JOY BRANDT: I was on vacation out West, traveling and camping with two girlfriends from Michigan. One day we picked up three hitchhikers who, it turned out, belonged to a group of hippies who called themselves The Traveling Light Circus. Their "guru" was a cocky gay guy named Jamail McKinney who had read the Urantia Book seven times and was now claiming to have fused with his Thought Adjuster. I must admit that it wasn't the message of God's love they shared as much as the fact that there were so many men in the group, which first interested Karen, Peggy and me.
At that time, in 1974, I considered myself to be agnostic, having tossed out belief in God when I rejected the fundamental Christianity of my upbringing. But I'd been jolted into a philosophical search for life's meaning when my parents both died a couple of years earlier. This group was the "highest" bunch of people I'd ever met. I decided to travel with them later, and made plans to join them after finishing our vacation. When I got back home, I purchased the Urantia Book, since Jamail had made it required reading for everyone who wished to travel with his group.
Months later, I'd been hitchhiking with The Traveling Light Circus and had read about a quarter of the Urantia Papers but still didn't believe in God. I was being stubborn. I didn't want to believe in a God just because it made everything seem nicer. I wanted to know the truth about God. If there was a God, I wanted to know it; but if there wasn't, I wanted to know that, too. I didn't want to be swayed by the obvious psychological benefits that my fellow travelers seemed to be experiencing due to their faith. I wanted to know what was real, but was in a quandary as to how to go about it.
One night our large group of hitchhikers rendezvoused at the house of a man named Joe Zabriel who also read the Urantia Book. I was reading quietly to myself in a corner when I overheard Zabriel talking to someone from our group about Jesus' twofold purpose in coming to this planet. Suddenly, like a long line of dominos falling down with one small push, everything fell together. Things Zabriel was saying started fitting in with what I'd heard from my Christian schooling. Thoughts I'd had, subjects I'd studied, experiences in my life, plus ideas I'd recently read in the Urantia Book, all fell into place in my mind.
All at once it was like I was standing at a major fork in the road. I looked up the "high road" and down the "low road," seeing with a clarity I'd never had before. One road was the choice of God, and it included an eternal life where beauty always outshines ugliness, where truth never fails to conquer error, where goodness always wins against evil, and where there is endless love and joy in the eternal adventure of serving with my brothers and sisters in God's divine family. The other road was one of selfishness, darkness, loneliness and eventual death; there was no God; all one could do was try to find happiness in material possessions, snatching everything for oneself, because we were all pitted against each other in the struggle for a life which was altogether too short.
A moment earlier I could not have made the choice. But now, as I stood at this fork in the road of my life, the decision was easy. I realized Gods existence could never be proven or disproven, that faith was a choice - and the time had come for me to decide.
I stated to myself and to God, "I choose faith in God!" And immediately I experienced a thought that was so distinct and clear that it seemed like another's voice spoken aloud, although inside my head. This thought-voice said, "Of course you know there's a God! And you knew it all the time, didn't you?" In a rush my mind was flooded with memories of relating to God as a child. All of a sudden I realized that, yes, indeed, it seemed I had known all along that there was a God! It was as if those years of agnosticism had been merely a mental exercise, but deeper down I'd always known God!
From that day on, when my faith sometimes falters, I look back and remember that fork in the road. I've made my choice. This is the road I choose to walk, the one of faith and love as a child in God's universal family. Thank you, Father!
RICHARD OMURA: It was 1974. I was 23 and living in Hawaii in a small, rundown house with two other potheads in a little two-store town called Honouliuli, about fifteen miles west of Honolulu. I suppose you could describe my lifestyle as counterculture. I was basically a hippie with a small pot farm, living an idyllic life. I tended my plants, went surfing, and partied a lot.
Nearby lived a buddy named Fred. He was the unofficial leader of our tiny cadre of pot farmers and surfers. One night, after visiting Fred, I was walking home down a dirt road looking up at the bright panorama of stars. A few days earlier I had seen the movie The Exorcist and it had left me feeling confused and uncertain about God, the devil, Jesus, heaven, hell, and religion in general. I may even have been a little scared. So I gazed up at the stars and spoke out to whatever was up there. I said, "I'm really fed up with this lack of information. If there is a God, why can't you just tell me everything I need to know in a logical, straightforward way without all the myths, dogma and inconsistencies I find in all the religions? Just give it to me straight and I'll believe it."
It was not too long afterwards that I went over to Freds house and found a big blue book on his desk. I read the Foreword and knew right away that this was an extraordinary book. I couldn't believe it was for real. The effect it had on me was not only mental but physical. My head rang as if I were on a drug. As I leafed through it, I became convinced that I must read the entire book. I asked Fred where he'd gotten it.
"Oh, that book?" he said off-handedly. "Bob So-and-so didn't have twenty bucks for a 'lid' so I took the book instead. He says it's worth more."
Little did Fred realize what it was really worth. The Urantia Book in exchange for twenty dollars' worth of marijuana was probably the best deal he'd ever gotten.
After reading the Foreword I turned to "The Lucifer Rebellion." Having just seen The Exorcist, I wanted to know what the devil was all about. The UB's explanation cleared away all the fear and confusion I'd had regarding that topic.
It took me a while before I bought a book for myself. And even after I got the book, I didn't read it from cover to cover immediately like so many other readers have. I only opened it and read it when I had the inclination, which was sporadically and periodically.
I was not changed by the book in a noticeable way until I'd had it for about ten years, and had decided - and become determined - to practice its concepts and values. Since I knew no one who had read the book or had even heard about it, I entertained for a split second the fantastic notion that I was the only person on earth who had discovered the book and was therefore chosen by God to deliver the message to the world. But since the book had a publisher, that idea was immediately seen for the grandiose concoction that it was.
After having had the book for about five years and with no one to discuss it with, I decided to contact the publisher, the Urantia Foundation. I was overjoyed at last to talk to someone else who knew of the existence of the book. The woman on the phone gave me some study group phone numbers but the groups were either in the continental United States or on another island, and I was still living near Honolulu. When I finally had a chance to go to Los Angeles I attended my first study group, at Dick McDonald's house in Van Nuys. There were about ten readers and I still have fond memories of that time.
For the first twenty-three years I was envious of my fellow UB readers who had successfully turned others on to the book, because it seemed I was unable do so myself. Then in 1996 a producer from the Strange Universe program invited me to speak about the book on TV. I initially had qualms about it but decided to go ahead, with assistance from my friends Don Roark, Norman Ingram and Andrea Barnes. Many, many new readers were introduced to the book as a result of the show. This made me realize that we do not need to be envious of anybody. We just need to have faith that everything comes in good time - because it does!
BYRON BELITSOS: My junior year at the University of Chicago (73-74) was an exciting but confusing period of questioning and discovery for me. The unrest of the '60s was coming to an end - a bitter end, in my estimation - and a wave of new spiritual teachings and teachers was beginning to sweep through college campuses. Eastern literature in particular was flooding in. Self-styled gurus like Ram Dass were in vogue, as well as "genuine" Eastern gurus such as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sri Chinmoy, and Chogyam Trungpa. I was attracted to them all, and so were my friends, all of us being Humanities and English Lit types. Here was a striking solution, I felt, to the problems of a sick and violent society, a solution far superior to that offered by the left-wing politics I had espoused as an outspoken high school and campus radical. For a few months that spring, my friends and I lived in a haze of spiritual books, drugs, jazz, and late-night rap sessions. We felt justified in mixing spiritual teachings with psychedelics; after all, hadn't Ram pass, a college professor at Harvard, found God, or Brahman, or atman - or whatever he called it - through the same experimenting?
From observing myself in these ecstatic states of consciousness, I came to the overriding conclusion that something grand - perhaps something infinite and ineffable - lived within my own mind. Despite a few incidents of getting hopelessly lost at rock concerts, this chemically induced gnosis was incontrovertible: God or spirit lived within, and the Eastern teachers were right.
But what about the transcendent God, the Jesus I had grown up with as a socially active Greek Orthodox Christian in Ohio? What about that garish icon on my mother's dresser? Were those gorgeous liturgies - with the chanting, the robes, the choral singing, the clouds of incense - only for raising church dues? What was behind all the rich mysticism that was hinted at in the church rites? These questions fueled my search for the transcendent One, in every form I could find him.
By the end of the semester the number of friends who were still seeking with me had dwindled down to three. We read every esoteric book we could lay our hands on - on UFOs, out-of-body experiences, flying gurus, kundalini yoga, Vishnu and Krishna, shamans, altered states of consciousness - you name it, we read it.
Now the school year was over and I was spending an uneventful summer at home in Cincinnati, living in my parents' basement and working as a waiter. One night I was up smoking joints and talking with my younger brother, feeling excited, confused, and happy all at once. He eventually fell asleep, but I stayed up listening to an all-night, anything-goes college radio station broadcasting from Miami, Ohio. At 2:45 a.m. a man with a very pleasant and confident voice called in to the station, saying, "Everybody out there should know about this amazing book I am studying, called the Urantia Book. It was handed to a bunch of people in Chicago, right out of a flying saucer! If you read one paragraph, it will make you high, with a profound buzz, for an entire day. You've just got to read it - it is totally wild and totally from God."
I wrote down the name, fumbling excitedly for my pencil. The caller mentioned that he was a go-cart racer, and that he would be racing the next morning - a Sunday - in a large parking lot at a local college. The next day I found him there by asking around. I don't remember his name, but he was about 30, handsome and dignified, and very kind to me. He seemed to be the leader of a go-cart group of about fifty people. This gracious man then told me to go a bookstore in downtown Cincinnati where I would be sure to find the flying saucer revelation. I immediately headed over, and there it was, the big blue book, on a shelf at about eye level. I grabbed it, flung it open, and began reading in the section, "The Modern Problem," on page 2075. Something in me knew I had found what I'd been looking for - it all just clicked in a huge intellectual and emotional catharsis. I was stunned for a few minutes, then began to skim excitedly. After an hour of reading, sitting oblivious on the floor in the bookstore aisle, I bought it, looking forward to finding my answers, never suspecting that after this my real problems in life would begin!
Today I thank God, the angels, and this unknown man in Cincinnati for giving me one of the greatest gifts any of us can ever receive.
ESTHER WOOD: I have loved God all my life. When I was a young girl I went to church every Sunday and to Bible school every summer. I loved the stories about Jesus. Then one summer, when I was around eight or nine, my grandma took me to an evangelical revival where the preacher gave one of those hellfire-and-brimstone sermons, and it scared the hell right out of me. When they called for those wanting to be saved to come up, I went up the altar and gave my life to Jesus that day. I was as sincere as I could be, considering what I could understand at the time. For a while after that I was "on fire for the Lord," but the way the "good Christians" in my life acted - gossiping about their neighbors, treating each other with disrespect, their lack of honesty - left me feeling disenchanted. I withdrew from the church and my family - but not from God. Somehow, I still knew that he was the true righteousness. I looked for Him in a lot of unconventional places (my grandmother would shudder if she knew all the places I looked!). The amazing thing was that no matter where I looked, I could see God. That was my first clue that God was bigger than any man-made religion. He did not forsake me, even though I'd gone to some God-forsaken places.
In the early 70s, after two years of college and a lot of partying in Michigan, I moved to Portland, Oregon. I still read the Bible, as well as many other books about different religions, mysticism, the occult, psychology, sociology, and philosophy. I was spiritually hungry and actively looking for truth. In 1974 I met the man who is now my husband. We talked a lot about life, God, those "interesting coincidences," and anything else anybody brought up in our search for truth. We invited everyone we knew to join us in our quest.
One day, our neighbor brought over a big blue book and handed it to us, saying, "I think you are ready for this." He left it with us for two weeks. We looked through it, read portions here and there, discussed it, and read some more. I remember the first time I read pages 1007-8, where the revelators tell us about the five epochal revelations given to our planet. The fourth had been Jesus' life on earth and the fifth was the Urantia Papers, "of which this is one ..." Those words hit me with a feeling of profound discovery: If this is true, this is a big deal; if not, it is a big deception.
I laid the book down for a moment and prayed about it. I decided to go back to the Bible. The Bible fell open at 2nd John 4: 1-6. "Believe not every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God.... You know the spirit is of God if it confesses that Jesus is the Son of God." The whole Urantia Book confesses that. We bought a book of our own soon after that.
In 1975 we moved about forty miles south of Portland, to Molalla, where we started our family and our study group. It has been a long process of growing up in the kingdom of heaven, but our Father has been with us through all of our trials, tribulations and joys. I feel very lucky that we found the Urantia Book.
SUE SMITH: Having been in the Church most of my life since childhood, for several years I was inspired to search religious bookstores, attend church groups, study, and talk with church people concerning the Spirit in our lives. In September of 1974, while living in Hawaii, I was somehow directed to the Religion section of a Honolulu bookstore. There I found a very large book with a white cover next to the Bible. Curious, I took it down and read the dust jacket. Slamming it shut, I said to myself, "It is humanly impossible to know this kind of information, therefore it is a sacrilege to place this stuff next to the Bible - God's Word."
