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 is working on a midrashic treatment of the events in Nauvoo associated with early polygamy.

The Book of Joseph

imageMy sister asked me a week or so ago if I could come up with a version of Joseph’s history that she could tell her children. Also this week, a lady named Anne over at Times and Seasons anguished over how she could possible discuss Joseph’s actions in restoring the New and Everlasting Covenant with her children.

So the other day when I was interminably delayed on my commute, I started writing. This is a first draft, and I’m open to any comments or suggestions as to how this could be improved. I’m not even sure what to call this (though the name of the post will remain “The Book of Joseph”).

Remember that this is a story to be told to relatively young kids. I am numbering the paragraphs not to be scriptural, but so you can comment with passion about the particular portions of the story you find noteworthy.

The picture is just because it was the best picture I had recently taken that represents love and sweetness and good fruits, even if a bit tart.

The Book of Joseph, or The Plain and Precious Things Continue reading

Book Giveaway: Enslaved to Saved

Enslaved-to-Saved-blog-tour

I was recently offered the privilege of previewing Reid Litchfield’s new book, Enslaved to Saved, which will be formally published on 12 May.

After scanning the first few pages, I called out to my husband, who studied New Testament Greek at BYU decades ago.

“Bryan,” I said. “What is the Greek word for servant in the New Testament?”

“That would be δοῦλος,” Bryan replied. “d – o – u – l – o – s. Technically, it means slave.”

Huh. That puts a different spin on things!

I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far it has been truly thought-provoking.

Reid said I could give away two copies of the book – either hard copy or eBook format. If you are interested in getting a copy, please make a comment below (include what format you wish). I’ll hold a drawing Monday morning and announce the winners. No need to put personal information in your post, I’ll contact you using the e-mail you type in when making a comment.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Enslaved to Saved_Full Cover

Love and SCOTUS

This afternoon in Testimony Meeting, the culminating testimony was given by a young teenage member of the congregation. This past week, she had spent several days in line at the Supreme Court to obtain a ticket for someone to attend the hearing regarding same sex marriage.

The weather was alternately wet and cold or fair and hot. Unpleasant conditions in any case. But beyond that was the nature of the discourse.

One particular aspect she mentioned was the religious groups who were opposing those seeking marriage status for those in same-gender relationships. It was not opposition, per se, that bothered this young woman though. It was the hate-filled language being screamed from the bullhorns.

And so this young woman stepped away from her three friends who were waiting in line with her and approached the ministers preaching hate. She confronted them, asking if Christ did not teach love of all, even when they had sinned. As this young teen (think of a modern Helen Mar Kimball) confronted them, they agreed that they could (and should) still love the sinner, even as they condemned the sin.

For the next several minutes, the message proclaimed from the bullhorn was tempered with love. Then, when she expects they figured she was no longer in ear shot, the message reverted to the prior rhetoric.

But for fifteen minutes, the message from those protesting in favor of retaining marriage recognition in the hands of the states was moderated with words of love, because a young Mormon teenager confronted the ministers face to face.

Marriage is important. Family is important. But above all, the worth of each individual in the eyes of God is important.

As we strive to inform the world of the importance of family, we must not lose the love we aspire to feel for all, modeling the love we know God feels for all. If we allow hate and fear to guide us, any victory we might win will be Pyrrhic and our legacy will be as dust to the generations that follow us.

Joseph’s Wives: Mary Heron & Clarissa Reed

[By popular demand, objectionable words in this post will be blacked out as follows: objectionable words. If you feel a need to confirm that you’ve inferred the correct objectionable word(s), you can see the text by using your mouse to highlight the black rectangle.]

JEJohnsonYou’re expecting me to talk about Fanny Alger next, but something came across my desk that prompted me to jump chronological order to examine the tenuous hints people will seize upon when claiming a woman was a plural wife of Joseph Smith.

First we’ll talk about the case of Mary Heron, who some believe was either a wife or sex partner of Joseph Smith based on the testimony of Joseph Ellis Johnson (pictured to the left). Second, I’ll discuss the “hope” some have harbored that Clarissa Reed produced a son by Joseph Smith over a year after her marriage to Hancock. Continue reading

Wives of Joseph Smith

Over the course of 2015 I will be blogging about the various women believed to have covenanted with Joseph Smith. For each I will provide biographical background, along with what, if anything, is known of her life after Joseph’s death.

In evaluating allegations that women were “married” to Joseph Smith, it is important to establish what constitutes sufficient evidence that a woman should be listed as a “wife.” I have come up with the following “tells” that can give us a high-level view of the women whose names are associated with Mormon founder, Joseph Smith. The first four attributes speak to whether or not a marriage occurred. The second four attributes speak to what may have motivated the marriage and what the marriage meant to the woman after Joseph’s death.

Bride   Did reliable contemporaries consider the woman a wife?
ManWoman  Are details of the alleged marriage known?
intercourse   Was the marriage said to be sexually consummated?
baby    Is it said Joseph Smith had a child with the wife?
marriage   Was the woman sealed to Joseph after his death?
temple   Did the woman go to Utah after Joseph’s death?
vision   Was the marriage a subject of prophecy?
dynasty Did the marriage “bind” Joseph to important people?

In some cases, the woman died before she could have achieved the milestones of being sealed to Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo temple or traveling to Deseret with the Saints.

RIP The woman died before she could have achieved this milestone

Continue reading