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2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Mormon Transhumanist Association

Friday, April 4, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (MDT)

2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association

Registration Information

Registration Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Be among the first 80 persons to register and receive a free t-shirt!
Ended $29.00 $1.72
If you are a student, unemployed or resident of a less-developed country, register at a discounted rate! Be among the first 80 persons to register and receive a free t-shirt!
Ended $9.00 $1.22

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Event Details

The 2014 conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association will be held on 4 April 2014 from 9:00am to 6:00pm in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Salt Lake City Public Library. Speakers and artists will present on the themes of Mormonism, Transhumanism and Transfigurism, with particular attention to topics at the intersection of technology, spirituality, science and religion. Previous conferences sponsored by the Mormon Transhumanist Association include the 2013 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the 2012 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, the 2010 Transhumanism and Spirituality conference, and the 2009 Mormonism and Engineering conference. The conference is open to the public.


Keynote Speakers

Adam S. Miller is a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He and his wife, Gwen Miller, have three children. He received an MA and PhD in philosophy from Villanova University as well as a BA in Comparative Literature from Brigham Young University. He is the editor of An Experiment on the Word (Salt Press, 2011) and the author of Badiou, Marion, and St Paul: Immanent Grace (Continuum, 2008), Rube Goldberg Machines: Essays in Mormon Theology (Kofford, 2012), Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology (Fordham University Press, 2013), and Letters to a Young Mormon (Maxwell Institute, 2014). He is the co-editor, with Joseph Spencer, of the book series Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture, published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and serves as the current director of the Mormon Theology Seminar.

Natasha Vita-More is a designer and theorist. She is a professor at the University of Advancing Technology, Chairman of Humanity+, and a Fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. She received her doctorate from the Planetary Collegium, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, where her thesis focuses on human enhancement and radical life extension. She is the designer and author of “Platform Diverse Body, Substrate Autonomous Person (fka “Primo Posthuman” - a future whole body prototype.) In 2013, she co-edited The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future. In 1983, Vita-More authored the “Transhuman Manifesto”; and founded Transhumanist Arts and Culture in 1993. She was the Chair of “Vital Progress Summit” 2004, establishing a precedent for discussion of human enhancement. She was the president of the Extropy Institute 2002-2006. Vita-More is a proponent of morphological freedom and enhancing human biology. To give credence to her arguments, Vita-More supports the Proactionary Principle. In addition to academic works, she has exhibited at National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Brooks Memorial Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art, Women In Video, Telluride Film Festival, United States Environmental Film Festival and “Evolution Haute Couture: Art and Science in the Post-Biological Age”. She is published in more than two dozen journals and a contributing author to numerous books.


Other Speakers

A. Joseph West was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He currently resides in Tucson, Arizona, where he is doing graduate work in sociology. His research focus is culturally motivated social movement mobilization. He also has research interests in social network analysis and the sociology of science. In his free time, he watches Star Wars the animated series and plays Civ 5 with his two children. Joseph is a co-founder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Allen Hansen was born and raised LDS in Northern Israel, where he spent much of his life. He served in the Russia Rostov Mission, and later moved to Utah. Alongside a love for literature, especially British, Russian, and Israeli, his research interests include Mormonism, Judaism, biblical studies, Late Antiquity, journalism, Eastern European, and Middle-Eastern history. He has presented at the Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism from USU. He blogs at Calba Savua's Orchard, Adventures in N-Town, and Difficult Run.

Brad Carmack graduated from the JD/MPA program at Brigham Young University in April 2011, and became a licensed California attorney that same year. During undergrad he majored in biology, clerked for Justice Horton of the Idaho Supreme Court, and worked as a teacher’s assistant for human resources law, biodiversity, management ethics, and bioethics. Currently he works for Yahoo. A religious activist and member of the LDS Church, Brad loves to write about transhumanism, bioethics, and religion. He authored Breaking the Patriarchal Grip: an argument for governance equality through sacred disobedience and Homosexuality: A Straight BYU Student’s Perspective, available at Brad is a director of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Carl Youngblood has been an avid technology enthusiast since early childhood, and has been earning a living as a software engineer since 1997. He was a Mormon missionary for two years in Brazil, where his newfound aptitude for language led him to eventually get a degree in Portuguese from Brigham Young University, and later a masters in Computer Science from the University of Washington. Carl's struggle to apply his faith meaningfully in today's rapidly-changing world led him to co-found The Mormon Transhumanist Association in 2006. Carl is passionate about science, technology, religion, philosophy and the performing arts. Carl is a director and cofounder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Chelsea Strayer is a PhD candidate at Boston University in biological and cultural anthropology studying the evolution and elicitation of placebo and nocebo effects in indigenous ritual healing ceremonies. She particularly focuses on the healing rituals of the Asante in Central Ghana whom she has conducted research with for over a 12 years. Chelsea is also a well known religious gender equality activist in the Mormon community, President of Mormons for ERA, co-founder of LDS WAVE (Women Advocating for Voice and Equality), and active participant in many LDS magazines, blogs, podcasts and conferences. She has participated in two TED events where she had the opportunity to speak about her research and how it applies to the everyday life of all people at both events.

