07 Dec 2016 Wed 23:12 - Москва Торонто - 07 Dec 2016 Wed 16:12   

How I Found Urantia Book And How It Changed My Life.
Part VI 1977-1979

Дата добавления: 2008-02-20

Автор: 34 автора

CHARLOTTE WELLEN: I made it a habit, throughout my adolescence, to walk around a bookstore or library and wait until I felt an urging to take a particular book from a shelf. Invariably, the book I'd choose would turn out to be important for my spiritual growth.

One evening in 1977, over winter break from college, I was at the wonderful library at the A.R.E. (Association for Research and Enlightenment) - the Edgar Cayce Foundation. I picked a huge blue book off the shelf, took it over to a table, and flipped it open to a section which described, in great detail, the structure of the universe. The narrator's tone, absolutely sure and not at all speculative, filled me with awe. I continued to leaf through the pages. The tone was the same throughout, authoritative and utterly intriguing.

I realized that I would either need to quit school for the upcoming semester to read the book and investigate the truth of it, or put it back on the shelf until some other time. I thought long and hard and then put it back on the shelf.

A few months later, towards the end of my senior year in college, I was listening to a friend talk about his interest in an ancient civilization called Mu, which had supposedly existed on an island in the Pacific Ocean. I told him I hadn't heard anything about it, but then I remembered the big blue book at the A.R.E. I told him that if any book would have that kind of information in it, it would be that book. He asked if I'd be willing to go to Virginia Beach with him to check it out.

A week or two later, my friend (soon-to-be-husband) and I journeyed from Williamsburg to Virginia Beach, checked out the UB and took it back to The College of William and Mary with us. We were living in a special-interest dormitory called Asia House and decided to leave the book on a table in the common room. Soon it was the talk of the place. Everyone was browsing through it and discussing what they were reading. The last month of school was filled with debate about who the authors could be.

We wondered if it were possible that some group of the best minds on the planet, versed in religious studies, sociology, economics, archeology, paleontology, biology, human sexuality, mythology, history, etc., had somehow gotten together to create the book. After a while, after we'd read enough, the question of who had written it became ludicrous. No matter who had written it - humans or spiritual beings - it had a great deal to offer.

When my husband and I graduated, we purchased our own copy as a wedding present to ourselves and we've been loyal readers, participators in study groups and online forums ever since. Our marriage and our lives have been enriched beyond imagining. Each of us had gone on spiritual journeys because of our dissatisfaction with the obvious inconsistencies and injustices of the mainstream religions. We had explored Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism, and various sects of Christianity, especially the Society of Friends. Nothing had fit together or felt right or made sense, except in bits and pieces, until we digested the Urantia Book. It answered just the right questions, and left just the right things (like Mu and Atlantis) mysteries, as they should be. It straightened out the mess Christianity has become and it clarified the human relationship with God. For this we will be eternally grateful.

JON DETOY: Early 1977 found me floundering in search of eternal truth. My journey took me down many paths, from Catholic Bible study to Ram Dass. I found company with my friends Howard and Charlotte King, whose house was known as a haven for earnest seekers to discuss theory and philosophy. We would sit around their table exploring our minds while enjoying various gifts of the earth and playing endless games of Risk. I believed that through concentrated thought and worshipful meditation the doors of knowledge and wisdom would be opened. Many times the light would shine through, but mostly it was like digging through a ton of dogma for each pearl of truth.

All that changed in June of 1978. One evening at the Kings' home a young man dropped a large blue book onto the table, saying, "Here. This is a little too heavy for me." He explained that while in Colorado he had run across a wild man collecting herbs up in the mountains who introduced him to this book. Our friend couldn't figure any of it out but felt that with all the discussion we'd had on these strange matters, possibly use could. Well, we dove into that book with restless abandon, staying up to the early hours of morning, taking turns reading to each other from wherever we opened the book.

I could not believe what had fallen into my lap. After years of searching, here was the ultimate truth - no more digging, every concept was perfection. This was mental heaven. I wanted to share these truths with everyone.

The peace and joy that comes from knowing the life of Joshua ben Joseph surpasses all other experiences in my life. I have found in the recital of his life experiences inspiration for most of my own life situations. I pray now that all the followers of Christ Michael will show in their lives Jesus living again on Urantia. Amen.

NANCY BROWN: In August of 1977, I found myself facing the hardest decision of my life. Out of the blue, my ex-husband invited my precious eight-year-old son, Christian, to move to Seattle with him and start a new school year there.

Chris's dad and I had been divorced six years. Two years previously he had left our hometown outside of Chicago to take a new job in Washington. Chris hadn't seen his dad since and I knew he wanted to go. After two weeks of prayer, agonizing and talking to a child psychologist, I reluctantly agreed to a trial arrangement for a year. Somewhere in my heart, I knew Chris needed to be with his dad. I will never forget the day I took my little son to the airport and watched him, tears streaming down my face, fly away to his new life.

I immediately fell into a depression after he left. Christian was my only child and I loved him dearly. I loved being his mom and I sorely missed him in my life. At night, I would toss and turn in my bed, unable to sleep. I was plagued with disturbing images of life and wondered what living on earth was all about. I felt nothing but pain and anguish inside of me. I was beginning to see the world as evil, with little patches of light on an otherwise dark and foreboding landscape. I was slowly becoming engulfed by all the bleakness and I would cry out loud to God for help. Where was he in all my pain? Where were the answers I was so desperately seeking?

Shortly after Christian left, I began dating a young man named John.

John appeared suddenly in my life, and disappeared almost as quickly. John was a free spirit who never stayed in one place very long. During our short time together, he and I would have long talks about life. I'm sure that he sensed my confusion and growing negative outlook. Before John left on his next adventure, he bestowed upon me three Carlos Castaneda books and the Urantia Book. I devoured A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, A Separate Reality and Journey to Ixtlan. These three books began to turn my life around; they taught me that everything in life is one's perception: Change your perception, change your life.

In the meantime, the oversized blue Urantia Book sat on my mantel in the living room where I had set it the day I brought it home months before. One day, I found the flap from the torn-off dust jacket sitting inside the cover of the book and grabbed it to take to work with me. At some point during the day I picked it up and read the most astounding words I had ever seen:"Your world, Urantia, is one of many similar inhabited planets which comprise the local universe of Nebadon. This universe, together with similar creations, makes up the superuniverse of Orvonton from whose capital, Uversa, our commission hails." Something stirred inside me as nothing had before. I felt that excitement of discovery that literally quickens the spirit. It was the most feeling I had experienced since my son had left - perhaps since he was born.

That night, at home, I eagerly flipped the book open for the first time and read these words: "As you view the world, remember that the black patches of evil which you see are shown against a white background of ultimate good. You do not view merely white patches of good which show up miserably against a black background of evil. "I couldn't believe my eyes! The very image that had plagued my mind for months was being addressed in this strange book. I felt that someone or something understood me to the depth of my being.

Christian came home the following summer, and although it had not been an easy year for any of us, he liked his new environment, new school and new friends. Once it was decided that he would go back to Seattle, this became a way of life for our family - the school year with his father, the summer with me.

After Chris went back, I moved to Chicago and found myself living a few blocks from 533 Diversey. I began to attend Sunday study groups at the Foundation headquarters and didn't miss a Sunday for many years. In 1987 I moved to Door County, Wisconsin, and opened a metaphysical bookstore called Star Gazer so that I would have the opportunity to share these teachings with others. I still own this store today.

In 1991, Christian was home with me in Door County before starting his senior year at Washington State University. In the early morning hours of August 14, my precious and most loved son was killed in a car accident. That night, as I stood under a black sky filled with little white specks of starlight, I held the Urantia Book in my hands fully intending to destroy it. Something within stopped me. Instead, I held my book over my heart as tears streamed down my face. I closed my eyes and watched my son fly away to his new life.

SASKIA PRAAMSMA: Religion was an unpleasant topic in my family when I was growing up. My mother regarded all religionists as either hypocrites or fanatics, so when my father joined the Jehovah's Witnesses and began preaching door to door, there was trouble. A truce was called, and from then on my dad rarely mentioned his beliefs. When the taboo topic did crop up once in a while, it would lead to shouting and bitterness.

What I heard about religion and God from my friends sounded like a fantasy. How could anyone worship a phantom God who kept himself hidden? Certainly not I! I automatically dismissed such concepts as the blood of Christ washing away my sins and Jesus dying for me on the cross; I could not fathom anybody falling for such ideas or worshipping a God who was always angry and who showed less tolerance for humanity than an ordinary civilized person would. I reasoned that the Creator should at least be wiser and more mature than his creatures.

And why, if he wanted us to know about him, would he give us only one book that was written thousands of years ago and that I couldn't decipher? And why would he make it a sin to add anything to it? Why wouldn't he give it to us straight? If human beings were capable of making themselves understood, then why did God - who created the human beings - insist on talking in riddles?

Religion, I decided, was not for me. I didn't even try searching along those lines. I had rarely attended church, barely skimmed the Bible, knew nothing about God and Jesus, and made fun of people who prayed and turned to God for help. The idea of a God upholding the universe appealed to me, but unless someone who really knew the truth could explain it to me properly, I had nothing to pin my hopes on and would have to remain agnostic.

Like everyone else, I sought happiness. I would set my sights on something, acquire it, then find myself holding a big, empty balloon. I spent a great deal of time shopping, mainly for clothes. I tried to get ahead at work. I changed the color of my hair often. I thought that if I got married I'd be happy. Once married, I realized I needed a divorce to be happy. I had a string of relationships. I moved from country to country. I became more and more frustrated. I was doing everything within my power to be happy and nothing worked. At night I lay awake wondering where it would all lead. Would I simply die one day, and would that be the end of me? Miserable as I was, I still wanted to live forever.

