About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the LDS church for over four decades. She lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters. She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation, and has a particular interest in events in the LDS community associated with "polygamy" between 1840 and 1845.

Give Joseph Smith a Break

JOSEPH SMITH JRI was ill earlier this week, so took the opportunity to listen to the Priesthood Session of General Conference. I was particularly heartened by Elder Anderson’s confident advice to “give Brother Joseph a break.”

The theme of the Conference was a call to believe, with many suggestions on how belief could be strengthened. For some, however, it helps to quiet the mocking voices in their heads to provide a plausible alternative to the popular bogeyman of the non-believers, the Joseph as narcissistic imposter who allegedly made up scripture from whole cloth and took dozens of his followers’ daughters and wives to his bed.

First, A Picture

imageIn 1969 a family donated a daguerreotype to the RLDS Church (now the Community of Christ). They claimed it was a picture of Joseph Smith. If it is Joseph, the youth and gaunt look of the man in the image indicate the photo was taken in late 1839. In November-December 1839 Joseph took a trip to Washington D.C. to seek redress for the atrocities perpetuated against the Mormons in Missouri. Due to Joseph’s notoriety, it is reasonable an early daguerreotypist in DC would have sought to capture his likeness.

Rick Brunson has a brief article on his blog describing the evidences Shannon Michael Tracy documents in his book, Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again. In summary, this daguerreotype allegedly matches the death mask using both lineal matching and facial recognition techniques. The image also corresponds with photos taken of Joseph’s skull prior to the remains being reinterred during the early 1900s.

[Updated 10/11/15: There was apparently a storm of controversy about this image and the Tracy book in 2008. One disappointed summary can be found at Juvenile Instructor. When I scanned that article, it appears the author went from hoping this was an image of Joseph Smith to being completely angered by the unprofessionalism of Mr. Tracy. In my reading of this summary, I missed whether the picture had been proven to be not of Joseph. For the record, I was intrigued by seeing this image illustrating a post from a reputable blogger, with the text indicating that they hoped this was an actual image of Joseph Smith. Searching things more, I happened upon the Brunson blog.]

Continue reading

#LDSconf 185th General Conference, Sat PM Session Live coverage

imageBelow is coverage of the October 3, 2014, Morning session of the LDS General Conference. Jump to hyperlinked list of participants

The Church is putting summaries and video links up very quickly – to see the short summaries and re-watch your favorite talks, go to the Conference at a Glance Summaries.

Presiding – President Thomas S. Monson
Conducting – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Riverton, Utah Primary Choir – Beautiful Savior

Opening Prayer – Elder Terence M. Vinson Continue reading

#LDSconf 185th General Conference, Sat AM Session Live coverage

imageBelow is coverage of the October 3, 2014, Morning session of the LDS General Conference. Jump to hyperlinked list of participants

Presiding – President
Conducting – President Henry B. Eyring

Mormon Tabernacle Choir – Guide us, Oh Thou Great Jehovah

Opening Prayer – Sister [missed the announcement, will need to rewatch the first few minutes…] Continue reading

#daytoserve – A Report


Day to Serve is an initiative started in the DC area several years ago. During the month from September 11 – October 10/11, citizens from across the political and religious (or non-religious) spectrum select a day to serve and “are encouraged to make a concerted effort to feed the hungry, clean up neighborhoods, and improve communities by recognizing and participating in “Day to Serve” activities,” to cite Virginia’s Day to Serve proclamation for 2015. The event extends beyond the month in fall at times, as with the Washington Nationals’ Day to Serve game (Aug 8 this year), where all food donations and ticket proceeds go to the Capital Area Food Bank. Continue reading