Deseret

Honey bee.jpg

Question: What is the significance of the Jaredite word deseret?

Answer: Moroni wrote in his abridgement that the word deseret meant “a honey bee” (Ether 2:3).

Of this transliterated word, Hugh Nibley wrote, “By all odds, the most interesting and attractive passenger in Jared’s company is deseret, the honeybee. We cannot pass this creature by without a glance at its name and possible significance...Now it is a remarkable coincidence that the word deseret, or something very close to it, enjoyed a position of ritual prominence among the founders of the classical Egyptian civilization, who associated it very closely with the symbol of the bee...

“The Egyptian pioneers carried with them a fully developed cult and symbolism from their Asiatic home. Chief among their cult objects would seem to be the bee, for the land they first settled in Egypt was forever known as the ‘the land of the bee.’”

Utah State flag.gif

Deseret was proposed as a name for the state of Utah, but the U.S. Congress chose tthe name Utah instead. Brigham Young—Governor of the Utah Territory from 1850 to 1858 and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1847 to 1877—favored the name as a symbol of industry. Young taught his followers that they should be productive and self-sufficient, a trait he had perceived in honeybees 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. Various businesses and organizations use "Deseret" as part of their name, including: Deseret News, Deseret Book, Deseret First Credit Union, Deseret Industries, Deseret Ranch, etc.

Source: 400 Questions and Answers About the Book of Mormon by Susan Easton Black, p. 203.