This is the fourth in a five-part series on Mormon Transhumanism. The first part was an introduction to transhumanism written by James Carroll. Carl Youngblood wrote the second and third parts.
If you’re a Mormon, you should be a Transhumanist. To identify as a “Mormon Transhumanist” is not at all redundant, but to identify as a “Transhumanist Mormon” is redundant, because Mormonism mandates Transhumanism. In other words, you can be a Transhumanist without being a Mormon, but you can’t be a Mormon without being a Transhumanist, at least implicitly. Of course this is a controversial claim, but we can make an argument from Mormon scripture. Let’s begin with the premises.
First, God wants us to use ordained means to participate in God’s work. This premise is based on scriptures like First Nephi 3, which says God prepares ways for us to accomplish his commands; Alma 60, which says God won’t save us unless we use the means he’s provided; and D&C 58, which says we shouldn’t wait for God to command us to engage in a good cause.
The second premise is that science and technology are among the means ordained of God. This premise is based on scriptures like First Nephi 17, where God commands Nephi to construct a ship to save his family; Alma 37, which says God gave Nephi a compass to guide his family to the promised land; D&C 88, where God commands us to study and teach everything from astronomy and geology to history and politics; and D&C 121, which says we will learn all the laws of the natural world before attaining heaven.
The third premise is that God’s work is to help each other attain Godhood. This premise is based on scriptures like Third Nephi 12, where Jesus commands us to be perfect like God; D&C 76, which says God would make us Gods of equal power with him; and Moses 1, which says God’s work is to make us immortal in eternal life.
The fourth and final premise is that an essential attribute of Godhood is a glorified immortal body. This premise is based on scriptures like Ether 3, where the Brother of Jared sees that God is embodied; D&C 76, which says God has a body glorified like the sun; D&C 93, which says full joy requires a body, elements are the body of God, and intelligence is the glory of God; and D&C 130, which says God’s body is as tangible as that of a human.
From these four premises, we can reason.
Since God wants us to use ordained means to participate in God’s work, and since science and technology are among those means, God must want us to use science and technology to participate in God’s work.
Next, since God wants us to use science and technology to participate in God’s work, and since God’s work is to help each other attain Godhood, God must want us to use science and technology to help each other attain Godhood.
Finally, since God wants us to use science and technology to help each other attain Godhood, and since an essential attribute of Godhood is a glorified immortal body, we can conclude that God wants us to use science and technology to help each other attain a glorified immortal body.
This conclusion is both a religious mandate, in that it purports to express the will of God, and a description of the Transhumanist project, advocating the ethical use of technology to expand human abilities. If we arrived at this conclusion by valid reasoning, which we did, and if we began with premises that accurately reflect Mormonism, as I believe we have, then Mormonism mandates Transhumanism.
“All theological truth claims, assertions, representations on any subject must be subordinated to the fundamental question of whether a god actually and in reality exists, for without the existence of a supernatural being, i.e. god, all of the other truth claims are factually meaningless.” In other words religious imaginings can soar to sublime heights, theological speculation can run 100 marathons, holy books can be quoted from morning to sundown, comforting and confirming feelings can accompany certainty, but until it can be proved that a god–or gods– exists, these efforts are all of no efficacy and as the quote states “meaningless.”
Brent, for one thing the god posited by Mormonism is not, technically speaking, a supernatural being. But aside from that, this post is only attempting to show Mormons that, according to widely accepted interpretations of their own scriptures, they also accept and advocate transhumanist principles. Who are you quoting and what relevance does it have to this post?
Sorry, I didn’t attribute the quote because I neglected to write it down after I found it. I suspect it’s from Thomas Riskas. Not to quibble about semantics, but the Mormon god does fit the definition of an other-worldly being residing somewhere in the universe, (Kolob maybe?) whether one uses the term supernatural being or not. My point was that your transhumanist explanation of a scientific/spiritual evolution to so-called godhood begs the question of god’s existence in the first place. I can, however, accept a transhumanist evolution without god as a possible theory of future human development.
Hi Brent. Thanks for posting your criticism.
Similarly, we might say something like this: “humanist aspirations can soar to sublime heights, scientific speculation can run 100 marathons, philosophical books can be quoted from morning to sundown, comforting and confirming ideas can accompany certainty, but until it can be proved that humanity will achieve a future of radical flourishing in compassion and creation, these efforts are all of no efficacy and ‘meaningless’.”
However, we would be wrong. Our aspirations actually do have practical ramifications, and the probability of realizing even some of our most improbable hopes actually can be increased by trusting in and working toward their realization. This matters not only for the humanist, but also for a particular kind of theist, who understands God as that we should become: a posthumanity of radical flourishing in compassion and creation. Our probable future corresponds with such God’s probable present. See the New God Argument (http://www.new-god-argument.com).
I grew up about 200 feet from a carved stone that looked much like the Sun figure in your picture. I believe it was later taken to Nauvoo.
Mormonism, like the article above, depends on razzle dazzle absurdities, Orwellian double speak. At least Joe Smith had a motive — to get control of, and access to, women. It was always a fraud, always nonsense, but then, it works.
Men would not invent goofy fundamentalist religions, if it did not have some pay off, some benefit. Some “goodies”.
Mormonism is no worse than other fake words of God, it is just more recent and easier to pull the mask off.
Will you please elaborate on the absurdities you see in this article?