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THECONSOLATION

ANINTERPRETIVEVARIATIONONTHELASTGENERAL CONFERENCESERMONOFJOSEPHSMITH
ByLincolnCannon
On7April1844,lessthanthreemonthsbeforehisassassination,JosephSmithspoketothousandsoffellow MormonsgatheredinNauvoo,Illinois,forageneralconferenceoftheChurchofJesusChristofLatterDaySaints. RespondingtotheaccidentaldeathofcityconstableKingFollett,Josephaddressedthesubjectsofresurrection anddeification,inwhatmanyMormonsesteemashisculminatingtheologicalstatementandliterarycriticHarold BloomhasassessedasoneofthetrulyremarkablesermonseverpreachedinAmerica.1Asatributetoandin reverenceofJosephswords,Isharethisinterpretivevariation.2

Friends,IllcalltheattentionofthisgroupwhileIaddressyouonthesubjectofourdead.Theanniversary ofthedeathofmyfather,LayneCannon,whowasconsumedbycancersomeyearsago,hasledmeto thissubject.Sincemost,ifnotallinthisgroup,havealsolostfamilyorfriends,Ifeeltospeakonthe subjectofourdeadingeneral,accordingtowhateverwisdomandinspirationImighthave,andofferyou myideasforconsolation. IaskforyourhopeandtrustthatImaysetforthtruth,particularlyofthesortthatcarriesconvictionto heartsandmindsofitstrustworthiness:truthofthesortweshouldcreatetotheextentwedontdiscover it,sothatevenifyouhappentothinkitsnottrueyet,youllforgivemeforthinkingitis,andjoinmeinthe worktomakeitso.3 Formanyyears,thehowlingwindofsciencehasbeenblowingsuperstitionand barbarismfromhumanity.4 Weneedthefreshair,butyouwonthearthroughthenoiseorseethroughthe dust,unlessyoutrust,atleastenoughtolookandlisten.Relaxpreconceptionsandskepticism,andlethope inspireastrenuousmood.Thatispowerfulandeffectiveprayer.Theresstrengthhere,andImconfident ourprayerwillmatter. BeforeIenterfullyintothesubjectofourdead,Iwishtopavethewaywithafewpreliminaries.Iwishto gobacktowhenGodswithoutbeginningfindthemselvesmakingworldswithoutend.5Theresourstarting
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RichardBushman,JosephSmith:RoughStoneRolling(NewYork:RandomHouse,2005)533 ThankstoBradCarmack,BryantSmith,CarlYoungblood,JosephWest,LeonardReilandSeanLindsayfortheir encouragement,editing,andcriticalfeedback. 3 D&C58:2629 4 WilliamJames,Thewilltobelieve,andotheressaysinpopularphilosophy,andHumanimmortality(NewYork: DoverPublications,1960)x 5 WilliamPhelps,IfYouCouldHietoKolob,HymnsoftheChurchofJesusChristofLatterdaySaints(SaltLake