I enjoyed reading and had managed to fill my head with earthly knowledge that represented a giant pile of jigsaw puzzle pieces that didn't fit together. The more I learned, the more confused I became. I had many questions but no answers.

My brother Michael had begun his search a couple of years earlier and in the process had found the Urantia Book. "You would love this book!" he insisted. But when I saw that it talked about God and Jesus I refused to look at it. The last thing I needed was to be converted to some wacky religion.

When yet another relationship ended, I was forced to temporarily move in with Michael. Several times I went along to visit his friends in Topanga Canyon, David and Barbara, who had given him the book. They all radiated a certain peace whereas I usually felt extremely agitated; the contrast was noticeable, even to me.

One evening the book lay open on Michaels dining room table to "Dawn Races of Early Man." Years earlier I had helped my parents put together an educational filmstrip that dealt with this topic, and in our research we found that the available human knowledge was largely conjecture. But the way this was written, the authoritative tone in which the subject matter was presented, impressed me and I couldn't stop reading. They - whoever they were - were stating facts and clearing things up for me.

When I reached "The Survival of Andon and Fonta" light bulbs exploded in my head. This book is telling me the truth! We will not die! There's a big universe out there that is fully under control, and there is a God after all! All the knowledge I had accumulated over the years clicked together, the pieces of the giant jigsaw puzzle forming a coherent picture of the universe that resembled a detailed tapestry. The astounding thing was that I recognized the picture as something familiar, something that Jeep down I had known all along but couldn't see because it was blocked. Now the veil was lifted. I saw angels going from one planet to another carrying beings around in their arms; everything was connected with ladders and invisible wires, and I was a part of it! This life was not the end at all - it was the beginning! Although I still had two thousand pages to go, I knew that this book would give me it to me straight. That was the happiest day of my life, April 18, 1977. 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. "I wept tears of joy and relief.

On that day I turned my life around 180 degrees. All my attitudes and values were changed in one fell swoop. I read the book for three months straight, barely coming up for air. I learned where I came from, where I was going, and why I was here. What I had believed to be important was meaningless, and that's why happiness had eluded me. I discovered that there is no happiness apart from God. The stress and tension dropped away, the furrows in my brow relaxed, and I still hadn't read a word about Jesus - that came much later. In fact, I resisted reading about him until I had exhausted all the other papers. But when I finally did, I was ready to accept him and his teachings wholeheartedly. Since that day I have had peace of mind - the peace which passes all understanding.

M. (SEK) SEKLEMIAN: Those who seek shall find. There are millions who are searching, some desperately, to find meaning in this life, to learn why we are here and where we are going. I was one of those desperate seekers.

When my wife of forty-eight years passed on, I suddenly began to search. What happened to her? Is there a soul or something that lives on? I had given up on standard churches when I was 25. My wife and I had gone happily on, not giving much thought to life and death. Then came the shocking experience - the departure of my loved one into the unknown.

The unknown! It was terribly hard to take. I could not accept death as the end. My science studies had taught me that nothing is destroyed. A lifeless atom endures forever. It may change form but it never ceases to exist. Even a light ray is forever. If a lifeless atom is forever, why must a beautiful personality - a fantastic, living, loving, incredible intelligence - perish? I couldn't accept that. It didn't seem right. Surely this personality was a million times more important in the scheme of things than a lifeless atom or a stray light ray!

My search for truth began. I re-read the Gospels. I examined Gibran, Gurdjieff, the philosophers ancient and modern. I took a flying trip to France to study with the renowned Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The more I studied, the less sure I was. It was amazing to me how little real information was available about life after death and the survival of the soul.

For five years I lived in torment, hating life and even railing against God. I finally considered suicide as a means of learning the truth about death. At this juncture - it was 1977 - I received a note from Clyde Bedell. He'd enclosed a sheet of paper describing the Urantia Book. He said, "Thought you might like to know what I've been working on lately." (Clyde was referring to his recendy published Concordex.) I immediately wrote a check for both books and sent it to Clyde. I thought, "Who knows? Maybe I should look into this. I've known Clyde for years. If he's involved it can't be all bad."

Clyde promptly sent my check back. He wrote, "I don't want you to pay for these books unless you really want them. Read first, then decide."

One Saturday morning, with a full weekend of work to do, I started reading the book. Sunday evening I put it down. I had not slept a wink or paused to eat. I hadn't done a stitch of work either. That evening I wrote a note: "Dear Clyde, you successfully ruined my weekend."

It's needless for me to tell Urantia Book readers what a thrill it is to open this incredible volume and start reading. All doubts fade away. All questions get answered. And faith is renewed with a bang!

What prompted Clyde to send me the Urantia Book? Even though I had known him as a businessman for many years, we were not particularly close. I had long since lost track of him. He had no idea of my personal loss and desperate search for truth. What persuaded him to suddenly break the silence and send me that first note?

Clyde says that I made the first step. There had been a devastating fire in Santa Barbara and three hundred houses had been destroyed. Among the names of affected homeowners listed in the local newspaper, my eye caught the name of Clyde Bedell. I knew he had been living in Santa Barbara but had no idea that he'd sold his place and moved away. The article had mistakenly listed him as an owner.

Acting on this information, I tried to reach Clyde to offer him my house, to tide him and Florence over in this emergency - a simple, neighborly thing to do. Clyde says that that gesture moved him. We both agree our divine Thought Adjusters got together and decided the time had come for my search to be over. I am forever grateful to Clyde Bedell for his thoughtfulness and, above all, I am eternally grateful to our Father for this fantastic revelation and for the hope and joy it has brought me. I have one mission now - to be ever aware of my Thought Adjuster's leadings and to zero in on others who search.

DANIEL LOVE GLAZER: My parents did not believe in the fatherhood of God, but they ardently believed in the brotherhood of man. They were active in promoting liberal political and social causes. They were the children of Eastern European Jews and reared me with a strong Jewish identity. This identity was primarily ethnic, but they did send me to Hebrew school and a Jewish Sunday school. We never went to a synagogue, not even on the High Holy Days. We did attend Passover Seders at the grandparents' and celebrated Chanukah.

I was a religious boy. I would fast on Yom Kippur - no one else in my family did. I used to pray every night. I was proud to be bar mitzvahed, though I did not know the meaning of the Hebrew scriptures I'd memorized for the occasion.

My religiosity lasted until high school, when I fell under the spell of Bertrand Russell. I read so much Bertrand Russell that my friends called me "Bert." Russell's philosophy, purporting to base everything on logic and nothing on metaphysical assumptions, won me over to agnosticism. As for Jesus, I particularly remember reading Russell's book, Why I am not a Christian. Russell asks, if Jesus was as good and as powerful as Christians believe, why did he not banish disease from the face of the earth, rather than just heal a few individuals? To me, that seemed a knockdown argument.

At 17, after participating in Martin Luther King Jr.s March on Washington, I went off to college, to Columbia in New York. I was experiencing the traumas of adolescence and suffered from an acute inferiority complex. I spent most of my freshman year playing chess and most of my sophomore year hanging around the downtown pool halls. My major reading was Henry Miller. After two years I decided to stop wasting my parents' money and dropped out of school.

Then came grass. Smoking grass changed a miserable life to a pleasant one. One of the first few times I turned on, I went to a lecture at Columbia by Timothy Leary, onetime Harvard psychology professor-become-evangelist of the drug-inspired gospel, "Turn on, Tune in, Drop out." Leary talked about higher consciousness. He told us why Eastern mystics meditate in the lotus position for hours at a time: to get high!

I started doing yoga exercises when turned on, and sure enough, I got higher. I read and reread Paramahansa Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi

In November of 1966 I attended a lecture by Swami Satchidananda, an Indian yogi with a long beard and charismatic manner, who had recently come to New York. I became his student and disciple, attending his Integral Yoga Institute in New York each day while working as a mail sorter for the Post Office. Under his influence, I foreswore drugs, meat, caffeine, alcohol, and sex. I covered the walls of my efficiency apartment with pictures of the Swami and converted my walk-in closet into a meditation room. I expected to become a Swami myself, if only I could achieve the elusive samadhi, the state of enlightenment. But after two dedicated years on the yoga path, I continued to experience conflict, confusion, and other distinctly non-enlightenment states of mind.

Eventually I allowed myself to entertain the possibility that something in the yoga path itself, as I had adopted it, might be at the root of my non-enlightenment. I looked deep within and asked for the truth, putting everything on the table. When I did so, it became clear to me that my yoga path had taken on some false and unhealthy aspects. One was the guru trip. I realized that achieving enlightenment could not mean following in someone else's footsteps and obeying his commands. Second was the realization that the drive to transcend my individual personality via absorption in the Absolute was ultimately false and impossible. So I left Satchidananda, initially becoming a Hatha Yoga teacher on my own, and eventually moving to Washington, D. C. and becoming a computer programmer for the Federal government.

For the next five or six years I didn't bother much with ultimate questions. Then I was visited by a friend who had been living in California for six years. He told me that I had been an inspiration to him in his spiritual quest. In the wake of his visit I was reawakened to the realization that there was something spiritual going on in the world. I was determined to find out what it was and to avoid the errors I had made on my previous spiritual search.

With all my being I embarked on an intense search for the truth. My constant meditation, day and night, while working, playing chess, square dancing, or listening to jazz, was "What is the truth?" I went to lectures. I frequented Washington's Yes! Bookstore, which housed books from all sorts of spiritual paths. I read widely: zen, Edgar Cayce, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Gregory Bateson, Alice Bailey, the Seth material, Krishnamurti, yoga.

