Beehives, Bees, Mormons, Iconography, Symbols, Symbolism, Material culture, Decorative Arts
From antiquity to the middle of the eighteenth century, humans used the bee and beehive symbols to represent monarchy. Political and social changes resulted in a reinterpretation of the bee and beehive symbols during the eighteenth century. Republicans ignored the royalist associations of bees and beehives, and used them to represent values of the new republicanism. In nineteenth-century America, the Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encountered the bee and beehive symbols while participating in the rites of Freemasonry. In the nineteenth century, Mormons used the bee and beehive symbols to represent the Kingdom of God on the earth in the form of the Mormon theocracy in territorial Utah. “The Mormon Hive: A Study of the Bee and Beehive Symbols in Nineteenth Century Mormon Culture” focuses on interpreting the bee and beehive symbols in nineteenth-century Mormon culture through a study of Mormon sermons, hymns, poetry, and visual decorative folk art such as architecture, tombstones (headstones), furniture, quilts, wood carvings, engravings, seals, coins, and metal work. The study of these symbols opens a window on the ideological differences between a democratic culture and a theocratic subculture.
Original Publication Citation
J. Michael Hunter. The Mormon Hive: A Study of the Bee and Beehive Symbols in Nineteenth Century Mormon Culture. 2004.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hunter, J. Michael, "The Mormon Hive: A Study of the Bee and Beehive Symbols in Nineteenth Century Mormon Culture" (2004). All Faculty Publications. 1361.
California State University Dominguez Hills
Harold B. Lee Library
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