Elder Wilford W. Andersen discussed the pride cycle and how it affects the lives of BYU students in his Nov. 7 devotional address. He used a clock as a metaphor to help students visualize the pride cycle throughout his talk.
“When we are at 12 o’clock on the pride cycle, we, like the Nephites of old, feel so successful, so intelligent, so popular, that we begin to feel invincible,” Andersen said.
Andersen said this unrighteous sense of strength eventually leads people to feel they don’t need God or his servants and they, “bristle at their counsel.” This pushes people to the two o’clock position. Those honest with themselves at this time will see they are not very happy.
Andersen said people experience the painful consequences of their foolish pride at four o’clock on the pride cycle.
“We may lose the job. We may lose the girlfriend or the boyfriend. We may lose the respect of those who matter most to us. Worse yet, we may lose respect for ourselves,” Andersen said.
Andersen said these losses in people’s lives push them toward the six o’clock position: humility. He said the journey from the four o’clock position to six o’clock can be exhilarating. People stop trying to impress those around them, they see clearly and they act honestly. They become comfortable with criticism and smile at their own mistakes.
At the six o’clock position Andersen said people begin to experience meekness. They become spiritually powerful as they elevate God rather than themselves.
“We should not make the mistake of confusing meekness with weakness. It has been said that meekness is not a recognition of our weakness, but rather a recognition of the true source of our strength. There is nothing weak about meek,” Andersen said.
Andersen added that following God’s commandments and heeding his counsel invites the spirit of the Holy Ghost. When people move into the eight o’clock position, and eventually into the ten o’clock position, they move into “a state of blessed happiness.”
“Ten o’clock on the pride cycle is a pleasant and wonderful place to be, but unfortunately, it is also a very dangerous place to be,” Andersen said.
As people receive this success they may feel they have earned it. According to Andersen, their friends will begin to congratulate them for their success, and if they are not careful, they will begin to believe they accomplished these great things on their own. They will begin to move back towards the twelve o’clock position where the cycle will reset.
“Are we consigned to continue forever in this endless loop of despair? Is there no way to get off the pride cycle? There is,” Andersen said.
He said there are two points where people can exit the price cycle, “one to our eternal destruction, and the other to our everlasting happiness.” At the four o’clock point, when people feel all is lost, they may become angry. They may begin to blame God and others for their loses. If they do this, Andersen said they will exit the pride cycle and begin a course toward eternal destruction.
Andersen said people can also exit at the ten o’clock point. As their lives are filled with blessings and they are tempted to be proud, they can instead become thankful, and recognize every blessing comes from Heavenly Father. If they do this, Andersen said, they will exit the pride cycle and proceed on a path toward God.
Andersen urged students to give thanks to God, and leave the pride cycle.
“Recognize that all good things come from God. He is the source of every blessing you receive. Fill your heart with gratitude for his merciful kindness. Treasure and follow the counsel of his servants,” Andersen said.
Andersen promised students that their gratitude will protect them against pride and make a way for them to escape the pride cycle.