Monday, March 21, 2011

New Flag for Utah

I have a number of problems with the state of Utah's flag, some of which may stem from a wariness of Utah, but its probably better to not get into that.  Let's stick to the flag itself, shall we?:

Here we see the typical formula of the state seal on a blue background, with various state and national symbols.  It is important to know that Utah (then under the name Deseret) had a tough time getting accepted into the Union, due to a number of issues relating to unease throughout the country about the Mormon faith and some of its practices.  That is why two dates appear on the flag, the larger being the date of statehood (1897) and the smaller, partially obscured being the date of the first Mormon settlements in the area that would become Utah (1847).  Because of those circumstances, it feels like this flag is trying a little too hard to show its commitment to America.  The crossed flags and the protection of the bald eagle are a bit much, in my opinion.

That being said, I think the best part of this flag is the beehive.  I know, weird thing to like, but Mormons use it as a symbol of community and hard-work, and although it has been used that way for centuries in heraldry and by the Freemasons, in the US it is uniquely Utah.  Deseret, the name Brigham Young gave to the theocracy he built by the Great Salt Lake, supposedly means "honeybee" in one of the languages of the book of Mormon.  Thus, of all the symbolism on this flag, that's the thing I'm going to keep.

One possible template for the flag is the one claimed as one of the earliest flag's of the LDS church.  I won't reproduce it here, as apparently there is someone out there who claims he has a copyright on it.  I'm not sure how one can copyright an historical flag, but I have no desire to draw the attentions of this litigious individual.  If you're interested, it can be seen here.  It looks like the flag of Uruguay with its blue and white stripes, except that up in the canton, it had a ring of stars.  Not being worried about being sued by Uruguay, that one I will reproduce here:

It feels like stars have been overused though, even (perhaps especially) by me, so let's put something else up there:

It has a nice, simple design, it could be drawn by a child or sewed together by an amateur.  It also has a direct tie to the history of the state which, for better or worse, is deeply connected to Mormonism.  

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