No one was at the check-out counter at that time except the store manager. I decided to go over and tell him off for placing such a book next to the Bible, but by the time I had crossed the store to the counter, a line of people had formed waiting to check out. I gave up on the idea, and as I headed for the exit door I suddenly heard a voice that seemed to be in front and above me, saying, "Leave it alone. I will take care of it.* Stunned, I went home.
In December of 1974 I found that same large book on my coffee table in my living room. None of my family would own up to having put it there.
December was always a busy time, so it was not until January 1975 that I began reading the Urantia Book. After a while, I concluded that the midwayers must have placed the book in my home. It was months before my oldest son confessed that a high school teacher - a Urantia Book reader - had encouraged him to buy the book. My son was not ready for this information and thought it would be a challenge to tease Mom. Little did he know that Mom was ready for this book - I fell for it hook, line and sinker.
Reading, researching, cross referencing with the Bible and jumping from one subject to another, I had to decide for myself if this book really was all that it claimed to be.
Soon I was invited by my Urantia Book mentor, Eva Sepp, to attend a gathering of Urantia Book readers to meet a representative from the Urantia Foundation, Paul Snider. This was my first experience with other readers, and I was delighted to meet such a dear, kind, and loving person. Later, our business took us to Chicago, where I spent a full day at 533 Diversey Parkway talking with Emma ("Christy") Christensen and Meredith Sprunger, then president of the Brotherhood. Meredith suggested rather emphatically that I read the Urantia Book from cover to cover, beginning to end, from the Alpha to the Omega. By doing this, the revelations fell into place in a chronological order. My soul was satisfied that this book was genuine. Now after years of study, it all seems so simplified.
I began to host my own study group in January 1976. Though we eventually moved to Arizona after fourteen years in Hawaii, the study group I started has continued meeting almost every week since that time. I know the book is true because it has brought me that glorious spiritual peace of mind that is beyond all understanding. May God bless the teachings of the Urantia Book, and guide us all in the way he would have us go.
JANE A. ROPER: The year was 1969 and my first husband and I had just graduated from college in Iowa. We had both been accepted to law school in San Francisco, so together with our two-year-old daughter, Samantha, we moved to that glorious city the day after graduation. The Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury, hippies, and anti-war sentiments were all very appealing after living in the Midwest. We rented an apartment in Sausalito and eventually became resident-managers of a magnificent Victorian mansion that had been converted into apartments. As managers it was our responsibility to screen tenants and rent out the apartments.
One apartment we rented was to a very nice interracial couple, a Black man, Johnny, and his Caucasian wife, Pam. We were told that Pam worked nights at a nursing home, and we accepted the information without question.
We became friends with Johnny and Pam. One day I was downstairs in their apartment, looking at their bookshelf. Sitting there was a copy of the Urantia Book. I had never seen it before. Being an inquisitive soul I picked it up and leafed through it - strange names, very big, kind of spooky, but then Johnny was into stuff like that, and had been lecturing us about the revolution to come.
"Hey, Johnny," I asked him, "What is this book? What's it about?"
"Well, Miss Jane," he answered playfully, "I haven't really read much of it, but from what I can tell, it is a book about everything!"
Later, my husband and I learned from Pam that she was actually a prostitute and that Johnny was her pimp and not her husband at all. Eventually they moved out. My marriage later broke up, and I returned to my parents' home in Michigan with my daughter. I became a charismatic Episcopalian with a vibrant, daily, loving relationship with Jesus.
Eventually I met John Roper, who would become my husband. The next time I saw the Urantia Book was at John's home in Bloomfield Hills, a wealthy suburb of Detroit. Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out to see the book again in the possession of such a different sort of person than the "first" Johnny, and it took quite a while for me to get over my resistance to it. John Roper had been reading seriously for some time and our first dates consisted of talking about "life and stuff," with him reading me large chunks of the UB and me thinking, "I am getting to know a lot about this book, but not much about this interesting man!" Finally I decided that I could not criticize the book without reading it myself.
I did start reading, and of course you won't be surprised by the rest of the story. The truth contained in the book spoke deeply to me, enlarged my existing relationship with Jesus and our Father, and affirmed long-held philosophical concepts. I felt, "Yes, that's the way I've always thought that this whole life experience, and God, and everything, should be." It spoke to my heart and mind, and filled in all the missing gaps left by Christianity. I was able to affirm that indeed, I had found the fifth epochal revelation to our world - the Urantia Book.
MIKE KUBIK: I first had an opportunity to discover the Urantia Book in 1966. I was working in the warehouse of a department store while going to college. Working with me was a peculiar, introverted guy, a Urantia Book reader named Mike. After listening to him talk about Adam and Eve being "purple giants," I more or less tuned him out from then on. Now I'm sorry that I didn't get to know him better and pay more attention to what he was saying. Shortly after that I joined the Navy. I would have looked at the historical places I visited with a keener eye if I had been reading the Urantia Book back then.
It wasn't until 1973 or 1974, in Houston, that I came across the book again. It was given to me by a mechanic who took my old, broken-down Karmann-Ghia in exchange for an equally old, broken-down Volvo. He was a recovering drug addict and thought I might be interested in the book. When I asked him what it was about, he replied, "It's kind of science fiction." Right!
I struggled through the book for several days, maybe weeks, wondering where all of it was leading. It told an incredibly detailed story. I speculated a little bit about the authorship, but did not bother to glance ahead to the Jesus papers. I didn't even know they were there.
One night at a meeting with some people who could best be described as early New Agers, I happened to mention the book to a woman who was a friend of my ex-wife. She said she read the Urantia Book all the time to see how Jesus would handle things.
"Jesus? Is he in the book, too?" I asked.
"Of course," she replied, "that's what it's all about!"
I had been trying to discipline myself to read the book from front to back, suffering through some of the more complicated papers, building images in my brain of the panorama of other worlds and creatures it revealed, when suddenly I learned that the book also contained the real story of Jesus as recorded by midwayers who were there when it happened. I went home and skipped ahead to the rest of the story. That was when the power of the book suddenly hit me. I have never been lonely since then, and I live with the assurance that I have an eternal future in the service of my Father and his children.
While sometimes I regret not having found the book earlier in my life, I know that through my struggling and ignorance I learned how to determine right from wrong. Failure usually followed error, and pain usually accompanied failure. My Adjuster managed to lead me through literature, relationships, vocations, war, and even peace, and still always pointed me toward something better. I wanted the magic of the spirit. I wanted the power that the sure knowledge of eternal life offers. I wanted to know the love of God.
Of course I didn't know that's what I wanted. I only know that in retrospect. As Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead said, "What a long, strange trip it's been!"
MICHELLE KLIMESH: When I was 12 I began to believe that the Holy Roman Catholic Church was not telling me the real truth. I started browsing through the Bible, skeptically, intending to prove to myself that God was some bogus myth. Most of the Bible seemed like mumbo jumbo to me, but I was attracted to the "red words," the words of Jesus. I decided to find out if he was telling the truth by testing his advice in the real world. The first thing I tested was: "The Spirit of Truth dwells within you, and the Spirit will lead you to all truth, and the truth will set you free." That sounded pretty weird to me, that some spirit was living inside of me.
But after about five years I had enough evidence to admit that maybe there was some inner source of wisdom that I could tap into besides my own brain. So I chalked one point up for Jesus, and went back to the Bible to pick out some more red words. I chose "love your enemy." This Was clearly illogical, and I was sure I could refute it. But in the real world, in actual practice, it worked brilliantly. Two points for Jesus now. I started to think Jesus was pretty smart, maybe even a genius.
It was 1974. I was 19. I signed up for a piano class at the local junior college. After class, the guy I shared a piano with and I would talk about things like, "Who is God?" and "What happens when we die?" I told him that I thought there was no such thing as hell. He agreed. I told him that I didn't think it was God's sick idea to torture and murder Jesus. He said that's what he thought, too.
I started to think he was just agreeing with everything I said, so I pulled out my really big theory, the best thing I had ever come up with while hanging out with the Spirit of Truth all those years. I told him I thought that human beings were just embryos. Of course, he said that he thought that, too. So I told him that he couldn't possibly have thought that, because I had made it up myself. He said, "Oh yeah?" and, opening his backpack, pulled out a big blue book. He started flipping through the pages, showing me the section on the atonement, and the part where the soul is the embryo made by the human mind and the divine spirit. I was dumbfounded that someone had swiped my own ideas and put them in a book. I asked to borrow his book, but he said, "No. Go get your own." I ordered one from B. Dalton.
When the semester ended I lost touch with the guy in the piano class. I kept reading the book, wondering about each paragraph: What does this mean? Is it true? It took me seventeen years to get through the whole book, because I had to stop and think about each new thing, and there sure were a lot of new things. I decided there were three parts of the book: the parts I couldn't understand (such as absonite reality), the parts I couldn't verify (such as how fast a Solitary Messenger travels), and the deepest, purest truth I'd ever met. I let the things I didn't understand go by for a while; I find that the older I get, the more I understand.
Epilogue: Seventeen years later, when my daughters were five and nine, I wanted to give them some religious bearings. I couldn't figure out how to break the Urantia teachings into child-size bites, so I went looking for other UBers. After several months of dead ends, I found a study group meeting at Sara and Bob Blackstock's house. Guess who showed up? The boy in the piano class, Mark Turrin. We fell in love. Isn't that a fun ending?
ROGER J. ABDO: Finding the Urantia Book was the culmination of forty years of searching for truth, reality and God. During those years, as I read hundreds of books on various philosophies and religions, I kept an open mind and stayed true to my focus. But I still had many questions about Jesus and the Trinity doctrine.
I found Clyde Bedell's Concordex first. Fascinated by the leading questions about life, God and the universe on the dust jacket, I bought the book right on the spot. After four days of intensive search I finally found the Urantia Book at a bookstore.
The Urantia Book opened a clear path for me to follow, and gave me a renewed surge of assurance that what I was searching for was within my grasp. When I first found the book I knew no other readers, but I have since come into contact with a wonderful group of Urantians who have blessed me with their friendship and feedback. I feel very fortunate to be able to share my discovery with others.
TERRY GALVIN: I was raised in the Irish Catholic tradition. Good, loving parents nestled us, their seven kids, close to the Church and Roman Catholic values. I attended Catholic schools right through college. I was devout and active in the Church and even had thoughts of becoming a priest - until love for a pretty girl and the '60s got hold of me.
One night in 1974 a bunch of us mellow hippie types were gathered in E.K. and Beth's apartment. E.K. was a house painter and Beth an elementary school teacher. She was also a serious astrologer and had many New Age books on her shelves. We were playing guitars and singing soft harmonies, drinking beer and wine and passing joints, talking about Man, God and the Law. While I was playing guitar, I kept staring at a big blue book on one of the bookshelves. During a break in the music I went over and got it down and opened it. I'd never seen or heard the word "Urantia" before. I sat on the floor and perused the table of contents.
As I began to recognize names like Melchizedek and Adam and Eve and Gabriel and saw how the book was divided into four astonishing parts, my eyes got bigger and low whistles puckered my lips. For a few years I'd been investigating things like Buddhist chanting (nam yoho renge kyo)\ the Divine Light Mission of Guru Mahara Ji; the doors of perception (with the aid of LSD); mystical poetry and all kinds of etceteras. I had studied Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man at the Jesuit college I'd attended, but when I tossed the Church out of my life at age 20, I tossed Teilhard out, too. (Later, parts of the Urantia Book would remind me of his writings.) But this blue book thoroughly intrigued me. I asked Beth if I could borrow it. She said sure. She had glimpsed through it but hadn't been grabbed by it.
I took it home and gradually, attentively, struggled through large, difficult chunks of it. I found myself astonished and more astonished, and astonished that I comprehended what was astonishing me. It took me five years to finally believe that it was an actual revelation, but suddenly, with a liquid clarity and overflow of joy, I did.
One of the ways the Urantia Book has helped me in my growing of a soul is that it inspired me to go to Alcoholics Anonymous to confront the disease that has plagued me since a teenager. I find many parallels between the teachings of the big blue UBook and the big blue book of AA.
I'm grateful that the Urantia Book came to me, and gratefully enjoying the journey of inward ascension it so exquisitely describes and explains. The book has banished lonesomeness from my life forever.
SIOUX HARVEY: Ever since I was a child I can recall a feeling that is difficult to put into words, but can be described as a need to feel closer to God. Many of my school friends had the same feeling. We attended different church services in our home town of San Diego but had never joined a particular congregation.
In high school in 1974, in eleventh-grade English class, we were each asked to interview a classmate, then give an oral presentation about that person. When my interviewer, a male classmate, asked me what my life goals were, I said, "To grow spiritually as much as possible." I was the only person in my class to say this, and it was the first time I had ever expressed this need out loud in front of anyone.
