At the 2017 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, I presented a brief history of the association. Below is an outline of the events I mentioned, beginning with the founding of the association on 3 March 2006 and ending in 2016, when we changed the leadership of the association. Of necessity, this history doesn't include everything the association and its members have done or experienced over the years. But it does call out what I consider to be particularly noteworthy events, in most cases reflecting my assessment of their relative magnitude of effect over time.
In 2007 and 2008, I gave a few presentations in the virtual world of Second Life. Yeah, Generation Z, virtual worlds have been around a long time. The third presentation was on "Mormonism: A Religion of the Future" at the Conference on the Future of Religions and Religions of the Future, held 4 June 2008 on the island of Extropia. After the conference, my friend Giulio Prisco provided a good write-up. But I've not previously published my transcript from that conference. So why not publish it 10 years later? Enjoy.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest Mormon denomination, has no official position on human evolution. This should be repeated and emphasized, in part because the LDS Church has not done much to ensure this non-position is communicated to its members. Consequently, for many years, extending well before the beginning of my own life, many members have claimed that the Church opposes human evolution. They are incorrect, as demonstrated by the following statements from modern and historic Church authorities:
"If You Could Hie to Kolob" has, as far back as I can remember, always been among my favorite Mormon hymns. When I was a child, it spoke to the nascent Transhumanist in me. And as an adult, I seem to have an unquenchable thirst for the vision it articulates, echoing the heart of Mormonism. But it's also kind of missing something. Implicitly, it may be there, for those who are well acquainted with the gist and thrust of Mormonism. So I thought I'd try my hand at making it more explicit. Below you'll find the five original verses of the song, authored by William Phelps, followed by four new verses, authored by me. In case you don't know the tune, you might like listening to this rendition by Nick Sales. Enjoy.
Implicitly, I’ve been a Transhumanist since childhood. My Mormon parents taught me, from before my earliest memories, that we are all children of God with potential to be God. And not just any kind of god. Not the kind that would raise itself above others in hubris. But rather the kind of God that would raise each other together. We all, they taught me, have potential to be like Jesus. We all have potential to be Christ, a unified community of compassionate creators. Faith in God, then, signified trust in human potential as much as trust in grace that affords such potential.