The Seth books of Jane Roberts made a particular impression on me. Their message that each of us creates his own reality via every belief and thought he entertains was a tempting one. It seemed to me at one point that if I adopted the framework of Buddhism, reality would take on a Buddhist coloration. Likewise a Christian or Krishna Consciousness premise would cause the world to take on the contours prescribed by those worldviews. But I finally concluded: "Reality cannot be something I make up. There must be a true reality underlying all, independent of my beliefs."

My best friend, Arthur, a psychotherapist and onetime yoga student of mine, told me the answer: He forcefully proclaimed that unless I accepted Jesus' sacrifice on the cross as atonement for my sins I was doomed to hell. In my incessant search for truth I prayed, "God, if this is the ultimate truth, let me know and I will accept it, but I must know from you that this is it." Meditating on this proposition with my entire being, I got an answer from beyond myself: "No, this atonement doctrine does not express who God is, who you are, or what you must do to be saved. Indeed the only possible requirement for being saved is your wholehearted desire to know the truth and follow it." Along with this realization came the assurance that I would be guided into whatever truth I needed to know.

Three weeks later, in the spring of 1997, I was visiting a good friend of mine, Al, another psychologist. He remarked, "Here's a book someone loaned me that you might be interested in" and handed me The Urantia Book. I opened it up and was immediately fascinated. It was inspiring and had the aura of authority. But a major red flag for me was the 700 pages devoted to the life and teachings of Jesus. I had come to know that the Christianity of the atonement doctrine was false. Of course, when I had read enough to realize that the Urantia Book's verdict on the atonement doctrine was the same as that provided by my inner guidance, I became open to the whole book, and along with the book, to Jesus, the real and living Jesus. Thanks be to God!

 

DAVE HOLT: When I moved to Sonoma County, California, to start a new job in 1975, I went to live in a small farm town called Valley Ford, miles from urban society. My first serious relationship had ended and I wanted to try out loneliness. Valley Ford was a very lonely place, and I reveled in the quiet aloneness. I wanted to see if God would speak to me. I thought that if I made everything around me quiet enough, maybe I would be able to hear him. I hung a colorful picture of an Indian Bodhisattva by my morning window. Feeling a deep need for healing and insight into my problems, I was primed for a spiritual revival.

It had been easy for me to regard Jesus as a great human prophet, but in a yoga meditation one day I was suddenly reintroduced to the Master. The eyes of faith were opened and I saw him not as a memory from childhood or from history, but as real and present, a being still living in the same universe I lived in. I had what was in some ways a traditional born-again experience, except that I brought it on with chanting and by meditating on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

A few months after this experience, my friend Eric was involved in a car accident. He'd slipped into a deep coma and hovered near death. As I struggled with the loss, I was also confronted by the now immediately relevant question: What would happen to Eric in the afterlife were he to die? I discussed these topics in my first conversations with a new friend who worked at Peoples Music, a musicians' meeting place and music store in Sebastopol. We would have our talks between the comings and goings of my friends customers. I immediately recognized that she had delved deeply into the questions of death and the afterlife, and I often returned to hear more of what she had to say.

When Eric died a few months later I felt that his spirit came to visit me one evening soon afterwards. Whenever I took my experiences to my new musician friend for discussion, she always had a helpful response for me.

In the summer of 1977 she astounded me with a new thought: "We live in a friendly universe." Deep in my soul I wanted it to be true that goodness and friendliness ruled, that the Creator did not have an equally strong desire to destroy his creation. I had struggled with the fatalistic concept of the cyclical creation and destruction of the universe which I'd learned from Eastern philosophy. I was certain that a rule of the good was a logical and therefore possible reality. Jesus' life and words promised it. Now here was a person declaring to me that the universe was created to allow me to achieve all possible good within it. I wanted to know more.

She invited me over to her house in Santa Rosa to read a book that talked about time and space, among other matters. I accepted. On this "first date" (as we referred to it jokingly later on) she introduced me to the Urantia Book, her primary source for the ideas with which she had inspired me. Within a few months of that evening, we fell in love. We were married a couple of years later, had a beautiful daughter, and have made a wonderful family together.

CATHY JONES: As far back as I can remember, up until the time the Urantia Book found me, I was engaged in a relentless, nagging pursuit for the meaning of life and wondered where it was all leading me. I was born in Texas, in the Bible Belt, to a traditional Christian family. I moved to Georgia, married, and bore three sons. I followed accepted religious thinking.

Mormon elders introduced me to The Book of Mormon and, after studying privately for six years, my husband, sons and I converted. We never felt closer as a family than we did the day we were all baptized together. I became absorbed in the Mormon teachings: The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, Marvelous Work and A Wonder, plus volumes of history. I became what some call a "master teacher."

After moving to Illinois from Georgia, certain circumstances in my personal life caused me to question the teachings and the assumed authority of the Mormon leaders. This led to a desire for a more personal relationship with God and a discovery of self-realization. Being a health enthusiast, I had already been certified as a Hatha Yoga teacher. I studied the yogic philosophy for three years before being initiated into Kriya Yoga and becoming a certified Kriyaban Yogi. In spite of the physical, mental and spiritual advantages of yoga, I was unable to refer to the revered teacher as "Master." Due to my early mindset, Jesus was still my master. During this time I explored many New Age leadings, from Tarot to astrology.

I lived and worked in the Chicago area for some years before relocating to California, where all of my sons had moved. One day while driving I inadvertently made an unauthorized turn and received a traffic ticket. The morning I left home to pay the fine is one that is printed in my memory. In my morning prayer I had made an earnest appeal to the Father for guidance, telling him that I had gone as far as I could in my spiritual life, that it was up to him what direction my life should take.

I never dreamed my prayer would be answered immediately. While standing in a long line waiting to pay, I engaged in light conversation with the gentleman behind me. After a few words about how slowly the line was moving, out of the blue he asked me, "Have you ever heard of the Urantia Book?"

"No. What is it?" I asked. I thought I had gone through all the New Age stuff, but I wasn't prepared for his answer. In about three sentences he told me it was a book about our universe, our creation, and who God and Jesus really are. I asked him where the book could be found, and he told me to try the library, which I did. When I opened the book to the table of contents and read the paper titles, I was astounded. In a week I bought my own book. That was in 1978, and from that day to this that feeling of wonderment has never left me.

I will always be grateful to that wonderful stranger - Wally Ziglar - who had the courage to ask me that life-changing question.

IRWIN GINSBURGH: When I was young, I was taught a lot of the Bible and its version of creation. In college and graduate school, I learned about sciences version of the creation of man. It is easy to find conflict between these two versions of creation. But if the Bible is telling us what happened, and if scientists understand what happened, there should be no conflict. Both versions of creation should be telling us the same story.

If you compare the two versions of creation, you will find places where they seem to fit together. However, there is a major discrepancy: Science does not have an Adam and Eve. If I could find an Adam and Eve that were acceptable to science, it would be much easier to piece the two versions of creation together. I went back to Genesis to read about Adam and Eve, and tried to understand who they were. Genesis tells us that they lived 900-year life spans and talked directly to God; the Talmudic literature further says that when they died, their bodies did not decay. They were not the same as you and I; they were superpersons of some kind. I could not find any place on the earth where such people could have originated, and ultimately I began to wonder if they had come from another place in the universe.

Following the scientific method, I hypothesized that Adam and Eve were extraterrestrials who had come here to upgrade the human race; that when they arrived they found an indigenous stone-age civilization.

Their offspring then crossbred with stone-age people to create a hybrid, whose descendants we are. This idea became the major concept of a book I wrote entitled First, Man. Then, Adam! It was published in 1977.

After your book is published, you receive lots of letters ranging from high praise to vehement condemnation. But several letters told a different story. They said there was another book that claimed Adam and Eve were extraterrestrials: the Urantia Book.

I found a copy in a local library and started to read. A month later I bought my own. The history of man as recorded in the Urantia Book is very similar to the assumption I made in my book. I had felt that it would never be possible for me to prove my hypothesis about Adam and Eve because the available records are not detailed enough. But the existence of the Urantia Book might just offer the opportunity to prove that my theory was correct.

Now I needed to show that the information in the Urantia Book was valid. Because of my science training, I concentrated on the science part of the UB and wrote three analytical papers on the science content of the Urantia Book. One dealt with the scientific predictions; the second with the cosmology or large-scale structure of the universe; the third with the range of energy manifestations described in the UB. The Urantia Book was published in 1955, and some of the science it contains disagreed with our science at that time. Since then our science has revised some of its theories and concepts. In about half a dozen subject areas where science originally disagreed with the Urantia Book, current science now agrees with it. In other words, some of the UB science predictions are coming true. Furthermore, astronomy's very latest discoveries using the most modern telescopes are starting to show a large-scale structure of the universe which may be similar to the structure described in the book.

These apparent scientific validations of the UB have begun to suggest that the rest of the information is valid, and I hope that science will one day prove that the assumption in my book is correct.

DAVID WEBER: I was living in the dormitory at Seton Hall University and spending most of my time hobnobbing with the musicians on campus. It was the early 70s and the scene was quite lively for someone who could sing and play an instrument. One of the people I met was a bass player named John Hynes, who has remained a friend ever since those fragile years. It was from him that I first heard of the Urantia Book. He hadn't read it, but he'd heard about it from a mystical kind of guy and mentioned it to me. It came up in conversation several times during the next few years, but neither of us had a copy and I had no idea where to get one.

