My Funeral (God Forbid)
6 September 2018
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One of my friends (I’ll call him “Joseph”) is going through a difficult situation, which has motivated me to think about my funeral. Joseph is a Mormon Transhumanist. His father (I’ll call him “Alvin”), also a Mormon, recently died. That’s already difficult, but there’s more, which Joseph has given me permission to write about.
Before Alvin died, he discussed cryonics with Joseph. Cryonics is a low-temperature and chemical process for the preservation of a legally dead body or brain. Some hope that future technology may enable resuscitation of the body, repairing damage caused by the preservation process, and curing the illness that caused death. Others hope that future technology may enable resuscitation in a new body, customized based on information from the preserved body or brain. The preservation technology is available today through service providers like Alcor. The resuscitation technology is hypothetical.
Alvin chose to make arrangements for cryonics. And the process is now complete. Alvin’s body is now preserved at Alcor, in accordance with his wishes.
Joseph and the rest of Alvin’s surviving family members are now planning a funeral for Alvin. Because most of them are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they would like to hold the service in the church building of the ward that Alvin attended. And as part of the service, Joseph would like to talk about cryonics and Mormon Transhumanism.
However, the bishop of Alvin’s ward has told Joseph that he may not talk about those subjects from the pulpit at any funeral service in the church building. That is, of course, the bishop’s prerogative. It may reflect an unfamiliarity with the compatibility of cryonics and Mormonism. And surely it reflects what the bishop sincerely feels is best for his congregation. However, as you might imagine, this has been heart-breaking for Joseph.
I don’t plan to die any time soon, but Joseph’s experience has motivated me to share one of my wishes in regards to my own funeral service. I would like Mormon Transhumanism, and the practical faith that it advocates, to be a primary topic at my funeral service. And I would like the topic to be presented by whoever is president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association (currently Chris Bradford) at the time, if possible. I would also like other topics of comfort to my closest surviving family members to be presented by whomever they choose.
Presently, I don’t have any particular wish regarding the location of my funeral service. A church building may be the most convenient for those who would plan and attend the service. However, if the bishop or other steward of a building disapproves Mormon Transhumanism as a primary topic at my funeral service, my funeral service should be held elsewhere.
I wish peace to Joseph and his family. I wish harmony to Alvin’s bishop. And I wish life to Alvin. Jesus commanded his disciples to raise the dead. I trust that God has prepared the means for us to accomplish that command. And I trust that the children of God, following Jesus’ example and invitation, will act in the name of Christ to resurrect our dead – all of them, cryonically-preserved or not.
In the meantime, it’s a beautiful day to be alive.