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.

Perpetuating Myths About Mormon Genealogy

KenneallyI was interested in the New Republic article found over in the “Worth Reading” bar. The article is titled The Mormon Church Is Building a Family Tree of the Entire Human Race, and is excerpted from Christine Kenneally’s new book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures.

In this excerpt, Ms. Kenneally initially seems to be praising the efforts of the LDS Church for assiduously collecting records of the human family. She writes about how knowledge of family history reduces anxiety and is correlated with other improved outcomes for children. The magnitude of the collection is many times the information contained in the US Library of Congress, with information being added at a rate similar to adding the contents of the Library of Congress every year. Kenneally notes how these efforts have driven technology.

But then the article begins to focus on the negative. Continue reading

Meet the Mormons – Review

imageMeet the Mormons spent the weekend in theaters, grossing $2.7M, which will be donated to the American Red Cross. The movie was originally intended as a feature to be shown visitors to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly the Hotel Utah). However the Church decided to release the film in theaters throughout the country for one weekend.

Considering that the majority of viewers were likely Mormons, this film gives an indication of the power of the Mormon audience. The film placed 11th in terms of total box office earnings – amazing considering the film was only released in 317 theaters and most Mormons wouldn’t have gone to see it on Sunday.

As my friend and I left the theater, she commented that the film was enjoyable, but had not shown average people. And yet, I could imagine a film like that made using individuals just from our ward. Heck, I could imagine five films of similar power made just from individuals from my ward. And I imagine many of us could say the same.

For someone who isn’t a Mormon, the film introduces the unique nature of the lay ministry we take for granted, along with the lack of “career paths.” We see peaceful co-existence between Mormons and other religions, and a multi-cultural people of generosity and resilience.

Below is a summary of the film. Continue reading

Heeding the Muse (Feeling the Spirit)

Muse reading Louvre CA2220.jpg

Muse reading Louvre CA2220” by Klügmann Painter – Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Writer’s block is possibly one of the few universal experiences for those schooled in the written word. Which of us has not sat at a keyboard or with pencil in hand, unable to compose a coherent sentence?

I finished my series on A Faithful Joseph this past summer, knowing that a next step would be writing up an article for peer review – review by peers who aren’t positively inclined towards my views of the topic, but who have indicated that they would not reject an article out of hand.

It’s a relatively high-pressure situation. And I’ve had significant competing priorities the past two months. Even so, I have attempted to write an article about Dr. John C. Bennett a couple of times now, without success. Continue reading