There is a considerable gulf between being aware of a teaching or doctrine and living it. I’ve noticed how it is often the case that we confuse our knowledge about an idea with the notion we are in possession of the attribute.
Learning doctrine and living it are two entirely different things.
The query by Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon, “Are ye stripped of pride?” is more than meaningful. (Alma 5: 28.) It is clarifying. The lens we see ourselves through is distorted as long as pride is part of our makeup.
I don’t know of any way to strip ourselves of pride other than to suffer setback, loss, difficulty, disappointment or anguish. I’ve never been able to do so on my own. Without suffering, I cannot see myself in the correct light.
There are only a few people I know who have received God’s greatest approval; who have had the heavens opened to them and heard the voice of God. Almost without exception, they suffer from physical ailments, struggle with aging and reduced physical abilities, have losses, or bear anguish. These burdens have benefited them. Without a strong, corrosive encounter with difficulty they could not strip themselves of pride.
For the most part, organized religion does not do what is necessary to break down the hard, prideful hearts of followers. The prophecy of Isaiah is as current as this moment:”That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isa. 30: 9-11.)
We want to be taught a positive religion. We want praise. If something challenges our good self-image we think it unhelpful, negative and even devilish. But the truth is that until we have broken down before God, seen ourselves in our horrible weakness, foolishness and pride, and acquired a broken heart and contrite spirit, we will remain lying children that will not hear the law of the Lord. When our prophets will only speak smooth things to us we are only being deceived. We are compelling the Holy One of Israel to cease from among us.
But we do feel good about ourselves. We do think we prosper, and all is right.
More blessed, therefore, are those who will do the will of the Lord and not merely acknowledge it. Those who will break down their pride and realize they know nothing until they know God. When they meet Him, He will “reveal all things” to you (D&C 101: 32), because you will at last see yourself as you really are. (1 John 3: 2.)
Everything else is vanity.