Why Humility?

Michael Claridge Humility, Michael 2 Comments

It just dawned on me that I have taken for granted all this time that you have understood why I think humility is such an important principle.

I mean, you probably get that humility is important, as a concept or doctrine of the gospel, as a Latter-Day Saint you are aware that we are all supposed to be humble, you may understand it on a certain intellectual level, but when it really comes down to it do you really know why?

I hope to enlighten your understanding on why humility is such a necessary element, and why it plays such an important role in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and you might be surprised how little you really know about the why of humility. Regardless, today explore with me why I think humility is such an important doctrine.

every great spiritual attainment that we believe is possible for us to attain in this life can only truly be attained completely by means of this thing we call humility

In a nutshell, every great spiritual attainment that we believe is possible for us to attain in this life can only truly be attained completely by means of this thing we call humility.

In past posts we’ve discussed what humility is quite a bit. I’ve even explored what it is not.  Basically, if you have pride, you aren’t humble.  If you are vain, you aren’t humble. If you exercise unrighteous dominion, you aren’t humble.  If you think you know it all, you aren’t humble. And if you aren’t humble, you aren’t going to attain the glorious blessings available to you.

But today I’d like to discuss why humility is so important.

To start off, I’ll bet there’s quite a few Latter-Day Saints who don’t even know the entire list of what is possible to attain.

You may have heard Sunday School and Seminary classes where such things were discussed like Zion the New Jerusalem, or the Second Comforter, or calling and election made sure, or the Church of the Firstborn, and many other magnificent mysterious doctrines.  I could spend this entire post on these subjects, talking about these mysteries, heck, we could spend every post talking about these mysteries, but that’s not the focus of this post.

But I find it very interesting how little most people know about these doctrines.  Here, they are the pinnacle doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ yet most Latter-Day Saints live their entire lives without even scratching the surface of understanding them.

It is my opinion, that what they truly don’t understand is what we are talking about today – without knowing why humility is so important they remain all but blind to these, the most wonderful doctrines of Eternity.

Once you understand the why of humility these mysterious doctrines begin to unfold their layers, and the more humble you become the more layers unfold, which in and of itself would be reason enough to want to be humble, don’t you think?

This is why Lindon and I have repeated time and again:  “Remember, humility is the key.

But the key to what? Simply put, humility is the key to qualifying for the most wonderful blessings and opening the grandest mysteries of Eternity. Now explore with my why.

Before you were born, you were trained and taught many, if not all, of these powerful truths.  One day, when the veil is finally lifted, I think we will be tremendously surprised at how much we already know (knew), but have forgotten.

61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment. (Moses 6:61)

Did you get that?  We learn from this verse that the truth of all things was given to abide in us, plus a whole heck of a lot of other things – all things.  From my puny understanding when a scripture says “all” it usually isn’t leaving anything out, or excluding anything. When it says all, it pretty much means all.

So what we are to understand by this verse is that we had an understanding of all these things, because they had been given to us, and abided in us. So why don’t we know them now? Or why don’t we have access to those memories? Is the veil of forgetfulness really that strong?

Like I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I believe our own bodies quite possibly make up the entirety of what we call the veil of forgetfulness.  This is a very important distinction, pay close attention, it may very well be the reason why humility is so important.

There seems to be a wall between us and these important mysteries that we already knew before we began our second estate on this wonderful planet earth.  It’s my opinion, and the scriptures back me up too, that humility is the key to unlock the door to that wall that stands between us and all those amazing truths, and blessings.

Could it be that our bodies are the wall? Perhaps, but I think that’s a broad brushstroke that begs for clarity.  So what are the true wall-builders?

Let’s take a few minutes and discuss the wall-builders that build the wall that gets built between us and the glories of Eternity.

In Mormon chapter 8 there are several words and phrases that describe what it means to not be humble.  It uses words such as:  lifted up in the pride of their hearts, envying and strife, being puffed up, wearing of very fine apparel, adorning yourself, love of money, not giving of our substance to the poor, selling yourselves for that which will canker, and the worst one of all Moroni calls us pollutions.

I think it’s safe to say that there is one word that encapsulates all these other words and phrases:  PRIDE.

And it just so happens that pride is the opposite of humility.

I think most of us are fairly well versed in the common usages of pride we find in the scriptures and throughout life, but now I’d like to discuss a couple of the other not-so-commonly-used iterations of pride, and by so doing, illustrate just how pervasive this wall-building word, and why it is so pernicious, destructive and blinding.

Hard Hearted

In Alma chapter 12 we learn some really important distinctions regarding people who are hard hearted. Let’s review:

10 And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.

11 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell. (Alma 12:10-11)

Have you ever known anyone who once was an active member of the church, but for whatever reason left the church?  It almost seems that within a very short time they know less about the church than what they knew before they became inactive.  Could it be, this is what these verses are talking about?

