One of the most common platitudes passed among us these days is “believe in yourself”. We hear this over and over again, but we cannot find the scripture this principle comes from.
That is because “believe in yourself” is not God’s philosophy, it is man’s. If we have faith in Christ we can do all things. Is that not good enough for us?
Imagine reading Ether 12, which presents to us things that were accomplished by faith, but instead, replacing the notion of faith with believing in oneself. What would have been accomplished by that power?
Ether 12:4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.
Can we say that those who believe in themselves will gain a hope that makes an anchor to their soul making them sure and steadfast always abounding in good works?
Look, this is a simple case. Does “believing in yourself” bring you to Christ? Because according to Moroni 7 we can judge the principle of “believing in yourself” by that measure. Do wicked people believe in themselves? Of course there are wicked people who do. Our rock stars and our movie stars believe in themselves. As a rule our famous athletes are not moral, and yet they believe in themselves. By the measure of Moroni 7, the principle “believe in yourself” is not of God. It does not bring people to Christ. You can live the principle “believe in yourself” and still be as wicked as you want.
In fact, the scriptures warn repeatedly against trusting in the arm of flesh. They warn repeatedly against trusting in our own strength, and our own capability, and to trust in God’s strength instead. Will that principle bring us to God? Yes. So according to Moroni 7, that is a principle that is of God.
From Moroni 7 we see that “believe in yourself” is not a principle of God. It is not a real virtue, and we should stop preaching it.
From Moroni 7, we also see that “Cease to believe in yourself, put aside your trust in your own strength and capability, and trust in God’s strength instead” is a principle that comes from God. Which is no surprise, it is taught freely in the scriptures. A couple of examples are:
2 Nephi 4:34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm
as well as
2 Nephi 28:31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Interestingly, this scripture also teaches that “Cursed is he that … shall hearken unto the precepts of men”. Thus the scriptures teach that we are cursed if we hearken to the precept “believe in yourself”, which is a precept of man, not of God. Certainly, we will be even worse off if we also go around teaching and preaching it as well as believing it ourselves.
By contrast, faith is a principle that comes from God. We do not need to believe in ourselves. Rather, we need to humble ourselves and cease to trust in our own strength and abilities. We need to put our trust and belief fully in God.