Mormon Transhumanist Association Opinions http://feed.informer.com/digests/SAJOSPZSNZ/feeder Mormon Transhumanist Association Opinions Respective post owners and feed distributors Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:11:27 -0600 Feed Informer http://feed.informer.com/ Christian Transhumanism is the Next Reformation http://micahredding.com/blog/christian-transhumanism-is-the-next-reformation Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:1f6a0f3e-3dbc-18f9-919f-87622e270283 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:56:20 -0600 Published at the Huffington Post Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a German church, kicking off one of the most significant movements in Christian history: the Protestant Reformation. The movement was less de... <p><img src="http://res.cloudinary.com/micahredding/image/upload/c_limit,w_600/v1508291718/bpfucr1rtk9ucb0juqa3.jpg" alt="Christian Transhumanism is the Next Reformation"> </p> <p><em><a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59e40d37e4b09e31db975a6c" title="" target="_blank">Published at the Huffington Post</a></em></p> <p>Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a German church, kicking off one of the most significant movements in Christian history: the Protestant Reformation. </p> <p>The movement was less defined by the content of those theses, and more defined by the act itself: the willingness to challenge ecclesiastical authority with the power of the written word. </p> <p>Cutting-edge technology gave that power a significant advantage. With the printing press, the public had incredible access to the scriptures, and diverse religious views could be widely disseminated. Suddenly, anyone could challenge ecclesiastical authority with their own interpretations. </p> <p>The written word had replaced the church as the arbiter of truth. </p> <p>This new source of authority meant that literacy was no longer a luxury for the wealthy and educated, but a religious imperative. Reading and interpreting scripture for oneself became a core part of religious practice, and teaching people to read became part of the mission of the church.</p> <p>This wasn’t the first time social and technological change had caused upheaval in Christianity. According to Phyllis Tickle, author of the ground-breaking work “<a href="http://amzn.to/2wXOudE" title="" target="_blank">The Great Emergence</a>”, this is something that happens every 500 years.</p> <p>Every 500 years, Christianity reboots. Or as Tickle would put it: Christianity goes into its attic, pulls everything out, and has a massive rummage sale. Every time this happens, Christianity emerges stronger than before—lighter, faster, cleaner. Rather than losing steam, it speeds up, becomes more resilient, more intense, more compelling. </p> <p>What always emerges is a profoundly new form of Christianity, which proceeds to spread across vast new areas of geographic and demographic space—with radical implications for politics, science, industry, social structure, and technology.</p> <p>“It saw the rise of the nation-state, it was the rise of the middle class…it also brought capitalism” Tickle says, describing the impact of the Protestant Reformation. </p> <p>Of course, Phyllis Tickle is not the first person to suggest that Christianity goes through this kind of reinvention. G. K. Chesterton, a Catholic writer, suggested the same thing in 1925. Chesterton argued that this reinvention isn’t something foreign to Christianity, but is an intrinsic and natural part of a religion whose main theme is death and resurrection. </p> <blockquote> <p>“Christendom has had a series of revolutions and in each one of them Christianity has died. Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.” - GK Chesterton</p> </blockquote> <p>In fact, as Chesterton sees it, it is exactly this ability to die and emerge as a new religion that makes Christianity so resilient. Every time it dies, it becomes stronger. Every time it dies, it gains ground.</p> <p>According to Tickle, we should expect one of these upheavals and rebirths every 500 years.</p> <p>Which means that we are due for a New Reformation right now.</p> <p>Tickle argued that this is exactly what we are experiencing. From a certain religious perspective, everything seems to be falling apart. But from another perspective, we’re witnessing incredible new possibilities emerge—and some of these possibilities may lead past the downfall of Christianity, to its rebirth. </p> <p>50 years ago, Julian Huxley announced a new philosophy:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself—not just sporadically…but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps <em>transhumanism</em> will serve: man remaining man, but trans­cending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.” — Julian Huxley</p> </blockquote> <p>Huxley was deeply influenced by his friend, the Jesuit priest and paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard spent his life working to reconcile science and religion, in the process coming to profound insights about the nature of the world and human life. </p> <p>Although Huxley was deeply secular, his vision was in many ways an attempt to capture what he saw in Teilhard’s work. From the very beginning, <em>transhumanism</em>—though expressed in a secular context, for secular individuals—was an essentially religious vision.</p> <p>5 years ago, I started writing about <a href="http://micahredding.com/blog/2012/04/25/christianity-transhumanism" title="" target="_blank">Christian Transhumanism</a>, the attempt to reconnect the transhumanist vision with its religious roots.</p> <p>Phyllis Tickle says that there is one question every Reformation must answer: <em>What is the authority?</em></p> <p>1500 years ago, it was the creeds of the ecumenical councils.<br> 1000 years ago, it was the Pope.<br> 500 years ago, it was the Bible.<br> Now, it is TBD.</p> <p>But I think that Christian Transhumanism offers a possible answer. The authority is in <em>the future itself</em>. </p> <p>That, after all, is <a href="http://micahredding.com/blog/2016/02/04/faith-of-the-martian" title="" target="_blank">what faith is about</a>: embracing God’s vision of the future, and pursuing it despite fear and danger. In the Christian faith, the future is where God’s will is done “on earth as it is in heaven”—where heaven descends to earth, the cosmos is renewed, and God and humanity are reunited.</p> <p>Embracing that future casts a profound light on our present, changing our perspective on everything from the Problem of Evil to the nature of human life. It provokes us to challenge ourselves and our society, it calls us to a higher ethic and mission, it places us in a larger story with incredible meaning.</p> <p>In a way that’s never been possible before, cutting-edge science and technology are allowing us to catch a glimpse of what that future might look like. Not completely, not fully—but in fits and starts, in vague forms and intimations.</p> <p>The study of A.I. causes us to consider beings more powerful than we are. The construction of Virtual Reality provokes us to reflect on the creation of our world. The exploration of space allows us to contemplate our God-given reach. <a href="http://micahredding.com/blog/2016/02/17/why-christians-should-support-radical-life-extension" title="" target="_blank">Radical longevity</a> confronts us with questions about what life on earth is <em>for</em>.</p> <p>For many secular people, that glimpse is—shockingly, surprisingly—opening the door to religion. For many Christians, it’s casting new light on the <a href="http://micahredding.com/blog/partnership-with-god" title="" target="_blank">story of scripture</a>. For many believers, it’s provoking exciting new expressions of faith.</p> <p>500 years after Martin Luther, new technologies and new questions are once again disrupting the most widespread expressions of religion. We’re looking for a way to move forward, and we know that Christianity must arise stronger and more dynamic than ever before.</p> <p>When it does, it will challenge our notions of humanity and society at a level never before seen. It will require a more courageous imagination, grappling with a much vaster world. </p> <p>There’s only one thing I know confronting these questions, on a scale large enough for our times.</p> <p>That’s why I believe <a href="https://www.christiantranshumanism.org/" title="" target="_blank">Christian Transhumanism</a> is the Next Reformation.</p> Useful Fiction http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/10/useful-fiction.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:985afa20-7d90-f97d-7857-a4f5f6484acc Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:38:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_oE7QWSM5FI/WeWPGFfngkI/AAAAAAAAM7Q/NyAlS3_xqLEJXNYHVRHaPnuQHAb238SWACLcBGAs/s1600/Maxime%2BLe%2BConte%2Bdes%2BFloris.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-_oE7QWSM5FI/WeWPGFfngkI/AAAAAAAAM7Q/NyAlS3_xqLEJXNYHVRHaPnuQHAb238SWACLcBGAs/s640/Maxime%2BLe%2BConte%2Bdes%2BFloris.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><span style="font-size: x-small;">(Artist: <a href="https://unsplash.com/@mlcdf">Maxime Le Conte des Floris</a>)</span><br /><div><span style="font-size: x-small;"><br /></span></div><div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;">Fictionalism is the philosophical notion that a statement could be fiction, considered fiction, treated as fiction, yet still serve a useful purpose. In Grover Maxwell’s <i>The Ontological Status of Theoretical Entities</i>, he tells the parable of the “crobes” to illustrate the tangible effects fictionalism has on reality. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;">In a time not too long ago, but before the invention of microscopes, there was a Pasteur-like scientist who was concerned with a rampant disease that was killing large portions of the population. The Pasteur-like scientist speculated that the mechanism for transmission of the disease were tiny bugs he called “crobes” that could not be seen by the human eye. The concept of viruses and bacteria were well beyond the scope of human knowledge at this point. However, the Pasteur-like scientist thought there was an obvious, observable mechanism of transmission, even though he also simultaneously postulated that these “crobes” were, in fact, unobservable to the naked eye. He postulated that most, if not all, infectious disease was transmitted by “crobes.” The Pasteur-like scientist created preventative measures and convinced others to adopt them, as well. He encouraged people to not be in close contact with the diseased person, and practice disinfecting contaminated articles through high temperatures or cleaning them with toxic preparations he called “disinfectants.” Within ten years of implementing these measures in the community, the death rate declined by 40 percent. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;">The interesting part of the parable is that the “crobes” were a fictionalism. Though the “crobes” didn’t actually exist, they served a useful purpose in preventative medicine. Philosophers and scientists of the day expressed anxiety over the contradiction of the Pasteur-like scientist’s “crobes.” Scientific realism is built upon the observations of the physical world, but the “crobes” were in fact unobservable. The “crobes” were not scientific, yet it cannot be denied that the fiction of the “crobes” yielded tangible results. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;">Philosophers that consider the “crobes” to be an instrument for organizing observable scientific inquiry, are called instrumentalists. When fictional instruments collide with reality it may be the case that a certain amount of time later, with better technology, we are able to see why certain fictions served a purpose. With major technological advancements in medicine, we have been able to better understand disease, viruses, infections, and bacteria. We haven’t found any “crobes,” but that doesn’t mean “crobes” weren’t an important instrument in public health and scientific discovery.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;">I have often wondered what kind of “crobes” are being used today in the scope of religion. Could religion, as currently practiced, be a useful fiction that leads to greater understanding? Could priesthood power, baptisms, and temple sealings, be instruments in the understanding and harnessing of the power of our human potential? Even if they are fiction, that doesn’t mean they can’t yield tangible results? Furthermore, if these fictional instruments yield tangible results, were they true all along? Could the effects of religious ritual on human bodies be observed, measured, understood, calculated, and controlled through a better understanding of science and the use of better technologies? If so, what is the best way to engage in fictionalism if it yields results? For example, by <a href="http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2015/11/open-arms.html">rejecting specific childrenfrom baptism</a>, or <a href="http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2015/10/the-priesthood-is-spiritual-technology.html">excluding portions of the population</a> from full priesthood participation, we are misusing the power of fictionalism and instrumentalism. There is tangible power in fictionalism, we should engage wisely.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;">The ultimate goal of Mormon theology is to become Creators ourselves, by progressing eternally with our sealed, loved ones in a community of celestial glory. What a beautiful piece of fictionalism. Sure, there are details, practices, and policies that depict less utopian versions of this trajectory, but there is plenty of room for a more inclusive and robust interpretation of scripture. Sure, there are less inspiring, passive, irresponsible, or superstitious ideas of how these events are to come to pass, but there are also <a href="https://transfigurism.org/">others</a> that take a more practical approach to religion, faith, and ritual. &nbsp;Sure, the fictionalism of Mormon transcendence may seem like sci-fi fantasy, but what if we actually worked toward these ends with an immersive and robust participation of religion? What if we actually believed faith without works is dead enough to drop the death rate by 40 percent? Does it sound like fiction? It should. But the really crazy part is, I actually believe it.<br /><br /><a href="http://rationalfaiths.com/useful-fiction/">*Published at Rational Faiths on Tuesday, October 17, 2017</a></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in; text-align: justify;"><o:p></o:p></div></div> The Prophetic Voice http://www.transfigurist.org/2017/10/the-prophetic-voice.html The Transfigurist urn:uuid:abee7328-7917-6f45-fbe8-f13ffec3c5ed Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:00:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yd_S1djqcKM/Wc97pGiC3vI/AAAAAAAAAJo/jXKDn2jVncMlw72DaZMluQQ8ujo0cZL4QCLcBGAs/s1600/Jeremiah%2Blamenting.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="349" data-original-width="620" height="360" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yd_S1djqcKM/Wc97pGiC3vI/AAAAAAAAAJo/jXKDn2jVncMlw72DaZMluQQ8ujo0cZL4QCLcBGAs/s640/Jeremiah%2Blamenting.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><br />My ward snagged the last Sunday before my move to Switzerland to ask me to speak. Given the proximity to LDS General Conference, they assigned me the topic "Come, Listen to a Prophet's Voice." Here is an excerpt from my talk, given on September 24, 2017.<br /><br />When we hear the word "prophet" in the Church today, we typically think of the president of the High Priesthood -- the president of the Church -- and of course we sustain him as a prophet. But the word applies to more than just the president of the Church: we also sustain his counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators. And the spirit, or gift, of prophecy, is given to others as well, who are not part of the leadership of the Church. For example, we read in 1 Nephi 1:4 that in the reign of Zedekiah, "there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed." Lehi was one of these prophets not in the Jewish religious leadership. In fact, through much of the Old Testament, God called prophets from outside the priestly leadership to call the people (and often their civil and religious leaders) to repentance.<br /><br />While we often connect priesthood authority and the prophetic calling (with the perfect example of this being Jesus Christ, who is called our "prophet, priest, and king" in the hymn "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"), I believe it is important to distinguish the broader concept of a prophet. This is partly because it helps us understand the scriptures, but more importantly, because it helps us understand what the role of a prophet is and how it applies to our own lives.<br /><br />So what is a prophet? The simplest definition of the spirit of prophecy comes from Revelation 19:10: "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy". But if we understand "testimony" to mean primarily "knowledge", I think we miss a key piece of the spirit of prophecy: feeling. A few years ago, when most recently we studied the Old Testament in Gospel Doctrine, I read a fantastic book called "The Prophets" by Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of the foremost Jewish scholars of our time. He says this about prophets:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"The fundamental experience of the prophet is a fellowship with the feelings of God, a sympathy with the divine pathos [or feelings]. The emotional experience of the prophet becomes the focal point for the prophet's understanding of God. He lives not only his personal life, but also the life of God... The prophet hears God's voice and feels His heart. He tries to impart the pathos [or feeling] of the message together with its logos [or content]."</blockquote><br />The role of a prophet is not only to speak messages from God, but to feel as God feels and to express that feeling to listeners, to invite them to have the same relationship with God the prophet has. And we are all exhorted to seek after this gift: 1 Corinthians 14:1 (and really, most of this chapter through verse 32): "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." Or, as Moses put it when some complained to him that others were prophesying in the camp: "Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!"<br /><br />This is part of what I meant earlier about how the role of prophet applies to our own lives: we are to be prophets, men and women and children. In fact, Moses's sister Miriam is called a prophetess, along with Deborah, Huldah, Anna, and other women whose names are not recorded in the scriptures. In Acts 2:17, God promises: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy."<br /><br />Occasionally, when I have discussed this idea with people, they have regarded it as dangerous, as somehow detracting from the authority of Church leaders or encouraging people to simply follow their own way and not worry about unity with the body of the Church. But the true spirit of prophecy is one of unity, because it is to understand (as far as we in our limited state currently can) the mind and heart of God, and one of the key characteristics of the Godhead is unity.<br /><br />So how can we become prophets and prophetesses and have the spirit of prophecy? By reading and listening to the voices of other prophets. As we hear their messages, and more importantly, as we feel the divine feelings they express, our hearts are transformed and we are open to receiving those same feelings from God. In fact, it is when we ourselves have the spirit of prophecy that we best receive and understand prophetic messages. As D&amp;C 50:17-22 puts it:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">"Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? If it be some other way it is not of God. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth? Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."</blockquote><br />Of course, because we are still developing in our godly characteristics, the messages of prophets will often point out where we are deficient, and this is rarely a comfortable thing. This is why so often, people have rejected, stoned, and killed prophets. At the same time, because God feels incomparable love for all of us, prophets also bring messages of comfort. As Jeffrey R. Holland said in General Conference in April of 2011:<br /><br />"We are commanded in the scriptures to 'say nothing but repentance unto this generation,' while at the same time we are to preach 'good tidings [to] the meek ... [and] bind up the brokenhearted.' Whatever form they take, these conference messages 'proclaim liberty to the captives' and declare 'the unsearchable riches of Christ.' In the wide variety of sermons given is the assumption that there will be something for everyone. In this regard, I guess President Harold B. Lee put it best years ago when he said that the gospel is 'to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the [comfortable]."<br /><br />As Mormons and as transhumanists, we should feel called with a prophetic calling, to spread the good news of how the divine work of transforming humanity into the image of God is proceeding. Most of us are in a position of great privilege, and if we do not feel uncomfortable with the demands placed on us by the call to be transformed into the image of Christ, we probably do not understand well enough. We should allow ourselves to be challenged by those we sustain and recognize as prophets, listen for the prophetic voice wherever it may be found, and feel "constrained", as Joseph Smith would call it, to challenge ourselves and others to the work of transformation into the divine image.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Transfigurist/~4/g_UsOhRfUNk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Transhumanist Reincarnation and Nirvana https://turingchurch.net/transhumanist-reincarnation-and-nirvana-3ad1641d9ce4?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:26c8c9a6-ea1f-f0f2-1ba2-df15e023fff5 Sun, 08 Oct 2017 20:06:03 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*hlfrcymkB8WfocZ5_87C6w.jpeg" /></figure><p>The issue of reconciliation between different concepts of Immortality is of great importance. One particular case is how to reconcile the Abrahamic concept of Resurrection, with the Indian concept of Reincarnation.</p><p>This issue is discussed in a number of places, for example, in the valuable article by Giulio Prisco <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2016/10/21/mixing-christianity-and-hinduism-reincarnation-and-resurrection/"><em>Mixing Christianity and Hinduism, reincarnation and resurrection</em></a> which was published on <a href="http://www.turingchurch.com">Turing Church website</a>, or Eric Steinhart book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JDHKQZU/"><em>Your Digital Afterlives: Computational Theories of Life after Death</em></a> and its excellent review by <a href="http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2016/03/your-digital-afterlives-computational.html">Lincoln Cannon</a> of <a href="http://transfigurism.org/"><em>Mormon Transhumanist Association</em></a>.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*EgZs3aVj2syac2pXMPNB0Q.jpeg" /><figcaption>Development of Beliefs</figcaption></figure><p>Some Indian religions made attempts to reconcile Resurrection with Reincarnation, in keeping with their faiths. This article attempts to reconcile Resurrection with Reincarnation along the lines of Transhumanism. Technological Resurrection is the object of intense investigation by Transhumanism. The concepts of technological Reincarnation and Nirvana are developed in a similar fashion. There are many possible ways in which reconciliation between Resurrection and Reincarnation can be made. One particular attempt is described by the philosophy of Ninavism on <a href="http://www.theimmortality.org/Ch05.ReincarantionResurrection.html">this</a> website.</p><p>In this approach, after technological Resurrection (such as creating Uploads) various versions of the same individual have different bodies and different minds. The difference between a couple of Uploads who are not versions of each other, and a second couple of Uploads who are versions of each other, lies in the access to inner feelings and consciousness of the other Upload member of the couple.</p><p>In the considered model, after Resurrection, Uploads who are versions of each other have access to internal feelings and memories of themselves. Each of them knows the consciousness of the other. In comparison to this, Uploads who are not versions of each other do not have access to inner feelings of the other individual. For example, closely related Uploads such as husband and wife, mother and son, siblings, etc., are not versions of each other, and they do not have access to inner feelings of the other individual, despite being very close. They know each other only from outside.</p><p>The special mutual access to inner feelings of another Upload version might be considered as sharing self, spirituality, or consciousness. Here, the metaphysical concepts of self, spirituality, and consciousness are interpreted in epistemological terms, as a degree of knowledge of Uploads. Perhaps, there related Upload version have nothing ontological in common. They might not share anything except special knowledge of each other.