Two weeks later, I was attending an auction together with my mom and a friend. The auction featured American Indian rugs and jewelry, and my mom purchased a rug. Afterwards, a man approached us and asked my mom if he could buy the rug from her. This man, whose name was John, and I got to talking and we exchanged phone numbers.
Although my mom kept the rug, John and I became friends. He traveled frequently and I would house-sit for him. He lived in a fantastic, modern house perched on a hill, a true James Bond-type bachelor pad - at least that is how my high-school friends and I saw it. I loved it when John went out of town, when my girlfriends and I would stay in his beautiful home on the weekends and feel like adults.
The very first time I entered his house I walked in and saw two things on his coffee table: a note that said "Mi casa es su casa, "and the Urantia Book. I still remember picking up the book (it had no dust jacket) and wondering what the heck it was. I opened it, read the first paragraph, and got goosebumps. I knew I had found what I had been searching for. Though John was a Urantia Book reader, he did not attend a study group. We discussed the book but read independently of one another. I asked for my own copy for my next birthday and my parents bought me one. I read off and on for the next twenty years. In 1990 I devoted myself anew to the revelation and began to attend a study group. My life has forever been enriched and blessed by these amazing teachings.
ROBERT BURNS: Raised in a Catholic family, the oldest of six children and the first-born grandchild on both sides, I learned about responsibility and duty at a young age. I went to Catholic schools, served as an altar boy, and faithfully attended church. I believed in God and prayed the Lord's Prayer and Hail Marys as I had been taught. I studied catechism and wondered about things like Abrahams willingness to kill his son for God (and even more, God's desire to test Abraham that way); the great flood and the ark; people turning to salt due to God's anger; plus many other things about God's nature and the universe. Oddly, I never questioned Jesus' dying for our sins or God's reason for requiring him to do so.
In Catholic high school I became an advocate of science. Here were explanations and descriptions of how things worked. Biology, chemistry, and astronomy provoked my curiosity and a growing desire for answers. I began questioning, asking things that could not or would not be answered by the priests, brothers, and nuns, and in return I received only platitudes.
By age 17, I had stopped praying and going to church, and I questioned the concept of religious belief. I saw the horrors of life. People were starving and being massacred needlessly. God - if he did exist - seemed to allow this, was uncaring and unfeeling. I increasingly could not believe in such a God. I had lost the magic of belief. I was no longer in Disneyland. No more Santa, no more Easter bunny, no more tooth fairy, no more guardian angels, no more God.
Various tragedies befell my family, and at 19 I left home. I promptly fell in love with an almost-18-year-old Jewish girl, Cindy Hirsh, and moved in with her. A year later we were married. Cindy introduced me to a new world, one of Jews, atheists, hippies, leftist politics (my family was heavily into the John Birch Society), and futurists. There was no more Catholic dogma, just other forms of dogma. I was stimulated by so many avenues of thought but still felt a void.
I discussed various ideas with people, including my brother-in-law, Gary Mathews. I admired this long-haired, bearded ex-Marine for his good sense and his thoughts unifying politics, religion, philosophy, and science. He had been through hell in Vietnam, losing his best friend and seeing and participating in unspeakable horror, yet he still believed in a God who was infinitely good, just and fair.
He still believed in God! We debated and discussed his belief in God over many a night and he told me things I had never heard before. He described the universe, a variety of beings, the purpose of man, the vision of God. I kept coming back with more questions, wanting more answers, until one day he said, "I think you are ready for a book I have. I will lend it to you, but I want it back!" He gave me the Urantia Book.
I purchased my own copy within the week. I was hesitant at first. My old fear of the devil resurfaced. If God was real, then maybe the devil was also, and this could be the devil's work. I read various papers and was always enthralled, but also always leery. It wasn't until reading the story about Adam and Eve that I became filled with emotion, and I again began to talk with my Eternal Father. I spoke to him not with the formal prayers I had learned as a youth, but instead just shared my thoughts with him. As I prayed, I reflected on what Adam and Eve had gone through for us; that even though they had failed, they had shown such devotion to each other and to him, our heavenly Father. It was then, with tears running down my face in a comforted joy, that I believed in the book, in God, and in my destiny.
I tried locating other readers by calling information, and that's how I was eventually steered to Julia Fenderson. I talked to Julia on the phone for about an hour that first time. She asked me many questions and seemed genuinely interested in my thoughts. Just before ending our talk, she referred me to a lively study group in nearby Anaheim, hosted by devoted readers Marlene and Pierre Chicoine. She said that Pierre and I shared an interest in science and predicted that the two of us would become best of friends.
Hanging up, I thought Julia was a very nice, strange lady. She had never met me, yet she could state with certainty that Pierre and I would become best friends. And sure enough, when I got together with the Chicoines we became best friends instantly, just as Julia had foretold. When later I met Julia at the Chicoines' I fell in love with her also. She spoke to me about the importance of study groups and "the need for thousands of study groups" every time I saw her.
The Urantia Book brought me back to the Father, to loving Jesus with the utmost faith, to understanding mankind, to gaining a perspective on evil, and to comprehending my origin, appreciating my status, and longing for my destiny.
MARIO CAOILE: The Philippines is where I was born and Paradise is where I am bound - that is, if I remember to do God's will. I have all the time and opportunity to say No to life eternal, but how can I possibly reject this potential future after catching a glimpse of it, the grandeur and adventure of it all, in the Urantia Book? Just say Yes. I want to see the great, infinite face of eternity.
A few years before moving to the United States, the curiosity bug caught me. Next to movie theaters, bookstores were my favorite hangouts in Manila. I was especially drawn to the Alternative Religions, Philosophy, and Psychology sections. I skipped classes and spent countless hours keeping a low profile at the library of the University of the Philippines.
Years later, in the '70s, in a bookstore in Yakima, Washington, a big blue book with a strange title caught my eye. I flipped it open: Melchizedek . . . Superuniverses . . . Supernaphim. ... I checked the Foreword. Nothing doing. I replaced the book on the shelf - too heavy a fare. I needed something else in the shopping mall and the parking meter was running out.
Months passed. In between art classes one afternoon, at the Central Washington University library, my wandering feet led me to ... that book again. What the heck is it all about? Paradise? Sure. Adam and Eve? Hmmm. What and who else are in here? The first human beings? What? I rifled through the table of contents and moved to various chapters. I read and read, on and on. That must have been a sight to the angel watching me, my gobbling up pages right and left! I was hooked.
The next day I drove down to Yakima and invested $20 on Big Blue. Quite a return on this, the best investment I have ever made. The Urantia teachings have changed my outlook on life. This is an understatement. I cannot imagine what I might have turned into had I not come across it. It is the one pearl of great price.
RUTH L STEACH: I was a preacher's kid and grew up with an inner knowing that the Bible wasn't the whole story. My dad urged me to read and search, but I was too busy with the other parts of my life to do so. Then, in 1962, at age 39, I joined a group of women searching for more. We read and pondered over everything from the Bible to ghosts. Nowhere could we find the "missing link" - the answers to our questions.
Then, in 1974, one of our sons brought the Urantia Book home from college and told his mom, "This was meant for you." At first we were skeptical, and approached it as we had every other book to which we had been led. But this one answered all of our questions. It filled in the blank places.
One of our group could not accept it and dropped out. It became the main study for the rest of the group. We bought Urantia Books and placed them in libraries. We loaned books to anyone interested. Some became readers, some joined our group, others rejected it.
I now belong to two Urantia Book study groups: One is the initial group which meets during the day, of which I am the only original member remaining - my friends have either moved away or graduated to the mansion worlds; the other is an evening group meeting at my house, and it is slowly growing.
Due to my long search, during which I continued to study the Bible in depth, I am considered a Bible expert by some ministers in the area. I teach Bible with a UB twist to two groups at the retirement complex where I live. (I helped to build The Village and now serve as president of the Board.) If anyone asks where I get all of my knowledge, I introduce them to the book
BETH BARTLEY: It all began one day, three years earlier, when I came to the realization that the void I had been feeling in my life was the lack of God. I didn't know how or when my path had strayed from Gods, for our relationship had started when I was a young child. I have always known that God came into my life between the ages of five and six. Now, however, there was an inner hunger, an emptiness within me, and I was at a loss as to how to find God again. My prayer that day was simple: "Father, if you are still there, please help me find you." I presume it was my Thought Adjuster that had been causing this inner hunger, and my prayer testified that communication still existed.
The answer to my prayer was instantaneous; I was enveloped in ecstasy, in a wonderful cocoon of love. I immediately knew the Father was still there as he welcomed me home and held me in his loving embrace.
I was then led through a three-year educational process that opened my mind to a wider concept of God. The books I read in this course of study were found in strange and varied places, yet each one held something special that helped me open my mind and let God out of the covers of the Bible. After eighteen months of this process I even commented to my husband that God was educating me for something. The education continued for another eighteen months, and then the goal was brought within my grasp.
It was May 11,1974. We were at a church retreat. At the end of the day one of the other participants said to me, "I have a book you have to read; it is called the Urantia Book." I immediately realized that this was the object I had been working towards for the previous three years. This friend agreed to lend me her personal copy, and as she handed it to me she commented that she didn't understand why she was doing it because she wouldn't even let her own family members borrow her book. I was lost to my family for the following four months as I read voraciously from the title page through to the end.
The Foreword to the Urantia Book was quite challenging and I wondered if the whole book was going to be the same. But when I got to Paper 5, "God's Relation to the Individual," I wept. Here, finally, was the God of my childhood, the God who loves his children beyond our ability to comprehend; the God who expands our concept of unconditional love. At last I had a God who answered all my needs - spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and psychologically. This was a God I could believe in wholly. At last I was at home.
LORRIE SHAPIRO KRASNY: It was 1975. I was 23 years old and just out of UCLA. I had spent the previous five years as an activist in the anti-war movement and the women's movement. I truly believed in the brotherhood of man. And my political struggles had just been vindicated. The war I had fought so strongly against was almost over. The President I despised was also almost out of office. I was an activist without a cause.
I found myself working to pay off years of college debt in the front office of Erewhon, a natural-foods distribution and retail business. A lot of young people worked there. Some were into EST and some were into the 15-year-old "perfect Master," a chubby Indian boy with some serious lineage. I was into neither. I got the job because the manager thought my astrological sign, Aries, would be good for the place. I thought the people around me were well-meaning but deluded beyond belief.
One of the millers from the grain department and I began a romantic relationship. Of course, he was really a rock musician with a day job. Steve was a spiritual kind of guy, and my first non-political boyfriend. A great love developed. He spoke to me of spiritual matters, and I was responding like crazy. I had never even heard these things talked about before. My higher mind was opening for the first time.
Six months into our relationship, we went on an overnight camping trip in his VW van (what else?). He said he had something special to give me, that he had been waiting for the right moment, that it would change my life. I couldn't imagine what it was. We had done a lot of mind-expanding drugs together. Was there something new on the market? I was filled with anticipation.
We parked the van in a cow pasture by Lake Piru outside of Los Angeles. Night fell, and we talked by flashlight. Finally, he reached behind the driver's seat and pulled out a large blue book. The hairs on my arms stood straight up. The base of my neck tingled. Somehow, I knew this was the thing I reached for the book. "Wait," he said. He turned to page 1118 and began to read aloud the preamble to Paper 102:
"To the unbelieving materialist, man is simply an evolutionary accident. His hopes of survival are strung on a figment of mortal imagination; his fears, loves, longings, and belief are but the reaction of the incidental juxtaposition of certain lifeless atoms of matter. No display of energy nor expression of trust can carry him beyond the grave."
As Steve read on through those first three paragraphs, a membrane burst in my mind. I saw for the first time.
" .. Each day of life slowly and surely tightens the grasp of a pitiless doom which a hostile and relentless universe of matter has decreed shall be the crowning insult to everything in human desire which is beautiful, noble, lofty and good."
"No!" my mind screamed in despair. "This cannot be true!"
"But such is not mans end and eternal destiny; such a vision is but the cry of despair uttered by some wandering soul who has become lost in spiritual darkness, and who bravely struggles on in the face of the mechanistic sophistries of a materialistic philosophy, blinded by the confusion and distortion of a complex learning."
"That s me?"
". . . And all this doom of darkness, and all this destiny of despair are forever dispelled by one brave stretch of faith on the part of the most humble and unlearned of God's children on earth."
That was it! One brave stretch of faith was all it took. I stretched in that moment, and have never looked back.
I spent the next eight hours wearing out the flashlight battery as I pored over this amazing book. I understood it totally. There was nothing I read that night that sounded new to me. It was as if I already knew everything in it, but was relearning it by reading it.
And thus it has been ever since.
Four years later, my relationship with the rock-and-roll miller ended. My life has taken many turns throughout the years since that fateful night, but the one constant, the one undeniable and unwavering truth about me that has remained is that I believe in the fifth epochal revelation. As the preamble to Paper 102 concludes:
"This saving faith has its birth in the human heart when the moral consciousness of man realizes that human values may be translated in mortal experience from the material to the spiritual, from the human to the divine, from time to eternity."
