Previously we explored how pride or humility gets incorporated into governments, which then reinforce one or the other in the people. In this way, governments are one of several “cultural pumps” moving a society towards either Babylon or Zion.
Another is education. The Book of Mormon offers examples of both humility and pride-based education.
One humility-based school system is mentioned in the latter-half of Alma, chapter one. In verse 26, we see church-organized education with volunteer teachers who supported themselves by their own labors (presumably in agriculture). The text itself indicates that these Nephites apparently linked voluntary teaching with what I call, “Humility2”* – the idea that all men are equal and none deserves to live off the labors of others through taxes:
“And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And [then] they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.“ (See also: Mosiah 27:1-5).
The above stands in stark contrast to the pride-based school system established earlier among the Lamanites. Amulon, as a former wicked priest in King Noah’s government, was familiar with the benefits of priestcraft having lived riotously off Nephite tax dollars. Later, Amulon had weaseled his way into the Lamanite government and gets his fellow priests appointed paid teachers in the Lamanites’ government-run national school system (Mosiah 24:1&4). Verses 5-7 show us that these schools, like ours today, taught reading, writing and record-keeping, but did not teach of God, His prophets, or His commandments, which humility before God would require. This resulted in the Lamanites becoming “a cunning and a wise people, as to the wisdom of the world… delighting in all manner of wickedness and plunder” – a condition clearly more indicative of Babylon than Zion.
So, as a people under covenant with God to consecrate all we have “for the establishment of Zion”, we may want to reconsider our support for, loyalty to, and participation in pride-based education, and consider working with others to establish humility-based alternatives.