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.

Saul, Alma the Younger, and the tale of Martha Brotherton

Saul at stoning

Saul (seated) holding the coats of those stoning St. Stephen, from the tympanum of Saint Étienne du Mont, Paris

As we consider scripture, we see great individuals who have overcome a terrible past.

Saul, later Paul, began his career of tormenting Christ’s followers by volunteering to hold the clothing of those who stoned Stephen, a believer. He went on to actively persecute Christians, until he was stopped by a divine revelation on the road to Damascus. Yet he went on to become one of the greatest of the early Christian apostles.

Alma, son of the Alma who had been a priest in the court of King Noah, went about actively destroying the Church of God. It is unclear how much of the later apostasy and warfare that troubled the Nephite and Lamanite peoples were directly attributable to the youthful actions of Alma “the younger.” Yet the younger Alma went on to become a great political and religious leader, honored in his own time as well as by modern Mormons.

I have suggested that some early Mormons were like Alma the younger and Saul/Paul. We know them and honor them for their great goodness. But I detect the traces of a troubled past of which they repented.

This past month, as a tangential result of my foray into an alternate Mormon-themed website, I tumbled across something that has stood in plain site, yet unseen across the decades. It makes sense of things, yet it does not make me glad. I am now persuaded that someone I previously saw as uncorrupted had an episode in their past that rivals the evil of Saul and the youthful Alma. Continue reading

Free Book, or What I learned at MHA

RP 160627 CoverI had a delightful time at the Mormon History Association Conference this past weekend. I met scores of individuals, many of whom I had only read about. They were uniformly gracious in person, including those with whom I have sparred online.

But I realized the road to being accepted by some in this community is paved by scholarly papers.

As I evaluated why I have written this book, I realized I simply want this version of Joseph Smith to be available to a large number of people as soon as possible. So I am making the pdf version of the book available to anyone who wants to download it. Just click on the cover image in this post.

If you really want a physical copy of the book, it is being carried by Benchmark Books in Salt Lake City and you can get the book from Amazon. Even though I’m now giving away the pdf, I still think the nicest format is Kindle, making it trivially easy to access the footnotes. The version currently available via these sellers has the old cover and doesn’t include the updates based on Ugo Perego’s latest DNA analysis. The updated version represented by the pdf will be published on June 27th. Continue reading

Public Faith – conversation at Wesley Theological College #publicfaith

Join the live stream as Mike McCurry (former White House Press Secretary), David Gregory (CNN), and Reverend Ginger Gaines-Cirelli talk about faith in public life.

https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/support/faith-in-a-public-vocation/?bblinkid=18305467&bbemailid=1486059&bbejrid=97920914

If you have a question, comment – I have access to index cards and am sitting in the front.

Seeing Joseph More Clearly – What I Perceive

Pluto 3 Resolutions

From the time Pluto was discovered in 1930, we had only the fuzziest images of the fascinating celestial body. The highest resolution images came from the Hubble telescope (image on far left). As the New Horizons space probe sent back images, space enthusiasts were excited to see hints of details that explained the asymmetries seen with the Hubble telescope. When New Horizons passed within 8,000 miles of Pluto in July 2015, the clarity with which we could now see Pluto was absolutely thrilling.

I’ve felt that same kind of Eureka! moment as I come to better understand Joseph Smith and the details of his actions and teachings regarding Celestial marriage. In the past I was blogging about things every week, and so you would hear what I was learning. Then I stepped back to write it up as a book, and have since been preparing for the June edition I’ll push out right before the Mormon History Association Conference.

As I’ve sifted through and polished, I can now see some clear patterns that were obscured even as recently as last year. Continue reading