point.Tounderstandthesubjectofourdead,wemuststartwithanunderstandingofGod.Ifwestartin therightdirection,itseasiertostayoncoursebutifwestartinthewrongdirection,wellbeoffcourse, anditmaybehardtocorrect. FewunderstandwellthenatureofGod.FewunderstandourpastandfuturerelationtoGod,somost humansknowlittlemorethanotheranimalslittlemorethantoeat,drinkandsleep.Mostanimalsknow nothingaboutGod,yettheyknowasmuchaswe,excepttotheextentwecomprehendGod.Ifwedont comprehendGod,wedontcomprehendourselves.IwanttogobacktowhenGodswithoutbeginningfind themselvesmakingworldswithoutend,andsoliftourmindstoamoreexaltedunderstandingthanwhat wegenerallyaspireto. Iwanttoaskthisgroup,eachofyou,toanswerthisquestioninyourownheart:whatkindofbeingis God?Askyourself.Turnyourthoughtsinward,andaskyourselfifyouveseen,heard,orcommunedwith God.Gofurtherthandogmasandcreeds.Theymayexpresssometruth,buttheyrefundamentallywrong: abominationsandcorruptionscalledGod,butwithoutthepowerofGod,6theysetupstakesandsay, Comethisfarandnofurther.7 Wemustgofurther!Irepeatthequestion:whatkindofbeingisGod?Do youknow?Haveyouseen,heard,orcommunedwithGod?Iintendtomakethisquestionkeepyouupat night. OurfirstgoalisanunderstandingofGod.IfanyofusisfortunateenoughtoknowsomethingaboutGod, andcansharethatknowledgesuchthatitssublimeestheticsealsitselfineachothersheart,thenwe shouldneveragainridiculeprophecy.Butifwefail,weshouldrenounceanypretensiontoinspirationor inheritanceofrevelation,andwelcomeeachotherasreformedsinnersorcrackpots:greetedasfriends,no longeroffendersofthereligiousnorfoolstotheirreligious.8 Inanycase,everyoneshouldhavetherightto beafalseprophet,oratrueone.AsMosessaysintheBible,Iwishthatallwereprophets!9Inthat spirit,letsenquiretoknowsomethingaboutGod,andifwesucceedthenwellalsoknowprophecy.10 LetsgobacktowhenGodswithoutbeginningfindthemselvesmakingworldswithoutend,tounderstand thekindofbeingGodis.WhatsortofbeingwasGod?Iwishtheworldcouldhearit.Imgoingtotellyou whatGodplansforhumanityandwhy.Godwasonceaswearenow,andisaposthuman!11Thatsthe greatsecret.IftimeandspacewereopenedtorevealtheGodwhosepowermadeourworldand innumerableothers,12ifweweretoseeGodhereandnow,wewouldseeposthumanity:theevolutionary futureofourbodies,relationsandworld,onlyasdifferentfromusaswenowarefromourevolutionary past.Prehumanityevolvedpredictablyalongthecontoursofitsworld,humanityrecursivelyprojecteditself tofillthatworldasGod,andposthumanityrealizedthoseprojections.Godsmadeworldsintheirown
City:TheChurchofJesusChristofLatterdaySaints,1998)284 6 JosephSmithHistory1:19 7 JosephSmithinTeachingsoftheProphetJosephSmith(SaltLakeCity:DeseretBook,1938)327 8 1Corinthians1:23 9 Numbers11:29 10 Revelation19:10 11 NickBostrom,InDefenseofPosthumanDignity,Bioethics19(2005)3:202 12 Moses1:33

image,watchedthosethingstheydordereduntiltheyobeyed,13andsomadeotherbeingsofknowledge andpower.14 Inordertounderstandthesubjectofourdead,forconsolationofthosewhomournthelossoffriends,we mustunderstandhowGodcametobe.ImgoingtotellyouhowGodcametobeGod.Someimagineand supposethatGodwasGodforever.Irejectthatidea,andsoshouldyou.Godwasoncelikeus.Yes!God, ourcreator,livedinaworldlikeours.Thesearechallengingideasforsome,buttheyresimple. ThefirstprincipleofconsolationistrustinGod,andnotjustanygod,butratheraGodthatwasoncelike us.15ThatsJesusgoodnews,andIwishIcouldtellittothefundamentalistslikeanarchangelfromthe Apocalypse,sotheirdogmatizingwouldceaseforever.WhatdoesJesussay?TheSoncandoonlywhat heseeshisFatherdoing.AstheFatherhaslifeinhimself,sohesgrantedtheSontohavelifeinhimself. 16 WhatdoesJesusdo?Helaysdownhislife,andtakesitupagain:onlywhatheseeshisFatherdoing. Dothefundamentalistsbelieveit?IftheydontthentheydontbelievetheBible. Nowthisiseternallife:toknowtheonlytrueGod,17thatwereinthisGod,18 andthatwevegottolearn howtobeGodsourselves,thesameasallGodshavedonebeforeus,bygoingfromonesmalldegreeto another,andfromasmallcapacitytoagreatone,fromcompassiontocompassion,fromcreationto creation,untilrememberingourdeadbecomestheirresurrection,andweareabletoliveineverlastinglove andlight,asdothosewholiveineverlastingknowledgeandpower.Andinthesetimesofaccelerating change,19weshouldtakethismoreseriously. Thesearethefirstprinciplesofconsolation.Howconsolingtomourners,whentheymustpartwithfriends, toknowthat,althoughtheirbodiesgodownanddissolve,theyllriseagaintoliveineverlastingloveand light,beyondpresentnotionsofsufferinganddeath.AstheBiblesays,theylljoinusasheirsofGodand jointheirswithChrist.20Whatsthat?Togainthesamelove,thesamelight,andthesameknowledgeand power,untilwebecomeGods,thesameasthosewhovegonebefore,notmerelyastheirprosthetics,but ratherastheirequalsandgenuinelycompassionatecreatorsinourselves.21 TheBibletellsoftwoaspiringGods.OneopposesandexaltsitselfovereverythingthatscalledGodor worshiped,proclaimingitselfGod. 22Theother,althoughinverynatureaGod,doesntconsiderequality

