A Jewish Girl Finds Jesus
This article is adapted from presentations given in Oklahoma City in August 2001 and in Chicago, (“What’s a Nice Jewish Girl Like Me Doing in a Place Like This?”) in October 2001
Every year as far back as I can remember I went to the synagogue for the whole day with my dad on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I sat in the back in the women’s gallery with my grandmother. Like Jews all over the world we went to pray for forgiveness from God for all our sins against him, to repent and be released from some unknown punishment. We prayed and we fasted all day long. If God was merciful we were inscribed in the Book of Life for another year. I never knew exactly what would happen if we weren’t inscribed, but I guessed that the people who died that year had not been forgiven.
Judaism is a religion that is based on the law, the law of God presented to Moses at Mount Sinai. Many Jewish people think of God as the Lord God of Israel. He is a just God and he expects his law to be followed. When God is disobeyed, he is fearful and punishing. Did he not banish Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and subject women forever after to pain in childbirth, turn Lot’s wife to a pillar of salt and destroy all life on the earth except for Noah’s family and an arkful of animals? And on Passover Jews praise God for sending devastating plagues on the Egyptians including the destruction of their first born sons. The Old Testament is filled with the stories of God’s laws and his wrath.
In Paper 96, “Yahweh-God of the Hebrews,” a Melchizedek of Nebadon tells us that in spite of Moses’s valiant efforts to assure the fleeing Hebrews that God loved them and would not forsake or destroy them, they were also told during a cataclysmic volcanic explosion of Mount Sinai that “their God was mighty, terrible, a devouring fire, and all-powerful.” (96:4.5,6) Although there is much evidence of a God who loves his people in the Old Testament, the idea of a just and powerful God is the one that persists. The Ten Commandments given to Moses at Mount Sinai are mostly “Thou shalt nots” and the Mosaic law consists of 613 laws that Orthodox Jews obey to this day. The traditions are very powerful and I grew up imagining a bearded king in the clouds who was watching me and waiting for me to slip up.
I always had a deep consciousness of my Jewishness. I was culturally conditioned and thought I was religious. My dad had an orthodox Jewish upbringing and a very strong Jewish identity. He wanted my mother to keep the orthodox religious traditions at home that he had grown up with. Some of those included “keeping the Sabbath holy,” lighting Sabbath candles and keeping a kosher home. “Keeping kosher” involves a strict set of dietary laws requiring separate silverware, dishes and cookware for meat meals and dairy meals. It is forbidden to eat milk products and meat together because of a Mosaic law which states: “Thou shalt not eat the flesh of a kid in its mothers milk.” There is also a long list of forbidden foods including pork products and shellfish. My mom didn’t light Sabbath candles or keep a kosher home but we ate no pork or shrimp, never had milk products and meat together, and I saw my dad get violently ill after he learned that a roasted chicken he had eaten was basted in butter. He believed with all his heart that he should spend the Sabbath at the synagogue (the Fifth Commandment says: “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy”) but he was employed as a retail merchant in a children’s clothing store, and Saturday was the busiest shopping day. The stores were closed on Sunday so Christians could go to church but Saturday was a work day. Like Matadormus and the Jews of old, he was raised to believe that wealth was the token of God’s favor. He believed he never prospered because he disobeyed God by not keeping the Sabbath.
My dad was sixteen when he came to America from Poland with his mother on a steamship in steerage with one bag. They had lived in a little village called Kowel. (I imagine it to be something like Tevya’s village.) His grandfather was a traveling rabbi and there was great joy in the village when he was home. He went to the synagogue schools, spoke Yiddish and Hebrew at home and Polish in public. He told me how he had been taunted and abused by soldiers who often rode through the village. He never knew if they were Polish, Russian or German, but he believed they were Christians. They shouted, “Christ-killer” “Jud de Palestina”(Jew – go to Palestine) as they passed, and they often cut off the beards of the old men with their swords. When he was very young he saw one of them cut off part of his grandfather’s chin with his sword. He learned to spit three times when he passed a church “tu-tu-tu.” He lived in fear of Christians.
He knew first hand of rampant anti-Semitism, he experienced the persecution generated by Jew-hating Poles, Russians and Germans, and continued hearing about the pogroms in Europe from relatives who managed to get out by the late 30s. Hitler’s “final solution” to the elimination of the Jews resulted in the horrors of the Holocaust and my dad and most of the people he knew lost many family members. It was very important to him that his children maintained the faith and survived as Jews.
When my parents were able to buy their first house it was in what they called a “non-Jewish” neighborhood. I was the only Jewish kid in the school. I knew so little about Christianity that I missed getting 100% on a language test because I answered that the gender of the word “monk” could be male or female. I thought “monk” was a short way of saying monkey. In class we celebrated Easter by decorating eggs to take home and Christmas by making decorations and gifts for our families. All my friends went to church on Sunday. Celebrating Christian holidays seemed perfectly normal to me. But not to my dad.