In 1978 John and I were in a band that played extensively throughout northern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and into New York, including New York City. On our days off we often hung out in the bohemian environment of Washington Square Park. I was soon introduced to a bookstore in the area that carried "unusual" books. I don't remember its name, but I recall that it had a huge display of TheNecromonicon in the window. To my delight it also carried the big blue book. I paid around $21 and clutched my prize all the way back to Greenbrook, New Jersey, where the band had rented a house.

I went crazy for the Urantia Book. My first reading took me a full year wherein I did little else but immerse myself in the book and perform at gigs with my band. I read it in the same order as many others I've talked to: first Part IV, then Part III, Part II and finally Part I. The information I'd been searching for all my life was there: the nature of God, the ascension plan, the Supreme Being, Thought Adjusters, and the unparalleled life of Jesus of Nazareth. Whew! The book made a tremendous impact on me. I couldn't have been happier.

Since then I've read the UB four times through and some portions many more times than that. I was in a bi-weekly study group in Trenton for a few years and we managed to spark remarkable insights from one another. I came to appreciate the multitude of levels on which the UB can be understood. I've turned a few people on to the book over the years and have been hosting a loose but interesting study group in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, for several years.

DONNA MARIA HANNA: It was a cold and snowy night the day after Christmas 1978, when an old friend dragged me out to go disco dancing. At the time I was working as a courtroom illustrator for a TV station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and thought I could use the time to sharpen my skills rendering quick studies of bar folks.

Before I knew it, we were hip swirling and arm waving to the disco beats of "YMCA" and "Copacabana." During that time I noticed a gorgeous, dark-haired man with his eye on me. I smiled, and he came over and introduced himself. His name was Michael Hanna. There was an immediate mutual attraction, and though I had no intention of starting a new relationship, I hardly hesitated when he asked me to write my number on his portrait. The next thing I knew he was gone.

The following day he called, and I invited him over to visit. Before long our conversation drifted to things spiritual. When he said: "Righteousness strikes the harmony chords of truth, and the melody vibrates throughout the cosmos, even to the recognition of the Infinite," then and there I wanted to know more about this messenger and his message.

Later that week he introduced me to the Urantia Book. Reading the dust jacket alone, with its mighty quotes, enthralled and awakened my longings to know the truth of the cosmos. Michael and I became inseparable and, all these years and three children later, we still are. Never underestimate the power of those UB zingers!

MARK GREER: For years I felt that my mom's spirit was watching over me. My mom - a very intuitive, artistic woman - had died of stomach cancer when I was ten. Nine years later, my dad - a brilliant, humorous illustrator and ladies man - became very ill with lymphatic cancer. As the only child of two successful New York City artists, I knew my world would change dramatically if I lost my dad. Cannabis opened my teenage mind to possibilities and paths as well as providing relief from the mounting pressures of being an only child caring for an ill father.

In 1978, during my first year of college in West Chester, Pennsylvania, I was on a crusade to find truth - any truth - the deeper the better! I was into astrology, every branch of Christianity and many Eastern religions. I had gone from being a born-again Baptist to a Mormon. I used to jog a mile around my neighborhood late at night and have "conversations" with God. It was then, when I was 19, that I found the Urantia Book.

I had intensely devoured almost half the book when, having no one to validate my interest, I fell prey to the opinions of several Mormon friends. They said the UB was tainted, demonic, not for our eyes. When I joined the Mormon church, I was required to cast aside any books that were not officially sanctioned. Consequently the big blue book went up in smoke in the fireplace, along with a couple of dozen astrology, channeled and psychology-cum-religious-hip-hip-hooray books. My LDS experience ran its eventually disappointing course though two marriages, and two great kids from my first marriage.

At long last, eighteen years after my first encounter, I began to pick up Big Blue again at the Barnes & Noble. I would read it for hours then set it sadly back on the shelf, still locked in the guilt of someone else's dogma. I hoped hard that what I was absorbing wasn't a brilliant hoax. I continued to be open, and the unified, sultry poetry of concise expressions of truth seeped in deeply.

On New Year's Day 1997 I splashed out the $50 to buy my precious Urantia Book again. My suffocated spirit was insisting on room to breathe.

I'm ecstatic to say that today the UB is the most important book in my life. Not until 1998 did I finally break free of the chains of organized religion. I turned off my ego long enough to get to know myself and to learn that the kingdom was not some future reward, but was to be sought and experienced now!

PAUL DEFOURNEAUX: In 1978 I was working as an assistant to a plastic surgeon and had a promising career. We used pharmaceutical cocaine quite often in surgery and it was my responsibility to throw away what was left over because it was no longer sterile and could not be used again. Being raised Jewish, I could not let all of this possible money go down the drain, so I kept it and sold it to friends. Most of them were professional people with much to lose if they acted irresponsibly.

This went on until a friend got into trouble and sold me out to get out of trouble. I ended up doing thirty days on a six-year sentence and losing my license. Because I had money and an influential father, I did very little time in the prison system. Three days before I was to be released I was given a copy of the Urantia Book to read. The person who showed it to me had smuggled it out of the prison library and was going to take it home with him. He told me that this book had all the answers to all the questions about who we are and where we come from.

Once I started reading it I could not put it down. I told all my close friends about it but their reactions were disappointing. The book always stayed in my mind though, and remembering what Jesus said about not casting pearls before swine, it would be many years before I began actively promoting it again.

A few years ago I finally mentioned it to a friend who responded positively. I believe my guardian seraphim put us together, and now we are both active in the Foundation and study groups. I have realized that not everyone is ready for what the book has to offer, but when the time is right, and if I sense the person to be a good risk, I tell them about the book. I believe that soon this life-changing book will become widely known throughout the entire world.

DANIEL MEGOW: At the age of 25, in 1978, I got married. Three days after we returned from our honeymoon, my wife's ex-fiance came over for dinner. He and I hit it off great. We started discussing science fiction. I was a sci-fi fanatic, reading just about everything in print on the subject. Soon talk turned to alien life, UFOs, angels, and religion. We were having one of those really great conversations when he said to me, "Hey, wow, man! I've got this really cool book I think you'd like.''

"Far out, man!" I said, "What's it about?"

"Urn ... well, I don't know," he said. "I've never really read it."

"Uhh . . . then why are you telling me about it?"

"Well," he answered, "whenever I have a question about anything like outer space or angels or stuff, I go through the table of contents until I find something that looks like it might answer my question, and then I go read it, and it's great!"

"Okay," I said. "Who wrote it?"

"Whoa... like, these spacemen delivered it and put it in a bus locker in, like, 1935," he replied. "And then, about twenty years later, they busted open the locker, and there it was, man. So they just started publishing it. You gotta read it, really!"

At this point my interest was piqued, so when I asked where I could find one of these Urantia Books, he promised to send me one as a wedding present.

About four months later (two months after I had given up on him), I happened to be in my favorite bookstore looking for some new sci-fi. I was depressed because I'd already read it all. I started to leave, but instead of turning down the aisle towards the exit, I caught myself walking straight past it. I stopped to turn around, and there, on the bottom shelf, stuck in the corner, I saw... the Urantia Book!

"Whoa! That's that book by the spacemen!" I thought as I picked it up and opened it to the Foreword. I read the first page. "Hey, I like this!" I said to myself. "This might be fun!" Glancing through the table of contents, I spotted "Government on a Neighboring Planet" and quickly turned to read about the planet of the spacemen. It wasn't about the spacemen but it was kind of interesting, anyway. Finishing that paper, and still standing in the aisle, I wanted to see what the spacemen had to say about the Garden of Eden, so I began reading the next paper.

I stood in the aisle for the next three and a half hours reading all of the Adam and Eve papers. By the end of that time I began to doubt the spaceman theory and had an urgent need to know where this book had really come from. Not having the $28 to buy it, I snatched the white pamphlet from the inside cover to write to the Urantia Foundation to find out more about it.

I sent a letter off to them immediately, asking, "Where in the heck did this book come from, anyway?" The next day found me reading in the aisle of that bookstore for another four hours. (I replaced the pamphlet, by the way.) Every day I returned to read for hours at a time. When I finally went to the main library seeking the book, although there were twelve copies at that branch, I was dismayed to learn that all had been checked out. And while all of the other library branches carried Urantia Books, every single copy except one was checked out. I raced to that branch library like a madman and there it was! But when I carried that precious book to the check-out counter, I was told I could only keep it for one month, and then I'd have to wait for someone else to check it out before I could borrow it again.

"Double damn!" I didn't want to go through this again. "All right, I'm gonna read this thing in a month! Period!"

I became a man on a mission. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing that book. While some days I only spent eight hours reading (I had to take time out for work and sleep), often I would read for sixteen hours a day. I couldn't stop. I was addicted. My friends thought I had gone over the edge. Why would they think that? I'd found the answers to all of life's questions, for God's sake!

About three weeks later, I got a letter from the Urantia Foundation giving me the name of another reader in my area, Dick Prince. I called him immediately and found out about a Tuesday study group. It was Wednesday. I had until Monday to get the book back to the library. I calculated that if I only slept three or four hours a night I could finish it in time. Monday at 1 p.m. I finished the last page. I did it! I had conquered the world!

The next night's study group at the Princes' home was wonderful. Dick had a new UB I could buy for $13, and he said I could make payments on it. We read the beloved book and discussed it for two hours. I was home! I started reading my own Urantia Book from the beginning the next day. But this time I decided to take my time with it - at least six months or so. It took me five, but I was much more relaxed about it the second time around.

