“Video Lesson 17: Helaman 1–12: The Pride Cycle,” Book of Mormon Video Guide (2002), 23–25
“Video Lesson 17,” Book of Mormon Video Guide, 23–25
To help students recognize the cycle of pride portrayed in the book of Helaman and its effects on individuals and society.
Note: This lesson may take two or more days to teach. On the first day, teach Mormon’s description of the pride cycle in Helaman 12:1–6 to gain a perspective for the entire block. Then teach chapters 1–6 of Helaman, looking for evidence of the pride cycle. On day two, use the video to help identify the pride cycle in chapters 7–11.
A thorough understanding of President Ezra Taft Benson’s April 1989 general conference address, which was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley, will be valuable in teaching this lesson (see Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 3–7; or Ensign, May 1989, 4–7).
Display a bicycle wheel. Place a mark on the wheel and spin it. Explain how the mark will continue to return to the same place in its cycle or course again and again as long as it is moving. To prevent the mark from returning to the same spot, a force must be applied.
Mormon wrote about another cycle in Helaman 12—a kind of “pride cycle,” since pride always seems to enter into the hearts of men after God has richly blessed them. Read Helaman 12:1–6 with the class and draw the cycle on the board (see the diagram below). The cycle goes as follows: blessing and prosperity (v. 1), then pride and sin because of the easiness of life (vv. 2, 4–6), which leads to chastening so that the people might remember the Lord (v. 3), which should bring about humility and repentance (vv. 1, 3), which returns them back to a state of blessing and prosperity.
“When we direct our pride toward God, it is in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’ …
“The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives (see Helaman 12:6)” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 4; or Ensign, May 1989, 4).
Have the students search Helaman 12:4–6 to discover reasons the proud cannot accept God giving direction to their lives.
You may wish to recall with the class some of the things about pride shown in the lesson activities for Jacob 2 and Book of Mormon Video presentation 6, “Pride.”
What is the definition of pride? (Enmity toward God or our fellowman.)
What is enmity? (Hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.)
In the first six chapters of Helaman there are numerous references to one stage or another of the cycle of pride. Help students see the cycle and the many missed opportunities to repent and reverse it. The following are references to some of the more obvious examples:
Remind the students of President Benson’s warning: “The scriptures abound with evidences of the severe consequences of the sin of pride to individuals, groups, cities, and nations. ‘Pride goeth before destruction’ (Proverbs 16:18). It destroyed the Nephite nation” (in Conference Report, 4; or Ensign, 5). What will happen if these individuals or groups don’t repent? Where are we today as a society and as individuals in the pride cycle?
Note: The following list shows when to use the video segments and class activities in teaching the scripture blocks in Helaman 7–11:
Suggest that the students look for evidence of pride in the Nephite marketplace.
In segment 1 (5:49) Nephi has returned to Zarahemla and sees the prosperity, pride, and wickedness of the people. He returns to his house and begins to pray on his garden tower. A crowd gathers. After his prayer, he calls them to repentance. The judges in the crowd attempt to incite the crowd against Nephi, while others defend him.
The following questions may help in your discussion of segment 1:
Why was Nephi grieved? (Because of the pride and wickedness of the people [see Helaman 7:26].)
What evidence of enmity or pride was displayed in the marketplace? (The peoples’ love of riches, class distinctions, and oppression of the poor.)
How might the following quotation relate to the people of Nephi? “Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride. ‘How everything affects me’ is the center of all that matters—self-conceit, self-pity, worldly self-fulfillment, self-gratification, and self-seeking” (Benson, in Conference Report, 5; or Ensign, 6).
Where would you place Nephi’s people on the “pride cycle”?
What lies in store for this people? (Destruction [see Helaman 7:22, 28].)
Scan Helaman 8:11–26. Note the many examples Nephi gave of prophets being rejected by the people (Moses, Abraham, Zenos, Zenock, Ezias, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lehi, and Nephi). Discuss reasons people reject prophets. Discuss how individuals can overcome the temptation to criticize a prophet and how we can become obedient to his counsel.
Suggest that the students watch closely for the relationship between pride and secret combinations.
In segment 2 (2:19) Nephi prophesies to the people about the death of the chief judge at the hands of a member of their secret band. Five messengers race to the judgment hall and find the judge murdered.
Relate the following quotations from President Benson to the Nephites:
“Pride results in secret combinations which are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world. … This fruit of the sin of pride, namely secret combinations, brought down both the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations” (in Conference Report, 5; or Ensign, 6).
“Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers” (in Conference Report, 4; or Ensign, 4).
At what point in the pride cycle are secret combinations likely to flourish? What are the secret combinations that Nephi was trying to expose? (see Helaman 7:25; 8:4). Do secret combinations exist in our day?
Read Helaman 9:3–9 with the class to discover what happened to the five men who ran to the judgment hall. Then have the class read Helaman 9:10–19 and discuss the motives of those involved. (The judges sought to destroy the prophet; the five messengers supported Nephi and declared the truth.)
Suggest that the students look for how the people react to Nephi’s prophecy when they know he has told the truth. Also, suggest they try to discover why Nephi was so willing to teach the truth through all the opposition.
In segment 3 (7:02) Nephi is bound and brought for judgment before the crowd. He responds to accusations by prophesying of Seantum’s guilt. Nephi’s innocence and the accuracy of his prophecy are dramatically portrayed. In spite of this, many people scorn Nephi and go their own way.
Relate the following quotations from President Benson to the Nephites:
“The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s” (in Conference Report, 4; or Ensign, 4).
“Pride fades our feelings of sonship to God and brotherhood to man. It separates and divides us by ‘ranks,’ according to our ‘riches’ and our ‘chances for learning.’ … Unity is impossible for a proud people, and unless we are one we are not the Lord’s” (in Conference Report, 5–6; or Ensign, 6).
“When pride has a hold on our hearts, we lose our independence of the world and deliver our freedoms to the bondage of men’s judgment. … The reasoning of men overrides the revelations of God, and the proud let go of the iron rod” (in Conference Report, 5; or Ensign, 5).
Consider reading Helaman 12:1–6 again as a summary. Mormon, who saw the Nephite civilization destroyed because of pride (see Moroni 8:27), would not allow this cycle to destroy him. What can we do individually, as a family, and as a church to prevent pride from destroying us? Refer to the pride cycle again, but this time exclude the term chastening from the cycle. How can the cycle be changed to the three-part cycle? (It changes if we are humble and immediately repent from sin and pride.) Testify that this is the cycle of the humble and that we can develop it in our personal lives. Discuss the closing remarks of President Benson’s talk. Remember: humility is the antidote for pride. Encourage students to choose to be humble.
“God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble” (in Conference Report, 6; or Ensign, 6).