So he made sure I spent a lot of time at the synagogue. After school on Tuesdays and Thursdays I went to Hebrew School, on Friday nights we went to the Sabbath service, on Saturdays I went to “Junior Congregation” while the adults who were off on Saturday were in the synagogue, and on Sundays I went to Sunday School. I learned to read and write Hebrew phonetically so I could participate in the rituals of the synagogue service. They were conducted in Hebrew and I participated fully – without ever understanding a word. I also wrote “Merry Christmas” phonetically in Hebrew on the chalkboard when my third grade teacher was doing a lesson on how Christmas was celebrated in other lands. It didn’t occur to me that Jews in Israel didn’t say “Merry Christmas.” I engaged in many mindless rituals, which unlike Jesus, I didn’t question. As prescribed, I kissed the mezuzah (a religious object on the doorpost of Jewish homes) and said to myself: “The Lord shall preserve our going out and our coming in, from this time forth and even forevermore.” (124:4.7) I never wrote out the word God because it was forbidden. I wrote G-d. I wore a Jewish star around my neck and studied to become a “daughter of the covenant” (a bat mitzvah) when I was thirteen. I learned all the Old Testament Bible Stories and believed they were true. I’m embarrassed that when I was in a ninth grade biology class and the teacher asked how life began I unhesitatingly said: “with Adam and Eve.”
At the time I thought that doing those things was my religion. I realize now, however, that my experience of being Jewish was more social, cultural and political than religious. My Hebrew School lessons were filled with politics. I was totally immersed in the excitement when Israel officially became the Jewish homeland. The Jews finally had a home, a land where they would be free from persecution. And my studies were filled with morality. I developed sense of righteousness and of guilt and duty. I was a good student because the high value Jews placed on education was always evident. My parents sacrificed many pleasures to save enough money to put three kids through college. I enjoyed celebrating all the holidays with family and participated in all the events at the synagogue. My father’s hope was that I would maintain the traditions, become a leader in the Jewish community, perhaps the head of a national Jewish women’s organization. I was happy with my life and my religion. The problem was that I knew nothing about who God really was, nothing about the spirit within, nothing about doing God’s will, and I thought about him only when I was doing something wrong.
One Christmas I went to a church service at midnight with a friend. We were seated at the front of a balcony. The service was unfamiliar, but magical and I was totally engaged. Suddenly the preacher was looking at me and shouting: “Have you been saved? Have you taken Jesus as your Lord and Master?” And then he was yelling: “Come down, confess your sins and take Jesus as your savior.” I thought he was talking directly to me and I was scared out of my mind. I wondered how he knew I was Jewish and that I didn’t believe in Jesus.
Of course, I was not about to believe in Jesus. Like Mary and Joseph up to the time Jesus was twelve years old, I could never have “even faintly dreamed that Jesus was indeed and in truth the actual creator of this local universe of things and beings (124:4.4) Jewish people just don’t believe in Jesus as divine. First of all, the belief in one God is a certainty in Judaism. Jews KNOW that there simply are not any other gods, especially one who died on a cross and came back to life in three days. They obey the First Commandment: “I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt have no other gods before me.” In fact, as Urantia Book readers know the belief in one God is the revelation of Melchizedek and the legacy of Abraham and Moses. The most important Jewish prayer, the Sh’ma, (“Sh’ma Yisrael, Adonoi Elohaynu, Adonoi Echad - Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one”) is the first prayer that is taught to Jewish children and the last one uttered before one dies. It is repeated many times daily at synagogue services all over the world. It was certainly repeated by Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth and in the Temple at Jerusalem. The “Sh’ma” was the answer Jesus gave to one of the Pharisees who while trying to entrap him asked: “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered: “There is but one commandment, and that one is the greatest of all, and that commandment is: ”Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one…” (174:4.2)
Secondly, “Jesus” is kind of a bad word in most Jewish households. The persecutions during the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the pogroms, the Holocaust, widespread anti-Semitism – much of the suffering that Jews have experienced is in some way laid at the feet of Jesus. They make no distinction between Christianity and Jesus. And finally, there is the feeling of the need to perpetuate the race. Today the Jewish population is approximately 13.5 million and some fear that the downward trend indicates that Jews may disappear in a few generations. Jews fear assimilation, intermarriage and especially conversion to Christianity.
No, I was not about to believe in Jesus. But I had lots of Christian friends and I liked everybody. It never occurred to me to think who was Jewish and who was not. However, it concerned my parents that I was dating “gentiles.” In spite of their constant efforts to make me go out with Jewish boys I liked the Italian boys and my dad was very worried that I would fall in love and marry a non-Jewish man. His concern was so great that he uprooted our family and moved to a town that was not “restricted” and had a sizable Jewish population. There I would likely meet a nice Jewish boy and get married. I did! I met Steve almost immediately and six years later we had a big Jewish wedding.
So how did I come to see Jesus as divine? I was involved in Jewish organizations and on the way to fulfilling my earthly father’s dream. I believed I was Cinderella and I had married the prince. But our early years together were very difficult. In the first year Steve’s dad died suddenly and tragically and we became responsible for his despondent mom and sixteen year old sister. I had intended to teach while Steve finished graduate school, but we had an unplanned baby and I was unable to continue teaching full-time. I found my mother in law to be very emotionally needy and demanding, and I was young and immature and didn’t handle things well. There was lots of conflict and sadness and life was not the fairy tale I had imagined it would be.
