If you are LDS you know the rest of the story. Laman and Lemuel continued to rebel. Although they occasionally repented (always under duress of some kind) they reverted to their selfish natures and sought to take Nephi's life. The Old Testament is replete with the same kind of stories of people hardening their hearts against the Lord and refusing to adhere to even the simplest of counsel (see Numbers 21: 4-9 & I Ne 17:41). Perhaps, humility and a desire to understand is the key. The humility that Nephi showed when he did not really understand or entirely believe his father and prayed for understanding. He wanted to believe and asked for help and the Lord softened his heart and then shaped Nephi into a tool that He used.
An object lesson that can be used if you want to teach this lesson to your children is to take about a 1/4 of a cup of baking powder mix it with a little water, enough so that if you slowly stir it, maintains the constancy of a thick shake. Pour some in your open palm and move it around. As long as you agitate the mixture it will remain hard. If you hold your hand still it will become soft. When Laman and Lemuel (as well as the Isaelites) agitated against the Lord their hearts hardened. Nephi on the other hand took the time to quietly reflect and pray. His heart was softened and the Lord was able to influence him in a lasting way.