About Meg Stout

Meg Stout has been an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) 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 is the author of Reluctant Polygamist, laying out the possibility that Joseph taught the acceptability of plural marriage but may have privately defied the commandment for love of his wife, Emma.

Earth Day: All Things are Spiritual to God

Earth from a million miles away taken by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC)

The Lord has said:

3Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal…;

D&C 29:34

On Earth Day, it is worth remembering that we are to be wise stewards of the earth, to preserve it for future generations [Environmental Stewardship and Conservation].

A Parable

I will liken the unwise steward to a new employee at the hotel at which my colleague stayed this weekend. I will liken the earth’s resources to the contents of my colleagues purse.

At some point, my colleague went to get her phone. It was missing, as were two other items of worth. When my colleague looked online to locate her phone, she saw that it was traveling around the city where she had stayed. My colleague called the hotel and talked to her friend in management. Within moments, the friend had reviewed the hotel’s surveillance tapes for the estimated time of loss and identified who had taken the items.

The thief was a new employee, one who apparently was unaware that their actions were knowable, one who didn’t realize that the location of an active phone can be detected by the owner.

In like manner, our actions are known to God. When we effectively take that which is needed by our fellows or our future kin, God is aware.

Saving Ourselves

There are times when we think we are modern and enlightened, and that therefore old superstitions need not be heeded.

This Sunday I heard Krista Tippett’s 2006 interview with the late Wangari Maathai, a Catholic environmentalist.

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April 2019 General Conference

Last General Conference we didn’t live blog, because the Church now swiftly puts up video and text archives that make it unnecessary for us to attempt to summarize.

But if the past is any guide, General Conference this weekend will involve some exciting news. So we’ll see what happens…

Click more if you are interested in concise notes of Conference Proceedings. Names of speakers are linked to their archived Conference addresses or their biography.

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The First of April

The first day of April is often associated with foolery. For example, the leaders for my daughter’s zone texted the missionaries telling them their preparation day would end at noon rather than six. Since my daughter is Sister Training Leader, she was a bit panicked about how to arrange activities for her little flock of sisters. Then someone asked, “Is this an April Fool’s joke?”

DC experienced a little bit of a divine April Fool’s day joke. Today was peak bloom for the cherry blossoms that inspire the weeks-long DC Cherry Blossom Festival. The blooms were amazing, but despite a gloriously warm Saturday, today’s temperatures never reached 50 degrees.

My husband shared a funny story from the past. On an April 1st many years ago a fellow named Hartman Rector got a phone call. The individual on the other end of the line said, “Hi, I’m an assistant to President David O. McKay, and we’d like to have you come to Salt Lake City for General Conference. Is that OK?”

Hartman said, “Sure.” and hung up, figuring it was an April Fool’s joke. But then he thought, “What if it isn’t a joke?” Sure enough, President McKay really did want Hartman Rector to come to Salt Lake, and Brother Rector was called to be a General Authority.

So I thought it would be fun to let folks talk about experiences they’ve had on the first day of April.

[P.S., I’m really glad General Conference won’t fall on April 1 this year. No reduxes of Elder Rector’s “Yeah, right” bemusement.]

A Friend’s View to a Murder

In April 2005 Janet Christiansen was killed.

Janet Christiansen (sitting in a white dress at the far end in front) in the 1990s with her parents, siblings, and other family.

Janet was a tall, willowy woman, seventh of ten children in a family that even now belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ.

This Friday evening, ABC will air another special focused on how Janet, a stunning beauty, was murdered by Raven, her handsome husband. No doubt the wedding photo taken the day Janet and Raven married in the DC temple will be featured, symbol of the hope and love shattered by Janet’s death.

To you Janet and Raven are likely strangers, though perhaps you will feel some kinship because of the Church. But I had known Janet since she was born. I coached her Church basketball team. She was in the same classes at Church as my two youngest sisters.

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Relying on Self (with God’s Help)

Elderly adults in the United States spend an estimated $400 Billion per year supporting their adult children. (Illustration by Patrick Leger for Barron’s)

A couple of years ago, the Church launched a series of Self Reliance workshops. These can help individuals and families understand their current status and future, then take action to provide for a future that will be a blessing to themselves and others.

As I have participated in numerous Self Reliance workshops in the past two years, I was interested to read Friday’s article in Barron’s by Reshma Kapadia describing the alarming burden older Americans are shouldering on behalf of their adult children.

When does helping an adult child go from compassion to willing participation in exploitation? When does helping children, grandchildren, and friends go from being helpful to debilitating the very individuals we seek to help?

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