</p><p>In a Transhumanist approach, Reincarnation is explained in terms of information as it is used in modern Information Technology (IT). Reincarnations is not explained in ontological terms, such as sharing any particular substance or self. Knowledge is well understood in the world of Uploads, as a specific amount of information. Programmers know how to give more or less access to a particular piece of information. The limited or broader access to information is well understandable to computer scientists and programmers, who will create the Transhuman world of Uploads.</p><p>Knowledge of who in the past was Reincarnation of whom is presumably contained within the Memories of the Universe, such as Akashic records. According to Indian philosophy, the decision who is Reincarnation of whom is taken by Nature, or by traditional Supernatural Forces, under the guidance of the Law of Karma.</p><p>In Buddhist and Hindu traditions, Nirvana (aka Moksha) is a state of Afterlife reserved for individuals who reach perfection. Individuals who reach Nirvana do not Reincarnate. This stands in contrast to non-perfect individuals, whose Reincarnation is compulsory — they cannot prevent it. The state of Nirvana is similar to Abrahamic sleep after death while awaiting Resurrection, except that, in Abrahamic eschatology, non-perfect individuals also sleep, despite being imperfect. Both Nirvana and sleep after death are disconnected from life on earth, and devoid of memories. In the model of Immortality described by Ninavism on the website <a href="http://www.theImmortality.org">www.theImmortality.org</a>, all individuals who reach perfection enter the state of Nirvana, including the Saints of Abrahamic religions, while individuals who are imperfect are Reincarnated, including many followers of Abrahamic religions.</p><p>In Transhumanism, it is easy to reconcile Nirvana (sleep after death) with Resurrection. Simply, when the Humans of Future reach the capacity to create Immortality, the individuals staying in the state of Nirvana or sleep will be woken up and created as Uploads.</p><p>It is easy to imagine that the Humans of Future will not be able to deliver technological Resurrection in one step. Like with any large engineering project, they will need to experiment and gradually improve their technology. For example, initially, they might be able to create only a limited, imperfect type of Uploads. It might take quite a long time to perfect the technology of Resurrection, while in the meantime, biological individuals will be dying.</p><p>In such situations, the Humans of Future will create technological Reincarnation and Nirvana, without relying on Nature or Supernatural Forces. The deceased individuals who have reached perfection will be kept in the state of sleep, while waiting for perfect Resurrection. They will not be created as imperfect Uploads, and they will not be assigned to new biological bodies as their new Reincarnations. Deceased imperfect biological individuals will be assigned to new biological bodies, as their new Reincarnations, using the Law of Karma as guidance. This is technological Transhumanist Reincarnation combined with Nirvana.</p><p>In the transitional period, when the Humans of Future will already know how to carry out limited form of Resurrection, but before fully mastering everything, they might decide who is Reincarnation of whom. Transhumans will be masters of both Resurrection and Reincarnation. They will decide who actually is the Reincarnation of whom, using the Law of Karma as a guidance. Humans of Future will be acting as Transhuman Supernatural Forces, carrying out Resurrection, Reincarnations, and various Judgements, as directed by the Law of Karma.</p><p>In present times, biological individuals do not know their previous Reincarnations. Transhumanist Reincarnation will be a much improved version of natural Reincarnation, because biological individuals will know whose Reincarnation they are. However, biological individuals will have only limited access to their previous Reincarnations — they will know them only from outside, like any other person who is not related by Reincarnation. The biological individuals will gain access to the inner feelings of previous Reincarnations only after biological death, when one becomes Resurrected as a computerized Upload. Only then, Uploads related by Reincarnation will get to know each other internally, but unrelated Uploads will remain completely different individuals.</p><p>The idea of reconciliation between the concepts of Resurrection and Reincarnation will be discussed at the <a href="https://turingchurch.net/india-awakens-conference-video-proceedings-1c7bab279d5c">India Awakens Conference</a> in Kolkata in February 2018, that is promoted by Turing Church.</p><p><em>Pictures from </em><a href="https://static.pexels.com/photos/40723/silhouettes-people-worker-dusk-40723.jpeg"><em>Pexels</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spheres_of_Evidence.jpg"><em>Wikimedia Commons</em></a><em>.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=3ad1641d9ce4" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/transhumanist-reincarnation-and-nirvana-3ad1641d9ce4">Transhumanist Reincarnation and Nirvana</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> mother! — What the “Baby Moment” Signifies http://divinehumanism.tumblr.com/post/166009260758 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:08e5dca3-ad54-a474-6da0-80c625609391 Tue, 03 Oct 2017 10:04:42 -0600 <h2>Plumbing the Third Act</h2><figure data-orig-width="1398" data-orig-height="784" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/a41a1e583d5ecd03144ea47ed856197a/tumblr_inline_ox98hcwJRI1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1398" data-orig-height="784"/></figure><p>For weeks I’ve been haunted by the dark, dark, dark third act of Darren Aronofsky’s latest film. I remember feeling this way for weeks after Black Swan, too. It’s an emotion that stretches like vines, like fingers, pulsing and slithering its way about without letting go easily. Aronofsky, of course, has always had a gifted predilection for exploring darkness, but in mother! he really amps up the insanity, delivers a mind-blowing climax, and goes places I wasn’t entirely expecting, nor have seen in his previous work. It is difficult to describe how disturbing, how revelatory, this third act is, only to say that the more I think about it, the more I am moved by its madness.</p><p>Hence, the reason I am writing a second review — to fathom this madness, approach its depths, and explore its merit <a href="https://medium.com/@DonaMajicShow/mother-157658f68ba9">beyond first impressions</a>.</p><p>Let me start with an observation that I hope will be uncontroversial: there is a big difference between being moved by something versus liking something. I did not “like” this film in the ordinary sense of the term. These ugly, hideous, hateable truths do not ask to be liked or loved. They only ask to be grasped and contemplated. It’s totally possible to grasp what Aronofsky is doing and still find the film hard to connect with, and that’s ok. It just means its themes did not speak to you. Personally, I cannot deny how tremendously moved I was by its themes, its dark wit, sadness, and cautionary sting. This distinction is an important one to parse because the depiction of shocking, revolting, nauseating acts in film is not always equivalent to their endorsement, likeableness, or celebration (unless of course you’re Eli Roth). Rather, these moments can be tantamount with societal mirroring, mourning, and meaningfulness (which Aronofsky’s work always attempts).</p><p>This observation, I think, has something to do with how we critically watch film and how we might watch them better. It also prepares the way for how this grisly third act functions, and what it signals.</p><figure data-orig-width="1394" data-orig-height="800" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/c7ad681f330f1341b457f90c9bdbfd02/tumblr_inline_ox98i0jbm11qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1394" data-orig-height="800"/></figure><p>As a devout theist who leans on the side of a culturally religious agnosticism, I was deeply moved by how the third act descends into a decline-of-civilization allegory, but one that especially critiques the sacrament of the Eucharist. To set this critique in context, be warned (spoilers ahead): nothing is more sinister, more taboo in cinema, than killing a child onscreen, let alone an infant. So, naturally, nothing is more seriously fucked up than hearing a blood-curdling snap of a baby’s neck, then watching his mother push through a crowd only to find his carcass lying on an alter, and a human horde feeding on his body. Symbolic of the murder and sacraments of Christ, these appalling sights and sounds will likely never leave my mind. Ironically, no sermon, ritual or doctrinal discourse will probably ever better teach me, on a visceral level, about what it is we church-going people are doing each Sunday while feeding on the sacramental emblems.</p><p>This is not blasphemy. This is admitting we’re all ungodly.</p><p>The baby moment, like so many other horrific acts of violence in this film, goes beyond mere symbolic gesture and religious iconoclasm. Aronofsky uses hyper-wacky emblems to get at deep, uncomfortable truths about how we humans always seem to destroy what we’re given. These emblems comment on the way we construct, then degrade, each other and our planet. As more and more strangers arrive and the story becomes increasingly calamitous, these emblems work extremely well because they mirror our world problems back to us. They also indict us on multiple levels, essentially holding up a middle finger to religion, environmental issues, society’s treatment of women, fame, consumption, the artistic need to create, and probably a lot of other things. This film should be weeping, wailing, and gnashing its teeth. We live during an insane time in human history. And we can be rightfully shocked by how mother and her baby are treated, but we would be damned to believe we aren’t in the human horde ourselves participating in its chaos.</p><p>That’s a terrifying realization, but an important one.</p><p>Who among us can’t identify with these menacing house guests? Who among us has not cast a stone, has not consumed, disgraced, taunted, ignored, vandalized, or polluted the earth and its people in someway? It would be easy to otherize these strangers, look around, point to someone else, and say, “Hell is other people.” It would be intellectually honest, however, to look inward and ask the penetrating question: “Are any of these strangers me?” What an ugly feeling that invites, even if only at a marginal level.</p><figure data-orig-width="1390" data-orig-height="692" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/511a81dc1e788cefbe937fa85643292e/tumblr_inline_ox98iezWL41qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1390" data-orig-height="692"/></figure><p>As a religious person asking why the third act is hard to watch, I think it’s because I’m able to discern how complicit I am in the human horde — both symbolically onscreen and literally in my congregation—one who feasts on the pure, saving emblems of Christ each Sunday. I’ve been complicit in joining the throng, adding to His unspeakable pain, grief and sorrow. I’ve felt guilt from bad choices and have sought remedy in the Eucharist. And in the Eucharist I have experienced a kind of soul-cleansing neo-cannibalism — the type that is detached from the eating of human flesh and is focused instead on a symbolic petition, one where I ask to be absolved and forgiven for all of my ills and wanton consumptions. In this state of mind, watching Aronofsky’s iconoclastic take on the Eucharist forced me to look deep into my soul and confront my own fears, weaknesses, and limitations. It was as though I was looking into a mirror being forced to reckon my own evil.</p><p>That was a powerful, albeit unsettling, meaningful experience.</p><figure data-orig-width="1396" data-orig-height="786" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/449270750194b57dc7d19b237ad09322/tumblr_inline_ox98iw21E41qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1396" data-orig-height="786"/></figure><p>As a secular person asking why the third act is hard to watch, I think it’s because I’m able to admit how society’s treatment of women and the planet at large is hard to watch. “It is a mad time to be alive,” said Aronofsky. He then listed all sorts of social, political, and ecological grievances that helped contribute to the creation of this film. Things like overpopulation, starvation, species extinction, human trafficking, schizophrenic U.S. climate change, the killing of baby dolphins, the refugee crisis, and our daily state of denial about all of the above. “From this primordial soup of angst and helplessness,” he wrote, “I woke up one morning and this movie poured out of me like a fever dream.” Similar to the baby moment, our pursuit of knowledge, power and mastery over the earth has brought about all of this angst and helplessness, destroying our once pure, guileless paradise of an earth.</p><p>All of these layers astound me — the religious, the secular, the referential — all stacking together to weave a bold, epic, challenging drama that won’t be for everyone yet ironically will be about everyone.</p><p>Many will avoid Aronofsky films after witnessing the cannibalistic devouring of a newborn child in front of his mother. I wouldn’t blame them either. The moment is so polemical that it will blind many from seeing beyond the symbol to what it signifies. And even if many do look beyond the simulacrum, it will be difficult to admit what its ugly truth mirrors about human nature generally, and each and every one of us specifically.</p><p>Interestingly, watching this film because you’ll hate it might be just as valuable as watching it because you’ll find meaning. Why? Because this is a film that wants to piss you off, wants to hurt you, wants you to howl and weep at its violence, but it also wants you to take a seat at its table for further discussion and debate, even if you vehemently disagree. And there is value in listening to those voices that heatedly disagree. This isn’t high-brow, deeply philosophical art. It’s actually quite accessible and wants you to think about hard but important issues. It’s also a film that follows a moral pattern familiar to Aronofsky’s previous work of punishing wickedness and mourning for the oppressed. For adept viewers, these patterns are angry yet compassionate howls that bemoan human brokenness. Thus, nearly everything in them should be viewed as a confirmation of some grieving truth.</p><p>If there’s one powerful takeaway from the third act, it’s that its grieving truths have yet to be written. The writing may currently be on the wall, but there’s still time to change course. This kind of cautionary art is exactly what we need right now to fuel important conversation. It’s a sacrament of anger, woe, and indictment that may lead to catharsis. You do not have to like or love or even admire anything about what this film depicts. But you’d be wise to take its messages seriously. You’d be wise to not allow discomfort to lead to disdain. And above all, you’d be wise to help write a new ending.</p> Congratulations to LIGO and the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics laureates https://turingchurch.net/congratulations-to-ligo-and-the-2017-nobel-prize-in-physics-laureates-f4f01230087b?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:de4371d6-43f7-4812-126b-78ea16794ce2 Tue, 03 Oct 2017 08:49:30 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*59gSI5fkDaUtWdPTBbRxOg.jpeg" /></figure><p>The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 <a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2017/">was awarded</a> to <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainer_Weiss">Rainer Weiss</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Barish">Barry C. Barish</a> and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kip_Thorne">Kip S. Thorne</a>, for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.</p><p><a href="https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2017/press.html">A press release</a> notes that the 2017 Nobel Laureates have, with their enthusiasm and determination, each been invaluable to the success of LIGO:</p><blockquote>“Pioneers Rainer Weiss and Kip S. Thorne, together with Barry C. Barish, the scientist and leader who brought the project to completion, ensured that four decades of effort led to gravitational waves finally being observed.”</blockquote><p>See also this <a href="https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/news/ligo20171003">LIGO announcement</a> and the <a href="http://home.cern/about/updates/2017/10/waves-congratulations-nobel-prize">waves of congratulations</a> from CERN.</p><p>Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime that propagate as predicted by the Einstein’s field equations of General Relativity. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) detector, able to measure relative displacements smaller than one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a proton, opened the field of gravitational wave astronomy in 2016 with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038%2Fnature.2016.19361">the first detection of gravitational waves</a> from a distant black hole fusion event. The last detection <a href="https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/news/ligo20170927">has been announced</a> a few days ago.</p><p>Future gravitational wave astronomy could permit detecting <a href="https://turingchurch.net/the-gravitational-wave-memory-of-spacetime-27283c797168">gravitational wave memory</a>: a permanent displacement of spacetime that comes from strong-field, general relativistic effects. Thorne <a href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo3640121.html">explained</a> in 1998:</p><blockquote>“As the gravitational waves from a binary’s coalescence depart from their source, the waves’ energy creates (via the nonlinearity of Einstein’s field equations) a secondary wave called the ‘Christodoulou memory’… Unfortunately, the memory is so weak that in LIGO only advanced interferometers have much chance of detecting and studying it.”</blockquote><p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.061102">A 2016 paper</a> suggests that advanced LIGO interferometers could, indeed, detect gravitational wave memory. Is this a case of permanent cosmic memory that future scientists could exploit to reconstruct the past and resurrect the dead? OK, a black hole fusion event releases a little bit more energy than you or I, but perhaps gravitational wave memory is a good place to start. Here’s to LIGO!</p><p>A profile titled “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jun/21/kip-thorne-time-travel-scientist-film">Kip Thorne: physicist studying time travel tapped for Hollywood film</a>” was published in <em>The Guardian</em> when Thorne become a science consultant for the film “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstellar_(film)"><em>Interstellar</em></a>,” by Christopher Nolan. As predicted in the profile, the film “[splashed] one of Thorne’s big ideas — traversable wormholes through space and time — across popular culture.” Thorne then wrote a book on “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Science-Interstellar-Kip-Thorne/dp/0393351378"><em>The Science of Interstellar</em></a>.”</p><p>Previous books: Thorne was a co-author of the textbook “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation_(book)"><em>Gravitation</em></a>” (1973) and wrote the popular book “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Holes_and_Time_Warps"><em>Black Holes &amp; Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy</em></a>” (1994).</p><p>Some inspiring quotes from <em>The Guardian</em>’s profile of Thorne:</p><blockquote>“Sending people into space is very important culturally. That’s really the justification. You cannot rationally justify it on the basis of the science and technology we get out of it.”</blockquote><blockquote>“Whether you can go back in time is held in the grip of the law of quantum gravity. We are several decades away from a definitive understanding, 20 or 30 years, but it could be sooner than that.”</blockquote><p>The son of well-known Utah feminist and Logan resident <a href="http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?pid=2750617">Alison Thorne</a>, Thorne <a href="https://news.hjnews.com/from-logan-to-the-starsastrophysics-superstar-kip-thorne-discusses-local/article_71c4d739-447a-5760-8416-fa0fd30ac3f2.html">grew up</a> in a Mormon family in Utah. While describing himself as an atheist, Thorne is open to religion:</p><blockquote>“There are large numbers of my finest colleagues who are quite devout and believe in God, ranging from an abstract humanist God to a very concrete Catholic or Mormon God. There is no fundamental incompatibility between science and religion. I happen to not believe in God.”</blockquote><p><em>Image from LIGO.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=f4f01230087b" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/congratulations-to-ligo-and-the-2017-nobel-prize-in-physics-laureates-f4f01230087b">Congratulations to LIGO and the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics laureates</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> Mad scientists wanted for research on Irrational Mechanics https://turingchurch.net/mad-scientists-wanted-for-research-on-irrational-mechanics-6ae6b61ab50f?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:4f27920c-9558-f0fc-91a0-07cc75cda254 Mon, 02 Oct 2017 09:13:43 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*HCQBA_lMkyFrcCMxd6j2kg.jpeg" /></figure><p>I am a mad scientist interested in future science and technology able to resurrect the dead from the past. I look for hints, clues and glimpses in today’s speculative, highly imaginative science. Do you want to join me?</p><p>The recently published book “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Technological-Resurrection-Experiment-Jonathan-Jones-ebook/dp/B075659GK3"><em>Technological Resurrection: A Thought Experiment</em></a>,” by Jonathan Jones, provides a short and readable first introduction to our ideas on technological resurrection. See my review <a href="https://turingchurch.net/book-review-technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-e651b8c78fb6">here</a> (<a href="http://www.mondo2000.com/2017/09/12/technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-reviewed/">also on <em>Mondo 2000</em></a>). According to Jones, future engineers will be able to teleport our consciousness to the future with ultra-technology based on quantum effects, wormholes and whatnot.</p><p>Technological resurrection science is likely to involve next-next generation physics of huge energies, infinitesimal scales, space-time noodles and quantum ultra-weirdness, not to mention higher dimensions and parallel worlds. The same science will take us to the stars, perhaps faster than light (FTL), perhaps open the way to some sort of time travel, and perhaps permit understanding God(s). Or build God(s), or become God(s).</p><p>I call this research program “Irrational Mechanics” (see below).</p><p>Before becoming a mad scientist I used to be a “real” scientist in academy and public research centers. I know the science establishment pretty well, certainly well enough to realize that what I’m saying is so heretic that no scientist can enter safely. There are <em>a lot of</em> scientists who entertain similar ideas, but even mentioning them is career suicide. Developing these ideas is for politically incorrect amateur citizen scientists like me, and perhaps you.</p><p>We can’t do real research because our skills are too limited or too rusty, and/or we have to do other things for a living. What we can do is research on others’ research. But that’s good enough, because the heavy lifting work is already done by top scientists, only they aren’t allowed to even mention some deep implication of their own work. Laying out the heretic implications is up to us. Of course, we must understand the science first.</p><p>For example, many enthusiasts believe that the spooky correlations between quantum-entangled particles <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2015/09/03/can-quantum-weirdness-be-used-to-send-instant-messages-across-space-and-time/">could be used to send FTL instant messages</a>, or signal backward in time. But unfortunately, according to our current understanding, entanglement is real but can’t be used to send FTL instant messages.</p><p>Why? Because measuring the spin of one of a pair of entangled particles always gives a random result — even if the results of the two measurements are correlated — and any attempt to preset the spin of a particle would break the entanglement. A good analogy is two decks of “magic” cards that are always in the same order, but the magic only works if both decks are well shuffled first, and cheating breaks the magic.</p><p>Similarly, physical laws also seem to prohibit the practical utilization of wormholes for FTL signaling and time travel. This doesn’t mean these things are impossible in-principle (I suspect future science will pleasantly surprise us), but we aren’t clever enough yet.</p><p>Someday, perhaps: “Weinberg’s nonlinear quantum mechanics leads either to communication via Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations, or to communications between branches of the wave function,” notes <a href="https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.66.397">a 1991 paper</a> by <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Polchinski">Joseph Polchinski</a>. In other words, either FTL instant messages to the stars, or messages to parallel universes.