I appreciate you taking time to respond. Thanks.
Hope you have some time on your hands…
I noticed some things were highlighted in the attachment, I’m assuming that these were done by you to focus on what you perceive as salient to your position. Allow me to first address the context in which Benson defines pride, and then to address in what context and degree this may, or may not, apply to me.
First: The core fundamental and essential definition by which Benson defines pride is: enmity.
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. As Paul said, they ―seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. (Philip. 2:21.)
I captured the dictionary definition here:
Main Entry: en·mi·ty
Inflected Form(s): plural en·mi·ties
Etymology: Middle English enmite, from Anglo-French enemité, enemisté, from enemi enemy
Date: 13th century
: positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will
synonyms enmity, hostility, antipathy, antagonism, animosity, rancor, animus mean deep-seated dislike or ill will. enmity suggests positive hatred which may be open or concealed <an unspoken enmity>. hostility suggests an enmity showing itself in attacks or aggression <hostility between the two nations>. antipathy and antagonism imply a natural or logical basis for one's hatred or dislike, antipathy suggesting repugnance, a desire to avoid or reject, and antagonism suggesting a clash of temperaments leading readily to hostility <a natural antipathy for self-seekers> <antagonism between the brothers>. animosity suggests intense ill will and vindictiveness that threaten to kindle hostility <animosity that led to revenge>. rancor is especially applied to bitter brooding over a wrong <rancor filled every line of his letters>. animus adds to animosity the implication of strong prejudice <objections devoid of personal animus>.
Back to something you highlighted from Benson above:
We pit our will against God’s.
I’m guessing this is where you perceive the fundamental disconnect between the church and myself.
Allow me start this exchange by expressing once again my core beliefs:
I believe I’ve been given the gifts from our creator to discern and know good from evil. Furthermore I believe this property is intrinsic to every soul. I have never felt my sense of truth and activism to be against God’s will, especially in the characterization of enmity towards God. On the contrary, if we are to believe that free agency is the supremely profound and precious property of our spiritual matter, and then by extension the divinely inspired institutions of inalienable liberty and freedom instituted the corporeal sphere, and to seek to defend the latter, is to defend, honor and validate the former; as in the premortal choice we made to reject Lucifer’s plan to follow Christ’s plan. It is though this filter that I constantly compare my sense of truth as I continue to learn, grow and assess the world; i.e. any thought or idea that comports with inalienable liberty and free agency is, by my definition, good, and that which doesn’t is evil. It is constructed upon a pedigree of divine principle; simple, elegant and pure.
It’s not out of “pride” that I’m driven, but out of a deep and passionate sense of harmony, conviction and appreciation for the most fundamental and profound truths I just expressed above. Again, no pride/enmity here. The real question or conflict I have is: do I need to be in a church to find this direction, and the answer for me is no.
So let’s go back to Benson’s definition “enmity”. Again, I can’t find anything that I’ve expressed in my core beliefs that would qualify in the least as enmity. Furthermore, Benson’s examples fall mostly under the contexts of condescension/contention/competition (pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others), materialism (having more of it than the next man) and hedonism (desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled). Distractions and sins of which are wholly not applicable to me.
Now before I move on here, I think I need to address the condescension/contention/competition examples. It is though constant and unrelenting self reflection to my core beliefs stated above that I have developed my inner strength (if I don’t have at least one night in a week where I don’t deeply reflect and tear myself down to my core, then I consider my week a failure, that I haven’t thought of anything that’s really worth thinking about), in much the same way I have developed my physical endurance and strength by pushing myself to my physical limits -- the only vice I’m truly guilty of. While it’s never been in my nature to boast of my accomplishments, I do have a sense of feeling isolated from those in this world who aren’t as self driven. Unfortunately there’s way too many who fall into this category. The biblical reference to the burying of one’s talents comes to mind.
Let the world do what it will, at all times I do what’s right for me because it is right for me. Period. I needed no one to lead or baby me to get here, so it’s hard for me to as humble and nurturing towards those who fail to act on their inner strength. That’s not to say I’m unwilling to help those truly in need, but that I hold a much higher expectation of worthiness. I’m shut-up and do, keep your complaints and excuses to yourself. So while on the surface that may come across as condescending/contentious/competitive, it is in fact actually something that I learned a long time ago: you, and you alone, are responsible and in control well being and improvement in all things, and absent frequently tearing down your soul, as well your body, no real spiritual or physical growth can ever occur. I consider this to be the spiritual-physical continuum.
BTW, healthy competition, that which drives you to exceed your best, is both a spiritual and physical builder.
