Merriment and Rudeness

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

After many days of sailing, a most extraordinary thing happened. The monotony of the daily routine was broken by merry-making. The brothers of Nephi and the sons of Ishmael and their wives "began to make themselves merry." From merryment they proceeded to dancing, singing and indecent language. The next step was utter disregard of their divine mission, and unseemly behavior. "They were lifted up unto exceeding rudeness."

"Rude" (from the Latin, "rudis") means "rough," and it is synonomous with "barbarous"; "vulgar," and "impudent." I can account for their behavior, only on the supposition that they were intoxicated. In their stock of provisions they undoubtedly had preserved grapes and grape juice, as well as honey and certain spices. They could easily make an alcoholic mixture, the wine ("mesech"), of which we read in Prov. 23:29-34: "At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women and thine heart shall utter perverse things." That, it seems to me, is what happened.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1