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Brief History of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Lincoln Cannon

10 April 2017 (updated 5 January 2021)

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Brief History of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

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. And at the end is a recording of the presentation.

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, this reflects my assessment of their relative magnitude of effect over time.

“Yes, by transhumanist standards the Mormon Transhumanist Association is an ancient institution.” - Anders Sandberg, prominent Transhumanist, computational neuroscientist, and co-author of the Transhumanist Declaration

2006 (29 members)

  • Founded by 14 members on 3 March 2006. The 14th was pseudonymous. Really.

  • Launched in March 2006.

  • Adopted the Transhumanist Declaration and Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation in May.

  • Affiliated with the World Transhumanist Association in July 2006.

  • Presented Mormon Transhumanism to Mormons at Sunstone in August 2006.

  • Organized a Rosetta@Home team for medical research in November 2006.

2007 (48 members)

  • Featured “Transfiguration” in the March 2007 edition of Sunstone Magazine.

  • Presented Mormon Transhumanism to Transhumanists in Second Life in April 2007.

  • Launched Facebook group in December 2007.

2008 (67 members)

  • Organized monthly meetups beginning in January 2008.

  • Rented and evicted from space on Mormon island in Second Life, in May and July 2008.

  • Presented the New God Argument at Sunstone in August 2008.

2009 (83 members)

  • Sponsored Parallels and Convergences Conference with Terryl Givens in March 2009.

2010 (104 members)

  • Terminated and renewed affiliation with Humanity+ in April and October 2010.

  • Hosted James Hughes and Max More at Transhumanism and Spirituality Conference.

2011 (133 members)

  • External: Sam Harris appears to respond to the New God Argument in April 2011.

2012 (241 members)

2013 (365 members)

2014 (478 members)

2015 (562 members)

2016 (631 members)

“I have always told the press that the MTA is the best organized and most thoughtful of the world’s transhumanist groups. The attempt to interrogate the relationship between transhumanism, emerging technologies and Mormon prophecy holds a special fascination for me as a spiritual transhumanist and sociologist who has studied the history of religious millennialism. I think the MTA is a harbinger of a broader engagement with transhumanism by religious scholars that will broaden from the current ill-informed condemnation to selective adoption and endorsement of enhancement technologies and eschatological possibilities. Hopefully there will be a proliferation of groups like the MTA and the Christian Transhumanist Association to pursue this important dialogue. Being more open to this form of dialogue offers much to both sides. Transhumanism has a big problem with questions around the good life and the ends of human existence, and transhumanists often end up proposing ideas that have a long history as religious ideas, without ever realizing those continuities.” - James Hughes, prominent Transhumanist, sociologist and bioethicist, and principal of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology

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