I was confused, unhappy and not coping well, but Steve was searching. He was searching for meaning and he was searching for truth. For many years he had studied philosophers and truth seekers, explored many paths and contemplated the meaning of life. I went along for the ride, but solutions to our problems were not forthcoming and the quality of life didn’t improve very much. And then he found and began to read The Urantia Book and I saw a significant emotional change in him that seemed very real. In spite of all the chaos and conflict around us, he was peaceful. And it lasted, and I knew he had found something really important. So in spite of the fact that the book had something to do with Jesus (and the idea frightened me very much) I began to read it too. And it was in the pages of The Urantia Book that I first found Jesus.
At first I saw that there was much about his young life that I could relate to personally. Like me, as a child he lived in a place that was more gentile than Jewish and spent lots of time in the synagogue. He engaged in the same rituals (although he questioned their meanings, which I never did) and celebrated the same Jewish holidays. He celebrated Hannukah, the Festival of Lights commemorating the dedication of the Temple after the victory of the Macabbees; Purim, the feast of Esther and Israel’s deliverance through her; Passover, the commemoration of the escape from Egypt and the sparing of Jewish first born sons; Succoth, the feast of the first fruits and the harvest ingathering; and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Like most Jewish boys he was circumcised eight days after birth, and like Steve, and our son Marc, who were first born sons like Jesus, he was ritually redeemed from sacrifice in a temple ceremony. At thirteen, like Jewish boys the world over, when Jesus graduated from the course of training at the synagogue he was pronounced a “son of the commandment” (bar mitzvah). This is a very big occasion today for most Jewish boys.
When his mother joined him on his Passover trip to the Temple for his consecration as a son of the commandment she was made to sit in the women’s gallery. I remembered the little synagogue where I sat in the back balcony with my grandmother. Women took no part in the religious life of the Jews in Jesus’ time, and are still segregated from the men in Orthodox synagogues today. For almost 4000 years when orthodox men recite the morning prayer, they have prayed: “Blessed art thou the Eternal Our God, King of the Universe who hath not made me a woman.” Jesus’ treatment of women shocked the apostles, but “he made it very clear to them that women were to be accorded equal rights with men in the kingdom.” (138:8.11) As a young man, in spite of the fact “that girls of Jewish families received little education, Jesus maintained that they should go to the same school as boys, and since the synagogue school would not receive them he conducted a home school especially for [his sisters.]” (127:1.5) That endeared him to me.
He openly and graciously shared his relationship with his Father in heaven. He knew him to be kind and compassionate, loving and merciful, a Father who loved each of his children personally and affectionately. It was so different from my vision of a powerful God of judgment and anger. I loved when he had his little talks with him. I began to try it myself instead of mindlessly repeating the 23rd Psalm or the “Our Father.” God didn’t talk back to me, but I began to realize that he was there, and that he was my friend – not my judge. I began to love God instead of fear him, and ask him what he wanted me to do, and not be afraid to do it. I began to have a relationship with God and Jesus was teaching me how, and when I was in doubt about what God wanted, Jesus was there to show me the way. He was the way.
Because of him my marriage improved. I realized that if there were problems to solve I needed to look inside myself for the power of goodness to make the changes, not to the supposed wrongdoer. The story of Jesus and Anaxand in Caesarea made a profound impact on me. My son Marc doesn’t know it, but I became a more competent and caring mother by learning from Jesus who was the master parent to his brothers and sisters. Because of Jesus I became a better teacher. I noticed that my teaching was changing. I began to look more for the children’s motives than at their behavior. I tried to give them what they needed before they asked rather than as a reward for good behavior.
His fatherly treatment of aggressors helped me to see aggressive parents at school in a new way. Our district had been accused of “institutional racism” and white teachers were under scrutiny and attack by many black parents. One day I was summoned to meet with a single mom who had just moved to town and whose son was to be in my class. She pointed her finger at me and yelled threateningly, “I know about this district and I know the law and I don’t expect my son to get a fair shake and I’ll be watching you.” It was a scary moment, my heart was pounding, and I took a deep breath and prayed: “Help me Father,” and then I heard myself say to her, “Nickolas is one lucky boy to have an advocate like you in his corner. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if my mom cared about me the way you care about him.” She was completely disarmed and we became friends and partners in Nickolas’ education. I realized later it was the Spirit of Truth speaking and I knew then for the first time what it meant that Jesus would always be with me in times of trouble. And he is.
My dad didn’t have to worry. I am a Jew. Belief in the divinity of Jesus is not conversion to Christianity. It is a deepening of faith in God. Jesus kept all that was fine and beautiful in the Jewish teachings and enlarged the concept of God’s nature through his life. He asked his followers to believe with him, not in him. I was inspired by his teachings but I was won over by the life he lived. Jesus’ love is irresistible. He was God’s love revealed and is the most beautiful personal expression of God on earth. Because of him I know I am a beloved child of God. And that’s simply divine!
Bobbie Dreier is a retired teacher. She is the grandmother of Matthew and Jason. Bobbie and her husband Steve recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Currently president of The Urantia Book Society of Greater New York, she has been actively involved in Urantia Book activities with Steve for over 30 years.
