TIMOTHY W. MORRIS: I was raised in a devout Mormon family in Virginia, my parents having converted to that faith while in their twenties. I was the tenth of fourteen children, and although our family life was hectic, my parents had a wonderful, loving relationship which aided greatly in keeping the family close-knit. From a very young age I was devoted to the Mormon faith; I read the entire Bible, The Book of Mormon, and other religious works.
At 19, like many young men in the Mormon religion, I did two years of missionary service. During my mission in southern Spain, I came face to face with a lot of questions concerning the absolute truthfulness of any religion. Although I served an honorable mission and assisted many people in joining the Mormon faith, I was beginning to distance myself from my religion. Towards the end of my mission I lost my belief in Mormonism.
While at a family's home in Seville, I came upon a copy of the fictional Spanish-language work The Trojan Horse (first volume), by J. J. Benitez. I read only a small excerpt but found its description of Christ tremendously appealing. I did not buy the book while in Spain, thinking that there would be editions in the United States; but upon my return in 1988 I could not find a copy anywhere.
During the next six years I attended Brigham Young University and got married. I let no one know of my loss of belief except my father, whom I told immediately upon my return from Spain. I went through the motions of being a Mormon throughout those six years, becoming more spiritually removed with each passing year.
In 1994, after finishing my schooling, I was hired by a banking software firm and given the responsibility of overseeing their sales in Latin America. I began heavy travel throughout South America, and while in Bogota Colombia, I came upon the Trojan Horse books again (then numbering four volumes). I bought all four and began reading them on my flights to and from South America. The content of the books was too realistic to be fiction and I was continually fascinated.
At the end of 1996, I found another book by J. J. Benitez, The Testament of John, at the same bookstore in the airport in Bogota. This book portrayed the apostle John giving a final declaration to the body of Christian believers in which he admits to errors that he and Peter had made in organizing the church. It then went on to provide an in-depth portrayal of the afterlife, describing the mansion worlds, the superuniverses, Havona and Paradise. At the end of the book was a disclaimer from the author admitting that much of his material had been derived from a book which was in the custody of the Urantia Foundation. My first thought was that this foundation must be a group of dedicated monks hidden somewhere in the Italian Alps guarding the holy writ. I searched for the foundation and repeatedly came up short.
I knew that I had come upon something very important and wanted to share it with one of my brothers, who I knew was questioning the Mormon faith as well. So I began translating The Testament of John from Spanish to English for my brother's benefit. In early 1997, after finishing the translation of the first three chapters, I contacted the Miami office of the editors of the Planeta publishing group and asked whether the Benitez works were available in English. They told me that they were not. I then asked if they had ever heard of the Urantia Foundation. They said yes, that it was located in Chicago and that it published a book over 2,000 pages long that I could buy at any bookstore.
I immediately went out and bought it and read close to 400 pages in the first night. I was amazed by the content and detail and could not stop reading, continuing until around four in the morning. When I finally put it down to go to bed I felt incredibly calm and serene.
I have since read the Urantia Book twice and have shared it with my brother and two close friends, all of whom have devoured it in amazement.
ANDREW GAMEZ: Over the past ten years I have read a lot of literature on metaphysical themes and practices. I was fortunate enough to have a sister who led me to books by Edgar Cayce, Ramtha, Arthur Ford, Ruth Montgomery, Sutphen, and R. Monroe, to name just a few. However, none of these books had quite the impact on me that Courtney Browns Cosmic Voyage had. To an amazing degree it validated a lot of metaphysical teachings I had been exposed to.
What still shakes me up is the section in Cosmic Voyage titled "The Midwayers." Courtney Brown and others in the military who are adepts in a technique called remote viewing confirmed the presence of "subspace entities" whose role is to uplift mankind by providing information and aiding in its evolution. Later on in the midwayer chapter, Courtney said that he and his researchers were influenced in their understanding of the midwayers by a document entitled the Urantia Book. That prompted me to look up the Urantia site on the Internet, get on the mailing list and eventually download the MS-Word document version of the UB.
Now I spend a lot of time shuttling back and forth between Cosmic Voyage and the Urantia Book because many of their ideas and claims about the universe, heaven, God, and humanity correlate. I most appreciate the section where Courtney converses with Jesus and reveals a being with a great personality, confirming the Urantia Books descriptions of God and Jesus as warm, caring, and real.
JACOB DIX: By the age of 21, in 1997, I had already faced many personal failures and defeats. I had been through half a dozen different religions but none of them ever seemed to satisfy me. I found myself in an unhappy family, with a monotonous job, and without a single friend who could possibly understand my sadness. I was alone.
In the midst of my depression, a strange idea popped into my head: "Go to Arizona." For five minutes I stood on a ladder in the stockroom where I worked, aromatherapy products in hand, and weighed the pros and cons. Finding no cons, I decided to quit my job and bought a one-way bus ticket from Los Angeles to Sedona. I didn't know a thing about Sedona. I had a hiking pack, some money and no clue what I was going to do there. What an adventure! I was there two days when things started happening. Through a conspiracy of events I met Wilcy Haas, the man who would introduce me to the Urantia Book, and his wife Leah, both of whom I considered very wise.
After ten days I left Sedona with some hippies from Mississippi and we headed out to Oregon for a rainbow gathering. When our car broke down in Central California everyone decided to go home. I was broke, but I had made new friends and had shared some great experiences.
A year later, the same thought popped into my head: "Go back to Arizona." I returned, this time staying in a tent up on a nice little hill at the foot of a red rock mesa overlooking the beautiful desert. One day near the end of July, I went to visit Wilcy and Leah, but they were not home. They always left their door unlocked for visitors, so I went inside. I noticed this really big tome on the table with an old leather cover with three circles on it. My eyes got wide as I stared at it. I would never have looked through their things but this time curiosity got the better of me. I took a deep breath and scanned the table of contents: "Government on a Neighboring Planet," angels, evolution, Adam and Eve - and a huge section about Jesus whom I regarded at the time as a master, but not the master. When Wilcy came home I asked him, "What is this book?" He then started telling me about it and answering all my questions, like a father to a searching child.
