About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the LDS church for 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. Meg is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

On Dementia And Traitors

A few months ago I posted about Riley, a relative I am seeking to protect.

Earlier this week Riley drove from the east coast to a western state without stopping. After at least one encounter with highway troopers, Riley eventually drove off the road into a highway median, then left their car and walked into the traffic lanes of the interstate. Riley was pulled from the road by a concerned passerby, to whom Riley’s friends and family owe a great debt of gratitude.

In two ER visits since then, Riley has been given a diagnosis of dementia, complete with pretty pictures of Riley’s brain showing evidence of the silent stroke that likely occurred in 2015. Apparently silent strokes occur 14 times more often than the strokes that manifest as physical weakness such as slurred speech. While there is no obvious outward manifestation of a silent stroke, a silent stroke can damage the portion of the brain related to impulse control, judgement, and mood regulation.

Dementia

As various health problems, such as silent stroke, are associated with aging, we see one reason some are nervous about the advanced age of most Church leaders, given that death by assassination and apostasy no longer keeps the average age of the leadership relatively low. 1

Yet as I am observing in the case of Riley, it is possible for a person to continue to function with dignity when surrounded by loving friends and family. The Bible gives us the analogy, telling us of a time Noah was impaired. One group mocked him, inviting others to see the drunken nakedness of their leader. The other group covered his nakedness and allowed him to sleep off the inebriation in peace.

If the Church were led by a Q1 (as in the case of Riley with their own estate and person), I would agree there could be concern. But the Church is led by a Q15, making it unlikely that failure of any single individual could derail the Church.

Traitors

But it is not the ravages of old age on Church leaders that causes most to lose faith. It is a belief that Church leadership at some point became traitors to the cause of Christ. We see this with Snuffer and his followers. For many of those losing faith over “polygamy,” their concern is that Joseph allowed carnal desire to overcome his devotion to God’s path. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Deaths (David W. Patten, Joseph Smith Jr., Parley P. Pratt) and apostasy (roughly half of the apostles and other senior leaders of the Church from 1837 to 1847) kept the average age of Church leaders relatively young in the first decades of Church history.

Deadly Motherhood?

Today NPR reported that many more women die in the US from childbirth (percentage-wise) than in other developed nations.

That’s an interesting story to run right before Mother’s Day. Their intent appears to have been an emotional appeal for increased spending and training rigor for those who care for women during pregnancy and delivery. Sad stories of women who died were featured.

But what is the source of the statistic? Years ago during online discussions of abortion, I became aware that any death of a woman who has been pregnant is attributed as being caused by childbirth. So all abortion-related deaths are binned as deaths due to childbirth.

Is it really much more dangerous to give birth in America? Or is the use of questionable abortion practices (e.g. use of abortion rather than contraception to avoid children) artificially inflating the “death in childbirth” statistic?

If the statistics commingle deaths associated with abortion and deaths associated with full-term delivery, then it would be ironic if a pregnant woman conflicted about her future chose to have a dangerous abortion because she incorrectly perceives giving birth as the dangerous act.

P.S. – the image shows a child whose mother suffered from pre-eclampsia, which would have been fatal if the mother had not received proper medical attention.

Tenderness is Strength

This TED talk by Pope Francis is a delight (particularly for those of us who speak Italian).

He talks of how each of us is precious and necessary. He calls for us to care for others over “things.” And he asks us to be tender with one another, following the example of Jesus Christ.

Tenderness is strength (La tenerezza e la fortezza), Pope Francis assures us.

This builds on the conversation Mauro Properzi had with Laura Hales, posted to this blog in April.

The restored gospel is required for salvation (aligned with God’s intent, or “true”), but that does not mean that there isn’t great richness to be found as we embrace our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

Reluctant Polygamist, the website

As promised, I’ve put the full text of Reluctant Polygamist up on reluctantpolygamist.com.

Not only is the text there, but I’ve added the google translate widget, so the entire thing can be read in any of 110 languages. Adding fun to function, most of the pages have a “Listen to Page” button so you can have the text read to you by a resonant UK male voice, courtesy of the Responsive Voice widget.

One of the pages I assembled was a mapping between the blog posts I’ve put up here at Millennial Star and the chapters in the book. It is now trivially simple to compare my original posts and my final text.

There’s a survey for that!

Each month, Reluctant Polygamist will run a survey sampling readers. Since the website has only just launched, the Millennial Star audience is invited to participate in the May survey. Reluctant Polygamist: May 2017 Survey. When the results are in (end of May or when the survey reaches the maximum number of respondents) I’ll report on the answers here. Continue reading

Proclaiming the Power of Christ

I have had a glorious Easter season.

I was blessed by the opportunity to participate in several choirs. This year, as we sang of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, I was particularly moved. The songs were pure doctrine, sweet testimony, and sheer beauty.

Christ is risen, our Savior and King. He will redeem all from death and will redeem all from hell who cast themselves upon His mercy.

I pray that your Easter season has included the beauty of the sacred, as you reflected on the despair we feel when we lose loved ones, the sublime peace of those who hope in Christ, the tragedy of the doubting Thomas, and the loving mercy of our God.

As we leave the sacred space of Easter and return to the profane world, may the peace of God remain in our hearts.