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Abraham4:18 D&C77:24 15 ArticlesofFaith1:4 16 John5:26 17 John17:3 18 1John5:2021 19 RayKurzweil,TheLawofAcceleratingReturns,KurzweilAcceleratingIntelligence,7March2001,accessed20 December2011,http://www.kurzweilai.net/thelawofacceleratingreturns 20 Romans8:17 21 D&C88:107andD&C76:95 22 2Thessalonians2:4

withGodsomethingtobeusedtoitsownadvantage.23WhatdoesJesussay?HesaystohisFather,Ive broughtyougloryonearthbyfinishingtheworkyougavemetodo.Andnow,Father,glorifymeinyour presence.24HealsosaystohisFather,Ivegivenothersthegloryyougaveme,thattheymaybeoneas weareone.25Andhesaystohisdisciples,Illdowhateveryouaskinmyname,sothattheFathermay beglorifiedintheSon.Youmayaskmeforanythinginmyname,andIlldoit.Ifyouloveme,keepmy commands.26SoJesusshowsusandinvitesustobetheGodthatsglorifiedinall,bothseekingand sharing,27liberaltothosewhoaskandterribletothosewhooppress.28 Loveposthumanitywithallyourheartandwithallyourmind.Thisisthefirstandgreatestcommandment, andthesecondislikeit:lovehumanityasyourself,notasbeinghuman,butratherasbecomingposthuman. 29 Higherthanloveofhumanityisloveofthefurthestandfutureones.Higherstillthanloveoffriendsis loveoftheiroverflowinghearts,theircreationsbeyondthemselves,andtheposthumanityinthem.30Trust inandchangetowardposthumanity:thesearethefirstprinciplesofconsolation,ortheGospelofChrist aboutwhichsomuchhasbeensaid.31WhenwechooseChrist,wechoosetochange.32 Whenweclimbupaladder,wemustbeginatthebottom,andascendstepbystep,untilwearriveatthe topandsoitiswiththeseprinciples.Wemustbeginwiththefirstandgoonuntilwelearnallthe principlesofexaltation,butitllbealongtimeafterourbodiesandworldchange,transfiguredor resurrectedbeyondpresentnotionsofdeath,beforewelearnthem.Fornow,wedontevenhavethe anatomicorenvironmentalcapacitytocomprehendthemall.33Indeed,weshouldneversupposeweve learnedthemall.Thehypothesisunderminesitself,andtheveryideaofapointinourprogressionwhere wecouldntproceedanyfurtherthrowsagloomovereveryintelligentandreflectingmind.Godmust progressinknowledgeandpower,worldswithoutend,andsomustwe.34Yetwhateverdegreeof intelligenceweattainnowshouldremainwithusinthetransfigurationorresurrection,sothatifwe diligentlygainmoreknowledgenow,wellhaveanadvantageinthefuture.35 IsupposeIshouldntspeculateexcessivelybeyondwhatexperienceandlogicwarrant.IfIdo,the skepticswillridiculeme.SoIllgotooldfashionedlogicforawhile.Illcommentontheargumentsof philosophers.Iwanttoanalyzethem.

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Philippians2:6 John17:45 25 John17:22 26 John14:1315 27 SmithinThePersonalWritingsofJosephSmith(SaltLakeCity:DeseretBook,1984)252 28 SmithinTeachingsoftheProphetJosephSmith257 29 Matthew22:3739 30 FriedrichNietzsche,ThusSpakeZarathustra(NewYork:DoverPublications,1999)5657 31 ArticlesofFaith1:4 32 EzraBenson,BornofGod,Ensign(July1989) 33 Moses1:11 34 WilfordWoodruffinJournalofDiscourses(London:LatterdaySaintsBookDepot,185586)6:120 35 D&C130:1819

