The Deseret alphabet was devised as an alternative to the Latin
alphabet for writing the English language. It was developed during
the 1850s at the University of Deseret, now the University of Utah,
and was promoted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
also known as the Mormon or LDS Church, under Church President
Brigham Young (1801-1877).
The name Deseret is taken from a word in the Book of Mormon and means
"honeybee". It reflects the Mormon use of the beehive as a symbol
of co-operative industry.
Brigham Young's secretary, George D. Watt, was among the designers
of the Deseret alphabet and is thought to have used the Pitman English
Phonotypic Alphabet of 1847 as the model.
The Mormon Church commissioned two typefaces and published four books
using the Deseret alphabet. The Church-owned Deseret News also published
passages of scripture using the alphabet on occasion. In addition, some
historical records, diaries, and other materials were hand-written using
this script, and it had limited use on coins and signs. There is also
one tombstone in Cedar City, Utah, written in the Deseret alphabet.
However, the alphabet failed to gain wide acceptance and was not actively
promoted after 1869.
Today, the Deseret alphabet remains of interest primarily to historians
and hobbyists. It is also the official alphabet of the fictional (but actual)
Republic of Molossia.
Sample texts in the Deseret alphabet
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about Deseret
A Complete Guide to Reading and Writing the Deseret Alphabet (book)
Other notation systems