I had been born in faith that night - July 4, 1975. And today, as in every day since, I thank the Father for this great gift.
ROSEY LIESKE: The Urantia Book came to me directly as a result of a prayer. In my mid-twenties I was going through a lot of trial and tribulation (of my own making) and in the midst of it searching hard for the real meaning of life. I'd always been a spiritual person but had become increasingly disenchanted with my search through religious philosophies, both Eastern and Western. It dawned on me, one day in the shower, that I could simply choose not tо believe in God at all. Somehow that thought had never occurred to me. As I had the thought, I mused aloud, "Why believe in God, anyway?" and a voice clear as a bell, from inside my head, said a single word in reply: Survival.
I'd never had anything like that happen before. It shook me up and I began searching again, only now through books on physics, on the philosophy of mathematics, on Copernicus, Newton, Einstein - piles of books, searching and searching.
Finally, still frustrated, I prayed. I hadn't prayed since I was a child. Sitting on the bed, addressing this prayer to "Uh... dear God or anybody else out there," expressed how frustrating it was not to be able to find any intelligent data on either God or the meaning of life.
A few weeks later, strolling past a neighbor's house on the way to the woods, I was invited in for tea. There was a big blue book on the coffee table. Having befriended many books in recent months, I was astounded by the odd feeling that this one was somehow alive, like an organic entity of some kind, vibrating. I commented on it to my neighbor and he encouraged me to look through it.
It was the claim that many of the papers were written by angels that caught my eye. I'd believed in angels from childhood. Yet, the book seemed strange. From then on my neighbor would let me come over and read it whenever I wanted. Finally, I asked him if I could take it home and make up my mind about its being real or not. Three weeks of reading passed - till critical mass was reached. "I want to understand this. No, I want to master this." Ah, the ego of youth!
Now, many years later, I want it to master me.
JIM LEE: I was raised in a kind and loving home, the youngest of four children. Our religion was a rather strict brand of Lutheran Protestantism, and it was relentlessly followed. It had been handed down to us from my mother's father who spoke German in his home and was renowned for his complete collection of Luther's sermons.
I attended a one-room parochial school in northern California. Our daily class routine began with Bible study - the King James Version - and I would often ponder the apparent inconsistencies. For example, to the dying thief on the cross, Jesus said, "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise," yet according to the Apostles' Creed "he [Jesus] descended into hell and rose again on the third day." This quiet inquiry continued into high school, and was often intensified by seeing church leaders say one thing and then do the opposite. This led me to seek truth in many different avenues - Eastern writings, ascetic mysteries, and astrology, to name a few. All seemed to have fragments of truth here and there.
In the late summer of 1975 I began to attend monthly presentations hosted by guest speakers at our local library. At one of these evening studies a Rosicrucian was delving into the mystery of Adam and Eve. He said that the serpent in the tree of life symbolized evil because it rotated in a counterclockwise fashion. Since it made seven complete revolutions around the trunk it meant there were seven planes transcending the earth plane; and on and on. Following the meeting, an old man in the back of the room stood up and mentioned that he had just read in the Urantia Book that Adam and Eve arrived on this planet 37,848 years ago, that they came to biologically uplift the evolutionary races of this world, and that our world is one of trillions of other inhabited worlds in this vast, grand universe. Wow! Where did this come from? I could hardly wait to hear more!
The old man, Walter Seavey, and I became good friends. Through him I had my first study group experience and met many wonderful people associated with this epochal revelation. I often wonder if it was a chance occurrence or the intervention of our unseen friends that coordinated events in such a way that I was led into the fruitful and life-enriching joy which only the Urantia Book can provide.
JJ JOHNSON: I was born in Kentucky. My grandparents had a tabernacle with a crackerjack stand in front on their farm. A preacher would visit once a week to give a sermon. Looking back, they all must have been holy rollers, since they spoke in tongues. When I was five, during one of these scary, and to me meaningless, worship services, I ran out into a huge empty field, looked up into the sky and, addressing myself in silence, affirmed, "I can't believe in God! If this is what God is all about, I don't want any part of it!" I was prepared to get hit by a bolt of lightning.
For the next seventeen years I was an agnostic - who was I to say there was no God? I knew that if there was a God he would know that I was sincere and he would somehow give me proof of his existence.
In 1969, in my early twenties, I was attending a business seminar in Chicago. The attendees had broken up into small discussion groups. Suddenly, from out of nowhere a warm, loving presence manifested itself and everything around me lit up. This loving presence communicated to me - not in words but in "feelings that lie too deep for words" - that there was a loving heavenly Father. This experience, so personal and so sublime - which I had no doubt had been caused by something other than my own mind - was the turning point in my faith journey. This was my spiritual birthday and it transformed my life.
Prior to this experience I could not make spiritual decisions. I could see other people being motivated by living faith, but in myself there seemed to be a spiritual void. The experience gave me the ability to discern spiritual truths for myself and act on them. I also felt very comfortable perusing any book to perceive for myself the truths revealed inside and discard anything that wasn't in harmony with what I knew to be true.
I was in Hawaii in February 1975 when I received a letter from a man named Bill Ibarra, whom I'd gotten to know when we worked together on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. Bill mentioned the Urantia Book. As soon as I saw its name, I had a compelling urge to rush out and get my hands on the book, even before finishing Bills letter. I realized how strange my reaction was, since Bill hadn't really described what the book was about.
After calling around I found a copy in a downtown Honolulu bookstore. Starting from the front, I enjoyed and was fascinated by the Foreword, but it took me until page 24 to recognize that no human could have revealed such knowledge. The UB is the only text I have found that I can wholeheartedly embrace.
Faith to me means experiencing the tranquility of supreme and unquestioned trust in God and feeling the tremendous thrill of living, by faith, in the very presence of the heavenly Father - the new and higher type of living so magnificently and humanly demonstrated by Jesus. My favorite line in the Urantia Book is: "Love is the desire to do good to others."
JOE FELLER: I came home from Vietnam in 1970 feeling like little more than a wild animal. Addicted to heroin and with no direction in life, I didn't even have a clue what the questions were. I had been raised in Seattle, and when I got home, Boeing was laying off five thousand workers per week, people with Ph.D.'s were pumping gas, and the job market was virtually nonexistent.
I kicked the heroin, but not drugs entirely. Later that year, while under a massive dose of LSD in Long Beach, California, I was approached on the street by a man named Brother Jack, who looked me right in the eyes and said, "Jesus loves you." I immediately knew this to be unequivocally true. Nothing inside of me had any argument. Several days later, I looked this man up and my spiritual journey began.
Jack was from a strongly Pentecostal background and had been through much of what I'd been through, but he was older and had been forgiven much. The love he had for his brothers and sisters was palpable and made a lasting impression on me. My life began to change, and I found myself going to a Bible college in Costa Mesa. At first all was well, but I had questions as I studied the Bible that no one at the college could answer; they told me I was flirting with Satan by asking those sorts of questions. They were afraid, and yet I kept reading Jesus' watchword, "Fear not."
So I left the school and moved north to Sonoma, where my cousin's ex-wife, Patricia, was caretaker of the Religion of Jesus Church. The first evening my cousin took me over there, Patricia called me into a little side room and said she had a book that she was certain would interest me. She opened the Urantia Book to page 21, said "Start here," and left the room. When I saw the title of the page, "The Universal Father," I prayed for God to keep me from harm, and began reading. By the time I'd finished the page, I could hardly see through the tears that were falling. Thus began my relationship with this marvelous book.
That was in 1975, and though I was to go through a whole lot of self-induced misery and addiction for another sixteen years, God never left me. And, except for having my Urantia Book stolen once in 1980, I have always had a copy in my living room. Best of all, I had the privilege of introducing it to my wife when we started dating, and she is still reading it. The book has served to enhance my personal relationship with God, and I do not entertain the slightest doubt that it is exactly what it says it is.
URRY WATKINS: Most people will never hear the word "Urantia" at any time during their life. I heard it twice. The second time changed my life forever.
I grew up in the 1950s in Coos Bay, on the Oregon coast. After a year of college I left Oregon and moved to Los Gatos, California, with my parents. Because of a chance encounter at a metaphysical bookstore I found myself sitting in on channeling sessions with a man who claimed to be in psychic contact with UFOs, which he said were prevalent in the area. (Neither I nor anyone but him ever saw them). He'd go into a deep trance, his voice and features would change, sometimes he'd speak in a galactic language, and he'd transmit important messages and predictions from outer space visitors (none of which came true as far as I can remember, but it was exciting nonetheless). I transcribed the sessions and even participated with him in a stage play about UFOs at a community theater in San Jose.
In 1961 I saw a big blue book on his coffee table. He told me it was a book given to us by our cosmic friends. I picked it up, thumbed through it and lighted on descriptions of angels. Angels weren't a big item in my life then and I told him the book seemed too Catholic for my taste. I wouldn't meet the book again for another fourteen years.
In 1975 I was living in Jericho, Vermont, and attending a graduate course in Silva Mind Control - a technique for improving one's psychic sensitivity - when I came into contact with the Urantia Book a second time. Although I was comfortable with my New Age beliefs and thought I pretty well knew all the answers to life's spiritual and religious problems, I still felt a deep-down restlessness.
During a break, an encounter with another course attendee led me to mention that I still didn't feel that I knew Jesus as well as I wanted to. She said, "I've been reading a book that I take everywhere with me. In fact, I'm on my third copy of it because I wear it out and write so much in it. If you really want to know Jesus then you have to read the Urantia Book." I said I'd seen the book long ago but hadn't been interested in it. She said that maybe now was the time for me to begin to read it. I took her home to have lunch with my family, and even photographed her with my children, but I never heard from this red-haired angel again.
I studied the Urantia Book for nearly ten years on my own, reading it through several times, much of it out loud to my family, and talked about it to anyone who'd listen and to a lot who wouldn't. Afraid of being disappointed by other Urantia Book readers, I hesitated to reach out to them, but I eventually did attend my first study group.
I believe the book itself is the revelation. You have to read the book yourself in order to feel the revelations true power. In a similar way, during the times of Jesus, hearing rumors and stories about him was no substitute for sitting with him and learning firsthand. We may wish for our lives to inspire and transform others because of our association with this revelation, but to my way of thinking, the revelation is personal; it is transmitted through the interaction between the words on the printed page and the reader's inquiring mind.
The Urantia Book: you have to read it to believe it!
LAURENCE R. WHELAN: In the summer of 1975 I was in a bookstore in Ventura, California, checking to see if there were any new Edgar Cayce books. Nearby was the Religion section, where I noticed a large book with a white cover on the top shelf. I had to stand on my tiptoes to reach it.
At this time in my life I had collected just about all the Edgar Cayce books that were in print; I was a member of the Association for Research and Enlightenment and I attended a weekly Edgar Cayce study group. About a year earlier my mother had told me about a book, written by angels, that a study group in Oxnard was reading, but she did not know the name of the book or exactly where the group met.
As I took the large volume down from the top shelf, I felt that I had found the book my mother had been talking about. Opening the Urantia Book for the first time, I checked out the table of contents and saw it contained a 774-page section entitled, "Part IV, The Life and Teachings of Jesus, the story of the Son of God and the Son of Man." I believed the words spoken by Jesus in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth and the life." After perusing the list of papers for another fifteen minutes I reluctantly returned the book to the top shelf, not having the $20 to buy it. I wandered around the bookstore for another fifteen minutes or so until I finally decided that I had to have that book and bought it with my Visa card.
Once I got home I could not put the book down. I completed my first reading in fifty-six days. I knew the part about Jesus was true, but what about the rest of the book? I started over from the beginning, and after reading it a second time I still had questions. I shared parts of it with my then-wife, a Jehovah's Witness. She declared that it was the work of the devil. I read it again to see if she was right. She was not. I am now on my fourteenth reading and I know in my heart and soul that the Urantia Book is the fifth epochal revelation of truth to our world.
SHERYL BELLMAN: I was born in New York into a very Jewish family, and accordingly I started my spiritual search with traditional Jewish teachings. In the early '70s my husband and I were hippies living in the East Village in New York. In our search for truth we had both turned to Buddhism. In 1972 we bought land in a small town in Maine and prepared to do the country thing.
In 1975 an old hippie friend from New York visited us, carrying a bunch of books. He showed my husband Chuck a big blue book and said, You must get this book." Chuck sent away for it, spending an enormous amount of money - $20. When the book arrived he was not interested in it. I thought that since he had spent so much money on this thing someone should read it! I opened to Paper 1 and was blown away - I had never read anything like that about God before! Within a few pages I realized that I had something from heaven in my hands.
In 1999 I went back to the East Village and saw - for the first time in twenty-four years - the friend who had introduced us to the Urantia Book. He had never become a reader himself - he didn't even know what the book was about!
Finding the Urantia Book has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I will always be grateful to that old friend for being the channel that brought it into my life.