KATHLEEN VINSON: In the late 70s I was a manager for Pizza Hut. The area office secretary, a woman named Paula, was reading the Urantia Book on her lunch break one day when I came into the office to turn in some reports. I have always been an omnivorous reader, and always ask people what they're reading. When she said it was a book about God and spiritual things I became really interested. "Who's it by?" I asked her. "Uh ... uh ... angels, sort of," she stammered.

By now I was even more intrigued, and asked if I could borrow it. As I recall, she was able to lend it to me just long enough for me to read enough to convince me I had to get my own copy. I did so immediately, and the course of my life began to change.

From the time I was very small, I remember being convinced of God's love for me and the essential goodness and friendliness of the universe. My poor family was a mess; we were dysfunctional before it was "in" and before it was so named. Some horrible things happened to me as a child, but somehow I always knew that wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

One of my earliest spiritual memories is of roller-skating around my block at dusk and watching the stars come out, speculating whether somewhere among the stars there was another little girl looking out at me and pondering the same things. I would talk to God and wonder if I would ever know why I was created and what my true destiny, my purpose for being, was. Conventional religion never satisfied me. Years later, when I found the Urantia Book, not only did it confirm what I had always known about our heavenly Father, but it eventually supplied the answers to all of my questions.

PAUL HALL: It was 1978. My friend Doug's brother, who was going to the University of California at Berkeley at the time, gave Doug a book that he had been reading with others in the San Francisco Bay area. One night Doug introduced this book to my friend Bruce and me. The three of us - Doug, Bruce and I - had rented a motel room where we spent three days, armed with our UB, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, a Bible, Clyde Bedell's Concordex, and enough crank to keep us from falling asleep, trying to find in the Urantia Book where God lived.

At first I had a strong feeling that this book was authored by the devil, but it had so many answers to questions that I've always wondered about, that after three days I decided that this was not the work of the devil and it was not the work of any man.

Not knowing anything but what was written on the inside cover of the Urantia Book, I was off to the largest used book store to find a copy. I saw a new one behind the counter for $45. Too much for me. I searched from 8 a.m. when it opened until 5 p.m. when it closed, but I didn't find a used copy of the book. As I was leaving by the back door, a young woman with a large pile of books was struggling to get in. I helped her with the door, and as she passed I couldn't help but see this big blue book. She was arranging the books on the counter when I approached and asked her if that was a Urantia Book. She said yes, and sold it to me for $5.

It's really amazing that I still have that book today. One day it was sitting together with a Concordex in the back of a van, when we turned a corner too fast. Five gallons of paint went everywhere. The Concordex was a total loss, but the UB didn't have a drop of paint on it, although the two books were sitting one on top of the other in the back of the van. Just another miracle.

For a long time I was an isolated reader. It was a rewarding experience to find the book on my own, and then to come to believe by faith that it was what it claimed to be. But it's always nice to find other readers - I've met a few over the years.

BRUCE CARRIKER: In 1978 I was recovering from open-heart surgery that had been performed about three months earlier and I was back on speed, which is what had caused my heart problem in the first place. I was on a spiritual search, reading anything I could get my hands on. Tarot cards started to scare me because the death card kept reappearing. The I Ching was kind of cool because it sort of talked to me, but I started to get frightening readings from that oracle also. Theosophy seemed pretty interesting but I didn't seem to have the patience to meditate and see the astral realms.

This was my situation when I sat up all night one night rapping with my friends Paul Hall and Dougy. We had been talking about history and checking out the Bible, but somehow it seemed lacking. Then Dougy suddenly pulled out this big blue book that he'd had buried among his "tweeks."

He said his brother had given it to him and that it contained some weird history. Opening the book, I read the part about Paradise being the geographical center of infinity and the only stationary place in the universe. The hair on the back of my head stood up and I got kind of paranoid, but I was hooked. It took a while for it to change my life around, but the book finally won.

JOHN DUPREE: My father died unexpectedly when I was 13. I still remember him watching an obscure program on TV every Sunday morning. It featured a man talking about God and our relationship to him. Later, my brothers became involved with this man, who was training a group of people to prepare for the second coming of Christ. The group held many meetings and even used biofeedback to achieve a better communion with their indwelling spirit.

I recall my brother Pat mentioning that he'd perceived "another presence" at a meeting one time, but astonishingly he was told to ignore it by the teacher. This group was to become glorified upon Christ's return and help to establish a spiritual kingdom here on earth. Their beliefs about life after death - that we would all be together again with our earthly father in glorified bodies - gave me the strength to endure my father's death and to regard it as just a vacation he was on for a while.

Although I wasn't a member of this group, I desired to find my own way to prepare myself and others for this great impending event. Then, when I was 18, the Urantia Papers were introduced to me by my drawing instructor, Richard Hill, at the Atlanta College of Art. I readily accepted the truths from the beginning; the book helped to unify my understanding of the world of ideas presented in my classes, and to awaken me to my own spirituality.

That first year in art school stands out as one of the most memorable periods of my life. As I was being born intellectually and spiritually, this blue bible found its way into my hands almost every day. Many of the questions I had built up for years were answered in its pages. For instance, I was thankful to find out that there was no hell; having been raised a Catholic, hell was a constant fear of mine, and I could never really reconcile it with a loving God.

After many years as a lone reader, in 1997 I searched "Urantia" on the Web, and among over three hundred entries up popped www.urantia.org. That's where I found a listing for Hal and Lucille Kettell's Arcadia study group. Being with this group has changed my life, and has made me wonder why I waited so long to reach out to such a truth-loving fellowship.

I pray to find the way to God, to gain the courage and discipline to seek with a whole heart, and to be of loving service to other truth seekers or any being who needs me.

LAURENCE GWYNN: I was standing on the pier on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia, gazing at the lights dancing on the choppy ocean waters. I was alone and depressed - no, desperate. I was broke mentally and financially, my brain bleeding from self-castigation. I had searched for many years through the mystic strains of every major religion, searching - for what? Nothing made sense. I had spent sixteen years as a journalist, raising two daughters together with my wife. That was now shattered. After twenty years of marriage I was divorced and separated from my family. I had no job and no prospects. I had to begin all over again. I didn't think I could do it. At 42, my life was without worth.

The lights danced. Then the lights moved towards me. Through teary eyes I watched as the lights came before me. Then the lights moved into me. Yep. Right inside. I was enthralled. All my molecules were rearranged. That night, standing in the mist at the end of the pier, what looked like an upright white halo the size of a man appeared in front of me out over the water. An undeniable thought surged through me: "This is a promise that in time all will become clear. You do not need to understand it all at once."

Leaving the pier, I stopped at a Kentucky Fried Chicken place on the mainland to dodge the rain. Looking out from the portico towards the island, I saw a rainbow begin to form, framing the island. Then a double rainbow. Then large green and red bands between the rainbows. Then. .. edges of the rainbow on the right began creeping down through the trees, the telephone lines, the asphalt street. I noted the left edge was also moving down, until they linked and formed a perfect circle at my feet. I was transfixed. My thought was: "Oh, so that's where the pot of gold is!"

These phenomena can be explained scientifically. What was remarkable was their timing and the feelings I attached to them.

The next morning I found work on the back deck of a wooden shrimp boat that was leaving for the Tortugas, off Key West. That first night on the boat, far off the coast in the Gulf, I was trying to get used to the rigors of wet, rock'n'roll, physically dangerous work. In the galley, an old, high-spirited guy with strange eyes and a thick Swedish accent pulled a big blue book out of his duffel bag. I glanced over his shoulder, reached over and took the book. He smiled at me curiously, as if he knew something I didn't. I looked at the titles. He never got the book back. I was home.

LIZ ENGSTROM CRATTY: Searching, searching, searching. I'd done the EST training, taken classes in witchcraft, gone to a wide variety of churches, participated in religious drug rituals, been rebirthed, listened to gurus, read books by the Enlightened Ones, had my Tarot cards read, my astrological chart done, the runes thrown, and still nothing clicked. I was living on Maui, in the middle of New Age crystalline weirdness, trying to find out my purpose in life and my location in the universe. There was only one thing of which I was absolutely certain, and that was that God existed. I had no model or concrete idea about that concept, but one look around me told me that my physical body, this society, this planet, certainly had an architect. This was no accident.

I went to work for an advertising agency as head copywriter in 1978. Tonia Baney was the art director. One day she breezed by my desk and dropped a copy of the Urantia Brotherhood's journal, The Urantian, on my desk. "Take a look at that when you have time," she said. I had time. Right then I had time. I can't remember what I read, but I do remember the feeling of excitement that grew in me as I read. Ten minutes later, I invited her to lunch and I said, "What is this?"

"Have you ever thought about the personality of God?" she asked.

I was floored. Personality of God?

"If he created it in us, then he must have one of his own, don't you think?" she said. "What do you imagine his personality attributes are?"

"Duh-h-h," I said.

"When you think of spiritual growth, you must think of growing more Godlike," she went on. "Who is your role model? Where is your destination?"

"Ahh, well..." I said, trying to look intelligent, and failing. I had no response. I'd never considered these questions. I'd always wanted to be a "better" person, but better than what? Where was my ideal, anyway?

On the way back to the office, we stopped by the local bookstore. I bought a copy of the Urantia Book, Tonia bought me a Concordex as a gift, and I have been a rabid reader ever since. I read randomly, haphazardly, for about a month, trying to get a handle, an overview of it. As I recall, I was a nightly imposition at the Baney kitchen table, enthusiastically discussing it with whoever happened to be in the room long before I had any idea what I was diving into. Eventually I started at the beginning and read the whole book on my own.