Seek and You Will Find
As someone who received a degree in Geological Engineering, I knew first hand that the geologic history of the earth certainly didn't match the Creationist’s theory of the earth. I also knew that evolution was a fact of life on this planet. Yet, I also knew in my heart of the existence of God, and through my Catholic upbringing I believed in Christ. So many times I told others that I believed that evolution and geologic history were part of God's process, although I never really had any texts to back me up.
Then I went and saw the movie "The Passion of the Christ" with my neighbor. I left the theater with a sense of peace and a confirmed knowledge that we are all here on a Godly Mission to expand His love. A couple of nights later I had an incredible dream (so very, very real). In the dream I sat with Jesus Christ and the apostles and received bread from his hand (communion as the Catholics would say). The next day, I saw an advertisement link on the internet to Truthbook.com and literally digested and engulfed the words on Jesus' life that are featured on the site. The amazing thing is that in the portion of the Book that describes the history of the earth, it mentions a series of rock beds in Montana that I myself studied in my college field camp. I knew more than ever that the knowledge is this book was indeed sublime and this book has brought me to a new pinnacle of faith and hope that seems to continually grow each day.
My challenge now is to bring my life experience and my decisions and my actions up to the reality of the inspiration I feel. I've got to walk the talk, walk the gift that has been given me. For the first time, I love engaging cranky Old Testament fundamentalists with a loving "Jesus" centered message and gently reminding them (and myself) that Jesus word, being and presence truly are about love, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and worship of God the Father. GOD IS LOVE. So let go and let GOD!
I bid you all His Peace and Love, Jeff
A Death on the Street
I commanded the 9th Support Group at Ft. Douglas in Salt Lake City in Dec., 1998. My Sergeant Major and I decided to eat lunch at the Training Table and on the way passed an accident where a pedestrian was killed. We went on to eat and a discussion ensued concerning what happened to the man's spirit after he died.
We discussed the matter for a few moments and out of the blue a thought/voice came into my head. I was just sitting there staring at my Sergeant Major when he asked, "Is everything okay, sir!" I replied, "A voice in my head is telling me to go buy a book! Is there a book store around here?" He replied, "Yes sir, there's a Barns and Noble across the street." He took me across the street and the clerk greeted us at the door. He asked, "Can I help you?" I told him I need to find a book. He asked me what the title was and with a look of embarrassment I said, "I don't know!" Then he asked, "Who is the author?" To which I replied,” I don't know that either." He started to laugh and realizing how funny it was, I laughed with him and then asked if he had a religious or spiritual section. He took me to the middle of a long row of books; he was on my left and my Sergeant Major on my right. How stupid I must have looked but at the time I didn't care; I just stood back and started scanning the shelves from left to right. I got about half way and nothing was coming to me, so I started scanning again. As my eyes scanned all the way to the right end of the shelves, I noticed a big white box. Again, a thought/voice came into my head and told me, "That's it!" I walked up to it and asked the clerk what was in the box and he stated, "It's the Urantia Book." I asked him,"Urantia Book, what's that? I've never heard of it." "It's about God" he said.
I paid for the book and that evening began to read it straight through and finished it in two months. After finishing the last page, another thought/voice entered my head, "Read it seven times!" And so, I give this site my story; seven years later (August 2004), after having finished reading the Urantia Book completely through for the seventh time.
The Urantia Book has completely changed my views on life! I have a much greater appreciation for people and many of my questions about life, this universe, and most importantly...about God have been answered. I can hardly go a day without reading it and I gain new understandings each time.
I hope you too will enjoy the Master's gift to us here on Earth and enjoy your wonderful life!
God Bless! James Patten
A Baha'i and Student of The Urantia Book
As I began to read The Urantia Book, I sensed truth and an awesome explanation of everything! The subjects of God, creation, time, the beginning of man, Adam and Eve, and the centralizing focus on Jesus (Michael) were put forth.
As a member of the Baha'i Faith, I have found my "way to worship." The Baha'i Faith sets out the importance of:
(1) Belief in One God.
(2) The brotherhood of man.
(3) The truth of all religions.
With The Urantia Book, I have found my "way of understanding" with respect to creation, philosophy, worship and wisdom, etc.
I am truly thankful for all the great souls who have guided and are now guiding us - as we all walk the walk with an ever-growing lighted way.
Peace and Love......
I Heard it on the Radio
The year was 1977. I was working construction, as a painter. My crew was painting out a new tract of homes that was just going up. I was standing in a bathtub, slapping paint on the bare walls of a bathroom, listening to my radio.
Most of the time, I liked to listen to Rock and Roll, as this is my music of choice. But for some reason, that day I was listening to a talk show.
This guy was talking about this strange book that had to do with God, the universe, and our place in it. Then, I was into Alan Watts, Zen, “Be Here Now,” and the usual counter-culture stuff, having left my Christian upbringing and my short stint with Fundamentalism, (read Jesus Freak) and a one year tour as a gung-ho Mormon.
I had become dissatisfied and thrown the whole Christian thing out. I had found through my searching that the Eastern way of looking at things made much more sense to my inquiring mind, than the Christian paradigms that I had tried. The more that I looked deeply into organized religion, (I liked to look under all the rocks) the more I became turned off by it.