KAREN FARRINGTON DANIELS: In the early 70s I moved from Connecticut to Key West, Florida, with my husband and two daughters, to join my parents in an art gallery and framing business. I had majored in art at college, and in 1975 I decided to continue my studies at Florida Keys Community College, which boasted the only floating art department in the United States. Classes were held in a two-story houseboat, with wonderful sea breezes and sunset views from the doors and windows.
During one of my figure-drawing classes, I overheard my teacher discussing something with two of the other students. Many of the words he used were unknown to me and I heard the word "Urantia" for the first time. Later, I asked him what he'd been talking about. He smiled at me and said, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." In other words, when I was ready to find the Urantia Book, a copy would show up. I was not satisfied with his answer. "I'm ready now," I thought, and went hunting for a copy.
In the neighborhood was a health-food store/hippie hangout called The Herb Garden. I rummaged around their bookshelves in the back and found a dusty copy of the Urantia Book on the bottom shelf. I brought it to the cashier without even opening it.
"Thirty-five dollars?" I said in amazement. But I paid for it anyway and walked slowly home. Inside, I sat down in a comfortable chair and opened the book for the first time. I couldn't believe my eyes. What was all this? A hierarchy of deities? Universes? The life and teachings of Jesus?
It sounded too much like a religion to me, and I was beyond all that. I had been brought up as a Roman Catholic and had divorced my religion at 15. I believed in God, but my beliefs were closer to Buddhism and Hinduism than to Christianity.
Overwhelmed and disappointed, I muttered, "You've got to be kidding!" and I put the book on the shelf next to my set of Great Books of the Western World, which were also unread.
A few months later, a lawyer friend of mine came to visit and we sat talking in the shade on my front porch. He announced that he had found Jesus and was giving up the practice of law. He had joined a Christian ministry group and was heading down to South America for four years of missionary work.
Out of the blue, he asked me if I had ever heard of the Urantia Book. Someone had told him that he should read it. He said that he had been looking for a copy to take with him to South America and could not find one. I told him to wait on the porch. I went inside and pulled my copy off the bookshelf. "Here you go," I said, handing him the book. "You can return it to me when you get back in four years. Maybe by then I'll be able to read it."
Four years went by, during which time I studied and practiced Transcendental Meditation and read all kinds of New Age books, including the Seth books by Jane Roberts. I felt pretty "hip" and reckoned my consciousness had been expanded quite a bit.
One day in 1979 I heard through the coconut telegraph that my friend had returned from South America and was back in Key West. A few weeks passed and I hadn't seen him around, but I was curious to find out what he thought of the book. Remembering that he had promised to return it to me, I drove over to his house and rang the doorbell. A strange person opened the door and I inquired about my friend.
"He died last week of a heart attack, just after returning from South America," was the reply. I was stunned. He was only 45 years old. I was told that all his personal effects had been sent to his parents' home in Tallahassee. Not wanting to bother his family in their time of grief, I walked back to my car.
Driving home I saw a yard sale. As usual, I could not resist stopping. As I walked into the yard, I noticed a copy of the Urantia Book sitting on the corner of an old red card table. It appeared to be brand new, but the price was $1. I slowly picked it up, held it against my chest and said quietly to myself, "Well, I guess this must be my copy!"
In 1986 I purchased a beachfront cottage in Jamaica and moved all my books and art supplies down there. There, in the quiet, balmy days on the beach, I began again to read my Urantia Book, to paint and to write. My new boyfriend, a Swiss chef, was quite intrigued with the book. Each morning at breakfast we had a reading session. His English was limited, so I would read out loud. At the end of each paragraph he would ask me to explain what it meant. Most of the time I couldn't.
My life has taken many turns since then. I still have a long way to go, but I know that the Urantia Book has the answers to all my questions. I will never give up my connection to it. My friend Leonard Ablieter (his story is also included in this book) trusted my judgment when I told him to buy the Urantia Book. When I became frustrated with my inability to understand it all, I trusted Leonard when he said: "Just read it. The understanding will come in time."
DOLORES NICE: I found the Urantia Book in 1975 in the public library. Although I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools for sixteen years, I was searching for "more." I wasn't sure what that "more" was, but I started researching parapsychology and other esoteric practices such as astrology and numerology. It was in the section of the library dealing with these subjects that I found the Urantia Book. As I flipped through the pages, I was particularly drawn to the papers on life after death and the Jesus papers.
My mother had died in 1970 and I was still grieving. We had been very close and her death was very hard on me. My two sisters and I were too young to lose our beloved mother. Even though I'd believed in life after death before finding the Urantia Book, reading about the mansion worlds was a great comfort to me and helped me with the healing process.
The Jesus papers - how can I possibly express what reading them meant to me? I already had, since my early childhood, a deep love for Jesus. I remember stopping at the parish church on my way home from school to "visit him." Receiving holy communion was special to me, and I greatly enjoyed all the religious events both at school and at church. Being able to read his whole life story fulfilled a deep yearning to know more about Jesus.
Finding the Urantia Book has been a blessing over and beyond what I could have ever hoped for. I am most grateful not only for the extraordinary teachings, but also for the wonderful community of believers and friends I have found in my study group, Society and in the greater readership.
God has answered my prayers; I have found the "more." Like Ganid, I too can say: "I will every day thank God for his unspeakable gifts; I will praise him for his wonderful works to the children of men. To me he is ... my spirit father, and as his earth child I am sometime going forth to see him" (p. 1454).
CHRISSY PALATUCCI SMITH: One autumn in the early 70s, living in the town of Westhampton Beach, New York, I was one of a group of many friends who were enjoying the return of the town to its quiet post - season status. We were having a potluck when a friend began to tell me about a book his ex-girlfriend had loaned him called the Urantia Book, that it was in four parts and really cosmic. We even went over to his room where he showed it to me. It was big. We talked a bit - he hadn't really read much of it himself - but after a few minutes I was anxious to get back to the party.
The next day, my boyfriend and I were in the town of Southampton where we stopped in at a small bookstore called Keene's. I, being a seeker, went over to the Occult section. There on the shelf was the Urantia Book. I took it down, opened it to the first page of the Foreword, read down to "The Eternal Isle of Paradise" and stopped. In five years, I thought to myself, I'll be ready for this. I put the book back.
A few years later, at the wedding of my best friend Elaine in New Hampshire, I was having a conversation with a small group of people on things cosmic. One guy asked if anyone had ever seen the Urantia Book. He told us a story he had heard about it, that it had been found in a garbage can with $ 10,000 and a note attached that read, "Print me!" As he talked a recognition seed was planted in my mind.
In 1975 I found myself driving to California with my friend Aubrea, who was planning to attend her high school reunion. I had always wanted to see California, and as I made preparations I had a vision flash that I was to meet a "spiritual man with a golden glow."
Traveling up the California coast, we visited different towns, including Capitola-by-the-Sea, where my sister-in-laws parents lived. Stopping for directions to their house, we turned a corner and up on the right was a shimmering gold sign that read The Pyramid Works. I remarked to Aubrea that we had to visit this store - I had recently finished reading a fascinating book that talked about pyramid power, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, and was excited to see a place selling pyramids.
Later that day our host Peggy took us on a walk into town. While Peg stopped to buy some cards, Aubs and I went into The Pyramid Works. There we found all manner of pyramid-related articles, books, candles, and clothes, as well as a delightful salesman (with lots-of-time-on-the-beach golden hair) named Lee. Never having met anyone from New York before, and certainly not two women travelers, he found us intriguing. He invited us back to the store on Thursday night to attend a presentation on pyramid power. I almost missed what has now become my life as I was tired that night and didn't really want to go. Luckily, Aubs was in a better mood and talked me into it.
By the time we arrived, the demonstration was over and people were milling around getting ready to leave. Lee was happy to see us, and after he closed up shop the three of us got together. The night continued with much sharing and good conversation, and ended up with all of us going dancing.
Lee had invited us to visit him the following Saturday. On the property where he lived was a tree house and I mentioned that I wanted to climb up there. I was starting to feel very attracted to Lee and wanted some time alone with him. As we sat in the tree house facing each other cross-legged, what I remember most is the incredible energy that flowed out of my eyes and into his as I declared my love for God. I know he received it because the look on his face was unmistakable. It was, as I have come to recognize it now, a Spirit of Truth moment. The energy flowing from me to him felt like a circuitry coming through me rather than from me. My intention was that Lee should understand the meaning God had in my life - I only had a moment and the Spirit did it for me!
When it was time to leave, I decided to stay an extra week with Lee and meet up with my traveling companions later. One day, when Lee and I were working in the pyramid shop, I saw a notice on the bulletin board that read, "Anyone interested in reading the Urantia Book talk to Lee." I was amazed! I felt that my spiritual journey was about to take a major leap. Excitedly I shared with Lee the Keene's bookstore event, my declaration of five years earlier, and that he, Lee, was the "spiritual man with the golden glow."
Lee and I started a Urantia Book study group in 1975 and it still meets in our home. We were married one year later and the rest, as they say, is destiny!
KAREN JEPPESON: I grew up in the Lutheran Church. I was a "Jesus freak" for a time, but never intensely - it was just fun. I asked a lot of questions. The answers went round in circles after a while, so I quit asking. As a senior in high school, I was clued in by a gifted teacher to the truth of myth and the falsehood of what we often consider fact. He then taught our class Eastern religions from the inside. 1 did an independent study of religion for an advanced seminar. Though I didn't realize it at the time, my teacher was leading me to the understanding that there are many facets of personal religious experience, that each person interprets his or her religious longings and experience in the light of his or her cultural beliefs. This meant there was a truth in religions, that there was one thing that linked all religions together, making them more than a giant psychological delusion.
What was this truth? It had to be experienced.
I became interested in Gestalt psychology, then drugs, then mysticism. Just as I was starting to get in over my head, a friend said, "I know a book you might be interested in. Its the history of earth, written by beings beyond time and space."
I sensed this fantastic statement might be true, for by now I had seen that while all religions had truth, some contained more truth than others. In my mind there was a triangle of truth; some religions were closer to the top, others near the bottom, but none at the peak. I thought maybe the truth was beyond what we might know on earth, so my intellect and my soul were prepared for a revelation from beyond this world.
A couple of days later I went to the bookstore where I had been told I could find this Urantia (Earth) Book. As I was paging through the table of contents, another woman came in to look at the book. Excited to meet another Urantia Book reader, I began asking her questions such as how she had come to find the book. Her brief and meaningful replies astounded me and made me even more curious. She said she would be having a meeting of Iowa City Urantians in two weeks' time and that the area representative would be there.
After such a meaningful coincidence I bought the book. I remember vividly walking into the Urantia gathering two weeks later. The atmosphere was so high I felt like I was walking two feet off the ground. At first I was very suspicious. Will they be like Scientologists and ask for money? Will they warp my mind, like the pseudo-sciences I had studied? None of this happened.
I read the book that summer. Every day more doubts and fears fall to the truths of living as revealed in the Urantia Book.
SHARON ZIGLAR: In the early 70s I was actively seeking God in my life. I tried out a variety of churches and bought any book I could get my hands on which might help me to grow as an individual. I still have quite a large library of books dating from that time: I'm OK, You're OK; Your Erroneous Zones; Mindstyles, Lifestyle; etc.
In 1975 I started attending a fundamentalist church. It had a large congregation and quite a community feeling. While attending this church I met my future husband, Wally Ziglar, in the church parking lot. We started dating and shared a lot of wonderful philosophical discussions. In our marathon telephone conversations he would occasionally read me something interesting that he had "found." Everything he read rang a bell in my soul as being true, and I was awed by the possibility that answers to some of my questions, and confirmations of my inner beliefs, were in writing. I asked Wally where he'd come upon the portions that he was reading to me and he usually said, "It's out of some Christian history book I've come across." These exchanges went on for at least a year.
We were also attending a Bible study class connected with this church. At times I would feel very uncomfortable with what was being said. I would comment on this to Wally and he usually responded by quoting something he had "read someplace." One night there was a discussion about demon possession. I could tell that Wally was really keen on this topic; he told me he had something at home that he wanted to read to me. When we got to his house he pulled out a big blue book and read me a passage about demon possession not existing since the time of Pentecost. This didn't mean anything to me, as it was just something he was reading out of some book.
At this point he said, "Some day I want to share this book with you, but not right now." Well, that was the wrong thing to say to someone who had been buying up bookstores looking for answers. I practically broke my neck trying to get a look at the title. The next day I went down to B. Dalton Booksellers and lifted a copy of the Urantia Book off the shelf. I looked at the front cover and almost fell over. What is this? "The Central and Superuniverses"? "The Local Universe"? "The History of Urantia"? ("The Life and Teachings of Jesus" I could handle.) I took a deep breath. I knew how important God was to Wally and that there had to be something to this book. I began reading the inside dust jacket and by the time I had finished "... the greatest truths mortal man can ever hear - the living gospel of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" p. 2086), I knew that I had come home and that this book was the answer to my quest for truth and knowledge. Needless to say, I bought it.