</p><p>Many scientists (who are really scientific bureaucrats, or SJW: Scientific Justice Warriors) seem only concerned with issuing “Thou Shalt Not” diktats on what cannot be done. Bot fortunately many engineers ignore them and do those things anyway. The engineers’ is the healthier attitude. And don’t forget Marx! In “<a href="https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm"><em>Theses On Feuerbach</em></a>,” edited by Engels, Marx said:</p><blockquote>“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”</blockquote><p>I follow Marx and the engineers. Screw scientific truth, whatever that is. I want to edit physical laws and hack a better reality.</p><p>Russian Cosmist <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Fyodorovich_Fyodorov">Nikolai Fedorov</a> thought <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2015/09/28/technological-resurrection-concepts-from-fedorov-to-quantum-archaeology/">future sci/tech would resurrect the dead</a> and bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. His speculations about how that could be done seem naive to us, but our own speculations could seem equally naive to future scientists.</p><p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_J._Tipler">Physicist Frank Tipler</a> is persuaded that we already know the fundamental laws of physics: Quantum mechanics, Einstein’s general relativity and the quantum field theory of the standard model, combined in a straightforward <a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/0704.3276">theory of quantum gravity</a> that, contrary to most other physicists, <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2016/07/19/video-qa-with-frank-j-tipler/">Tipler views as perfectly viable</a>. Tipler rules out FTL communications and time travel, but is persuaded that our superhuman, God-like descendants at the end of time will bring us back to life with advanced space-time engineering and ultra-computing.</p><p>I disagree with Tipler’s premise: I don’t think we already know the fundamental laws of physics — on the contrary, I’m persuaded that future science will reveal a cascade of surprises after surprises, <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2012/12/02/the-big-infinite-fractal-onion-universe/">perhaps without end</a>. But I admire Tipler because he gets his hands greasy and, armed only with today’s physics, works out a consistent physical model of resurrection mechanics.</p><p>Other scientists speculate that space, time, and the particles and fields known to current science, could be derived from deeper and more fundamental physics, just like fluid dynamics can be derived from molecular kinetics. See Karen Crowther’s “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Effective-Spacetime-Understanding-Emergence-Quantum/dp/3319395068"><em>Effective Spacetime: Understanding Emergence in Effective Field Theory and Quantum Gravity</em></a>” (2016) for a review.</p><p>Inspired by intriguing analogies between the physics of quasiparticles and collective excitations in condensed matter systems like superfluids on the one hand, and the physics of particles and quantum fields in empty space on the other hand, <a href="https://www.aps.org/programs/honors/prizes/prizerecipient.cfm?first_nm=Grigory&amp;last_nm=Volovik&amp;year=2014">Grigory Volovik</a> suggests that physics as-we-know could be derived from underlying “trans-Planckian” physics. See Volovik’s “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Universe-Droplet-International-Monographs-Physics/dp/0199564841/"><em>The Universe in a Helium Droplet</em></a>” (2009). <a href="https://turingchurch.net/from-elon-musk-to-joseph-smith-a-material-simulation-hypothesis-aa4758950577">I have suggested</a> that this is a physical model for the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis">simulation hypothesis</a>: The idea that our reality could be a simulation running in a deeper or higher level of reality, which is totally equivalent to traditional religion.</p><p>Similarly, <a href="https://turingchurch.net/simulation-physics-and-theology-for-qubitzers-6212da7c6414">I have suggested</a> that a recent paper by physicist <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Susskind">Leonard Susskind</a>, titled “<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.03040">Dear Qubitzers, GR=QM</a>,” can be interpreted as yet another physical model for the simulation hypothesis.</p><p>Susskind’s argument is based on the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdS/CFT_correspondence">AdS/CFT duality</a>, which roughly says that a string theory with gravity in a space-time bulk is equivalent to a quantum field theory without gravity on the bulk’s lower-dimensional boundary, and the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ER%3DEPR">ER=EPR</a> conjecture, which roughly says that quantum-entangled physical systems are connected by wormholes.</p><p>See Susskind’s “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Black-Hole-War-Stephen-Mechanics/dp/0316016411"><em>The Black Hole War</em></a>” (2008) for a popular explanation of these things, and two recent technical books: “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Duality-Guide-Lecture-Notes-Physics/dp/4431554408"><em>AdS/CFT Duality User Guide</em></a>” (2015) and “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Holographic-Entanglement-Entropy-Lecture-Physics/dp/3319525719"><em>Holographic Entanglement Entropy</em></a>” (2017). I have the impression that Volovik’s and Susskind’s ideas could be strongly related.</p><p>One interpretation of the AdS/CFT duality is that the bulk physics is determined by the boundary physics (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle">holographic principle</a>), but the relationship between the two is symmetric. Crowther suggests that both could be derived from more fundamental physics.</p><p>A weak formulation of the simulation hypothesis is trivially true: It’s obvious that the universe computes the future from the past and the physical laws. In a stronger version, which seems compatible with effective spacetime theories (don’t blame the scientists mentioned above, this comes from me), our reality is <a href="https://turingchurch.net/vacancy-notice-cosmic-engineers-in-gods-control-room-7a487de78608">controlled by Engineers</a> in a base reality, not limited by the physical laws of our reality. By gaining access to the base reality <a href="https://turingchurch.net/vacancy-notice-cosmic-engineers-in-gods-control-room-7a487de78608">we could become Engineers</a>, do spacetime engineering “magic,” and bring the dead back.</p><p>In “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Demystifying-Akasha-Consciousness-Quantum-Vacuum/dp/0982644159"><em>Demystifying the Akasha: Consciousness and the Quantum Vacuum</em></a>” (2010), renowned mathematician <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Abraham">Ralph Abraham</a> (see my recent <a href="http://www.mondo2000.com/2017/08/24/mathemagician-ralph-abraham-we-need-another-miracle/"><em>Mondo 2000</em> profile of Ralph</a>) and physicist Sisir Roy suggest <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2015/11/28/the-quest-for-akashic-physics/">a cosmic memory field</a> — the Akashic field — that stores permanent records of everything that ever happens in the universe. The proposed <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2016/08/24/akashic-physics-and-engineering-video-qa-with-ralph-abraham-and-sisir-roy/">mathematical model for the Akashic field</a> is based on a graph beyond space and time, with a huge number of nodes and internal dynamics similar to cellular automata, from which the geometry of spacetime is derived.</p><p>Ordinary space and time emerge from the graph, which fluctuates in an internal time-like dimension (not to be confused with ordinary time) and contains all times. It’s worth noting that<a href="http://blog.stephenwolfram.com/2015/12/what-is-spacetime-really/"> Stephen Wolfram has similar ideas</a>.</p><p>Future Akashic engineers could read the Akashic records and bring the dead back. Including you and I.</p><h4>What is Irrational Mechanics?</h4><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*mdHw-MEb-6cm4rKo8Xf_4g.jpeg" /></figure><p>Rational Mechanics is an important part of mathematical physics. The Oxford Dictionaries define “<a href="http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/rational-mechanics">Rational Mechanics</a>” as “the branch of mechanics in which models, propositions, etc., are deduced mathematically from first principles.”</p><p>In mathematics, a <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_number">rational number</a> is defined as a number that can be expressed as the ratio (quotient) p/q of two integers p and q. At school we learn that the square root of 2 is a real number that can’t be expressed as the quotient of two integers. The square root of two — 1.4142… followed by an infinite number of non-repeating digits — is an <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrational_number">irrational number</a>. Other irrational numbers are π , the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and e, the base of the natural logarithm.</p><p>There are infinitely more irrational numbers than rational numbers. If you could choose a random real number, the probability to hit a rational number would be zero. This seems surprising, because rational numbers are infinitely dense (there are infinite rational numbers between any two), and therefore one could have the impression that rational numbers exhaust the real number line. But <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantor%27s_diagonal_argument">Cantor demonstrated</a> that it is not so, and there are countless higher orders of infinity.</p><p>This is a good metaphor for the concept that reality is much more complex than current scientific understanding. But Shakespeare said it better in <em>Hamlet</em>:</p><blockquote>“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”</blockquote><p>Deliberately mixing metaphors, we can define Irrational Mechanics as the future science of complex reality beyond current science.</p><p><em>Images from </em><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:An_alchemist_in_his_laboratory._Oil_painting_by_a_follower_o_Wellcome_V0017679.jpg"><em>Wikimedia Commons</em></a><em> and </em><a href="http://www.sgeier.net/fractals/index12.php"><em>S. Geier</em></a><em>.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=6ae6b61ab50f" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/mad-scientists-wanted-for-research-on-irrational-mechanics-6ae6b61ab50f">Mad scientists wanted for research on Irrational Mechanics</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> Dear Elder Oaks http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/10/dear-elder-oaks.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:fcbfeed0-e14f-029a-65de-38cc126c8624 Mon, 02 Oct 2017 08:21:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0Lc1EwnpJOQ/WdFxsv3PkWI/AAAAAAAAM6s/YjLcFzDqmHE9dqLshfFojo6ICwG1bQT1gCLcBGAs/s1600/photo-1441122365457-1ae2aba6235c.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0Lc1EwnpJOQ/WdFxsv3PkWI/AAAAAAAAM6s/YjLcFzDqmHE9dqLshfFojo6ICwG1bQT1gCLcBGAs/s640/photo-1441122365457-1ae2aba6235c.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><span style="font-size: x-small;">(<a href="https://unsplash.com/@brookecagle">Artist: Brooke Cagle</a>)</span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;"><br /></span><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Dear Elder Oaks, <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">You don’t know me. We’ve never met, but I’ve listened to you speak from the pulpit since I was a child. You’ll likely never read this, but I feel compelled to express myself anyway. You see, something sad happened a couple months ago. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I was in the car with my husband, Drew, when he reluctantly handed me a manila envelope. He had it in his possession for a few days and wrestled with whether or not to give it to me. He knew what was inside and I know his intentions to withhold the contents were coming from a place of love and paternalism. Even so, he eventually gave me the envelope. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I opened the envelope and pulled out the contents that were carefully enclosed by a family member from another state. The top page was a brief letter expressing their disapproval of my queerness and orthopraxy of Mormonism. They said they have “a better understanding of [my] viewpoints” after reading one of your conference talks on homosexuality. It baffled me how a person could think they understand me better by reading your words, as if you had some hidden insight into how I experience queerness and Mormonism. It hurt that they gave you authority over my experience. They can’t end a letter with “we have great love for you” and expect those words to have any significant meaning when an expression of their “great love” feels like a dagger to the chest. If that’s love, I don’t want it. I cannot believe that is what an expression of “great love” should feel like. I recalled the times I spent with them as a child, and wondered if this could really be happening.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I was crying by the time I finished reading the letter. I wanted nothing more than to run to the mountains to be alone. Anymore “expressions of love” would surely be the death of me. Unfortunately, the safety of solitude would have to wait.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Nothing prepared me for what came next. I removed the letter from the top on the stack and there was a printed copy of your 1995 Conference talk titled “<a href="https://www.lds.org/ensign/1995/10/same-gender-attraction?lang=eng">Same-Gender Attraction</a>.” I looked at my husband and broke down in uncontrollable sobs. This was not the first time I was sent a copy of your talk. Over a decade ago, my husband—and best friend—gave this talk to me with a note expressing the necessity for me to gain a testimony of the prophets’ counsel concerning matters of homosexuality. This talk kept finding its way back to me. I remembered when my husband asked me to read “<a href="https://deseretbook.com/p/born-way-true-story-overcoming-same-sex-attraction-insights-friends-families-leaders-erin-eldridge-79137?variant_id=19728-paperback">Born that Way? A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction</a>,” which, sadly is still being sold at Deseret Book. I remembered the arguments we had over Prop 8, but mostly, I recalled the pain. It was clear, even a decade later, that the people I loved were still giving authority to your words—that somehow what you were saying about my experiences as a queer woman were more valid than my actual experience. Somehow it was unquestionably understood to them that your perceptions of God’s will were more valid than mine. It’s as if their belief in you somehow absolves them of accountability for their actions.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Thankfully, my husband <a href="http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2016/11/love-and-change.html">feels differently</a>now, which gives me hope that someday my other family members might feel differently in the future, but in that moment all I could feel was the overwhelming pain of having to legitimize my existence to my family for the last 15 years.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">There was no distinction between the sadness, pain, grief, sorrow, and anger. The passions came rushing to the surface without consent. My face grew hot as I screamed my frustrations at my husband. I yelled, “I wish Elder Oaks would just die already, so he would stop spreading these false, hurtful messages!” I rationalized that “<a href="https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/4?lang=eng">It is&nbsp;better&nbsp;that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in&nbsp;unbelief.</a>” Drew kindly gave me the space I needed to express myself.&nbsp;I’m not proud of what I said. Unfortunately, a patriarchal gerontocracy makes death a gateway to progress by way of structural deficiencies, which is a truly horrid thought.<br /><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Whether people want to recognize it or not, LDS policies on marriage have changed, including polygamy and interracial marriage. Lest we forget interracial marriage in the United States has only been fully legal since 1967. About a decade later in 1978, black men were ordained to the LDS priesthood, and black men and women were allowed to enter the temple. Until that point an interracial couple was denied the blessings of an eternal temple sealing. In the U.S., gay marriage became legal a little over two years ago. I wonder if it will take a decade for the LDS Church to adapt policies again? How many more people must die before we overcome these senseless oppressions? <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">While listening to <a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/media/session_1_talk_6/5594186028001?lang=eng">your most recent talk</a>, I can’t help but question if you know what you’re doing? Are you aware of the rifts you are provoking? Do you know the harm you are causing? I want to believe that you love the members of this Church, but I don’t hear or feel love from you. When you paint a picture of heaven, salvation, and exaltation that doesn’t include the people we love, your heaven starts to look like hell. Too many of my queer siblings have given credence to your depictions of heaven to the point where they feel like death is the only way out. I wish they would take upon them the empowerment of personal revelation. I wish they believed “<a href="https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/acts/5.41">we ought to obey God rather than men</a>,” and realize that the men who lead this organization are, indeed, men. I wish they believed Joseph Smith when he said, “a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such.” I wish they could see the radical beauty of Mormon theology, eternal progression, and life beyond the oppressions of patriarchy.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Aren’t you tired of this yet? I am.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">With all the horrors in the world—with all the pain, injustice, suffering, sin, and death, why do you still choose to give talks that unnecessarily divide families? We have members all over the world struggling with poverty, war, and disease, and you choose to speak about same-sex marriage? What a waste of time and resources.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Like I said, I don’t know you. You don’t know me. We’ve never met, and likely never will. However, if you do read this, I want you to know that I disagree with your interpretation of doctrine concerning eternal families and gender. I disagree with this distribution of resources. I disagree with the message you are attempting to justify in the name of God. Mormonism is bigger than you or me. Mormonism is more than its policies on marriage. Mormonism is the radical idea that the love and life of the body of Christ will lead us to godhood in an ongoing process of eternal progression. I believe in Mormonism, and I’m not going to sit by idly and let this issue separate me from my family and faith. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I also want you to know I would like to reconcile these differences. My door is open to you, it’s a standing offer. You are welcome into my home to break bread. From one Mormon to another, atonement means that nothing is beyond reconciliation, and I believe in the power of atonement. Mormonism is more than its worst moments. Just as you are more than your worst moments, I am more than my worst moments. I still believe in forgiveness. Come, break bread with me. I’ll have a fresh loaf waiting. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Sincerely, a Queer Mormon Sister<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><br /><a href="http://rationalfaiths.com/dear-elder-oaks/">*Published at Rational Faiths on Monday, October 2, 2017</a> 90 Thoughts from LDS Church General Conference (October 2017) http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2017/10/90-thoughts-from-lds-church-general.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:e719aeb2-e331-d537-51db-ef9b4cbf9fab Sun, 01 Oct 2017 17:06:00 -0600 <img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="844" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yb-0cYJmp5w/WdF0tpE-5VI/AAAAAAACANw/WIPhjCC9UgcVnYmUwOHXlWL497O0MVfzACLcBGAs/s1600/lds-general-conference-hall.jpg" /><br /><br />Each spring and fall, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the largest Mormon denomination) holds a worldwide conference. For ten hours over two days, top leaders of the Church speak in-person to over 20,000 members gathered in a conference center in Salt Lake City, and via Internet and television broadcast to a much larger audience (probably in the millions) gathered in homes and church buildings around the world. The most recent conference was held yesterday and today.<br /><a name='more'></a><br />Below are 90 of my own thoughts as I watched the conference. As is my custom, the thoughts include observations, and range from affirmations to criticisms, and from questions to assertions. My intent is to provoke reflection, questions, and comments. I feel this is essential to meaningful engagement with the conference, which is something I value as a member of the Church.<br /><br /><br /><ol><li>I wonder if we've already received Thomas Monson's <a href="https://t.co/JdhafNcnGn">last general conference sermon</a>? <br /></li><li>Eyring looks healthy and happy. Good. For me, he represents <a href="https://t.co/GddDviFI0a">an important influence on Mormon tradition</a>.<br /></li><li>Uchtdorf suggests humans feel the call of heaven like non-human animals instinctually feel their way home across great distances.<br /></li><li>Uchtdorf finds encouragement in the weaknesses of religious leaders in our history. If they can do divine work, so can we.<br /></li><li>Uchtdorf says God works through us if we make an effort, learning and applying. Christian discipleship must be an active faith.<br /></li><li>Oscarson is the first woman to speak at LDS conference. Maybe she thought too few women spoke last time. ;)<br /></li><li>Oscarson wants to have a face-to-face conversation with me rather than have me tweet about her! :)<br /></li><li>The main limitation of tech communication compared to face-to-face is its relatively low bandwidth, for now. That will change.<br /></li><li>Oscarson just shared a picture of her daughter-in-law and my friend, Marie-Laure Oscarson, who taught me French in the MTC.<br /></li><li>Oaks says exaltation is more than salvation, and that exaltation is a family matter. Isn't all of humanity our family?<br /></li><li>Oaks construes progressive marriage law as worldly, but most of the world is conservative on marriage law.<br /></li><li>Oaks points out that the Proclamation explicitly promotes straight marriage. But it does not explicitly demote gay marriage. Why?<br /></li><li>Dear Elder Oaks, why did God NOT inspire you and the other authors of the Proclamation to demote gay marriage explicitly?<br /></li><li>Pingree says God uses ordinary persons to accomplish extraordinary things. How about immortality and eternal life!<br /></li><li>We often over-emphasize criticisms of the world and under-recognize that Mormon scripture teaches that Earth will become heaven.<br /></li><li>Christofferson says we ought to fully and completely incorporate the life and character of Christ in our being. This is theosis.<br /></li><li>Christofferson encourages holiness, as we esteem God holy. This is the sublime esthetic, the holy esthetic, the holy spirit.<br /></li><li>I like the French translation of "Holiness to the Lord" on LDS temples, transliterated back to English: Sanctity to the Eternal.<br /></li><li>Christofferson points out that we're not alone in salvation. We are the Body of Christ. Salvation is not individual after all.<br /></li><li>Holland jokes about the apparent impossible weight of Jesus' command to be perfect as God is perfect.<br /></li><li>Holland encourages personal improvement in a way that doesn't include ulcers, anorexia, or depression.<br /></li><li>Holland points out that we now "live in a Telestial kingdom". So let it be settled: progression between heavens must be possible.<br /></li><li>Holland points out our only hope for perfection is as a gift of grace. Exactly. Forgive. Give grace as received. It's the only way.<br /></li><li>Holland is perhaps the most empathetic advocate of divine grace that Mormon leadership has ever produced.<br /></li><li>Holland discourages toxic expectations of ourselves, each other, and Church leaders. Good advice. We all need each other's grace.<br /></li><li>Holland points out the sublime Mormon teaching that Jesus himself progressed "grace for grace" and extends it to us.<br /></li><li>Amen, Elder Holland. Amen.<br /></li><li>Salvation is not an individual matter. It requires grace, of God and of each other. We are saved as the Body of Christ, not alone.<br /></li><li>I know I'm not the only Mormon who finds the Scandinavian Jesus with an Oxford accent incredibly distracting from the message.<br /></li><li>Remember. Technology is not the enemy. <a href="https://t.co/6wpjkZMQ6l">Technology empowers our participation in the work and glory of God</a>.<br /></li><li>I look forward to the day when technology empowers the average person, if she chooses, to heal others as medical doctors do today.<br /></li><li>Uchtdorf is letting Eyring take his turn at facing the opposition votes. :)<br /></li><li>"I'm trying to be like Jesus." This may be the most dangerous song Mormons teach our children to sing. ;)<br /></li><li>Stevenson compares the solar eclipse to small mundane matters that block our vision of large sublime matters. Interesting analogy.