Alma 55


The Lord Confirms the Covenant Way

      Alma 45 -- 3 Nephi 10



Alma 55:4 (Moroni) Caused a Search . . . That He Might Find a Descendant of Laman:


     According to John Tvedtnes, Moroni had to search among his troops to find "a descendant of Laman" to send on a spying mission (Alma 55:4-5). The implication of the story is that the Nephites either didn't look enough like Lamanites or didn't speak like them and could therefore not have deceived them. This undoubtedly resulted from the geographical separation of the tribes. Since there had been "Nephite" dissenters to the Lamanites, one wonders why Moroni could not have sent someone else. The answer may be that these dissenters were, in fact, always Mulekites or Zoramites, whose physical characteristics or language distinguished them from both the Nephites and the Lamanites. [John A. Tvedtnes, "Book of Mormon Tribal Affiliation and Military Castes," in Warfare in the Book of Mormon, F.A.R.M.S., pp. 304-305]


Alma 55:13 [The Wine] Was Pleasant to Their Taste:


     According to E. L. Peay, among the Maya honey was often associated with wine. The Mayas were proficient honey bee keepers, using honey bases for their wines,33 and making their wines "pleasant to their taste" (Alma 55:13). It should be noted that honey had been used since the days of Lehi. After traveling for eight years, Lehi's group reached a location by the seashore which they named Bountiful, "because of its much fruit and wild honey" (1 Nephi 17:5). Later, while on the ship crossing the sea, the older brothers Laman and Lemuel and their wives began to make themselves merry (1 Nephi 18:9-15). Perhaps part of this merriment involved fermented drinks from this fruit and honey ("wine"). [E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Nephi's Land of Promise, pp. 46-47]


Alma 55:13 [The Wine] Was Strong, Having Been Prepared in Its Strength:


     According to E. L. Peay, "strong" wine was apparently the key to the whole strategy, "having been prepared in its strength" (Alma 55:13). This wine could have been especially prepared with some of the hallucinogenic drugs that were available. The use of drugs was common among the ancient Mayan people. Their drugs included a hallucinogenic mushroom, peyote, water lily, tobacco, and morning glory seeds, to name just a few.34 [E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Nephi's Land of Promise, pp. 45-46]


Alma 55:16 [Moroni] cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners (Illustration): While the Lamanite guards were drunken, Moroni cast weapons into the Nephite prisoners. [W. Cleon Skousen, Treasures from the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3, p. 3259]


Alma 55:18 But Had They Awakened the Lamanites . . . the Nephites Could Have Slain Them:


     Hugh Nibley notes that chief commander Moroni plays by the rules all the way through--he always wants to do the right thing. Here in Alma 55, Moroni's men

           . . . went to the city Gid, while the Lamanites were in a deep sleep and drunken, and cast in weapons of war unto the prisoners insomuch that they were all armed . . . and all those things were done in a profound silence. But had they awakened the Lamanites, behold they were drunken and the Nephites could have slain them. But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni; he did not delight in murder or bloodshed, but he delighted in the saving of his people from destruction; and for this cause he might not bring upon him injustice, he would not fall upon the Lamanites and destroy them in their drunkenness. (Alma 55:16-19)

[Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 3, p. 173]


Alma 55:33 Omner:


     The city of Omner had been captured by the Lamanites previously (see Alma 51:26). Now in the recapture story, nothing is said about the city of Omner. Why? Perhaps because the Lamanites had abandoned it. Perhaps because it was small or unimportant. Perhaps because of some other reason. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]


Geographical Theory Map: Alma 53:23--55:35 Moroni Captures the City of Gid (29th Year)