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.

A Lenten Personal Progress – Days 18 – 24

value-faithIf you’ve been keeping up with everything, you will be half-way through your personal progress experiences later this week, on day 23.

My inspiration for putting this program together was my eldest daughter, who turned 19 without ever officially completing the personal progress program. She had done a large number of things during the course of her high school career. But when it came time to complete her personal progress, it was just too much for her to figure out.

When her younger sisters entered the Young Women’s program, though, she made custom binders for each one, giving to them encouragement and helps that might have made a difference in her day.

So my hope is that this will make a difference to others, in their day.

To go directly to a particular day, click on one of the following links:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 |
Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 |
Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Go to Top
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A Lenten Personal Progress – Days 11 – 17

value-faithThis weekend our family (possessed of two seminary students) came face to face with the reality that reading the entire Doctrine and Covenants (plus a few other bits) is required to graduate from the Church History course this year.

Luckily, we had been reading from the Doctrine and Covenants this year. So though we had been a bit desultory, we’d read Sections 1-50 and 76-100 by Friday night. Tallying up the amount of time it would take to listen to the other sections, we only had 7 hours of reading ahead of us…

It’s been fascinating for me to consume the Doctrine and Covenants as fast as we’ve been doing today, listening with my autistic daughter to the audio narration available in the Gospel Library app at 1.5x speed, 20 minute stints broken up by 10 minute breaks.

It has been heartbreaking, knowing the story of the individuals mentioned (particularly in Section 124), to see the glorious blessings they were promised, if only they would remain faithful. And to those with an ear to hear, there are strong warnings to those in our own day who reject the gospel and try to make it over in their own image.

I have enjoyed participating in Book of Mormon read-a-thons. I believe a Doctrine and Covenants read-a-thon would be a great experience as well (and completely doable for a single day). Certainly our own little half-the-book marathon today has been memorable.

In that light, I encourage you to continue reading the Book of Mormon, but know that if you get a bit behind, you will have “light” days where you can catch up on readings if a particular experience takes more time that you have available.

To jump to a particular day, click on one of the links below:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 |
Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Go to Top

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Was Joseph Smith a Practicing Polygamist?

I was recently browsing the internet and came upon Brian C. Hales’ post of May 21 titled “Yes, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph Smith Practiced Polygamy.” After listing the numerous testimonies gathered across the years regarding Joseph’s involvement in plural marriage, Brian concludes his post with the following:

“Plural marriage is an uncomfortable topic and understandably so. However, denying Joseph Smith’s involvement is not useful to the discussion. The evidences supporting his polygamous sealings to create time-and-eternity unions that included sexual relations is too great to ignore.”

I’m not sure Brian is responding to me in this post, since I don’t deny Joseph was involved in polygamous sealings. Nor do I deny that many were willing to imply that Joseph had been sexually intimate with women to whom he was sealed.

I simply question whether the data support a conclusion that Joseph necessarily consummated the ceremonial plural marriages he personally entered into. Continue reading

A Lenten Personal Progress – Days 4 -10

value-choice-and-accountabilityA funny thing happens when flowers and lovely things appear – men stop talking.

I first encountered this in college, after an amazing intellectual discussion with some fellows. I proposed that we could continue the discussion the next day at my apartment.

But I made a mistake. Instead of ordering pizza and snacks, I made dinner. And I set a proper table. These men, who the day before had been full of incredible existential insights, became vapid social beings, sharing trivia and light anecdotes. It was a pleasant night, but I was disappointed.

I’m not sure I like the lack of discussion that has accompanied my prior Lenten Personal Progress posts, so while I will be continuing my pilgrimage, I will put up a weekly post, rather than a daily post. I’ll do this on Saturdays.

To jump to a particular day, click on one of the links below:
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Go to Top

Long Term Projects

In order to get through all the value experiences in such a short time, I’m having you start a number of long-term efforts, which you will be doing simultaneously. As you see this list grow, you will realize why it would have been really great to simply work on one value experience a month over the period of four years. But you can do this, if you’re determined. A lot of these “habits” are habits you would need to have as a missionary or mature adult. I’ll bet you know women and men who already live lives of devotion like this, who are constantly striving to become more like the precious individual they know God sees in them. The long-term efforts you will be working on by the end of this week are:

  • Review and keep your standards (Started Day 1)
  • Pray morning and evening (Started Day 2)
  • Continue your new habit related to personal integrity (Started Day 3)
  • Begin a habit of regular scripture study and prayer (Starts Day 4)
  • Work on the three standards you decided to improve upon (Starts Day 5)
  • Record the quiet acts of service others perform (Starts Day 6)
  • Read your patriarchal blessing or set an appointment to get a recommend for one (Assigned Day 7)
  • Help plan meals, obtain/prepare food, and gather the family for mealtimes. (Starts Day 8)
  • Increase your understanding of the atonement and plan to share your testimony. (Starts Day 10)
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A Lenten Personal Progress – Day 3

value-integrityNeed a project idea? Consider holding a Book of Mormon marathon – a sleepover where the young women get together and read through the entire Book of Mormon in roughly 24 hours. Not only would this complete your Virtue value project, but would make a great project for any of several other values if you participate significantly in planning the event, scheduling guests, preparing food/treats, etc.

Are there any great projects you’ve been involved in or seen accomplished by others? Leave a comment!

Day 3 (Friday)

flower-virtueBook of Mormon: Read 1 Nephi 14-17: Lehi finds the Liahona. Nephi is commanded to build a ship.

flower-virtueStart and complete Virtue 3: Read Alma 5 and make a list of things you can and will do to prepare to receive the blessings of Heavenly Father.

flower-integrityBegin Integrity 2: “Write in your journal the things you can do to improve your personal integrity and at least one new habit you want to develop.”

Remember to:

  • Review and keep your standards (day 3 of 31)
  • Pray morning and evening (day 2 of 21)
  • Begin a new habit related to personal integrity (day 1 of 21)

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