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 contends Joseph was under commandment to restore plural marriage and taught the acceptability of plural marriage. But Meg suggests Joseph may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

#daytoserve – A Report


Day to Serve is an initiative started in the DC area several years ago. During the month from September 11 – October 10/11, citizens from across the political and religious (or non-religious) spectrum select a day to serve and “are encouraged to make a concerted effort to feed the hungry, clean up neighborhoods, and improve communities by recognizing and participating in “Day to Serve” activities,” to cite Virginia’s Day to Serve proclamation for 2015. The event extends beyond the month in fall at times, as with the Washington Nationals’ Day to Serve game (Aug 8 this year), where all food donations and ticket proceeds go to the Capital Area Food Bank. Continue reading

The Deaths of the DeLongs: Searching for Blue Berries

In October 1845, during the height of the Mormon persecutions in Illinois, four of the nine members of the DeLong family died. The DeLongs were impoverished converts who arrived in Nauvoo in time to join the lines to view the dead bodies of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. After the parents and two children died, the rest were scattered. Of these, only one ended up traveling west as far as Utah. That four-year-old in a red flannel diaper and a straw hat would go on to be one of the first settlers of Panguitch, Utah.

I had heard as a youngling about how a neighbor had provided blueberries, from which Mother DeLong prepared a pie. But most of the children refused to eat the pie. Those who did, both parents and one son, all died of ague, violent illness. Mother DeLong gave birth the day her son and husband died, and both she and the new infant died soon thereafter.

The problem with the story was that blueberries have a very short season: in Illinois they are only available in July and August. Other members of the extended family criticized the oral history from the surviving family members because it didn’t agree with written records from this terrible time and the fact that Mother DeLong didn’t die the same day as her husband and son.

My personal experience as a pregnant mother taking lethal levels of drugs (in my case to treat the heart condition of my unborn son) helped me understand why a poison migh induce labor but not immediately kill.

That left only the identification of poisonous blue berries that could be mistaken for blueberries in early October in Illinois. I have been searching for a possible candidate berry for over a decade. Continue reading

Towards a Book of Mormon Study Edition

This is a guest post from Jamie Huston, who blogs at Gently Hew Stone. Jamie describes himself as “yet another world music / Criterion Collection / Hudson River School / camping / genre fiction-loving libertarian Mormon English teacher. And father of 7.”


I love a good study Bible. Earlier this year I found a nearly new NIV Archaeological Study Bible on sale at a library for a dollar—a 98% savings off the cover price!—and I’m getting a lot of mileage out of it.

I’ve been thinking about study Bibles a lot after reading Bill Hamblin’s much-needed rant about the demise of Book of Mormon studies at BYU, such as it ever was. At one point, he summarizes what’s missing in the curriculum:
Most simply, BYU could offer in depth courses on each of the major books of the Book of Mormon, combining some of the smaller books into one. Note that Religious Education offers a class on Isaiah, but no class on the book of Alma or Helaman or Nephi?


Beyond in depth classes on major books of the Book of Mormon, BYU should offer classes on Book of Mormon geography, history, archaeology, linguistics, literature, theology, culture, language (ancient Near East and Maya), textual criticism, religion, law, warfare, apocalyptic, reception history, the Bible in the Book of Mormon, etc.

He’s clearly right, of course, but I want to suggest another avenue besides BYU classes for improving Book of Mormon studies among Latter-day Saints.
It’s time we have a decent study edition of the Book of Mormon. Continue reading

Therapy for Spiritual Death, Part 2 [Mindfulness]

Jon Kabat-Zinn Photo Credit: CBS News
mainguymeditatingIn my original post about how the latest psychotherapy applies to spiritual death, I talked about tolerating distress by distracting oneself from the immediate pain and soothing oneself to be able to tolerate the distress.

But if “therapy” is merely numbing oneself to distress, then one might as well use one’s drug of choice to cope with life.

However that is emphatically not what Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is about. The “dialectic” in DBT comes from the contradiction between two very different things, namely accepting yourself and reality the way it is while changing behaviors that create suffering for yourself and others.

The second skill required to effectively relieve suffering is mindfulness. 1  Mindfulness is living in the present, with full awareness of one’s emotions, thoughts, and options, with complete control over one’s resources and ability to response. When one is mindful, one can choose to act in whatever manner will be most effective at changing the situation for the better.

Mindfulness applies to many situations. In this series, I am discussing mindfulness from the perspective of spiritual death, the separation that occurs when an individual becomes separated from God. Since only those who mourn this separation would have incentive to overcome such a separation, the examples in this post focus on those who feel that current circumstances are forcing them to abandon a cherished belief. Continue reading


  1. In searching for an image for this post, I tumbled across the transcript for Anderson Cooper’s December 2014 segment on mindfulness, which was rebroadcast on September 6, 2015, available online at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mindfulness-anderson-cooper-60-minutes-2/, retrieved September 9, 2015.