That night when I went to back to my tent to sleep my mind was filled. I dreamt of an angel taking me through space and showing me the different states and planes of reality. Had I been to the morontia worlds? The next day, enthused, I went to a used book store and found a copy of the Urantia Book. A couple of days later I had saved enough money to buy it. Every night for the next two months, I ran home to my tent to read, by flashlight, "The Life and Teachings of Jesus." One day, while walking down the hill from my tent, a surge of spirit went through my being, a knowing smile came across my face, and the words passed so smoothly through my head: "I am a Jesusonian."
JIM PATTEN: Born in 1953, I received an excellent upbringing in a small town in Southern Missouri. My mother and father were involved in almost every organization and activity in the area, and insisted that all five of their children be likewise involved. They taught us excellent moral and ethical values and the basics about God and Jesus. During my younger years, when I was often extremely ill with hay fever, allergies, and asthma and could hardly breathe, my mother would lie down with me and we would pray to Jesus. In 1971, after high school, I joined the Army.
That brings us to a cold, clear day - December 10, 1997 - at Fort Douglas, Utah, where I was a battalion commander for the 9th Support Battalion. My sergeant major and I had decided to go out and eat lunch at the Training Table downtown. On the way we witnessed a man being hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing and, assuming he was dead and with the ambulance on the way, we continued on.
During our meal we discussed what happened to the man's soul after death. The sergeant major expressed a few of his thoughts, and then it was my turn. After years of reading the Bible and attending various churches - from Methodist to Baptist to Mormon to Catholic - you would think I could come up with an intelligent answer. Thinking back to my Baptist days, I mentioned that Jesus would return some day and take us back out of the grave. I said something about the 144,000 people who would get special recognition early on, but at this point I became really vague, remembering little. My next thought was: "Go to the bookstore and buy a book!" It was like a voice speaking in my head.
Somewhat embarrassed, I suddenly said to the fellow Army infantry airborne ranger sitting across from me, "Is there a bookstore around here? I'm supposed to buy a book now. Someone is telling me to buy a book." He gave me a queer look and laughed, "You're joking, right?" I replied, "No," and smiled back.
We finished lunch and he steered me to the Barnes & Noble bookstore which happened to be directly across the street, all the while giving me a weird look and smiling.
I rarely visited bookstores. Upon being greeted at the door I asked one of the employees, "Will you help me find a book?" He asked me for the name of the book, and I replied, "This is going to sound pretty stupid, but I don't know the name." With a serious look on his face he asked, "Do you know the name of the author?" "I don't know that either," I admitted. At this point the clerk and my top NCO both started laughing, increasing my embarrassment and frustration. I thought it would be easier to look for the book myself, so I asked the clerk if there was a Religion section in the bookstore. He led me to it.
Standing in the middle of a long row of bookshelves, I thought, "God, if it's you speaking to me, show me the book." From left to right I started scanning the titles, but nothing happened. "This is really stupid!" I said to myself. Then a box sitting at the end of the shelf caught my eye. "This is it!" went through my head. I walked over, reached up and touched it, and said, "I know this is the book. What's in it?"
"It's the Urantia Book," said the clerk.
"I don't know," he said. "I've never read it, but I think it's about God."
"Good enough for me!" I said, "Wrap it up!" I didn't realize what I had in my hands at the time, but I would soon learn that the Urantia Book would change my perspective on life.
That same night I started reading the Foreword and did not understand a single word. After reading the front section a thought came to me again: "Read the book seven times from front to rear without stopping." I immediately scanned through the book and checked how many pages it comprised. I thought, "Oh, no! This thing is long!" Nevertheless, I read every single day and finished the first reading less than two months later.
About this time, when I took my final Army retirement physical, some problems were detected and I was rushed into surgery. First the doctors removed a tumor from my prostate and bladder; five days later my back went out and I was airvac'd to Fort Lewis; a little later the doctors burned seventy-nine pre-cancerous skin spots off my body, and a few months after that they cut a cancerous tumor out of my ear. My wife was worried, but I had no fear, no anxiety, no concerns - just pure joy with God and his son, Jesus. I thank God I listened to him - or one of his representatives - and read the Urantia Book.
Today I'm a car salesperson, with nobody to be in charge of, but with greater responsibilities - spiritual responsibilities - to my family, friends, co-workers and customers. Most customers treat me pretty badly when we first meet; later, the majority will drop their guard a little and make a connection spiritually. I've learned that whatever you do or whatever position you hold, you can make a difference.
MONTE PAGNI: When I was younger, I had several disabilities that made me question God and life itself, so I started reading books on theology. At 18 I spent a lot of time studying the Seth material, which I found heavy but enlightening. Little did I realize that it was preparing me for something even bigger much later.
After a while, though I had read many books about God and the universe, I found nothing that matched the feelings I had in my heart about such matters. I'd reached many dead ends and a lot of unconnected puzzle pieces. The Seth material explained many things, and some of it felt right or nearly so. The Bible offered some relief but not enough; too many things were out of place and out of sequence, and its centuries-old information always left me feeling disjointed and incomplete, I needed more!
In 1997 I was watching an episode of a weekly show TV show called "Strange Universe," in which a gentleman was talking about a book called Urantia. What caught my attention was the way he delivered himself. Right then and there I felt that that was the book I needed to continue my search for the truth.
I have been reading the Urantia Book ever since. I also attend a local reading chapter and enjoy our chats and questions. The Urantia Book could conceivably help the human race to achieve a better life. Its now up to us to do the Father's will.
SHAUNA HARDWAY: As a child, I thought heaven was a gigantic cathedral with millions and millions of pews. The better you were in life, the closer you got to sit to the podium where Jesus and God would take turns giving long-winded sermons. If you were really good, they might even toss you some padding so your butt wouldn't get sore sitting for eternity on those wooden benches. I really wasn't sure that I wanted to go to heaven. And when I would question my Sunday school teachers about what heaven was really like, they would answer, "It's a beautiful place where you worship God forever." That didn't really change my vision of heaven because to me, being a Southern Baptist, worship was a big church service with an occasional amen thrown in.
