In our day, as in Book of Mormon times, what the scriptures depict as an “eternal hatred” is manifesting itself in a cruel vindictiveness on the part of those who—like the Lamanites—believe they have been “wronged,” “robbed,” and dispossessed. But having “hardened their hearts against the Lord,” “they understood not the dealings of the Lord” (Mosiah 10:12–16).
From victimizing the Nephites, the Lamanites naturally morphed into “a wild, ferocious and a blood-thirsty people” who “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” (Mosiah 10:12, 17).
That kind of hatred—also evident among Gadianton robbers—was “fixed” or “everlasting”—a hatred that “delighted in wars and bloodshed” and sought the Nephites’ “utter destruction” (Jacob 7:24; Enos 1:20; 3 Nephi 3:4). Had not the Lord warned Nephi that if his descendants rebelled against God, the Lamanites would be a “scourge unto thy seed” (1 Nephi 2:24; 5:25)?
The Nephites knew it was their obligation to defend their lives, wives, children, and lands against those infected with “eternal hatred” even to bloodshed. In the case of the descendants of Laman and Lemuel—upon whom Lehi had pronounced a blessing—that also included seeking to convert them to the truth. As for the Gadianton bands, however, it was to utterly destroy them.
Today, aren’t we seeing manifestations of an “eternal hatred” in scenes paralleling Book of Mormon times—young Israeli women beheaded or raped to death; infants ripped from their mother’s womb and dashed to pieces; young and old people burned alive; hostages tortured to death; beautiful villages brimming with life and industry turned into a bloody horror from hell?
And all this conceived and planned with diabolical cunning years in advance—knowing that by converting humanitarian aid intended for their people into military assets, and using religious, medical, academic, and civilian locations as launching pads, such would be the targets of counterattacks, yielding enormous human sympathy and grounds for waging a propaganda war.
If people wish to judge the situation, therefore, let them judge by these perpetrators’ actions, not their narrative. Seventeen years of raining rockets on Israeli towns; causing residents to live in fear; using vehicles as weapons to ram pedestrians; nonstop stabbings in the street—all requiring enormous resources for self-defense—these blood-thirsty bands are today’s Gadiantons.
Don’t those who are deceived by their propaganda, who gallantly voice their support, realize they are their next target? A totalitarian religion that compels adherents to keep its tenets, that barbarically punishes offenders, that murders its converts to Christianity, that trains children to hate and kill, that seeks world domination, can ultimately achieve its goal only as a death cult.
In contrast to these sadists’ no-rules tactics, Israel drops leaflets and calls thousands of residents to advise them to vacate target areas before it counterattacks. Civilians who are blocked by their own soldiers, or by barriers preventing their escape, are the true “innocent victims” of their war, while thousands of slain militants are gratuitously counted among “murdered children.”
As ancient Israel did at the Mount of God, how long shall Jews and Christians eat and drink to their idols and “rise up to play” and not expect God to respond (Exodus 32:1–8)? Don’t they know he uses those consumed with “eternal hatred” as a scourge against his people to “put them in remembrance of him”? Says he to all, “Return to me; I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22).