Sadly, the concept behind the “humblebrag” isn’t anything new. In Luke 18, Jesus relates the following:
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
The Pharisee, in this case, was pretty clearly guilty of humblebragging. At a moment when he should have been in communion with the Most High, all he could do was exalt himself and his own deeds. In contrast, the publican truly was humble, perhaps to legitimate excess, speaking nothing of himself but begging only for repentance. In return, the publican received a blessing. The Pharisee? He will get what is due him, although it likely will not be what he expected.
However, this is the opposite of what the world would demand of us. As Elder Marlin K. Jensen noted :
“…It should come as no surprise that, in the estimation of some, humility ranks quite low on the scale of desirable character traits. Popular books have been written in recent years on integrity, common sense, civility, and a host of other virtues, but apparently there is little market for humility. Obviously, in these coarsening times when we are taught the art of negotiating by intimidation, and assertiveness has become a byword of the business world, those seeking to become humble will be a small and overlooked but critically important minority.”
As we read in Doctrine & Covenants 136:
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.
In other words, “being humble” is a big part of living the gospel. Doctrine & Covenants 12:8 even reads “And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.” Doctrine & Covenants 112:10, meanwhile, gives us this promise: “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”
The Gospel of Matthew goes further in explaining the importance of humility. Matthew 18 records the following exchange between Jesus and the disciples:
1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
In chapter 23, meanwhile, we have Jesus giving the following instructions:
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
But just what is humility? To quote from the True To The Faith manual :
“To be humble is to recognize gratefully your dependence on the Lord—to understand that you have constant need for His support. Humility is an acknowledgment that your talents and abilities are gifts from God. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that you know where your true strength lies. You can be both humble and fearless. You can be both humble and courageous.”
Ether 12:27 gives us this promise:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
How is it that a person can be both humble and courageous? How is it that weak things can become strong? A perfect example of this is the Savior. This becomes clear in Matthew 26:39, where we read: “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Even though Jesus knew that doing what the Father required of him would cause him to suffer and die, Jesus understood what was asked of him and so complied, facing what would be his final hours. As Elder Jensen explained:
“The power of that response itself brings a feeling of humility. It reminds us that the greatest act of courage and love in the history of mankind—Christ’s atoning sacrifice—was also the greatest act of humility and submissiveness. Some may wonder if those seeking to become humble must forever defer to the strongly held opinions and positions of others. Certainly the Savior’s life evidences that true humility is anything but subservience, weakness, or servility.”
If anything, the life of the Savior was one of humility. We all know, for example, of how he was born in a manger when there was no room to be had elsewhere. His upbringing was largely unremarkable barring the incident in the temple, so unremarkable that people were astounded to hear him speak. As Matthew 13 records:
¶And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
So here he was, this by all respects common, humble individual. He was not a high-born military leader, as the religious leadership of the day was seeking for in a Messiah. As demonstrated when he rebuffed Satan’s temptations, he didn’t care for worldly power or authority. Luke 23:3 even records an exchange between him and Pilate in this regards, noting: “And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.” Yes, it was Pilate who pronounced that Jesus was the King, not Jesus himself.
Think about this for a moment. As I noted earlier, those who have the most to brag about are the least likely to do so. This is exactly how Jesus handled his exchange with Pilate. Jesus could have at any point easily used his power and authority to ensure his own personal safety and well-being. Yet he humbled himself before both Heavenly Father and the Earthly authorities alike. Jesus did not even make a claim as to his own divinity or heritage, instead allowing another to do so.
And for what purpose?
To ensure that everyone who lives has the chance to humble themselves before God for the sake of repentance.
That’s correct. Just as humility played a key part in the Atonement, so does humility play a large part in the process of repentance. To further quote Elder Jensen:
“Even more importantly, think of the role of humility in the process of repentance. Is it not humility, coupled with strong faith in Christ, that carries the transgressor to God in prayer, to the offended party in apology, and, where necessary, to his priesthood leader in confession?”
In that sense, one could say that humility is at the core of the entire gospel. We must be humble as children in order to best complete the work of the gospel. If we err, we must be humble enough to seek forgiveness. And it was through the humility of Christ and his sacrifice that we are able to receive this forgiveness.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Wiktionary Definition. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/humbleb…
 Jensen, Marlin K. “To Walk Humbly With God”. Liahona. July 2001. www.lds.org/liahona/2001/07/to…