Chris Bradford was born in Utah, but soon moved to Washington DC and then overseas for his father's employment. He has lived in Egypt, Germany, Jordan, Pakistan and Italy, where he served an LDS mission. A self-taught programmer, he manages social & mobile development at He has a degree from Brigham Young University in linguistics. Chris and wife Lucy have five sons and three daughters. Chris is passionate about science, technology, religion, philosophy, and the performing arts. Chris is vice president and a cofounder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Don Bradley is a historian specializing in Joseph Smith and Mormon scripture. Don holds a B.A. in History from Brigham Young University, is finalizing his M.A. in History at Utah State University, and will pursue a doctorate in Religious Studies. His writings include “'The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism': Joseph Smith's Unfinished Reformation” and The Lost 116 Pages: Rediscovering the Book of Lehi (forthcoming). “An individualist in the service of a community,” Don is devoted to the topic of his presentation: building Zion—heaven on earth. He is the father of Donnie and Nicholas Bradley and engaged to Michaelann Gardner. Don is a director of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Donald Bradley Jr. is 84 years old but you may not be able to tell due to advanced life extension technology. Ok in all truth he may be somewhere closer to 18. Outside of transhumanism some of his interests include theoretical computer science (especially elements of it that relate to the Church Turing thesis and Gödels incompleteness theorem), cybernetics, foundations of mathematics (logic, set theory, homotopy type theory, paraconsistent foundations etc.), algorithmic information theory, psychology of creativity, literature, literary studies and especially cognitive poetics. He is currently homeschooled.

Dorothy Deasy is a design researcher with experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She excels on strategic qualitative projects which allow her to explore the intersections of meaning, culture and technology. She holds a BS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago, IL and a Masters of Applied Theology from Marylhurst University in Portland, OR. The emphasis of her theological focus is on spirituality and transhumanism. Dorothy is a director of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Giulio Prisco is a writer, technology expert, futurist and transhumanist. A former manager in European science and technology centers, he writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including science, information technology, emerging technologies, virtual worlds, space exploration and future studies. He is especially interested in the convergence of science, technology and spirituality.

James L. Carroll has a PhD in computer science, and a minor in Ancient Near Eastern history. As a graduate student he taught Pearl of Great Price, Isaiah, and the Book of Mormon in the BYU Ancient Scripture department. He is currently working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, doing ensemble machine learning research and computer assisted radiographic analysis for nuclear stockpile stewardship. His interests include machine learning, statistics, linguistics, consciousness, comparative ritual, and photography. James is a director of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

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 is president and a cofounder of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.

Micah Redding grew up as a preacher’s kid, spent eight years as a rock musician, and was once involved in the high-speed pursuit of a spy plane. Now he develops software, and writes about the intersection of human values and technology.

Michael Adam Ferguson is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah, specializing in functional imaging of the human brain. He has authored and co-authored papers on stability of large-scale brain networks, attention, and neural plasticity, in journals including NeuroImage, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He and his husband, J Seth Anderson, are co-owners of a loose-leaf tea company, "The Queens' Tea." He and Seth both identify as Queer Mormons, and feel a sense of calling to help reveal Mormonism to itself. He blogs at on the topics of neuroscience, religion, and queer theory.

Michael LaTorra is an Assistant Professor of English at New Mexico State University. He has been a member of the Transhumanist community since the year 2000, having served on the Boards of Humanity Plus (WTA) and of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Among his publications are the paper "Trans-Spirit: Religion, Spirituality and Transhumanism" Journal of Evolution and Technology, 14(2), and the book A Warrior Blends with Life: A Modern Tao. Prof. LaTorra is an ordained Zen priest, abbot of the Zen Center of Las Cruces, and a formal devotee of Avatar Adi Da Samraj.

Michaelann Gardner believes in building Zion through any means you can. This includes her professional work as a marketer and fundraiser for the nonprofit sector. It also includes her favorite hobby of learning about and implementing environmentally sustainable lifestyle choices. She serves as treasurer on the board of LDS Earth Stewardship. She helped build Zion as an LDS missionary in Zurich Switzerland and continues doing that today in Provo wards.

Pace Ellsworth was born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the son of diplomat and linguist Matt Allen Ellsworth. After returning from a mission to Lima, Peru, he married his high school sweetheart and graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor's in Linguistics and minors in Spanish and Linguistic Computing. Mr. Ellsworth's main interests are classical liberalism and futurism, happy to be called an anarcho-transfigurist. He now lives in Mesa, Arizona, with his wife and two children where he works as a marketing consultant for small businesses in the technology and finance sectors.

Roger D. Hansen is currently the Planning Group Chief at the Provo Area Office of the Bureau of Reclamation (Department of Interior) where he has worked as a civil engineer and planner for over 30 years, all of it in Provo, UT. His principal professional interest is the application of real-time monitoring and control technologies to water districts and canal companies in the inter-mountain West. Additionally, his colleagues and he are working to bring water and power to Navajos living in very remote location. Roger currently blogs at "Tired Road Warrior" and writes for a variety of online and hard-copy publications. He currently divides his time between Provo, the Navajo Nation, and the country of Uganda (where he volunteers with several local NGOs).

