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Living Up to a Name

Latter-day Saints named their western settlement “Deseret” after the Jaredite word for honeybee (see Ether 2:3), and the beehive quickly became the symbol of the industrious Latter-day Saints. Yet for many years, there were no honeybees in Utah! One man succeeded in keeping a swarm of bees for three years in the 1850s, but only by providing them with artificial food, probably sugar water. “Appropriate native flowers are scarce in this dry climate,” Brigham Young mourned. But he also noted hopefully, “Cultivated flowers in fields and gardens are increasing, and of course can be increased, sufficiently . . . to sustain many swarms.”

Brigham Young letter to William Urie, Feb. 2, 1860, Brigham Young Office Files, Church History Library, Salt Lake City