CLICK HERE to read Mosiah 10.
Now that Zeniff and his people have found themselves in bondage to King Laman and the Lamanites, they have returned to the Lord by remembering Him. He strengthened them to fight for their land, “and we again began to possess the land in peace” (verse 1).
But they continued to be ready for battle.
They continued making weapons, and they “set guards round about the land, that the Lamanites might not come upon us again unawares and destroy us…” (verse 2). This was their way for 22 years (verse 3), while they continued to work the land and work to provide for their own people (verse 4 – 5).
But then King Laman died, and his son took over by immediately stirring up his people in rebellion against Zeniff and his people (verse 6). However, because they had guards ready, Zeniff’s people discovered the Lamanite preparation for war (verse 7-8). SO they hid the women and children in the wilderness, and all the men who could bear arms prepared for battle (verse 9).
And when they went to battle, they “did go up in the strength of the Lord” (verse 10).
The Lamanites, of course, knew nothing of the Lord or the strength the Lord’s people can get from Him (verse 11). But still, they had the strength of men and “were a wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people” (verse 12).
Zeniff explains: the Lamanites believed, because of how their fathers taught them, that “they were driven out of Jerusalem (in the time of Lehi) because of the iniquities of their fathers, and that they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren…” (verse 12).
Remember when Lehi took his family out of Jerusalem because the Lord warned them of the Babylonian captivity that was coming? Remember how Nephi was obedient and willing, but his brothers Laman and Lemuel complained? These complaining brothers passed this murmuring down to their children, who continued the complaining, who passed it down to their children. So instead of learning of the Lord’s purpose or His covenants, they only received bitterness and anger and ugliness that they spat out at each other and everyone around them.
It gives us pause to consider what false traditions of our own ancestors we have received, that we need to change instead of continuing to pass down to the next generation?
Do we teach them obedience and joy in the Lord’s plan? Or bitterness, rage, and feeling wronged and un-appreciated?
By the time of Zeniff’s day, the descendants of Laman and Lemuel believed that “they were wronged while in the land… and all this because that Nephi was more faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord – therefore he was favored of the Lord, for the Lord heard his prayers and answered them, and he took the lead of the journey in the wilderness” (verse 13).
Do we do the hard work of being obedient and faithful?
Or do we murmur because of the blessings others receive as a result of their hard work?
“And his brethren were wroth with him because they understood not the dealings of the Lord…” (verse 14).
Worse, do we murmur – and then even attack – when the understandings others have to offer feel “hard” to us? Or do we accept the teaching, appreciate the lesson, and submit to applying it in our lives?
“And again, they were wroth with him… because… he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands” (verse 15).
Do we “punish” those called to serve in some capacity, getting lost in anger and bitterness that they are “abandoning” us? Or do we celebrate with them as they are called away, sustaining the Priesthood that called them and striving to support and strengthen them in the ways we are able?
“And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him…” (verse 16).
Do we do the hard work of preparing to qualify for higher service?
Or resent and hinder the progress of others?
“And thus they have taught their children that they should hate them… and do all they could to destroy them…” (verse 17).
In these ways, the Lamanites oppressed and persecuted Zeniff and his people.
“For this very cause has king Laman, by his cunning, and lying craftiness, and his fair promises, deceived me, that I have brought this my people unto this land, that they may destroy them; ye, and we have suffered these many years in the land” (verse 18).
Zeniff and his people acted in faith, not from fear.
Zeniff and his people addressed the battle directly, ready “to go to battle with their might, putting their trust in the Lord” (verse 19).
They found until they won (verse 20).
Then, rather than seeking further battle, they focused on their own lives and returned to caring for the land and providing for their people (verse 21).
Instead of stirring things up again, and instead of provoking another war, and instead of letting the drama continue, once their job was done they withdrew and focused on their own lives and their own obedience and providing and protecting their own people.
This was the end of Zeniff’s reign (verse 22).