Asphilosophersputit,ifwedontgoextinctbeforebecomingposthumans,andifasposthumanswell makemanyworldslikethoseofourevolutionaryancestors,thenposthumansmadeourworldits probableapproachingcertainty.36Sobeliefwellonedaybecomecreativeposthumansisfalse,forall practicalpurposes,unlessposthumansmadeourworld.Ifyoudisagree,youdisagreewithlogic.Logicians candonomorethanImtellingyou.Iwanttheatheiststhatridiculereligiontounderstand.Somesuppose technologyislikelytomakeusthefirstGods,buttheyrewrong.Wealmostcertainlywillnotbetheonly orfirsttomakeworldslikethoseinourpast.Ialsowantthefundamentaliststhatridiculescienceto understand.Supposedfirstcauses,assumedirreduciblecomplexities,andothergapsinourunderstanding ofcreationdontinthemselvesmeritourreverence.TrustinGodisnotobligatedbyanimaginedpast,but ratherbyourdesiredfuture. Ofcourse,skepticsthinkittreasonoustotrustinanythingnotwarrantedbyexperienceandlogic.Yethow canweescapeextinction,exceptGodbewithus?Reasonbindsus.Aswelookatourworld,everywhere weseelife,fromthehardymicrobetothehuman.Aswelookattheheavens,everywhereweseehomes forlife,buttheressomethingwedontsee.Wherearetheposthumans?Sowelisten,butagreatsilence temptsustodespair.37Inthevastnessofspaceandtime,itsasifsomegreatfilterisnarrowingthe abundanceofsimplelifetoascarcityofcomplexlife.38Arewedestinedforextinction?Thatsthe observationwarrantedbyexperience,andthatstheconclusionwarrantedbylogic,unlessposthumanity alreadyexists.Imgratefulforlogic,butImalsogratefulforthatsublimeestheticinourhearts,which encouragesourwilltoposthumanity.Skeptics,reasonwithme.IfGoddoesnotexist,wewillnotbecome God.39 Withoutbeginning,Godsfindthemselvesmakingworldswithoutend.Whenwestartthisway,westartto learnaboutthelivingGod,transcendentandimmanent,whatweshouldworship,andhowweshould worship.40Liketheancientprophets,whosemindsweresopointedbythesublimeesthetic,weapproach Godseekingknowledge,41andweasksoastoreceiveanswersthroughouractions.42Theheavensunfold tous,andnothingiswithheld.Ifthereareboundstotheworlds,welldiscoverandcreatethem.Whether therebeoneGodormanyGods,welldiscoverandcreatethem.43WhenwearereadytocometoGod, Godisreadytocometous. Now,whydothefundamentalistssaythatGodcreatedtheworldoutofnothing?Thereasonsarecreeds anddogmas,whichmakeitblasphemytocontradicttheiridea.IfwetellthemGodmadetheworldoutof
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Bostrom,AreYouLivinginaComputerSimulation?PhilosophicalQuarterly53(2003)211:243255 DavidBrin,TheGreatSilence:TheControversyConcerningExtraterrestrialIntelligentLife,QuarterlyJournalof theRoyalAstronomicalSociety(1983)24:283309 38 RobinHanson,TheGreatFilter:AreWeAlmostPastIt?GeorgeMasonUniversity,15September1998,accessed 4January2012,http://hanson.gmu.edu/greatfilter.html 39 LincolnCannon,TheologicalImplicationsoftheNewGodArgument,ParallelsandConvergences:Mormon ThoughtandEngineeringVision(Draper,Utah:GregKoffordBooks,2012) 40 D&C93:19 41 D&C121:27 42 Matthew7:21 43 D&C121:2831

