We live in a universe. The “uni” in universe refers to one, meaning there is just one universe. Universe is 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 the age-old concept of a single universe.

Recent evidence suggests that there may be multiple universes. Some scientists believe that we live in a multiverse instead of a universe. To conceptualize a multiverse, think of a room full of floating bubbles. Each bubble contains a separate realm or universe. Sounds intriguing, eh? Well the multiverse theory gets even more fascinating when we consider possible relationships among those universes. Owing to discoveries in quantum mechanics, there is evidence to suggest that some universes may be parallel.

The theory of parallel universes, developed by Hugh Everett in the early 1950s, posits that some universes are branch-offs of other universes. A parallel universe contains a reality similar to another universe; what differs between the two is that a single event turned out differently in one universe, at which point reality took a different course for that universe. 

For example, in a universe parallel similar to our universe, there may be someone exactly like you living the life you now live with one exception – the “you” in the parallel universe won 3 million dollars on a game show. Or there is a parallel universe where everything is the same except that the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor did not happen, where the sunlight caused Lee Harvey Oswald to sneeze as he pulled the trigger and thus he 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.

While I can probably accept the idea of multiverses, I cannot accept the notion of parallel universes. When viewed from the perspective of the grand master plan of the Lord (i.e., the Plan of Salvation), I don’t see how there could be a seemingly infinite number of people just like you and me living alternative realities based on different outcomes to events. However, there is intriguing evidence of parallel universes 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 exactly what would happen if the Church did not stop polygamy. President Woodruff 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 astonishing. The Lord did not suggest what might come to pass nor did He show Woodruff what might happen. The Lord showed him what would happen if polygamy did not stop. It is almost as if the Lord was giving President Woodruff a glimpse into a parallel reality where everything is the same except for the fact that in the parallel world, the practice of polygamy did not come to an end. 

Could such a place really exist? I don’t think so. I think this revelation was made possible by the fact that the Lord knows all things, including the exact details of what might have been had we taken different paths in our lives. This is an amazing concept. His omniscience includes not only what has happened and what will happen, but what might have happened both in the past and the future!

Indeed His omniscience is beyond mortal comprehension.

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