This is a short exerpt from a published conversation between Ben Goertzel and Lincoln Cannon (president of the Mormon Transhumanist Association):
Ben: You’re a very well educated, scientifically and technically literate guy. How can you believe that crazy stuff (Mormonism)?
Lincoln: From some perspectives, aspects of Mormonism are indeed absurd. To paraphrase one prominent atheist, Mormonism is just Christianity plus some other crazy stuff. However, these perspectives overlook or ignore how the other crazy stuff modifies Christianity! It does so to such an extent that characterizing Mormonism as a mere extension of other modern Christian ideologies is inaccurate. Mormonism is to modern Christianity as ancient Christianity was to Judaism. It is a different religion.
Ben: Would you say there exists a stripped-down, purely spiritual aspect to Mormonism?
Lincoln: My own speculation is that our universe is part of God, like software is part of a computer or an embyro is part of its mother. As our computational capacity has increased, shrinking in both cost and size, it has also become more intimate, moving from distant warehouses into our pockets and even our bodies. We are decreasingly distinguishable from our computers, and its seems reasonable to suppose that posthumans would be althogether indistinguishable from our computers. For such beings, there may be no practical difference between thinking of a world and creating it. We can imagine them as both materially corporeal and meaningfully present throughout the worlds they create.
Ben: Do you see Mormonism as consistent with “traditional transhumanism”?
Lincoln: Mormonism has many parallels with tradition transhumanism, natural humanity is something overcome as we learn to become more like God. God graciously provides means (technological and otherwise) for us to progress, and we must use these means instead of merely supposing God will save us without any effort on our part. As we become more like God, we will change both spiritually and physically, taking on the virtues and attributes of God, including both creative and benevolent capacities.
Ben: How do Mormons take scriptural foretelling of the specifics of the future–literally or metaphorically?
Lincoln: Mormon interpretations of scripture range from the highly literal to the highly symbolic; however, most Mormons do not strictly subscribe to scriptural inerrancy, infallibility, or literalism. Personally, I am most concerned with interpreting scripture non-dogmatically and pragmatically, in ways that are inspiring and helpful.
Ben: What are the main ways in which the Mormon spin on transhumanism differs from “conventional” transhumanism (bearing in mind that the latter is a rather diverse entity)?
Lincoln: Mormon transhumanism doesn’t differ from conventional transhumanism in essentials so much as it extends conventional transhumanism. Not content with describing our future in merely secular terms, Mormon transhumanists embrace a religious esthetic for various reasons. I do so because I consider the religious esthetic more powerful as a motivator and more accurate as a descriptor. Of course, divine demanders can be abused, and God-colored spectacles can distract. However, I prefer these risks to those of alternatives available to me.
For more on the Q&A see: http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/05/09/mormonism-the-most-transhumanist-religion/