclusion. From Ezra Taft Benson’s landmark talk “Beware of Pride”, the two foundational pride-based beliefs of Babylon are, first, “Mankind doesn’t need [a] God, we can figure it out ourselves” (I like to call this “Pride1”), and second, “Some people are better than others” (“Pride2”).

This may come as a surprise to most readers, but I’m convinced that these two beliefs have been deeply integrated into America’s social, political, educational and economic traditions and institutions. Therefore the United States qualifies as a “Babylon” society (as would most existing nation-states). This would explain the downward moral and political spiral we currently see in the United States and other countries.

For example, “Pride1” and “Pride2” are easily recognizable in America’s scientific community with its thinly-veiled animosity for any who believe in God, Intelligent Design, or religion in general. That animosity has thoroughly infected both the news media and entertainment industries. Believers are seen and portrayed as backward hicks who are too ignorant to accept scientific “truths” (which, ironically, often change from decade to decade).

Continuing our example, a Zion society, on the other hand, would foster scientific research founded on “Humility1” and “Humility2”, being “God’s wisdom is greater than Man’s, and should be modeled”, and, “All people are of equal and infinite worth”. These beliefs would allow science to explore whole new realms of inquiry which would result from acknowledging the existence of a spiritual realm, which Science currently denies. One example would be a serious study of the afterlife, which thousands have experienced and returned to share their stories.

In our efforts to extract ourselves from Babylon and fulfill our covenant to establish Zion, we can first find expressions of Pride1 and Pride2 in our own hearts and family customs, and, under the Spirit’s influence, we can replace them by integrating the Humility1 and Humility2 beliefs. Then, with that experience, we can work with others to replace our pride-based institutions with humility-base ones — literally building Zion.

For hundreds of quotes by LDS leaders on the topic, see BuildingZion.org.