“They Began to Dance”

Alan C. Miner

The Hiltons note that Nephi’s ship probably had a wide deck, since we are informed that the brothers and their wives made merry on the ship with their singing, dancing and “rude” speech (1 Nephi 18:9). Dancing would have been impossible if the ship had only ribs and planking. [Lynn M. and Hope A. Hilton, Discovering Lehi, p. 164]

“They Began to Dance”

Eldin Ricks translates Brasseur de Bourbourg’s French version of a Mexican tradition: “Here is the beginning of the accounts of the arrival of the Mexicans from the place named Aztlan. It was through the midst of the water that they made their way to this locality, being four tribes. And in coming they were rowing in their ships.” Bourbourg, who records this tradition in his Ancient Monuments of Mexico, explains that the word in the original language that he translated “rowing” actually is the native word for “dancing.” But because he could make no sense out of “dancing” in reference to ships, he had translated it “rowing”! [Eldin Ricks, Book of Mormon Commentary, Vol. 1, pp. 218-219]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary