Your gift will be doubled!



Dear members and friends of the Mormon Transhumanist Association,

You're invited to join me in giving a gift to the Mormon Transhumanist Association this Christmas season. We have just received an offer from another generous member to match your donation this year up to $3000!

The association will use your doubled donation to promote practical understandings of the Gospel of Christ, that complement science and technology. More specifically, it will cover costs of our annual conference, expansion of our video library, and maintenance of our websites. It will also help the association grow into new projects and services, such as the technological humanitarian work we've done this year.

Small or large, all donations add up to make a real difference. Please donate by this coming Thursday, 31 December 2015. Remember that your donation of $100 or more qualifies you to become a voting member of the association. And remember that all donations are tax deductible in the United States.

Here's the link to give your gift:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Z7DMMYU9AUR4C

Thank you so much!

Lincoln Cannon
President and Board Member
Mormon Transhumanist Association

Mormon Transhumanist Association at Sunstone West



Mormon Transhumanist Association board members Blaire Ostler, Carl Youngblood, Christopher Bradford, Dorothy Deasy, and Joseph West will speak at the Sunstone West Symposium in Berkeley CA on 30 January 2016.

The theme of the conference this year will be Mormons and technology. A complete schedule and registration are available on the Sunstone West conference website. The Mormon Transhumanist Association is sponsoring recording of the conference, and will make videos available on its YouTube channel afterwards.

Carl Youngblood at Mormon Matters on Demythologizing



The Mormon Matters podcast recently featured Carl Youngblood, vice president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, as well as association member Jordan Harmon. With host Dan Wotherspoon and Derrick Clements, they discussed the positive spiritual effects of disenchantment and demythologizing.

Here is the description of the podcast episode from Mormon Matters:

"Throughout our life cycle, we are all called to reexamine the truths, values, beliefs, and stories that suggest key purposes for living and give meaning to the things we do. In most areas of life, when we see cracks in our understanding or problems in the way we do things we usually find somewhat gentle ways to admit the issues that need addressing and to cast about for resources and new views that might aid or drive the needed changes. However, when it comes to the things we sense as life’s biggest value giver or most important stories or framings, what theologian Paul Tillich calls our “Ultimate Concern,” admitting that shifts are needed is much more difficult. And because for most of us, our Ultimate Concern involves God, anxiety about death or salvation, and other elements of life with seemingly very big consequences should we be wrong—the stakes are raised even higher. The problem is, however, these things of Ultimate Concern are not tangible in the way that much of life is. We can’t see them clearly or use any of our other physical senses to help us articulate them. Instead, we need metaphors and symbols and rituals and community dialogue to continually “point toward” them, to direct our attention to their looming presence even in their physical absence. Unfortunately, once we begin relying on these symbols and metaphors, quite naturally our minds begin to forget that these are not the things of Ultimate Concern themselves but only directors and encouragers, stories and practices that are to aim our attention to concerns and energies that lie beyond themselves.

"All of us can recognize this danger, and we have likely experienced it ourselves. Furthermore most religions also understand this, and some better than others actually build in practices or have frequent conversations that talk about how we can end up focusing on the symbol rather than what it symbolizes, the literalness of a story versus its narrative and transformational power. These practices and conversations remind us to try to experience fresh the Divine or these Ultimate values and concerns, to allow our symbols and myths to “break” and remind us, again and again, that they were never intended to substitute for experiencing the things they point to. In these religions, we can find deliberate attempts to “disenchant” their followers with the symbols and old stories, sometimes in shocking ways, so they won’t focus on the wrong things. Or they will talk about the important role of “de-mythologizing,” of reminding ourselves that the powerful stories of our traditions, though often based upon real events or experiences of founders and others, also have mythic elements that must be sorted through. Sometimes the sorting leads to peeling back the layers to find an original core set of energies that gave and give life to the tradition; in other cases the process is to embrace the mythic elements even more thoroughly as a way of sending followers out of day-to-day consciousness and into more imaginative realms (but also ways of thinking that can allow the inrush of new insight and fresh transformative energies).

"This two-part podcast features Derrick Clements, Jordan Harmon, and Carl Youngblood, along with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon, exploring the difficulties but also the rich blessings of becoming disenchanted, and/or entering into conscious demythologizing. The first part and a bit of the second focus mostly on how this process operates (and could operate better) at a personal level. The second part then folds into a discussion of how Mormonism as an institution might work more effectively to move us into the more powerful experiential realms that can follow upon “brokenness”—whether of symbols, myths, or our hearts. The episodes contain fascinating ethnographic material from Hopi and other cultures, strong exegesis from Paul Tillich and other thinkers, and the participants’ own life stories and experiences with these processes."

Visit Mormon Matters to listen.

2015 Member Survey



Dear members of the Mormon Transhumanist Association,

The association's annual member survey for 2015 is now available. All members of the association are invited to participate, and hopefully everyone will. That includes you! Here's the link to the survey:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16YbDTQCdHsGwxpKMBYTrR2sIHCTB2U3HpPQn5XSrJt8/viewform

This year, association leadership has included an optional section of questions on ideological identity. Your answers to these questions will help leadership make better informed decisions, representing your interests and perspectives.

The survey will run until 31 December, as usual, and you will be able to edit your responses until that time. Please complete the survey as soon as possible. In coming days, association leadership will reach out to members who have not completed the survey. Your early participation will decrease the amount of work they need to do, making the project easier. Thank you!

Brent Allsop
Member Survey Manager
Mormon Transhumanist Association

2016 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association on 9 April



The Mormon Transhumanist Association is pleased to announce that next year's annual conference will take place on Saturday, 9 April 2016, at the Provo City Library.

Our transhumanist keynote speaker will be Eric Steinhart, author of Your Digital Afterlives: Computational Theories of Life after Death and professor in the Department of Philosophy at William Paterson University. Eric holds degrees in computer science and philosophy and has previously worked as a software engineer. He has written extensively on Nietzsche, metaphor, computing, technology, and religion. Our Mormon keynote speaker will be announced later.

We invite you to submit papers for the conference. The aim of this conference is to address the many issues and topics that lie at the intersection of technology and religion, and their impacts on society, and culture including art, music, entertainment, and on society in general. Contributions need not focus only on specifically Mormon religious issues. Papers should be approximately two to seven pages in length and should include full citations, references, footnotes, etc. Presenters are encouraged to make use of multimedia aids, such as slides, to make their presentations more engaging. Potential conference topics include:

Philosophy, Theology and the Sociology of Religion: The secularization hypothesis and its implications for religion and religious organizations; post-secularization; ethics; faith and rationality; religious anthropology; philosophy of religion; scriptural hermeneutics; demythologization; post-modern religion; religious naturalism; social anthropology of technology; sociology of technology; technology and spirituality; feminism and gender issues; technology and gender.

Transhumanism: Transhuman-ism and trans-humanism; evolution and the great filter argument; Moore’s law, Kurzweil’s law and the technological singularity; the pace of technological change; evolution; the evolution of technology; simulation argument; solar energy; genome sequencing; synthetic biology; 3D printing; genetics and biotech; nanotech and molecular machines; robotics and artificial intelligence; substrate independent minds; mind uploading; consciousness; cultural impact of technology; coping with the pace of technological change; neuroscience

Transfigurism: rejecting fundamentalism; rejecting anti-religiosity; transfigurist science; transfigurist politics; transfigurist art; promoting benevolence; promoting creativity; engineering transfiguration; engineering resurrection; engineering renewal of this world; engineering worlds without end; the New God Argument

Please send submissions in RTF, PDF, MS Word or Google Doc format to admin@transfigurism.org. Include author's full name, contact information, and title.

Some funding is available to reimburse portions of travel for presenters. Please indicate interest in being considered for travel support in the submission email.

For more information, visit the official website of the Mormon Transhumanist Association at transfigurism.org. Recordings of presentations from previous years are available on our YouTube channel.

Important dates
Conference Paper Submission Deadline: February 1, 2016
Presentation Invitation Notification Date: March 1, 2016
Conference Date: April 9, 2016

Carl Youngblood Discusses Myth-Breaking on A Thoughtful Faith Podcast



Carl Youngblood, VP and COO of the MTA, was recently interviewed by James Patterson of A Thoughtful Faith podcast. The interview touches on transhumanism and Carl's involvement in the Mormon Transhumanist Association, as well as his research on how Mormon narratives can be demythologized in our post-secular era to revitalize faith.

Dorothy Deasy Appointed Chief Humanitarian Officer of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



The Mormon Transhumanist Association is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dorothy Deasy to serve as Chief Humanitarian Officer. Dorothy will continue to serve in her positions as board member and secretary of the board. Humanitarian managers, Hank Pellissier and Roger Hansen, will also continue to serve in their positions.

The Association engages in humanitarian efforts for a variety of reasons. Partly it is because the projects reflect the motivations and passions of their respective project leaders, such Hank Pellissier's desire to help people in Uganda to reach their potential, Kathy Wilson's hope to ease the hardship of dalits in India, or Roger Hansen's work to bring joy to children growing up in poverty in Africa. The over-arching reason is that we are inspired by the idea of transfiguration and aspire to follow the example of Christ by reaching out with love.

Dorothy believes that transfiguration calls us both to traditional expressions of charity and to more. Her hope is that the Association will influence many to imagine the promise of transhuman advances and technology as an opportunity to provide greater access to those on the margins, and to position anticipation of the Technological Singularity as an urgent reason for work to ensure that all human potential matters.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association is eager to work with others on projects that enable people to participate in their own transformation and that of their communities for the better. We need your help, resources, passions, and projects. Join us to ensure emerging technologies are applied where and how they are most needed in our society, culture, and world.

