Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Beehive Still Buzzing for LDS, Utah
Salt Lake Tribune 10Jun00 A1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The LDS Museum of Church History and Art in
Salt Lake City will exhibit "The Beehive Image: Symbol of Industry
and Cooperation," until November 12. The exhibit includes 307 items,
everything from business signs, banners, coins, books and jewelry
spanning 170 years of church history. From the 19th century to the
newly built Conference Center, the symbol expresses the Mormon virtue
of industry and cooperative action.
Mark Twain wrote in "Roughing It," after his 19th-century visit to Utah,
that the "Golden Beehive" was a perfect crest for the down-to-earth Mormons:
"simple, unostentatious, and it fitted like a glove." In 1915, the church
created a "Beehive" program for girls age 12 and older. It was modeled
after the Boy Scouts and the girls worked hard to achieve the ranks of
"Building in the Hive," "Gatherer of Honey" and "Keeper of Bees."
Hal Cannon wrote in a catalog for a 1980 exhibit entitled, "The Grand
Beehive," that the bee was "at once a docile provider of sweetness and a
stinging enemy." "The bee is a genius architecure. The colony is capable
of expansion; new colonies are organized regularly," he wrote.
In Greek literature, the god Zeus suggested bees could foretell the
future. In the Koran, the Prophet Mohammed said God spoke directly to the
bee. Even the philosopher Aristotle concluded that the honeybee, unlike
wasps or hornets, must be of divine origin.
The early Utah, colonies called themselves "Deseret" seeking isolation to
pursue religious freedom. "The Mormon's, suffering from what amounted to
paranoia, treasured the idea that they were safe from both the outside world
and their own new environment, and the beehive was a metaphor for this
self-sufficiency," Cannon wrote.