In 1997 I was in my senior year of high school and had recently outgrown my teenage rebellion. Although I felt very spiritual at the time, I thought I fit nowhere since my life was no longer defined by the church. One evening my boyfriend and I were sitting in front of his TV, bored. It was raining outside. He suddenly got up and said, "I've got a book I think you might like." He pulled out a big blue book. "My dad got this a long time ago," he explained. "It's kinda like the Bible, but with a twist of sci-fi. It's called the Urantia... uhh ... I've never read it, though." He went on to say that his dad had shown the book to a Catholic priest who told him that the book had good messages, and that basically it taught us how to live.
By this point my curiosity was piqued. I opened the book and started reading. In my excitement, I flipped from page to page hoping to absorb it all.
From then on, whenever I went over to my boyfriend's house, I'd end up reading the Urantia Book. My favorite parts were the mansion world and morontia life papers. My erroneous interpretations of heaven were finally being turned around and I began to see that the worship my Father in heaven had always intended was creative and glorious, ever-changing and joyous!
But my enlightening reading days didn't last long. My boyfriend got jealous of my reading all the time. He said I was using him to get to the book, so I was forced to buy one of my own. At the check-out, the clerk stated, "You're in for a good one. I've heard interesting things about this book."
The skeptic in me answered, "Well, we'll see ... I'm going to read it before I pass judgment." It didn't take long for me to fall totally in love with the Urantia Papers.
I'm grateful that my journey started at 18. My mother's journey did not begin until she was 45. Now an ALANON member, she seeks the same personal God I do. We have different ways of going about it but it's amazing how many times our visions of God coincide. She reads the Big Book, I read the Urantia Book, and we have both found our loving Father. I now believe that the Christian church is not the only way to God. There never was only one way, or one person with the authority to tell me how to experience my spirituality. Why would a God who created such an eclectic group of people create only one way to find his love?
TOM GREAVES: From the ages of eight to 15 I served as an altar boy at an Episcopal church. I was very devoted to the church and participated in services several times a week. But when I asked the questions that were always on my mind, I never got any answers. My questions were: What is the purpose of life? Who created God? Why is God so mean? Finally I quit going to church because I couldn't believe in something that no one could explain.
In 1975 I saw a magazine ad put out by the Rosicrucians. It claimed to offer a way to "improve your ESP." I had no ESP, but wanted to have it, so I became a Rosicrucian. After five years I still had no ESP, but I had been introduced to esoteric teachings. From that point on, I read everything I could find about mystery schools, religions and cults.
In 1985 I discovered the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE.), which published the Edgar Cayce readings and books inspired by them. Most of what I read struck harmonic chords in me. After seven years of study I felt I had all my answers except one: "What is my purpose in life?"
The A.R.E. didn't provide that answer.
In 1992 I discovered the Internet. I was in heaven. All the knowledge in the world was at my fingertips. I joined all the spiritual mailing lists I could find. On one of the lists, someone posted a reference to the Urantia Book. I had never heard of it, so I did a search, found the full text of the book online, and started reading. I read for about an hour and stopped. It was too complex, and the writers used too many names and words I had never heard of. I've got a Master's in nuclear engineering, so it isn't as if I had never seen a big word before, but none of this stuff found any resonance in me.
In 1997 I saw another reference to the Urantia Book on one of the email lists, this time in connection with Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve? I hadn't seen anything about them before when I had started reading from the beginning of the book. So I accessed the online text again and found the table of contents. These topics looked very interesting. At first I jumped around the book, reading only the parts that appealed to me. Finally, I bought a hard copy and started at the beginning, determined to read every word, from cover to cover.
I've now finished my second complete reading. I believe that the book is either of divine origin or was written by a collection of people with an incredible breadth of knowledge, writing skills, and imagination. I am leaning toward the "divine" theory.
My life's purpose is to learn to do God's will in every situation I encounter and that is what I am now striving to do.
JUDY KROLL: I left the Jehovah's Witnesses in 1987. Bitter and miserable, I was starting to doubt the Bible and had begun to think that maybe there was no God. Ten years later I got a computer. I was interested in anything and everything. I joined a newsgroup that discussed government conspiracies, UFOs, and so on. It was cool.
One day some comments were made about religion, and one fellow said, "Judy, you need to read the Urantia Book." What could this be? Being Watchtower-indoctrinated for 35 years, I immediately thought this must be the work of demons. My cyber friend, Dr. Byron Weeks, offered to send me the book. When I found out that he had been teaching the book for over twenty-five years, I reluctantly accepted.
What a surprise I got when I received the book! My husband and I devoured it. In fact, my husband grabbed the book from me - at first we had only the one book that Byron had sent - and started reading it aloud.
When he got into the papers describing the mansion worlds, I can still remember that my comment was, "I can't wait!" It was totally different from what I had been taught all my life. You see, The Watchtower teaches life on a paradise earth forever. That appeals to me too, but this message from the Urantia Book made me finally "see" beyond the normal earthly realm of life.
My husband and I consider the Urantia Book to be the most reasonable book we've ever read. It answers all the questions we had about Bible passages that didn't make sense to us before. For instance, the Flood: we never could believe that God would destroy all people and wildlife, and that the whole earth could be repopulated with billions of people just a few thousand years after Noah. The Urantia Book addresses this subject very logically, as well as many others. Its teachings help us to keep on trekking to find everlasting truth in our universal home.
FERNANDO MULDONADO: Around 1990 I was in a transpersonal psychology group which focused on Gurdjieff's teachings and the Enneagram. I had been in that group for about three years when I first heard of the book The Trojan Horse, by J. J. Benitez, which was said to provide a superior description of the life of Jesus. I was so interested that I bought the book within a few weeks and began reading it with intense concentration and emotion. The book's portrayal was so much more beautiful than anything I had ever heard during my Catholic upbringing.
After finishing that first book, I spent the next several years reading all the other books of the series, through The Trojan Horse IV. I knew inside me that the information in these novels was based on another source. I wanted to find that source but had no idea where to begin looking for it. In 1997 I found St. John's Last Will, by the same author, and after reading it with passion, I learned that the source was the Urantia Book. After that, I read another Benitez book called The Lucifer Rebellion and understood everything in it.