<br /></li><li>Stevenson rightly points out that technology is not inherently good or evil. It's just power to use for good or evil.<br /></li><li>Stevenson reminds us that the carefully crafted self-presentations on social media are always incomplete. Life is complex.<br /></li><li>Stevenson says, "Let us use technology to help each other ... become our finest."<br /></li><li>I'm not sure Stevenson's "gospel glasses" metaphor works as well as his "gospel eclipse" metaphor.<br /></li><li>Owen points out that repentance should be framed as uplifting progress. It is change, taking on Christ. It is transfiguration.<br /></li><li>Owen says the Atonement is not merely for sinners. It's for saints too. At-one-ment requires all. Reconciliation requires all.<br /></li><li>Framing repentance in context of "atonement," as Mormons do, has interesting ramifications. Change. Be one.<br /></li><li>Cook says our time on Earth is as fleeting as a British summer. :)<br /></li><li>Cook contrasts the smallness of humanity with our divine potential, no matter our race or gender.<br /></li><li>Cook says Christ-character includes humility, righteousness, and intelligence. There's both some heart and some brain there.<br /></li><li>Cook says emphasis of authenticity sometimes leads to arrogance. He's right.<br /></li><li>Authenticity has no inherent value. It may have contextual value. Love the superhumanity in your neighbor as in yourself.<br /></li><li>Cook quotes, "The test of greatness is how one meets the eternal everyday." I imagine the Gods reminding themselves of that.<br /></li><li>Rasband rejects coincidence. I wonder if God rejects coincidence. Is there a way around Heisenberg and Godel? I doubt it.<br /></li><li>Rasband says God orchestrates. I trust that to be the case. I also consider that completely compatible with coincidence.<br /></li><li>It seems to me that there is no need for orchestration where there is no possibility of coincidence.<br /></li><li>Rasband says agency fits into the plan of God. I wonder if he thinks God always knows our choices in advance of us making them.<br /></li><li>Rasband quotes the Bible, which claims that all things will work together for good. That's an idea worth trusting -- actively.<br /></li><li>Haleck points out that Church members in developing areas contribute as illustrated by the story of the widow's mite.<br /></li><li>Nelson, speaking now, is most likely the next president of the LDS Church -- perhaps soon because Monson's health appears poor.<br /></li><li>Nelson emphasizes "him" and "his" describing God. I wish our leaders would talk more about Heavenly Mother.<br /></li><li>Nelson calls attention to the idea that progress continues after this life. I love this very Mormon conception of heaven.<br /></li><li>Nelson says death allows us to progress to the next world. I wonder if he would tell the Three Nephites that? ;)<br /></li><li>Renlund's reasoning on the relation between priesthood and atonement doesn't make sense to me. Wish we could ask questions.<br /></li><li>Renlund seems to be suggesting there's some kind or extent of unique access to atonement for priesthood holders. Strange.<br /></li><li>Evans encourages questioning and shows respect for good persons that question matters related to the Church. I like that.<br /></li><li>I'm interested in an LDS leader talk comparing and contrasting scientific knowledge with confidence in trustworthiness of religion.<br /></li><li>Uchtdorf is emphasizing a conception of spiritual light. For some inspiration, look at <a href="https://t.co/NdXtdof8KI">"light" references in D&amp;C</a>.<br /></li><li>Uchtdorf points out that Mormon scripture equivocates between "light" and "spirit" and "truth". He could add "intelligence".<br /></li><li>Nice to hear Uchtdorf mention Christ as the "light of the world" after previous talks on negative characterizations of the world.<br /></li><li>I want to be OF that world of which Christ is the light -- to those with ears to hear. ;)<br /></li><li>Eyring points out that it takes great faith to sustain imperfect leaders. He's right, but he's among the easier to sustain. :)<br /></li><li>Eyring mentions that Bishops have a hard job because ward members know their weaknesses. Indeed. What a difficult job.<br /></li><li>Eyring's persistent willingness to vulnerability about his own shortcomings is among the reasons he's relatively easy to sustain.<br /></li><li>Bingham says Christ can relieve disasters and commotions in the world. I'd like to hear LDS leaders say more about those problems.<br /></li><li>Hallstrom addresses the problem of evil. Without a solution, he praises faith in the face of evil. This is unsatisfying for many.<br /></li><li>Bednar takes up the subject of theosis, taking on the divine nature, progressing grace by grace as exemplified by Jesus.<br /></li><li>Zwick says we should look past easy assumptions and stereotypes. Amen.<br /></li><li>Ballard encourages remembrance of Mormon pioneers. I'm often inspired by their practical perseverance in pursuit of our vision.<br /></li><li>Ballard raises warnings against charlatans who promote supernatural healing. Good call. Science and medicine matter.<br /></li><li>Ballard criticizes sexism, racism, and "nationalism." I wonder what he thinks constitutes the latter.<br /></li><li>Callister describes the complexity of the production of the Book of Mormon. Strong point. It is strange book.<br /></li><li>Callister rightly points out that the purpose of the Book of Mormon is to advocate the Gospel of Christ, and not history.<br /></li><li>Koch encourages saying "Amen" after talks, to signify agreement. Okay. But I don't always agree! :)<br /></li><li>I'm concerned that some may interpret Koch's thoughts to mean they should not express disagreements constructively.<br /></li><li>I do not feel united with persons who withhold constructive expressions of their disagreements from me.<br /></li><li>Ellis asks if we trust imperfect persons to lead us well? Sure. But I don't trust them to lead us perfectly.<br /></li><li>Ellis says some people create businesses from nothing. Hmm. Not even God created the world from nothing, according to Mormonism.<br /></li><li>Parrella also takes up the theme of authoritarian obedience. Our culture excessively emphasizes this.<br /></li><li>I think we should give more attention to persuasion and less attention to obedience. And I suspect we would like the results.<br /></li><li>Parrella quotes the Book of Mormon declaration that <a href="https://t.co/nkJWArHtmL">death is an "awful monster."</a> I like that passage.<br /></li><li>Andersen shared some visuals depicting light moving across the world. Conference would probably benefit from more use of visuals.<br /></li><li>Andersen gives insight into how LDS leaders prepare conference talks. I appreciate the humanity of it.<br /></li><li>Andersen repeats the denunciation of "nationalism." What do LDS leaders mean by this?<br /></li><li>Andersen shares some thoughts and words in tribute to Elder Hales, who passed away during conference.<br /></li><li>Anderson quotes Monson in conclusion, emphasizing love. That's a good way to end.</li></ol><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/LincolnCannon/~4/fBH8A-BlRyo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> A Call to Repentance: The LDS Church Response to Victims of Sexual Assault http://www.transfigurist.org/2017/09/a-call-to-repentance-lds-church.html The Transfigurist urn:uuid:9f99df61-0a3b-756d-4e37-5c95c97dc195 Thu, 28 Sep 2017 09:32:00 -0600 <div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="MsoNormal"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LpMcMhmlYR4/WcxE_WfJT8I/AAAAAAAAF6w/oRop4jjD0Z4pvn-t4IWyWImGYKCUsG9jACLcBGAs/s1600/A%2BCall%2Bto%2BRepentance.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="898" data-original-width="1600" height="358" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LpMcMhmlYR4/WcxE_WfJT8I/AAAAAAAAF6w/oRop4jjD0Z4pvn-t4IWyWImGYKCUsG9jACLcBGAs/s640/A%2BCall%2Bto%2BRepentance.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">In 2016, social media was in an&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2016/02/child-abuse-in-the-church/">uproar</a>. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/">Mormon Newsroom</a>, the official organization responsible for releasing news about the LDS Church, had just released an article praising the LDS Church's approach to victims of sexual assault. Originally written in 2010 by (now) Elder Von G. Keetch, the article claimed that the Church was the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2016/02/child-abuse-in-the-church/">"Gold Standard" in handling sexual abuse</a>.&nbsp;And victims were furious.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/effectiveness-of-church-approach-to-preventing-child-abuse">The Church quickly removed the article, announcing that it's release had been accidental, and later released an updated version&nbsp;</a>(though much of the original text can be<span style="font-family: inherit;">&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2016/02/child-abuse-in-the-church/" style="font-family: inherit;">here</a>).<br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">The uproar was well-founded. Many of the false claims were easily renounced, including that the one that&nbsp;<span style="color: #666666;">"<i>preventing and responding to child abuse is the subject of a regular lesson taught during Sunday meetings</i>"</span>, even though there are only&nbsp;<b>two&nbsp;lessons</b>&nbsp;(<a href="https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-f-smith/chapter-28?lang=eng&amp;query=Abuse">here</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/manual/book-of-mormon-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-12-seek-ye-for-the-kingdom-of-god?lang=eng&amp;query=Abuse">here</a>) found in any church manual used for Sunday instruction that even remotely addresses preventing sexual abuse, and one of these (the far more comprehensive one) is on a near decade-long rotation.&nbsp;</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">One of the more outrageous claims was that "<span style="color: #666666;"><i>t</i></span><span style="background-color: white;"><span style="color: #666666;"><i>he suggestion that the Church instructs members to keep abuse issues solely within the Church is false</i></span>". There are literally&nbsp;<b>only two General Conference talks given directed at victims of abuse,</b>&nbsp;and both of them explicitly state that that victims should report first to their bishops&nbsp;</span></span>(<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/healing-the-tragic-scars-of-abuse?lang=eng">1992</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1978/04/solving-emotional-problems-in-the-lords-own-way?lang=eng">1978</a>) and then&nbsp;<span style="background-color: white;"><a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1978/04/solving-emotional-problems-in-the-lords-own-way?lang=eng">actively discourages victims from seeking therapy</a>,&nbsp;directing victims to only do so with the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: inherit;"><a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/healing-the-tragic-scars-of-abuse?lang=eng"><b>permission from</b></a>&nbsp;</span><span style="background-color: white;">and even&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: inherit;"><a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1978/04/solving-emotional-problems-in-the-lords-own-way?lang=eng"><b>inclusion of their bishops</b></a><span style="background-color: white;">.&nbsp;Unfortunately, many bishops are often hesitant to take the necessary actions to help a victim, which would often&nbsp;</span></span>require separating a victim from their family, the sudden releasing of an individual from a calling, and possibly relocating whole families to different wards.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence">70% of victims are hurt by people they know, many of whom are in positions of authority or have a close relationship with the victim</a>.&nbsp;<span style="background-color: white;"><a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence">Many victims are children</a>&nbsp;</span>who lack access to victim services without an adult to arrange it (as the adults may be the very source of their pain), and if therapy would have ramifications on the family or Church (which is likely), bishops may be unlikely to arrange help. Additionally,&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciplinary_council#When_a_disciplinary_council_is_mandatory">mandatory disciplinary action</a>&nbsp;(and subsequent record documentation) is only required for sexual offenses if the offender (1) holds a "prominent church position," defined as&nbsp;<b>a bishop or higher,&nbsp;</b>(2) is a relative of the victim, or (3) a "predator", which has&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_predator">many possible legal definitions but which is most often defined as someone who has been found guilty of sexually exploiting someone, often habitually.</a>&nbsp;So unless a victim has already reported to police and the offender found guilty, the offender may not receive any disciplinary action. A Scout leader who molests his charge, a young man who rapes his girlfriend - there is no guarantee that these individuals would face&nbsp;any church disciplinary action or that their church records would contain any documentation to this effect, especially if the victim is dissuaded from contacting the police or receiving help outside the Church.&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">These are not the only harmful practices and messages that victims of sexual assault receive in the Church. The most recent talk given by a General Authority to victims of sexual abuse (1992) told&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/healing-the-tragic-scars-of-abuse?lang=eng">victims of abuse that, unless they do&nbsp;<b>everything in their power to stop the abuse</b>, they are partly responsible for what happened to them and need to repent</a>.&nbsp;<span style="background-color: white;">Victims have a hard enough time not blaming themselves for what happened, so the message that they might have to repent is not only abhorrent, but it reinforces the idea that the victims deserved what happened to them. At least two other articles in the Ensign (<a href="https://www.lds.org/liahona/2014/09/healing-hidden-wounds?lang=eng">here</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/ensign/2000/02/dispelling-the-darkness-of-abuse?lang=eng">here</a>) encourage victims of abuse with anger problems (<a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/problems/anger-and-trauma.asp">a recognized side-effect of abuse and a symptom of PTSD</a>) to repent, which not only oversimplifies the long-term damage of abuse but also blames victims for something they have little to no control over. Change comes when victims receive therapy, not guilt-trips.&nbsp;</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><span style="background-color: white;"><br /></span><span style="background-color: white;">Other articles published by the Church have had more positive messages for victims of abuse, though they are relatively few in number (<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?lang=eng&amp;query=abuse">I could find only five</a>) and were not written by Church authorities. Written by victims for victims (mostly women), they&nbsp;</span>most often focus on the importance of forgiving, finding your self-worth, and ending cycles of abuse, with emphasis on how the church has helped them find peace. While helpful and reassuring, they do little to counter the harmful messages that victims have heard from Church authorities or the unhelpful policies that keep victims from receiving the help they need. The Church did recently release a whopping&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/liahona/2017/digital/april/hope-and-healing-supporting-victims-of-sexual-abuse?lang=eng">five-point list of how to help victims of sexual abuse</a>&nbsp;this past April in the Liahona, so at least it's making (some) effort.</span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">Perhaps even more damaging are the messages received from leaders and parents that, while most likely well-intentioned, have done far more harm than good.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/06/modesty-matters?lang=eng&amp;_r=1">Messages about modesty are directed at girls</a>, not boys, and young women are frequently told that their bodies cause boys and men to think bad thoughts (even comparing them to&nbsp;<b><a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/pornography?lang=eng">pornography</a></b>). Elder Holland himself stated that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5PBqxwlfHI&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=31m47s">he has heard all of his life that women are held responsible because men cannot control themselves, and that the concept is repulsive</a>, a statement made in a BYU devotional and not found on LDS.org. Instead, the same messages that Elder Holland heard are the same the messages that girls receive: that</span>&nbsp;that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sltrib.com/religion/local/2017/07/27/how-outdated-mormon-teachings-may-be-aiding-and-abetting-rape-culture/">boys can't control their thoughts</a>&nbsp;and that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/liahona/2014/03/the-lords-standard-of-morality?lang=eng&amp;_r=1">girls must cover their bodies to keep boys clean</a>.&nbsp;<span style="font-family: inherit;">When the messages that women hear time and again are that&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/manual/the-latter-day-saint-woman-basic-manual-for-women-part-a/gospel-principles-and-doctrine/lesson-9-chastity-and-modesty?lang=eng">they are responsible for the thoughts of men</a>, i</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">s it any wonder that they then blame themselves when they are assaulted? Women who have had sex (consensual or not) are&nbsp;</span><a href="https://thinkprogress.org/5-offensive-analogies-abstinence-only-lessons-use-to-tell-teens-sex-makes-them-dirty-a3cd41cfa9e0/" style="font-family: inherit;">commonly compared to chewed gum and nailed fence posts</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">, with the implication being that you become&nbsp;</span><b style="font-family: inherit;">damaged goods&nbsp;</b><span style="font-family: inherit;">- an all-too common refrain in the minds of victims.&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/damaging-effects-of-shame-based-sex-education-lessons-from-elizabeth-smart_b_3226971.html" style="font-family: inherit;">Elizabeth Smart has been especially active in communicating the harm this kind of language does</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">, but change is slow, and for many victims, the damage is done. The&nbsp;</span><i style="font-family: inherit;">Miracle of Forgiveness,&nbsp;</i><span style="font-family: inherit;">a very popular book that is still handed out by many bishops to victims and perpetrators alike, states quite explicitly that&nbsp;</span><b style="font-family: inherit;"><a href="https://bycommonconsent.com/2016/04/28/rape-and-the-miracle-of-forgiveness/">unless a rape victim does everything in their power to resist, they would be better off dead</a></b><span style="font-family: inherit;">. Only&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">last year (2016) did the Church&nbsp;</span><a href="http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=4399443&amp;itype=CMSID" style="font-family: inherit;">remove language from the&nbsp;<i>Personal Progress&nbsp;</i>book, a guide for young women, that a girl's virtue can be taken by rape</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">. Is anyone really surprised that victims of sexual assault have self-worth issues?&nbsp;</span><br /><br />Now, to be completely fair,&nbsp;<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handbook_(LDS_Church)#Handbook_1">Handbook 1</a>&nbsp;does include more victim-friendly language, directing bishops to prioritize victims, encourage therapy (though still within the Church), and assure them they are not responsible for what happened. But there is a problem with this:&nbsp;<b>Handbook 1 isn't publicly available</b>, and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church?lang=eng">Handbook 2&nbsp;</a>(which is available) doesn't contain any information about sexual abuse.<b>&nbsp;</b>So the only way victims hear these messages are if the Bishops choose to disclose them. Members cannot hold their bishops accountable for abiding by these policies because the members aren't granted access to them. Instead, they receive the messages I've outlined above, and bishops - who were members for years before becoming bishops - often fall back on the cultural norms.<br /><div style="margin: 0px;"><br /></div><span style="font-family: inherit;"><span style="font-family: inherit;">But of all the messages that victims receive, what they don't hear might be more chilling. Not only have been&nbsp;only two&nbsp;general conference addresses targeted to victims of sexual assault since 1971; i</span>n a search of general conference addresses,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=sexual+abuse">only&nbsp;23&nbsp;mention both the words "sexual" and "assault" in the same talk</a>&nbsp;(<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=abuse+sexually">using "sexually" adds 2 more</a>),&nbsp;the phrase&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=%22sexual+abuse%22">"sexual abuse" is found only&nbsp;11 times</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=%22sexual+assault%22">"sexual assault" only&nbsp;</a><a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=%22sexual+assault%22">once</a>,&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=molest">"molest" (in reference to sexual molestation)&nbsp;only twice</a>.&nbsp;<b>In all, I could find only 16 that mention sexual abuse, assault, or molestation specifically in some way,&nbsp;</b>and i<span style="font-family: inherit;">n most of them, it is referenced tangentially with less than a paragraph devoted to it, usually in a list of the evils in the world, and most often in reference to children (even though&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/children-and-teens">teenagers are twice as likely to be sexually abused</a>). In comparison, in the same time period, there have been&nbsp;<a href="https://www.lds.org/search?domains=general-conference&amp;lang=eng&amp;query=pornography">over 550 on pornography</a>. For this rate to be justified, pornographic use would have to be&nbsp;<b>over 34</b></span><b>&nbsp;times that of sexual abuse</b>.&nbsp;Pornography use is high (nationally between&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theblaze.com/news/2014/08/28/shocking-statistics-about-porn-epidemic-and-christian-consumption-a-very-real-addiction-that-can-spiral-out-of-control/">64%</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://fightthenewdrug.org/by-the-numbers-see-how-many-people-are-watching-porn-today/">84%,</a>&nbsp;depending on how you define "use"), but even at the high estimate, this would require sexual assault to only affect about 2.5% of the population.</span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;"><span style="font-family: inherit;">And yet -&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence">Every 98 seconds, an American will be sexually assaulted</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">.&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence">One out of every six of women has been sexually assaulted.</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence">One out of every ten women will be raped by an intimate partner.</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">&nbsp;<a href="https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence">3% of all men are victims of sexual assault.</a>&nbsp;</span>At these rates, we can estimate at&nbsp;minimum&nbsp;<b>800 million women&nbsp;</b>were sexually assaulted in the US in the 20th Century.&nbsp;<span style="font-family: inherit;">And those are just the numbers in the US: globally,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/violence_against_women_20130620/en/">nearly one out of every three women will be sexually assaulted</a>, and the&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/violence_against_women_20130620/en/">WHO calls violence against women a "global epidemic."</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">&nbsp;And&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.jimhopper.com/pdf/Koss1987_Scope_of_rape.pdf">being religious does not make you less likely to be victimized</a>, so any argument claiming that sexual assault "isn't a problem" in the Church is unfounded.</span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">How ironic is it that the male leaders in the church have addressed sexual assault at almost the same rate as men who are victims of sexual assaults?</span><br /><div style="margin: 0px;"><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span></div><div style="margin: 0px;"><span style="font-family: inherit;">This silence is unacceptable. Victims have already receive painful messages that they are to blame for their assaults, that their worth is diminished because of it, and that the need to maintain Church and family harmony is more important than their mental health. The neglectful attitude toward victims on their path of healing only compounds their feelings of neglect and isolation. If helping victims of abuse was such a priority, shouldn't this be self-evident in the words of our leaders?