Alma 55

Alma 55:9 Give us of your wine, that we may drink

Hugh Nibley

"Moroni...planned by a ruse to free the war prisoners held in the city of Gid. The trick exploited the well-known psychology of troops on permanent guard duty. Such troops must always be on the alert for what they never expect to happen and what, if they do their duty, never will happen. Their way of life becomes a stultifying bore, with the same dull routines from day to day and from week to week. Nothing offers a more welcome release to such misery than a little nip now and then, or, better still, a party. A native Lamanite in the Nephite service answered the challenge of the Lamanite guards one evening with the announcement that his little party were escapees from the Nephites who had managed to get away with some of their wine. Of course the guards insisted on sampling the stuff on the spot and on the sly; the protest of its owners that they should keep it against the day of battle 'only made them more desirous to drink of the wine' (Alma 55:10). It was a typical 'G.I.' binge with everybody getting happily drunk at the guard house..." (Since Cumorah, p. 316.)

Alma 55:18-19 the Nephites could have slain them. But behold, this was not the desire of Moroni

"Moroni makes good on his promise to Ammoron when, summoned by Laman, he and his men surround the sleeping Lamanites and arm the Nephite women and children who are prisoners in the city of Gid (see Alma 54:12). They do not use their weapons, but their arms help persuade the Lamanites to surrender...Not one person is killed; no one is 'destroyed.' Thus, though in his letter Moroni unleashes his anger in words, afterwards he shows mercy in deeds." (Richard Dilworth Rust, Feasting on the Word: The Literary Testimony of the Book of Mormon, p. 154.)

Alma 55:32 they did try all their liquors

Some have assumed that previous dispensations lived the Word of Wisdom as we live it today. This was not the case. Except for the priests in the temple and the order of the Nazarites (Lev 10:9; Judg 13:4), the consumption of wine or strong drink is not expressly forbidden in any Book of Mormon or Bible passage. Rather, the excessive use of alcohol is discouraged. As Paul wrote, be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (Eph 5:18). During his ministry, the Savior drank wine with the spiritually infirm. For this, he was accused of being a wine-bibber (Matt 11:19). Many have gone to great lengths to prove that the wine that the Savior drank was new wine, or in other words, grape juice. This represents a misunderstanding of the way alcohol was used under the Mosaic Law.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the story in which Nephite wine was given to Lamanite guards with the express intent of making them drunk. The Nephites had alcoholic wine, they drank alcoholic wine, and they used it for their sacrament (3 Ne 18:3-8). They had no problem drinking liquors made by the Lamanites, as long as the Lamanites drank first.