It took me three months to complete my first reading - living and breathing the book. Since then, I have read it at least three additional times. I love going to it for answers or to search for something I remember reading before. During the raising of our children I must admit that I have not always taken time to keep up my reading, but the truths exist in my heart and in my life and I know that the book is there whenever I need a "refresher course."
TOMMY OUTERBRIDGE: I was searching for the Truth, to find out why the Biblical story was okay for Christians but not for me. The Spirit urged me to study theology at university. My teachers were surprised. My father was aghast. I was supposed to become a lawyer not a preacher. Just before I started at Exeter University in 1976, an old friend of my dad, Alaine, thrust the Urantia Book into my hands and said, "Read this." To this day Alaine still has no interest in the fifth epochal revelation.
My interest in Spirit dates back as far as I can remember, but the defining moment came in 1968, when I was "saved" in Harrington Sound, a landlocked body of bright blue sea water in Bermuda. An old black fisherman who was harvesting mussels off the shallow bottom using a long pole and a glass through which he peered at the water's surface, hailed me over. After I tied my new 11-foot fiberglass boat alongside his old 14-foot cedar fishing boat, he inquired, "Have you been saved?"
But my boat was not sinking. Saved? Saved from what? "Saved from the Devil," he intoned earnestly. Was I assured of Jesus coming into my life and of my going to heaven? I should hereby confess my sins, accept forgiveness and be saved. Well, in the unfolding of my young life - I was 11 - this seemed a logical next step. Solemnly I bowed my head, closed my eyes, formally repented and was thereby saved. From that day on the quest was on to connect with the Urantia Book.
Come September I returned to boarding school, whose grounds bordered on a railway track so you could hear the sound of passing trains quite clearly. One night I had a tremendously vivid nightmare in which I dropped off a cliff and landed on my back with a bang, I startled awake only to hear the loud and distinct clickety-dack of a speeding train, a real train. A strong impression was forged but in the following years the episode was naturally forgotten.
Fifteen years later, on Fathers Day, whilst trying to build a nest for Bermudas indigenous sea bird, the longtail, I was atop a 100-foot cliff near my home when the ledge collapsed and I plummeted to the beach below. I broke my neck, my back and my left arm. Upon surfacing from a coma three days later, I was a C5 quadriplegic strapped to a Stryker frame and wearing a halo brace. After a period of auditory and visual hallucinations accompanied by delirium, lucidity returned but my memory was shot, vaguely hovering at about age seven, with the rest of my life a zero. Physically crippled with flailing spasms and mentally handicapped by amnesia, my mind and body were seriously challenged. I was not abandoned, however. "Footprints" says it in a nutshell: "God carries you when you can no longer walk." And when Jesus taught that the good shepherd actively searches for his lost sheep, he wasn't joking. Two years after my fall and firmly entrenched in hospital, my memory was still blank. My Adjuster must have been working overtime, because I recalled and mentioned the UB fairly often in those dim days of rehabilitation. Eventually I had the hospital bursar prepare a draft to send to the Urantia Foundation in Chicago, asking for the UB to be sent to the library at my old school. Soon after that, I had the same dream. I fell off a cliff, felt myself falling and crash landed - bang! - onto my back to awake with a startling jolt, only to hear the loud and distinct clatter of a train outside my window. It faded eerily into the distance, same as I'd heard somewhere before . .. but where? Slowly, over a long period of months, it came back to me.
"To God there is no past, present or future; all time is present at any given moment"(p. 34).
The task of rebuilding my life and recalling my past has been a wonderful if grueling ordeal, a superb challenge. To look over the ongoing scenario and see the Father's helping hand along the path has been a unique education, and I feel very grateful to be alive to praise Him. Indeed I feel fortunate to have been afforded this unique opportunity to appreciate Him, the Master, and life on Earth.
My human guardian angel is my wife Angela, whom I met when she was my physiotherapist in hospital. Our son, Robert, was born in 1992. I now join the actor Christopher Reeve in a quest to be healed and independent. However, rather than simply anticipating a "cure" through medical research, I concentrate on prayer, meditation, visualization, affirmations, positive thinking and faith.
JULIANNE CLERGET: Returning from a camping trip in the mountains in 1975, my friend Lauretta Blackburn proceeded to tell me about her experiences: The happy campers had been sitting around the campfire after their evening meal, discussing why we are here, what religion is, and the meaning of the word God, when from far below they heard the unmistakable sound of an approaching vehicle echoing off the hillsides. It took a long time for it to attain the crest, but finally a pickup truck became visible.
The driver stopped, parked, and got out. He had long hair, a beard, and a twinkle in his eye. He approached the groups primitive hearth and soon joined in the conversation. He talked about the teachings in the Urantia Book, keeping Lauretta and her friends spellbound until dawn. Before this mountain man departed, he turned to Lauretta and gave her a Urantia Book.
Lauretta only had time to tell me of this little adventure before moving several hundred miles away. Her story interested me so much that I wanted to read the book myself, but I couldn't find a copy at any local bookstore. Nobody had heard of it.
Several days after Lauretta moved away, a mutual friend of ours, Ron Worthington, arrived at my door. I told Ron about Laurettas odd camping adventure, and that I was dying to read this Urantia Book. Ron was a seeker after truth, had studied many of the worlds religions, and he was as intrigued as I was.
Some months later, Ron visited me again. This time he announced happily that he had found out there were copies of the Urantia Book in Wenatchee, approximately four hours east of my home in western Washington. They were $20 each. Ron offered to pick up a copy for me, too, but I was currency-deficient at that time, and could only plead, Could I read your book sometimes?" Ron agreed, then departed on his adventure.
During the four days of Rons absence, much occurred. The house my family and I had built with our own hands burned to the ground and we lost all our possessions. Curiously, two years earlier the same thing had happened to us. Once again we rallied together, trying to survive and make the best of the situation. My youngest son Scott seemed undaunted and immediately asked, "What kind of house will we build this time?"
Lauretta, who had recently moved back to our area, had been living with us at the time. For the next few days we salvaged clothing, bedding, and other necessities; we burned the remains, since the fire from the house was still smoldering. We also pulled all the burnt metal out of the ruins and piled it in the driveway. At night we stayed with friends, and went back to the "job from hell" during the day.
By day four of this, with all of us covered with soot and looking rather comical, we piled into Laurettas car and were driving to a friends home to shower when we passed Ron on the road, heading in the opposite direction. We looked at one another and in unison cried, "My God, that's Ron! He doesn't know about the fire!"
Lauretta screeched on the brakes, turned around and drove back to our driveway. There was Ron, standing on what used to be the porch, looking very upset. I got out of the car and ran up to him, saying, "Ron, it's just the material world. We may not have any possessions but now we don't have any possessions to worry about, either. We're all okay. We are alive."
Ron replied, "But. . . you do have a possession. I've brought you a Urantia Book."
That was September 27, 1976. Now, many years later, my children are grown and my entire life is devoted to understanding and disseminating the teachings of the Urantia Book. I thank God every day for the knowledge, hope, and faith inspired by this wonderful revelation.
Lauretta has often wondered, who was the gentleman with the long hair and the twinkle in his eye? She'd love to contact him some day, and I'd also like to give him a big hug.
MATTHEW BLOCK: I first came across the Urantia Book in early 1976, while sitting in on a metaphysical class my mother was taking. My mother actually had little interest in metaphysics; she was more interested in the marketing potentials of pyramid power. I, on the other hand, was obsessed with the esoteric, and as I sat in that class I found myself in my element. At the time, I was a tortured, searching, 18-year-old college dropout (I'd started at 16), on my third psychiatrist, and working as a Boy Friday for a well-known Philadelphia psychic.
I don't remember what the lecturer was talking about, but I recall that at one point he held up a copy of the Urantia Book and invited us to look through it after class. At first sight I was lured by its encyclopedic size. Flipping through the pages, though, I was more repelled than attracted. It seemed to be written too dryly. I was put off by the rosters of superhuman personalities and the neologisms, and cringed at bizarre chapter titles like "Melchizedek Teachings in the Occident." The lecturer noticed my reactions and advised me not to dismiss the book too rashly.
Several weeks later, while haunting the bookstores in a new suburban mall, I found it again and decided to delve into it further. Its analytic style of prose still didn't sit well with me; I'd always supposed that a revelation would read like the Upanishads or Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. But certain passages about God and religious experience - written with a unique combination of eloquence, fervor, rational intelligence and authoritativeness - began to appeal to me.
Despite my fascination with the occult, and despite the fact that I'd rejected the Judaism of my childhood when I was 12, I retained a very strong, liberal Judaeo-Christian sensibility. I never gave up craving communion with a personal God. Since childhood I'd felt drawn to Jesus, but was never able to get a good grasp of him from my Catholic relatives or from reading the New Testament. The Urantia Book was one of the very few books I'd come across that seemed to be written in a Judaeo-Christian vein and yet had something urgently new to say. I remember feeling a dim excitement at the prospect that the Urantia Book might help lead me to God and perhaps even to Jesus.
In the weeks that followed I kept going back to that mall, since it was the only place I knew that carried the book. After four or five visits, I finally rushed back to buy a copy after realizing that beneath its stark exterior, the book carried intensely beautiful and inspiring messages about God, life and destiny. The deciding factor, I think, was the "Rodan of Alexandria" paper, one of the few that didn't presuppose familiarity with Urantia terminology. I was inspired by its sound, affirmative, God-centered philosophy, and its message about the precious values of friendship.
Once I'd finally bought it, I felt a tremendous sense of relief. The book seemed to glow as it rested on my desk. But it took several months to integrate the book into my life and thoughts. The pull of astrology and psychic phenomena was still strong; I kept thinking of Jesus as a Leo and had trouble squaring Edgar Cayce's account of Jesus with the Urantia Books. Nevertheless the Urantia philosophy beamed its way through the occult haze, and I gradually stopped thinking in terms of astrology and reincarnation.
Though I thumbed through the book every day, it took me about a year and a half to actually read it from cover to cover. Ironically, the stumbling block for me was the Jesus papers; while I was intensely interested in Jesus, I simply wasn't ready to follow such a detailed narrative with all its Biblical references. For years my favorite part was Part III; but since 1991, as a result of a quiet, Jesus-centered spiritual experience, Part IV is now my preferred "literary gateway" to God.
In 1977, I decided to return to school, choosing a university in Chicago to be near the Urantia headquarters. Thus began a twenty-plus-year association with the Urantia movement, during which I worked as a volunteer and, later, a paid employee of Urantia Brotherhood (now called The Urantia Book Fellowship). Since 1992 I've been doing research into the sources of the Urantia Book, an endeavor which has immeasurably enriched my understanding of the whole Urantia Book phenomenon. But that's another story.
JEAN ASCHER: I was born in 1945 to a Jewish mother and most likely an Arabic father. I never knew my father. My mother was an attractive woman, concerned mostly with her own life, so most of my basic upbringing came from the streets of the Copenhagen suburb where I grew up.
Since the time I became conscious of the world, I wondered about the questions of life. I asked myself why people seemed to be split into two groups: one group believers of all kinds, and the other all non-believers of one kind. I simply could not accept that there wasn't a universal, cosmic truth which could somehow combine people's views into a harmonious, global whole.
I decided to find out, to begin searching for knowledge, understanding and truth. I started reading all kinds of books - natural science, science fiction, philosophy, theoretical mathematics - and religious works such as the Kabbalah, The Book of Death, and Toward the Light. I read all through my formal education as a chief cook in the Danish merchant fleet.
After five years I returned home and became friends with a young Black musician, Jimmy Moody. We shared the same curiosity about life and interests in books, and soon we were exchanging books. Years later, he left Denmark to live in Ibiza, Spain, which at that time was the place to hang out if you were a hash-smoking, mushroom-eating hippie, which we both were. Occasionally I would go to Ibiza to see my friend, and on one visit he showed me the Urantia Book.
As soon as I got back to Copenhagen, I ordered a book from Chicago. When it arrived a few weeks later, in April of 1976, I began reading. As far as I can recall, I did nothing else for nearly four years. I finished my first reading on February 13, 1980. All my questions about the puzzles of life, love and God were answered. I was transformed into a completely new human being.
The book has changed my life. It has made order out of confusion within my mind. It has turned a young, crazy mortal into a harmonious, simple adult. It has opened my eyes, so that I now can see what is unseen. It has given me the knowledge that no schoolteacher, parent or adult could. It has made me understand what could be understood. It has made me aware of a divine Thought Adjuster within my soul. The Urantia Book has made my mind whole, repaired my intellectual horizon, inspired my creative potentials, and generated in me a craving to be like The Universal One. To the best of my ability I try to live by our Father's commandment, "Be you perfect even as I am perfect."
Since the people here in Denmark to whom I have introduced the book have shown no interest in it, I have started translating the book into Danish, upon the request of my daughter Catjaya. I hope thereby to make the book more accessible to the people of Denmark.