Throughout the Book of Mormon the condition of hardening your heart almost always leads to negative behaviors, and even ultimately an entire destruction – I mean, look, the Nephites were completely destroyed because of their hard hearts.

1 And it came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen—

2 Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.

3 And it came to pass that the people began to wax strong in wickedness and abominations; and they did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given; and Satan did go about, leading away the hearts of the people, tempting them and causing them that they should do great wickedness in the land. (3 Nephi 2:1-3)

Unbelief

Unbelief is probably one of the most insidious versions of pride, because it hides itself so well, especially when its camouflage is so very close and is often imperceptibly mistaken for humility – ignorance.

their ignorance to saving truths is building a wall of unbelief between them and their salvation

People don’t believe in saving truths because they don’t understand them, or know of them, or what they do know of them is twisted and distorted, so they opt to not believe in them at all, concluding they are taking the high road, when in actuality their ignorance to saving truths is building a wall of unbelief between them and their salvation.

But sadly that’s only one side of the coin of unbelief, the other side is just as insidious:  When someone thinks they already know the truth, but don’t.

28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. (2 Nephi 9:28)

Here we find those who already know it all, and don’t need to know more, and what they know is building the wall of unbelief between them and their salvation, and as we learned earlier, their hearts become hard, and soon they begin to lose even that which they already know, until they know nothing.

And here’s a sad commentary, in D&C 84 it says that the entire church is held under condemnation by the Lord because of unbelief. Wow, that’s not pretty.

54 And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received—

55 Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.

56 And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. (D&C 84:54-56)

I’ve come to really hate reminding people of the church what these verses say, almost every time I do, some well-meaning Latter-Day Saint takes them personally and argues with me, excusing themselves or the entire church, by saying that these verses must be talking about the early saints, and certainly not about us, today.

But when I point out, using scriptures that show evidence to the harsh reality, that indeed they are talking about us, today, it starts to get really uncomfortable, which is just another sign that altogether proves the validity and truth of how thick the wall is between us and the Lord’s Eternal blessings.

We have treated lightly the things we have received.  We haven’t believed the things we have received.

So what are the things that we have received but haven’t believed?

57 And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written— (D&C 84:57)

I was with my older brother and sister the other day and we were talking about these things.  My sister asked me, “Mike, there are many people in the church that read their scriptures, say their family prayers, do their callings, and they are good LDS people, but they don’t know about these doctrines, why are they under condemnation, they are good people?”

That’s a great question. And it deserves a great answer.

My brother answered it perfectly, “Yes, they are good people. That’s not the problem. The question we need to be asking is why they don’t know these doctrines, why they aren’t receiving these doctrines.”

So what’s in the Book of Mormon that we aren’t remembering? What is the new covenant? What do we need to repent of?  What does that have to do with humility?

We’ll get to those answers, but before we do I’d like to talk about a couple of other not-so-commonly known forms of wall-builders, just as pernicious as hardening hearts and unbelief.  Once you understand these I will wrap them up all together and answer those questions.

Things of This World

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men… (D&C 121:34-35)

In D&C 84 we were told that the entire church is held under condemnation because of vanity.  So answer me this:  Isn’t vanity and seeking to receive the honors of men pretty much the same thing?

Webster’s Dictionary defines vanity as, “inflated pride in oneself or one’s appearance.” Okay, that’s pretty much what we all thought.  When men/women are seeking for the honors of others that’s being vain, and that vanity is what is putting the entire church under condemnation.

So, now let’s find out how “having our hearts set upon the things of this world” is also a wall builder.

What are the things of this world?

Cars, houses, TV’s, boats, computers and electronics? I think we’d all agree with that list, wouldn’t we?  But perhaps there are some things of this world that aren’t quite so obvious.  What about careers, jobs, hobbies, education, vocations? Or what about sports, entertainment, recreation, or Disneyland? I could probably go on for quite a while listing all the “things of this world” that we set our hearts on, but I recognize in doing so I’d be opening up a can of controversy, and ruffle some feathers. BTW, if I were to be ruffling your feathers by pointing out that one of these things is a “thing of the world,” perhaps you better check yourself, because that’s a pretty good litmus test of what your heart is set on.

we have devices to connect us, but the more devices we have the less connected we are

But that’s just the point of this blog post. Do you see a pattern here? There are things in the world that are very disguised wall-builders that we embrace, maybe even believe we can’t live without, but in truth are just camouflaged forms of pride.

Don’t you find it interesting that we have devices (things of this world) to connect us, but the more devices we have the less connection we have with one another, and God? I think that this is a metaphor for the principles I’m trying to teach you today.

