Mosiah 10:5 we did have continual peace in the land for the space of twenty and two years
In the first 22 years of Zeniff's reign, it appears that he had only one battle with the Lamanites (Mosiah 9:17). His tone in chapters 9 and 10 is guarded because he sees the future of his people-that they are likely to suffer many more battles because of the hatred of the Lamanites. In retrospect, Zeniff is not a bad protector and leader. He succeeded in his life ambition to inhabit the land of his fathers. His people lived in peace for most of his reign. He was a successful military leader and moral compass for his people. Most importantly, he understood that in order to win battles, the people had to call upon the Lord to deliver them from their enemies. The unfortunate legacy of Zeniff's life is that he leaves his people in a precarious position-surrounded by Lamanites. Worse than this, he confers the kingdom on his wicked son, Noah. The combination of these two factors spells doom for his people.
Mosiah 10:6 king Laman died, and his son...began to stir his people up
A change of royal power is accompanied by all sorts of uncertainty. Laman's son felt no obligation to keep covenants his father had made with Zeniff (Mosiah 9:6). His political plan was no doubt popular among the Nephite haters. Thus he had them prepare for war. The children of Israel found themselves in a similar situation when the Pharaoh who knew Joseph died and passed the kingdom on to his son:
'Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens.' (Ex 1:8-11)
Mosiah 10:12 the tradition of their fathers
"False traditions are the currency of devils and fill the treasure houses of hell. With them the prince of darkness has purchased his own prophets, priests, and kings. With them he has possessed nations and generations of people. Of them Joseph Smith said: they are as 'an iron yoke,' 'a strong band...... the very handcuffs, and chains, and shackles, and fetters of hell' (D&C 123:8). As the Jews lost the revelation of Sinai in their traditions, making the commandments of none effect, so the traditions of Christianity supplanted that which was brought by the Messenger of the Covenant in the meridian of time, leaving Christian and Jew to wander alike in darkness (see Matthew 15:6; Malachi 3:1)." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 198)
Mosiah 10:13 The Lamanites believed they were wronged in the land of their inheritance
"A prime excuse for one's own folly is to blame someone else for it. At this the Lamanites were masters. They justified their own faults by accusation. The mirror in which they saw themselves, distorted and confused the past. They forgot that the Lord favored Nephi because he was more diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord." (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 115)
Mosiah 10:14 his brethren were wroth with him
Appropriately, we often think of Nephi as a rock of faith and obedience. He was remarkably stalwart, but the anger of Laman and Lemuel was terribly painful for him. Understandably, he was angry in return. This is made evident in the psalm of Nephi, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions...Why am I angry because of mine enemy? (2 Ne 4:26, 27, emphasis added)
Mosiah 10:17 they have taught their children that they should hate them
The human mind has been referred to as a blank slate, or tabula rasa, upon which all experiences get recorded from childbirth on. The gospel clearly states that the slate is not clean when we come to earth. We are all a product of our pre-mortal experience, temperament, intelligence, and diligence but the importance of receiving correct teaching from parents is indispensable. In Zeniff's commentary, we find that prejudice is a learned commodity, a hand-me-down of eternal consequence. Have you ever heard a parent ask, "I wonder where my kid gets these ideas?" Yet, it is often the parent who, with subtle reference, degrading language, and insulting innuendo, has taught the child a sense of racial, ethnic, or religious superiority.
The Lamanites are incapable of believing in the God of the Nephites because they have been so consistently taught to hate the Nephites. In the Lamanite tradition, Nephi is no more than an insubordinate, power-hungry thief. Because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct (Mosiah 1:5), the Lord will not hold them completely responsible for their attitude toward the Nephites as Lehi prophesied to the children of Laman and Lemuel, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents (2 Ne 4:6). Along these same lines the Lord warns the saints of the latter-days, And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion...that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents (DC 68:25).
Joseph Fielding Smith
"No person can begin too early to serve the Lord. Parents are instructed to teach their children from infancy, with the warning that they will be held accountable if they fail to do so. If a child is taught in righteousness from birth, it will most likely be a follower of righteousness always. They who refuse to seek the Lord early are forsaken in the hour of their trouble. Read the history of Israel, of the Nephites. How often when they rebelled were they punished! How slow was the Lord to hear their cries when trouble came upon them because of their sins!" (Conference Report, Apr 1969, p. 122)
David O. McKay
"I believe firmly that parents fail to get obedience from their children during the first five years of childhood. I believe that during that most important period of child life the parents sow the seeds of obedience or disobedience. Some of us fill that period of child life with too many don'ts, failing to make the child realize that a request from father, a request from mother should be complied with. Mother says: 'Don't touch that,' to the little child. The little child toddles along and touches it. What is the result? The seeds of disobedience are sown. You don't have to punish the little child. Lovingly, kindly, but firmly, teach the child that there are rules in the house which should be obeyed. Mothers, fathers, treasure sacredly and sense keenly your responsibility to the child during those first five plastic years of its life." (Conference Reports, June 1919, p. 79)