The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the years 1852-1877, introduced to its membership a form of rhetoric (writing system) called the deseret alphabet (phonetic alphabet). This experiment was intended to alleviate the problem of non-communication which was created by the great influx of foreign speaking Saints into the great Salt Lake Valley.
The alphabet was developed and encouraged by the Prophet Brigham Young and a few followers. Much to their dismay the members of the Church did not have the same vision of its workability as did its promoters.
This new alphabet appears not to have met the needs of the people nor did it interest them. Its use and development was hindered by temple building, farming, settling, new doctrine, and possibly little faith in following their prophet, president, and leader. The Deseret Alphabet died with Brigham Young in 1877. Yet, it appears to have been a noble experiment towards a spelling reform. Perhaps it would have worked under different situations and different environment.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Theatre and Media Arts
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wintersteen, Larry Ray, "A History of the Deseret Alphabet" (1970). Theses and Dissertations. 5220.