The more you disconnect from devices of this world, the more you will be connected with God and others – why is this so?

Isn’t it clear to see that the things we are calling wall-builders are the things that build walls between us and God, and His Eternal truths and blessings?

Things of this world are plainly not the domain or dominion of God.  D&C 121:34-46 is all about domains and dominions.

And it says that we can only maintain our dominions upon principles of righteousness, and warns us of yet one other form of not-so-commonly-talked-about wall-builders – unrighteous dominion.

39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. (D&C 121:39)

Now ladies, pay close attention here, even though these scriptures seem to be talking to the men of the priesthood, they really are talking to people of the church, and where the Lord clearly defines who He determines are His chosen, and who are not, so if you would like to be on His list of His chosen vessels, you’d better pay close attention to these verses.

It’s sad, but almost all people as soon as they get a little bit of authority, as they suppose, they start to be wall-builders.

I’ve said the following before to a group of High Priests that kind of squirmed, as I said it:

“If we were to take a survey of all the Quorum leaders, Bishops, Stake Presidents, Councilors, etc. and ask them if they were the exception to verse 39 of D&C 121, the great majority would say they are, while a very small percentage would have the humility to say they are most likely the ones verse 39 is speaking of.

But wouldn’t the irony be sweet? Because those few would be the exception.”

Again, I ask you if you see the pattern here?  Unrighteous dominion is just another form of pride, and a pervasive, and very church condemning wall-builder.

Do you see now how all these worldly things separate us, disconnect us, and build a wall that stand between us and God and severs us from His presence?

The Great and Last Covenant

So now let’s answer the questions about the Book of Mormon that I promised to answer.  What is the new covenant of the Book of Mormon that we have forgotten and need to repent of because of our unbelief?

If you are an observant student of the Book of Mormon than you are familiar with a common theme of the Book of Mormon, in fact, you recognize that the every page, almost every verse of the Book of Mormon points to and testifies of Jesus Christ. But to what end?

I recognize that may be a strong question.  Think about it, what’s so important about the testimony of Jesus Christ that an entire book focuses on it? It must be for a reason.  I mean, an entire church is held under condemnation because we have treated lightly the things that are written in the Book of Mormon, and because of our unbelief.

We must be missing something here. What?

My friends what you may not know, and more likely do not believe is even possible, is in reality the true core theme of the Book of Mormon; which has everything to do with the new covenant, the great and last covenant which Jesus Christ has made with His true followers.

69 Remember the great and last promise which I have made unto you… (D&C 88:69)

And what is that great and last promise?

67 And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things.

68 Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will. (D&C 88:67-68)

The great and last covenant the Lord Jesus Christ has made with us is no more, and no less than seeing Him face to face while in the flesh before we die.

Every single prophet of the Book of Mormon lived and died bearing testimony of this great and last covenant. They obtained it for themselves while they were still alive and use their testimonies in their writings to teach us and show us how we can obtain it too.

Nephi and Jacob did:

3 And my brother, Jacob, also has seen him as I have seen him; wherefore, I will send their words forth unto my children to prove unto them that my words are true. Wherefore, by the words of three, God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words. (2 Nephi 11:3)

26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)

Lamoni did:

13 For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit. (Alma 19:13)

Mahonrimoriancumer (the brother of Jared) did:

19 And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil; and he saw the finger of Jesus, which, when he saw, he fell with fear; for he knew that it was the finger of the Lord; and he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting.

20 Wherefore, having this perfect knowledge of God, he could not be kept from within the veil; therefore he saw Jesus; and he did minister unto him. (Ether 3:19-20)

Mormon did:

15 And I, being fifteen years of age and being somewhat of a sober mind, therefore I was visited of the Lord, and tasted and knew of the goodness of Jesus. (Mormon 1:15)

Moroni did:

39 And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things; (Ether 12:39)

And many others of the Book of Mormon also experienced an audience with the Savior.  They all gave their lives to bear testimony of this great and last covenant which the Lord had made with them, and us, you and me.  Do we know it?  Do we believe that it is possible?

Unfortunately, we are held under condemnation until we repent of our unbelief and begin to remember this great and last covenant.

But we have too many walls built up that stand between us and God and His amazing mysteries, and the heavenly gift of having an audience with His Son Jesus Christ.

Hopefully now you are starting to see “why” humility is so important – it is the key that tears down those walls.

And perhaps now some of these verses will begin to make more sense to you:

19 For the natural man [wall-builder] is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father. (Mosiah 3:10 emphasis added)

Don’t you find it interesting that the way he describes for us to obtain sanctification (becoming a saint) through the Atonement of Christ is becoming like a child?

