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.

Ideal Family Size? Do Two Kids Make Sense?

Stick FamilyA recent family e-mail chain got hijacked in royal fashion. One intriguing bit that came out was a discussion of the number of children that are appropriate in a family.

Much energy has been devoted at the global and national level to explaining that the world is over-populated and that resource scarcity will cause dire problems in the future. Even my infrequent posts here about water could be interpreted to indicate that children should be few in any responsible family.

Ironically, there is reason to believe that it is precisely responsible families who should have many children. In this case, let’s allow the definition of many to be four. Why would 4+ kids make sense for a socially responsible family? Continue reading

Review of Cinderella

Several members of my family decided to go see the recent Cinderella movie from Disney. We quite enjoyed it. This review is full of spoilers, so if you want to be entirely surprised by Kenneth Branaugh’s modern take on this favorite tale, (or if you simply don’t care about movies involving blonde girls) you can stop reading now. Continue reading

Joseph’s Wives – an Algorithm

imageA few weeks ago I proposed that I would be blogging this year about Joseph’s plural wives and such matters. Then I got distracted.

I think we  should establish guidelines for the importance we attribute to different women as wives.

For now, we’ll accept women where there is documentation or oral tradition either from contemporaries or their descendants. I think this gives us a list of women that includes roughly 40 individuals.

I’d like to start, then, with each such woman having a score of 100% (or 1.0). Then as we consider various factors, that score may be decreased. If there are mitigating factors, a “penalty” may be reduced. Thus, as I go forward to talk about the various women, we can focus on those individuals whose “score” gives us greatest confidence that she is of import. This scoring matter can also give structure to the discussion of each woman. Continue reading

Faithful Joseph: A Digest

JosephI was recently discussing Nauvoo with an individual who appears inclined to believe that Joseph Smith was just a pervert. I referred them to my Faithful Joseph series, but they indicated that the initial bit they scanned made them think it was just a remix of Brian Hales 1 and the RLDS view. 2

This individual asked if I could assemble a Reader’s Digest version of my 29+ posts on the subject, which might inform without all the bothersome reading. This is that digest version.

I should note that this version tells the events chronologically, and does not therefore make it clear which evidentiary clues guided formation of this framework. Some other time I should write up why I argue that the “Joseph as sex fiend” framework is fundamentally flawed from an evidentiary and logical standpoint, including why I am not persuaded any of Joseph’s plural wives actually slept with him. Continue reading


  1. Brian Hales has been described as someone who has a hypothesis and is assembling the data to support that hypothesis. Brian has assembled a prodigious amount of information at his website josephsmithspolygamy.org.
  2. The traditional RLDS view was that Joseph and Emma fought polygamy, that Mormon polygamy originated with Brigham Young and various seducers Joseph denounced during the Nauvoo period, see in particular the writings of Richard and Pamela Price at restorationbookstore.org.

The Prayer of a Doubting Missionary

Doubting MissionaryI have talked much about my youthful experience, encountering disturbing possibilities about Joseph Smith and polygamy. I have since continued my journey and have found explanations for that history (see my Faithful Joseph series).

But in 1984, I was a missionary in training who wasn’t entirely sure about the Church. However I knew God existed and knew He had told me to remain a Mormon. Though I retained a portion of doubt (a portion of doubt that would remain for decades), this is how I conducted myself. For what it’s worth, this is the only prayer I have ever written down.

il 10 aprile 1984 martedi.

What a marvelous day! It started off slowly, and there were short ups and downs, but classe w/ Sorella Moss was incredible and then ambassadorship – on having a more Christ-like attitude. It was wonderful: No Greater Love, a slide show to “As I have Love You,” and a film about a handicapped man. Then:

To Change:

1) Obedience
a) Repent
2) Sacrifice

[lead to] Consecration.

Scan_20150227 (2)_cropped

Then choir and an absolutely incredible devotionale delivered by Elder Hartman Rector, Jr. We laughed so hard, and I know I was totally psyched to go to Italy after the two hours(!) were over. Then there was classe di pronuncia w/ Presidente Magistro. “Lasciatemi cantare…. I jazzed to that one and then there was “I vecchi.”
Continue reading