While my work as an electronic engineer had taken me to the Internet since 1988, it had never occurred to me to search for the Urantia Book via an electronic library until ten years later. First I found a website, and some days later, the English-language discussion group. That led me to the Spanish website and subsequently to the discussion group to which I now belong.
That is the story of how El Libro de Urantia came into my life, beginning with a vague idea to the book that finally got into my hands, which I now read with tears of endless happiness. The Spanish version may have mistakes - typos, misspellings - and may even be a bad translation, but I know that the heart of the book is real and wonderfully truthful. I know it, I feel it, and I am sure of it. I am certain that Jesus is our Master-brother and the Creator-ruler of this universe, and that together with him we are sons of God our Father.
OLGA LOPEZ: Since the day I began to reason, I have been interested in all that is beyond the reality that we can experience with our five senses. I've always been passionate about knowledge, and it wasn't long before I realized that scientific explanations on one side and those from the Catholic Church on the other didn't fully answer my questions.
I thought it was impossible for life to have emerged from nothingness as a result of haphazard and highly improbable chemical reactions - not intelligent life! I knew that something was lacking in that theory, namely the hand of a Supreme Intelligence who was able to give sense and coherence to the whole known creation. I was also not convinced by the image of the God of the Catholic Church. The idea of sin and the atonement doctrine were, for me, a barbarism. A vengeful God did not sit well with me.
I learned about the Urantia Book through the books of J. J. Benitez. The first of his books reflecting the teachings that came into my hands was The Lucifer Rebellion. I read it in 1993 and was so impressed that I traveled to the little Spanish town of Sotillo del Rincon near Soria. For those who have not read the novel, this is the town where the story begins - a beautiful town in which peace and calmness reign.
Three years later, in the summer of 1996, I bought The Trojan Horse I by the same author. I was so moved that I read it straight through and didn't stop until I had completed the entire Trojan Horse series, to number IV, which was the last one published at that time. You cannot imagine how badly I felt when I finished the fourth book. It ended so abruptly. I needed to know more.
I then read St. John's Last Will, which contains many concepts from the Urantia Book. I couldn't read too many pages at once because I was dizzy with all those new ideas. It was like attempting to hold the entire ocean in one's arms. I was trying to understand the nature of God and the immense infinity of the whole creation, but it was impossible. Our poor human mind isn't able to comprehend all that greatness.
However, I had received my share of good vibrations; I had begun to see my existence and that of others with new eyes. By "chance," thanks to my work as a computer analyst, I got on the Internet in 1996 and began surfing. One day I searched the word "Urantia," and what a surprise! I discovered an electronic edition of the book and the URL of a group of UB readers from around the world. I joined the list, made regular contact with other readers and finally got my Spanish translation in 1997.
FERNANDO RISQUEZ: In December 1991 a close friend who does Zen meditation and other spiritual practices received as a gift the book St. John's Last Will by J. J. Benitez, which draws from the well of the Urantia Book. This friend in turn gave the book to me, in order to get rid of something he didn't like and still do well by me that Christmas. I began to read it in February of 1992. In that book I found important revelations and deeper teachings than those presented in the New Testament Gospels. I was impressed with the explanations and visions that, in a brilliant and holistic way, integrate science, philosophy and religion. It was there that I first heard about the Urantia Book.
I reread Last Will many times, as well as books by Fritjof Capra, Teilhard de Chardin, C. G. Jung, and many others. Three years after reading Last Will, I saw the Urantia Book for the first time here in Caracas, but it was not until 1997 that I could afford to buy it. Since then it has become a rich and important source of knowledge and revelations for me. It helps me tremendously with the lectures I give at the Central University of Venezuela, where I present the different models of the universe, including the artistic vision of the master universe according to the Urantia Book.
Since March 1998 I have been in contact with the Urantia community, thanks to the Internet. Now daily I receive lots of Urantia posts, one of which was an invitation to submit my story for publication in this book, How I Found The Urantia Book
GABRIEL LARA: Even though I had a well-organized and comfortable life, I felt there had to be something more profound and important. In 1997 I began to search for new paths. One day I read about a forthcoming lecture on reincarnation in the town where I lived. With the money I had won in a lottery, I went to that meeting. I was very skeptical. In the middle of the lecture the speaker began to talk about a big spacecraft, and some people there expressed their doubts and incredulity.
I heard someone mention the name, "the Urantia Book." An urge I cannot understand even today led me to buy the book that same day, without even looking at its pages. Since then, it goes with me everywhere. It is my guide, advisor, and counselor. Now I am beginning to feel really happy.
Curiously, the money I had won exactly equaled the combined price of the book and the meeting. Coincidence? I believe it was a gift from our Father.
ALBERT OLIVER: I was born in 1952 and was raised in Torrance, California, not far from the beach areas where I spent most of my weekends and summers surfing.
My mother basically had to drag me and my brothers to church while my father stayed home working in the garage listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. We belonged to the Church of Religious Science, but I never felt a part of it. I always believed in God, though for most of my life I did not communicate with him or his Son in a personal way. I never felt that structured Christianity spoke to my soul.
When I was 14 my father had a heart attack and died in my presence. I had prayed to God to please let him live but he died anyway. For many years afterwards I blamed God for not saving him although the blaming was mostly on a subconscious level.
Years later I met my wife and we had two beautiful children. She had been reading the Urantia Book since she was 16 years old and always felt a personal relationship with God. In our twenty years of marriage we had many good times and a few problems, but we always seemed to pull through. I now know how much my lack of spirituality really bothered her.
I had known about the Urantia Book from my wife and had spent twenty years avoiding it. I guess my resistance to it was a reflection of my religious past and my fear of change. In 1998, because of her frustration with me and because of other problems we were having, she left me. I had nowhere to turn but to the one truth, the word of God that I knew was so near. I went to the bookstore and found a softcover copy of the Urantia Book. I discovered truth through the story of Jesus' life.
