14 And his brethren were wroth with him because they understood not the dealings of the Lord; they were also wroth with him upon the waters because they hardened their hearts against the Lord.
15 And again, they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land, because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands; and they sought to kill him.
16 And again, they were wroth with him because he departed into the wilderness as the Lord had commanded him, and took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them.
Zeniff tells us that the hatred of the Lamanites toward the Nephites began with their ancestors. Laman and Lemuel were angry with Nephi for the following reasons:
- “Because they understood not the dealings of the Lord.” They didn’t know how God operates, so they didn’t recognize His hand in their journeys. (See 1 Nephi 2:12.)
- “Because they hardened their hearts against the Lord.” They resisted the Spirit of the Lord until they were unable to feel His influence. (See 1 Nephi 17:45.)
- “Because they said that he had taken the ruling of the people out of their hands.” They felt that they were entitled to lead because they were older. Therefore, they were unwilling to accept corrective feedback from him. (See 2 Nephi 5:3.)
- “Because he…took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass.” It’s not clear how much they inherently valued the plates, but they were certainly unhappy when the plates were taken away.
I see the following principles in these verses:
- Anger can arise from misunderstanding and from insensitivity. When we fail to see “things as they really are” (Jacob 4:13) and when we ignore the quiet whisperings of the Spirit, we are susceptible to anger.
- Anger colors our interpretation of events, which adds fuel to the fire. We interpret others’ actions in a way that allows us to confirm their intent to harm us, and we add to our inventory of grievances, making it that much harder to overcome our hard feelings toward them.
President Thomas S. Monson made a distinction between the stimulus which can lead to anger and our choice to become angry:
We are all susceptible to those feelings which, if left unchecked, can lead to anger. We experience displeasure or irritation or antagonism, and if we so choose, we lose our temper and become angry with others….
May we ever be exemplary in our homes and faithful in keeping all of the commandments, that we may harbor no animosity toward any man but rather be peacemakers, ever remembering the Savior’s admonition, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (“School They Feelings, O My Brother,” General Conference, October 2009).
Today, I will pay attention to the ways that anger can distort my perception and impair my judgment. When I am tempted to think badly of another person, and particularly when I feel that I have been wronged, I will consider whether I’m interpreting the situation accurately and objectively. I will avoid becoming angry.