something,theyllcallusfools.Butwevelearnedandknowmore,andthesublimeestheticinuswoulddo more,soletsassociateourselveswiththat.Youaskthefundamentalistswhytheysaytheworldwas madeoutofnothing,andtheyllanswer,"Doesn'ttheBiblesayGodcreatedtheworld?"Andtheyinfer, fromthewordcreate,thatitmusthavebeenmadeoutofnothing.Now,thewordcreatecamefroma Hebrewwordthatdoesnotmeantocreateoutofnothing.Rather,itmeanssomethinglikeorganize, aswewouldorganizematerialstomakeaship.Hence,theBiblesuggestsGodhadmaterialstoorganize theworldoutofchaos.MatterandenergyexistedfromthetimeGodexisted,andcanneverbe annihilated.Theycanbeorganizedandreorganized,butnotannihilated.Matterandenergyhadno beginningandcanhavenoend. Thatleadsustoanothersubjectthatscalculatedtoexalthumanity.Itsassociatedwiththesubjectofour dead.Thesoul,thespirit,orthemind:wherediditcomefrom?MosttheologianssaythatGodcreatedit fromnothing,butitsnotso.Thatidealessenshumanity.Weshouldntbelieveitbecauseweknowbetter. Imgoingtotellofthingsmorenoble. WesayGodhasalwaysexistedinsomewayoranother.Itsagoodidea,butwhydontwesayhumanity hasalwaysexistedinthesameway?Weshould.Godmadeourbodiesandworldfrommatterandenergy, withinwhichourmindsandrelations,andtheinformationofwhichtheyconsist,persistedandemerged. Asmatteriseternal,soinformationwasnotcreatedfromnothing,neitherindeedcanbe.44Itcanbe organizedandreorganized,diffusedtowardimpotenceorfocusedtowardempowerment,butnotcreated fromnothingorannihilated.Matterandinformationareinseparablyconnected,45otherwisetherecouldbe nosensenorinsensibility,neitherpurposeincreation.Indeed,withoutboththingstoactandtobeactedon, therecouldbenocreation,andallwouldvanishaway.46HowdoesitreadintheBible?ItdoesntsayGod createdthehumanmind.Itsays,"Godformedamanfromthedustofthegroundandbreathedintohis nostrilsthebreathoflife,andthemanbecamealivingbeing."47 Theintelligence,ortheinformationofwhichthehumanmindconsists,iscoeternalwithGod.Wemight saywedontremembereternity,butwedo,anditremembersus.Wearethememoryofeternity, cascadingthroughspaceandtimeascauseandeffect,movingandmonitoring,formingandfeeling,48 growingandreflecting.49Weremembereternityintheonlywaywecan,accordingtocapacity,asthat whichexperiencesinformationfromtheinside50 andeternityremembersusevenasourcapacitychanges fromlifetodeath.Causeandeffectdontend.Informationpersists.Sowhenwemourn,whathavewe lost?Ourfriendsareonlywithouttheirbodiesforashortseason.Theirmindshavefadedonlyforalittle moment,asitwere.Yettheystillexistinaplacewheretheyinterrelatelikeus.Theyrenotfarfromus,

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D&C93:29 D&C93:33 46 2Nephi2:1113 47 Genesis2:7 48 AntonioDamasio,LookingforSpinoza:Joy,Sorrow,andtheFeelingBrain(Orlando:HoughtonMifflinHarcourt, 2003)109111 49 DouglasHofstadter,IAmaStrangeLoop(NewYork:BasicBooks,2008)187 50 DavidChalmers,TheConsciousMind:InSearchofaFundamentalTheory(Oxford:UniversityPress,1996)305