We began holding weekly study group meetings in Tonia's home. At first it was just Tonia, her husband Steve, and me, until the word got out and closet readers ventured forth to join us in worship and study. We experimented with a variety of meeting formats, then eventually read the entire book from beginning to end. It took us thirteen years, including a hiatus now and then, plus those nights when we would barely read a paragraph before engaging in spirited conversation that lasted the whole session. Sometimes one discussion would last two or three consecutive weeks.

I'll never be able to pay Tonia back for listening to her inner leading and placing that journal on my desk. But I can follow her example by consistently and lovingly placing spiritual concepts before my brothers and sisters. Now that I have an ideal, a destination, a goal, a vision of the ideal spiritual life - one of love, mercy and ministry - I have a true plan for living.

BRAD WORTENDYKE: In 1977 I was living in Bend, Oregon. I was in my twenties and had moved there from Portland. On the day I left Portland to move east, I ran into a severe snowstorm as I was approaching the Mt. Hood wilderness area. Driving was hazardous and, since I was in no hurry, I pulled off the main highway and stopped at a small grocery store. Inside I struck up a conversation with a young man named Brian, about my age, who was also moving to Bend. When he invited me to spend the night at his family's cabin to wait out the storm, I politely declined - wanting to, but somewhat suspicious of his friendly and hospitable demeanor. We exchanged pleasantries and said that wed probably run into each other again. Brian was moving to Bend to attend community college, but was also an avid skier and intended to frequent Mt. Bachelor, the local ski area.

We became friends. Brian was a character who made strong and lasting impressions upon people - though not always positive ones. He was handsome, intelligent, and had long blonde hair down to the small of his back. In those days Bend was rather a redneck place, and a longhair could easily find himself harassed. Brian, however, didn't seem to be bothered or intimidated by anyone or anything.

Brian and I started skiing together. He drove an old pickup painted John Deere green and would swing by and pick me up en route to Mt. Bachelor. One day as we were riding along he handed me a large book and said, "You might like this." His copy showed signs of use and wear. This was my first encounter with the Urantia Book, riding shotgun with a friend between Bend and Mt. Bachelor, having a few minutes to kill before we set out on our skis.

On a number of subsequent rides, I looked through the book and was repeatedly awestruck. As soon as Brian realized the depth of my interest, he offered me a copy - his own second copy, virtually brand new. I accepted his generous gift with considerable appreciation.

What never ceases to amaze me is the impact and "staying power" the Urantia Book has had in my life. I consider myself a late bloomer in terms of learning to live responsibly. There were long stretches of time when I didn't pay heed to the teachings in the book. But in my late thirties I began to settle down and make some positive life changes. The book quickly became an integral part of my life, shaping and influencing every aspect of my being. The Urantia Book is truly a treasure, and I'm very grateful to have been blessed with the opportunity to benefit from it.

JOAN BATSON MULLINS: In 1977 I was living in upstate New York. I had been brought up as a Catholic, and had examined various other religious persuasions. Feeling a deep hunger for something more, I began to pray for a teacher. But I did not trust "gurus," nor did I wish to be associated with a cult. So I prayed for a teacher in the form of a book. I began searching libraries and bookstores. On occasion I would borrow a car and drive to different towns to visit bookstores, hoping I would somehow be led to the book I was praying to find. I bought mainly metaphysical books, but they were all disappointing to me.

One afternoon a friend dropped by to invite me to a party a few locks from my apartment. I declined, but she persuaded me by saying, "Joan, I know you are looking for a book. You should come to this party because the guy who's throwing it is an intellectual and has a huge personal library." As we walked I could feel my anticipation growing. We arrived at the party, and everyone was gathered in the kitchen. I immediately spotted the library just beyond, and barely paused to say hello as I made my way over to it. As I entered the first of two rooms of floor-to-ceiling books, my eye was drawn to a single volume across the room. I walked over, reached up, and took it off the shelf. It was the Urantia Book. As I sat down in a rocking chair and started skimming the contents pages, I stopped at the words "Thought Adjuster." I remember thinking, "My thoughts need adjusting." So I turned to that section and started reading.

Time seemed to stand still. I was so engrossed, I did not notice the host of the party was squatting beside me until he spoke. "That's an unusual book." I was so excited by what I was reading I blurted out, "Who wrote this book?" He referred me back to the table of contents and showed me the names of some of the authors of the various papers. He went on to explain that he was a scientist - a geologist - and that he had been given the Urantia Book by a hitchhiker he had picked up. He was astonished by the scientific content of the book, especially the geological content. He said the continental drift theory was especially advanced, and he could hardly believe someone had so clearly postulated the phenomenon of plate tectonics in 1955.

He told me that while on a trip to Chicago he decided to look up the "scientist who had written the book." At 533 Diversey Parkway he was surprised to find only "two old ladies" who told him there was no scientist, and no human author to meet. They said the names of the spiritual authors are in the contents pages of the book. They added that the book "speaks for itself."

"You mean there is no guru? No church?"

"No," he assured me, "just the book."

That was what I needed to know in order to openly explore it. As 1 looked at his earnest face, I was moved to ask: "Did you find answers about God in this book?"

He seemed startled. "Oh, no. I am an atheist. I keep the book because it is a phenomenon. You are welcome to borrow it if you wish."

Borrow it I did. After a few days of intense reading, I knew this was the book I'd been searching for.

LAMAR ZABIELSKI: Raised Catholic, I went through the hoops and was confirmed at age 14, in 1964. When I was 16 I volunteered at a hospital as a weekend aid to patients in the Candy Striper program. When I got in the van to go there, I discovered that all the other volunteers were girls. The coordinators didn't know what to do with a boy in the program because Candy Stripers wore dresses striped like a candy cane, so they gave me gray garb and called me a "Gray." Doing this work was fun, and it gave me an excuse to quit going to church.

While in the army in 1972, I had my dog tags changed to "no preference" as to religion. By then I considered myself an atheist. But EST ads got me looking for other ways to make sense of our antlike existence. I got involved in New Age studies, old-cult studies, numerology, astrology, and so on. But it wasn't until I learned to appreciate a flower and began to consider the wonders of nature that I switched from atheist to agnostic. Paths are many, but God is one.

Around 1977 I was sharing life with a dear woman in a Chicago suburb when she pointed to a big blue book in her library and said, "You should read that book." I looked at it and said to myself, "Yeah, sure - like I'm gonna read a book that big!"

A few months after that, I was visiting my older sister in Lexington, Kentucky. My brother Steve happened to be there at the same time, fresh from life in California and eager to share what he'd learned from the Don Juan books. One day he and I were in a bookstore when I noticed the big blue book sitting on the shelves. I pointed to it and said to Steve, "You should read that book." He looked at it and said, "Wow! This is the same book I saw on a ride while hitchhiking Highway 1 along the coast!" He bought it and really got into it. Over the next year his enthusiasm induced me, another brother, and our mother to read it.

I still remember the moment I accepted Jesus, as I was driving down a road at midnight on December 1, 1978, with dark softball fields on the right and houses on the left. Since then I have taken on life with the peace of one who knows the big picture.

KAREN PIKE: When I was a little girl I would have high fevers accompanied by a fantastic dream. The dream was always the same: I would find myself high above the planet looking out into space, knowing that there was an abundance of life out there and that even if life ended on the planet below me, life would still go on. I was supported from behind, being held high above the earth by a strong, light force. I never saw the face of the being who held me up there, but she emanated a powerful feeling of peace.

Looking down at the earth so far below and seeing myself hanging out in the middle of space, separated from my body, I would begin to feel anxious. The one holding me assured me that I was fine and that I could choose either to go out into the fullness of space or to return to earth. But the instant the anxiousness entered I was back in my bed, slammed back into my body with a tremendous force that left me disoriented, doubting the experience and wishing I was back in the embrace of my angel. This happened to me several times before I was five or six.

So many thoughts and feelings went through my mind during and after these episodes: confusion, regret, fear, uncertainty, doubt, longing, wishing - wishing from the moment I chose to return to earth that I had chosen to go on instead, yet feeling afraid to leave, feeling obligated to stay here.

The last time my angel came, she communicated to me that it was time to decide which way to go. I could go out into the stars or stay and live this life. I admit that fear was part of what made me stay. I was just a little kid and didn't quite trust what was happening to me. How could it be that I was floating above the earth? It couldn't be real, could it? So I chose to stay, and my search for God on earth began.

While growing up I was sort of a closet seeker. Not wanting to be led by the personal charisma of others, I read lots of religious books on my own. I picked out the parts that rang true to me and left the rest behind. I had many, many questions and found a few answers, just enough to keep me looking for more.

When I was 21 a friend and I were talking about the meaning of life. He told me about a book - I had never heard of it before - called the Urantia Book. I bought that big blue book and brought it home. I knew immediately that it was something different. I read the Foreword, looked over the table of contents, opened the book randomly, and read. I knew that once I started to study it my life would change in a big way, so I held off at first. I still had some issues to resolve in my life. For about six months I let the book gather dust under my bed. But through the mattress I felt the book drawing me, whispering to me.

Once I began reading it, the book became my constant companion. I would carry it with me to work, read it on the bus, study it at night, turn to it in times of despair, and come to love the truth it held. The gaps were closed, my questions were answered, my heart was filled, and the harmony chord of truth rang in my soul.

I studied the book on my own for nine years before I contacted any other students or attended my first study group. I wasn't sure what kind of nuts would be reading a book like this, but they turned out to be nuts like me and I felt at home with these people.

I like the idea of starting at the very bottom, as we do here on Urantia. We have more challenges, more chances to learn, more obstacles to overcome, and consequently a greater feeling of accomplishment when we succeed. I thank God that I've been given the revelation contained in the Urantia Book and I am honored to be a native of the "world of the cross."