BETTY BRIGHT: I moved from Cincinnati to Los Angeles in 1976 and got a job with an architectural firm on Wilshire Boulevard. I didn't know anyone in Los Angeles except my friend Joyce, who had written me urging me to make a change in my life and join her. Joyce, however, Was busy every night with the EST Foundation so I spent my time poring over The Thomas Guide, dreaming of new adventures.
I soon met a spiritual woman named Debra who worked in the same building as I. We began to spend time together in the evenings and sometimes I would house-sit for her when she went away to visit her parents. Debra did not own a television set but she had a great library and every time I went there I would go straight to her bookshelf to see what was new.
One Friday night I let myself into the empty house and headed for the library. There on the shelf was a used blue book that fell out by itself. I picked it up and took it over to the couch with me, and that is where Debra found me on Sunday night when she arrived home. I asked her where she had come across this book and what she thought of it. She told me that she'd discovered it in the Bodhi Tree used book store and that she didn't know why she'd bought it. She said she'd looked through it and didn't think it was for her but that I could have it if I wanted to take it home.
I read the book every day for five years with a dictionary and world atlas spread out on the floor before me. I would ask everyone I knew or met if they had heard of this book. No one had, and I began to think I was the only one in the world that had it. Desperate to talk to someone about it, I finally wrote to the Urantia Foundation and asked them if they could tell me if anyone else was reading this book. They referred me to Polly Friedman. When I arrived at Polly's house and she opened the door I couldn't say a word - I just cried. Just writing this I am crying again, remembering what a life-changing event that day was for me. Polly put me in touch with Hal and Lucille Kettell's study group - about five blocks from where I was living at the time - and the love affair goes on to this day.
PAULA LYNN SUTTON: I was about six years old when I knew for sure that God existed, because that year he answered a prayer of mine immediately. I believe that event is what kept him alive in my heart through my teenage years of doubt and wondering, and even pretended agnosticism. I had doubts because what I believed God to be and what I saw in this world did not fit together. The Bible lessons I'd received during my many years in our town's non-denominational community church only served to raise more questions. So one night when I was about 16, I told God that I was going to quit bothering him with the rote prayer I had been reciting at bedtime for as long as I could remember. I told him the next time he heard from me, I would be sincere and it would come from my heart.
That was when I put God on hold in my life. I didn't begin my search to understand him until I was in my early twenties, at which time I began reading, casually and with no real urgency, about the different religions the world had to offer. Nothing rang true within me. Then one night in 1976, it finally clicked.
I was driving a friend home. I don't recall the circumstances of our being together that evening, or how the conversation turned to spiritual matters. I just remember that she began to talk about a book she was reading, and I had to know more. We sat in her driveway for some time while she told me all about this book. It was getting late, but I didn't want to leave, so she asked me if I wanted to see the book. "Of course!" I said, and she invited me in.
I felt so hungry for the knowledge she was imparting that I stayed until she told me everything she could remember of what she had read so far. Finally, I copied the Chicago address from the book so I could order one, and left her house, on fire and anxious to get my own copy of the Urantia Book. I knew this was what I had been looking for.
How did this book change my life? I was able to relax. I had a better understanding of why this world is so imperfect. I had the assurance of God's unfailing love.
CHRISTOS KONSTAS: This is the story of how my parents, Zachos and Maria Konstas - and I - came to find the Urantia Book. In 1975 they were in Switzerland attending a Krishnamurti convention. There they met a Swiss-German, Theo Schwartz, who gave them a copy of the Urantia Book in English, another one in French, and a Concordat. He also told them a story regarding its origin.
According to my parents, Theo Schwartz was a trustworthy and reliable person who had worked on the German translation of the Urantia Book, a fact that has been confirmed by others. Theo was said to have firsthand information about how the Papers came into existence. His source was his close friend, a Frenchman named Jacques Weiss, who (according to Theo) claimed to be an eyewitness to the events that led up to the appearance of the Urantia Papers. Weiss was also known in the Urantia community as having translated the UB into French. (His name appears on the title page of the first French edition.)
This is the story as told to my parents: Around 1910 a French girl confessed to her father that every night for two years she had been writing some strange things. When she handed her father the manuscript, he was surprised to see that it was written in English, a language his daughter did not know. The father, also no expert in English, took the manuscript to a friend of his. According to Theo, this friend could have been Jacques Weiss.
When the friend examined the manuscript closely he soon discovered that it was about the universe and Jesus. He also found that it was written in near-perfect English, with only about twenty errors in spelling and grammar.
The name William Sadler was not mentioned and my parents had never heard it. For twenty years this was the only story about the origins of the Urantia Book with which I was familiar, and we were the only Greek UB readers I knew of. Only recently, when I began to visit UB sites on the Internet, did I find that the rest of the world knew a very different story. On the Internet I tried to confirm what I had heard from my parents but instead I learned about Sadler's role. Since then, I've been trying to connect the loose ends of the two stories.
It is known that between 1910 and 1920 Sadler traveled to Europe at least once. If the version I've told is true, Weiss could have engaged Dr. Sadler to psychiatrically treat the girl as a patient.
I can't say that the Urantia Book changed my religion. But the Urantia teachings fitted nicely into the whole picture. Perhaps I should say the Urantia Book broadened my perspective.
PAULA GARRETT THOMPSON: On Halloween night 1975 my husband was arrested on drug charges. I was 20 years old at the time and our daughter had just turned one. My husband had had several run-ins with the law and this was his third strike. He would end up spending the next seven months in jail. But this was not the worst thing that happened that fall and winter. On the evening of December 22 my best friend and biggest fan, my father, died of heart failure immediately following surgery. He was 59 years old.
My dad was one of those good people who make the lives of others good. No one who knew him could ever imagine life without him. He was devoted, loving, strong, gentle, wise, funny, and my hero. It took two years for me to be able to think of him without crying. To this day I cry to think how much I love him and miss him.
My family went into a tailspin of inexpressible sorrow and grief. Because my husband was in jail, I was living with my parents when my dad died. I have often thought that the angels put me and my beautiful little child there, at just that time, to help keep my mom together. The loss of my dad was simply more than she could endure. It was only the adorable antics of a one-year-old that brought her out of her depression and gave her relief from her crushing agony.
At the time, I felt utterly alone. It was my dad who had helped me see the bright side of things; it was always he who could make me feel better. He was gone, my husband was unavailable, my mom and my siblings were grief-stricken, my baby needed me, and I had nowhere to turn. So I turned to God. I told God that I needed to hear some good news. I wanted to know specifically where my dad was. I thought I could find it in the Bible - where else would it be? I searched through it numerous times and each time became increasingly more disappointed.
One evening in early 1976 I reached the peak of my crisis. I had decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. I reasoned that if I did, surely then I would find the "good news" I was looking for. I read up to the part that explains who begat who begat who. I remember thinking, "So what? Who cares who begat who?" My need to hear the good news was so great that I couldn't bear to read one more page. I threw it down, sobbing to God, "I have to hear the good news now! If I don't hear the good news soon I am going to lose my mind!" I then sobbed myself to sleep.
The next day my husband called me from jail. He asked me to bring $12.50 with me when I came to visit on Saturday. I didn't have much money, so I asked him what he wanted it for. He said it was for a book.
"What kind of book?" I asked.
"A big, spiritual book," he said. "I've been reading it with some friends here and I would like to have my own copy. A guy named Buck is going to bring it to the jail; he will meet you outside the fence in front. Bring the money and he will sell you the book."
"Okay," I said, wondering what kind of spiritual book could grab this man's interest.
That Saturday I went for our weekly visit. There was Buck standing behind his car with the trunk open. Inside he had a box of big blue books. I sheepishly approached him with my $ 12.50. He said nothing he just smiled at me broadly and handed me a book. I took it and went inside.
I met my husband at the regular table and after our usual greetings I handed him the book. He pushed it back at me. "Open it," he smirked. So I did. I opened it to the paper concerning the birth and infancy of Jesus, and began with the section on Mary and Joseph. Reading about these two people, I was struck at once by the richness of detail. I will never forget what went through my mind. My first thought was, "This is not in the Bible." My second thought was, "Who would pretend to know this?" And my third thought was, "If they did pretend to know it, why would they do such a thing?" I looked up from the book and said to my husband, "I need to read this book." "I know," he said. "Take it with you." "But... what will you read?" I pushed the book across the table to him. "I will share a book with someone else. You take this one with you." He firmly pushed it back at me. "Well, all right, if you're sure." I took it with secret delight, knowing full well that this was the answer to my prayer.
I couldn't wait to start reading it. Oh, how delicious it was, how soothing, how sublime! I felt as though I were being tenderly nurtured, fed and watered by a divine hand. I was born again, as a child of a divine creation, and I became a member of a cosmic family. I understood that I was loved by God as much as any man or angel. I came to know the God of my dreams - the God that I could not hesitate to worship. And how could I forget the reality and rapture of Jesus' promise: "Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door of salvation will be opened" (p. 1619).
I asked, I sought, I knocked, and all that I wanted was given me in such a measure that I could not have imagined. I was pulled back from the precipice of doubt and despair by the truth in the Urantia Book, and I am eternally grateful.
My husband, Robert, died in 1982 in a car accident. He never read the Urantia Book. He even refused to let me read it to him. I have come to believe that Spirit uses some people as conduits to deliver what needs to be delivered. Often they are not involved and do not necessarily believe what they are compelled to deliver to you.
RON FAULK: I ran across the Urantia Book in January of 1976. I was living in Chicago and attending college there, although my home was in the South. I had taken a part-time teaching job with Project Upward Bound in Evanston, and during one of our team meetings I met a fellow teacher named Mike who subsequently became a good friend. For years I had been reading anything and everything, and one day I noticed that he had a big blue book under his arm. I asked him what it was, and he replied, "The Urantia Book." This of course meant nothing to me. He explained that it was a strange book about God and the universe. "Here," he offered, "why don't you borrow it?"
After work, I went home and opened it. In our living room we had an old couch covered with a yellow blanket, facing two tall windows with bamboo shades through which the light fell in long white lines. It was a quiet and pleasant place to read. I sat there and began with the Foreword. I could not put it down, and in the next few months I read the book from cover to cover, occasionally at the expense of my academic studies. I well remember the excitement of plowing through the pages as rapidly as I could, never knowing what the next page would bring.
The next time Mike came over he asked if I had gotten to the part about the Thought Adjusters, those spirit fragments of God that indwell us. That part had stuck in his mind as one of the most profound revelations of the book, and I agree with him. In subsequent years we have spent many pleasant hours discussing ideas generated from the Urantia Book.
Across the years and places, I have asked many readers about their initial response to reading the book. The vast majority say they became interested in it gradually. Some have never read it completely or very comprehensively, but get the gist of it by listening to others and participating in study group discussions. A few people, though, are gripped immediately by the text, as I was. In some way the narrative voice speaks very directly to me. While I am not very literal minded, I do believe that the UBook operates in high levels of metaphoric and symbolic truth. It synthesizes a breadth of knowledge, encompassing religion, philosophy, aesthetics, history, science and cosmology, better than any other book I've read; it makes sense of it all, reconciling these concepts into a harmonious whole.
From my perception, the best thing of all about the Urantia Book is that it speaks so directly about God and his manifestations and relationships to persons. Despite the angelic nomenclature and celestial credits, it is essentially a very human book, composed largely of the best that has been thought and written in the history of our world. As such, it is a monument to the best minds and spirits of the world, and something of an example for us to follow through the ages ahead.
DAVE TIBBETS: Raised in a fundamentalist Lutheran environment, I took catechism classes. The ministers' questions and rote answers were supposed to lead to the "inescapable conclusion" that we Lutherans were the truly anointed and enlightened ones. Instead, they had the opposite effect on me and generated questions such as, "How come God plays favorites and picked me over the less fortunate?" This line of thinking inevitably caused me to reject virtually everything I'd been told. I became agnostic with atheistic leanings. I joined the Air Force, and flexed my new-found philosophical and religious freedom in a search for bottom-line truth, a search that lasted several years.
On leaving the service in 1974, I was still looking. I joined the Unitarian Universalists; I liked their hands-off approach to the unknowables and their focus, instead, on being good to one another here and now. But still, I felt the drive to find something, somewhere, that had an absolutely, undeniably factual basis. I was starting to lose my mental glue. Reality gets a little shaky if you have nothing to anchor your belief system. That was the low point and the starting point for me.
Having come to the conclusion that I knew nothing, I was open to truly learning. That's when it happened. I was sitting at my bench at work, concentrating on wire-wrapping an electronic circuit board, when a billboard-sized announcement flashed inside my head: "Truth is not fact, 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 grow.
At about this time, I was invited to a party after work by a fellow who was a friend of a friend. 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! I thumbed through the table of contents and knew I had to have the book. I copied down the Foundation's address and phone number and ordered my book the next day.
When it arrived, I tried in vain to read the Foreword. 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; I was still severely rejecting my earlier fundamentalist Christian teachings and had a knee-jerk, negative reaction to anything that had Jesus' name associated with it. It took fourteen years of my occasionally pulling the book off the shelf and putting it back again before my Thought Adjuster was able to drain the poison from me, allowing me to begin reading the story of Adam and Eve. I fell in love. Here, finally, was something that felt true.