ourthoughts,feelingsandemotions.51Indeed,allwhohavebodieshavepoweroverthosewhohavent.52 Wereinhabitedbythem.53Theyrerighthere.54Rememberourdead. Thisistheimmortalityofthehumanmind.Isitlogicaltosaythatinformationisimmortal,andyetthatit hadabeginning?Informationhadnobeginning,neitherwillithaveanend.Thatsgoodlogic.Thatwhich hasabeginningmayhaveanend.Thereneverwasatimewhentherewasntinformation.Itscoeternal withGod. Takeyourringfromyourfingerandcompareittothehumanmind,theimmortalpartthathasno beginning.Supposeyoucutitintwo,thenithasabeginningandanendbutjoinitagain,anditcontinues oneeternalround.Thehumanmindisthesame.Ifithadabeginning,itllhaveanend.Allthetheologians throughouthistory,whosaythatthehumanmindhadabeginning,provethatitmusthaveanendandif thatstruethenwellbeannihilated.ButifImright,wemightwithboldnessproclaimfromthehousetops thatGodneverhadthepowertocreatethehumanmindfromnothing.GodcouldnotcreateGodfrom nothing.Informationiseternalandhasalwaysexisted.Theresnocreationaboutit,thoughallinformation issusceptibletochange. Withoutbeginning,Godsfindthemselvesinthemidstofinformationandmatterand,becausetheyre moreintelligent,theymakeworldswithoutend,establishinglawswherebytheresthaveanopportunityto advancelikethemselves.WereindependentinthesituationinwhichGodsplaceus,toactforourselves andtoadvanceinknowledge.55Godshavepowertoinstituterulestoinstructweakerintelligences accordingtotheircircumstances,56andtheymaintainthatpowerwithoutcompulsion,57thatallmaybe exaltedtogether,sothatallmighthavecompassiononcompassion,creationoncreation,alltheknowledge andpower,andthedegreeofintelligencethatsrequiredtopreserveidentityforalltimeandthroughoutall eternity.58 Thesearegoodprinciples.Theytastegood.Icantastetheprinciplesoflife,andsocanyou.Theyre sharedwithusasprophecy,andIknowthatwhenIsharetheseprincipleswithyouastheywereshared withme,youtastethem.Trustthem.Yousayhoneyissweet,andsodoI.Wecanalsotastethe principlesoflife.Weknowtheyregood,andwhenwesharetheseprinciplesbyinspirationofthesublime esthetic,wereboundtotastethemassweetandenjoy. Inlife,weexperienceeverythingpreciselyasthoughbodiesareconstructsofminds,59andanythingwe
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SmithinTeachingsoftheProphetJosephSmith326 SmithinTeachingsoftheProphetJosephSmith181 53 Hofstadter,IAmaStrangeLoop248 54 BrighamYounginDiscoursesofBrighamYoung(SaltLakeCity:DeseretBook,1925)577 55 D&C93:3032 56 SmithinTeachingsoftheProphetJosephSmith255 57 D&C121:3446 58 YounginJournalofDiscourses6:333 59 GeorgeBerkeley,ATreatiseConcerningthePrinciplesofHumanKnowledge(Rockville,Maryland:ArcManor, 2008)3132

learnthatwillpreserveourmindswillalsopreserveourbodies.Ofcourse,preparetodieisnotthe exhortationhere,butpreparetoliveisthewordwithus.Soweseektoextendpresentlifetothe uttermost,bybalancingworkandrest,byapplyingeveryhealthandmedicalscience,andsopreparefora betterlife.60Wellnotalldie,butwellallchange.61Inthedayoftransfiguration,ourbodiesandworld mustchange.62Inaflash,inthetwinklingofaneye,perishablemustclotheitselfwiththeimperishable, andthemortalwithimmortality.Thentheprophecywillbetrue:Deathhasbeenswallowedupin victory.63Yetwehavearesponsibility,anawfulresponsibility,inrelationtoourdead.Whatofallwho didntlearntopreservetheirminds?Canwedonothingforourfriendswhodied?Cantheybesaved, thoughtheirbodiesaredecayinginthegrave? Whatarethepropheciesinrelationtothesubjectofourdead?TheBiblesays,sincedeathcamethrough aman,theresurrectionofthedeadcomesalsothroughaman.ForasinAdamalldie,soinChristallwill bemadealive.64SomeimagineandsupposethatJesuswoulddoallthework,butJesusrejectsthatidea, andsoshouldwe.Adamismany,65 allhumanity,andallhumanityshouldbeChrist:66thechurchofthe firstborn,67begottenchildrenofGod,68evenliteralsaviors.69WeshouldtakeontheidentityofChristinas manywaysaspossible,70evenlaboringtothepointofsufferingforeachother.71AsJesusinvitesusto helpfulfillprophecythateveryonewillhearhisgospelandreceiveconsolation,72soheinvitesustohelp fulfillprophecythateveryonewillreceivehealing.73 WhatdoesJesussay?Whoeverbelievesinmewill dotheworksIvebeendoing,andtheylldoevengreaterthingsthanthese.74WhatdoesJesusdo?He resurrectsthedead. Ourgreatestresponsibilityinthisworldistoresurrectourdead,andwebeginbyrememberingthem. ConsiderthatJohntheRevelatorwascontemplatingthissubjectwhenhesawthedead,greatandsmall, standingbeforethethrone,andbookswereopened.Anotherbookwasopened,whichisthebookoflife. Thedeadwerejudgedaccordingtowhattheyhaddoneasrecordedinthebooks.75Thebookoflifeis therecordofeternity,andtheotherbooksareourrecords,historyandgenealogy.Noticethatthedeadare judgedaccordingtotheirworksaswrittenintheotherbooks:whateverwedorecordisrecordedin