When I first started reading it I couldn't believe how foolish I had been all those years in refusing to share this treasure with my wife and my children. I realize, though, that every man has his time and that God is ever waiting to minister to his heart and soul.
It is a real charge for me to read the Urantia Book every day and I feel very blessed.
RAY NATHAN STEPHENSON: I was introduced to the Urantia Book twice. I don't always "get it" the first time.
My good friend Karen told me about a woman she'd met in Sedona, Arizona, who had introduced her to the UB. When Karen asked me if I'd heard of it, I confused it with a different book that I thought little of, and suggested she'd be wasting her time. When a few weeks later another friend mentioned it, warning buzzers started going off in my mind. However, I still wasn't moved enough to go looking for the book.
Not long after, in 1997, I was searching the Internet for "Melchizedek." I found that most of the references to Melchizedek were connected to websites related to the Urantia Book. I soon found the Urantia Papers online and began to read them. Having been a student of metaphysics for over thirty years, I found the material interesting and challenging to my many beliefs; but reading on the screen was a drag, and printing up the chapters was time-consuming. Tired of the downloading, I went to the Mayflower Bookstore and found a copy of the book in the Christian section.
I first read the chapters that looked interesting to me, and then I read all of Part IV. This part touched my heart deeply, but Christ always has; even the distorted version passed down in the New Testament gives enough of his words to steer us straight, if we but listen to his words and not to another's interpretation.
Now I understood what John was trying to convey in his "First there was the Word" passage. Christ as our creator is a shocking revelation - and humbling. The Urantia Book has put a face on all of Gods creation for me.
SHANE COTNER: For about four years, my family regularly went to Baptist churches and my brother and I attended Christian schools. Much of the religious instruction I received was true and helpful. I am very thankful that I was taught to talk with the Heavenly Father and Jesus, and grateful to my mom for always telling us kids to listen for the "still, small voice" of the Holy Spirit. At times I found the Bible inspiring, but the God it portrayed was too much like my dad: someone rarely pleased with me.
One verse in particular always discouraged me - something to the effect that backsliders are doomed. I finally did a big backslide away from religion and went for another form of sliding that truly made sense to me: skiing. I focused my spiritual longings on this material joy all through high school and college. Skiing was immediate food for perfection hunger and it brought many beautiful moments. In the end, of course, it fell far short of filling that God-shaped hole in my heart. So I spent more and more time reading philosophic and metaphysical books, searching, struggling, wondering. I knew there had to be some way everything made sense.
One cold night, I decided that I deserved to meet God in person. Sad and frustrated, I walked to the edge of town and lay down in the snow. If God or Jesus wanted me to live, they could personally send me back to life with more information and a clear mission, just like in the near-death-experience stories. Well, I did get a response; it was loving and tender but also like a nuclear shock-wave that leveled every thought and left me power-washed, happy, and ready to get on with life. All the life-mission information I'd ever wanted and plenty more was just around the corner.
My last summer in college, 1997, I was in California visiting my grandma. She had been exploring assorted approaches to spirituality for many years, and there wasn't nearly enough time for me to read all of her wonderful books. I skimmed them and got the basic message from all but one - a large blue book with a strange name. My grandma had never mentioned this one to me. I thought the foreword would be the best place to get a feel for it. I was impatient; it took me far too long to read one sentence. It turns out that my grandma hadn't read much of the book herself. She liked A Course in Miracles and had bought the Urantia Book because Marianne Williamson had mentioned it.
Two years later, I finally knew it was time to find out more about "Absolute perfection in some phases and relative perfection in all other aspects." Had I known what was in the book I sure wouldn't have waited two years! I never dreamt that I would be so eager to help with "the work of the world," nor did I imagine how much fun it would be, not to mention the peaceful wonder of "striking step with eternity"! The whole experience of finding the Urantia Book makes me wonder what other amazing truth-gifts are out there, in some unexpected form, just waiting for us to be ready and willing to accept them.
BETSY BERNA: Recently I have become aware that we in the Spanish-language world must thank J. J. Benitez for having sparked interest in the Urantia Book. I, as have others, learned about the Urantia Book through the works of this author.
I didn't really like reading until a friend told me about The Trojan Horse, I began with the five-book Trojan Horse series, then read The Lucifer Rebellion, St. John's Last Will and finally Talking with God at33,000 Feet. Thus I began my adventure in the world of books. I liked the Benitez style of science fiction mixed with religion, and I wondered where he could have gotten all that information about the life of Jesus and the structure of the cosmos. My friend also told my father, who is addicted to books, about the Benitez books and he subsequently bought the series.
One day, in the spring of 1997, I was searching through my father's books when I discovered that he already owned the Urantia Book. I was stunned. He told me he'd bought it in 1996. He had noticed it on the shelves of a bookstore and took it down, not knowing what it was about. As he was looking through it, the bookseller came over and advised him to buy it, and he did. He then put it in his bookcase, unread, where it stayed until I found it. I began to read it from the very beginning, finding answers to questions I had long asked myself about God and other mysteries, such as: Who was Jesus? Do angels really exist? What is the soul and the spirit?
My ideas were clarified. I now see life with a new perspective, another meaning; now life is not merely growing up, studying, eating, working, having children and dying. I now know that I have an inner guide who tells me that I must learn to forgive; to be patient with those around me; that I must try to understand why some people are so hostile; that I must try to awaken in others an interest in enriching their own spiritual lives; that there must be an equilibrium between the material and the spiritual life. The most important thing - before all else - is to love. Love has no barriers. If you love you know how to forgive, as our Father on high does with us, his sons. And our goal is to be like him.
THERESE LOGAN: I guess you could say I am a displaced American living in Canada, having been born in Virginia and brought to Canada when I was seven. For as long as I can remember I was on a quest for truth. I studied everything I could get my hands on and attended every class that piqued my interest. I belonged to many churches and study groups, from Christian to New Age to Eastern religions, and made a thorough study of reincarnation. I delved into UFOs and crop circles and had psychic readings. In many of the books I read I kept coming across references to the Urantia Book, and one day in 1992 I found it on the top shelf of a secondhand-book store in Peterborough, Ontario. The bookstore owner told me it was heavy stuff and that I wouldn't like it. It was also old-looking and battered and cost $ 10, so I didn't buy it. I spied it a few times after that, still up on that top shelf, and still didn't buy it.