Randal A. Koene introduced the multi-disciplinary field of whole brain emulation and is the lead curator of its scientific roadmap. He is Founder of the foundation and has directed research in neural engineering. Dr. Koene’s publications, presentations and interviews are available at



9:00-9:05 Welcome

9:05-9:35 Lincoln Cannon, Association President, with Brent Allsop and Karl Hale

9:35-9:40 Music

9:40-10:05 James L. Carroll, "What is the Pace of Technological Change?"
10:05-10:25 A. Joseph West, "Authentic Mormonism and Motivation to Action"
10:25-10:45 Michael LaTorra, "Where Is Heaven? An Examination of Multiple-World Models of the Cosmos and Beyond"
10:45-10:55 Brad Carmack, "Grounded giving: maximizing the ROI of your charitable dollars"
10:55-11:05 Donald Bradley Jr., "What kind of literature does a god read: a transhumanist interpretation of Borges"
11:05-11:25 Giulio Prisco, "Religion for the Cosmic Frontier"

11:25-11:40 Break

11:40-12:00 Dorothy Deasy, "The Kingdom of God and the Transhuman Age"
12:00-12:20 Micah Redding, "Analysis, Loss of Meaning, and Religious Transhumanism"

12:20-1:00 Adam S. Miller, Keynote

1:00-2:00 Lunch

2:00-2:20 Christopher Bradford, Association Vice President

2:20-2:25 Music

2:25-2:55 Don Bradley, "Mormonism: The Sanctification of Human Progress"
2:55-3:15 Pace Ellsworth, "Partake freely: Transfigurist politics and free will"
3:15-3:35 Chelsea Strayer, "The Evolutionary Roots of Religious Adaptation"
3:35-3:55 Michael Adam Ferguson, "The Religious Brain Project"
3:55-4:05 R. Dennis Hansen, "What If Joseph Smith Jr. Had Lived Longer?"

4:05-4:20 Break

4:20-4:45 Carl Youngblood, "Religion as Social Technology"
4:45-5:05 Allen Hansen, "Worship Through Corporeality: Mormonism, Hasidism, and Management"
5:05-5:25 Randal Koene, "Supporting the complex requirements of a long-term project for whole brain emulation"
5:25-5:45 Michaelann Gardner, "Turning Our Moral Compass: the Environment and Mormonism's Theology of Means"

5:45-6:25 Natasha Vita-More, Keynote

6:25-6:30 Music

6:30 Closing

7:00 Dinner


Free T-Shirt

The first 80 persons to register will receive a free t-shirt! The t-shirt is blue, as pictured. The front shows the logo of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, and the back shows a quote from Brigham Young, who led the Mormon pioneers to Utah: "My religion is natural philosophy."


Registration Discount

If you are a voting member of the association, a speaker at the conference, or a sponsor of the conference, your registration is free and the association will give your guest a discount. Also, if you represent a media outlet and would like to report on the conference, your registration is free. If any of these cases apply to you, please contact an association officer or email for your access code before registering.

If you are a student, unemployed or resident of a less-developed country, discounts are available at registration time. Conference organizers will ask you to provide evidence of your student, unemployed or residency status when you check in at the conference.


Travel Assistance

The association may cover up to 50% of your travel costs to attend the conference if you meet the following criteria:

1) You must be a voting member of the association.

2) You must present at the conference.

3) You must live at least 300 miles from Salt Lake City.

If you meet the above criteria, you may request assistance by contacting an association officer or emailing



Lunch and dinner are NOT included in the reservation price. However, everyone attending the conference is invited to gather for a special catered dinner at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (within walking distance of the conference), and you can designate during registration whether you will join us, so that we may know the final head count. The dinner cost will be $20 per person. Dinner is being partially subsidized by MTA funds, so larger donations are welcome. Special arrangements can be made for those in a situation of financial hardship. Please let us know if this applies to you. We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate.



The association cannot directly cover lodging expenses. However, association members living in Salt Lake City and nearby areas may be able to help. We encourage members willing to provide lodging in their homes and members seeking lodging to communicate on the association Google group and Facebook group.


After-Conference Activities

We invite conference attendees to enjoy a casual tour of Salt Lake City and possibly attend a session of the LDS Church worldwide conference together on 5 April (the day after the association conference). If you would like to participate, please indicate your interest during registration, so that we may make appropriate arrangements.

Have questions about 2014 Conference of the Mormon Transhumanist Association? Contact Mormon Transhumanist Association

When & Where

Salt Lake City Public Library
210 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Friday, April 4, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM (MDT)

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Mormon Transhumanist Association

The Mormon Transhumanist Association is the world's largest advocacy network for ethical use of technology and religion, as outlined in the Transhumanist Declaration and the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation. Although we are neither a religious organization nor affiliated with any religious organization, we support our members in their personal religious affiliations, Mormon or otherwise, and encourage them to adapt Transhumanism to their unique situations. Learn more about the association at

  Contact the Organizer

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