Hugh Nibley describes it as:
“When a person suffering from diabetes consults a doctor, the doctor does not prescribe a treatment for cancer, even though cancer is today considered by far the more dangerous disease. What we read about in the Book of Mormon is the ‘Nephite Disease’ – and we have it!... It must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old’ (D&C 38:39). There it is in a nutshell; it is the fate of the Nephites, not of the Lamanites, Greeks, or Chinese, that concerns us; and that doom was brought on them by pride which in turn was engendered by the riches of the earth.”
Joseph B. Wirthlin said:
“Pride and vanity, the opposites of humility, can destroy our spiritual health as surely as a debilitating disease can destroy our physical health.”
President Benson said:
“Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance. In the scriptures there is no such thing as righteous pride—it is always considered a sin. Therefore, no matter how the world uses the term, we must understand how God uses the term so we can understand the language of holy writ and profit thereby. Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.’ It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us.”
You know that saying "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." ?
Verse 5 made me think of it, but with a little change. "There is nothing to fear but yourself." There really was nothing to hinder them but their own choices. Face it. Everything comes down to your choice: what you do, what you fear, what you love, what you read, etc. That was true for the Nephites then. They were prospering, and the only thing that would break the prosper cycle was their choice to sin.
The same thing could be said of us today. We are a blessed people. We have the gospel in our lives; we have personal revelation; we have the teachings of the Prophets, scriptures, the blessings of the Priesthood, life-saving ordinances, the Gift of the Holy Ghost. No matter the trials we face, no matter the adversity that comes into our lives, we can always have these things if we choose righteousness.
It is when we sin that we lose some, or even all of them. And without these things, or a love of these things, our hearts will harden and hollow, become the perfect breeding ground for the adversary.
But it comes down to our choices. We have the power to decide. It is our God-given right. We cannot blame anyone else for our choices (maybe our circumstances, but not our choices.)
Satan does have great power (15) but ONLY as much as we give him.
I have a quote glued on this page that says: No stone wall separates the members of the Church from all the seductions of the world. Members of the Church, like everyone else, are being surfeited with deceptions, challenges and temptation. HOWEVER, to those of enduring faith, judgment, and discernment, there is an invisible wall which they choose never to breach." James E. Faust
The Invisible Wall. I love it. Maybe I'll write a book about just that.
As faithful disciples of Jesus Christ we draw a line in the sand, the foundation for our invisible wall, and we say, "I will not cross that line." And, if we remain humble and faithful we won't.