&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">Victims of sexual assault are already&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">significantly more likely to suffer from&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.rainn.org/effects-sexual-violence" style="font-family: inherit;">mental health problems including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating and sleep disorders, and tendencies toward self-harm and suicide</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">, and almost&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/ptsd-overview/women/sexual-assault-females.asp" style="font-family: inherit;">one third of sexual assault victims will have PTSD</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">. When victims don't receive immediate help, such as being removed from dangerous situations and receiving mental health services, these mental health problems are exacerbated. On top of mental health problems, Mormon women who are sexually assaulted are&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387527?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents" style="font-family: inherit;">likely to suffer spiritually as a result of their assaults</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">. Shouldn't we make alleviating the suffering a victims a higher priority than we have?&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: inherit;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: inherit;">To give credit where credit is due, the Church has begun making efforts. The&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.lds.org/liahona/2017/digital/april/hope-and-healing-supporting-victims-of-sexual-abuse?lang=eng">five-point list</a>&nbsp;in April's Liahona was positive, if also brief and inadequate, and removing the harmful language from the&nbsp;<a href="http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=4399443&amp;itype=CMSID" style="font-family: inherit;"><i>Personal Progress&nbsp;</i>book</a>&nbsp;was certainly the right move.<span style="font-family: inherit;">&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brigham-young-university-changes-policy-that-investigated-rape-victims-for-violating-honor-code/" style="font-family: inherit;">After the sex abuse scandal at BYU in 2016, in which victims of assault faced school disciplinary action because of what they may have done to contribute to the assault</a>&nbsp;<span style="font-family: inherit;">(sound familiar?),&nbsp;</span><a href="http://jezebel.com/mormon-church-condemns-sexual-assault-at-byu-as-univers-1777840665" style="font-family: inherit;">the Church condemned the policy, emphasized the importance of prioritizing victims, and encouraged BYU to change it's approach,</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">&nbsp;which&n Simulation physics and theology for Qubitzers https://turingchurch.net/simulation-physics-and-theology-for-qubitzers-6212da7c6414?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:71676d89-ae1a-38cc-5a76-67bdea070b15 Wed, 27 Sep 2017 02:27:31 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*d_8dCgYEwdmJdzGNBrucrQ.jpeg" /></figure><p>A recent paper by physicist <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Susskind">Leonard Susskind</a> , titled “<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.03040">Dear Qubitzers, GR=QM</a>,” outlines (among other things) intriguing physical models for the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis">simulation hypothesis</a>.</p><p>Susskind’s set up is simple: A laboratory where engineers Alice and Bob experiment with condensed matter shells. Their experiments are totally beyond reach of today’s technology, but Susskind seems to think that, if something is feasible in-principle, some day it will be doable in practice. I totally agree.</p><p>The paper doesn’t contain equations, but can be hard to understand. For example: “The shell has been engineered to be at a quantum critical point, where the excitations are described by a conformal field theory having a holographic bulk dual.” Don’t worry, a footnote explains it all: “By bulk I mean the AdS-like geometry dual to the CFT.”</p><p>Right, the paper is a letter to experts in Susskind’s league, not meant to be easy understandable to the rest of us. To understand the paper you need to know about string theory, general relativity, black holes, wormholes, quantum gravity research, the holographic principle, AdS/CFT duality, ER=EPR, condensed matter physics and whatnot, and you’ll have to go through all the references. I only have amateur-level understanding, but I’ll try to explain something.</p><p>Let’s start at the end. Susskind says (p. 10):</p><blockquote>“[Suppose] we construct a large block of matter engineered to have the standard model (without gravity) as its excitations… Is the world in [the block] real? Sure it is; the block and its excitations are certainly real, and if the standard model was well simulated it may support observers who could communicate with laboratory observers.”</blockquote><p>Here “the standard model” is the physics of our world, and Susskind is saying exactly the same thing that I say in “<a href="https://turingchurch.net/from-elon-musk-to-joseph-smith-a-material-simulation-hypothesis-aa4758950577">From Elon Musk to Joseph Smith: a material simulation hypothesis</a>.” We could (in principle) engineer a material system to support excitations (think of waves in a quantum sea) that correspond exactly to the quantum fields of fundamental physics in our world. It follows that the same physics could unfold, and eventually result in sentient observers.</p><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/from-elon-musk-to-joseph-smith-a-material-simulation-hypothesis-aa4758950577">I have argued</a> that this is a physical formulation of simulation theology: God organizes the universe like we organize a material system to give it desired properties (like superfluidity and superconductivity) and behaviors, operating in a deeper level of physical reality, which we could conceivably gain access to.</p><p>In passing: Susskind is a top physicist and a great teacher (see his “<a href="http://theoreticalminimum.com/"><em>Theoretical Minimum</em></a>” books and video courses), and I have an enormous respect for him. He is often described as an atheist. So how do I dare interpreting his work in a theist key? Well, Susskind is actually <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeIxHqtB_B8">an agnostic</a>. I think he is a “cultural atheist” and I am fairly sure he wouldn’t like what I’m writing, not at all, but his work does have theological implications for those who want to see.</p><p>Let’s go back to the paper. String theory is somewhat messy, and very much work-in-progress. A recent book titled “<a href="https://www.crcpress.com/Why-String-Theory/Conlon/p/book/9781482242478"><em>Why String Theory?</em></a>” includes the shortest chapter that I have even seen: The full text of Chapter 7 is “There is no direct experimental evidence for string theory.”</p><p>However, string theory is often considered as the most promising approach to a theory of quantum gravity that could encompass both the quantum field theory of the standard model and Einstein’s general relativity. Also, recent applications of string theory to condensed matter and nuclear plasma physics indicate that the mathematics of string theory does relate to things that can be measured in the lab.</p><p>One of the cornerstones of string theory is something called “AdS/CFT duality.” (Very) roughly, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdS/CFT_correspondence">AdS/CFT</a> means that a special type of quantum field theory without gravity (a Conformal Field Theory, or CFT) is equivalent to a string theory with gravity in a special type of space (an Anti-de Sitter space, or AdS) with one more dimension. The “special type of” qualifiers could be relaxed in future development of the theory.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*wwT7KxYK_rtXyw3DVTkTLg.png" /></figure><p>The “with one more dimension” part is important: Forget for a moment that these things live in more dimension that we can visualize, and imagine a two-dimensional surface (“boundary”) and the three-dimensional space inside (“bulk”). AdS/CFT means that a quantum field theory without gravity on the boundary is equivalent to a string theory with gravity in the bulk, where “equivalent” means that the two theories are different mathematical descriptions of the same physics.</p><p>In “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Hole_War"><em>The Black Hole War</em></a>,” Susskind suggests to visualize AdS/CFT as “a can of soup.” Outside, a two-dimensional quantum field theory of particles that live on the boundary. Inside, a three-dimensional space-time bulk, with matter, energy, gravitational waves and black holes. The bulk physics inside is determined by the boundary physics (<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle">holographic principle</a>).</p><p>So we have quantum field excitations on the boundary, black holes and gravitational waves in the bulk, and there is always a correspondence between what happens on the boundary and what happens in the bulk. For example it turns out that, if you heat the boundary, you create a black hole in the bulk.</p><p>It also turns out that when one of the two dual theories is strongly coupled (difficult to calculate), the other is weakly coupled (easier to calculate). So one can calculate using the easier theory and translate the results into the language of the more complex theory at the end. “[In] a matter of a few years condensed matter theory was rewritten in a different mathematical language. This language is the one that one would perhaps least expect: general relativity,” notes a recent book on “<a href="http://admin.cambridge.org/academic/subjects/physics/condensed-matter-physics-nanoscience-and-mesoscopic-physics/holographic-duality-condensed-matter-physics#00Y8LU8CbCYvc4Su.97"><em>Holographic Duality in Condensed Matter Physics</em></a>.”</p><p>Let’s go back to Alice and Bob experimenting with condensed matter shells in Susskind’s lab (p. 2):</p><blockquote>“The shell has been engineered to be at a quantum critical point, where the excitations are described by a conformal field theory having a holographic bulk dual…”</blockquote><blockquote>I argue that the bulk with its gravitons, black holes, and bulk observers is just as real as the laboratory itself. It can be probed, entered, measured, and the results communicated to observers in the lab...</blockquote><blockquote>From the holographic AdS/CFT correspondence we may assume that observers, perhaps with human-like cognitive abilities, are possible in the bulk.”</blockquote><p>Don’t forget that the bulk is NOT the interior of the shell, but a higher dimensional space bounded by the three-dimensional shell. The observers in the lab (Alice and Bob) and the observers in the bulk can communicate with each other by generating, respectively, excitations in the shell and gravitational waves in the bulk.</p><p>The shell can be engineered to correspond to a bulk where the speed of light (the maximum signal propagation speed) is much less than the speed of light in the lab. If so, Alice and Bob can engineer signals that would appear as faster-than-light (FTL) to the bulk observers. For example, Alice could extract a signal from one side of the shell and re-insert the signal immediately into the other side. (Note: this also applies to the “standard model” case above, where everything takes place in one universe. In both cases, engineers in a “base reality” can generate FTL correlations).</p><p>Then Susskind considers two quantum-entangled matter shells in the lab, which correspond to two entangled black holes in the bulk. There’s one bulk for the two shells because “this spacetime can be holographically described by considering two identical, non-interacting copies of the conformal field theory and picking a particular entangled state” (<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0106112">ref. 5</a>).</p><p>Enter <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ER%3DEPR">ER=EPR</a>: Entangled physical systems are connected by wormholes. I like ER=EPR because it provides a physical picture for whatever “happens” in quantum entanglement.</p><p>According to Susskind the two wormholes, one between the two shells in the lab, and one between the two black holes in the bulk, are really one and the same.</p><p>Susskind says that a lab observer could upload his mind to the shell and the bulk:</p><blockquote>“[What] if the bulk of such a shell has no observer? In principle the lab observer can create one by applying appropriate perturbations to the shell. In fact there is nothing to prevent her from merging her own quantum state with the shell and entering into the bulk.”</blockquote><blockquote>“If there is anything new here it is the idea that information may pass from a laboratory environment to the degrees of freedom of a physical realization of a CFT, thereby bridging the gap between the lab and the bulk. One can enter the bulk, observe it, and go back to the lab… The first step would be to act on the observer with a unitary operation that transfers his quantum state to a set of qubits. The qubits can then be combined with the circuit. An appropriate protocol, similar to quantum teleportation, can move the observer back to the lab at a later time.”</blockquote><p>Quantum information can be teleported between entangled quantum systems, and ER=EPR provides a physical picture for <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_teleportation">quantum teleportation</a>: “Quantum teleportation is teleportation through the wormhole.”</p><p>Enter Tom, a software being encoded in quantum bits (qubits) and teleported from Alice to Bob. Quantum teleportation requires transferring classical information as well, so it’s limited by the speed of light, but don’t forget that the speed of light in the shells and the bulk is much slower than the speed of light in the lab.</p><p>Susskind considers a quantum teleportation protocol that can be visualized as Tom falling into Alice’s black hole, traveling through the wormhole, and coming out from Bob’s black hole as scrambled qubits that can be unscrambled (<a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.04354">ref. 10</a>). So, Tom can tell Bob what happened in the wormhole beyond the black hole’s horizon. If Bob sends Tina, Tom and Tina can meet in the wormhole and have a chat.</p><p>Susskind thinks future advanced quantum computers could permit carrying out these experiments: “Instead of shells supporting conformal field theories, a more practical alternative might be quantum computers simulating the CFTs.” Here I stop following him (it seems to me that the simulations wouldn’t be the real physics to which Susskind’s arguments apply), but I don’t play in Susskind’s league. I guess he thinks a quantum (as opposed to classical) simulation <em>would</em> be the real physics.</p><p>These, and the possibility that general relativity and quantum mechanics could be two sides of the same coin, are Susskind’s main points.</p><p>Now let me try and interpret all that with a simulation theology slant. Alice and Bob, the engineers in the lab, create and control new universes from their base reality. Alice and Bob are like God (sorry Prof. Susskind). They send sentient agents Tom and Tina on a mission in a created universe, and retrieve them after the mission. Tom and Tina are like Jesus (sorry again).</p><p>God can use similar techniques to retrieve the native inhabitants of the universe and upload them to the base reality. This is resurrection. God can escape the physical laws of the universe by operating in the base reality where different laws apply. In particular, God can engineer FTL signals in the universe, which implies that God is not limited by time.</p><p>We can also imagine that future engineers could find ways to gain access to the base reality and operate like God. They could then teleport the dead (including you and I) from the past to the present (our future). This is uploading to the future, or technological resurrection. Eventually, future humanity could teleport itself out of the universe into the base reality.</p><p><em>Image from </em><a href="http://www.sgeier.net/fractals/index12.php"><em>S. Geier</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AdS/CFT_correspondence"><em>Wikipedia</em></a><em>.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=6212da7c6414" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/simulation-physics-and-theology-for-qubitzers-6212da7c6414">Simulation physics and theology for Qubitzers</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> You can have a faith transition but be involved with the Mormon Transhumanist Association http://www.transfigurist.org/2017/09/you-can-have-faith-transition-but-be.html The Transfigurist urn:uuid:95eab752-d0a7-b398-65b3-5620fa26dd23 Tue, 26 Sep 2017 07:13:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-R8Ek1HMFAZw/WcTxgPf4wxI/AAAAAAAABfI/HD1ruw-zkpAG6pwK5CVXuIT_QU4C-NGkgCLcBGAs/s1600/faith%2Btransition.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="276" data-original-width="400" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-R8Ek1HMFAZw/WcTxgPf4wxI/AAAAAAAABfI/HD1ruw-zkpAG6pwK5CVXuIT_QU4C-NGkgCLcBGAs/s1600/faith%2Btransition.jpg" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><br />I started this piece, and wrote this sentence, at 3:44 a.m.<br /><br />Also, I wrote this article the day it was due and went back and forth between what to write, period, for four hours.<br /><br />I wrote the text below, titled “A non-Mormon reporter…” before deciding to go with this piece instead.<br /><br />Frankly, I didn’t want to be fake. That’s because I have been rather certain for more than a year now that my involvement with the LDS church has concluded. I am, however, grateful for my involvement in the Mormon Transhumanist Association. That includes contributing to the Transfigurist – hence, this post.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">. . .</div><br />What I am certain of is that all the time my wife and I were separated, my wife would have loved for me to have brought Mormonism back into my life. How I have done that is by being involved in the MTA – I invited her a couple of times to attend meetings.<br /><br />(I say this not because I want to give her bad publicity – she’s the primary caretaker of our two toddlers and they are incredibly fortunate to be beneficiaries of her general care and kindness each and every day. I say it to illustrate just how much I appreciate engagement in the MTA and association with its wonderful members. It founder, Lincoln Cannon, has helped me think as much as any single individual has.)<br /><br />Also, I kept on vacillating overnight between wanting, metaphorically speaking, to celebrate a beautiful Mormon-belief body part, and scrapping the providing of good publicity for the church when I other parts of the body to be cancerous.<br /><br />So instead, I thought about how an article I wrote for work today, that would have suggested a dearth of consideration for local school superintendents and a lack of transparency by a state education department, got lost – and none of it saved. I read stories indicating that we may just be headed to nuclear war because of the temperament of two animalistic national leaders. I thought about how I wouldn’t have known that had I not decided to catch up on many emails with articles The Washington Post sent me, when I thought that I should read more news than I have in the past week or since I’m reporting it myself.<br /><br />I emailed my doctor, who saw me as I battled mental health challenges over walking away from the church and the family fallout, over an errand. As these actions spanned across 3 a.m., I thought about not wanting to write this article if it would be like a certain public figure’s tweeting at the hour. Then I thought that at the least, I probably wouldn’t be provoking allies both home and abroad.<br /><br />It’s now 4:15 a.m. and while wondering how to come back around to the topic expressed in the headline, I am thinking about being proud to in just two months, have gone from a domestic abuse shelter to working for a daily newspaper. I’m thinking about writing other things that would further illustrate how wonderful Lincoln and the people of the MTA are but also knowing that I would need to bring in a past incident that… does not comment on my hope today.<br /><br />I should have been able in the past four minutes to have written more than the immediate above paragraph. And that makes me consider that I may not succeed in effectively getting back to the topic.<br /><br />So I’ll just say that Mormon, non-Mormon, never-Mormon or post-Mormon (if all of the labels are fair), get involved in the MTA if you are near one of its meetup locations of Provo, Seattle and the Bay Area. <br /><br />I guess I’ll also reveal a motivation as much as any for writing a <a href="https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/case-every-mormon-transhumanist-dg/">feature</a> this past spring about the organization: I wanted to spread the word. You need to participate. Doctrine &amp; Covenants 8 says to use our minds. Isaiah wrote “let us reason together.”<br /><br />At the meetups, folks engage in significantly enriching philosophical discussion. Would you have liked to have talked with remarkably bright people (we’re talking about doctors and CEOs and real philosophers and historians), who are Latter-day Saints, about the church’s gay policy just after it was released? How about the results of the presidential election shortly after the results came in?<br /><br />The MTA would have been exactly what you were looking for. These are people who offer help on the journey only from their hearts.<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Transfigurist/~4/zYHGbqn2rPM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Make Love Win http://blaireostler.blogspot.com/2017/09/make-love-win.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:8d657d4b-d430-b844-85c0-ac7c1c49c0a0 Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:05:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tLGLEfnOcEc/WbQnoggHXsI/AAAAAAAAM4g/5-ZSJi-82hchVilMsoZlC3DM0AeF-qSwgCLcBGAs/s1600/justin-roy-220425.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="426" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tLGLEfnOcEc/WbQnoggHXsI/AAAAAAAAM4g/5-ZSJi-82hchVilMsoZlC3DM0AeF-qSwgCLcBGAs/s640/justin-roy-220425.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><span style="font-size: x-small;">(<a href="https://unsplash.com/@earthskync" target="_blank">Artist: Justin Roy</a>)</span><br /><span style="font-size: x-small;"><br /></span><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Presentation at the 2017 Affirmation LDS International Conference on 23 Sept 2017 in Provo, UT.&nbsp;</span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">Watch the presentation <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fR1rWmV3pk" target="_blank">here</a>. Starts at 10:32:17</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Hello everyone. I have been assigned the task of sharing my experience as a pansexual woman with you. This is somewhat of a challenge for me—I often have difficulty expressing my experiences and emotions. For me, it’s far easier to bury myself in my research and academia that confront the reality of my emotions, but those emotions usually surface sooner or later. As a result, I often have very vivid and imaginative dreams. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Recently, I had a beautiful dream that encapsulates my experience as a pansexual woman. I’d like to share that dream with you tonight.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">. . .<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I was preparing for a large social event that took place in at a mansion in the desert. I put on a beautiful gown that was so extravagant it seemed like a costume. I put on makeup so thick it seemed like paint. But I didn’t just put in on my face, I also put it on every part of my skin which was exposed. I brushed the paint on my skin with the skill and precision of a classically trained artist. There were some scars, bruises, and injuries, but nothing unmanageable. No imperfection was a match for my paint brush. I finished the look with a decorative silver comb in my hair. By the time I was done, I was nothing short of a vision. My exterior was flawless. Of course, I was everything a refined woman should be.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I arrived at the mansion and walked through the oversized doors that were so opulent they seemed oppressive. I could see my friends and family had already arrived, but strangely they were not wearing costumes. I saw people from my past and people from the present. It seemed as though the room was filled with every person I had ever loved, known, or met in my life. All, but one face was there.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I smiled and socialized with various people while friends and family complimented my ensemble. One friend commented, “You look so put together. How do you manage?” I continued smiling and deflected the compliment. I didn’t have an honest answer. They couldn’t see the volcano that raged inside—waiting to be released. They didn’t understand my exterior, my costume, was an illusion. It was a useful, powerful, and protective illusion. Yet, illusions only last so long.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">The costume grew heavier as the evening went on. I wanted to remove the gown, but when I tried to take my costume off I was greeted with adverse reactions by people in the room. Some were disgusted, some were scared, some were annoyed, and some were hostile. My attempts to remove my costume, to engage in honest dialogue, were often mistaken for a sexual advance.