Sunday, December 7, 2008

Breaking the Pride Cycle

In an earlier posting I described the pride cycle for the purpose of examining our current financial crisis. For a review, I've copied the description of the Pride Cycle from that posting:

Here's a description of the stages in the Pride Cycle

1. Humility - People are humble, willing to do what they are told
2. Prosperity - Good leadership arises that leads them to prosperity
3. Pride - They get caught up in the prosperity and start getting proud
4. Contention - Due to pride, they elevate themselves above others.
5. Rebellion - They rebel against their leadership
6. War/Captivity - They are invaded, attacked or declare war
7. Famine/Disasters - They suffer famine, unemployment, etc (natural or other causes)
8. Weakness - They become weak
9. Humility - They return to humility and start the cycle all over.

I've taught a few lessons at church recently focusing on the pride cycle and through the process have some additional insights.

I first start with a question:

Is the pride cycle inevitable?

The answer is "No". This answer is based on study of the Book of Mormon, where the pattern of the pride cycle is very evident. There are actually two options to the pride cycle:

  1. Complete destruction
  2. Continual prosperity

Option 1 is described in Mormon chapter 6, verses 16-22:
And my soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried: O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss. O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen!
... O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you...

Option 2 is described in Alma chapter 1, verses 29-30:
29 And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.
30 And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.

When a group of people follow God, he blesses and prospers them. The mistake they often make that leads to the Pride Cycle is to think that the abundance is for themselves. The abundance is intended for the purpose of helping others who are less fortunate. When they do as described in these verses they think of others first instead of elevating themselves. This avoids the chain of events starting with pride and contention.

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