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The Grand Enterprise of Mormonism

Lincoln Cannon

9 July 2008 (updated 10 April 2012)

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest Mormon denomination, today released a press release on “The Grand Enterprise of Mormonism”, which is to erase “the separations and deprivations that time and place have imposed on humanity”, linking together “the unborn, the living, and the dead” in “mutual salvation and perfection”. The final note of the press release is a quote from Joseph Smith: “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead.”

How do we fulfill this responsibility? Today, several millions of Mormons are engaged in genealogical work and proxy religious ordinances for their ancestors, building an immense repository of information about our predecessors, while simultaneously reducing the emotional, psychological and spiritual barriers that have long stood between persons who have understood particular religious ordinances to be essential for salvation and persons who have not engaged in such ordinances. I trust that this is just the beginning of a far greater work: a time to come when we are inspired with knowledge and endowed with power sufficient to restore the dead to life. Although this may seem excessively fantastic to some, my trust is not an appeal to anything supernatural or superstitious. Rather, as I look back at historical trends in human power, and as I project those trends into the future, I cannot help but imagine that we’ve only begun to realize our potential. I cannot help but entertain the spiritual conviction, so often burning within me, that we can indeed fulfill our responsibility to seek after our dead.

The world tomorrow will not be exactly what we’ve imagined, but it will be shaped by our imagination and consequent work. The weak-minded and weak-willed among us appeal fearfully to absolute limitations, oppressive gods that would not have us attain our own divine potential, secular and religious dogmas, carefully concealed ignorance, and nihilism. All such creeds are an abomination, damning us from our potential – lines drawn in the sand by our own hands to indicate how far we would go. I value being part of a community of persons who are willing to work together toward the best world we can imagine, with minds ever open to yet better worlds.

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