Christopher Bradford and Dorothy Deasy at Transhumanism and the Church Conference



Two board members of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, Christopher Bradford and Dorothy Deasy, will present papers at Samford University’s Transhumanism and the Church conference. The conference will take place on September 24-26 in Birmingham, Alabama. Bradford’s talk is titled “Transhumanism as Grace: God's Hand in the Radical Remaking of Human Nature.” Deasy’s presentation is titled “The Narrow Gate: Vulnerability in a Transhuman Age.” The conference is open to those who wish to attend. More information on the conference may be found here:

http://www.samford.edu/science-and-religion/transhumanism-conference/

Christopher Bradford

Dorothy Deasy

Dorothy Deasy Speaking at Extreme Tech Conference in Redmond



Dorothy Deasy, board member of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, will be speaking at the Extreme Tech conference in Redmond WA on Saturday 18 July. The conference, organized by David J. Kelley, will be held on the Microsoft campus from 10:00am – 6:00pm PT. Deasy will be speaking on “The Future of Real: Meaning and Social Intelligence in the Transhuman Age.” Conference details and registration may be found here:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/extreme-future-tech-fest-summer-2015-tickets-17010280206

A Thoughtful Faith Podcast Interviews Lincoln Cannon



A Thoughtful Faith podcast interviewed Lincoln Cannon on Mormon Transhumanism and becoming one in the body of Christ.

A Thoughtful Faith features the stories and perspectives of intelligent, thoughtful believers who maintain a strong faith in Mormonism despite their awareness of and/or struggles with common challenges and issues. Its hope is to model potential paths for individuals in faith transition or crisis that allow them to maintain faith, as well as provide resources for thoughtful believers everywhere.

In the first episode, Lincoln speaks about his personal history, how tragedy shaped his perspectives on God and Faith, and how he came to be passionate about Transhumanism.

In episode two, Lincoln explores the essence of Transhumanism and how this affects his understanding of God. He also speaks about how it has shaped his deep faith in Mormonism. He explains how he sees Joseph Smith as a transhumanist and addresses our Mormon Transhumanist doctrines.

In the last episode, Lincoln synthesizes his Christianity and Transhumanism. He talks about the body of Christ and the atonement. He helps us understand our responsibility to become one in the body of Christ.

You can stream or download the podcast from the website of A Thoughtful Faith:

http://athoughtfulfaith.org/lincoln-cannon-mormon-transhumanism-becoming-one-body-of-christ/

Religious Anthropologist Launches Study of Mormon Transhumanist Association



Religious anthropologist, Jon Bialecki, has launched a study of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, with support of Association leadership. We invite members, friends, critics, and observers of the Association to contribute by welcoming Jon to related discussions and events. You may direct questions to Jon or to Association leadership. Below is a letter of introduction from Jon.

Hello, members of the Mormon Transhumanist Association! I’d like to introduce myself, and also explain why such an introduction might be necessary.

My name is Jon Bialecki, and I’m a lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh; my area of focus is the anthropology of religion. Most of my work has been on Pentecostal-like forms of American Christianity, where I’ve concentrated my research on what is considered authoritative in communities that, in addition to relying on scripture, also believe members can receive direct individual revelation from God. Over time, though, I’ve become interested in how American religion in general frames issues of authority. I’ve become particularly curious about what are considered reliable sources of religious knowledge, and how religious knowledge interacts with other authoritative discourse, such as science.

This interest in revelation and in science has led me directly to an interest in the sort of issues that seem to concern much of the MTA as well. Furthermore, the MTA seems to also have a distinct take on this problem, and also has managed to avoid many deadlocks associated with discussion of religion, science, and technology. The MTA is also interesting because these concerns are not merely abstract intellectual problems for most members. Given the educational background and professions of many members of the MTA, these questions appear to have to do with approaches to contemporary technologies as well. Finally, I’ve also become curious as to how the MTA manages to have such a diverse body, which includes not only practicing members of the LDS, but “cultural Mormons,” non-Mormon Christians, and non-Christian members. For these reasons, I’ve proposed a study of the MTA.

As a socio-cultural anthropologist, studying usually means ‘participant observation,’ which basically means taking part in the same activities and conversations that everyone else in the MTA does. In this case, this means you’ll be seeing me in social media, online forums, and other spaces where much of the MTA virtually ‘meets.’ I’m also interested in interviews with members who would feel comfortable talking with me. Finally, I’m hoping to somewhat regularly come out this summer and fall to Utah, so I can sit in on a few of the meet-ups, and perhaps talk to some of you individually in person.

I’m sharing this with you for two reasons. First, I want to reach out to as many of you as possible, in the hopes that you’ll feel free to contact me in return (which is best done by email at Jon.Bialecki@ed.ac.uk, though I’m available through other platforms as well). Second, it is important to me that you know in what capacity I’m participating in MTA events. Like a lot of other academic writing, anthropological writing is usually not that controversial, and there is a long-standing practice of anonymizing our data, even when presenting it anecdotally (and as a qualitative social science, narrative is often a large part of how we convey what we have learned). However, most anthropologists feel that it is best practice to let the people you are spending time with know that you’re an anthropologist, and that your presence is at least in part in your capacity as a researcher. It also might explain why I might tend, from time to time, to ask questions that are seemingly obvious – as a non-Mormon who is also still just starting to understand transhumanism, I’m looking forward to learning a great deal from being together with you, but I probably will say things every so often that betrays my ignorance.

Again, thank you for taking the time to read this, and also for letting me participate in the MTA. I’m very much looking forward to getting to know more about this unique organization!

Mormon Transhumanist Association Member Survey Results 2014



The Mormon Transhumanist Association has released a summary of results from its 2014 member survey. The survey asked questions about religion, politics, feedback and demographics. It also explored members' views on the nature of God, the problem of evil, and consciousness. At the end of 2013, the association consisted of 481 members, 66 of whom participated in the survey. The association thanks Brent Allsop for managing the 2014 survey.

