X-Message-Number: 16268
From: "john grigg" <>
Subject: a letter to the LDS church
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 22:26:07 

Hello everyone,

A fellow mormon friend of mine posted this to the extro list.  I thought 
some of you would find it interesting.  I am rooting for Brent though I am 
not an atheist like he is.

best wishes,


From: Brent Allsop ()
Date: Wed May 09 2001 - 22:48:22 MDT

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        I'm still considered a member of the LDS church, and most of
my friends and family are also Mormon. Evidently many of my friends
and family think the LDS church is against Cryonics, and hence they,
are hostile to the idea. Here is a draft of a letter I intend on
sending to my current LDS bishop, in an effort to find out what, if
any, support, or lack there of, I might expect from the LDS church.

        Has anyone else ever attempted something like this? I'd be
interrested in hearing any feedback anyone might have, on my intention
of asking this of my LDS bishop.


                Brent Allsop


Dear Bishop <name removed>,

        I've got a question for you. As I believe you know, I'm in
the process of signing up for cryonic preservation. From the
extropian point of view, it's unfortunate that the laws of the land
are not set up a little more fairly for cryonic "patients", which some
people consider mere "corpses". Because of this, legal threats from
family, state, or even religious organizations and their members,
especially if they are family members, can be a significant threat to
the extropian community that desires to be cryonically preserved.

        Compounding the problem, when the patient most needs it, when
the time comes, he is unable to stand up for, or even communicate in
person, his own desires. Hence in anticipation of such we must make
extra effort to anticipate all possible eventualities, and try to plan
for them in advance, so that there is the minimal possible threat to
our possible survival unto the age when there is no more death and
people live forever.

        Also, as you know, most of my family and friends are LDS. It
seems to be a popular belief in the LDS church that "Once the prophet
has spoken, the thinking has been done." Many members seem to value
the teachings of the church over their own thinking. So, it is my
feeling that it is important to me to try to find out, before it is to
late, the church's position on members seeking to be cryonically
preserved, and any possible effect such might have on my family,
friends or even the voting people in a state which I might be residing
when I die.

        In my belief, there should be no conflict whatsoever between
making every medical effort possible to live as long as possible.
But, evidently many LDS, including some in my family, believe the
church's position is to choose death, and to be against anything that
might eventually give eternal life. Because of many people's self
perceived idea that the church is against this, they seem to be very
hostile to the idea of my seeking after this. To the point that I
fear for my life because of the actions, or lack of actions that any
of these people could take when the time comes.

        Alcor is the name of the organization that I have selected to
provide this service for me. On Alcor's "Application For Membership"
form there are section where supporting people and organizations can
be entered. There is a "Contacts" section where close friends that
may be able to help in time of need can be listed. For example, Alcor
may require simple assistance for something like having someone go
around to pick up large quantities of ice to help with the procedure.
There is also a "Suspension Endangerment Contacts" section. Here is
the description from the form for that section:

) Suspension Endangerment Contacts.
) In case of large financial expenditures being required to fight
) legal attacks on your suspension, general financial or legal
) set-backs which threaten the suspensions of all Members in
) suspension, or the dissolution of Alcor it may be necessary for
) Alcor to convert the suspension from Whole Body Suspension to
) Neurosuspension or to terminate the suspension. As a safety
) measure, you may designate certain individuals(s), organization(s),
) and/or institution(s) as Suspension Endangerment Contacts. Such a
) designation does not create a contract with the Suspension
) Endangerment Contacts on the part of either the Member or Alcor.
) Such Contacts might include individuals or organization you have
) left funds with for the specific purpose of providing a back-up fund
) for your cryonic suspension.

        What I am asking is: would it be appropriate for me to ask the
LDS church to be one of these Contacting organizations? To me, such
would be an indicator as to whether the church is hostile to people
seeking after eternal life, or would the church be supportive and not
try to interfere with members seeking after such? I know of no other
way to find out such information, other than by asking if it would be
OK, for me to put the LDS church, and you as my Bishop, or an official
representative of the church, on this form as a "Suspension
Endangerment Contact".

        In addition, could I inform my Home Teachers of my desires,
and can I ask them if it is OK to add them, as official Home Teachers
of the LDS church, to the "Contacts" list on this form, and keep the
form updated with whoever my current Home Teachers, and Bishop are?

        As it says on the form, there is no contract, whatsoever,
committing anyone on such lists to do anything on my or Alcor's behalf
when the time comes. For me, it would simply be a critically
important explicit show of an indication that, even if you do not
happen to believe in cryonics, that you will not try to take action to
prevent this from occurring.

