Archive for July, 2010

Cloning and Mormonism

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

just read The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir and it is hilarious and a little sad. I was really worried it would bash Mormons too much but it was too honest for that. No hate here, no prejudice, just honest reality. I liked it a lot. As someone who has actually thought about my faith and grappled with its major questions and problems, but have still chosen to be Mormon, I can really relate to her. But at one point of the book a guy the author dated asks her about cloning. It really throws her and she doesn’t have a good answer, except that it’s not possible to clone a real thinking person. I can see why she thought this but she is wrong. I wrote a response to her: what I would like to tell her in person.

First off, cloning doesn’t go against any of your Mormon religious principles. In Genesis it says that God created the world, but the Hebrew word is actually better translated as “organized” the world. Thus God took matter that already existed and sculpted it together into the world as it is. God is not a magician – He did not say “Abracadabra” and POOF! the world appeared. He is a scientist. He is a genius. He organized the world and everything in it using scientific principles. As we delve deeper into physics, astronomy, biology, and other sciences, we merely discover what He always knew. The human body is merely an extension of this. The name of our first father, Adam, literally means “earth.” Out of the same components that God used to make the world, He organized our bodies. And when we die, we will “return to dust” — our bodies will break down into those components once again.

We have, in the pursuit of science, discovered how an egg and sperm interact to begin building a new body. We have developed this knowledge to the point where we can “clone,” or faithfully reproduce an organism. Basically, we are learning how to organize a body with available materials. As in all things, we are children groping after the perfect knowledge of our Father, and as time goes by we collectively learn more and more as generations pass. However, this does not mean that we are anywhere near God’s level of knowledge and genius. We are like a toddler with a plastic hammer, emulating a parent who can with his own hands build a mansion. This is both naive and wonderful of us, and an indictment of our vast and fabulous eternal potential. Does it make us able to author life? No.

Cloning already exists. Any set of identical twins are genetically the same, just as a clone is genetically identical to its “parent.” We have learned, in our childish (but wonderfully inspired) endeavors, to reproduce an organism near-perfectly. However, we can not, and never will, grant the breath of life to that organism. We can build the body out of clay, but we can not usher souls into it. This is a divine power which is too powerful to be given into the hands of inexperienced and naive children. Only God can breathe life into clay. With a set of identical twins, they may look alike, but each body contains a very different soul. Ask any parent who has raised a child–that child’s personality and spirit came pre-formed. A preschooler will naturally be shy or gregarious, studious or active, and nothing that the parent tries will change this. I recognize in my four-year old son many traits that I possess myself, and yet he is undoubtedly his own, separate, and firmly formed person. He was born that way. The spirit that God ushered into that little skinny, blonde body is completely unique.

If cloning does progress to humankind, and if a fully formed human is cloned, it doesn’t break any rules of religion. We are merely fumbling around with God’s building blocks. We create the body out of clay. Will God fill it with a soul? I don’t know. I can tell you this: if He does not, that body will not live and breathe and walk around and talk. If He does, then one of God’s spirit children has been assigned to that body, just as we all are assigned to a body, and it will live and breathe and laugh and love just like the rest of us. There is nothing we can do to influence this process. If God chooses to put a soul into a cloned body, He will have a great reason to do so. Just because the creation of that body was influenced by His clumsy children doesn’t mean that it’s not a suitable vessel for one of His precious children.

Cloning may seem like a scary concept, but in truth it is just one of the ways that humans, working together, have tried to elevate our state closer to that of God. Whether or not those who desire to clone a human reach their ultimate goal, God is completely in charge of what follows.

It’s a Double Rainbow

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

For those of you who may have missed this, I present: Crazy Double Rainbow Guy