We live in a universe. The “uni” in universe refers to one, meaning there is one universe. Universe has been one of those enduring concepts of science that has remained unchanged for many years. Well, as is the case with most other seemingly infallible scientific theories, Newtonian mechanics and luminiferous ether come to mind, new evidence is challenging this age-old theory.

Recent evidence suggests that there may be multiple universes. Scientists are suggesting that we may live in a “multiverse” instead of a “universe”. A multiverse can be conceptualized as a compilation of soap bubbles, each containing a separate realm or universe. Particularly intriguing is the idea that some of these multiverses are parallel universes.

Parallel universe was developed by Hugh Everett in the early 1950s. Hugh Everett theorized parallel universes to explain uncanny outcomes in quantum experiments (I won’t go into the details of those results here). Parallel universes are branch-offs from other universes. Many are like our universe with a few important exceptions. For example, in a parallel universe there may be someone exactly like you, but a “you” who won 32 million in the Powerball Lottery. Another might be a universe where the Axis won WWII, where Lee Harvey Oswald’s shot missed President Kennedy, where Elvis Presley stayed thin and lived to a ripe old age, and where a lightning strike missed the inorganic soup in the primordial earth and thus mankind did not evolve (hm?). Anyway, If such places exist, they would be just as real and tangible as the universe in which we live.

I can accept the idea of multiverses, but have a difficult time with the notion of parallel universes. When viewed from the perspective of the grand master plan called the Plan of Salvation, I just don’t see how there can be a seemingly infinite number of people just like me who are living alternative realities based on different outcomes to events in my lifetime. However there is a sense of parallel universe or alternate realities in the Doctrine and Covenants. It is the Manifesto on polygamy by Wilford Woodruff in Official Declaration I.

The Lord showed President Woodruff what would happen if the Church did not stop polygamy. He wrote:

The Lord showed me by vision and revelation exactly what would take place if we did not stop this practice. If we had not stopped it, you would have had no use for . . . any of the men in this temple at Logan; for all ordinances would be stopped throughout the land of Zion. Confusion would reign throughout Israel, and many men would be made prisoners. This trouble would have come upon the whole Church, and we should have been compelled to stop the practice.

This revelation is astounding! The Lord did not suggest what might come to pass. The Lord did not show Woodruff what might happen. The Lord showed him exactly what would happen if polygamy did not stop. It is almost as if the Lord was giving President Woodruff a glimpse into a parallel universe where polygamy did not end. Could such a place really exist?

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