Thoughts on Zion: Seeing the Two Faces of Pride

two faces of pride
The Two Faces of Pride

If we are truly interested in fleeing Babylon and building Zion, we need to thoroughly understand the similarities and differences between pride, which moves society towards Babylon, and humility, which is the stepping stone to Zion. Pondering President Benson’s landmark talk, “Beware of Pride”, it becomes clear that both pride and humility have two main components: how we relate to God, and how we relate to our fellowmen. Let’s look at pride first and then humility next time.

1. Pride Pits Us Against God
We simply cannot keep the First Great Commandment if we are proud.
Those who suffer from pride discount or openly reject God and/or His wisdom, thinking they know better how to run their lives. We can refer to this type of pride as “Pride 1”, as it is the #1 expression of pride and causes us to break the #1 commandment.

President Benson, describing our relationship to God when we suffer from pride, said, “We pit our will against God’s…. in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done….’ The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s.”

Even as active LDS, we should ask ourselves whether we honestly seek the Lord’s current will for ourselves and actively follow it. Or, do we suffer from Pride1 and go about our daily lives working towards goals we set for ourselves (or worse, goals society sets for us) with no thought for God’s desires for us?

2. Pride Pits Us Against Our Neighbor
We simply cannot keep the Second Great Commandment if we are proud.

If we suffer from the universal sin of pride, we set ourselves in opposition to our fellow man as well. We judge everyone as being either above or beneath us — not of equal worth. Because we believe our value in the hierarchy must be earned, we compete with our neighbors for the approval of those “above” us and the admiration of those “beneath”.

We can call this “Pride 2” as it causes us to break the #2 commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves, to value our brother as ourselves (D&C 38:24-25).

President Benson described Pride 2 this way:
“We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them. (See Hel. 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.'”

To achieve Zion, we must conquer both Pride 1 and Pride 2 in our personal lives and work together to replace them in our social institutions (schools, businesses, and churches) as well, as these institutions reinforce either Pride or Humility in all of us.

For a copy of the chart see BuildingZion.org/two-faces.