The 2014 survey results summary is available at the following link:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/265567156/Mormon-Transhumanist-Association-Member-Survey-Results-2014

An archive of survey result summaries from previous years, is available at the following link:

http://transfigurism.org/pages/about/member-survey-results/

Lincoln Cannon on Convergence with John Carosella at Blog Talk Radio

On Sunday 17 May at 11:30am Mountain time, Lincoln Cannon, president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, will be on Convergence with John Carosella, at Blog Talk Radio.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireflywillowslive/2015/05/17/convergence-with-john-carosella

John Carosella hosts Convergence, a journey into shamanism, science, and mysticism, exploring our beautiful world. Making the mystical accessible to the scientific-minded, and bringing the language of science to the Mystery, John brings provocative, new perspectives to living, learning, healing, and discovery.

This month, John speaks with Lincoln Cannon, co-founder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association and philosopher of theological evolution and post-secular religion, about the nature of consciousness, thriving, and the role technology might play in the very near future. Their conversation includes an exploration of transhumanism - the use of technology to extend what it means to be human, and on the perspectives within Mormonism that make transhumanism and Mormonism such interesting bedfellows.

Blaire Ostler, Dorothy Deasy, and Lincoln Cannon Elected to Mormon Transhumanist Association Board of Directors

The Mormon Transhumanist Association is pleased to announce the results of the 2015 director election. Each year, terms expire for three of the nine seats on the board of directors. This year, the seats occupied by Dorothy Deasy, James Carroll, and Lincoln Cannon expired. The Association thanks Dorothy, James, and Lincoln for the leadership and service they've provided. Voting members of the Association have elected the following three persons to serve as directors for the 2015 to 2018 term:

Blaire Ostler
Dorothy Deasy
Lincoln Cannon

The Association congratulates Blaire, Dorothy, and Lincoln, and thanks them for their willingness to contribute. Below is additional information about these directors. Information about all directors and officers of the association is available here:

http://transfigurism.org/pages/about/board-of-directors/

Blaire Ostler

Blaire Ostler is a designer and artist. She graduated from the Academy of Design and Technology, Seattle, with a BFA in Design. She specializes in abstract modern art. Her paintings can be seen throughout residences and businesses in Seattle. She and husband Drew have three children whom Blaire currently homeschools. She is passionate about esthetics, design, art, spirituality, photography, gender equality, animal ethics, and early childhood education.

Dorothy Deasy

Dorothy Deasy is a freelance design researcher specializing in strategic qualitative projects for new product development and branding. A Christian Existentialist and a Methodist, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a Masters of Applied Theology. She is developing a Spiritual Direction practice, with an emphasis on theology for a transhuman age. Dorothy is an occasional contributor for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.

Lincoln Cannon

Lincoln Cannon is a technologist and philosopher. He has over seventeen years of professional experience in information technology, including leadership roles in software engineering and marketing technology. Lincoln is a leading advocate of technological evolution and postsecular religion, and holds degrees in business administration and philosophy. He is married with Dorothée Vankrieckenge, a French national, and they have three bilingual children.

Lincoln Cannon Interviewed by View from the Bunker

Lincoln Cannon, president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, was interviewed by Derek Bunker on the View from the Bunker podcast, which discusses topics of interest to conservative Christians. The interview covers the intersection of religious faith and transhumanism, the common aspirations and parallels between Mormonism and transhumanism, and religious arguments for transhumanism.

Listen to "Faith and Transhumanism" interview of Lincoln Cannon at View from the Bunker

Recordings of 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



Recordings of the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association are now available on the Transfigurism YouTube channel. The conference was held on Friday 3 April 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Lake City Public Library. Speakers and artists presented on the themes of Mormonism, Transhumanism and Transfigurism, with particular attention to topics at the intersection of technology, spirituality, science and religion.

Playlist of recordings for 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Transfigurism YouTube Channel

Theology and Science Publishes "What is Mormon Transhumanism?"



The peer reviewed journal of Theology and Science has published "What is Mormon Transhumanism?" The article was written by Lincoln Cannon, president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association. It is available for download from Taylor & Francis Online. An abstract of the article follows:

"Mormon transhumanism is the idea that humanity should learn how to be compassionate creators. This idea is essential to Mormonism, which provides a religious framework consistent with naturalism and supportive of human transformation. Mormon transhumanists are not limited to traditional or popular accounts of religion, and embrace opportunities and risks of technological evolution. Although usually considered secular, transhumanism has some religious origins and sometimes functions as religion. Accelerating change contextualizes a Mormon transhumanist narrative of common expectations, aspirations, and parallels between Mormonism and transhumanism. Mormon transhumanism has produced secular arguments for faith in God and religious arguments for transhumanism."

Samford Conference on Transhumanism and the Church



Samford University’s Center for Science and Religion will host a conference on “Transhumanism and the Church” as a way to promote critical reflection and public understanding on Transhumanism and the Church, which will become increasingly important in future decades. Please send a 350-500 word proposal with your name, professional title, home institution, and contact information (including e-mail address) to Dr. Josh Reeves at jareeves@samford.edu. Some conference papers will be selected for inclusion in an edited book, along with chapters from the keynote speakers. The deadline for proposals is May 1. Presenters will be notified of acceptance by May 21. Final papers are due by September 14 for consideration in edited volume. Registration opens June 1. Visit the official website for more information.

