Reconcile the Members of the Body of Christ
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:
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.
This is an official statement of the Mormon Transhumanist Association on Wednesday 18 June 2014 in accordance with Article IV Section 9 of its Constitution by unanimous vote of its Board of Directors:
Carl Youngblood Chris Bradford Don Bradley Dorothy Deasy James Carroll Joseph West Karl Hale Lincoln Cannon Nathan Hadfield