Absent that sense of inner strength, the sense of carpe diem (cease the day!), the drive to find your limits, spiritual, physical and intellectual, and push beyond them all; you will be at a hopeless disadvantage at the world that is about to unfold before you.
Here’s one you strongly highlighted:
The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. (See Hel. 12:6.) They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.
So, where in what I expressed above do you believe I’m standing against God?
Absent any specific and articulable point of fact to the contrary, I will continue to proceed on the basis that what I believe, as expressed herein, and how I live, comports well with fundamental Godly principles -- at least by any definition of Godly principles that I have been made aware of. Everything that God has given me, and how I choose to use them, is in fact the highest testament to His mighty works.
I guess the only specific conflict would be the consumption of green tea, “supposedly” a violation of the word of wisdom. Allow me to briefly address this issue: I’ve spent years researching food and health; without exception, green tea is one of the biggest constants that pops up for achieving super health and longevity.
Now, if you wish to categorically refute my stated “perceptions of truth”, then we might as well part ways now, as there will be no chance of us ever reaching a state of reconciliation and understanding from which we can build any meaningful level of mutual respect or trust.
Back to Benson…
I’m not sure what inspired me to look up this whole chapter in the book of Helaman, but allow me to present it here, and comment below:
HELAMAN CHAPTER 12
1 And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
2 Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.
3 And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.
4 O how foolish, and how vain, and how evil, and devilish, and how quick to do iniquity, and how slow to do good, are the children of men; yea, how quick to hearken unto the words of the evil one, and to set their hearts upon the vain things of the world!
5 Yea, how quick to be lifted up in pride; yea, how quick to boast, and do all manner of that which is iniquity; and how slow are they to remember the Lord their God, and to give ear unto his counsels, yea, how slow to walk in wisdom’s paths!
I guess I like to read the full reference as it better defines the context in which to appreciate its full meaning, in this particular case the reference to Benson’s Hel. 12:6. As it turns out the complete 12:1-5 pretext of the chapter is a perfect fit with this quote (you should recall this from BWoW doc):
"The release of initiative and enterprise made possible by self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again, after freedom brings opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent; the incompetent and unfortunate grow envious and covetous; and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the golden calf of economic security. The historical cycle seems to be: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to apathy; from apathy to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more." -- Warren T. Hackett “It's Your Choice” 1983
I don’t know if I should consider it merely coincidental, ironic, or, dare I say: prophetic; that these two perfectly tie in with each other and further reinforce my activism sentiments. Regardless of interpreting any prophetic significance pertaining to little ol’ me for making this connection; nonetheless, the correlation is pure and undeniable.
Let me state now that it is in fact due to our current state of materialism, derived from the sequence outlined in Hackett, and expressed in the BoM passage, and the illusions of security, comfort and pride, all the vices of “success”, are the very corrupt evils that are about to totally destroy this constitutional republic, not to mention the higher order of God’s will. And to these ends, my brothers, my real brothers, we now indeed know that the constitution is hanging by the proverbial thread. I believe that both Smith and Benson, especially Benson, if you’ve read any of his political quotes, especially in light of the Hackett quote, would give a big amen to that.
Well T, I guess I should take the time now to thank you for giving me yet another source, albeit unintentional and indirect, of affirmation to my personal activism sentiments. Thanks!
Moving on to another highlight:
Disobedience is essentially a prideful power struggle against someone in authority over us. It can be a parent, a priesthood leader, a teacher, or ultimately God. A proud person hates the fact that someone is above him. He thinks this lowers his position.
I’m not sure why you were compelled to highlight this, other than perhaps the position I expressed concerning by questioning the presidents priesthood general conference speech, wherein I expressed a sense of lacking a more state-of-the-nation like focus; where instead we received his talk on anger.
Sorry if my expectations were too high here. Not that his talk on anger wasn’t worthy of consideration on its own merits. Now, personally speaking, as far as the topic of anger is concerned, my rare occasions of anger are controlled and, and with rare exception, mostly justified. That being said, I don’t, as Benson writes, hate the man, or put myself above him because of my pride/enmity, or believe in the slightest that my position is lowered; or, for that matter, even effected one way or the other. It’s just in a world that we are about to be seriously clobbered by, I was expecting a little more directive than anger management, especially in the priesthood holder forum.
I’m taking your reaction to the above to conclude this of your position: to question, is to doubt; to doubt, is to deny. If that’s the conclusion you have reached for me, then once again we have come to a terminal impasse. This is part of the reason why I said I’m not sure I fit into the church.