LIVE Stream of 2015 Conference on Friday 3 April



The 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association is streaming live on Friday 3 April from 9am to 5:30pm Mountain at Transfigurism.org. Please use #mtaconf for social posts related to the conference. Administrators will monitor for questions.

Live Stream of the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Schedule for the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Schedule for 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



The schedule for the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association is now available online. You'll find photos, bios, and topics of speakers, including keynotes Kristine Haglund and Ralph Merkle. You'll also find speaker times, as well as time set aside for audience Q&A with a panel including both keynote speakers and Association president, Lincoln Cannon. Come prepared to be informed, inspired, provoked, and entertained, and to make or renew friendships. Audience is nearing venue capacity, so register today!

Schedule for the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

2014 Annual Report of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



The Mormon Transhumanist Association has released its 2014 annual report. The report includes a message from Association president Lincoln Cannon, an overview of Association leadership, a timeline and summary of Association accomplishments in 2014, and some of the latest demographic information about members of the Association. Special thanks to Association CIO Nathan Hadfield for compiling the report, and to all members of the Association that contributed to our growth and accomplishments in 2014.

View the 2014 Annual Report of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Association Leadership Performance Review 2014

In the interest of ongoing transparency, the Board of Directors of the Mormon Transhumanist Association is pleased to release the following leadership performance review. Each member of the Board independently evaluated the performance of the Board as a whole and the performance of CEO Lincoln Cannon, who is appointed by the Board to manage the Association. Secretary of the Board, Dorothy Deasy, gathered and compiled the evaluations into a single review, which follows.


Board of Director’s Performance Review

The Board of Directors of the Mormon Transhumanist Association is generally performing its function well. It is comprised of intelligent and compassionate people, who provide good counsel to management on request. It consists of independent, creative, mostly academically-trained thinkers who are able to work together respectfully and articulately toward a consensus on vision, strategy, and policy. There is a diversity of perspectives, including gender, faiths, and sexual orientations, while being able to achieve a unity of directional vision. The Board performs its functions efficiently, with the ability to respectfully and productively disagree, bringing cohesive leadership to the Association.

This past year, the organization restructured roles, delegating task completion to domain managers. This shifted the focus of the board to be strategic rather than tactical, relieving some time-pressure burdens. The Board is still feeling its way through the transition to produce improved strategic output. This past year the Board established a Humanitarian Projects committee (led by Hank Pellissier and Roger Hansen), developed a policy for moderating discussion forums, worked on guidelines for partnering with other religious transhumanist organizations, began work on a website refresh, and organized an annual conference with strong keynote speakers.

A key goal for the Board moving forward is to bring clarity and commitment to the strategy-setting role. The Board needs to consider more objective ways of defining and measuring its performance and improvement over time. Another key objective is to better involve and mentor other members of the Association in activities so as to develop leadership for the future.

The Board meets on a monthly basis. Most Board members attend board meetings regularly. (There are periods of time when scheduling conflicts arise, resulting in some occasional or partial attendance, but we have fairly consistently achieved the quorum required by the constitution.) Meetings are always well organized and focused, and action items are always noted and followed up on until they are completed or reprioritized. The Board adheres closely to the rules and guidelines established by the constitution to ensure fairness, transparency, and fidelity to the stated goals of the Association.

The requirements of the Board are flexible enough to be satisfied by the part-time involvement of each member, without financial compensation. The Board has done a good job of crafting and supporting Association initiatives on a voluntary basis.


CEO’s Performance Review

Lincoln Cannon is both an inspiring leader and an organized manager. He leads by sharing a vision and then taking practical and consistent steps to carry it out. Lincoln balances near-term goals with ones that are more long-term and speculative. He has a talent for "thinking big" and recognizing the broader implications of current trends. Lincoln excels at thought leadership. He has a gift for articulating complex ideas in ways that are inspiring and easy to understand. He is the public face of the Association and the driving force behind its continued existence, leadership, vision, and passion.

Lincoln leads by example. He is open and encourages divergent points of view. He is comfortable with ambiguity and nuance. He strives to move people beyond “black and white” thinking. As the Association is best served by finding common ground between potentially antagonistic world views, this element of Lincoln's perspective is valuable for the Association. He attempts to weave a middle way through all conflicts.

As some of the speculative issues related to transhumanism begin to materialize in society, Lincoln may be increasingly challenged to navigate Directors’ viewpoints on ethical issues.