In January of 1994 I moved away to take care of my terminally ill mother, then moved to yet another city, and returned to live again in Peterborough in 1995. And the book was still up there. By now I was studying Edgar Cayce. In 1995 I moved away again, and when I came back to Peterborough in 1996 the book was still there, but now there was a Concordance with it and the price was now $40 for the pair. I still didn't buy. In the summer of 1997 I became seriously ill, so ill that I had to retire from my career in the health care field and move in with my family in Cambridge. Yes, I left the book behind.
Just before Christmas I came across yet another reference to the Urantia Book, in a series by Joshua Stone. Now I wanted that book. I called long distance to Peterborough and asked if it was still there. Yes! My lucky day! And the owner of the bookstore said he was coming to Cambridge for Christmas and would bring it to me himself! It arrived on December 23, 1997, and I plunged in right at the beginning. I devoured it non-stop, then started over again. I had come home at last!
My precious old battered blue book, absolutely beautiful to my eyes now, had not only found me but waited patiently on that top shelf for over five years! I have never looked back, and only wonder why it took me so long! It may have to do with that old saying, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear."
CYNTHIA TAYLOR: I live about 50 kilometers east of Johannesburg, South Africa, in a town called Springs. As far back as I can remember I was a seeker, questioning my reason for living, my purpose for being on this planet, why God allowed people to kill each other, to fight wars, and allowed them to go to hell. Having been raised a Catholic, I had many questions that the Church could not answer. Later I began searching among the various Christian faiths, but none of them could answer my questions either.
Deep inside I had a feeling that there must be more to this life than the Christian concept. How could God save only Christians and allow millions with different religions - people who were good, kind, understanding and caring of their fellow man - to go to hell because they didn't believe in Jesus? That a loving God could condemn these people for all eternity just because through ignorance they did not know Jesus did not make sense to me. How could God be limited, as people limit his abilities, sanctioning only one religion when there were thousands of different belief systems and understandings of the cosmos? I came to the conclusion that to realize God in all his glory was to honor God in all of his creation, to see and experience God in all people of all walks of life, philosophies, races, religious persuasions, and cultures. I also felt that we were not the only inhabited planet in the universe. It seemed ludicrous to me that God would create all those planets and populate only one.
In 1998 I joined the Internet and subscribed to a list called Bridge-L, a busy email discussion group of people who shared their various spiritual beliefs and philosophies. There I met Lee Armstrong and Susan Sarfaty. At the bottom of Lee's messages he always quoted a passage from the Urantia Papers. I asked him about these Papers and he mailed me a copy of the Urantia Book all the way from America.
Susan Sarfaty then invited me to join the PorchSisters, a women's corps of Urantia Book readers headed by Julianne Clerget. Never before had I come across such a group of people who truly care about one another! A wonderful illustration is when my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. These women were a shining example of ministry in action when they took up a collection to pay for plane fare for my husband and me to visit my father in a hospital in another city. I would not have been able to get through much of the drama of my life without their support. Even before I had read much of the Urantia Book the people connected to it had become a blessing to me.
Soon after I received the book I had it sitting on my desk next to my computer when one of my clients, Reverend Jacob Freemantle, came to give me some typing work. He picked the book up and glanced through it, then asked where he could get a copy. I made arrangements with Julianne, and she kindly sent a book to me to present to the Reverend, who ministers to a large African Methodist congregation in Kwa-Thema, Gauteng Province, South Africa.
I found trying to read the book by myself very difficult, especially the introduction and the sections about the universes. In January 2000 I joined the JUMP train on UBRON (Urantia Book Readers Online Network, started by Susan Sarfaty), and together we began a project of reading six pages per day together and discussing them online. What a difference it makes doing something like this with others! For the first time I have been able to read the Foreword and start understanding it. Its wonderful to get other people's insights!
The Urantia Book gives a more enlightened view of the life of the great teacher and Master, Jesus. It makes sense of the Satan/Devil/Lucifer story - the UB's account talks to my soul. Its version of the Adam and Eve story and narration of the beginnings of world history have confirmed my own understanding. It shows how the other planets are being used by God. Many of the teachings in the Urantia Book correspond to the teachings of other world religions; if one looks one can find these parallels.
I was fortunate in having the Urantia Book missionary Norman Ingram stay in my home on his way back from his first trip to Africa in 1998. Norman continues to be an inspiration to me; I love his enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to the spreading of this revelation. Also, in December 1999 I worked in the Urantia Book booth at the Parliament of the World Religions. Seeing the number of people who were interested in the book was a revelation in itself! I am so grateful that I was fortunate enough to find this revelation and will continue to promote it to all.
COSTAS DIAMANTOPOULOS: I was born in Greece and moved to England in 1973 for college and university studies. I completed my Marine Engineering degree in 1978 and moved to London after a brief sojourn in Africa and Northern Ireland for training. My London job took me to many places in the world, including the Far East, South America and North America.
After moving to Britain, through a series of events I became interested in Spiritualism, Magic, UFOs and the whole New Age movement. I studied all relevant literature and sat in mediumship seance circles. This background made me thirsty for Truth. I knew that every ism was providing only a small fragment of the whole truth which was still evading me. Even OAHSPE, a supposed revelation which inspired me to become a vegetarian for five years, was not the real thing for me.
My experiences in both in the material world and the spiritual realm led me to change jobs. Under the guidance of the angels of health (as I know now) I struggled with the establishment of a new multi-wavelength semiconductor diode device which triggered healing processes into cell structures, especially in soft tissue injuries and wounds. As a result of this effort more than two thousand devices were spread around the world, including the USA, although I failed miserably to obtain FDA approval for more widespread use.
After ten years of hard effort I stepped out. My family was demanding more time at home and my exhaustive worldwide placement of the project was taking its toll in my marriage. We lived partly in Greece and partly in Poland whilst I maintained a London base. By November 1998 I had lost a fortune. One by one my material assets were starting to evaporate, and my marriage was on the rocks.
