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.

Balancing Truth and Propriety

The Three Wise Monkeys, Tosho-gu Shrine, Nikko, Japan, photo by Michael Maggs

Oh say, what is truth? The hymn claims it is the fairest gem the world can produce, an eternal and priceless treasure, the greatest prize to which mortals or Gods can aspire.

And yet not all truths are deemed appropriate to share.

One sort of truth that is not shared are truths which would endanger those we wish to protect. For example, true details related to communications and transportation of a head of state are typically not shared, to protect the person of the head of state.

Another sort of truth that is not shared are truths that would harm the consumer of the truth. For example, John Taylor did not share the truth that the protein-rich mash which so many pioneers ate to survive the winter of 1847/8 was derived from mashed crickets.

A third sort of truth that is not shared is unseemly and unnecessary detail. For example, it wasn’t really necessary for the child-me to tell my mother’s visiting teachers that my sibling had pin worms, given that this was not a detail my mother had chosen to share.

We live in a world where the Church has often deemed it appropriate to omit mention of select facts in lessons and visual media. Beyond the Church itself, those catering to either believers and those catering to traditions significantly opposed to the “Utah” Church curate their content to suit what they feel is appropriate for their respective audiences.

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Inspiring Stories

In 1957 then-Senator John (Jack) Kennedy published Profiles in Courage, biographies highlighting integrity and bravery which inspired a nation.

Some two years later, a boy named Huan Nguyen was born in Vietnam, a land that had been torn by war for many years. When Huan was still a child, Huan and his entire family were gunned down by Communist guerillas in their home outside Saigon. Huan stayed with his mother for hours until she died from her wounds. Huan himself had been shot in the skull, arm, and thigh. Yet Huan, alone of his family of eight, managed to survive. Following the death of his immediate family, Huan was taken in by his uncle, a Colonel in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force.

In 1975 Huan and his uncle were among the thousands who fled Saigon and were taken in by America. Huan remembers arriving at Camp Asam in Guam, watching as US Navy sailors and Marines toiled in the hot sun setting up tents and a chow hall, caring for Huan and his fellow refugees with respect.

Huan said, “I thought to myself how lucky I am to be in a place like America.”

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General Conference! Oct 2019

It’s starting! We’ll use this space to make observations and accept comments! The short notes below are to help you remember which addresses you might have particularly loved, with links taking you to the Church website content. Or click here to go to the Church website General Conference page..

Note that if clicking links on a device with the Gospel Liibrary app, it will try to open the app. Press and hold the link to ensure it brings up the proper webpage (I usually select “open in new tab”).

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Reflections on a bad tooth

Tooth pain this past month has prompted reflections on why those disaffected with the Church can’t perceive good or appreciate positive changes.

This month one of my molars started hurting. Badly. The dentist referred me to an endodontist for a root canal. But it turned out only one of the three roots could be “canaled.” So my dentist referred me to an oral surgeon for tooth extraction.

By the time I sat in the oral surgeon’s chair, the infection had been causing pain for over two weeks. He numbed me up, but the local anaesthetic wasn’t able to reach the infected tooth. Several more attempts were made to stop the pain locally before they put me under nitrous oxide, an anaesthetic that affects the entire body.

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Cheerful Givers

St. Margaret at Queensferry by William Brassey Hole (1899)

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “…God loveth a cheerful giver.” 1

God loves all of us all the time. Yet when we don’t give or give grudgingly, God may not delight in us, though we be loved.

When it comes to giving cheerfully, I typically think of the person for whom I was named, St. Margaret. Margaret was Queen of Scotland, mother to eight children, and my ancestor 2. Though St. Margaret lived nearly 1000 years ago, the deeds of her life were preserved by means of her daughter, who insisted that Margaret’s confessor create a written record by which the daughter could remember the mother she had not known well.

The life the confessor captured is an epitome of the giving Christian. Margaret would feed hundreds of orphans each day of the two Lenten periods she observed each year (before Easter and before Christmas). As Margaret visited the inhabitants of her country, she would give away all that she had. And she encouraged those around her to give similarly.

In Church today, one friend described how those actions we may see as sacrifices can later be seen as investments. By cheerfully giving and serving, we create a better world, both for ourselves and for those around us.

As King David wrote, The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof…. 3 Everything we have is God’s, by that view. The only thing we have of ourselves is our free will. If we willingly, gladly, give to God and His children, then we have given the only gift we have to give.

Who are your examples, when you think of Paul’s admonition to give cheerfully?

Notes:

  1. 2 Cor. 9:7
  2. According to the genealogies others have researched,
  3. Psalm 24:1