The Deseret Alphabet

Back when the LDS church was setting its foundations in the Utah Valley, there were a lot of foreign immigrants arriving that had to learn English (an undertaking that I'm increasingly impressed by).

Anyone who speaks English knows, the rules for spelling are inconsistent at best, and aggressively abstruse at worst, so Brigham Young thought that it would be easier for non-English speakers to learn the language if they didn't have to deal with the disaster that is spelling.

President Young and some scholars (George D. Watt, a shorthand expert, chief among them) came up with a phonetic alphabet to so that things could be written as they sound.

The resulting writing method was dubbed the Deseret Alphabet.

It has led an interesting existance. Aside from some initial book printings, it never gained much of a foothold in the church, and fell to the wayside. Now that (most of us) don't have to work the fields 16 hours a day, there's time to look into cultural oddities and the internet contains everything we want to know. So, I've been looking into the Deseret Alphabet lately.

Back when I was in Junior High, my cousin and I developed a 'secret code' based on Cyrillic characters. I think that if we'd known about the Deseret Alphabet back then, chances are fairly good we would have just gone with that. Alas, we were born 20 years too early.