To Eat No-Kill Cultivated Meat. Part Four: Mormon?

To Eat No-Kill Cultivated Meat. Part Four: Mormon? October 3, 2022

To Eat No-Kill Cultivated Meat

Part Four: What do Mormons think? An Interview with Lincoln Cannon

Mormon Temple

No-kill cultivated meat seems so very promising. By removing a cell sample from a living animal and growing it in culture, cultivated meat could provide protein nutrition for poor and wealthy alike. We can imagine a gradual supersedence of cultivated meat over slaughtered meat. We can forecast a reduction if not elimination of land devoted to pasturing, chicken processing factories, and slaughter houses. We’re ready to deliver this good news to every steer and chicken I meet.

As an exercise in public theology and ecotheology, we now ask: what are the religious implications? Many of our religious traditions have included dietary rules combined with a theology of animals. We–Brian Brosovic and Ted Peters–began this odyssey with an article, “Meet the New Meat,” in the September 2022 issue of Pax Lumina. Then, in Part One of “To Eat No-Kill Cultivated Meat” here in Patheos, we looked at the science of cultivated meat. In Part Two, we asked Professor of Jewish Studies Sam Shonkoff: would cultivated meat be kosher? Yes, he said, as long as it follows traditionally kosher practices. Dharma scholar Rita Sherma, in Part Three, addressed our question from the perspective of Hindus and Jains.

Now, in Part Four, we turn to our favorite LDS theologian, Lincoln Cannon. Lincoln is Founder and Advisor of the Mormon Transhumanist Association.  Please take a look at our Patheos interview with him, “Religious Transhumanism 5: Mormon? Yes.” Let’s ask Lincoln about Mormon sensibilities and his forecasts.

(1) “Lincoln, LDS theologians take a strong stand on behalf of animals within God’s creation. For non-LDS readers, what is the central concern that you as an LDS theologian have regarding animals?”

Lincoln Cannon. Mormons generally revere God’s observation, in the Bible, that the creation was good. And of course that creation includes the creation of non-human animals. They, like us and the rest of the world, are good.
LDS theologian Lincoln Cannon on  no-kill cultivated meat and its implications.

Mormons also generally revere God’s command to humanity that we should govern creation — sometimes translated “rule” or, unfortunately, “dominate.” The command to govern may provoke some to think of the oppressive tactics of tyrants. However, Mormon scripture elaborates at length on the ethical use of authority, quite clearly rejecting anything like tyranny.

Instead of engaging in tyranny and other oppressive tactics, we should govern “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile.” And if you govern with such compassion, the scripture observes, “thy scepter [shall be] an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.”

In my estimation, only compassionate governance constitutes fulfillment of God’s command to govern creation. And, by extension, only compassion toward non-human animals constitutes full reverence for God’s creation.

 (2) “I [Ted] love Angie, my dog. My beloved cat, Leona, was recently killed and devoured by coyotes. Will I see Angie and Leona again in heaven?”

Angie, the dog.

Lincoln Cannon. I hope you’ll see Angie and Leona again. And I think there’s reasonable grounds on which to trust in and work toward such a possibility.

In Mormon eschatology, heaven is the future of our Earth — one of innumerable worlds that become heavens for their inhabitants. And Mormon scripture describes non-human animals as being among the inhabitants of the heavenly Earth.

Like the humans in that heaven are glorified, so also are the non-human animals glorified. As the scripture puts it, their glory will consist of “enjoyment of their eternal felicity,” as well as “power, to move, to act.” And, most intriguing, glorified non-human animals will be “full of knowledge.”
This might sound like nothing more than fantasy. And of course it’s at least fantasy. But accelerating technological change is increasingly displacing biology as the primary driver of evolution. So we shouldn’t be surprised if technology continues to influence the biology of non-human animals, even more profoundly than domestication already has.
And if ever we have the ability to “raise the dead,” as Jesus commands his disciples in the Bible, why wouldn’t we use that ability to raise the non-human animals that we care about? Why wouldn’t your children or grandchildren or other friends use that ability to raise you? And why wouldn’t you use that ability to raise your family, friends, and even Angie and Leona?

 (3) “Lincoln, what are your thoughts about the prospect that no-kill cultivated meat products may soon be on the market? Do you welcome this development? How might a LDS theologian think about this? What will you recommend for our future diets?”

Lincoln Cannon. Yes! I heartily welcome the prospect of no-kill cultivated meat products. Such products may provide substantial health benefits to humans, especially in economically impoverished areas. And such products may also help us greatly reduce the suffering of non-human animals that, traditionally, have been major sources of nutrition for humanity.
As I mentioned above, Mormon scripture offers a vision of heaven on Earth in which glorified non-human animals participate. And while I don’t imagine work or risk ever going away, I do imagine paradigms to shift. And I imagine non-human animals participating with us in a new paradigm beyond present notions of poverty, suffering, and death.
Even in such a world, we would surely still require sources of energy. Glorified bodies, however they might be composed, may not require all or any of the same nutrients. But, unless you embrace some kind of strict supernaturalism, we ought to suppose that glorified bodies will depend on something at least analogous to the function of a diet. Maybe we’ll live on light.
Global Food Crisis & Food Justice

What’s Next?

As public theologians forecasting the future with an eye to ecological health, it appears to us that the widespread use of cultivated meat could contribute to the global common good not only through improved nutrition but also by reducing the exhaustion of natural resources. Yet, what we need to know is this: what do persons in long established religious traditions think?

Brian Brozovic is a student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Ted Peters is an emeritus professor at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, USA. Visit Professor Peters’ website:


About Brian Brosovic and Ted Peters
Brian Brozovic is a student at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Ted Peters is an emeritus professor at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, USA. Visit Professor Peters’ website: You can read more about the author here.

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