When Brigham Young and the Latter-day Saints arrived in Salt Lake Valley in July of 1847, Young chose the name “Deseret” for their new home, and the beehive as its emblem, symbolizing the kind of cooperative work that would be required to make the desert bloom.
Mark Twain commented on the Utah beehive symbol in his book on the 1860s American West, Roughing It, “The Mormon crest was easy.”
“And it was simple, unostentatious and it fitted like a glove. It was a representation of a Golden Beehive, with all the bees at work.”
On October 11, 1881 an article in the Deseret News explained the symbolism: “The hive and honey bees form our communal coat of arms. …”
“It is a significant representation of the industry, harmony, order and frugality of the people, and of the sweet results of their toil, union and intelligent cooperation.”
When Utah territory became a state in 1896, it retained the beehive symbol in its state seal and on its flag. The state adopted the beehive as its official symbol in 1959, designated the honeybee as the state insect, and even named the “beehive cluster” as the state’s astronomical symbol.
Utah is known as “The Beehive State,” and businesses continue to name themselves after the antique skep, many of them without knowing what a bee skep is, or where the bees are. (Salt Lake Magazine)
The Beehive House was built between 1853 and 1855 and served as home to Brigham Young when he was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and governor of the Utah Territory.
Liliuokalani was a guest at the Beehive House on November 23, 1901. “Perhaps fifty natives of the Sandwich Islands were in attendance at the reception last evening, and they were given the first chance to greet the Queen.”
“Some merely bowed low as they grasped her hand, while other stooped to kiss the white kid glove. Many gave expressions of love and loyalty.”
“Although she surrounds herself with an air of hauteur and reserve, the former queen at times unbent and chatted pleasantly with different persons who came to meet her specially with President Joseph F Smith, who was able to converse with her in her native tongue.”
“President Joseph F Smith (of the Mormon Church) made a short speech of welcome to the ex-Queen. It is a coincidence which was not brought out last evening that President Smith is just nineteen days older than Liliuokalani.”
“The president spoke of the time when, in 1854, as a boy of sixteen, he had gone to the Sandwich Islands to labor as a missionary.”
“He told how he had been kindly treated by the natives of the Islands, and one Hawaiian woman had become a foster mother to him, taking him into her home while he was learning the new tongue.”
“For this hospitality he had always been grateful, and he was glad to extend a welcome to the former queen of the people who had been so kind to him and the people of his faith.” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, December 11, 1901)
On July 7, 1906, Elder Abraham Kaleimahoe Fernandez baptized and then confirmed Queen Lydia Kamakaeha Liliuokalani a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Although technically she was no longer the queen of Hawai’i in 1906, Elder Fernandez recorded and reported to President Samuel E. Woolley that he had baptized Her Majesty Queen Liliuokalani. (Walker)
Although she is first monarch to join the Mormon church, she also joined other churches in her last years.