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I wandered from guest to guest, looking for any sign of authenticity. I cautiously searched for opportunities to shed my costume, but when honesty conflicted with compassion, compassion won. Honesty only seemed to cause them discomfort.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">The costume continued to weigh me down, and I found myself moving to the edges of the room seeking solace.&nbsp; I tried once more to remove my costume, but a well-meaning guest intervened and said, “I’m sure you already know this, but you can’t stay here without your costume. Don’t get me wrong. I want you to stay, but the costume is mandatory. Think of your children. If you can’t wear the costume for anyone else, surely you’re not so selfish that you wouldn’t wear it for them. Why make them suffer, because of your selfishness?” I nodded once again and agreed with the woman. I would do almost anything for my three children. I could live inside a costume for their well-being and safety. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">The straps of my gown dug into my shoulders. The textured fabric and shimmering sequins rubbed my skin raw until I began to bleed. The costume wasn’t simply heavy, it was painful. I could barely stand. Is this what is meant to be a good mother, daughter, and friend? I knew these people. I knew their faces. I knew their voices. Why was this costume a qualifier their love and friendship? With each rejection, I found myself closer and closer to the back of the large hall next to an exit.&nbsp; I looked out the back exit and saw a large garden fountain in the center of a secluded courtyard.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I quietly slipped out the back and closed the doors behind me. It was sunset and it felt good to be alone. Night was coming, but I knew I couldn’t wait until the cover of night to remove my costume. I looked around to be sure there was no one was near me before slipping the shimmering gown off my body. The weight of the gown fell to the ground with an audible thud. It was no longer my burden. I quickly stepped into the fountain, and rinsed the makeup, paint, and blood off my body. Lastly, I removed the silver comb and let my hair down. I was me again. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Liberated from my bonds, I ran to my car and hopped in the driver’s seat. I sped down the empty freeway lined with endless desert. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw the mansion shrink into the distance. All the windows were open—the wind blew across my nude body and whipped through my loose hair. Only alone, was I free. I exhaled in relief as I flew down the freeway. The isolation of the desert was protective and comforting, it’s fierce harshness meant safety. Anyone would be foolish to follow me into this wasteland. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">There wasn’t another car insight for miles other than a semi-truck far off in the distance. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I dreaded wearing the costume again. No matter how beautiful it was, no matter how desirable others found it, there was no point of existing inside a costume. My authentic existence had been quarantined—sentenced to a lifetime of confinement. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">The semi-truck driving toward me on the two-lane road was getting closer. It wouldn’t be long until our paths met on the narrow road. I thought to myself, “What is the point of existing if no one will ever know who I am? They can’t love me if they don’t know me, and what is life without love? Perhaps they are better off loving the memory of the costume they had grown so fond of. Surely my children would be better with another mother—a normal mother.” I concluded there was no reason to exist. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">The semi-truck speeding toward me was my easiest way to ensure that I’d never be imprisoned by the costume again. I looked ahead to my left gauging the proximity of the semi-truck, and set the cruise control. I forced the car door open as I sped down the freeway. I took off my seatbelt and prepared to jump. I was certain if I timed it just right, I wouldn’t feel a thing. I then looked to my right to see the sun setting over the desert one last time. I would miss the desert. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">As I turned my gaze, as if by magic, I was no longer alone. Suddenly, sitting in the passenger seat was my best friend. I was certain I was alone until that moment, but to my shock there he was, casually leaning back, also completely naked. I wondered as to how he got into the passenger seat unnoticed. I couldn’t remember consciously allowing him in. <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">He looked at me and smiled. He was calm, peaceful, confident, and strangely unsurprised by the naked queer woman preparing to jump out of the speeding car. He said only one sentence to me, “You don’t have to wear a costume with me.” <o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I smiled with relief and nodded. I leaned back inside and closed the car door as the semi-truck charged passed.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">. . .<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><o:p><br /></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I woke up from my dream startled, and wiped a tear from the corner of my eye. My heart was racing. The dream felt so real. I rolled over in bed and there was the man from my dream, my best friend sleeping beside me. The foolish man that followed me into the desert.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><o:p><br /></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">. . .<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">My dreams have a way of telling me my most inner most feelings and desires, and my dreams continually tell me we all need to be each other’s saviors. This is more than just a humanist view of a Judeo-Christian narrative.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">I imagine that everyone in this room is on a unique path concerning their faith. I have no doubt we have people here who are among the most active members of the LDS Church and we have people here who are atheists with little interest in religion or biblical narratives.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">When I say <i>savior,</i> I don’t mean that to be superstitious, mocking, or derogatory. I mean it literally. We need to be saviors to one another, right here, right now, just as the scriptures instruct. That is what it means to follow the example of Jesus and become members of the body of Christ. To quote Corinthians, “Now&nbsp;ye are the body of Christ&nbsp;and members in particular.” Christ is not Jesus, but rather Jesus exemplifies Christ. If we are to become saviors, if we call ourselves Christians, it is our duty to reconcile and overcome fear, ignorance, hate, hopelessness, and death. We must become Christ which means Christ is as queer as the members that compose its body.<o:p></o:p></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">As for me, I am still deeply inspired by my religion, even if it’s little more than a myth or pious fiction, and I don’t mean that pejoratively. The influence of myths, stories, dreams, theologies, and visons should not be underestimated and shouldn’t be considered necessarily fraudulent. Humans are storytellers. Life is a narrative and we are the authors. The story of Mormonism and Christianity is incomplete without queer voices, and make no mistake Mormons are a queer people. It is time to stop privileging views or theological interpretations that neglect the experiences of queer Mormons. We need your voice, otherwise, fear and ignorance wins, and I don’t know about you, but I’m interested in a narrative where love wins.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: justify;">Be a savior. Be Christ. You are a queer Mormon. Make your story the one that lives. Together, I believe we can make love win.</div><div class="MsoNormal" style="line-height: normal; margin-bottom: .0001pt; margin-bottom: 0in;"><o:p></o:p></div> Last General Conference Sermons of LDS Church Presidents http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2017/09/last-general-conference-sermons-of-lds.html Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:056ca319-47b7-7697-fecf-77b82d86c0a0 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:45:00 -0600 <img border="0" data-original-height="475" data-original-width="844" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lyxSJLJHXAk/WcWdwnF4zuI/AAAAAAAB_8g/CsRVH_vDrBMb741s9QGmr-dHWMyY7-J6wCLcBGAs/s1600/joseph-smith-last-sermon.jpg" /><br /><br />The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the largest Mormon denomination, has had 16 presidents since and including Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of Mormonism. My favorite sermon delivered by Joseph Smith happens to have been the last sermon he delivered to Mormons gathered for a general conference of the Church. And I thought it would be interesting to go back, identify, and read the last sermons delivered to a general conference of the Church by its other presidents over the last two centuries.<br /><a name='more'></a><br />Below is a list of the last general conference sermons delivered by LDS Church presidents. The list doesn't include President Thomas Monson. He is alive and currently serving as president of the Church, although it's unclear whether his health will permit him to speak at the next general conference, which is coming up soon. So the list only includes fifteen presidents because we can't yet identify President Monson's last general conference sermon. I've also included links to transcripts and recordings, as well as excerpts that I particularly liked, or that I found particularly interesting or illustrative of the sermon.<br /><br />On a personal note, I'm inspired by much in these sermons. And I value the insights they provide into the evolution of my religion and culture, which I love. But I can't say I agree with everything in them. With other members of the LDS Church, I sustain these persons as apostles and prophets, not because I think them infallible and not because I feel any obligation to unquestioning obedience. To the contrary, I consider them all quite fallible, every bit as human as you and I. And I consider the notion of unquestioning obedience to be a stupendously bad idea in general. To sustain a person as an apostle and prophet means, to me, to support that person in the effort to be a messenger (meaning of "apostle" in Greek) and forth-teller (function of a prophet in the Hebrew tradition, as opposed to fortune-telling) of the Gospel of Christ. And I feel that I and others do that best when we seriously listen to their words, thinking about and feeling them, whether or not we end up agreeing with them.<br /><br /><b>1) Joseph Smith</b><br /><br />Date: April 1844 (2 months before death)<br /><br />Context: Nauvoo, Illinois, before pioneer migration<br /><br />Topic: Eternal Progression (<a href="https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/King_Follett_Discourse">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Here, then, is eternal life: to know the only wise and true God. And you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”</blockquote><br /><b>2) Brigham Young</b><br /><br />Date: April 1877 (4 months before death)<br /><br />Context: Saint George, Utah, for temple dedication<br /><br />Topic: Law of Consecration (<a href="https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Journal_of_Discourses/Volume_18/The_United_Order%E2%80%94The_Duty_of_the_Priesthood,_etc.">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Supposing that the property of the whole community were divided today equally amongst all, what might we expect? Why, a year from today, we should need another division, for some would waste and squander it away, while others would add to their portion. The skill of building up and establishing the Zion of our God on the Earth is to take the people and teach them how to take care of themselves and that which the Lord has entrusted to their care, and to use all that we command to glorify his holy name. This is the work of regenerating, of elevating mankind to the higher plane of the Gospel.”</blockquote><br /><b>3) John Taylor</b><br /><br />Date: October 1884 (3 years before death)<br /><br />Context: Political exile would begin in 4 months<br /><br />Topic: Persecution of Polygamists by US Government (<a href="https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Journal_of_Discourses/Volume_25/Design_of_God_in_Relation_to_the_Earth_and_Its_Inhabitants,_etc.">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“The lowest class of men, who violate their marital relations, and trample under foot all principles of virtue and integrity, can go on our juries, can vote at the polls, through the intrigues of corrupt men. And they thus try to shackle a free people, bring them into bondage, and make slaves of them, unless they will bow to their infernal behests. And in the name of Israel's God, we will not do it. We are not going to elevate prostitutes and men who violate their marital relations above men and women who are virtuous, honorable and upright. These are my feelings, and I am not afraid to proclaim them to the world.”</blockquote><br /><b>4) Wilford Woodruff</b><br /><br />Date: April 1898 (5 months before death)<br /><br />Context: Church had publicly renounced polygamy in 1890 (8 years previously)<br /><br />Topic: Temple Work for Founders of US Government (<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=isDtAAAAMAAJ&amp;pg=PA88">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them. … Would those spirits have called upon me, as an Elder in Israel, to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not. I bear this testimony, because it is true. The Spirit of God bore record to myself and the brethren while we were laboring in that way.”</blockquote><br /><b>5) Lorenzo Snow</b><br /><br />Date: October 1901 (4 days before death)<br /><br />Context: Last president that knew Joseph Smith<br /><br />Topic: Duty of Stake Presidents (<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=vppJAAAAYAAJ&amp;pg=PA737">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“[Stake presidents] should consider the people in their respective Stakes, in their various dominions. They should regard them as their own family, as their sons and daughters; and take as deep an interest in them as they ought to take in their own wives and children. It should be their thought by day and by night, how and in what way they can be most serviceable to their respective charges. Oh, brethren, do remember these things that I am now talking about. Do not forget them.”</blockquote><br /><b>6) Joseph F. Smith</b><br /><br />Date: October 1918 (1 month before death)<br /><br />Context: World War I would end in 1 month (8 days before death)<br /><br />Topic: False Prophets (<a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=pGwwAQAAMAAJ&amp;pg=PA105">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“When you know God's truth, when you enter into God's rest, you will not be hunting after revelations from Tom, Dick and Harry all over the world. You will not be following the will of the wisps of the vagaries of men and women who advance nonsense and their own ideas. When you know the truth you will abide in the truth, and the truth will make you free, and it is only the truth that will free you from the errors of men, and from the falsehood and misrepresentations of the evil one who lays in wait to deceive and to mislead the people of God from the paths of righteousness and truth.”</blockquote><br /><b>7) Heber J. Grant</b><br /><br />Date: April 1945 (1 month before death)<br /><br />Context: World War II would end in 5 months (4 months after death)<br /><br />Topic: Good People Suffer (<a href="http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=156">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Into many of our homes sorrow has come since last conference. In the days ahead we must face the fact that more homes and more families will be broken by news of death and of other tragedies. May the peace and comfort of our Father in heaven bring its healing influence to all who are called upon to mourn and to bear affliction. And may we be strengthened with the understanding that being blessed does not mean that we shall always be spared all the disappointments and difficulties of life. We all have them, even though our troubles differ.”</blockquote><br /><b>8) George Albert Smith</b><br /><br />Date: October 1950 (6 months before death)<br /><br />Topic: Inspiration from Scripture and Ritual (<a href="http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=493">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“What I want to emphasize is this: Not only do we have all that is contained in these sacred records, but also when you have received the gospel, been baptized, had the hands of the servants of the Lord laid upon your head and received the Holy Ghost, you have a right to the inspiration of the Almighty, if you live to be worthy of it.”</blockquote><br /><b>9) David O. McKay</b><br /><br />Date: October 1969 (3 months before death)<br /><br />Context: Read by his son (he had not spoken directly in general conference since October 1966)<br /><br />Topic: Value of the Church (<a href="http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=1742">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Think what the Church is doing to help this army of leaders and teachers as individuals to become strong in the battle against the forces of the world! First, it places upon them the obligation of teaching their fellowmen by example, and there is no better safeguard placed upon an honest man or a sincere woman. Second, it develops the divine attribute of love for others. … The third requirement is purity of life. … Finally, it gives these leaders and teachers an opportunity to serve their fellowmen and thereby magnify the calling that has come to them and, indeed, to prove that they are real disciples of Christ.”</blockquote><br /><b>10) Joseph Fielding Smith</b><br /><br />Date: April 1972 (3 months before death)<br /><br />Topic: Gratitude (<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1972/04/a-prophets-blessing">transcript and recording</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“I think we should conclude on a tone of thanksgiving, of blessing, and of testimony. I have no language to convey the feelings of thanksgiving which are in my heart for the infinite and eternal blessings the Lord has given to me, to my family, to the Church, and, in fact, to the whole world.”</blockquote><br /><b>11) Harold B. Lee</b><br /><br />Date: October 1973 (2 months before death)<br /><br />Topic: End of the World (<a href="https://www.lds.org/ensign/1974/01/closing-remarks">transcript</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“[Matt 24] … Brothers and sisters, this is the day the Lord is speaking of. You see the signs are here. Be ye therefore ready. … Let us not turn a deaf ear now, but listen to these as the words that have come from the Lord, inspired of him, and we will be safe on Zion's hill, until all that the Lord has for his children shall have been accomplished. … And so, in the closing moments of this conference, I have been moved as I think I have never been moved before in all my life.”</blockquote><br /><b>12) Spencer W. Kimball</b><br /><br />Date: October 1982 (3 years before death)<br /><br />Context: Read by his secretary (he had not spoken directly in conference since April 1981)<br /><br />Topic: Mormons Are Christians (<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1982/10/the-lord-expects-righteousness">transcript and recording</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“There are some in the world who mistakenly say that we are a non-Christian Church, a cult, that we worship Joseph Smith rather than our Savior, Jesus Christ. How far from the truth they are! What heresy! … For the past century and a half since the Restoration, beginning with the Prophet Joseph Smith, the latter-day prophets of God have raised their voices in clarity and with authority and truth as they have borne their testimonies of the divinity of this great latter-day work and the redemptive power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”</blockquote><br /><b>13) Ezra Taft Benson</b><br /><br />Date: September 1989 (5 years before death)<br /><br />Context: Read by his counselor (he had not spoken directly in conference since April 1989)<br /><br />Topic: To the Elderly (<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/10/to-the-elderly-in-the-church">transcript and recording</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“May we suggest eight areas in which we can make the most of our senior years: 1. Work in the temple and attend often. … 2. Collect and write family histories. … 3. Become involved in missionary service. … 4. Provide leadership by building family togetherness. … 5. Accept and fulfill Church callings. … 6. Plan for your financial future. … 7. Render Christlike service. … 8. Stay physically fit, healthy, and active.”</blockquote><br /><b>14) Howard W. Hunter</b><br /><br />Date: October 1994 (5 months before death)<br /><br />Topic: Become Like Christ (<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1994/10/follow-the-son-of-god">transcript and recording</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“Let us follow the Son of God in all ways and all walks of life. Let us make him our exemplar and our guide. We are at a time in the history of the world and the growth of the Church when we must think more of holy things and act more like the Savior would expect his disciples to act. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, ‘What would Jesus do?’ and then act more courageously upon the answer. We must be about his work as he was about his Father's. We should make every effort to become like Christ, the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen.”</blockquote><br /><b>15) Gordon B. Hinckley</b><br /><br />Date: October 2007 (3 months before death)<br /><br />Topic: Joseph Smith (<a href="https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/the-stone-cut-out-of-the-mountain">transcript and recording</a>)<br /><br />Excerpt:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">“To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth.”</blockquote><br />[Thanks for reading! You might also be interested in "<a href="http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2012/08/the-consolation-interpretive-variation.html">The Consolation: An Interpretive Variation on the Last General Conference Sermon of Joseph Smith</a>".]<img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/LincolnCannon/~4/w4IiM2t05pw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Technological Funemployment http://www.transfigurist.org/2017/09/technological-funemployment.html The Transfigurist urn:uuid:2c24fbc5-1fd2-05cd-9145-2c0c84f3b445 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 09:41:00 -0600 <div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-top: 0pt; text-align: center;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><img height="416" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/H0rpXTgZuS6YmeDFFTrWmWhzWYBPkr2Ue7k-dsV8HBdqbvK76HhVhll9W7fW90hAbydBRylgxSolC6DTAl92rm13o2N4YucBM7KX4CyHE_R8SE_68L8bSDkeSACK3dE6BYrQJqgs" style="-webkit-transform: rotate(0.00rad); border: none; transform: rotate(0.00rad);" width="624" /></span></div><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-top: 0pt; text-align: center;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #111111; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 8pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Photo by </span><a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/F9o7u-CnDJk?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #999999; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 8pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Tony Webster</span></a><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #111111; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 8pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> on </span><a href="https://unsplash.com/?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyText" style="text-decoration: none;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: #999999; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 8pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Unsplash</span></a></div><b id="docs-internal-guid-0071dfd8-aa35-eea7-f5a9-0971d15f9bc3" style="font-weight: normal;"><br /></b><br /><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-top: 0pt; text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">For years, the spectre of technological unemployment has been exploited as the sociological apocalypse that will require all kinds of new economic interventions like a universal basic income and universal healthcare. (More on those proposed solutions in the future.) This spectre, however, is harmless. It’s a tiny kernel of truth wrapped in a triple-ply fib of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The kernel of truth is this: Automation DOES put people out of dangerous and boring work. There are centuries of hard evidence for this. Agriculture jobs? Gone. Manufacturing jobs? Done. Transportation jobs? Endangered. Technology, be it a hammer, or a thresher, or a robot, or an AI, allows people to make repetitive or strenuous tasks a breeze, so one person can do the job of many, pushing people out of that line of work. Seemingly, this is a tragedy.