26 And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth.
27 And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. (1 Nehi 8:26-27)
During the course of my Church education, I always thought that the “great and spacious building” was the world and the people who live in the world. But Nephi later defines it as “… vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men.” (1 Nephi 12:18). The spacious building is also populated with members of the church, people who have partaken of the fruit of the tree. I beleive that these are the people who are going to cause the members of the church the greatest trouble in the last days.
Another point that I never noticed before was that the building “stood as if it were in the air”. Is there any better way to depict pride? It reminds me of President Bensen’s talk on pride (Cleansing the Inner Vessel, Ensign May 1986 and Beware of Pride, Ensign may 1989).
In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride. It is always considered as a sin. We are not speaking of a wholesome view of self-worth, which is best established by a close relationship with God. But we are speaking of pride as the universal sin, as someone has described it.
Mormon writes that “the pride of this nation, or the people of the Nephites, hath proven their destruction.” (Moro. 8:27.) The Lord says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “Beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.” (D&C 38:39.)
Essentially, pride is a “my will” rather than “thy will” approach to life. The opposite of pride is humbleness, meekness, submissiveness (see Alma 13:28), or teachableness.
Pride has been a problem in the Church from the beginning. Lehi’s dream talks about it’s pit falls and how it will lead people people away who have already partaken of “love of God”. It is something that is going to always be a stumbling block for the Church. Lets just not get caught up in it. We don’t need to have the biggest car, the biggest house, or the perfect family. The important part is to say holding onto the Rod of Iron and pressing forward. Just ignore the people in “the great and spacious building”.
How often do we hear people pointing and making fun of someone be cause of how “righteous” they are. And the majority of the time, they are the people who we would go to for help if we needed it. They are the ones that are meek, humble, and closer to God. It is not about what care you drive, but how well you live your religion.
Picture: Lehi’s Dream By Greg Olsen