I listened with interest as this guy on the radio talked about this book he called The Urantia Book. At the end of the show, he said that if anyone would like to obtain a copy of this book, call this phone number. I was convinced that this book needed to be looked into, so having no pen or pencil to write with, it did the next best thing.
With the paint brush that was already in my hand, I proceeded to paint that phone number that was given on the bare bathroom wall. I then went and found a pencil and paper so that I could transfer the number from the wall to my wallet. When I got home, I ordered the book.
I started reading it from the beginning, and I got to about page 70 or so, when I got bogged down, and put it down. It sat in my pile of books for almost 20 years before I picked it up again.
About seven years ago, after a long detour into materialism, sex, drugs, alcohol, and the usual decadent stuff, the urge came to me to once again try to connect with the spiritual side of life. I was becoming dissatisfied and burned out with the way my life was going. There was something missing from my life.
I remembered some of the spiritual experiences of my youth, and I knew that some of them had validity. I felt the pull of Father on the prodigal son to come home.
One day I found myself going through a big box of books in my storage locker than I had labeled… “Spiritual Books,” some 50 lbs. of books that I had acquired over the years of my “searching.”
As I started going through this box of books, I came across The Urantia Book. Something told me that maybe now it was the time to check this out again. I set it aside, and took it home with me.
I can’t read a book without a see through magic marker and a red underlining pen. I looked into The Urantia Book and I could easily determine that I had only gotten to page 70 or so, before I put it down. (This was where my markings stopped.)
Not willing to get bogged down again, I looked through the table of contents. My eyes fell on Part IV, The Life and Teachings of Jesus. Now this, I thought, might be interesting.
I started reading Part IV and it was like the heavens opened up. I couldn’t believe my eyes. What I had been looking for all along was right under my nose, but I couldn’t see it. I guess I just wasn’t ready for it some 25 years ago. I guess I had to wander around in the world for awhile and get dissatisfied with it before I could appreciate the FER.
I gobbled up Part IV and after I had finished it, I still couldn’t believe my discovery. Such beauty, such truth, such excellence! I re-read Part IV again just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Yep, the Spirit of Truth was convicting me… Big Time. There was no mistake about it. I had come home.
Since that time seven years ago, The Urantia Book (and its teachings) have become the focus of my life. My mission now is to share with fellow seekers of truth what I have found.
“It’s good to be a seeker, but sooner or later, you have to be a finder. And then is well, to give what you have found, a gift into the world, for whoever will accept it.”
I heard about The Urantia Book on the radio back in 1977.
I thank God that I finally found what I was looking for.
I thank God… I heard about it…
on the radio.
God Told Me To Read It
Because I had been raised in an atheistic family where religion was a subject that was expressly forbidden I was ignorant about Jesus.
I was 23 in 1970 and just out of the service. I was on my way toward studying to become an MD. I knew something was amiss. I realized that I needed to find out what the meaning of life was all about before I could be an effective doctor so I spent the summer in search of truth.
I decided that to make it real I had to abandon all preconceived thoughts of anything and be totally open to the truth, with a capital T. If God existed he was quite capable of informing me regarding his nature. At the end of my search (to make a long story short) was Jesus, face to face as it were. I realized through a series of quite extraordinary visions that Jesus was exactly who he said he was. However, I didn't exactly know who he said he was.
I was living in Boulder, Colorado and asked God to show me how I could find out who Jesus said he was. The very next day I heard someone reading from The Urantia Book at a fair of sorts at the university. I knew instantly that God wanted me to read it and went immediately to the bookstore and bought it.
So I say quite explicitly, God told me to read it. That was 33 years ago and I still read it nearly every day. I will until the day I graduate from this mortal life.
It Was Always There, Waiting For Me
I think my nature to question things I saw in the outside world started around age 12. I was constructing my own philosophy of the world and was constantly asking my dad questions on the meaning of life. Little did I know that my dad and my Thought Adjuster (the part of God that dwells in each human being) were placing me on the path!
On my 18th birthday, I got an extra package from dad. It was of course, a copy of The Urantia Book. My friends were perplexed and I was nonplussed to be given a gift like this at my party. I didn't even think I needed it and it lay around in my room for a year. Then, in 1990, I moved out on my own, going to college and working in a restaurant. I hated college life and I finally decided to pick up The Urantia Book. The funny thing is, I was in the library when I made this decision! Interestingly enough, the library did not have the book available to check out, but it was being held in reference. I found it after a time and took it to a desk to read.
It was there, in February of 1990, that my Thought Adjuster once again broke through the animal-electro-chemical limitations of my brain and slammed me in the head with the most intense spiritual Truth I had ever known. I cannot call it a voice, but something 'spoke' to me and said, "This is Truth. This is real. Run with it." And run I did. I read so much, reading at the library and in between classes and at home, sometimes until 4AM. As a result of reading it, my views of the world changed, and the hole that I never knew was there in my life was filled. It felt good.
May the Light of our Father find every soul who sits in spiritual darkness. May everyone who seeks, find His eternal Love. May we all come together in Him someday.
Peace and Love to all.
How Does One Recognize What's True?
