Bearing Testimonies of Death

Pedro sat and seethed through the first half of testimony meeting. Although no one had focused unduly on death so far, he knew it was only a matter of time until someone took fifteen minutes to say “I know death is an ordained part of God’s plan” or “I’m excited to die someday and go see my grandma again” or “The scriptures say again and again that death is part of God’s intentions for us” or some other extradoctrinal bitsnbytes even though the Church has never had an official policy. Even Elder Matsasuke stopped talking about the necessity of death when his wife died. But people loved the old Matsasuke and kept quoting him even though it was common knowledge—wasn’t it?—that he’d been upbraided by President Koné for his book. Even finding a copy of God’s Death Is Eternal Death these days could take six or seven minutes.

And finally it happened. A woman in a long yellow dress and with a smallish comm glowing in her wrist walked up to the microphone and grabbed a handful of tissues. “It’s been too long since I’ve done this,” she said.

“During the weeks before Jerry died I was filled with doubt. As it became clear his body wouldn’t make it, I kept being tempted to ask why we didn’t just upload him? I’ve never had my faith so tried. I just—he was lying there, with tubes and nodes all over his body, and—he was in—he just wasn’t himself. Once—he even asked—but I knew that God’s plan is to have us die and return to him. And I couldn’t trap Jerry in the Singularity. It’s hell, after all. I heard a General Authority say that once. Because you can’t grow or anything. You’re just stuck. And so I had to watch him die. And—it was so—it was so hard.”

Pedro could barely understand her now as she sobbed through her words. He wanted to scream. He wanted to stand up and say what should be obvious to everyone. Why would there be a Singularity if God hadn’t ordained it! Who are we to tell God how the dead will meet him? And who says the uploaded don’t grow? Wasn’t it the uploaded collective who solved the horizon problem and the origin of gamma-ray bursts? Who proved the infinite number of prime quadruplets? Doesn’t that suggest growth after upload?

“And I know that because he died, I can have the courage to die,” she went on. “And I’m so grateful for that. That we can be together again.”

Pedro grabbed his hair and pulled. Why couldn’t they be together in the Singularity? Of all the reunions postupload, not a single couple had split. Any basic search could tell you that. Or you could ask them yourself. The way people at Church pretended the dead and gone were more real and close than the merely uploaded—

“So I just want to bear my testimony of death and its place in God’s plan. I know the Church is true. And I know that by dying we can be with our families forever.”

Pedro sighed, the tendons in his neck tight, and woke up his comm. He linked into the neverending sacrament meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Uploaded Saints. Much of what they discussed would not be translated into mortal languages, but Pedro watched the feed intently as Elder Matsasuke speculated in his authoritative way about how the Resurrection will work for uploads like himself.


Faithful dead continue labors in cyberspace
Science fiction
Flash (1 to 1,000 words)
Average: 5 (1 vote)


Sarah's picture

Great flash. I need to work on getting a story into that compact little space of 1000-words-or-less. I felt it was especially great because I have felt this same frustration, in this same sort of context, many times. Only not about being uploaded or not. Though that sounds pretty cool... an interesting thought about how we force our own conceptualizations on even things so not-understood as heaven and hell. What if we miss the helecopter in the flood, as it were, because we're waiting for the afterlife to conform to our expectations? I loved the reference to Adamic language.


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