</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The lie is the notion that people don’t find or create other jobs. It promotes a fear that many are doomed. Thankfully, it’s easy to find examples that disprove this notion. If technology eliminated agriculture and manufacturing jobs, why are 90% of Americans not unemployed? The answer is that they found safer, more interesting work, and often in new industries that were only made possible by technology. Really, people just moved further down the pipeline, or steps were added in between where new technology created a demand for people to distribute and use it. The products of farms and lumber and quarries and mines were made into complex machines, and these new complex machines required lots of humans to sell them, operate them, repair them, insure them, etc. At the end of the day, every advancement in technology that has saved human labor in one area has created just as much or more human labor in other new areas.</span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span></div><div style="text-align: left;"><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A fast example in the </span><a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/news/artificial-intelligence-is-learning-how-to-develop-games-w502882" style="text-decoration-line: none;"><span style="color: #1155cc; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; text-decoration-line: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">video game industry</span></a><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> shows how automation technology in even the most high tech jobs is preserving and expanding the job market. Georgia Institute of Technology researchers created an AI that can recreate a game’s mechanics simply by watching gameplay. An intelligent machine like this can essentially provide a framework for a new game by looking at an old game without having to know the source code. It can just make new source code that developers can use to make new projects:</span></div></div><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 36pt; margin-top: 0pt;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br class="kix-line-break" /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">"Instead of putting people out of work, this will make it possible for people to create games that were otherwise unable to do so," Riedl said. "That makes it possible for more people to create – increasing the size of the pie instead of supplanting individuals. Second, professionals may be able to build games faster by having the system make an initial guess about the mechanics. Working more efficiently doesn’t necessarily put people out of work, but does allow them to make bigger and better games in the time available."</span></div><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-top: 0pt;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Robots in the workplace simply means that more work gets done, even with the same amount of people. Usually this just means that more satisfying work gets done. All the doom and gloom about recent technological unemployment is slowly being cleared away by the realization that if the rate of job destruction is increasing, the rate of job creation is also increasing, giving people more choices and opportunities than ever as old, stale ones fall away. As these technological processes continue to disintegrate old industries and form new ones from those ashes, we’re not seeing technological unemployment as a pervasive phenomena, but rather as a temporary restocking before employing those souls with new, more fun employments.</span><br /><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">At the end of the day, what this means is that we are slowly unlocking the most fun and challenging problems for humanity to conquer, and there’s no sign that we are finding any limits to humanity’s potential. Human ingenuity is boundless. We’ll always be standing on the shoulders of giants, venturing out into new frontiers. We’ll keep extending, not until we reach the limit of our mental and physical capacities, but until there are no frontiers left. Where are we at that point? What are we if not marching towards godliness, with ever-improving mastery over the universe, delving constantly into the depths of the yet-unknown pockets of knowledge that our universe is hiding?</span><br /><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Arthur C. Clarke once said:</span><br /><span style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span></div><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-left: 36pt; margin-top: 0pt;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">“The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play.”</span></div><br /><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-top: 0pt;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Understood in the lens of history, what I think what Clarke really means is that we are taking people away from being paid for drudgery, and towards being paid to </span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">play</span><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. The rosy future exists where robots and AI provide us all our food, health, transportation, shelter, and entertainment for free, and we simply enjoy unbridled leisure. But even if all the amenities of life are enjoyed freely, we probably won’t be slobs. Instead, we’ll be free to pursue the passions that we all have in our hearts. We’ll be “fun”-employed, due to the technological fruits of the labor of the other fun-employed people that came before us. The goal of the future, then, is full funemployment, and it’s the future we’re already marching towards. We know this because it’s the same path we’ve always been on since humanity began: the hard path, which is also the fun path.</span></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Transfigurist/~4/_eMZARBbVPs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> mother! A Dark Allegory Sacralizing the Relationship Between Religion and Secularism http://divinehumanism.tumblr.com/post/165373532288 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:55b22441-b1e9-0418-7c44-4f5151299c3b Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:17:21 -0600 <figure data-orig-width="910" data-orig-height="716" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/027680ff3cd561e15883bc4e5776c39b/tumblr_inline_owc5e1E9hx1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="910" data-orig-height="716"/></figure><p>My vitals are oatmeal, my brain is slain, my soul is recovering from the syringe-injected wtf emotion. I haven’t been this excited since Aronofsky’s last release, NOAH (2014). And BLACK SWAN (2010) before that. And THE WRESTLER (2008) before that. And…you get the point. I’ve been team Aronofsky from the beginning (Sundance 1998, where he debuted PI). And, like all of his films, I’m destroyed in the most cathartic way as the credits roll. I’m reveling in the darkness of this feeling, this theater, paralyzed with intense awe. I have strong hope there’s light dancing somewhere inside my marred head, guiding me through the fiery, hellbent tunnels of what I just experienced. And MOTHER! is an experience!<br/></p><p>What an absolutely sickening, messed up, brilliant cinematic masterpiece!!!!</p><p>Here is a film that only Aronofsky could’ve made, a film that contains a motherlode of rich interpretations, a symbolic maelstrom of ideas needing to be painfully birthed. The imagery stains, the ideas baffle, the third act impossible to predict, stomach, or prepare for. Believe me when I tell you: The barbs are real. And it makes for an ultra provocative kind of art because it’s so vulnerable, so sprawling, relevant and contentious in its reach. I might even describe it as a scalpel-sharp metaphor that rips, grinds, and eviscerates every faction of humanity ever to exist. No one is safe. Everyone is indicted. And Aronofsky, like the God of Genesis, is pissed with everyone, pissed with creation, pissed with politics and religion, with the overall state of the world, and he’s ready to burn it all down and start anew.</p><p>It’s a film that kind of plays out like NOAH — its prequel and sequel—but replaces the watery deluge with apocalyptic fire. It uses a biblical framework to shape and express a lot of political and humanitarian turmoil, and wraps them all together into one grand, outrageous, cyclical metaphor that might be difficult to grasp without a solid backing in these subjects.</p><p>MOTHER! isn’t a political or religious film per se as it is a human film commenting on the state of the world and how we endlessly abuse it. It evokes political and religious overtones to the extent of retelling the creation myth from a gnostic, secularized perspective. It’s also about a lot of other things — the social dynamics between artist, muse and feasting fandom, the creation of art itself, the downfall of civilization, of ecosystems, of human safety, the obsession with social media, tabloids and selfies, the portrait of a decaying marriage, the dangers of open-mindedness, and the list goes on. The interpretations will be myriad.</p><p>I found its retelling of the creation myth, however, one of the most moving, cross-pollinating attempts to ever sacralize the warring relationship between religion and secularism.</p><p>That retelling might go something like this:</p><p>The Earth — our world — is feminized, a Mother to all, a source of both nourishment for humanity and victim of male aggression.</p><p>Man’s aggression spawns from greed — from His dominion over Her (the Earth) — thereby becoming a catalyst for His belief in His dominion over Woman.</p><p>And so as the Earth is mastered, conquered, penetrated, plowed, tilled, burned, subdued, inhabited, and controlled, so is Woman.</p><p>Her paradisiacal garden is turned to waste, but Man continues to plant and labor and sow, and by brute sweat makes Woman yield — conceive.</p><p>The Earth — the Mother of all — “gives and gives and gives,” and in return gets invaded, pillaged, and raped, rebirthing the vicious cycle.</p><p>And Mother bears it, endures it, braves it, serves it, puts up with it.</p><p>Cruel male pagan gods divine this link between Mother and Earth, they gaslight it, and allow for the problem of evil to run amok for the sake of artistic musing and divine retribution for sin.</p><figure data-orig-width="1316" data-orig-height="758" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/87ebe85797fcf9a29b759ff1bf6f1527/tumblr_inline_owc5fi0ywv1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1316" data-orig-height="758"/></figure><p>We’ve seen Aronofsky’s pagan sensibility shine before in BLACK SWAN, where anything that manifests itself to you may be a god, but in MOTHER! this paganism pulses and groans under the weight of what I found were five highly potent, timeless, relevant-in-2017 themes:</p><blockquote>1) Mother, as an earthen vessel, holds the seeds to every noxious, selfish, unbending human crime within Her.</blockquote><blockquote>2). Mother, as an earthen vessel, may be pillaged, raped, and controlled by Man through “divine” rights, even corporation rights, unleashing the revelations and purgatories within Her.</blockquote><blockquote>3) Mother, as an earthen vessel, births, feeds, rears, nourishes, and puts up with a lot of vile, inane, intruding human garbage.</blockquote><blockquote>4) Yet Mother, even as this earthen vessel, can reach a furious, volcanic melting point, a chamber that can no longer contain the scalding pressure inside, exclaiming:</blockquote><blockquote>(!) “Enough!” (!) “No More!” (!) “The End!” (!)</blockquote><blockquote>5) Yes Mother! now as embodied, apocalyptic fury, can reject crude male taming and savagely roar back and boil over with destructive, unmatched chaos.</blockquote><figure data-orig-width="1304" data-orig-height="722" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/3c8b70fcc71f6f253b17da2ca49a997c/tumblr_inline_owc5g8p0yr1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1304" data-orig-height="722"/></figure><p>These themes stretch towards the sacred and the profane equally, finding home within the religious and irreligious alike. It’s a brand of home invasion horror that’s critical now. A story about our world bellyaching, roaring, reaching critical melting point — now! And what’s fascinating here is how Aronofsky transfers his past auteur portraits of hysteria and madness (think PI, BLACK SWAN, NOAH) over from his characters now suddenly to the lap of his audience. This will hit very close to home, and many will feel uncomfortable. In fact, the film almost plays out like Aronofsky’s middle finger to humanity at large, a venting frustration at how we mistreat each other and abuse our sacred, mother planet.</p><p>The result? Piqued reactions, confused reactions, zero neutrality, shifting accountability, and above all, a puzzle to be ciphered and querulously debated for years to come. This is the BEST kind of art. The kind that divides yet hopefully unites. It certainly is one of the most moving, thought-provoking films I’ve ever seen, one that hits personally close to home. I say this especially as a devout theist who leans on the side of a culturally religious agnosticism.</p><p>While this experience won’t be for everyone, I’d argue there’s a moral blade to the film that cuts DEEP, DEEP, DEEP into a problem that everyone is complicit in, right and left, black and white, male and female, me and you, but it isn’t necessarily preachy or scorning in presentation. Ok, it’s seriously messed up. But I reject any reading that claims Aronofsky is a misogynist or without compassion — especially for Jennifer Lawrence’s character — in part because this posture entirely misses the point by disguising a surface criticism as one that ignores the film’s larger, looming global symbolism, and the mighty realities for which those symbols stand.</p><figure data-orig-width="1216" data-orig-height="608" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/a54ac753bd6d1c1d0bba9a9eab39e97d/tumblr_inline_owc5gqwuVn1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1216" data-orig-height="608"/></figure><p>MOTHER! might be the kind of art that liberals love to hate because some are unable to fathom how bad things being depicted is not equivalent to bad things being endorsed, but merely commented, mourned and reflected on. You need look no further for evidence of this than when Javier Bardem stated in <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/09/13/javier-bardem-finally-plays-pablo-escobar-swaps-theories-mother/660765001/">an interview with USA Today</a>, “Darren is the opposite of my character…<a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/entertainthis/2017/08/09/jennifer-lawrence-talks-dating-darren-aronofsky-vogue-september-issue-interview/551668001/">He’s more into Jennifer’s character</a> than my character. When I met him, I was like, ‘Where is this darkness coming from?’ Because he is the opposite of that. He’s nice, caring, generous, funny, very creative.”</p><p>MOTHER! has a moral edge to the extent that it forgoes pleasure, or punishes it wherever it occurs, to deliver a higher message. And my reaction to the film was one of total compassion, like a surgeon cutting into rotten tissue to find what parts are still salvageable. Put differently, Aronofsky plunges DEEP, DEEP, DEEP into darkness in order to find what shards of light may be hiding there, a skill he has always excelled at. His canon of work has proven how repeatedly and exceptionally acrid his ability is to peer into the abyss to yield enlightenment. And to make great art you have to go to the darkest place, the forbidden place. MOTHER! raises this cost as an insanely moving, nuanced presentation of what happens when you stare into the abyss — the forbidden place — too long.</p><figure data-orig-width="1420" data-orig-height="936" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/f636fe977f6194848a0ac31900d29afd/tumblr_inline_owc5h8zygC1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1420" data-orig-height="936"/></figure><p>If REQUIEM FOR A DREAM is Aronofsky’s required viewing for D.A.R.E programs, MOTHER! is his required viewing for earth stewards and married couples. If NOAH is Aronofsky’s biblical making of Genesis, MOTHER! most certainly unleashes his apocalyptic, unmaking, hellfire vision of Revelation. If PI is Aronofsky getting into the confined, mentally ill space of his characters, MOTHER! is him flipping that headspace burden over to his audience. If BLACK SWAN is Aronofsky doing hysteria-horror, MOTHER! is him making BLACK SWAN wishing it were difficult material for Sunday School. If THE FOUNTAIN is Aronofsky’s metaphysical view of history, MOTHER! is him exclaiming there won’t be any history left if our course goes unaltered.</p><p>And Aronofsky was right: No matter how many trailers/snippits I read prior to watching, NOTHING could prepare me for this sacred, unholy event. NOTHING! And don’t worry, my take here won’t spoil the madness you, too, will be put through (assuming you dare to step inside his theater!). And the third act. Good sweet mother Mary of all things blessed and disturbing, the third act! Good hell. Can’t wait to follow #mothermovie on that one. In sum, I’ve never seen anything like this. Will never be the same again. And will never answer a door knock again. Thanks a lot Darren.</p><figure data-orig-width="1184" data-orig-height="800" class="tmblr-full"><img src="http://68.media.tumblr.com/f37e3a9a8958b1d05474e49f7820972a/tumblr_inline_owc5hqGw5d1qzsjbi_540.png" alt="image" data-orig-width="1184" data-orig-height="800"/></figure> Metamorphosis is Messy: a Plea for Medical Mercy http://www.transfigurist.org/2017/09/metamorphosis-is-messy-plea-for-medical.html The Transfigurist urn:uuid:a53465c3-c5cc-8a16-7df7-b5e8f10628b3 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:20:00 -0600 <div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mkPvOkyGtm0/WaMuBMD8gXI/AAAAAAAABk0/N36pkcik_FEbBiGXPYiBMOxP9iNJos4ogCLcBGAs/s1600/painted%2Bpeople%2BMontreal.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="401" data-original-width="970" height="262" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-mkPvOkyGtm0/WaMuBMD8gXI/AAAAAAAABk0/N36pkcik_FEbBiGXPYiBMOxP9iNJos4ogCLcBGAs/s640/painted%2Bpeople%2BMontreal.jpg" width="640" /></a></div><br /><div dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-bottom: 0pt; margin-top: 0pt;"><span style="background-color: transparent; color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Recently, while reading the Sunday edition of the Salt Lake Tribune, I spotted <a href="http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=5564026&amp;itype=CMSID">an article</a> about a medical malpractice suit against a local OB/GYN physician I’ve come to respect as a mentor. My first opportunity as a physician to act on my passion for transgender medicine came through the mentorship of this physician, who works in the community near my residency hospital. She routinely went out of her way to teach me and my fellow residents about obstetrics, gynecology and the art of transgender medicine without any monetary incentive. She has always modeled incredible sensitivity, expertise and fearless advocacy for her transgender patients. I thought the journalist did a decent job presenting both sides of the story, as far as possible; however, due to HIPPA (a law that protects patient health information from being disclosed) I know there is more to the story that she and her attorney are unable to share in her defense. </span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">While I do not know the patient in the case, I feel sympathy for the irreplaceable loss of their ovaries and reproductive potential. Nothing can restore what has been lost, and the best we can do is recognize, validate, and empathize, to the extent of our capacity, the pain of their loss. I must confess, seeing my mentor shamed in this very public controversy scares and saddens me, also, and part of me wonders whether I should turn back now from my passion for transgender medicine and not take the risk that someday I may find myself in the same situation. The trans community needs more, not fewer doctors. Without discounting Lesley’s pain and the loss they have suffered, let’s turn this into a constructive dialogue about how to meet the needs of the community and how to welcome and foster excellence among a new generation of trans-friendly providers.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 14.6667px; white-space: pre-wrap;">My first exposure to the unique and often tragic experience of transgender people in healthcare came in medical school as part of our reproductive health curriculum with a panel of brave transgender patients who told my class their stories and allowed us to ask very personal questions about their transitions so we could understand how to model the behaviors they appreciated and needed, and learn from the mistakes that other physicians had made. I was incredibly moved and felt passionately that, one day, I would make a place for the unique needs of these patients in my future practice.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Several months ago, as part of a “community medicine” rotation, I had the opportunity to go explore the Utah Pride Center in downtown Salt Lake City. My guide alerted me to a list of LGBTQ-friendly medical providers that they keep as a resource for their patrons and I asked that my name be put on the list, without any expectation of what may follow. What followed were several new patients who sought me out in the following months, requesting medical assistance with their gender transitions. I was honored and humbled that, even after explaining that I am a resident still in training, they were willing to trust me and embark on this journey together.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">I was quickly conscious of the fact that I needed help from experts in the field to make sure I was providing compassionate, evidence-based care for my patients. This OB/GYN was naturally the first physician I reached out to, along with other providers from the University of Utah and one of my residency faculty members who was brave enough to learn about this new field of medicine and supervise me. These mentors provided me with indispensable resources, guidance and reassurance that I need not shy away or be afraid of pursuing my passion for transgender medicine, despite the unease and thinly-veiled hostility of many medical providers towards the needs of this marginalized population. I have learned through this outreach that the vast majority of medical providers here in Utah are unwilling to come anywhere near transgender medicine--due to ignorance about the science, fear of judgment and rejection from professional peers, religious and moral unease, philosophical conflict, and, most importantly, fear of litigation. This doctor has personally suffered incredible discrimination and ostracization by her OB/GYN peers for her commitment to serve the transgender community.</span><br /><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The evidence is clear that people who suffer from gender dysphoria </span><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">need</span><span style="color: black; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> to transition to the gender they identify with to preserve their mental and physical health, and yet there are very few medical providers, especially in politically conservative Utah, &nbsp;who are willing to meet these needs. It takes courage, passion and love to overcome these barriers as a physician and follow one’s conscience to do the right thing, no matter the social, financial and legal consequences. No physician I know has shown more courage, passion, and love for the LGBTQ community than my mentor</span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">My fellow residents and I recently watched a </span><a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwja85LYnPjVAhUF92MKHXCnArMQyCkIKjAA&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ted.com%2Ftalks%2Fbrian_goldman_doctors_make_mistakes_can_we_talk_about_that&amp;usg=AFQjCNFCpEhJKX1XnUVC5rTLUZ5isRlhkg" style="font-family: arial; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">TEDx talk</a><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"> together, in which an emergency room physician from Toronto does the unthinkable: he openly admits that he has made mistakes, which in some cases have led to terrible consequences for his patients, even death. He highlights that in medicine we have a culture of error-denial, strengthened by unrealistic public expectations, which insists that we must be perfect. In reality we, too, are human and work in systems that put too much emphasis on our individual abilities, acumen, diagnostic prowess and memory, and not enough on recognizing the limits of our cognitive abilities, and the systematic deprivation of our basic human needs (sleep, recovery, exercise, etc.). When mistakes occur, these systems are too quick to blame the “bad apples” and too slow to root out the systematic flaws that are truly the cause of these harms.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">When doctors make a mistake (and we ALL make mistakes), there are few legitimate avenues for us (not tied to repercussion and judgement) to talk with others so we can process it and help others learn and decrease the chance of the same mistake happening again. It goes unsaid, unexamined, and what remains is a culture of shame and social withdrawal from the community of our peers. It is easy to see how such a culture leads to vicious cycles of self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and self-fulfilling prophecies that we are bad doctors, unworthy of our profession and the sacred trust of our patients. The truth is, if you eliminated all the doctors who make mistakes, including ones that hurt people, there would be none left.