In London around that time I met, through opposite sex attraction, a beautiful female Greek-American banker working in London. We discussed many things, and when I mentioned the book The Celestine Prophecy, she told me that this was McDonald's compared to the Urantia Book. The first thing I asked was, "Who is the author?" She smiled and said, "Read it and decide for yourself."
When we went to her apartment the next evening I saw the blue book and started reading parts of it. I was immediately impressed by the language, the authoritative tone, the wide breadth of subjects. She saw how absorbed I was, and although she herself at that stage had not even finished the first paper, she gave the book to me as a present. What a marvelous present for life! Though she moved on with her life and I with mine, our brief interaction in time had an impact on my life for eternity. I finished the book in the spring of 1999, reread it immediately after with equal absorption to finish again in the following September, then started a third in-depth study. I noticed the transformative power the book had in every aspect of my life from work to family, and the knowledge of my cosmic citizenship made me a very happy, secure person trying to listen to the friend who has chosen to be my Thought Adjuster. To help others experience the same joy as I did, I have planted the seeds for a presentation of the book in Greece. I also hope that a translation core will be created. The Greek language will hold many challenges to be solved in a fair and accurate translation, but I trust the midwayers and all other seraphic friends attached to the task will assist
GEORGE BENAVIDES: In 1998 I read a book by J. J. Benitez called The Trojan Horse. It was essentially about an astronaut who went back in time to meet Jesus Christ. It was a very interesting story that put the character of Jesus in a whole new light. I began searching more after that.
One day I walked into the Barnes & Noble bookstore and happened to see the Urantia Book on a shelf. It was a big, white book with many questions on the outside cover, such as, Who are we? Where are we going? Where do we come from? - all questions I was curious about. When I opened the book I immediately zeroed in on the part about Jesus early childhood. I was instantly excited. I knew what I had in front of me, so I bought it. I kept reading The Trojan Horse books for quite a while, then began to compare Benitez's books with the Spanish edition of the Urantia Book I had recently purchased. I realized at once that The Trojan Horse books must have been inspired by the Urantia book.
When I first started reading about Jesus in the Trojan Horse books, I felt him come alive for the first time. I saw him for what he truly was here on earth. After reading the Urantia Book, I saw him for what he truly is in heaven. I bought all five of the Trojan Horse books, but I only got halfway through number three. I lost interest in reading them when the Urantia Book became a superior book to me. However, I still appreciate J. J. Benitez for opening the doors that so many people wish to enter.
Ever since I found the Urantia Book my life has steadily improved. I can only thank the celestials for making this revelation possible. I hope one day that the whole world can unite in spirit.
FAYE LOSKAMP: In early 1998, while watching the evening news on FOX-TV in Los Angeles, I saw a promotion for the magazine show "Strange Universe." They mentioned something about a secret alien bible which caught my interest. I wrote a little note to myself to be sure to watch the show, then went about my chores and forgot all about it.
Just about the time the show was to go on I looked up at the television to see my note hanging there and was reminded to turn it on. During the beginning of the show I didn't pay much attention because I had many distractions, and then the telephone rang. I realized that I was going to be on the phone for a while and decided to record the rest of the show to watch it later.
The next morning while having my coffee I turned on the VCR and found that about sixty seconds from the "alien bible" segment had been recorded, but in that time they never mentioned the name of the book. However, the book was displayed on a table, and I had to play the tape over and over again until I was able to pick out the words "Urantia Book."
I called around to find where I could buy a copy and picked one up the following Wednesday. I began reading. I couldn't put it down throughout the entire weekend. On the following Monday morning, I called the Urantia Foundation in Chicago to get a list of other readers, and heard about a brand-new study group for beginners that was starting that very night, only a mile away from where I lived, at the home of a long-time reader named Saskia. She shared her understanding and enthusiasm for the teachings and helped me to locate those parts of the book I was most interested in. It was also wonderful to meet other readers and discuss these new and mind-boggling concepts with them.
As a child, my first conscious thoughts were such questions as, Where am I? Who am I? Where I am going from here? What is the purpose of life? I had always assumed the Bible was written in a mysterious code and that one day, as I matured, I would automatically know the answers. In the meantime my job was to question and search for these answers. I was confident these answers would come to me some day. The Urantia Book has brought me these answers.
AL LOSKAMP: My wife Faye and I had been searching for many years for something to give us a spiritual foundation. We were both believers in God but found it difficult to relate to the various religious organizations that we had experienced.
I had been a successful attorney for thirty years and very active in the Burbank community. I had been president of the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA board of directors and the Burbank Bar Association, and chairman of the Burbank Planning Board. Then came a very dark period. I was wrongfully sued for millions of dollars by a client. It looked as if we might lose everything. This experience brought us to the deepest depths and made me ask what was really important in life.
While this was going on I became aware that Faye had stopped watching television and instead had her nose buried in a big blue book. In addition, she started going to weekly meetings to discuss the book. Finally I asked her what was so intriguing and she replied that all the answers she had been seeking were in that book. I decided that when I got around to it I would check it out, and went about my business.
Faye occasionally answered my office telephones. One day in April 1998 my longtime poker-playing friend called to remind me of our monthly game. Faye had picked up the phone and told him I could not attend because I would be busy that night. I asked her what was so important that I could not attend the game, and she replied, "I go to a lot of your meetings with you, and on this particular night you are going to one with me."
Leaving me no choice, we went to a Urantia meeting in Topanga Canyon. I was fascinated with what I heard. The following week I went with Faye to the local study group she had found for new readers. The first evening we read about life on other planets; the second week, Adam and Eve. I was hooked right away. The hostess happened to have the audiotape version of the book, which I borrowed and listened to all the way through, and I have been a serious student of the Urantia Book ever since.
After three years of litigation I finally won all the lawsuits. The combined experience of the legal hassles and the Urantia teachings have helped us to re-evaluate our priorities and have given our lives new meaning and value.
