As the title suggests, that's my topic today. We have lost the only investigators we had because their parents kept placing barriers and won't make time to accept us. To them, they just don't have the time, and as sad as that makes me, I understand it. I just hope that sometime soon, the missionaries can go back and they will have more time because the two youngest of the family have been super prepared. The pride of the parents, even if they don't recognize it, is preventing the progress of their children, and through that the future generations.
That is something that i saw with another less active member recently as well. He is a very, very proud man. The first time he inactived was a relatively understandable case when the ward helped them out with welfare and then in a thoughtless moment the branch president told him not to make a bad habit out of it. That was a thoughtless stupidity (interestingly, that branch president, now released, is also less active). About three months ago, this man went back to church because the missionaries had been stopping by to help get their youngest son baptized. Then something else happened, an offered job and help, replied with offered service, then no follow-up. And now this man utterly refuses to go to church. He says he understands that we need to go to church not for the people but for the covenants, and we shared God's love, the purpose of life, the final judgment, agency and personal accountability, and a few other things. When we invited him to go back to church to participate in the blessings of the sacrament, he refused and then went off once again on his excuse.
Then I got a little bold, as did my companion, and we asked if he knew that he was condemning the future of his family and children and generations to come. We didn't ask it in those words, and we did it with a little more love, but that was the basic idea. He cut us off and immediately replied that he knew and he didn't really care. His pride has utterly blinded him to his family, when he claims that he does everything because he loves his family, at least on the part of work and so forth. But because he cannot find it in him to forgive a momentary stupidity, a human error (and we've heard both sides of the story) even when there was no real reason to become offended, he is denying his family the blessings of God. It is incredible!
President Benson, in one of his talks, warned us of the universal sin of pride. He admonished us to beware of and distance ourselves from pride. One thing more that we must do is plead from God the gift of humility with as much fervor as Mormon tells us to plead for Charity, as quoted by his son in Moroni 7. We need to pray to receive the gifts of charity, faith, hope, and humility.
Even among the members, I am shocked at how many of them claim to understand the doctrine and the gospel, and then turn around and don't follow it at all, either refusing to apply it because of the "strictness of the word," "the easiness of the way," or out of laziness, all of which can be categorized as the "pride of their hearts."
The people are invigorated and animated to do things during the meetings, and the moment they leave (and this is a large generalization) they forget everything, changing nothing, and continuing just as they are. No wonder the scriptures warn us not to fall into the trap of thinking "all is well in zion!" The moment we think that, we deny the urgency of the work and our own desires for salvation. We cannot be saved without putting in our constant efforts to warn and save our brethren and sisters. In this last week, the scriptures in Moroni 7 and D&C 121 have had an increasing meaning and weight in my mind. I also have a lot of room to repent and put aside my own pride. But I know that if it is something we desire and we ask for, it will be given us, as God promises many times in the words of the Holy Scriptures.
My dear family, I love you, and I want to share this with you because it is what I am learning and finding. I am hoping that circumstances can change and will be different or we will never reach the dream of Zion as it was when Enoch was on the earth. Again, I love you, and I know that we can start the changes if we continue to pray for, share with, and love our brothers and sisters in the Gospel.
Elder Matthew H. Dewsnup
Misión Buenos Aires Norte
Gral. Lavalle 1828
1646 San Fernando
Buenos Aires, Argentina