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.

Faithful Joseph: A Digest

JosephI was recently discussing Nauvoo with an individual who appears inclined to believe that Joseph Smith was just a pervert. I referred them to my Faithful Joseph series, but they indicated that the initial bit they scanned made them think it was just a remix of Brian Hales 1 and the RLDS view. 2

This individual asked if I could assemble a Reader’s Digest version of my 29+ posts on the subject, which might inform without all the bothersome reading. This is that digest version.

I should note that this version tells the events chronologically, and does not therefore make it clear which evidentiary clues guided formation of this framework. Some other time I should write up why I argue that the “Joseph as sex fiend” framework is fundamentally flawed from an evidentiary and logical standpoint, including why I am not persuaded any of Joseph’s plural wives actually slept with him. Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Brian Hales has been described as someone who has a hypothesis and is assembling the data to support that hypothesis. Brian has assembled a prodigious amount of information at his website josephsmithspolygamy.org.
  2. The traditional RLDS view was that Joseph and Emma fought polygamy, that Mormon polygamy originated with Brigham Young and various seducers Joseph denounced during the Nauvoo period, see in particular the writings of Richard and Pamela Price at restorationbookstore.org.

The Prayer of a Doubting Missionary

Doubting MissionaryI have talked much about my youthful experience, encountering disturbing possibilities about Joseph Smith and polygamy. I have since continued my journey and have found explanations for that history (see my Faithful Joseph series).

But in 1984, I was a missionary in training who wasn’t entirely sure about the Church. However I knew God existed and knew He had told me to remain a Mormon. Though I retained a portion of doubt (a portion of doubt that would remain for decades), this is how I conducted myself. For what it’s worth, this is the only prayer I have ever written down.

il 10 aprile 1984 martedi.

What a marvelous day! It started off slowly, and there were short ups and downs, but classe w/ Sorella Moss was incredible and then ambassadorship – on having a more Christ-like attitude. It was wonderful: No Greater Love, a slide show to “As I have Love You,” and a film about a handicapped man. Then:

To Change:

1) Obedience
a) Repent
2) Sacrifice

[lead to] Consecration.

Scan_20150227 (2)_cropped

Then choir and an absolutely incredible devotionale delivered by Elder Hartman Rector, Jr. We laughed so hard, and I know I was totally psyched to go to Italy after the two hours(!) were over. Then there was classe di pronuncia w/ Presidente Magistro. “Lasciatemi cantare…. I jazzed to that one and then there was “I vecchi.”
Continue reading

On Doubt

imageRecently at the adult session of Stake Conference, we had a delightful interchange about how councils can bless our families and our congregations. There were two microphones being carried through the congregation so that any who wanted to comment could be heard.

On individual who commented raised the matter of those who have had doubts, who have decided they could not remain in the faith. I think the individual’s comment was tending towards suggesting that we should make it safe to doubt in the Church.

The response was instructive. It is fine to have questions, the visiting authority (Elder Perkins) said, but it is not acceptable to doubt. Doubt, he contended, ends hope of moving forward, while questions, even if unresolved for an extended period of time, permit the individual with questions to move forward in faith.

The Definition of Doubt Continue reading

The Importance of Biology

imageI was recently alerted to a new study on risk for children as a function of parents. The study of over 200,000 children (some 500 of whom are being raised by parents of the same gender) is that children raised by both their biological parents fare best, when one controls for other factors.

The study was titled “Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition” by Donald Paul Sullins of The Catholic University of America, January 25, 2015.

I was able to find the study at this link. I see there is now a link in the sidebar to this study as well.

I was surprised by the introduction, which asserted that many studies have found children raised in households where both parents are of the same gender had been found to have improved outcomes. This surprised me because the studies I had read consistently indicated that children in same gender households did not do as well, controlling for variables. Continue reading

To my dear friend, John Dehlin

imageDear John,

I understand that you have recently been excommunicated.

You may recall that several years ago, I and my husband offered to help you with your podcast. At the time we were proposing to ask if Gladys Knight might be willing to be interviewed. For the longest time, my Dropbox included items from Mormon Stories.

Actively Agitating to Encourage People to Doubt their Testimonies

We didn’t help much. In fact, a few years ago when I tumbled across your rambling youtube video describing the dozens of reasons people leave the Church, I didn’t even recognize that you were someone I had corresponded with in the past. In those days a friend, presumably influenced by your certainty, was confidently proclaiming that President Monson was senile, along with a variety of other items from your general direction. At that time I, in good faith, participated in your survey that attempted to update the research that had shown why people leave the Church. I even sent it to my ward list.

I got two responses. One was from a man who had decided to give up trying to be a good Mormon, explained to me a variety of reasons he doubted. I corresponded with him and explained that the doubts he had were specious (they were, honestly) and expressed my hope that he would work his way past those doubts. The second response was from a long-time friend who warned me that your survey was bad stuff. Continue reading