“Hearts That Do Swell with Great Pride”

Brant Gardner

Literature: Samuel paints a terrible and ironic picture of the people of Zarahemla through parallel phrases:

Ye do not remember the Lord your God.
Ye do always remember your riches.

Remembering focuses our attention. The Nephites have lost their focus on Yahweh, replacing it with an inappropriate focus on the accumulation and display of wealth. As a result of this misplaced focus, their social ethic has also changed. Rather than adhere to the principles of the gospel, they desire more wealth, leading to “great pride.”

When we see pride in the Book of Mormon, it is most often associated with the social hierarchies supported by displays of wealth. (See commentary accompanying Jacob 2:12–13). When the Nephites were wealthy and righteous, pride was not a problem because they did not esteem one man above another. The evidence of rising pride was the assertion that some were better than others—and it goes without saying that the proud identified themselves as having higher status than others.

Most of this catalogue of sins deals with personal relationships: “boasting,… envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions.” All of these qualities created divisions between people. All were sins of social segregation and hierarchies.

The specific mention of murders suggests that the Gadiantons are not extinct after all, since murder as a tactic for accumulating wealth was a Gadianton trait. (See commentary accompanying Helaman 7:5.) The presence of that condemnation may indicate that not all of the popular sentiment that supported the Gadiantons was extinguished when the Gadianton rulers were removed.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5