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YounginJournalofDiscourses11:132 1Corinthians15:51 62 D&C63:2021 63 1Corinthians15:5254 64 1Corinthians15:2122 65 Moses1:34 66 Colossians1:27 67 D&C93:22 68 D&C76:24 69 ThomasMonson,UntilWeMeetAgain,Ensign(April2009) 70 JeffreyHolland,BrokenThingstoMend,Ensign(April2006) 71 Colossians1:24,29 72 Mark16:15 73 Mark16:18 74 John14:12 75 Revelation20:12

eternity,andwhateverwedontrecordisnotrecordedineternity.76 Weusesacramentstomotivatethegenealogicalwork.Theritualofbaptism,tobeimmersedandcome outofthewater,issymbolicoftheresurrection:thedeadcomingoutoftheirgraves.77Asbaptismwas institutedtoremindusofourownresurrection,sobaptismforthedeadwasinstitutedtoremindusoftheir resurrection.Itturnstheheartsofparentstotheirchildren,andtheheartsofchildrentotheirparents,78 suchthatwecantbewholewithoutthem,andtheycantbewholewithoutus.Awholeandcompleteand perfectunionmusttakeplace.79 Wealsousetechnologytoenablethegenealogicalwork,yetwestandonlyonthethresholdofwhatwe cando.Evenourmostenthusiasticprojectionscaptureonlyatinyglimpseoftheeternalconsequencesof ourefforts.80Imagineaposthumanchild.Usingthetoolsofquantumarcheology,shetracesbackwards throughtimeandspacefromeffectstocauses.Samplingasufficientlylargeportionofherpresent,she rediscoversyou.Attainingadesiredprobabilisticprecisionforaportionofherpast,sherecreatesyou.The futureyouisdistinguishablefromthepresentyou,butonlyasthetodayyouisdistinguishablefromthe yesterdayyou.Asifawakingfromanightssleep,youareresurrected,andyoulearntodothesamefor yourparents. Now,whatdowehearintheconsolationwevereceived?Avoiceoftriumph!Avoiceofpeace.Good newsforthelivingandthedead.Howbeautifularethosewhobringgoodnews,whoproclaimpeace,who saytothepeople,yourGodreigns! 81Beforetheworldwas,Godordainedthatwhichwouldenableusto redeemourdeadfromtheirprison,fortheprisonersmustgofree!Now,wepreparetheirescapefromthe graspofthatawfulmonster,death!82Friends,shouldntwepursuesuchacause?Again,whatdowe hear?ThevoiceofGodconsolingus,confirmingourhope,proclaimingknowledge,power,love,light, immortalityandeternallife! 83 Althoughamourner,Ivereasonforconsolation.Myfather,LayneCannon,isgoneonlyuntilthe resurrectionofourdead,untilthetransfigurationofthosewhoremain.Intheresurrection,myfatherwill riseandreunitewithmyfamilyandhisfriendsinloveandlight,farbeyondexpectationsandhopesthatwe cannowconceive.Thesublimeestheticmovesmeagainstfeartoboldness:84Iwillmeetmyfatherinthe morningoftheresurrection. Allwillriseintheresurrection.Wehaveparents,siblings,childrenandfriendswhovegone,buttheyre onlyabsentforamoment.Theypersist,andwellsoonmeetagain.EvenifyouorIdepart,wellyetgreet
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D&C128:78 D&C128:12 78 Malachi4:6 79 D&C128:18 80 HowardHunter,WeHaveaWorktoDo,Ensign(March1995) 81 Isaiah52:7 82 2Nephi9:10 83 D&C128:1923 84 1John4:1718

