Stout was born in the backwoods of Kentucky, received a fair education for the time and place, and taught school at twenty-two in Putman County, Illinois. In 1834 he met Joseph Smith and in 1838 he was baptized a member of the Church by Charles C. Rich. He followed the Saints to Missouri, then to Nauvoo, where he was appointed clerk of the high council, the policy-making body of the Church. He was called to live the doctrine of polygamy. After the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum, Stout (as chief of police and officer in the Nauvoo Legion) was assigned the responsibility for the safety of the leaders and the general welfare of the members. In his excellent diary one can trace the exodus of the saints and \'after his settling in Utah\' the private and public affairs of a devout Mormon man who served as a member of the territorial legislature. The diary, edited by Juanita Brooks and published in 1964 by the University of Utah Press and the Utah State Historical Society, is unvaluable.