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.

Heeding the Muse (Feeling the Spirit)

Muse reading Louvre CA2220.jpg

Muse reading Louvre CA2220” by Klügmann Painter – Jastrow (2006). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Writer’s block is possibly one of the few universal experiences for those schooled in the written word. Which of us has not sat at a keyboard or with pencil in hand, unable to compose a coherent sentence?

I finished my series on A Faithful Joseph this past summer, knowing that a next step would be writing up an article for peer review – review by peers who aren’t positively inclined towards my views of the topic, but who have indicated that they would not reject an article out of hand.

It’s a relatively high-pressure situation. And I’ve had significant competing priorities the past two months. Even so, I have attempted to write an article about Dr. John C. Bennett a couple of times now, without success. Continue reading

Fall 2014 General Conference Opens with Great Women’s Broadcast

imageOur ward young women decided to meet at the home of our patriarch and listen to the Women’s Broadcast together. The hour before the broadcast involved socializing in the back yard, eating popcorn, cake, pizza, and other goodies. Then we gathered inside to watch on the projector-screen system our patriarch has in his basement.

Summary I thought the meeting was a spiritual delight in the strong tradition initiated with the first Women’s Broadcast last spring. I was also excited to hear President Uchtdorf refer to the Women’s meeting as the first meeting of the General Conference.

I thought having the young women and friends meet in a home setting to enjoy the Women’s Broadcast was also a brilliant move, one which is enabled by the vast range of media options available to allow people to participate in the conference.

Below are my real-time notes (complete with typos…). Continue reading

The Waters Shall Fail – Get Prepared

Bridge Spanning Lake Oroville in 2011
If you’ve paid any attention at all to the news, you’ve heard that the west is experiencing drought conditions. People throughout the west are being asked to take shorter showers or landscape their yards in ways that conserve water. But in California, 80% of the water “taken” from the environment goes to grow food.

From pictures like these 1 showing record low water levels in rivers and reservoirs, we can see the drastic change in surface water levels.

What these pictures of surface water don’t show, however, is the loss of ground water from California aquifers, earth’s “water batteries.” California has lost an estimated 63 trillion gallons of water from her aquifers since the beginning of 2013. 2

Why does it matter? It matters because water is food. And California provides 50% of the food eaten in America. Continue reading


  1. Shocking before and after pictures of California drought reveal extent of the dry spell, UK Daily Mail, 27 February 2014, available online at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2569919/Shocking-pictures-California-drought-reveal-extent-dry-spell-relief-way.html, retrieved 29 August 2014.
  2. Adrian Antal Borsa1, Duncan Carr Agnew, Daniel R. Cayan, Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States, Science, published 21 August 2014, available online at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/08/20/science.1260279, retrieved 29 August 2014.

Endowed with Power

France Paris Notre-Dame-Adam and Eve

The Temptation of Adam and Eve, bas relief, Notre Dame

This week as I attended the temple, I realized I failed to include in my Faithful Joseph series any description about the introduction of the temple ceremonies.

Members of the LDS Church don’t talk much about what happens in the temple. As is often said, we regard these things as sacred. I submit at the time the endowment was introduced there was also a need for secrecy, since it was not known who was true and who was traitor.

The ceremonies of the temple involve preparation to become servants of God. The instructions given and covenants made in the temple are towards this end of preparing individuals for eternal life.

As discussed in the Bible and argued by Jesus in John 10: 34-38, the Jewish law taught that mortals could become gods. 1 The purpose of the temple would be to allow individuals to enter into those covenants and perform those ordinances that would prepare them to becomes the gods the Bible speaks of, holy beings who serve God, the Father of all. These individuals would, if faithful, reign and minister in God’s heaven.

The instructions form a basis for understanding God’s work and salvation: our existence before mortality, the fall of Adam and Eve, the purpose of our mortal lives, the reality of resurrection after this life, and the possibility of returning to live with God in his kingdom. 2

Continue reading


  1. Psalms 82: 6.
  2. See Endowed from On High: Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher’s Manual, Lesson 1: The Temple Teaches about the Great Plan of Salvation, available online at lds.org, retrieved 18 August 2014.

Fair Mormon Conf: Ann Cannon – Why, yes! I am a Mormon, thank you very much


In the gift shop at the Acadia National Forest, some students were talking about a group of people who would drink blood and slit the throats of babies. And then the student said, “they can’t even drink tea or coffeee or drink soup. It says so in their Book of Mormon…”

So I walked up to them and told the the part about soup was simply not true.

The New York Times recently declared that the Mormon Moment is officially over, but I think there are still a lot of people who are curious about Mormons. We lived in Tuxedo Park in New York state. When we pulled in in our U-Haul with lots of kids, we were a curiosity, kind of like the Elephant Man. When they learned we were from Utah, they would immediately ask, “Are you Mormons?” In downtown Salt Lake, this is a question you would never ask, much less as the first thing. It would be like asking “How much money do you make?” or “How’s your sex life?” So I got used to saying “Why, yes! I am a Mormon, thank you very much,” and I had to convince people that we weren’t Amish. Continue reading