Joshua Erickson's

Deseret Alphabet Pages

In the mid 1800's, Brigham Young, the Mormon prophet, saw a need to reform the English language with all its marvelous inconsistencies; therefore, he commissioned the development of a new alphabet. When it was finished, and even before it was finished (because it went through several revisions), they called it the Deseret Alphabet. It is a phonetic alphabet, and its development was strongly influenced by the work of Isaac Pitman. The LDS Church used the Deseret Alphabet to publish scores of newspaper articles, three children's readers, the Book of Mormon, and a few other items. Manuscripts were also prepared for the Bible, the Doctrine & Covenants (including the Lectures on Faith), the Pearl of Great Price, and other books. Unfortunately, none of these were ever put into print.

For various reasons this experiment in orthographic reform began to lose steam towards the end of the prophet's life, and all official church funding for the project ceased with the death of Brigham Young in 1877. Interest in the new alphabet faded, and today it is nearly lost from all memory.

Brigham Young

The Man

Here is a picture of Brigham Young himself. His life's work was to make the barren desert, and his people, blossom as a rose. And by and large he succeeded.

The tale of the Mormon People, their trek across the plains, and their settling and subduing the arid mountain valleys of Utah is a tale with many parts. It is a tale of courage, faith, ingenuity, heartbreak, malice, and dogged determination. The development of the Deseret Alphabet is but a small chapter in the grand saga. Indeed, it has nearly been forgotten, but, like the Law of Consecration, the Deseret Alphabet stands as a witness to the desires of those early-day saints to improve their time on earth, to live in a manner holy and pleasing to God their Father, and to seek after all things virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy.

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