“And thus they have taught their children that they should hate them, and that they should murder them, and that they should rob and plunder them, and do all they could to destroy them; therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi.”
This chapter teaches powerfully the power and potential of narrative. This Lamanites had perpetuated a narrative which led to to hate and reviled the Nephites and reject their missionary efforts. This narrative focused on the wickedness and trickery of Nephi and was a narrative of victimization. The perpetual mindset of victimization also kept the Lamanites from developing both temporally and spiritually.
The Nephites also had a narrative which motivated them. Unsurprisingly, the Nephites saw Nephi as a hero and Laman and Lemuel as villains. But there was a big difference. As we saw with Enos’s prayer or with Leniff’s kindness, the Nephite narrative saw the Lamanites as fallen but redeemable. This led to increased effort to teach and save the Lamanites. They were not seen as irrevocably other. Ultimately. This distinction made all the difference.
The Book of Mormon teaches that we need to see others with their full divine potential. The Nephite’s had faith against faith that some day the Lamanites would be converted. And their faith was richly rewarded in time. Ultimately, it took great faith and perseverance, but it was worth it.