Friday, October 2, 2015

Warning Principles about Boasting

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The Doctrine & Covenants has a really good warning about boasting and what eventually happens because of it. It’s so good, it gives us a pattern for discernment in ourselves:
For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him. (D&C 3:4)
I think this is so important because it shows us that having revelation and great power is no defense when someone starts to boast.  Anyone, no matter how great, who boasts in their strength and wisdom will then disregard the counsels of God and they will eventually fall and incur the vengeance of God.  The vengeance of God is merited because of sin committed when setting aside God’s counsels and following one’s own will and carnal desires.

There’s a great case study in the Book of Mormon of a particular person who made the mistake of boasting--Corianton.  Alma describes what happened:
For thou didst not give so much heed unto my words as did thy brother, among the people of the Zoramites. Now this is what I have against thee; thou didst go on unto boasting in thy strength and thy wisdom.
And this is not all, my son. Thou didst do that which was grievous unto me; for thou didst forsake the ministry, and did go over into the land of Siron among the borders of the Lamanites, after the harlot Isabel.  (Alma 39: 2-3)
After learning those principles from D&C 3:4, it is perfectly obvious that Corianton followed that negative pattern.  Because Corianton boasted in his strength and wisdom, he ignored counsel from Alma his father, set the counsels (and commandments) of God at naught, followed his own carnal desires for the harlot Isabel, and promptly fell to temptation.

See? Textbook case. And if any of us make the mistake of boasting, we will similarly get into trouble. 

I’ve boasted in my journal to keep from boasting out loud, but evidently it is just as proud. I’ve boasted sometimes in bearing testimony of what I’ve learned and then found that later I am weak again and fall into disobedience. It didn’t feel like boasting at the time, but the effect afterwards is the same as boasting, so it must have been that.

Unfortunately, it is only too true that boasting comes too easily to all of us.
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! (Helaman 12:5, emphasis added)
This is a great reminder. Simply because we are human and mortal and don’t know everything, we have this ridiculous tendency to turn quickly to boasting and iniquity, but we’re slow to remember the Lord.
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (James 3:5)
The tongue says, “I will go to a party,” but by itself it can’t go anywhere without the legs.  Likewise we boast things we are not even able to do without lots of help that we don’t even realize. 

Boasting also eventually leads to hurting others.
But it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions; (3 Ne. 6:10, emphasis added)
Note that pride and boasting in riches led directly to persecuting others greatly.  When we think we’re all that because of our success, we frequently look with scorn on others and eventually tell them more and more forcefully how pathetic they are.  Because if they would just get a grip and do what we do, they would not be such losers!  Right?  Right!

Hmm. I noticed myself wanting to do that in a particular respect a few days ago.  Not good…
Ye do not remember the Lord your God in the things with which he hath blessed you, but ye do always remember your riches, not to thank the Lord your God for them; yea, your hearts are not drawn out unto the Lord, but they do swell with great pride, unto boasting, and unto great swelling, envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, and murders, and all manner of iniquities. (Hel. 13:22 emphasis added) 
The Nephites’ boasting of their riches without gratitude to God led to worse sins.  And now we know why because of D&C 3:4.  After boasting, they disregarded the counsel of God and followed their carnal desires, so they fell to temptation.