As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepares to pave over the Outreach Garden for a parking lot, I’ve been thinking about the beehives there.

The garden is hidden behind the 33rd Ward at 453 S. 1100 East. I live directly across the street. For more than 20 years I’ve watched what the bees bring into being as they pollinate plants in the garden and throughout the neighborhood while making honey to nourish their own, their keepers and scores of others.

I've watched growers come to the garden with shovels and leave with produce to eat, sell and give away. I've seen how they share more than food. They nurture connections. They enliven a natural world hidden in the heart of an asphalt city. They do honest work with joy, making self-sufficiency a communal virtue.

Nestled right behind a place of worship is God's own world. It’s about to be destroyed, only to discourage the simple joy of walking to church.

Before bringing in the backhoes, I would ask church leaders to consider the honeybee, the deseret. The age-old emblem of self-sufficient Industry in the service of family and community. That’s what we’ll lose forever.

Thomas Toland Smart, Salt Lake City