Some highlights of his leadership include:

  • Beginning an effort to identify management partners/successors
  • Continued effort to separate strategic role of directors from implementation role of managers
  • Ensuring Directors have meaningful responsibilities for which they can be accountable
  • Reaching out to prominent leaders of complementary organizations
  • Public outreach and publication/presentation to non-Association audiences
  • He is the public face of the Association and the driving force behind its continued existence leadership, vision, and passion

Lincoln’s key strengths include:

  • Vision
  • Organization
  • Articulate
  • Inspirational
  • A “bridge builder”, able to facilitate relationship
  • Patience
  • Encouragement
  • Strategic, “Big Picture” and long-view perspectives

Ralph Merkle, Transhumanist Technologist, to Keynote at 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



Transhumanist technologist Ralph Merkle will be a keynote speaker at the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association on 3 April at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Ralph is a computer scientist. He is one of the inventors of public key cryptography, the inventor of cryptographic hashing, and more recently a researcher and speaker on molecular nanotechnology and cryonics. Ralph was the manager of compiler development at Elxsi from 1980. In 1988, he became a research scientist at Xerox PARC. In 1999 he became a nanotechnology theorist for Zyvex. In 2003 he became a Distinguished Professor at Georgia Tech, where he led the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. In 2006 he returned to the Bay Area, where he has been a senior research fellow at IMM, a faculty member at Singularity University, and a board member of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. He was awarded the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal in 2010.

Register for the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association today!

Kristine Haglund, Mormon Essayist, to Keynote at 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



Mormon essayist Kristine Haglund will be a keynote speaker at the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association on 3 April at the Salt Lake City Public Library.

Kristine is the current editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, an essayist at the weblogs By Common Consent and Times and Seasons, and a noted Mormon historian and cultural commentator. She has suggested that the "experience of independent Mormon publishing [can provide] ... a potential model" for Mormons "at a moment where new kinds of assimilation are called for." Kristine has an A.B. from Harvard in German Studies and an M.A. from the University of Michigan in German Literature. As part of her application for the editor position at Dialogue, she wrote, "Many, many people long for a way to acknowledge the flaws of the church, to think and speak critically about silly aspects of our culture, and assess the inevitable mistakes of human leaders trying to interpret God's will, while still affirming the essential goodness of Mormonism. I've battled through some of the big issues — gender roles, homosexuality, intellectual freedom, historiography — and managed not just to stay in, but to stay happily."

Register for the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association today!

Transhumanism and Religion -- Call for Papers

The 2015 Call for Papers for the Transhumanism and Religion Group at the American Academy of Religion is online. The deadline for proposals is March 3rd, 2014, at 5pm EST. For more information, please follow this link: http://papers.aarweb.org/content/transhumanism-and-religion-group

Please note that this year, we are also co-sponsoring a special joint session with the Cognitive Science of Religion Group. Our call for papers is as follows:

This Group welcomes papers on any aspect of transhumanism and religion and seeks perspectives from a variety of religious traditions. We encourage feminist, queer, postmodern, and postcolonial analyses and more overtly philosophical critiques of posthuman discourse. Original research is a priority. Papers may identify and critically evaluate any implicit religious beliefs, practices, and values that might underlie key transhumanist claims, goals, values, and assumptions. For example, are there operative notions of anthropology, soteriology, ethics, embodiment, and eschatology at play in transhumanist quests? Papers might consider how transhumanism challenges religious traditions to develop their own ideas of the human future; in particular, the prospect of human transformation, whether by technological or other means. Papers may provide critical and constructive assessments of an envisioned future that places greater confidence in nanotechnology, cognitive science, robotics, and information technology to achieve virtual immortality and create a superior posthuman species. In accordance with the 2015 AAR theme (“Valuing Religion”), we are particularly interested in papers that address why religion is important to the transhumanist conversation.

We also are interested in receiving proposals that focus on potential modification of the human mind for a possible session cosponsored with the Cognitive Science of Religion Group. Topic/Title: "Can we now hack the religious mind?" (for possible co-sponsorship with the Transhumanism and Religion Group)

Papers Session Proposal Organizer: Don Braxton, don.braxton@gmail.com

Cognitive Science has made significant progress in explaining how the normal human mind produces religious ideas. What it has not done, and cannot do as a science, is offer advice on how to put that knowledge to use to improve human life. By contrast, transhumanism seeks explicitly to put scientific knowledge to work to improve human life beyond its normal functioning. This panel wants to place these two intellectual currents in dialogue to see how the mind, as cognitive science explains it, can be upgraded in terms of the quality of religious life. What counts as an upgrade is left to the panel participants to articulate and defend.

Papers are welcome on topics that include:
-- How can we limit or eliminate the least desirable outputs of religion (e.g, tribal violence, science denial, etc.) in our world given what cognitive science tells us?
-- How can we encourage the most desirable outputs of religion (e.g. prosocial behavior, self-esteem improvement) in our world given what cognitive science tells us?
-- Are there novel forms of religion that might be possible with a little mind-tweaking? If so, what are they, and why do you think such novel forms are possible?

The conference will be held in Atlanta, 21-24th November, 2015.

Register Now for 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association



Register now for the 2015 Annual Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, to be held 3 April 2015 at the Salt Lake City Public Library. We look forward to an inspiring and thought-provoking lineup of music and presentations, including keynote speakers Kristine Haglund and Ralph Merkle.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-conference-of-the-mormon-transhumanist-association-registration-15677843853

Also don't forget that the deadline for submitting papers is February 22nd.

http://news.transfigurism.org/2015/01/call-for-papers-for-2015-conference-of.html

Future Day Celebration Screening of Artificial Intelligence

The Mormon Transhumanist Association will celebrate Future Day on 1 March with a screening of AI Artificial Intelligence at 8pm in Provo UT.