DAVE TIBBETS Senior Customer Engineer; Winter Springs, Florida
Raised in a fundamentalist Lutheran environment, I took catechism classes. The minister's questions and written answers were supposed to lead to “inescapable conclusions” that we Lutherans were the truly anointed and enlightened ones, but it had exactly the opposite effect on me. It generated questions such as, “How come God played favorites and picked me over the less fortunate?” This line of thinking inevitably caused me to reject literally everything I’d been told. I later became agnostic with atheistic leanings.
I joined the Air Force, and flexed my newfound philosophical and religious freedoms in a search for bottom line truth. This lasted several years, and on exiting the service, I was still looking. I then joined the Unitarian Universalists. I liked their hands-off approach to the imponderables and their focus, instead, on being good to one another, here and now. But still, I felt driven to find something, somewhere, that had an absolutely, undeniably factual basis. This need was starting to loosen my mental glue because if you have nothing to anchor your belief system, reality gets a little shaky.
1974 was the low point and the starting point for me. Having come to the conclusion that I literally knew nothing, I was open to truly learning. That’s when it happened. One day while sitting at my bench at work, concentrating on wire-wrapping an electronic circuit board, I got a billboard-sized announcement inside my head. It said, “Truth is not facts, but a state of realization.” It nearly knocked me off my stool. My recovery was assured; I now realized that my truth would continuously change and my understanding would grow. I was, however, still severely rejecting my earlier fundamentalist Christian teachings, and I had a negative, knee-jerk reaction to anything that had Jesus’ name associated with it. Thankfully, God and other spiritual friends stuck in there with me.
One day, a fellow who was a friend of a friend invited me to a party after work. As the party progressed, I voiced some of my searching questions during a philosophical “bull session.” Shortly thereafter, the fellow said, “I’ve got something I think you’d be interested in.” It was, of course, Big Blue, The Urantia Book! I thumbed through the index and knew I had to have the book. I copied down the publisher’s address and phone number and ordered my book the next day. When it arrived, I tried to read the Foreword. No way! I saw the Jesus Papers in the back of the book, but just set them aside mentally as I was not ready to deal with them. It took fourteen years of occasionally pulling the book off the shelf and putting it away again before being able to begin reading the story of Adam and Eve. I fell in love. Here, finally, was something that felt true. I’ve made all my friends and relatives a little crazy ever since.
God is now trying to train me in the process of sharing my faith. You’d think I’d know better than to become a fundamentalist myself, but when you discover the keys to the universe and beyond, it’s a little difficult to be self-restrained!
A Girl Named Fonta
I just wanted to offer my story, which is a little different then most!
I was born 25 years ago and given the name Fonta. During my childhood I struggled with non-acceptance due to the originality of my name, which comes from the story of Andon and Fonta in The Urantia Book. It was hard for me to deal with other’s questions and assumptions about my family's spiritual practices. My dad had imparted much spirituality to me from all portions of the book but I had a hard time reading anything. However, when I look back upon my birth name I now feel blessed. I realize that even though my name caused some pain and angst in my youth it was also a vehicle with which my thirst for spirituality is enhanced and quenched. For example: When asked about the meaning of my name I have often responded with a short explanation of The Urantia Book. This would scare some people away but with others it would incite a full-on spiritual discussion of not only The Urantia Book, but other spiritual paths as well.
Like most other rebellious teenagers I set off to college with ambitious ethics and the unquenchable thirst to find a spiritual path unlike my parents or my catholic grandparents! I dabbled (and still do) in many different paths; Buddhism, Hinduism, even earth based religions such as Wicca. However, with the birth of my first child 2 1/2 years ago I actually felt the spirit of God within me. That is not to say that I didn’t feel this before but it was more of a symbolic philosophy then. When I gave birth naturally to my beautiful daughter Lily, I actually felt the door to my soul being thrown open. Through the immeasurable love I felt for her I had a spiritual epiphany! I realized that if I could love this one little spirit this much how much more must my Heavenly Father love me? And as I watch and ponder every new developmental step of my Lily, I wonder how that can be transcended into the watching and nurturing of my Heavenly Father unto all his creatures? For me the sacred journey of parenting has been the direct example to the nature of my Heavenly Father. Through knowing God I have become much more in tune with the divinity within myself, and the ways in which I can magnify unconditional compassion, love and harmony.
Since Lily's birth I have rediscovered The Urantia Book and have done tons of reading in between nursing, naps and playtimes! Everything makes perfect sense to me now! I realize that, through being brought up with these ethics as a child, I am (in a sense) wired with these ethics unknowingly. Even as I struggled to find new ways of expressing myself spiritually through my college years, all the things and ways in which I felt I was going against the grain so to speak, were in actuality spiritual truths that were completely harmonious with The Urantia Book's teachings. I was obviously attracted to these ideas all along because they were in harmony with my own inner ethics!!!
Now, as a parent imparting on my child those ethics underlined in the book I am confident, although she may not realize it, that I am giving her a great gift!!!
The Story of a Woman
I am a woman of 55 years of age, and have been reading The Urantia Book for many years. For many years though, it was put on hold, as life took me by its adversities, and journeys, and stole my soul.
My life had become fettered with disillusionment and abandonment. I felt isolated, and non-spiritually guided. I felt hopeless, and found that mankind could not stand up to the values and integrity or "truth, beauty, and goodness" that I so strongly craved.