        It's hard to imagine all possible eventualities that might
become relevant in the future. But for example, being autopsied is a
big danger to extropians. In many states, it is the law that under
certain circumstances, a body must be autopsied after death. Having
the brain autopsied like this, as far as Alcor and extropians are
concerned, is equivalent to murder. There are legal teams in place to
do all they can to try to prevent such. Having my bishop testify on
Alcor's behalf in court, as evidence that it is was truly my will to
be preserved, and not be autopsied, could be life saving to me.

        If any kind of court action ensued, for any reason, of which
the above is just one possible example, I feel it is critical that I
no, now, which side of the court people will be on. Will the church,
and my family members, vote to pass laws which take away the rights of
people with such desires? If there was a court case, involving me
being preserved, what side would my LDS family members be on? Would
they be for or against me?

        As you know, I've been a member of the LDS church my entire
life. Though I don't believe in all the teachings and practices of
the church, I do all I can to support my family in the Church. I've
been a full tithe payer my entire life, held multiple church jobs most
of my life, I served a mission, primarily because of my
parents... and so on and so forth. It is my desire to continue this
support of my family, for as long as is required and as long as this
is their choice. But my question is, is it within the church's
teachings to behave similarly in return? I know many LDS do not
think to highly of Cryonic Preservation. But, will they try to make
efforts to frustrate my will? Or does the church really teach things
like: "Let them worship how where and what they may"?

        I suspect the Church has never considered such, and may not be
interrested in considering, simply on my behalf, giving you (and my
home teachers) the go-ahead to, as official representatives of the LDS
church, to be listed as supporting contacts on my Alcor Application.

        If this is the case, then I would desire to ask you (and my
home teachers) simply as friends to be listed as such. Would this be
OK with you, or would you prefer to not be listed as such even as a
personal friend?

        As you know, I am also a member of the UU church. Many UU
members are "green" people. Some of their beliefs are that the world
would be much better if humans would just go away and stop polluting
nature. Some of them believe that people seeking after eternal life
would be a bad thing. Non the less, most of them support people
having their own will. They will do anything to try to help their
will be fulfilled. I've talked to my UU minister, Mark Salkin, about
this same issue and have made this same request. The UU church is all
for having Mark Salkin, as a representative of the UU church, being
listed as a "Suspension Endangerment Contact". This simple fact gives
me great comfort and peace of mind, for this has indicated to me that
this is one less thing that I must worry about and try to put effort
towards anticipating.

        If it turns out that the LDS church is against seeking after
eternal life via medical research and such means as cryonic
preservation, or that many of it's members believe they should do
things like vote for laws making it very difficult for cryonics
patents to fulfill their will, or scientists to perform such research,
it is my feeling that continuing to support such an organization may
be akin to donating money to a terrorist group that has vowed to take
legal or perhaps even some of it's members to take terrorist actions
against Alcor, it "patients", scientists doing any eternal life
research and so on. And of course any such support wouldn't be to
rational for a person also paying money to an organization like Alcor
and giving support to the extropian community.

        Anyway, I'm not really sure how to go about all this, nor if
this is the best way to precede. Perhaps you can provide some advice
as to how best to precede with all this? I figured I'd at least start
with an e-mail like this. I hope you can understand how important
this is to me. I'm very excited over the idea that my UU friends, and
especially my Extropian and Alcor friends are willing to go to such
extreme efforts on my behalf. Though I would appreciate it and though
I believe such would be precisely one of the purposes of "home
teachers", I'm not really asking the Church, my LDS family and
friends, for anything like this. All I'm really asking for is that
they give me some kind of indication, now before it is to late, that
they will not stand in the way of my other cherished infinitely loving
friends that are so willing to do so much for me. Hopefully, when the
time comes, everyone will already know what is going to occur.
Hopefully things will go according to plan and I will be able to cover
the cost of all these efforts now. I want to do all I can to have
this all set up in advance, so that everyone knows what to expect and
so things can go smoothly, and that if there are any risks or threats,
I might be able to address those now, while I can, before it becomes
to late.

        There are many Extropians that have the faith and hope that a
cure for aging might be discovered and achieved before any of this is
necessary. They are certainly making dedicated efforts in this
direction, because of this faith. I hope that you wild think that
such would be a very exciting worthwhile thing to hope for. But since
an accident could occur at any time, I feel "now is the time to
prepair" and that it is not wise "to procrastinate the day...."


              Brent Allsop

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