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Beware of Pride

I read "Beware of Pride" by President Benson a couple days ago, prior to my last meeting with the Bishop. It is a good talk. I know I can work on some areas in it. I think every member of the Church, including leaders, could learn a lot and become better Saints by applying the principles therein.

One point which President Benson emphasized is not allowing the fear of men to drive your actions, but instead, only the fear of God. Pride is here turned upside-down from the typical assumption of someone who "has everything" and views themself as on top of the world looking down. This type of pride being addressed is for those who are on the bottom, looking up.

I do not have fear of men as far as religion goes. I do have some sense of practicality, however. This may utterly confound some people as to my actions. I believe God knows the heart and mind of each of His people, and that He judges us based on those things. For this reason, Personal Integrity is of the utmost importance to me. If one receives knowledge (gnosis), and understands and feels it to be from the Holy Ghost, one is obligated to react to that knowledge with complete integrity. To turn away from that is to DENY the Holy Ghost, which is the only unforgivable sin. Jesus even went so far as to teach that people can deny him, and be forgiven, yet to deny the Holy Ghost can never be forgiven. This is what drives men of integrity like Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ himself, to become martyrs for the faith. Joseph Smith put it elegantly when he wrote the poetic lines:
I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen?
For I had seen a vision; I knew it,
and I knew that God knew it,
and I could not deny it,
neither dared I do it;
at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
(Joseph Smith History 1:25b)

I know the terrible feelings that can exist within by failing to maintain internal consistency of truth in one's self. It is about the closest thing to Hell that I can imagine. To live in good standing in The Church is a worthy and laudable pursuit, as well as to be in good standing with one's own family is, but to do so at the sacrifice of this internal consistency or what is called personal integrity, is absolutely worthless and damaging. It is to live a lie, or to have purchased truth with a lie, to find that you are afterwards unworthy to wield it. Jesus taught, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)

He goes on to teach,
40. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
41. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

I've come to understand "in the name of" to mean "because he is called" (The NIV, I believe, is worded in a manner such as this), and this seems to be very close to the scenario presented to me on one matter which has weighed heavily upon me in the past, and does again now - the identity of Jehovah. I read it, "He that receiveth (accepts) the words of a prophet only because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward ..." Well, I don't want to lose my reward.

How many "hollow people" walk in the churches and even in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the image of a Saint and are accepted as one by their Brethren and Sisters but because of inconsistency in their soul and conscience live a hidden life of torment. Sadly, I think there are a few more than there should be. Peer pressure encourages people towards this hollow life, but only the individual can ultimately allow it to come upon themself.

We must not be afraid to admit our weaknesses to our Brethren, and to receive their aid, as genuine Brethren. I know they are willing to offer it.

I have good feelings in my heart if I do what is right. I will do what is right tomorrow evening; I dare not deny the Holy Ghost, and I will let the lots of the Earthly Kingdom of God fall where they may, it matters not either way. I must remain a good tree if I expect to continue to bear good fruit, and my leaders have indicated to me that I have born some good fruit, and that gives me hope for the situation, myself, and everyone involved. If I become a bad tree in order to stay in the Earthly Kingdom, I'll only get pruned out at the Day of Judgment, but if I'm a good tree, it doesn't matter where I am, I can continue to produce good fruit. I sincerely hope it may be within the Church, because although I believe that God judges fairly, I yet have fear that I may be unable to be sealed to my wife, and go through the rest of my life wondering if I will get to be with her after this life is over. I shall need to have stronger faith in this matter.

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