About Future Day

Holidays provide a fantastic way of channeling attention and energy. Most of our holidays are focused on past events or individuals, or on the rhythms of nature. History and nature are wonderful and should be honored — but the amazing future we are building together should be honored as well. Future Day is a way of focusing and celebrating the energy that more and more people around the world are directing toward creating a radically better future. This is a brand new holiday — the first Future Day was in 2012. This year on March 1st Future Day will be even better! Let us all work together to continue to make Future Day a great success!

About AI Artificial Intelligence

In the not-so-far future the polar ice caps have melted and the resulting rise of the ocean waters has drowned all the coastal cities of the world. Withdrawn to the interior of the continents, the human race keeps advancing, reaching the point of creating realistic robots (called mechas) to serve them. One of the mecha-producing companies builds David, an artificial kid which is the first to have real feelings, especially a never-ending love for his "mother", Monica. Monica is the woman who adopted him as a substitute for her real son, who remains in cryo-stasis, stricken by an incurable disease. David is living happily with Monica and her husband, but when their real son returns home after a cure is discovered, his life changes dramatically.

If you would like to attend the screening, join the Utah meetup group of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Humanitarian Managers Report from Uganda

Mormon Transhumanist Association Humanitarian Managers Roger Hansen and Hank Pellissier were recently in Uganda, checking up on the multiple Association-funded projects that are operating there.

Roger Hansen set up a Computer Training School in Masaka (southern Uganda) in the classroom of an LDS church building. The Computer Training School has ten Chromebooks, an Epson projector, a Samsung laptop, and a large projection screen. An Indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/uganda-computer-training-school-in-masaka/x/342678) launched by the Association raised funds for the project, and additional equipment was donated by Association members. Roger’s son-in-law provided the wifi-installing expertise.

Roger Hansen also set up a swing set in Kyarumba, in the Rwenzori foothills. The swing set equipment was paid for by an Indiegogo campaign (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/swing-sets-for-uganda-rural-orphans-children/x/342678); the labor required in the installation was provided by Kyarumba residents; the welding was provided by Edward’s Welding Workshop. Roger is also installing additional swing sets in Uganda, aided by Association generosity.

Edward’s Welding Workshop, plus two carpenter workshops - Kyarumba Anti-AIDS Youth Group Carpentry Workshop, and Alchangel’s Carpentry Workshop, were also visited in Kyarumba by Hank and Roger. Hank ran a GoFundMe campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/orphan-carpenters) that provided $1,078 in tools and equipment to the three groups. Roger also delivered a new lathe to the carpenters.

Hank and Roger attended a 4-hour party in Kyarumba, that thanked the Association for its contributions to Kyarumba. The party included dancing, singing, numerous speeches and a huge feast with groundnuts, rice, goat meat, cabbage, and other local Bakonzo tribe recipes, served free to 120+ members of the community, and eaten delightfully with our bare hands, utensil-free.

In nearby Nyakiyumbu, near the Congo border, Hank and Roger were guests at another party (preceded by a parade) that thanked Association members for participating in the Kikoy Dresses for Orphan Girls campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/orphangirls). This event was 3 hours long, highlighted by dancing and singing orphan girls wearing the kikoy dresses.

Hank and Roger also visited Kasese Humanist Primary School (KHPS), receiving thanks there for Association participation in the Kikoy Dress campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/orphangirls), that additionally benefited KHPS. Roger gave a wonderful Lego Robot gift to KHPS director Bwambale Robert Musugaho, who assured him it would be well-used in their science classes.

Hank also visited six clinics that Brighter Brains Institute (BBI) established in the region; four in Kyarumba, one in Nyakiyumbu, one in Kasese. Four clinics were primarily funded by Hank’s family members - one via a GoFundMe campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/parasiticworms); the other two were funded by a GoFundMe campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/kavassstudentgenerated) by BBI Secretary Biba Kavass.

The Association is considering establishment of its own clinic in the region in 2015; the clinics are staffed with medics, microscopes, and sufficient medicine to combat local ailments like Malaria, Bilharzia, and parasitic worms. Locations for an Association clinic are being considered in Kyarumba and in a fishing village called Kahendero, on the shores of Lake George.

Due to time constraints, the COISER orphanage in Jinja that was largely funded by the Association in a GoFundMe campaign (http://www.gofundme.com/Eggs-For-Orphans---Uganda), was not visited at this time. We have learned, though, that the 200 chickens the Association helped purchase are now only 1 week away from laying eggs. Their egg-productivity will enable the orphans to eat nutritionally, plus it will provide them with much-needed income.

Hank and Roger wish all Association members who donated to these campaigns could have been in Uganda with them, to witness the enormous gratitude that the Ugandans expressed. Many songs thanking our charity were written and performed specifically for us at the above-mentioned parties. The warmth and thankfulness expressed was truly overwhelming. Any Association members who want to travel to Uganda, to visit Association projects there, are hugely encouraged to do so.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association Humanitarian Managers are planning additional charity drives in 2015 to help Ugandans, plus there might be a campaign to assist a northern India preschool. We will keep you informed and we thank you for your huge kindness in 2014.

