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.

Harvard, Statistics, and Sex

In recent years, the Harvard Crimson has conducted an extensive survey of the incoming freshman class (roughly 2,000 individuals per year).

Some things have continued the same. Most use Apple products (75%). Most have never had mental health counseling (79%). Most are heterosexual (82%). Most are virgins (62%) and less than 10% have had more than two sexual partners. Most are the first in their extended family to ever attend Harvard (71%). Most identify as liberal (69%). The vast majority identify with their gender of birth (99.6%). The number of Mormons in any of the incoming classes is less than 1%. 1

Other factors are moving in interesting ways, however.

Whites are close to trading in “majority” status for “plurality” status. The Harvard Class of 2021 is only 52% White versus an estimated 61% non-hispanic whites in the general US population. This is largely due to the increasing representation of Asians (Asian Indians and other Asians), which has hovered around 30% 2 in contrast to the 5.7% of Asians in the general US population. Given that Asians self-report as White to avoid attempts to minimize the over-representation of Asians at elite universities, Whites in the Class of 2021 may already be plurality rather than majority.

The percentage of those reporting other than hetero-normal sexual orientation is increasing (looking at 2017 to 2021). While the combination of “questioning” and “other” has stayed level at  about 4%, those reporting as homosexual have increased from 3.7% to 5.6%, an increase of 50%. 3 Meanwhile, those identifying as bisexual has increased from 2.5% to 7.8%, an increase of over 200%. 4 This correlates with the vast majority (87%) entering Harvard in 2018 who approve of same sex marriage.

It would be fascinating if BYU’s Daily Universe were to conduct a parallel survey.

Continue reading

Notes:

  1. Of the Mormons participating in the surveys across all the years, it seems only one reported they weren’t a virgin as an incoming freshman.
  2. 2021 class statistics don’t report any South Asian/Indian students, where prior years reported ~4% of the incoming student body from India.
  3. Most self-reporting as homosexual are male.
  4. Most self-reporting as bi-sexual are female.

Rage and Forgiveness

Carl Bloch's
I believe in an omniscient God.

Therefore, I have often been amused at the assertion that forgiveness means that God will blot the “forgiven” portion of human history from His memory.

It is true that D&C 58:42 states “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.” But does this mean God literally can’t remember the sins, or is it just that He doesn’t call the forsaken sin to remembrance, that He doesn’t constantly berate us for a thing we have put in our past?

By way of illustration, I have changed numerous dirty diapers. Some individuals whose diapers I changed as infants are now adults. I have not literally forgotten the soiled diapers, but it is not something I bring up in casual conversation (except when I am making this point). While I don’t bring the soiled diapers up to remembrance, it isn’t as though I might conclude that my children somehow never had soiled diapers.

Looking at the Wikipedia article on forgiveness, we see this definition:

“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), pardoning (granted for an acknowledged offense by a representative of society, such as a judge), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).”

As a thought experiment, let us consider a case where a person has sexually abused a child. It is indeed part of the healing process for the violated child and their parent(s) to eventually let go of vengefulness, lest the rage continue to damage the violated child and that child’s family. Yet it would be completely inappropriate for the abuser to be absolved of responsibility and allowed to repeat their actions, whether against the original victim or against a new victim.

If you think I am simply stating the obvious, that’s great.

If you think that the requirement to forgive literally means we must absolve abusers and allow them free rein to continue their abuse, then let’s continue this discussion in the comments.

Eclipsing in Hopkinsville

Solar Corona by Alson Wong (Jackson, Wyoming, 21 August 2017)

The 2017 eclipse is yesterday’s news, but is still worthy of note.

Since we were vacationing in the center of the country for other reasons, we decided to go to Hopkinsville, KY, to view totality. Hopkinsville gave itself the nickname of “Eclipseville” for the event, as it was the town closest to Greatest Eclipse, the point experiencing totality when the sun, moon and earth are perfectly aligned. Better, the skies were predicted to be entirely clear. Humidity was so low that even jet contrails evaporated within seconds of being created in the skies above us.

There were parking lots charging $20 and more a space, but we figured we’d head to the local LDS chapel. A close look at the NASA site shows we were less than 2 miles from the center of totality, which meant we lost only 0.7 seconds of the 2:40 totality we might have experienced elsewhere.

The local LDS folks hadn’t organized to cash in on the eclipse, so parking was free and plentiful. There was shade as well as grassy places to put blankets while we waited for the main event. LDS folks had gathered from as far as Texas and Michigan. Like little goslings, we’d gathered “home” to the LDS chapel in the path of totality. Children ran around and adults chatted with one another, offering eclipse glasses to anyone who might not have brought enough for everyone. Continue reading

Charlottesville

Bottom Line: No Mormon has any doctrinal basis for racial violence, hate speech, or in any way teaching that one racial group is somehow more beloved of God than any other. As those who love God, we ought to be active in working towards peace and reconciliation between those who are at odds.

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Years ago we had a child’s history teacher over for dinner. As we talked, I mentioned that I didn’t know much about Virginia history in the last 100 years.

The teacher looked at me, then started referring to Virginia’s shameful past with respect to race.

It was a high school play in 2014 that helped me to better understand the racial strife associated with Virginia’s refusal to integrate White and Black children in schools.

Virginia is a place where many are proud to fly the Confederate flag. Continue reading