“Death gives us a portal into a glorious world”


A tunnel of light


My Deseret News column for today.  Rather unusually, mostly quoted material.  Yet, as will be seen, quite personal:





Happy Independence Day!
Of blemishes and deformity
Personal encounters with Elder Packer (Part 1)
Personal Encounters with Elder Packer (Part 2)
  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Your illustration triggers my speculative impules. The effect of looking through a tunnel into light is how we would perceive looking through a fourth spatial dimension into an adjacent world on, literally, another “plane” of existence. Since Brigham Young and other prophets have taught that the Spirit World is “here” occupying the same place as the earth, the simplest way for me to conceive of that is to think of it as displaced from us by a short distance in that extra dimension.

    The idea of extra spatial dimensions being real is at the root of String Theory in modern physics. Parallel “membranes” of three dimensional space are postulated in a number of physics theories, including some that suggest the reason that gravity is so much weaker than electromagnetism, is because it is dispersed through that extra dimension into parallel worlds (see the work of Lisa Randall). And perhaps this is an alternate explanation for the the known fact of Dark Matter. About 3/4 of the matter in the observable universe is not detectable by any means except its gravity, yet that gravity completely alters the structure of galaxies, so that they rotate more like solid discs than collections of stars circling in independent orbits. Some scientsits are trying to find a Dark Matter particle even though it does not interact with any normal atom or radiation. But if Dark Matter is a manifestation of adjacent realities, overflowing with their own matter but simply a few meters from us in another dimension, the teaching of Joseph Smith that spirits are a refined kind of matter could have a solid scientific connection to observed reality. Scientists have no idea what Dark Matter is, but they can see it is real.