KATHRYN PIKE: As far back as I can remember, I have always loved God - but on my own, not because I was taken to church and told to love God or else. My parents had already given up attending church long before I came along, but I heard vague things about God and Jesus and religion from other people and was left to draw my own conclusions. When I did go to church, I felt stifled by the routines and rules, and was filled with questions. As soon as I learned to read at age six, I devoured everything I could get my hands on, both at home and at the library. By the time the Urantia Book came into my life I had searched through many books in vain looking for a reason for being here on earth.

In the late 70s my daughter Karen heard about the Urantia Book and one day she brought it home. I read the list of chapter titles and authors, and when I saw that it contained a section on the life of Jesus, I realized almost at once that this was what I had been looking for. I didn't know what it could tell me about Jesus that I had not already read, but I was eager to find out.

The Urantia Book showed me Jesus in his wholeness. My heart broke with happiness to know that Jesus was real, alive, and always here - yesterday, today and tomorrow. The fact that he is so much a part of our universe, our world, our lives, and our future is sometimes more than I can bear to contemplate, but the book has made it all real for me.

I read my daughter's book whenever I could, but when she began carrying it with her all the time, I bought my own copy.

For almost twenty years I read the book alone, on an occasional basis. Only recently have I gotten in touch with local study groups. But the book has always been there for me when I've needed it. If you need the book, it will find you.

SANDOR SZABADOS: Jesus said: "Seek and you shall find." In 1973 I left the University of Colorado, where I had been working on my Ph.D. in philosophy. Although I had learned much, I found myself with many pieces of information that did not add up to a coherent and complete philosophical model. I believed in the existence of a God but I also believed in evolution, and during all the years in school I had found nothing that would tie the two together. Thirsting for answers, I left academia.

After a couple of years in Vail, Colorado, where I worked as a ski instructor, I went to Seattle and resumed my search. Shortly after my arrival, away from the plastic environment of the mountain resort I had named "The Disneyland of the Rockies," I began to think about Jesus. His simple, straightforward yet profound pronouncements in the New Testament began to appeal to me. But what really affected me was the way he had been put to death. As I visualized myself nailed to a cross, with large nails piercing my hands and feet, a terrible anguish would come over me. I would cry for long periods, unable to stop.

Moved by a tremendous compassion and love for this good and beautiful man whose life had been so cruelly ended, I began to attend Sunday functions in the churches of different Christian denominations, looking for ways to share what I felt inside for him. For three long years I joined in the singing and listened to the sermons with those attending, but to my great disappointment I did not find and could not share his spirit. This produced in me a deep feeling of sadness and loneliness.

In June of 1978, looking through the Yellow Pages, I called a non-denominational church and was told that they were reading from different religious books, at that time the Urantia Book. When I arrived the next Sunday morning, the congregation was beginning to read the section on page 192 titled "Morals, Virtue, and Personality." The initial words hit me like a bolt of lightning: "Intelligence alone cannot explain the moral nature. Morality, virtue, is indigenous to human personality. Moral intuition, the realization of duty, is a component of human mind endowment and is associated with the other inalienables of human nature: scientific curiosity and spiritual insight. "I knew instantly that here was what I had been looking for and had finally found - or better yet, that had found me.

LUANN HARNEY: In 1977, at the age of 23, I was working for the government, going to the university in Lincoln, Nebraska, attending my favorite church, and hanging with all of my Christian buddies in my spare time. Prior to this, at the age of 17, I had attended Nebraska Christian College. My goal was to be a missionary, but I realized after a year and a half of Bible college that the only degree most women sought there was the MRS degree - to become the wife of a minister or missionary!

In February of 1977 I had a sudden attack of "I have to get out of Nebraska!" One of my friends suggested I move to Boulder, Colorado, where there was a university and an affiliate of my church to help me get settled. That still small voice inside kept repeating "Boulder," so there was my decision.

Driving through a blinding snowstorm on March 1, I found the youth hostel in Boulder. After registering, I walked outside to see the majestic Flatirons through the parting clouds. The sight of the snow-covered mountains sent my heart soaring, and I thought, "I am home."

I soon found a place to live and gained a new family of brothers and sisters in the Boulder Valley Christian Church. There I met a vivacious and outgoing woman and we became great friends. When she left for Boston a year and a half later, I was devastated. It was at her going-away party that I met the man who would replace her friendship and be the one to introduce me to the Urantia Book.

By that time I had somewhat forsaken the church. I still attended occasionally, but partying had become much more important to me. Besides, after being church janitor, secretary, youth group leader, and a member of the choir, I felt I deserved a break. I grew discouraged thinking that so many let so few do the work of the Lord. The man whom I'd met at the farewell party heard me talking of these things and said, "You ought to check out this book."

As I was skeptical of anything other than the Bible, time passed before I actually began reading the Urantia Book. In the meantime, this man became my boyfriend. A friend of his knew all about the Urantia Book and I began asking him questions I had been piling up for years, which I'd been afraid to ask in church. I asked: Is there really a hell? What happens to all the people who don't believe in Jesus? What about Adam and Eve - is the Bibles account true? Our discussions would last for hours at a time. I finally decided that just reading this book would not be harmful to me.

I began with "The Life and Teachings of Jesus," and quickly read to where Jesus had reached the age of 23. I was blown away. I had never heard of the things I was reading; I didn't even know that Jesus had brothers and sisters. I already knew and loved the divine Jesus, the Son of God, but through the Urantia Book I began to fall in love with the human Jesus, the Son of Man. Still, I was not convinced that the Urantia Book was really true; I fought with my old mental tapes regarding the infallibility of the Bible - "Thou shalt not add to . . . ," etc. My old beliefs were being challenged.

I put the Urantia Book down for several months, and then a devastating thing happened. My father died in a truck/train accident on May 1, 1980. After the initial shock and grief, I was angry that God would take my father at this time of his life; he hadn't even been able to retire! Then I started reading the mansion world papers. The peace I felt after reading them convinced me that the teachings in the book were genuine. They were too beautiful to be anything else.

Since then I have grown enough in understanding to realize that God does not take our loved ones, that the accidents of time just happen. I know that my earthly father's soul had plenty of "mercy credits." I need not worry about his salvation. Most comforting of all, I believe that as soon as I get to the mansion worlds I shall see my father in person.

So many wonderful visions and insights have been mine since reading the Urantia Book. And the changes in my life! My dream of being a missionary is being fulfilled in a far different manner from what I had imagined. I'm now a missionary of the fifth epochal revelation, dedicated to spreading these incredible teachings. I never dreamed at age 17 that my life would be centered around a new revelation, nor that my missionary work would be to those living in the United States! May I always be available for the spirits to use, just as they used my good friend who had a going-away party.

BRUCE WHITE: As a child of ten I was involved in an accident during which I watched my life pass before me twice. The first presentation was choppy and partial, as though the reel hadn't been fully rewound and synchronized with the sound. The second showing was full, continuous and rapid.

Soon after this, my search for truth began. I could not find answers in the world's conventional religions.

Then one day, at a Spiritualist church, a friend who knew of my interests asked me to read the Urantia Book and give her my opinion. I said, "Sure." My quest was over in 1978. My experience exemplifies the promise: "Seek and you shall find."

SHARON SADLER: I wanted to believe in God, but could find no proof to support such a belief. After having read every book on religion and metaphysics that I could get my hands on, there I was, 33 years old, not really believing anything. My husband Barrie mentioned a book that a friend of his, Pat, had encouraged him to read. Barrie didn't like reading, so Pat suggested that I might like to read it. But I didn't want to read any more books - I'd had enough! One day, Barrie came home with Pat's Urantia Book. He set it down on the kitchen table and left it there. It sat there for days and days before I finally looked through it. Then I began to read little bits, and then more, and more. I've been enthralled ever since.

It is interesting how the book came into Pat's hands, in the remote, rural interior of British Columbia. Pat was a carpenter, and he frequently worked with Larry, another carpenter. Larry had been working in another valley, about thirty miles from ours, clearing a burned-out homestead in order to begin building another house. In the ruins of this house he found the Urantia Book, completely unharmed by the fire. After reading it and finding it to be an incredible revelation, he eventually gave the book to Pat.

It seems that the old homestead had been populated by Americans who had fled to Canada to avoid being drafted during the Vietnam War. Many of these people simply squatted on the land and later returned to the United States, so we assumed that they had brought the Urantia Book with them.

It is amazing that this book did not burn up in the fire. To me, it is just as incredible that it came to be in my hands. I had been searching for many years, and can only believe that these events are absolute proof of the work of our unseen friends doing the Fathers will.

 

CRAIG ROHRSEN: In 1978 I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area and working for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) as a repair technician. At a wedding I met a woman named Debbie, a widow with a three-year-old son. We started dating. One evening, looking through her scrapbook, I found a photo of a flying saucer with a U.S. insignia on it. This prompted many questions, the first being, who took the picture?

Debbie told me that her father-in-law worked for NASA at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. He worked in their prototype machine shop developing specialized parts. He was an avid photographer and always carried a camera with him. One day he went into a hangar, uncovered the saucer, and took the photo. Up to this point I hadn't paid much attention to flying saucer stuff, but now I had to find out what this was all about.

Next I talked to her father-in-law. He told me that the saucer was something the government had built as an experimental aircraft. I asked him if there were any other interesting things he had come in contact with. He proceeded to fascinate me with a story about a piece of material that he had been given to analyze. He knew nothing about the origin of the material, and after analyzing it, he found that it could not be cut, drilled or welded. It defied his analysis. Several years later he found out it was from a crashed UFO. Now my interest was piqued. I went out and bought several books on UFOs and began to ask people if they'd had any experiences with this phenomenon.