In third Nephi when the Savior had appeared to the Nephite people, he taught them what He calls “His Gospel,” and again, interestingly enough the way was to become as a little child.

31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

35 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and I bear record of it from the Father; and whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.

36 And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.

37 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. (3 Nephi 11:31, 35-38)

Twice he mentions that His doctrine includes becoming as a little child – humble.  We can only be sanctified by becoming humble.

I find it interesting that the verses before this he corrects the people and tells them that hardening their hearts is not His doctrine, but being humble, becoming as a little child, is one of the prerequisites to inherit the Kingdom of God (3 Nephi 11:29-30).

In one of my favorite verses of scripture we learn His Atonement (His Grace) is only accessible by means of humility:

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. (Ether 12:27)

The Atonement (His grace), which exists only within His domain, on His side of the wall, is only accessible by being humble.

10 And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual. (D&C 67:10)

When we are sufficiently humble the veil (the wall) which stands between us and Christ, will be rent (torn down) and we shall see Him.

Added Perspective

We’ve learned some very powerful truths so far. Many of us in the United States have had life pretty easy, without struggle, and without difficulty. As fortunate as that is, it has also been detrimental to our eternal progression.

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 [they will not be humble].

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! (Helaman 12:2-4, emphasis and commentary added)

Here is another way of looking at all this. Before the Savior comes the second time He will have cleansed the earth of all things Telestial. Why?

As it says in D&C 67 no man has seen God (or Christ) in the flesh, except he has been transfigured (sanctified) (D&C 67:11-12, D&C 84:22, Moses 1:11, 14). And as we have already learned from all these verses, the only way a man can be sanctified is by being sufficiently humble.

And as Helaman tells us above, there is an easy way to be humble and a hard way to be humble.  You can choose to be humble of your own free will and choice, or the Lord can compel you to be humble.

If your heart is set too much on the things of this world, if you are a wall-builder in any degree, you can pretty much count on the Lord stripping you of those things. All things Telestial will be done away, and will be stripped away from this earth before the Lord returns.

it is the key that opens the door to the blessings of Eternity

I hope now you can see “why” humility is so very important.  It is the key that opens the door to the blessings of Eternity.

Why humility? Because no amount of money can buy your way into the domain of the Lord. Why humility? Because no amount of good deeds will earn your way in to the domain of the Lord. Why humility? Because no amount of the honors of men will earn you greater standing in the domain of the Lord. Why humility? Because anything that builds a wall between you and the Lord will have to be torn down so that you can enter into the domain of the Lord.

Let’s remember Nicodemus.  Did the Lord say for him to pay more, to work harder so he could give more? No. The Lord proposed something that required the one thing that would grant access to heaven, and it wasn’t money. The Lord told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor and then come and follow Him.  Huh? Seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it?

The only thing the Lord wanted was humility.  He wanted ol’ Nic to prove where his heart was.  Ol’ Nic did just that, he proved his heart was set too much on the things of this world, hung his head and walked away.

Why humility? It’s the proof of where your heart is. It shows the Lord the truth of you.

Why humility? Because it shows exactly what your heart is set upon – the honors of men, the things of this world, vanity, riches, things that will canker, adornments, or the Lord.

Why humility? Because it’s the key.

That’s why humility.

You want the Lord’s grace, humility is the key to that grace. You want to avoid the coming tribulations, humility is the key to circumvent them in your life. You want peace in your life, humility is the key to that peace. You want charity in your life, humility is the key to having charity bestowed upon you. You want to see the face of God and live, humility is the key to transforming you into a new being whereon you can endure His presence. You want to enter into the rest of the Lord, humility is the key that opens that door.

That’s why humility.

Every single mention of any singular blessing promised in the scriptures is preceded by humility. Absolutely every refining godly quality is earned through the antecedent of humility.  And every single power and authority is granted and used only upon the precursor which is humility.

That’s why humility.

My dear friend, I’ve bought into the insidious lie so many times in my life and felt that I could do it myself, only to find out much too late that I could not. The only way was and always will be…humility.

The great liar will always tell you that you can circumvent, bypass, overpower, do without, and altogether obliterate the need for humility, but as I hope I have illustrated the great liar only builds walls between you and Eternity. And always, unceasingly humility is the key that tears those walls down.

That’s why humility.

Michael-sig

   

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Comments 2

  1. You wrote:

    Alma did:
    13 For as sure as thou livest, behold, I have seen my Redeemer; and he shall come forth, and be born of a woman, and he shall redeem all mankind who believe on his name. Now, when he had said these words, his heart was swollen within him, and he sunk again with joy; and the queen also sunk down, being overpowered by the Spirit. (Alma 19:13)

    This wasn’t Alma talking. It was King Lamoni. You need to correct your story. Otherwise, very good.

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