Carl Youngblood at European Mormon Studies Conference

Association CIO Carl Youngblood will be presenting at the upcoming European Mormon Studies Conference, taking place Saturday, 14 December 2013 from 10am to 6pm at the Hyde Park LDS Chapel in London.

The subject of Carl’s presentation is “Demythologizing Mormonism.” Theologian Paul Tillich described “myths” as a special subset of the symbols of faith in the form of “stories about divine-human encounters.” Contrary to popular understanding, such myths are not untrue. They can even be, and often are, based on historical events. But their strength is not derived from their historicity. It comes from their being powerful motivational narratives that will still be relevant long after the historical incidents that led to their emergence. The experiences of the "mythic" heros of Mormonism, most notably Joseph Smith, continue to resonate with believers throughout the world. But the gap between the modern world and the one that Joseph inhabited continues to widen, and a work of translation is necessary if these narratives are to continue to motivate contemporary audiences. This paper explores how paradigm shifts can render myths inaccessible and how myths must be "broken" (in Tillich's parlance) in order to remain relevant. It also examines some potential applications of Tillich's theory to Mormon doctrines and practices.

Carl Youngblood has worked professionally as a software engineer for over fifteen years. He received a bachelor's degree in Portuguese from Brigham Young University and a masters in computer science from the University of Washington. He co-founded the Mormon Transhumanist Association in 2006, where he currently serves as director and CIO.

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