INGE SCHEUMANN: The book came to me in 1998. I consider it an answer to years of prayer for light and truth. I went to our local bookstore for yet another "New Age" book to get information and maybe find a bit of the truth I was looking for. On the shelf was a cardboard box, no title to be seen. Something told me to pick it off the shelf, open it up and take a look at it. It was a softcover edition of the Urantia Book. I sat down and started to read, and I think I left that store three hours later - with the book, of course!
Its been the best thing that has happened to me since my dedication to Jesus. I cannot express the joy I feel when reading this revelation. It is as if my soul is jumping for joy and my Adjuster is breathing a sigh of relief after all I have put them through in order to find my God and Father.
Because I am a novice reader I feel I do not yet have the knowledge to share the book with others and give intelligent answers to forthcoming questions, but one day I will and then I hope the Father will use me to help others to find this book.
LONITA MURTO: I first heard about the Urantia Book early in 1998 on a TV program called "Strange Universe," which claimed that the book had been channeled through an unnamed person by alien spirits. Never having believed that God made this whole wonderful universe just for us humans, this rang true with me. I wrote down the information from the show and found the book on the Internet the next day.
I was glad that it referred to itself as being given to us by higher celestial forces, an explanation that I preferred to the show's ET-type theory. I started reading the Foreword that same day and knew that this book was something I needed to know more about. The next day I printed up "The History of Urantia." It was what I had read in that section that kept me coming back; my husband is science-minded and I am a lifelong spiritual searcher, and the subjects in those history papers provided us with much-needed common ground.
Throughout my life I attended many different churches and denominations, never really feeling that any of them had the answers I was searching for. Nor did I believe that those answers could be found anywhere. I will say now, for the record, that I believe I will find what I've been seeking within the pages of this wonderful book. It has made me long for fellowship with like-minded thinkers.
Still reading on-line, I then began delving deeply into Part IV, "The Life and Teachings of Jesus." Anyone who wants to feel and understand Jesus' love for us should be able to enjoy the simplicity with which his story is written. His love has never been so easy for me to see. I recommend reading it to anyone seeking to know our savior. It has changed me in several ways. I plan to study and learn from this book for the rest of my life here on earth. I wish the peace and enlightenment that I've received to all who may read this.
WENDY: What if I could open up to the secrets of the universe? If I could connect with God? Could I become more than I am? Who am I? What have I been? What is my purpose? These were the questions that were swirling around in my head at the time I discovered the Urantia Book. I was worried about my life, my health, and my job.
It was May 28,1998, when I ran into Saskia in the kitchenette at our workplace. She was making tea. She began to share some exciting information with me. She told me about a book of stories she was compiling about another book that had changed many lives, including her own. Suddenly something inside me opened up. "What book is that?" I asked, "I want to read it, too!"
She invited me into her office where she showed me a picture of the unfinished book cover, a work in progress that depicted our planet, evolution, Adam and Eve, Jesus, and the entire universe.
"You have a book that describes all that?" I asked.
Although I had studied metaphysics, I had never heard of the Urantia Book. The more she told me about the book and the impact it had had on her life - an impact that had endured for over twenty years - the more interested I became. What compelled me to learn more was her enthusiasm. What could there be in this book that could change someone's life so dramatically and have such long-lasting effects?
The next day she called me into her office and gave me a copy of the Urantia Book as a gift. Together we combed through the table of contents. I wanted to go straight for the last section of this magnificent book, to the Jesus papers. Being Jewish I had never read the New Testament and I had never really had a desire to read the Bible, yet lately I had wondered about Jesus and wanted to learn more about him.
I've been finding the answers to my questions in this book. Already I'm beginning to feel more relaxed about my life. From the moment I started reading it I felt at home. I even went out and bought the softcover edition so I can carry it with me wherever I go. I've only just begun my Urantia reading adventure yet I look forward to going home every night and sitting with my book.
MARK UNDERWOOD: Though my parents were agnostics, my mother had our family of six kids attend Sunday school, and I was confirmed into the church at age 13. But the religion I learned at church was never a meaningful part of my life.
It was in college when my interest in spirituality was piqued. It happened like this. I and a mob of about six hundred other students were eating supper as usual in the canteen of a notoriously riotous co-ed residence, when I accidentally dropped my fork on the floor. A guy by the name of Randy, a fourth-year engineering student, reached down to pick it up and then handed it to me. Our friendship began with his unusual act.
Randy was an evangelical Christian, involved with a Christian outreach ministry on campus. He persevered with me despite my information and literature I formerly had no means of finding or reading. Finally, and probably most important is the issue of my spiritual development. My childhood was spent within the Church of Christ. It was assumed I would become a preacher within that denomination. Since perhaps a little too much force was used in the imparting of doctrine, I rebelled with everything I had when I reached adolescence. As an adult, I made superficial studies of several religious and spiritual disciplines, but I always secretly wished for an honest way to live and grow within the teachings of Jesus as I understood them.
I found the Urantia Book quite by accident one day at work. I had taken lunch at my desk that day, and thought I'd briefly search the Web for traditions related to Lucifer's transgressions and subsequent expulsion from heaven. I use a program that checks several of the popular search engines, so I entered /"Lucifer"+"Michael"/ in the search field and sat back to see what would happen.
When launching similar searches in the past, I had always come across several condensed theological texts and commentaries, and a few times I'd seen some of the Theosophist writings related to their concept of Lucifer. This time, however, I kept getting sites with the word Urantia. I finally opened one of these, and found the text of Paper 53, "The Lucifer Rebellion" being read to me. I read this paper, and then Paper 54 as well. At that point, I realized I'd probably want to read the whole book, but I couldn't do that right then. A student called me, and I was soon back to work.
That night I had a fortuitous bout of insomnia, and back to the Web I went to read some more. I finally decided to start from the beginning, and ordered the CD-Rom version of the book so I wouldn't be tying up a phone line quite so much.
I've never had such a positive reaction to a course of spiritual study as has happened with the Urantia Book. I found a local study group in Austin, and went to a meeting. Some of the people there had spiritual histories somewhat similar to mine. We discussed sections of the book and as I drifted off to sleep that night, I thanked God for this book and the people it has influenced. I want to learn everything I can from this book; I just can't believe I'd never heard of the Urantia teachings until just recently.