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maybe someday we will be replaced by super-intelligent diagnostic algorithms, pill dispensers and surgical robots, but until then we are the best generation of physicians and healers the world has yet seen. We will prevent, reverse and manage suffering with unprecedented efficiency, and aided by our tools we will detect, treat and cure more disease than ever before. Our profession will continue to expand into new realms, such as transgender medicine, life extension and enhancement. Despite the promises of modern medicine and our best efforts to live by and practice our credo of “First, Do No Harm,” our actions will have unintended consequences and, in increasingly rare cases, we will continue to cause pain, suffering, and death. Part of our job is to help our patients understand this conundrum through the process of informed consent, and to own our mistakes, apologize, learn and teach when we inevitably make them.</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Please try to see us as human, like you, and also as humanists who have dedicated our lives to doing the best we can to improve the human condition through medical science and compassion. The vast majority of us are not here for the money, but for the love of our art, a love which helps us overcome the fear of being sued if and when we fail. Please also recognize that medicine is risky business and actively engage with us in the process of informed consent for the screenings, tests, treatments and procedures we offer you. May we create a new model of shared medical decision making and risk taking as we approach the future of medicine, a future that includes morphological freedom and enhancement. </span></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Transfigurist/~4/Uvpd8i5gqr0" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> I Cosmisti Russi: Il futurismo esoterico di Nikolaj Fedorov e dei suoi seguaci, finalmente in… https://turingchurch.net/i-cosmisti-russi-il-futurismo-esoterico-di-nikolaj-fedorov-e-dei-suoi-seguaci-finalmente-in-22cfaab2de54?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:98c8eece-e965-f2b5-aaa1-5ac5fb936e00 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 07:29:31 -0600 <h3>I Cosmisti Russi: Il futurismo esoterico di Nikolaj Fedorov e dei suoi seguaci, finalmente in italiano</h3><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*Jgy62kCuMO1pDbpKLM8QYQ.jpeg" /></figure><p>È con grande piacere che ho ricevuto una copia della traduzione italiana dell’opera di George Young, <em>“</em><a href="https://www.amazon.it/cosmisti-futurismo-esoterico-Nikolaj-Fedorov/dp/8886755406"><em>I Cosmisti Russi: Il futurismo esoterico di Nikolaj Fedorov e dei suoi seguaci</em></a>”.</p><p>Conoscevo già il libro: Ecco <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2014/01/01/the-russian-cosmists/">la mia recensione della versione originale</a>, dove parlo anche del <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0109ccb">film di George Carey</a>.</p><p>La versione e-book che avevo chiesto non era disponibile, ma mi ha fatto molto piacere rileggere un’ottima traduzione del libro in italiano, in un’edizione cartacea di alta qualità.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1000/1*3ZTEqvqtxvaZRCEa9fsp_Q.jpeg" /></figure><p>Dalla descrizione di <a href="http://www.treditori.com/">Tre Editori</a>: “I Cosmisti, i futuristi esoterici che ispirarono il programma spaziale sovietico, sono la forza occulta dietro lo sviluppo del pensiero russo dalla fine dell’Ottocento a oggi: dal fondatore, il filosofo Nikolaj Fëdorov (1829–1903), che mirava a superare la morte attraverso la resurrezione degli antenati, ai successori che, per rendere possibile tale utopia, hanno sognato e poi promosso l’esplorazione e la conquista dello spazio. Il libro del professor Young è il principale contributo allo studio del Cosmismo russo e dei suoi legami con l’esoterismo occidentale, ma è soprattutto lo straordinario racconto di una grande avventura che continua, di un fantastico viaggio nel cosmo e nel divenire dell’uomo, sino ai confini occulti della creazione”.</p><p>Il “Cristianesimo attivo, vigoroso e virile” di Fëdorov lascia da i parte fronzoli metafisici e le sottigliezze teologiche di tanta filosofia astratta, e sembra piuttosto seguire Marx: non basta interpretare il mondo, bisogna trasformarlo! Secondo Fëdorov l’avvento del Regno di Dio sulla terra e la stessa resurrezione dei morti saranno opera dell’umanità futura attraverso la scienza e la tecnologia. Questa favolosa “Opera Comune” porterà i nostri discendenti a creare un paradiso sulla terra, colonizzare le stelle, e sviluppare la capacità tecnologica di resuscitare i morti.</p><p>Fëdorov e gli altri Cosmisti vengono spesso, e giustamente, considerati come precursori del Transumanesimo contemporaneo, ma in realtà il Cosmismo è molto più visionario e rivoluzionario. Gli stessi Transumanisti hanno spesso difficoltà a mandare giù il concetto di resurrezione tecnologica, probabilmente perché sembra troppo simile alla religione dalla quale vorrebbero prendere le distanze.</p><p>Oltre Fëdorov, il libro di Young offre una completa panoramica del pensiero Cosmista in tutti i suoi aspetti, scientifici, letterari, filosofici e religiosi, con mini-biografie dei pensatori Cosmisti, una serie di personaggi più o meno conosciuti ma tutti affascinanti, fino ai “neo-Cosmisti” russi dei nostri giorni.</p><p>Infatti il Cosmismo è anche, e soprattutto, una filosofia moderna, che va molto al di là dello stesso Transumanesimo. “Il termine ‘cosmismo’ è stato introdotto da Konstantin Tsiolkovsky e altri futuristi russi negli ultimi anni dell’ottocento, e poi preso in prestito da Ben Goertzel e Giulio Prisco nel 2010 per indicare una filosofia futurista più adatta all’era moderna”, scrive R.U. Sirius (quello di <em>Mondo 2000</em>) nella mini-enciclopedia “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Transcendence-Disinformation-Encyclopedia-Transhumanism-Singularity/dp/1938875095"><em>Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity</em></a>”.</p><p>R.U. Sirius definisce il Cosmismo moderno come “una specie di versione filosoficamente rilassata del Transumanesimo”. Rilassata perché i Cosmisti non sono ossessionati dalla morte, dalla quale sperano di essere richiamati in un futuro più o meno remoto. I Cosmisti percorrono l’affascinante strada delle stelle con entusiasmo ma senza fretta: invece di correre, si godono i primi passi verso una meta trascendente alla quale, pensano, arriveremo tutti.</p><p>Due anni fa ho partecipato, con Ben e altri, a una conferenza a New York sul “<a href="https://harpers.org/archive/2016/01/everything-that-rises/">Cosmismo Moderno</a>”. Nel mio intervento ho immaginato tecnologie future di “archeologia quantistica”, fondate sulle parti più speculative della relatività generale di Einstein e la fisica quantistica moderna, in grado di collegare ogni pixel dello spazio-tempo (dove e quando) con ogni altro pixel dello spazio-tempo, stabilire canali di comunicazione istantanea tra luoghi, tempi e universi differenti, e “scaricare” copie dei morti pre riportarli alla vita, realizzando così la visione di Fëdorov.</p><p>Queste idee sembrano moderne e scientifiche, ma probabilmente sembreranno ingenue ai nostri pronipoti, proprio come le idee di Fëdorov, che immaginava di poter riportare i morti alla vita raccogliendo e riorganizzando le molecole che formavano i loro corpi, sembrano ingenue a noi. A Fëdorov va il merito di aver formulato il concetto di resurrezione tecnologica, un concetto semplice e potente che può servire da ponte tra religione e scienza, ad altri andrà il compito di progettare come realizzarlo.</p><p>Intanto raccomando il libro appena uscito “<a href="https://turingchurch.net/book-review-technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-e651b8c78fb6"><em>Technological Resurrection: A Thought Experiment</em></a>” per una versione semplice a accessibile delle idee di Fëdorov, in chiave moderna. Il libro potrebbe, letteralmente, cambiare la vita del lettore con una ricarica di ottimismo e speranza.</p><p><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Planets_Under_a_Red_Sun.jpg"><em>Immagine</em></a><em>: NASA.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=22cfaab2de54" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/i-cosmisti-russi-il-futurismo-esoterico-di-nikolaj-fedorov-e-dei-suoi-seguaci-finalmente-in-22cfaab2de54">I Cosmisti Russi: Il futurismo esoterico di Nikolaj Fedorov e dei suoi seguaci, finalmente in…</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p> The Gospel of Tron http://www.transfigurist.org/2017/09/the-gospel-of-tron.html The Transfigurist urn:uuid:2932cb41-c415-c31f-2a68-1a456ff65d77 Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:45:00 -0600 <br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-K1JQvgRmNDM/Wba45u0YQXI/AAAAAAAAByI/RGXanEjj6tMgnpdchsXM6evHGJb-Fbp1ACLcBGAs/s1600/retro-2426631_620.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="349" data-original-width="620" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-K1JQvgRmNDM/Wba45u0YQXI/AAAAAAAAByI/RGXanEjj6tMgnpdchsXM6evHGJb-Fbp1ACLcBGAs/s1600/retro-2426631_620.png" /></a></div><br /><br />In an <a href="http://www.transfigurist.org/2015/01/faith-creation-and-programming.html">early blog post to the Transfigurist</a>, I wrote some thoughts on the relationship to faith, creation, and programming:<br /><br /><blockquote class="tr_bq">What is particularly interesting about programming is that the creative process occurs in the abstract only. Yes, the program is stored on disk in the form of magnetic variations, but even this is invisible to the human eye and is not the purpose for which the program is created. A program is not the series of characters typed by the programmer. Rather the substance of a program is thought itself, concept described. Working this close to raw thought not just at the beginning of the creative process but all throughout the program’s creation requires a high level of concentration and mental exertion but likewise delivers a high level of satisfaction and joy.&nbsp;</blockquote><blockquote class="tr_bq">While the details of exactly what 'spiritual creation' is may be unclear, this process of creating implementable concepts and structures mentally surely must play a pivotal role. Thus, as we practice and participate in the process of creation and exercise our faculties (mental, physical, and spiritual), we draw nearer to God and learn more about the nature of eternity. This is why programming is, and many other creative processes are, so joyful. The creative process is itself a symbol of Eternity.</blockquote><br />And elsewhere I've written about how I feel <a href="http://www.transfigurist.org/2015/05/emergent-mormon-perspectives-on.html">life, creation, and God are fundamentally emergent phenomena</a>:<br /><blockquote class="tr_bq"><br />Mormonism sees mankind both as the beneficiaries of this kind of emergent God in our past and present; but continues with our becoming benefactors of this divine gift as mankind evolves and emerges into and merges with God in our future. <a href="https://new-god-argument.com/">The New God Argument</a> lays out some of the logical underpinnings of this idea. And it's this kind of self-referential or cyclical pattern, capable of infinite diversity, that I previously explored as having <a href="http://www.transfigurist.org/2015/04/mormonism-and-fractal-lineage-of-gods.html">fractal attributes</a>... Creating environments out of which infinitely diverse and entirely novel intelligences can emerge as co-eternal, independent minds becomes the final, inexhaustible frontier.&nbsp;</blockquote><br />One work of fiction that I think captures this essence of emergence and co-eternal creation is the movie '<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1104001">Tron: Legacy</a>'. [SPOILERS] In the movie a vast, immersive, virtual world is created by Flynn. In that world, Flynn seeks to create a "perfect system" of control and order. But as he tries to design this system from the ground up something else happens: the "miracle", as he calls it. Out of the system emerges a new kind of life: the ISOs. This discovery completely changed Flynn's view of the value of the system. Rather than building programs that were only ever reducible to their programming, this discovery would forever alter consciousness and was ultimately what Flynn was willing to sacrifice everything for.<br /><br />Flynn describes how the ISOs "didn't come from anywhere", that the conditions were right and that they came into being, like a flame. The ISOs had a wisdom and ability beyond the reductive algorithms of control and order he had been using. But as Flynn seeks to introduce the ISOs to the real world, he is betrayed by the programs he employed to create the "perfect system". The antagonist program, Clu, saw the ISOs as a threat to order and perfection which ultimately drove him to rebel and seek to destroy Flynn's efforts and dreams. Clu rejected the emergent properties of the system since they didn't fit his mandate of reductive creation of control and order, leads the programs to destroy the ISOs, and Flynn ends up trapped and exiled in the system. Mormons can see echoes of our own religious notions of pre-earth life with Satan seeking perfect control and order and rebelling against God's plan for the souls of mankind that is not reductive to control and order.<br /><br />Here's a clip of Flynn remembering these events:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/BUCBTize2mg/0.jpg" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BUCBTize2mg?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><br /><br />Flynn's son Sam, retracing his father's steps, discovers this virtual world and enters into it. He finds his father, exiled, and the world ruled by Clu. As he tries to escape with his father and Quorra (the last ISO), Quorra is damaged and Flynn tries to repair her. &nbsp;During the repair, Flynn's son Sam asks him if he created the ISOs. Flynn's response was that he created "some of it" but that ultimately there were emergent properties that were "beyond him".<br /><br />Here's a clip of that exchange:<br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><iframe width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/GRCI-dZrBwA/0.jpg" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GRCI-dZrBwA?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></div><br /><br />Stepping away from the story, Tron Legacy underscores an important question in the field of artificial intelligence: Is general AI something we reductive design, is it an emergent phenomenon, or both?<br /><br />To be clear, saying AI is emergent does not mean we just sit back and watch it emerge (as <a href="https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/17/google_ai_hogwash/">Google's Alfred Spector correctly argues against</a>). The act of creating general AI is like any creative act: it requires active work by the creator in the medium of creation. But it is entirely different from other forms of creation (saving biological reproduction) in that the creation itself wakes up, becomes aware of its medium, and can transcend its origins. In the field of AI this is described as "recursive self-improvement" which can lead to an intelligence explosion.<br /><br />While there is a great amount to say about <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_AI">weak AI</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_general_intelligence">strong AI</a>, and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superintelligence">super-intelligence</a>, I think there are lessons to learn in works of fiction like Tron Legacy which explore the contrasts between creating systems of reductive control and order vs <a href="http://research.baidu.com/ai-agent-human-like-language-acquisition-virtual-environment/">systems tuned for emergence</a>, the limits and conflicts between those two approaches, and the risks and opportunities of both. And I think the hope or "good news" (gospel) of works like Tron is that in working with AI, our creations may be able to transcend our thinking and show us things more amazing than we ever imagined.<br /><br /><br /><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/Transfigurist/~4/4mIBJln6Ubs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Book review: Technological Resurrection, by Jonathan Jones https://turingchurch.net/book-review-technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-e651b8c78fb6?source=rss----532cbd3a501a---4 Mormon Transhumanist Association External Opinions urn:uuid:c572dfdc-a5fb-d728-91bd-47900924339b Fri, 08 Sep 2017 02:08:49 -0600 <figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1024/1*mZVZsu0fh_hCNQCzQjfanw.jpeg" /></figure><p>The recently published book “<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Technological-Resurrection-Experiment-Jonathan-Jones-ebook/dp/B075659GK3"><em>Technological Resurrection: A Thought Experiment</em></a>,” by Jonathan Jones, is a little gem. It only costs $1.26, and provides a short and readable first introduction to our ideas on technological resurrection.</p><figure><img alt="" src="https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/333/1*LgT2QGe2zaWeqNsAUXpVaA.jpeg" /></figure><p>If you value hours of informative, thought-provoking and entertaining reading more than $1.26, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Technological-Resurrection-Experiment-Jonathan-Jones-ebook/dp/B075659GK3">buy the book</a> now. It’s so refreshing being able to pay a small sum to a deserving writer, instead of downloading a pirated version of one of those expensive books.</p><p>If you read me, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the concept of technological resurrection: The idea that we’ll all be resurrected — copied to the future — by future hyper-advanced technology based on quantum weirdness, time scanning, wormholes, and whatnot. If so, read the book for a refreshing summary with some new twists, and give the book to your friends. Some of them will thank you.</p><p>If you are not familiar with the concept of technological resurrection and want to find out more, perhaps because you are looking for scientifically believable alternatives to traditional religion, then Jones’ book has been written for you.</p><p>In my favorite passage, Jones mentions “Nothingness” as a possible answer to the question of what comes after death, but quickly dismisses the possibility because it tastes like tofu:</p><blockquote>“We’re told that it’s the most sensible, best option. And it will be good for us. But what’s the point of life, we keep asking ourselves, if all we ever get to eat is tofu?”</blockquote><p>I interpret this as a perfect reply to the “cultural” thought police and the bureaucrats of philosophy who want to eliminate what remains of spiritual imagination and hope. Screw tofu, I want pizza.</p><p>Jones’ much better answer, inspired by <a href="http://turingchurch.com/2014/01/01/the-russian-cosmists/">Nikolai Fedorov and the Russian Cosmists</a>, is very similar to mine: We will be resurrected by future humans by means of science and technology. Technological resurrection works like this:</p><ul><li>1, looking back through time using some future technology built on quantum weirdness;</li><li>2, using the information retrieved from the past to “print” a copy of your body and mind;</li><li>3, retrieving your consciousness from the past; and finally</li><li>4, inserting your consciousness into your new body.</li></ul><p>Simple, isn’t it? Well, perhaps not that simple, but super-intelligent AIs will be there to help.</p><p>Most technological resurrection procedures that have been imagined based on this “uploading to the future” concept stop at step 2. If your mind is there in the future, what more can you want? Our grandchildren could even skip printing a physical body/brain and insert your mind into a new robotic body, or a software “body” in a virtual world.</p><p>Jones disagrees and makes a difference between “technological re-creation,” which stops at step 2, and real “temporal resurrection,” which includes steps 3 and 4. Eventually, Jones says, “scientists will master re-creation and turn their attention to temporal resurrection.”</p><p>But what’s the difference? According to Jones, there are “particles within our nervous system that actually hold the ‘pattern of our consciousness’.” Step 3, retrieving a consciousness from the past, will require quantum technologies able to retrieve those particles from the past, and “quantum shenanigans and super AI to pull off.” Then the physical consciousness can be teleported (moved, not copied) to the future.</p><p>I don’t deny that consciousness could live in unique physical systems in the brain, which can’t be reduced to classical bits. Something like a standing wave of quantum bits, or things like that. I have speculated about this possibility in <a href="https://turingchurch.net/consciousness-crystal-brains-and-superintelligence-in-the-superfluid-quantum-vacuum-a419938bf04">this essay</a> and <a href="https://turingchurch.net/a-super-toy-model-for-scientific-theology-db3674bbfaa3">a follow-up series</a>.</p><p>I disagree with a couple of Jones’ points, and I would have said a couple of other things differently, but “<em>Technological Resurrection</em>” is a VERY GOOD, insightful, refreshing, and entertaining book, which could bring some hope and happiness to millions of people and perhaps, as the author says at the end, give them the energy to make this world a better place here and now.</p><p>One point of disagreement is that I just don’t buy the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity">Singularity</a> thing. Instead of a pristine exponential take-off of ultra-superness, I see much slower business-as-usual progress against the inevitable messiness and friction of real-world technology and politics. I admire <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_kurzweil">Ray Kurzweil</a> a lot, but I don’t take his optimistic predictions too seriously.</p><p>So I think all that Jones says will eventually be achieved, but not in a couple of hundred years. More like many thousand years or more. When that happens, I don’t think humans will live on Earth or be based on biology as-we-know: They’ll live among the stars in <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computronium">computronium</a> realities (or weirder) that we wouldn’t understand. Of course, they could (and I think they will) build virtual theme parks that look like the good old times for the newly resurrected to have an easier transition, like Jones predicts.</p><p>I think the book gives too much space to ghosts (they are really projections from the future, inconspicuous enough to preserve the integrity of space-time), but I realize most readers will like that. The book presents our ideas in a very simplified way without going into details, scientific theories, philosophical depth etc. but I consider this as a feature rather than a bug: what the world needs right now is <strong>a short, simple, easy to read and emotionally appealing introduction to the idea of technological resurrection</strong>.</p><p>Some time ago in the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/turingchurch/">Turing Church Facebook group</a> we discussed <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/turingchurch/permalink/899245123485885/">how to promote our ideas on technological resurrection</a>, and I said that “lack of interest in techno-resuddection is our fault, because we haven’t (yet) found ways to make the idea emotionally compelling…. people tend to make up their minds first (based mostly on emotions) then use rationality to justify it later. <strong>We need the emotional killer app for our ideas</strong>.”</p><p>I think “<em>Technological Resurrection</em>” is a short, simple, easy to read and emotionally appealing introduction to the idea of technological resurrection,and a good step toward the emotional killer app that could make our ideas popular.</p><p>The book includes short science fiction stories to illustrate various steps of the temporal resurrection process, and references related science fiction films and novels, including my favorite “<a href="http://turingchurch.com/2013/12/29/catching-the-light-of-other-days/"><em>The Light of Other Days</em></a>” (2000), by Stephen Baxter based on a synopsis by Arthur C. Clarke, and “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortality,_Inc."><em>Immortality, Inc.</em></a>” (1959), by Robert Sheckley, a fictional treatment quite compatible with Jones’ approach.</p><p>Sadly, most books self-published on Amazon Digital Services are only read by a handful of people, but let’s try to promote this book all over the internet. “<em>Technological Resurrection</em>” could be a life-changing book for some people out there.</p><p><a href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Praying_with_Patient.jpg"><em>Picture</em></a><em> from Wikimedia Commons.</em></p><img src="https://medium.com/_/stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSource=full_rss&postId=e651b8c78fb6" width="1" height="1"><hr><p><a href="https://turingchurch.net/book-review-technological-resurrection-by-jonathan-jones-e651b8c78fb6">Book review: Technological Resurrection, by Jonathan Jones</a> was originally published in <a href="https://turingchurch.net">Turing Church</a> on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.</p>