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.

Millennial Miscellany

Trees on the north tip of Manhattan

I’ve collected a range of thoughts in the past two weeks as I flitted between DC, Manhattan, and Tokyo. Individually they might not merit a post here at M*, but as a collection might be interesting. These are:

  1. How Barack Obama caused Prop 8 to be passed
  2. How Moroni 9 argues for the truth of the Book of Mormon
  3. The contemporary importance of the Articles of Faith, and
  4. More cool stuff about the Word of Wisdom

Continue reading

The Day of the Dead

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As today is fast sunday, I wasn’t in a hurry to rush home when services let out this afternoon. So on a whim, I drove my car to the nearby cemetery where family members rest in peace.

It was a gorgeous fall day, bright and brisk. For me this cemetery is a place of happiness, a location we used to visit frequently as children, chasing the geese around the green lawns or feeding the black swan that lived near the central pond. My baby sister had been interred there in the late sixties, and so visiting the cemetery was something my mother did rather frequently.

In the nineties I had a child diagnosed in utero with a severe heart defect. Given the high probability of death, it was natural to contact this same cemetery to be the resting place for my son’s remains, were he to pass. After the brief, hopeful week following his birth, his heart gave out. So we laid him to rest in the same area where my sister was buried decades earlier, a heart-shaped corner of the cemetery known as BabyLand. Continue reading

Mormon polygamy — the short version

Someone who notices when new stuff on topics gets posted on lds.org alerted me to the fact that there is updated information regarding the topic of polygamy.

The main article is titled “Plural Marriage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints] which links to other related articles about plural marriage.

Of particular interest is the article discussing the origins of plural marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo [https://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-in-kirtland-and-nauvoo?lang=eng]. This article discusses the likely 1831 timing of the original revelation, the marriage between Joseph and Fanny Alger in Kirtland, and Joseph’s marriages in Nauvoo. Somewhere in this series of articles, Joseph’s marriage to the youthful Helen Mar Kimball is discussed as well.

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Perpetuating Myths About Mormon Genealogy

KenneallyI was interested in the New Republic article found over in the “Worth Reading” bar. The article is titled The Mormon Church Is Building a Family Tree of the Entire Human Race, and is excerpted from Christine Kenneally’s new book, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures.

In this excerpt, Ms. Kenneally initially seems to be praising the efforts of the LDS Church for assiduously collecting records of the human family. She writes about how knowledge of family history reduces anxiety and is correlated with other improved outcomes for children. The magnitude of the collection is many times the information contained in the US Library of Congress, with information being added at a rate similar to adding the contents of the Library of Congress every year. Kenneally notes how these efforts have driven technology.

But then the article begins to focus on the negative. Continue reading

Meet the Mormons – Review

imageMeet the Mormons spent the weekend in theaters, grossing $2.7M, which will be donated to the American Red Cross. The movie was originally intended as a feature to be shown visitors to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (formerly the Hotel Utah). However the Church decided to release the film in theaters throughout the country for one weekend.

Considering that the majority of viewers were likely Mormons, this film gives an indication of the power of the Mormon audience. The film placed 11th in terms of total box office earnings – amazing considering the film was only released in 317 theaters and most Mormons wouldn’t have gone to see it on Sunday.

As my friend and I left the theater, she commented that the film was enjoyable, but had not shown average people. And yet, I could imagine a film like that made using individuals just from our ward. Heck, I could imagine five films of similar power made just from individuals from my ward. And I imagine many of us could say the same.

For someone who isn’t a Mormon, the film introduces the unique nature of the lay ministry we take for granted, along with the lack of “career paths.” We see peaceful co-existence between Mormons and other religions, and a multi-cultural people of generosity and resilience.

Below is a summary of the film. Continue reading