And I've been making all my friends and relatives a little crazy ever since. My Thought Adjuster is now trying to train me in the art of sharing. You'd think I'd know better than to become a fundamentalist myself, but when you discover the keys to the universe and beyond, its a little difficult to be self-restrained!
FRED SMITH: I must go back to 1968, to Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento, California. In the sophomore gym class the teacher required us to stand in line according to the alphabetical order of our last names. That is how I met the incredible guy, Rick Ulvevadet, who would one day introduce me to the Urantia Book. We struck up a close friendship which has lasted to this day.
In 1969 I moved to Modesto, and for a while Rick and I went our separate ways. A few years later I was transferred to Fresno through my work with a restaurant company, and Rick became stationed in Fresno as a fireman with the Department of Forestry. It wasn't long before we contacted each other, and from then on we often got together to share the details of our lives.
During the early 70s I became involved in the Pentecostal experience of speaking in tongues and believing in the fire-and-brimstone message of the end times. After receiving my personal revelation of the Rapture and finding God within me two years later, I moved on from that fundamentalist organization and began searching for the answers to the universe. This led me to several different groups of New Age thinkers and seekers. All the while I was relating my experiences to my friend Rick. New Age beliefs did not sit well with him at the time, as he was still clinging to the traditional Christian doctrine about receiving Christ as your personal savior. Soon thereafter we again went our separate ways when I was transferred to Petaluma to manage a Happy Steak Restaurant and he to work in Columbia, more than 150 miles away.
About two years later, in 1976, I received a call from Rick that transformed my spiritual outlook. Rick had changed. He was telling me about his revelation. It sounded a lot like mine, except that his was much more in-depth about God and the universe. I asked him what had he found to bring about such a profound change in his life and to give him such increased knowledge about the universe. He answered, "I've found a book - the Urantia Book! When I first picked it up it felt like I was being energized!"
"Wow!" I exclaimed. "Where do I get one?"
He said that he had checked it out of a library in Sonora, and that perhaps a bookstore would carry it. From what he told me about it, I knew I had to have that book, so I ordered a copy from a bookstore in Petaluma. Twenty-four years later, I still feel that same energy and spiritual inspiration every time I read the Urantia Book.
Since I became a full-time artist in 1987, the Urantia Book has become my sketchbook. I've drawn a great variety of ideas, thoughts, feelings and doodles in it; now I mostly draw animals - hundreds of them - from insects to elephants. My Urantia Book is truly a work of art, a unique, one-of-a-kind UBook. I do, however, keep several extra copies around for reading purposes. Now that I live in Southern California I try to attend as many local study groups as possible. I love sharing my experiences and my drawing-filled UB with other readers.
MARY EBBEN: In 1976 I was living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with my first husband. A close friend of ours, George Cheshire, had been to Colombia on business, and while there he met a nice American couple named Archie and Rustic When this couple needed to come to the United States to get supplies for their ranch, George suggested they stay with us.
Archie and Rustie were wonderful houseguests. They even cleaned my house the first day while I was at work and spent a lot of time visiting with me. I was 25 years old and these were the first people I'd ever had great philosophical discussions with - in fact, they were the only people I'd had deep, meaningful talks with up till that time. One night I asked them, "What is that big blue book that you read, that five-pound book that you carry everywhere with you?"
"Why, its the Urantia Book," they answered, "and we saw one on your bookshelf when we were cleaning!"
My husband claimed that some girl had once given it to him and he had simply stuck it on the shelf. I never saw him read it, and the following year when we divorced I asked him if I could have it. Since the answer was no, I bought my own copy for $26 - a lot of money to me at the time.
My second husband would hum the theme song from The Twilight Zone every time he saw me reading the Urantia Book, so I didn't pursue it much around him. I didn't mention it to my third husband until I had finished reading at least half the book. Our children were in preschool and I was around 40 by then, living near Boulder, Colorado.
As a child I had disconnected from God and stopped all prayer, although I continued to attend church and go through the motions. After having children I tried harder to feel something but it simply wasn't happening - I didn't know how to connect. The Urantia Book is a difficult book to read cover to cover, but something compelled me to finish reading it, if it was the last thing I did! And I was determined to understand the damn thing, too! Along the way I learned to relax and savor it because I realized that I have all of eternity to learn. At some point I gained an awareness of the eternity of my soul; a sense of soul security beyond explanation. I went through my "dark night of the soul" - my spiritual crisis - when I finally asked God to help me tear down my walls and give me the courage to open my heart and allow him back in.
When I finally finished reading the Urantia Book I connected with the Urantia community in Boulder, which was very active, and where I met people who've become precious friends. There I also went to work for the Jesusonian Foundation, which disseminates the Urantia Book and secondary works. One day, while searching through their large mailing list trying to locate an Archie and/or a Rustie (I had never known their last names), I came across an Archie and Rustie Lowe in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It was them! Although they were actually living in Texas, they owned property in Colorado. They came to our regional Frontier Conference, and after eighteen years I finally had the chance to thank them for being the instruments that got me connected with my Father.
Life has not gotten easier for me; perhaps it is harder than it might nave been, but it is definitely not a lonely journey anymore. The Urantia Book was my doorway to re-establishing my personal relationship with God. I feel very fortunate and very blessed that I finally committed myself to reading this life-changing book.
DENNIS NICOMEDE: At age 15 I left the Catholic Church and began my quest for God. For years I looked high and low - in churches, synagogues and temples - for the "golden thread" that binds us all together. Wherever I looked I found those who believed in the Fatherhood of God but failed to accept any brotherhood beyond their own group.
I spent the next two years in the army, where for the first time I lost my faith in God. There was just too much death and destruction over ideology and cultural points of view, not to mention a long string of assassinations ending with the death of Robert Kennedy. At the time it was more than this heart could handle. But thanks to the ever-present spirit, my doubt lasted only a short while and was followed by a beautiful spiritual resurrection. After saying goodbye to Uncle Sam in 1969 I continued my divine search.
Next on the path was starting a small business with my father (it ultimately failed), then marrying my high-school sweetheart in 1971. After doing a short tour through metaphysics and mind-over-matter material, I found a small esoteric manuscript written in the 18th century. It was one of only five known copies. It was hard to decipher and didn't make much sense to me at the time, but it was so rare, I assumed it must be valuable.
One evening in 1976 I was attending a party. It was there, while throwing darts, that I met a young man named Pat McNelly. We talked about religion and philosophy, and this became our common ground. When I told him about my manuscript, he asked to see it. A few days later, Pat stopped by my apartment, picked up the manuscript and off he went. Two days later he returned saying it was an interesting read, but if I wanted to read something really worthwhile, why not try this "small, blue book"? He then handed me my first copy of the Urantia Book. Thanks, Pat!
Wow! My first reading was full of Aha! moments. I felt I had come home. My heart was filled with peace; my mind knew it had found the "golden thread" it was seeking. The great mystery was now an open secret. The truth I've found in the book and the good spirit I've found within the readership have forever added to my life.
My search was finally over, but the journey has just begun.
DAVID ROBERTSON: Back in 1972 B.C. (before children), my wife and I were involved in a serious auto accident. One of our friends was killed and other friends were injured. We were hit from the rear by a drunk driver who was being pursued by the highway patrol. Estimates were that he was driving in excess of 100 mph.
This experience caused me to realize just how precious and fragile life is. I remember one night asking God for some answers. That night, in a dream, I saw a vision of Jesus. He stood without speaking but I knew who he was. He had an incredible look of peaceful understanding on his face. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. I tried to speak but could not. Then, as if knowing my thoughts, he simply turned and pointed. This gesture told me without a doubt that my answers were within my grasp. All I had to do was to seek the truth and he would lead me. I woke up, soaked with perspiration. I hadn't cried over anything in years but the emotion of this experience overwhelmed me.
Some time passed without any visible confirmation of my dream. Then, on Christmas Eve, I went to the local mall to do my shopping. I went into a bookstore, although I had no intention of purchasing a book as a gift. There on a table, in the middle of the store, was a large blue book without a cover on it. It was one of about fifty books on the table. I picked it up, opened it, and read only one sentence. To this day, I don't remember which sentence it was, only that it was so profound that I knew I had been led to a source which had the answers to many of my questions. I looked at the price of the book. It was $20. My practical side took over. At that point in my life, $20 was too much to spend on something I really didn't know anything about. I left the store empty-handed.
I finished shopping and returned to my truck parked out on the fringe of the lot. But something would not let me leave. I returned to the store and bought the book with an already overloaded credit card. All the way home I tried to think of how I would explain this purchase to my wife. Finally, it came to me: I'd give it to her for Christmas! The next morning, after opening it, she looked at me as if I were a little crazy but accepted the book graciously. That evening, I confiscated the book and began to devour it. The rest is history. The Spirit of Truth did its job perfectly.
The journey continues!
CHARLIE BEYER: In the beginning weeks of 1976 my friend Joe and I decided to take an extended vacation to Colombia. A few days before we left New Jersey, another friend had given me a copy of Seth Speaks, by Jane Roberts. This book claimed to be the true story of Jane Roberts's contact with a spirit being named Seth, who was revealing information about the spirit world through her. Although I was skeptical, I skimmed a few pages. I liked how quickly the dialogue moved along and decided to take the book with me to South America.
We arrived in Colombia on February 4, 1976. Ten days later, while visiting a beautiful town named Silvia some 8,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains, I happened to meet a guy named Fred from Connecticut. When Fred noticed the Seth Speaks book hanging out of my knapsack, he commented that he'd heard it was a pretty good book, and added, "It looks like you believe in spirits."
"Well," I told him, "I don't believe in spirits like Seth, but I do believe in God and angels."
At that moment Fred reached into his knapsack and showed me the Urantia Book, which he'd covered in brown paper the way we used to cover our schoolbooks. He said his grandmother had given it to him. As head librarian in Hartford, Connecticut, and extremely interested in learning about God, she had found plenty of time and opportunity to read many religious books. But once she'd found the Urantia Book, she told Fred, her search was over; this was now the only book she needed to read. Fred also informed me that the book was very deep - too deep, in fact, for him; he suggested that we swap books for a while, and I agreed.
The cities in Colombia were pretty wild at that time. Every day and night there were riots, gun shots and killings; the military was everywhere. By contrast, the Colombian countryside was lovely and peaceful, a foretaste of what heaven must be like. Joe and I had rented a beautiful inn outside the city of Popayan, about an hour from Silvia. Each time we'd meet other tourists in town, we'd invite them back to stay with us at our farm. I extended this same offer to Fred, and he readily accepted.
A few days passed and I still hadn't had a chance to check out the Urantia Book. One day when Fred and I were in Popayan he met a beautiful Colombian girl. I considered myself a good judge of people and could tell right away that this girl was a street hustler. I tried to alert Fred but he ignored me, blinded by her beauty. Despite my warnings, Fred decided to stay in town with her that night rather than go back with me.
When I returned to the farm I told Joe about Fred. "Fred is gonna get ripped off by that girl," I said.
Joe said, "Well, I'm going into town tomorrow, so I'll make sure he's all right."
The next day, alone on the farm, I had the perfect opportunity to check out this Urantia Book and see what it was all about. I recalled what one of my English teachers had told me: If you think a book might be too complicated for you, just open it up randomly and start reading; if you can grasp what the book is saying, then you should have no trouble with it. So that is what I did. I opened the Urantia Book and in bold letters I saw the words: "Time-Space Relationships." This topic had always fascinated me, so I proceeded to read. The book explained these concepts to me better than I have ever heard them explained before or since. I actually grasped the concept, and at that moment I felt I was in possession of great knowledge.
As soon as I finished this section, I leaned back to contemplate what I had learned, and in my reflective moment I had a vision in which Fred had had everything stolen, including my Seth Speaks book. In this same vision I heard Fred say to me, "Listen, Charlie, I need $9 for an exit visa to get out of the country, and since I lost your Seth Speaks book I'll sell you the Urantia Book, which costs $20, for only $9."
A few hours later when Joe returned to the farm together with Fred, my vision was right on the money. The girl had slipped something into Fred's drink, then lured him into an alley. There he passed out and she quickly took everything he had. Fred lost his wallet with all his money, his knapsack containing my Seth Speaks book, his wristwatch, an emerald ring, a necklace, and even his sneakers. The only thing she didn't get was his passport and his plane ticket home, both of which he had left back at the farm.
Fred then looked at me and said the exact words I had heard him say in my vision. I couldn't believe my ears. It seemed as though I was meant to have this book. I immediately gave Fred the $9.
The next day Fred was on a plane back to Connecticut and I had the Urantia Book. I have been reading it and learning from it ever since. No book has changed my life and enlightened me as much as the Urantia Book has. And ever since that fateful day back in February of 1976 I have been thanking God, his angels, and my Thought Adjuster for leading me to it.