Ezra Taft Benson’s
Hidden Conference Talk
Beware of Pride stands as one of the most profoundly simple yet spiritually significant prophetic messages of the Restoration. But it also contains a second, hidden message for those with eyes to see, and ears to hear.
Probably very few people of the current generation have ever heard of Ezra Taft Benson’s April 1989 conference address, Beware of Pride, or even know that it exists. After all, that was 26 years ago. By now, the content of that life-changing talk has been probably been correlated out of every course of study in the church.
Like the day in 9th grade when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot, or the day I saw the twin towers collapse into their own footprint, I can still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing in the moments when I heard President Benson give that talk. It felt like something on both sides of the veil had just changed.
There were others like me back then who called out for canonization – we wanted Beware of Pride added to the official body of LDS scripture, feeling it to be as spiritually pivotal to this people as King Benjamin’s message was to the people of his day.
Very few, if any, conference addresses before or since Beware of Pride have quietly cited to so many Book of Mormon prophet writers. Any diligent truth seeker who takes the time to pull up and print out Beware of Pride, adding the complete words of the cited scriptures into the full body of the text, will see emerge the actual conference talk President Benson wanted to present to his people, but which has remained hidden in plain sight for such a time as this.
Back in 1991 my friend Lorin did the original scripture breakout on Beware of Pride, incorporated it into the text of the talk, printed out copies and gave them to people in his circle of influence. Every one of us had easy access to the Book of Mormon, and any of us could have done the same thing he did. But it was Lorin who did the work and gave the gift. Unbeknownst to him, that simple labor of love changed the trajectory of my life. I just realized that I never thanked him, so I do it here. I haven’t seen him for 24 years and don’t know where he is, but I hope he finds this and hears my gratitude.
Last week, when I read Log’s post, I saw it again. Everybody has easy access to the Book of Mormon. Anybody could do what Log did and break out the scriptures into a simple synopsis about crying mightily, and post it on a blog. But the fact is that nobody did it, except Log. He did the work and offered up his labor of love, hoping that somehow, somebody would get the point.
The genius of any brilliant synopsis like Benson’s Beware of Pride, or Log’s Cry Mightily is that you can’t just put it together using a word search and cut and paste function. The scriptures don’t work like that: you have to know your stuff.
It takes years of wholehearted reading, retaining, internalizing and experimenting, and then many tears and many prayers to organize and present the words of the prophets in such a way that the Holy Ghost will then confirm the point of the newly created whole as 100% truth.
And then in Log’s case, it also takes a nearly invisible ego to resist the urge to interpret their words, just get out of the way, and let the prophets speak for themselves.
Log’s post called me out and reminded me to go back and read Beware of Pride again. Unfortunately, I discovered that it still has my name written all over it. I know, the scriptures aren’t supposed to be of any private interpretation, but it sure looks like Beware of Pride was written to me.
That’s the hard thing about Beware of Pride: anybody who thinks it applies to everybody else (but not to themselves) will not set foot in Zion.
The message in Beware of Pride pierces my heart and convicts me of the sin of pride every time I read it.
So here I am back on my knees again, yielding my agency and personal agenda to Christ again, crying mightily again, working out my salvation and progression with fear and trembling, again.
This is all just to say thank you dear brother Log, for your labor of love.