For many years the book had been put away, and I did not pick it up until I had an epiphany. This awakening came suddenly and with adversity. Because I had nowhere to turn and no human could save me, I turned to The Urantia Book and began reading it again. A new beginning developed in me. I was "born again." Born to the realities of God, and the doing of God's will. I asked myself, is this true, beautiful, and good? When a human asks these questions, the spirit of truth reveals the answers.
I am not perfect, but I am striving for a perfect life. A life filled with service for my fellow mortals, service that includes every facet of my life, whether personal or professional. I am strong, and no longer weak and helpless. I am a child of the Most High, and "adversity only makes me stronger." I love the wisdom of The Urantia Book. This book is everything to me! It has led me "from dark waters, from the valley of death, and brought me to the spring of life."
All you seekers of truth, it takes courage to undertake the religion of Jesus. Jesus is our strength and our creator. In Him is our life, and through him we find our Father, our infinite God. May all be filled with love and wisdom, as we join forces for God!
Love to you all my brothers and sisters of Christ.
The Gift Of Revelation
It is utterly humbling to think of the dimensions of the revelation that has been dropped into my lap. If all books were to be weighed according to their significance, then the Urantia Book would command such gravity as an equally sized chunk of black hole.
When I first began reading there was excitement at having found the truth. Truth is a living breathing entity and The Urantia Book is a statement about truth, taken in snapshot fashion and reported by beings with a partial grasp of reality, that was modified by the time and location of its appearance. But, to me, it is the Truth by Urantian (Earthly) standards.
As my reading continues, the word picture which the revelation describes develops in my mind and the accumulating data creates a shift in me. Without knowing exactly when it occurs, the shift causes the newly perceived description to fill the vacuums in my mind, but it doesn't stop there, the fulfillment overtakes the background and the foreground of perception. This is all, of course, at my urging, my continual reach for more light, more longing to touch the hem of God's cloak.
And in all this desire for growth, the Urantia revelation becomes a bottomless well of spiritual sustenance. What will it be today, the beefy renderings in the middle of the book, the juicy cuttings about Paradise in the first course or the sweet dessert of Jesus' teachings at the end?
Surely the revelators (those who sponsored this revelation) are not without regard for appreciation and it is with a greatly humbled heart and grateful soul that I thank them for the Fifth Epochal Revelation and express my nameless gratitude for letting me in on the true nature of God, the purpose of life and the knowledge that helps me understand the reason evil exists in an otherwise good Universe.
My life's path began to change from the moment I picked up the revelation. It is fairly easy to surmise where I would be if I had not found the book. And that possible existence is better left unknown when compared to the forward looking, excitement filled, ever unfolding universe career that I am living in the eternity that the Father has fashioned out of nothing.
Thanks to all who brought the living water to Urantia, it tastes good.
And It Was Then And There!
1974 was the most important year in my life. It was the year that I was introduced to The Urantia Book and the cover has not closed since.
Working for NATO in Izmir, Turkey, I found myself in a religious discussion with other NATO members at the conclusion of work one night. Each person (11 of us) brought to the discussion their personal religious beliefs of which I offered the Southern Baptist view. The group was split 50/50 in Christian and Non Christian viewpoints. At approximately 4:00 AM, a stranger to our group entered into the office where we were discussing our religious beliefs, and stood quietly against the wall listening to what we all had to say. At around 5:00, he asked if he might join the conversations offering his personal opinion on religion.
He was an American but none of us in the group had seen him before that night, yet he carried the necessary credentials on his badge to be there. Our meeting place was deep inside a mountain where security was always strictly maintained.
We welcomed him into our little group and allowed him the opportunity to talk. For 3 hours he kept us glued to our seats as he told of our Universal Father, Paradise, Havona, 7 Super Universes, Urantia and The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.
It was a profound experience to have someone in our group who knew so much and could answer nearly any question we would fire at him. I was the most excited, but extremely cautious over one human being having so much information concerning what most humans really know nothing about.
The following night, he returned and kept us for 3-4 more hours of intense discussions. I was just about to throw in the towel and classify him as another religious fanatic with a vivid imagination when I asked the following:
"WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF YOUR INFORMATION?"
He said that it was from The Urantia Book out of Chicago, IL.
The following day, he disappeared from the Mountain and we never saw him again.
I must say, I was shaken very deeply over these revelations that he spoke so confidently about. I really liked what I heard, but was scared to think that it might be the truth, for fear that it might not be. The Baptists warned of false teachings, but probably only to keep a person focused on their traditions.
Soon I was transferred from Turkey to Bangkok, Thailand. It was an unusual move due to the distance and cost associated with moving a family via the Atlantic Ocean, Panama Canal, Pacific Ocean and finally into Thailand. Nonetheless, I was approved for such a long move only to find myself sitting at my desk one day when an American Civilian walked up to me, stood by my desk and made the following comment.
"Jason," he said, "Are you aware of The Urantia Book out of Chicago, IL? You should obtain a copy of this book and read it."
He walked away, disappearing, I never saw him again.
