Radical life extension and the LDS Church

Interesting article in the Atlantic on the prospects of extending human life and the religious implications thereof, based on a Pew Research Center poll. The Pew Center asked sought comments from several major religions; for the LDS Church, they ended up talking with Steven Peck at BYU:

“The church believes that the human body is sacred, which is why it even discourages body piercing and tattoos,” says Steven Peck, a bioethicist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “So, as long as the body remained the same, as long as you were only giving people more of what they already have without big alterations, I think it would be fine.” On the other hand, “if there was a sense that [life-extension therapy] was desecrating the body, that would be a problem,” Peck says.

Peck, obviously, is not a General Authority or (to my knowledge) an official Church spokesperson. Also, his answer as given — and he may well have had more to say — doesn’t really address advancing technology in artificial prosthetics and organ transplants. I doubt Church leaders or most Church members have problems with organ transplants, artificial limbs, artificial hearts, and so on. But what happens when we can transplant, say, the human head of a quadriplegic  on top of a mobile prothetic torso (with heart/lung machine, etc?). Does that count as ‘desecration’ or merely another logical step in transplant/prosthetic technology? Suppose the side effect of such an action is a significantly greater human lifespan and/or greater functionality for the person involved — would elderly people who were not quadriplegics then be justified in such a procedure, assuming they could afford it?

Interesting questions. Lincoln Cannon, where are you? :-)  ..bruce..

 

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