PHOTOS -

dancers at the party in Kyarumba
singers at the party in Nyakiyumbu wearing Kikoy dresses




Call for Papers for 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

We cordially invite you to submit papers, artwork, photography, poetry, and music for the 2015 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, which will be held on April 3, 2015, in Salt Lake City, Ut. The aim of this conference is to address the many issues and topics that lie at the intersection of technology and religion, and their impacts on society, and culture including art, music, entertainment, and on society in general. Contributions need not focus only on specifically Mormon religious issues.

Selected artwork will be displayed at the venue during the conference. Poetry and music may be chosen to be presented or performed during the conference.

Papers should be approximately two to seven pages in length.

Authors of accepted papers will be given either 5 or 15 minutes to present the ideas in their papers at the conference depending on whether their papers are accepted for a short or for a long presentation.

A selection of the best of these contributions (including the poetry and artwork) will subsequently be published in the conference proceedings, which will be made available online and potentially in print form. Therefore, papers should be written with the intent of eventual publication in mind (full citations, references, footnotes, etc.). Authors whose papers are selected for publication will be given an editor to work with, to prepare their final paper for publication.

Among the suggested topics are:

Mormonism
Religion, Anti-Religion and Fundamentalism; Authentic Mormonism; God, Gods and Godhood; Trusting and Being Christ; From the Fullness of Times to the Millennium; Immortality and Eternal Life in Worlds without End

Transhumanism
Transhuman-ism and Trans-humanism; Evolution and the Great Filter Argument; Moore’s Law, Kurzweil’s Law and the Technological Singularity; The Pace of Technological Change; Evolution; The Evolution of Technology; Simulation Argument; Solar Energy; Genome Sequencing; Synthetic Biology; 3D Printing; Genetics and Biotech; Nanotech and Molecular Machines; Robotics and Artificial Intelligence; Substrate Independent Minds; Uploading; Consciousness; Cultural Impact of Technology; Feminism and Gender Issues; Helping humans adapt to the pace of technological change

Transfigurism
Rejecting Fundamentalism; Rejecting Anti-Religiosity; Transfigurist Science; Transfigurist Politics; Transfigurist Art; Promoting Benevolence; Promoting Creativity; Engineering Transfiguration; Engineering Resurrection; Engineering Renewal of this World; Engineering Worlds without End; The Faith Assumption; The Angel Argument; The Benevolence Argument; The Creation Argument; The New God Argument

Please send submissions in RTF, PDF, or MS Word format to admin@transfigurism.org, by email attachment. Include author's full name, contact information, and title.

Some funding is available to reimburse portions of travel for presenters. Please indicate interest in being considered for travel support in the submission email.

For more information, visit the official website of the Mormon Transhumanist Association at transfigurism.org.

Important dates
Conference Paper Deadline: February 22
Presentation Notification Date: March 1

Report on 2014 Humanitarian Activities

The Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) was extremely philanthropic in 2014. Members of MTA contributed generously to charity campaigns in Uganda that were conducted by Roger Hansen and Hank Pellissier, managers of MTA humanitarian projects.

Below is a list of sponsored campaigns with an estimate of MTA philanthropy in each:

Uganda Orphanage Chicken Farm - http://www.gofundme.com/Eggs-For-Orphans---Uganda
This campaign was extremely successful. In two months, $3,100 was raised to build a chicken farm of 200 chickens to help an orphanage in Jinja achieve self-sufficiency. MTA was the largest contributor to this campaign. MTA members donated about $1,100. The Chicken Farm appears headed for success - the chickens will be laying eggs in about 5 weeks.

Uganda Carpentry Workshop for AIDS Orphans - http://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/orphan-carpenters
This successful campaign raised $1,073. It was almost entirely funded by MTA members; MTA members donated about $835. The money purchased tools for the carpenters. They are very grateful. Hank Pellissier is invited to give the commencement speech at their graduation ceremony on January 17th - he will thank MTA contributors in his presentation.

Kikoy Dresses for Uganda Orphans - http://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/orphangirls
This campaign raised $900 to give orphan girls dresses, tailored by Ugandans. MTA members donated about $250 to this campaign.

DeWorm Ugandan Children at Kasese Humanist Primary School - http://www.gofundme.com/parasiticworms
This very short campaign raised $2,675 in two days. MTA members contributed $130.

Uganda Computer Training School in Masaka - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/uganda-computer-training-school-in-masaka/x/342678
This project is praised by many as an “ideal MTA project” because it promotes education in technology as a path to prosperity. Roger Hansen initiated this project. MTA members contributed about $340 of the total $488 raised. Roger and other Mormons will be installing this school, beginning in January.

Swing Sets for Rural Uganda Orphanages and Schools - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/swing-sets-for-uganda-rural-orphans-children/x/342678
Another campaign initiated by Roger Hansen. MTA members contributed all $831 that this campaign raised. Roger will be installing swing sets in January. Hank hopes to help him.

TOTAL Mormon Transhumanist Association CONTRIBUTIONS to Uganda Campaigns: Approximately $3,486

Additionally, MTA KIVA members have lent $4,175 in KIVA microloans. http://www.kiva.org/team/transfigurism

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