One day at work, a call came in from a train operator requesting a technician to troubleshoot a problem. So down I went, ready to provide assistance. I met the commuter train as it pulled into the station. I went up to the cab, a closed-off area in the front of the train where the operator sits and controls the train. The operator was someone I had talked to casually before. When I asked what the problem was he stated that there was no problem and that he just wanted someone to talk to.

We began to talk about UFOs. He smiled, his eyes got bright, and he started to tell me about an experience he'd had in Alaska: He and a buddy were at a party. They walked out onto the deck and looked into the sky. What they saw was a glowing disk about the size of the moon, almost directly overhead. It started moving so they jumped into a car and followed the UFO for several miles until it hovered over a large canyon. After a few minutes the UFO disappeared. The next day articles appeared in the local paper; thousands of people had seen the object, and the Air Force had detected it on radar. I asked him if that had been his only experience with UFO phenomena.

He thought for a minute, then stated that he was reading a really strange book that talked about life on other planets, alien contact, and lots of other weird stuff. He offered to lend it to me but advised me to read the introductory chapters on the Urantia Book found in its companion volume, the Concordex of The Urantia Book, first. I stopped by his house and picked up both books. I had plenty of time at work while waiting for trains to break down. So I started to read. Since then the Urantia Book has transformed my life.

KITTY AND TIM TRAYLOR: In the fall of 1978 my husband Tim and I were living in Arkansas in a town called Russellville, near the foot of the Ozark Mountains. Tim was working in construction. He and his friend Tony had formed a partnership in a business called The Wood Shed. I had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom for our two beautiful little daughters. We were on a tight budget.

Around October, we noticed that our water supply was getting low. We hired a well driller to drill a deeper well, but it was to no avail. We were charged $800 for a dry well. We had just enough water to flush the toilet occasionally and take a fast shower. For a long time, I hauled in water for drinking and flushing. It looked as though we would have to abandon the beautiful house that Tim had built for us. My state of mind at that time was sheer depression and worry.

I was an avid reader, always searching. I studied Edgar Cayce, Swedenborg, metaphysics, science fiction, Eastern and alternative religions. I had become disillusioned with the Baptist religion I had grown up with because I could not understand its dogmas, especially the doctrine of punishment in hell. How could a God of love subject his children to a torturous hell for eternity? I used to bug my Sunday school teacher with questions she could not answer. For example, where did Cain get his wife if Adam and Eve were the only two human beings?

One day I got to thinking about the books I'd been reading lately. I was upset that none of them were really satisfying. Tony had come over, and I said in a frustrated voice, "I just wish someone would write a book that would give me some answers!"

"I've heard of a book that might do that," he said. "I don't know anything about it, but I used to know some people in Montana who sat around under trees reading it. They said they had gotten a lot of answers from it." He gave me a haphazard spelling of the name of the book, and I was able to find it listed in Books in Print in my county library. The library did not have a copy, but said they would try to order it from the state library in Litle Rock. In a few days they called to say that they had found one.

I was so excited, I went right away to pick it up. The size of the book was overwhelming, but I could hardly wait to start reading it. I keyed in on the chapters on Adam and Eve first, since this story had so fascinated me in my childhood. Then I hit the pages on life after death. I kept finding more and more good things. At the end of a month, I decided not to finish it, because if I did I might not buy it, so I returned it to the library.

In January 1979 I started working part time cleaning houses. With the extra money I'd earned, I went down to the only bookstore in Russellville and placed an order for a Urantia Book. When it finally arrived I became fully absorbed in it. It was speaking to my mind and my heart. Something within me told me that it was true. It made sense and gave some real answers. It made me realize that my life had meaning and purpose. The hunger in me was being satisfied.

I talked about this book continuously to Tim for about six months. He always listened but never once made a comment. One Sunday morning, to my surprise, I saw him reading it. What had I said to make him start reading? I realized it must have been my comment, It makes science fiction seem real." Though not as much of a reader as I was, Tim enjoyed the occasional science fiction novel. He became so engrossed in the Urantia Book that he was keeping me from reading it. Eventually he bought his own copy.

The lack of water forced us to relocate. The episode with the well turned out to be a blessing in disguise. In 1980 we moved to Austin, Texas. The Urantia Foundation in Chicago referred us to other readers in our area, one of whom was teaching a class on the Urantia Book at a Unity church. We made that next Sunday service, and became regulars at study group meetings in Austin.

The book has been the best thing that has happened to us. We thank those who told Tony about the book and the person who was responsible for placing the book in the Little Rock library. You may not have thought, at the time, that your actions would make a difference, but your ripples have had far-reaching effects.

 

MIKE RAYL: Born and raised in Catholicism, by the age of seven, at the time of my first communion, I had already begun to doubt Catholicism's validity.

Several years later, in 1979, I was studying with the Ancient Mystical Order of Rosicrucians (AMORC) and living in the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui, when a friend, Linda Gray, started telling me about the Urantia Book. I was always a seeker of truth and I began to read it. For several years thereafter I also studied Unity and Science of Mind. I even converted to Mormonism in 1981, and after the Mormons confiscated my Urantia Book, I bought another one.

For a while I tried to incorporate into my philosophy a little from each of the different teachings. But as I continued to read the Urantia Book, more and more I realized that, for me, this was as close to the truth as anything I had ever studied. Being a mystic, this realization was not easy for me to accept. My greatest battle was in letting go of the concept of reincarnation, in which the Rosicrucians strongly believed. For years I struggled with this. I really loved the AMORC as it had taught me to be open to the truth. I had even moved to San Jose to be closer to the Order, and I studied at the Rosicrucian University.

But finally I arrived at an unswerving belief in the teachings of the Urantia Book. The book always spoke to my heart and it continues to do so.

Once, just for fun, I took a calculator and the calendar and checked the accuracy of the days and dates mentioned in Part IV. They all proved to be correct. That did it for me. Now the Urantia Book is the foundation for my beliefs. Even after having read it several times, the book is always fresh, new, alive, and awe-inspiring.

GREGORY MCCORMACK: I first read the Urantia Book in 1979. A friend had it sitting on his coffee table, the only book he owned. He suggested I read the Foreword, which I did.

I immediately realized the importance of the Urantia Book, if the claims in the Foreword - that the book was a revelation authored by divine beings - were true. Who would have had the audacity to write a 2,097-page book on the origins of everything? This question rang in my ears as I read the paper titles. I began to spot-read in various papers. Soon I didn't want to miss a thing, so I started from the beginning and proceeded to finish my first reading of the book.

I had to find out how this revelation had been produced and published. At the time I was living in Florida, but a training seminar took me to Chicago. What had been impossible to imagine six months earlier was now going to happen - I could finally visit the Urantia headquarters. I took advantage of an afternoon break to make the visit, feeling as though I were on a mission. The staff were friendly and willing to help me find answers to my questions. I do not recall the name of the gentleman I spoke to but I do remember and appreciate his patience and understanding. Today we are blessed with the Internet. I have found explanations for the origins of the Urantia Book on the Web consistent with my memories of that meeting.

STEVE SHINALL: One night, back in the late 70s, I found myself at a party surrounded by swirling smoke and the din of loud music, laughter and voices. Not really knowing anyone except the person I had come with, and being somewhat shy in those days, I eventually found myself sitting alone on a couch. As I sat there my eye was drawn to a big blue book resting on the middle of the coffee table. I reached over, picked it up, opened it at random, read a couple of paragraphs, and then put the book back. I remember thinking, "What did that book just say? 'Thought Adjusters'?" So I picked it back up, read a little more and put it back down. "Is this supposed to be a novel?" I wondered.

Although I'd always been an avid reader, I usually didn't read in the midst of a roaring party. But I kept being drawn back to the book. This process of reading for longer and longer periods of time continued until it was time to go home. My date was not amused that I had spent the evening reading while everyone else socialized.

About a week after coming into contact with the book I had a vivid dream in which I found myself in an old-fashioned sleeping shirt, down on my hands and knees clinging to a homemade raft, the kind you would see in Tom Sawyer movies - logs lashed together with rope. I was surrounded by fog and pelted by a hard rain. Thunder and lightning crashed all around and waves threatened to capsize me at any moment. I'd never been a good swimmer, so this dream had all the makings of an old-fashioned nightmare, except that it wasn't - I was smiling! Everything in the dream was in black and white - the fog, the water, the clothes, the sky, the lightning - everything, that is, except this blue book that I was carrying in one hand.

When I awoke the next morning I recalled riding out the tempest on the flimsy raft and how that blue book had stood out so vibrantly against the varying shades of gray. Even more memorable was the fact that I had not been afraid. Hell, I'd been exhilarated!

Within a day or so of having the dream I happened to have a conversation with a guy named David. Although David and I are now close friends, back then we knew each other only because of my friendship with his brother. David was not one to whom I would normally have related my dream life, but for some reason, on this particular day I began to tell him about my vivid dream and how I had felt so safe with this Urantia Book under my arm. He listened patiently and then replied with a smile, "Yeah, that's a really strange book. I have a copy if you'd like to borrow it."

When he said that I felt as if electricity rushed through me. I still wonder, what were the odds of running into someone whom I would tell about my dream, who also happened to have a copy of the Urantia Book to lend me? I took him up on his offer.

Soon I recognized that what I had been looking for all my life, I had found. I literally wept with joy. The book struck a chord that resonated deep within my soul. Since then I've come to realize how blessed this world is and how blessed we, as individuals, are. Progress is the watchword of the universe. From those of us to whom more has been given, more is expected. I've even learned how to swim.

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