ourfamilyandfriends,andeveryoneelsewhosgone,beyondpresentnotionsofsufferinganddeath,in eternity,notasaeuphemismfordeath,butratheraseternallifethatsrealaslightandwarmaslove. Somemaywonder,Willmothershavechildrenineternity?Yes!Imagineaposthumanmother.85Her thoughtsconstitutecreation:conceivingworlds,gestatinghumanity,andbirthingnewgenerationsof posthumanity.Hermemoriesconstituteresurrection:asherchilddies,soitrisestolive,justasbefore leavingherarms.Fromadistance,perhapsonlyablackhole,whydoesshedoasshedoes?Whyshould shecare?Within,shesauniverseofreasons.Weareherthoughtsandmemories.Wearethecellsofa Godinembryo.86Eternitymustbefullofworldswithinnumerablechildrenandmothers,playingand nurturing,changingandremembering,aswedo. Illmakeafewmoreremarksonritualandengineering.Ritualwithoutengineeringisimpotent,and engineeringwithoutritualismeaningless.Theyarenecessarilyandinseparablyconnected.Wemust empowermeaningtobecomeGod. Fundamentalists,howareyougoingtosaveuswithauthorityalone?Yourauthoritiessay,faithwithout actionisdead.87DoyousupposewecoulddonothingandGodwoulddeliverus?OrdoyousupposeGod woulddeliveruswhilewedontmakeuseofthemeansprovided?Ifso,youvesupposedinvain.88You cannotsaveuswithauthorityalone,butritualcanstrengthenourtrustinGodandourfuture. 89 Atheists,howareyougoingtosaveuswithsciencealone?Evenpushedtoitslimits,scienceremainsata distancefromaction,fragmentary,incomplete,andneverfinished.Lifecantwait.Livingandactingmust runaheadofscience,90thoseinspiredbyastrenuousmoodwillalwaysoutwearthosewhoarent,and religionwilldriveirreligiontothewall.91Youcannotsaveuswithsciencealone,butengineeringcan realizeourhopes. Wereinjustasgoodaworldaswelleverattainto,fromnowtoalleternity,unlesswemakeitourselves, bytheinspirationofGod,andaccordingtothelawsthatgovernandcontrolmatter.Ifwedontbythese meansmakethebetterworldweanticipate,wellneverenjoyit.Wellonlyenjoytheworldwevelabored tomake.92Thismustbetrue.Wemustmakeittrue,engineeringwithinourcontextofopportunity,working withinoursphereofgrace.Indeed,wemusttrustthatGoddecreesunalterablyaccordingtoourdesires, whetherforlifeordeath, 93andexpressthroughactionourwilltolife,notasexploitationorservitude, 94but
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ElizaSnow,OMyFather,HymnsoftheChurchofJesusChristofLatterdaySaints292 OrsonWhitneyinCollectedDiscourses(MadisonWisconsin:BHSPub,1987)3:45 87 James2:20 88 Alma60:11,21 89 Alma25:1516 90 EmileDurkheim,ElementaryFormsofReligiousLife(Oxford:UniversityPress,1912)325327 91 James,Thewilltobelieve,andotheressaysinpopularphilosophy,andHumanimmortality213 92 BrighamYounginJournalofDiscourses3:336 93 Alma29:45 94 Nietzsche,BeyondGoodandEvil:PreludetoaPhilosophyoftheFuture(NewYork:MacmillanCompany,1907) 226

aseternalatonementineverbroaderanddeeperfriendship.95Wemustsaveourselves,96andallourdead. 97 Otherwise,theresnomeaningfulexistence,98andweredamnedasclearlyashellcandoit.99 Oursacramentsandtechnologiesaregoodfornothingwithouteachother,soletsmovebeyondinfancyto maturity.100Fundamentalists,atheists,andallhumanity,wemustchange.Change!BeChrist!TrustinGod, thatwelljoinposthumanitytotheextentitexists,andthatwellmakeposthumanitytotheextentit doesnt.Otherwise,neithersciencenorreligionwillsaveusorourdeadfromextinctionorworse. Iveintendedmyremarksforall.Iclaimnoenemies.Ihateoppression,butIloveeveryone,evenwhen wedisagree.Iloveallhumanity,especiallyyoumyfriends,notasbeinghuman,butratherasbecoming posthuman.WerecalledthechildrenofGod,butwedontyetknowfullywhatwellbe.Wedonteven knoweachother,ourheartsandhistory,asweshould.101Weseeineachotheronlypartialreflectionsof ourselves,butweshouldtrust,thatwhenwechange,Christwillappear.102 WellseeandbeChrist,and knowfullyaswerefullyknown.103 Iaddnomore.Godblessusall.Amen.

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John15:15 SmithinTeachingsoftheProphetJosephSmith,227 97 JoelJohnson,HighontheMountainTop,HymnsoftheChurchofJesusChristofLatterdaySaints5 98 D&C93:30 99 D&C19:7 100 Hebrews5:1214 101 1Corinthians8:2 102 1Corinthians13:912 103 1John3:2