I followed the sign so given, ordered the book directly from The Urantia Foundation. Skeptical at first, I tried my best to prove the book was based on false traditions. With each passing day, my Thought Adjuster (the fragment of God in every human being) worked on me and it was sooner than I ever imagined that I accepted by faith the Universal Father and Christ Michael, and gained a strong foothold to weather the many storms we humans face here on Urantia.
My life is anything but calm and the struggles my family and I face daily would stagger the imagination of many. We hold our heads high, we firmly plant our faith on the Father and we walk in the light even while darkness prevails. Life often reminds me that the bright light that surrounds the Eternal Father is so bright that were we humans to see it, it would be as blinding as total darkness.
I was a Christian before The Urantia Book, now I am a human Son of God, working hard to uphold his laws and enjoy his loving kindness. No longer do I judge others for what they believe, for I am not their judge, just their human brother, struggling to live and find peace like them.
May God enrich each of your lives, giving light when life becomes dark and often cloudy.
An Atheist No More
By Roxanne Andrews, a retired Chemist from Colorado I was raised in a secular household. All holidays were celebrated without religious connotations—Santa and the Easter Bunny, not the birth and death of Christ, Thanksgiving with food, but without the prayer of Thanks. It was not because my parents did not believe in God, it was because they were uncomfortable talking about concepts that they had not examined. I doubt that they had given themselves permission to question the dogmas of mainstream Christianity as presented in the Old Testament and had ceased inquiring about spiritual matters before getting into the "good stuff" of the New Testament. After living through the depression and the horrors of the Second World War, I am sure that the concept of a Loving Father was hard for them to imagine. In addition, after the deaths of two much loved and wanted children, God became unfathomable and unlovable. God was cruel, wrathful, vengeful and totally illogical, but then, they did not have access to The Urantia Book to give them an expanded view of Universe Realities, nor the expanded teachings of Jesus for comfort and guidance.
At the age of thirteen, due no doubt to the leading of the spirit of God within me, I became very curious about religion. Since my friends were of all different Faiths, I began at the library, studying the different denominations of Christianity and found none that I could embrace wholeheartedly. I went on to study the non-Christian faiths, visited various churches, temples and Fellowships. From my search, I discovered that while each faith had some beliefs that "rang true" and felt noble, others felt repulsive. Then arose the question in my mind, that if all these doctrines and dogmas were touted as The Truth, and yet differed so much in many aspects, then maybe none were inspired and all were man-made. After pondering these dilemmas of Agnosticism for five years, I became uncomfortable sitting on "the picket fence of indecision" and jumped to the conclusion that maybe even their commonalities were man-made. Therefore, God also was just a figment of man's imagination! An Atheist was born, and no lightening bolts zapped me to persuade me otherwise.
All through college, I studied the sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, anatomy, physiology, genetics, vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, as well as all the anthropology classes available. At the time, I had no trouble at all constructing a philosophy of my own to explain the universe, evolution of plant and animal life, and the development of the human mind. The only thing that I could not explain was how the Original matter or energy that exists in the universe came into being. However, none of my religious associates could explain where God came from, so I figured that we were "even" philosophically. I was not at all bothered by the absence of an afterlife in my philosophy. The concept of hell with it's never-ending punishment was pointless, reincarnation made no sense, and as far as heaven was concerned, who would want to sit on a cloud and play a harp or be a flower in God's garden for eternity? Living a life according to the Golden Rule was sufficient unto itself and spending one's time learning from the vast storehouse of knowledge available and enjoying nature's bounties were all that was necessary for a joyous life. In addition, if one wanted more, there were many creative pursuits of music, art and invention to make life more challenging.
One day, many, many years later, I felt compelled to read the book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and I distinctly remember saying to myself, "If Heaven could be like that, it wouldn't be so bad—might even be enjoyable." Less than one month later, I was introduced to The Urantia Book. Of course, I was drawn into it kicking and screaming! My husband had become enthralled by this big, blue book and since I did not want to be married to a religious fanatic, I started reading in order to prove it false. I began with part III, since my education was so heavily weighted in the earth sciences and the evolutionary record. If this book is religious, it does have to be anti-evolution, right? Well, that was January 1974. Here it is 2001 and I have given up trying to get my husband to abandon the book, or myself, for that matter. We have been avidly studying the teachings of The Urantia Book for twenty-seven years, participating in study groups, going to conferences and retreats, and just quietly re-reading the papers at home.
I have to laugh at myself when I stop to think at how my philosophy and my entire life have changed! Actually, my eternity has changed. I read the book the first time through with all my skeptical sensors turned on full blast, and although I did not always understand the more difficult parts, nothing felt phony or false, harmful or detrimental. I am always amazed at how the puzzle pieces of life so neatly fit together, and how all the gaps in my knowledge are eventually filled. The universe is cohesive beyond my wildest dreams and the beauty and complexity of its design and over care make me wonder how I could have ever NOT believed in God. To go from thinking that Jesus was the biggest fraud ever to walk the planet to being totally awed by his matchless gifts makes me thankful beyond words. Reading the Jesus Papers from The Urantia Book gives me the spiritual joy and inspiration to live my life with Truth, Beauty, Goodness and unbounded love. Thank you Heavenly Father, for Christ Michael and The Urantia Book…and for changing my life.