Deseret (Book of Mormon)

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Deseret (/dɛzəˈrɛt/ ;[1] Deseret: 𐐔𐐯𐑅𐐨𐑉𐐯𐐻) is a term derived from the Book of Mormon, a scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other Latter Day Saint groups. According to the Book of Mormon, "deseret"[2][3] meant "honeybee"[4] in the language of the Jaredites, a group in the Book of Mormon that were led by God to the Americas after the construction of the Tower of Babel (see Ether 2:3). Latter-day Saint scholar Hugh Nibley (extending the work of Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner[5]) suggested an etymology by associating the word "Deseret" with the ancient Egyptian dsrt (Egyptian: 𓂧𓈙𓂋𓏏𓋔), a term referring to the "bee crown" of the Lower Kingdom.[6]

Proposed State of Deseret[edit]

The provisional 1849 boundaries of the State of Deseret, named after the word for honeybees in the Book of Mormon. The proposed boundary of Deseret is the dotted line, while the Utah Territory is blue and outlined in black; boundaries are not exact.

Deseret was proposed as a name for the U.S. state of Utah. Brigham Young—governor of Utah Territory from 1850 to 1858 and president of the LDS Church from 1847 to 1877—favored the name as a symbol of industry. Young taught that Church members should be productive and self-sufficient, a trait he had perceived in honeybees.[7] The Mormons petitioned for statehood as the State of Deseret during 1849–50, but the petition was rejected by the U.S. Congress because of the vast size of the relatively unpopulated area that was controlled by the LDS Church. Instead, the federal government created Utah Territory. The name is often thought to be derived from the resident Ute Indians and mean "People of the Mountains". However, local Ute tribe members, such as Larry Cesspooch, public relations director for the audio/visual department of the Ute Tribe in Fort Duchesne, state that "the Utes don't even have such a word in their language." He said that Utah - Anglicized from "Yuta" - is what the Spanish called the Utes, and his research indicates that it meant "meat eaters". Cesspooch has used this explanation in various public presentations, and has said that he's never been challenged on it.[8][9][10] In 1896, Utah Territory gained statehood as Utah.

Some vestiges of the name survive. For example, the state symbol of Utah is a beehive; this emblem is represented on both the state seal, state flag, and marker shields for state highways. The state nickname is the "Beehive State" and the honeybee is Utah's official "state insect".[11] The Salt Lake Bees are a minor league baseball team representing Utah in the Pacific Coast League. Named after the original Salt Lake Bees (PCL, 1915–26), they were formerly known as the Buzz (1994–2000) and the Stingers (2001–05). "Deseret" appears twice on the Utah stone located on the 220-foot (67 m) landing of the Washington Monument.

Other uses[edit]

Various businesses and organizations use "Deseret" as part of their name, particularly those that have connections to the LDS Church. Examples include:


  1. ^ "Book of Mormon Pronunciation Guide" (retrieved 2012-02-25), IPA-ified from «dĕz-a-rĕt´»
  2. ^ "Book of Mormon Reference in the Book of Ether, Chapter 2, Verse 3".
  3. ^ "On the Etymology of Deseret". by Kevin L. Barney, BCC Papers. November 3, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "A Brief Survey of Ancient Near Eastern Beekeeping". by Ronan James Head, FARMS Review. Archived from the original on May 27, 2009. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
  5. ^ Gardiner, Alan (1982). Egyptian Grammar (3rd ed.). Oxford. pp. 73–74.
  6. ^ Nibley, Hugh (1955). Lehi in the Desert, The World of the Jaredites. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft. pp. 177–178. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  7. ^ Poll, Richard D. (1994), "Deseret", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917
  8. ^ "Utah: The Riddle Behind The Name". Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "Quick Facts about Utah's history and land". Retrieved January 5, 2009.
  10. ^ Lyman, Edward Leo (1994), "Statehood for Utah", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917, archived from the original on November 1, 2013
  11. ^ Thatcher, Linda (1994), "Utah State Symbols", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917