Quotes on Pride

See also: Helaman 12:5; 3rd Nephi 6:10-15

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, pp. 109-10) — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1989

Contention in our families drives the Spirit of the Lord away.  It also drives many of our family members away.  Contention ranges from a hostile spoken word to worldwide conflicts.  The scriptures tell us that “only by pride cometh contention” (Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 28:25).

The scriptures testify that the proud are easily offended and hold grudges (see 1 Nephi 16:1-3). — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1989

What is the central characteristic of those having only five loaves and two fishes?  What makes it possible, under the Master’s touch, for them to serve, lift, and bless so that they touch for good the lives of hundreds, even thousands?  After a lifetime of dealing in the affairs of men and women, I believe it is the ability to overcome personal ego and pride – both are enemies to the full enjoyment of the Spirit of God and walking humbly before him.  The ego interferes with husbands and wives asking each other for forgiveness.  It prevents the enjoyment of the full sweetness of a higher love.  The ego often prevents parents and children from fully understanding each other.  The ego enlarges our feelings of self-importance and worth.  It blinds us to reality.  Pride keeps us from confessing our sins and shortcomings to the Lord and working out our repentance. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1994, p. 6

You may remember a story about a ship’s captain who had a problem with his pride.  One night at sea, this captain saw what looked like the light of another ship heading toward him.  He had his signalman blink to the other ship:  “Change your course 10 degrees south.”  The reply came back, “Change your course 10 degrees north.”  The ship’s captain answered:  “I am a captain.  Change your course south.”  To which the replay came, “Well, I am a seaman first class.  Change your course north.”  This so infuriated the captain, he signaled back, “I say change your course south.  I am on a battleship!”  To which the reply came back, “And I say change your course north.  I am in the lighthouse.”

Like the captain, if we fail to modify our course and purge ourselves of pride, we may find ourselves shipwrecked upon the shoals of life. . . .  — Elder H. David Burton, Ensign, May 1994, p. 68

President Spencer W. Kimball cautioned against placing pride in secular learning:

“As we attain knowledge, we stand in danger, for many people who attain such knowledge have ‘stumbled because of the greatness of their stumbling block.’  They stumbled because of the ‘pride of their eyes’ and they ‘preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.’ (2 Ne. 26:20)”

President Kimball further taught:  “The Lord seems never to have placed a premium on ignorance and yet He has, in many cases, found His better trained people unresponsive to the spiritual, and has had to use spiritual giants with less training to carry on His work. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 388-89

Being easily offended is a prideful and selfish thing. — Ed Pinegar, 1994 BYU Women’s Conference

Now this wickedness of pride and haughtiness does not refer to wealth or to money, for Paul said that not money itself, but “the love of money is the root of all evil.”  (1 Timothy 6:10)  Whenever we love money, status, possessions, or position more than righteousness, this is that false pride which must be avoided as the plague.  That is why the Lord told us that riches, per se, are not wicked and that we could even seek for riches if we do so with proper intent. — Elder Theodore M. Burton, “A Disease Called Pride,” BYU Speeches of the Year, October 13, 1971, p. 2

Thus does Mormon, the prophet, accurately describe our own society [see Mormon 8:36-37) of elegantly dressed, competitive, fashion-infatuated, status-conscious people.  Note that the Lord does not stress the ordinary iniquities of crime and immorality, of atheism and lawlessness.  Instead he stresses the intolerance, the uncharitable state of mind, and the vanity that exist in our present world.  He warns us of the pride, the envy, the arrogance, and the malice that exist in our day.  We do not persecute the poor; we simply tend to ignore them and forget them as the prophet predicted.  (See Mormon 8:39.) — Elder Theodore M. Burton, “A Disease Called Pride,” BYU Speeches of the Year, October 13, 1971, p. 4

Twelve years ago President Ezra Taft Benson delivered a powerful conference address declaring that pride is “the universal sin, the great vice.”  (“Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989, p. 6)  He taught that pride is essentially competitive in nature and made reference to his quote from C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.  We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not.  They are proud of being richer, cleverer, or better-looking than others.  If every one else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about.  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, 1960, p. 95 [or 109-110]) — Elder Marlin K. Jensen, “To Walk Humbly with Thy God,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 10

Contemplate the advantages of life in a society in which considerations of status were only secondary, where citizens were more concerned with their responsibilities than their rights, and where those in authority might even occasionally step forward and humbly acknowledge, “I could be wrong.”  Must our need to be “right” be so all-consuming?  Surely this intolerance of others and their viewpoints is nothing less than the hubris the Greeks viewed and warned against as the suicidal sin.  One wonders how differently even recent world history might be written if its principal participants had yielded to the gentle nudgings of humility. — Elder Marlin K. Jensen, “To Walk Humbly with Thy God,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 10

One of the most common of all sins among worldly people is relying on and then boasting in the arm of flesh.  This is a most serious evil.  It is a sin born of pride, a sin that creates a frame of mind which keeps men from turning to the Lord and accepting his saving grace.  When a man knowingly or unknowingly engages in self-exultation because of his riches, his political power, his worldly learning, his physical prowess, his business ability, or even his works of righteousness, he is not in tune with the Spirit of the Lord. . . . The many admonitions in the scriptures to avoid boasting send the message that we should realize the source of all our blessings.  Everything is given by God.  All talent, creativity, ability, insight, and strength comes from him.  In our own strength we can do nothing. . . . When we seek the praise of man more than the praise of God, it will become easy to fall. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Conference Report, April 1990, pp. 84-85

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you. — C. S. Lewis

In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride.  It is always considered as a sin.  We are not speaking of a wholesome view of self-worth, which is best established by a close relationship with God.  But we are speaking of pride as the universal sin. . . . 

Essentially, pride is a “my will” rather than “thy will” approach to life.  The opposite of pride is humbleness, meekness, submissiveness (see Alma 13:28), or teachableness.  . . .

Pride is characterized by “What do I want out of life?” rather than by “What would God have me do with my life?”  It is self-will as opposed to God’s will.  It is the fear of man over the fear of God. — President Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, April 1986, pp. 5-6; or “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, pp. 6-7

Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right.  It looks sideways to man and argues who is right.  Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.

Was it not through pride that the devil became the devil?  Christ wanted to serve. The devil wanted to rule.  Christ wanted to bring men to where He was.  The devil wanted to be above men.

Christ removed self as the force in His perfect life.  It was not my will, but thine be done. . . . 

Humility responds to God’s will – to the fear of His judgments and the needs of those around us.  To the proud, the applause of the world rings in their ears; to the humble, the applause of heaven warms their hearts.

Someone has said, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.”  (C. S. Lewis)  Of one brother, the Lord said, “I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me.” (D&C 58:41) — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, p. 4

One of the most common of all sins among worldly people is relying on and then boasting in the arm of flesh.  This is a most serious evil.  It is a sin born of pride, a sin that creates a frame of mind which keeps men from turning to the Lord and accepting his saving grace.  When a man knowingly or unknowingly engages in self-exultation because of his riches, his political power, his worldly learning, his physical prowess, his business ability, or even his works of righteousness, he is not in tune with the Spirit of the Lord.

We would all do well to take a lesson from the Savior, who repeatedly acknowledged and gave credit to the Father in all things.  Indeed, that precedent was set in the premortal council when Jesus Christ pledged the fruits of all he might himself accomplish to go to the Father: “And the glory be thine forever.” (Moses 4:2) — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Neither Boast of Faith Nor of Mighty Works,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 65

We control the disposition of our means and resources, but we account to God for this stewardship over earthly things.  It is gratifying to witness your generosity as you contribute to fast offerings and humanitarian projects.  Over the years, the suffering of millions has been alleviated, and countless others have been enabled to help themselves through the generosity of the Saints.  Nevertheless, as we pursue the cause of Zion, each of us should prayerfully consider whether we are doing what we should and all that we should in the Lord’s eyes with respect to the poor and the needy.

We might ask ourselves, living as many of us do in societies that worship possessions and pleasures, whether we are remaining aloof from covetousness and the lust to acquire more and more of this world’s goods. Materialism is just one more manifestation of the idolatry and pride that characterize Babylon.  Perhaps we can learn to be content with what is sufficient for our needs. — Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign, October 2008

Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness.  All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing.

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. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Beware of Pride,” Ensign, May 1989