Official Statements

The following are official statements of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, in accordance with Article IV Section 9 of its Constitution by unanimous vote of its Board of Directors.

Name of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

10 December 2018

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ) has asked its members and friends not to use the words “Mormon” or “Mormonism” when referring to it, its members, or its unique culture. The Mormon Transhumanist Association acknowledges and will adhere to that request. The Association also encourages its members and friends to respect and adhere to such requests from organizations and individuals generally.

Although the Mormon Transhumanist Association is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ or any other religious organization (see “Official Statements and Religious Affiliations of the Mormon Transhumanist Association,” 22 September 2018), many Association members are also members of the Church of Jesus Christ. And some have wondered if the Association would change its name. The Association operates in accordance with a constitution that specifies the official name of the Association. Unless voting members of the Association amend its constitution, the name of the Association does not change.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association reveres the name and teachings of Jesus Christ. All members of the Association support the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation, which states as its first principle: “We are disciples of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is to trust in, change toward, and fully immerse our bodies and minds in the role of Christ, to become compassionate creators as exemplified and invited by Jesus.”

Although some used “Mormon” as a derogatory label for his followers, the prophet Joseph Smith embraced it as a way of emphasizing what was distinctive in the faith he founded. While the name “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” functions well to emphasize what that faith shares with other Christians — Jesus Christ — the name “Mormonism” serves to emphasize what is distinctive in that faith. Joseph Smith associated “Mormonism” with certain “grand fundamental principles.” And he encouraged his followers to be “true Mormons.” On one occasion, he stated, “Friendship is one of the grand fundamental principle of ‘Mormonism.’ … We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true ‘Mormons’” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1938), 316). And on another occasion, he stated, “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may” (Teachings, 313).

Like Joseph Smith, the Mormon Transhumanist Association holds the words “Mormon” and “Mormonism” in high esteem and uses those terms to emphasize what is distinctive in the Latter Day Saint tradition. As its final principle, the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation states the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism and associates them with Christian discipleship: “We practice our discipleship when we offer friendship, that all may be many in one; when we receive truth, let it come from whence it may; and when we send relief, consolation and healing, that raises each other together.”

The Mormon Transhumanist Association recommends use of “Mormonism” or “Latter Day Saint tradition” when referring to the broad culture that includes the Association, other non-ecclesiastical institutions such as the Mormon History Association, and ecclesiastical institutions such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Community of Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite), Church of Jesus Christ with the Elijah Message, Apostolic United Brethren, and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And the Association recommends use of “Mormon” or “Latter Day Saint” when referring to persons-in-general who identify with that broad culture. The Association defers to the preferences of each institution when referring to its unique culture and members.

When referring to the Mormon Transhumanist Association, please use the full name of the Association in the first reference. In subsequent references, please use the term “Association” or the abbreviation “MTA.” Please use “Mormon Transhumanism” when referring to the culture of the Association. And please use “Mormon Transhumanist” when referring to persons-in-general who identify with that culture. Members of the Association come from diverse backgrounds, Mormon and Transhumanist and otherwise. They may or may not apply the labels “Mormon,” “Transhumanist,” or “Mormon Transhumanist” to themselves individually.

Official Statements and Religious Affiliations of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

22 September 2018

People learning about the Mormon Transhumanist Association are often interested in knowing the official positions of the Association. Members, friends, and critics of the Association have many views. The view of one is not necessarily shared by others. A publication from an Association member is not an official statement, regardless of the title or position of the member. Content on the Association website is not necessarily an official statement. In accordance with the Constitution of the Association, official statements of the Association include the Transhumanist Declaration, the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation, and other statements that either a majority of the board of directors or a majority of the voting membership has formally approved. The Association publishes such statements on its website, along with explicit indication of official status.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association requires that all members support the Transhumanist Declaration and the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation. Support does not entail a specific interpretation of or perfect agreement with these statements. One member may interpret the statements differently than another. A member may not fully agree or even constructively disagree with parts of these statements, so long as that member supports the statements on the whole. As stated in the Affirmation, “We understand the Gospel to be compatible with and complementary to many religions and philosophies ...” Accordingly, the Association encourages members to interpret, express, and publish their views in all of their diversity.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association is not affiliated with any religious organization. However, members may have personal affiliations with religious organizations, Mormon or otherwise. The Association encourages members in such affiliations to adapt Transhumanism to their unique situations. The Association also encourages members, friends, and critics to express their views and to respond to each other's views in a manner that reflects discipleship of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As stated in the Affirmation, “We practice our discipleship when we offer friendship, that all may be many in one; when we receive truth, let it come from whence it may; and when we send relief, consolation and healing, that raises each other together.”

Reconcile the Members of the Body of Christ

18 June 2014

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest Mormon denomination, has raised charges of apostasy against two prominent Mormons: Kate Kelly of Ordain Women, and John Dehlin of Mormon Stories. Although the Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) is not affiliated with any of these organizations, most MTA members are also members of the LDS Church, and some MTA members have strong differing opinions about the recent events.

The MTA affirms the authority of the LDS Church to discipline LDS Church members within the constraints of local laws. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the institutionalized process by which the LDS Church resolves such conflicts, and does not wish to interfere.

All MTA members support a moral vision expressed in the Transhumanist Declaration and the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation. The Affirmation states: “We seek the spiritual and physical exaltation of individuals and their anatomies, as well as communities and their environments, according to their wills, desires and laws, to the extent they are not oppressive.” The Declaration states that policymaking within governments and other institutions “ought to be guided by responsible and inclusive moral vision, taking seriously both opportunities and risks, respecting autonomy and individual rights, and showing solidarity with and concern for the interests and dignity of all people …” and that we must “… consider our moral responsibilities towards generations that will exist in the future.”

Emerging technology is connecting us with each other in ways and to extents that are unprecedented in human history. More of us, more often, encounter minds and bodies that differ from our own. Such experiences seem likely to become increasingly pronounced going forward, presenting many social challenges even more serious than those we now face.

While there is more than one way of managing social challenges, Mormonism is nothing if not committed to the way of reconciliation and atonement, as exemplified and invited by Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 17-20). With Jesus, we would trust in, change toward, and fully immerse our bodies and minds in the role of Christ: consoling, healing, and raising each other together (Romans 8: 16-18). With Jesus, we would ask others not only to show love for us, but also to express their will so that we might know how to love them (John 14: 13-15).

The apostle Paul described the Church as the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). As a body consists of parts with many different functions, so the Church consists of members with many different gifts. As a body needs all of its parts, so the Church needs all of its members. When part of a body suffers, the whole body suffers with it, working to console and heal the whole. So it should be among members of the Church, working to reconcile with each other as one Body of Christ.

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, echoed Jesus and Paul when commenting on the fundamentals of our religion: “The inquiry is frequently made of me, ‘Wherein do you differ from others in your religious views?’ In reality and essence we do not differ so far in our religious views, but that we could all drink into one principle of love. One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may. … If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation which He revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst; and they will do it before the millennium can be ushered in and Christ takes possession of His kingdom” (History of the Church 5: 499).

Recent events present a crucial opportunity, both for the LDS Church and for Mormons who dissent from mainstream views, to reinforce precedent for reconciliation and atonement. The MTA encourages all involved in or affected by these events to think of and pray for each other, and to avoid actions that would harm each other, weaken families and friendships, or further polarize or homogenize our religion. Compassion, genuinely informed by and concerned for each other’s interests, is our best way forward.