Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

Murmuring is anchored in ignorance of spiritual truths. Murmuring against the Lord and the Lord’s prophets is usually due to a lack of understanding of the dealings of God with His children. Nephi confirms that his two older brothers are ignorant of the relationship between the Creator and His children. They have not aspired, apparently, to gain an appreciation of the eternal plan of happiness. Thus they murmur when confronted with eternal principles that run counter to their worldly philosophy. True conversion and the exercising of faith through prayer will lead one to praise God in trials and afflictions (see 1 Nephi 18:16).

Those who murmur against their fellows, in particular against the servants of God, forget a key factor: that they are in effect murmuring against God, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, and infinitely wiser than man. Elder Neal A. Maxwell has provided this counsel concerning murmuring:

Murmuring against the Lord’s anointed has been present in all dispensations. Sometimes that murmuring has been a virtual shout, while at other times it has consisted of murmurings of the heart. But even the latter are noticed. (See D&C 75:7).
Nephi found favor with the Lord because he did not murmur as did his brothers, who murmured because they were sent back to Jerusalem for the plates, which was to them such “a hard thing.” (1 Nephi 3:5). Laman and Lemuel felt imposed upon by what they thought, apparently, was not such a good idea—especially because of the personal risks involved. When prophets, like Nephi, are plain-speaking about such disobedience, some murmur the more at being found out and called down (2 Nephi 1:26).
Murmuring (and it is usually against the prophets) can be a mere gripe and complaint or it may reflect a deep difference. But whatever the degree of dissent, it ought to be clear that though a particular leader is the ostensible object of the murmuring, as Moses told his complaining people, “your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8). However, rocks can reach prophets, for they are proximate. But few are seen hurling stones skyward; they may have a grievance with God, but they also have had some experience with gravity.
Just as the Jews murmured against Jesus because He told them who He was, so some murmur against His prophets today because of who they are (John 6:41). Even His disciples murmured on occasion at the strong doctrines of the Savior (John 6:61). Yet Jesus pointedly said, “ My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me” (John 7:16). Dissenters over doctrines today must face that same reality… .
The failure to acknowledge God’s omniscience is an enormous error that spreads through life and touches all our doings. For if we truly believe God to be what He says He is, then we can follow His prophets, His proctors in this mortal school, without resentment or murmuring. True, we will not always understand, nor will we find counsel easy to take—but the challenges will be manageable, when we have been humbled by knowing how great God is. This then makes us more manageable! And even though it is true that there must be an “opposition in all things,” none of us has the personal obligation to provide that opposition. (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979], 106–107)

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1