Here’s some quotes to reflect upon in regarding questioning:
I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. (History of the Church, vol. V, pp. 498, 499)
I ask, Did I ever exercise any compulsion over any man? Did I not give him the liberty of disbelieving any doctrine I have preached, if he saw fit? (Documentary History of the Church, vol. VI, 273-274, as quoted in Alma P. Burton, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 105, 106)
It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have a creed which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine. The high counsel undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown, because of his teachings … Whether they actually corrected him or not, I am a little doubtful, but don’t care. (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. VI, 273- 274, as quoted in Alma P. Burton, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 106, 107)
Ours is the responsibility … to proclaim the truth that each individual is a child of God and important in his sight; that he is entitled to freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly; that he has the right to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. In this positive declaration, we imply that organizations or churches which deprive the individual of these inherent rights are not in harmony with God's will nor with his revealed word. -- David O. McKay (124th Annual Conference, p. 24)
I hope that you will develop the questing spirit. Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones of progress. You will of course respect the opinions of others but be unafraid to dissent if you are informed. Now I have mentioned freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth will emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression. Seek the truth in all fields, and in that search you will need at least three virtues: courage, zest and modesty. The ancients put that thought in the form of a prayer. They said, “From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth – O God of truth, deliver us. -- Hugh B. Brown BYU Devotional, 1958
God has given me these three foundational pillars upon which my house of truth and wisdom rests: the sense of curiosity to ask questions, the intellect and mental faculties to think, learn and understand, the moral and spiritual sense to know good from evil; all of which combined lead the wisdom to know and testify to all good truth. To deny a soul of any of these pillars, is to condemn the whole structure.
So, then, where then do we really diverge?
Although you didn’t highlight this, I believe it summarizes what you perhaps find lacking on me, if by the mere fact you chose to send me a teaching on pride is any indicator:
“The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness.”
It comes down to this: can I have the physical and spiritual strengths I’ve developed, the things I’ve studied, learned and know are true and right on my own through discipline and toil, through my own burning sense fascination and questioning, the principles of free agency and inalienable liberty; all these things which I dedicate and would ultimately give my life to defend, all of which I find in harmony with all that I know, believe and can testify of God, and God’s plan; and never be allowed to question or challenge any doctrine or authority?
You answer to this question must unequivocally be no. Mine is, and always will be, otherwise. I guess it’s just the way I’m wired.
1. Must I humbly submit to the priesthood quorum lesson author that tells me to obey the advice of “authorizes” to get my recommended vaccinations? And what if they were to be made mandatory? Sorry, T, the advice is at best specious, and if allowed to go to its ultimate conclusion: evil and will be resisted with lethal force.
Must I humbly submit to another priesthood quorum
presentation that expects its members to follow the leaderships
directives to engage in direct political activism as was expected in
Now for a little legal/history lesson: The whole reason the state ever became involved in the institution of marriage, vis-à-vis licensing was for allowing miscegenation after the civil war. Furthermore once one reduces ones status away from operating under inalienable right, to that of permission under the licensing process, one further voluntarily cedes in to a mere secular contract to then become partial property of the state, which includes your children. This is the nexus upon which the state can demand your children to attend school, and to intercede with their DYFUS institutions, to remove your children from their homes if they deem it in their best interest. To me the proper scope of the sacred oath is between husband, wife and god. Period. Including any other parties, especially the state, is a fatal compromise to the true sanctity of the institution from its inception. One last thing on the topic: if you can’t keep an oath, don’t make it.
3. Green tea: I gave you my quick explanation above. Unless you have information to contradict the universal body of knowledge pointing to green tea being a super food, then to submit to the WoW in denial of this, is nothing more than uneducated dogma.
4. 501c3: All churches that operate under 501c3 serve two masters. I’d would have loved to hear the discussion of the leaders of the church in the 50’s when they decided to become 501c3.
Would the church, had it existed then, be telling the Patrick Henry’s, the George Washington’s and the Thomas Jefferson’s of the day, to be humble, meek and submissive to the King, as expressed in the 12’th article of faith? If your answer is yes, then my exit from this church is therefore justified on principle, and we have nothing more to discuss, ever. If you want to know who the King really feared back in the day, the ones he put actual bounty’s upon; it was the church leaders known as the black regimen. They were the ones responsible for inspiring the common men to rise up in arms. Where’s the black regimen equivalent today? So far I’m still searching in vain.
“They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable
an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the
next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard
shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution
and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying
supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our
enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper
use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The
millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country
as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can
send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is
a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up
friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong
alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no
election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire
from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our
chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of