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.

President Nelson Begins Global Tour

President Russell M. Nelson began his global ministry tour in London, England, on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Hundreds gathered at the Hyde Park Chapel to see the prophet.

“We’re bringing the love of the Lord to the people, and they will learn to love each other,” President Nelson said. “You read the paper and see how angry people are with one another. The Lord’s way is the way of peace. He said love one another as I have loved you.”

After London, President Nelson will travel to Jerusalem on his worldwide tour to cities in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Hawaiian Islands. President Nelson is joined on the tour by his wife, Wendy, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Patricia.

I remember a similar tour decades ago, when I was a missionary in Italy and Russell M. Nelson was a newly-ordained Apostle. I also remember President Benson’s first public address after he was made President of the Church, where he addressed the Annandale, Virginia Stake and issued his first prophetic invitation for us to particularly read the Book of Mormon.

I appreciate the work the Mormon Newsroom does to make it possible for us to experience some portion of the excitement of events like this around the world.

Dealing with Abuse

The Church has spoken out against abuse by everyone, particularly members. But abuse happens. And there are factors that make it difficult for abused persons to be believed.

Sunday evening I had a chance to hear Jennie Willoughby speak, the first time she’s publicly discussed the abuse in her marriage with a dominantly Mormon audience.Jennie reports that she didn’t notice anything untoward in her whirlwind courtship with Rob Porter, a rising legal professional with strong ties to Mormon leadership. A recent convert, Jennie didn’t notice Rob wasn’t taking the sacrament when they first met. The fact that Rob had a prior failed marriage didn’t raise red flags. One instance of anger during their courtship seemed understandable at the time. In retrospect, it was a precursor of the terror that would ensue.

Weeks after marrying Rob, Jennie burst into tears in a temple recommend interview when asked if there was anything of concern in her relationships with family members. 1 The stake leader, who had been Jennie’s bishop when she joined the Church, requested Jennie talk with her Bishop. Jennie admits that she wasn’t able to clearly articulate to her bishop the way in which she was being verbally abused or the ways in which intimate relations between herself and her husband felt wrong. Jennie separated from Rob. When Rob destroyed the window in the door to her apartment in anger, the police warned her she may not be safe. But Rob apologized and they reconciled. Then an angry Rob grabbed Jennie by the neck when she was in the shower, terrifying Jennie enough to take steps to end her marriage.

I myself have been involved in toxic situations. This week my physician asked how I came to have a fracture to my eye socket, an old injury the eye doctor noticed earlier this year. I honestly don’t know whether the injury occurred in the late 1970s, when my father beat me, or in the early 1990s, when my first husband beat me. I have suffered no other accidents that could account for that sort of damage to my eye socket.

I am not the most abused woman I know. A girl raised in my neighborhood, Janet Christiansen Abaroa, was brutally killed, almost certainly by the man she married in the temple. A sister-in-law was raped twice, once at Church. My daughter’s sister-in-law was also raped at Church. When I consider lesser violence against women, I can name dozens of family members, friends, and acquaintances who have suffered, often at the hands of those who were ostensibly good Church-going men. And women can be abusive as well.

Abuse happens. But why are the abused too often denied the help they need? And what can be done to reduce the problem in the future? Continue reading

Notes:

  1. I’ve been asked this question in interviews, but forget the exact wording.

Freshening the Bench

In recent times, new apostles tend to be called from the Presidency of the Seventy. So I was intrigued to see a lot of movement in that body this past weekend. The future membership of the Presidency of the Seventy will be slightly younger and less Utahn. A majority of Presidents of the Seventy as of August 2018 will hail from outside the United States.

Those who will not be shifting until August are noted in italics.

Former Leaving Now Joining Future
Gong
(’53, CA)
Gong
(’53, CA)
 Gay
(’51, CA)
Gay
(’51, CA)
Gay
(’51, CA)
 Soares
(’58, Brazil)
Soares
(’58, Brazil)

 Cook
(’57, UT)

Cook
(’57, UT)
Cook
(’57, UT)
Clayton
(’50, UT)
 Clayton
(’50, UT)
Clayton
(’50, UT)
Kearon
(’61, UK)
 Kearon
(’61, UK)
 Kearon
(’61, UK)
Christensen
(’56, UT)
 Christensen
(’56, UT)
 Christensen
(’56, UT)
 Vinson
(’51, Australia)
  Vinson
(’51, Australia)
Robbins
(’52, UT)
 Robbins
(’52, UT) 
 Robbins
(’52, UT)
Teixeira
(’61, Portugal) 
 Teixeira
(’61, Portugal) 
 Uceda
(’53, Peru)
 Uceda
(’53, Peru) 
 Uceda
(’53, Peru)
 Godoy
(’61, Brazil)
Godoy
(’61, Brazil) 

Elder Gong (’53, California) and Elder Soares (’58, Brazil) left the Presidency of the Seventy to become Apostles. Elder Gong is the first LDS Apostle of Asian ancestry and is notable for being born outside of Utah. Elder Soares is the first LDS Apostle of South American origin.

In addition to country/state of birth, a fuller picture would look at the regions where these leaders have experience. In that sense, the Presidents of the Seventy have experience that spans the globe, as always. But their lens will no longer be dominantly a Utah lens, as has been the case in the past.

As mentioned during Conference, 40% of the General Authority Seventies now hail from outside the United States.

#LDSConf Sun PM Session, Apr 1, 2018

OK – home teaching and visiting teaching have been replaced by ministering, which will include young men and young women. Ministering.lds.org.

And seven new temples. We were screaming again and again in excitement as each one was announced.

President Dallin H. Oaks will be conducting this meeting. President Russell M. Nelson presides. Music is provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

President Oaks: We extend our greetings to members of the Church and friends everywhere who are participating in this session.

Choir: Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy

Opening Prayer: Elder Weatherford T. Clayton

Choir: Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

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#LDSConf Sat PM Session, Mar 31, 2018

President Dallin H. Oaks will be conducting this meeting. President Russell M. Nelson presides.

Choir: Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

Opening Prayer:

Changes in Church Leadership: President Dallin H. Oaks – Many members of the Presidency of the Seventy and the Leadership of the Young Woman General Board are released. Sister Bonnie H. Cordon is also released from the Primary Presidency.

New Members of the Presidency Carl B. Cook and Robert C. Gay to begin serving immediately. The following will begin to serve in August, when the other members of the Seventy whose release was announced depart service: Terence M. Vinson, José A. Teixeira, and Carlos A. Godoy. Numerous other General Authorities called.

Bonnie H.Cordon to be Young Women General President. Lisa Renee Harkness called to replace Bonnie Cordon’s place in the Primary Presidency. Other organizations as currently constituted.

There are now 116 general authorities, with 40% born outside the United States.

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Choir: Where Can I Turn for Peace?

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