Mike Terry, Deseret News
Woodworking shows a small bee carved into a newel post topped with a beehive inside the Beehive House in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, March 10, 2011.

Utah was given the nickname "The Beehive State" because early Utah settlers worked hard as a community to build the state's infrastructure. Primarily Mormons, they operated under Brigham Young in a theocratic state; however, since Utah's secularization, the state's attitude devolved from communal to individualistic. Utah is no longer the Beehive State because the majority of its Mormon citizens find community in church settings rather than in civil settings, and the Mormon prophet is no longer head of state.

I am reminded when I read the Deseret News Readers' Forum how individualistic Utah has become. Last month Chris Semrow, from Syracuse, complained that he did not want to pay for city recycling even though the program improves community. Individualism infiltrates Utah's public opinion towards gun ownership, public transportation, environmental issues, including the seasonal fireworks deregulation and public education.

I'd urge Utahns to return to their heritage and re-adopt a more communal way of thinking, or find a state nickname more fitting for its current inhabitants. Utah is as far removed from its community-based origins as Harlem, N.Y. is as removed from its Dutch heritage. Utah should consider changing its nickname to the "Survival of the Fittest State."

Brian King

Mesa, Ariz.