How I Found Urantia Book And How It Changed My Life.
Part VIII 1987-1993
Дата добавления: 2008-02-20
Автор: 40 авторов
ARLEY GRUBB: On a cold starry night in the winter of 1974, with a hint of moon peeking over the horizon, I arrived at my destination -western Arizona, somewhere near a place called Bouse, between Interstate 10 and God knows where. I'd driven a few hours from Phoenix to visit a friend who'd gotten himself involved in mining for bat guano in a natural cavern. Someone had dynamited the entrance, so it was not an easy task getting to the product.
After relaxing from the drive and listening to some good music, my friend showed me a book he had come across that answered a lot of his questions. Since we were both searching for the meaning of life at the time, I was interested in what he had found. I glanced through this enormous tome for a while and was in awe of what I was reading. Much of it I couldn't comprehend, but I sensed something profound here and decided to keep the book in mind, live a little more, and hopefully find it again at a later date.
Some years later, in 1980, I was still searching for the meaning of life, mostly in the wrong places but searching nonetheless. A new friend had the Urantia Book boldly displayed in his foyer. Each time I passed by I paused for a little reading. I was almost ready to get serious with this book. My friend showed up one day in a drug-induced frenzy and said, Here, this is for you." He handed me his Urantia Book and walked away. I never saw or heard from him again.
Seven years later - at last! Something finally provoked me enough to start a serious study of the revelation. Over the years I had tried many times to get into the Papers. Each time I sat down to attempt the task I would begin with the Foreword. I'd get through seven or eight pages and the smoke would start coming out of my ears. Each time I would replace the book on the shelf with a sigh.
Now, after a long and serious bout of an Asian variety of the flu, I was at last humbled to the point of submission. Having re-read every book in my modest library, unable to work or do much of anything but remain prone, I realized there was only one book in the house I had not yet come to know. And this time I was not going to read the Foreword!
I laugh now, thinking that that was all it took! From the moment I started reading Paper 1, on page 21, I was taken like never before. I must have repeated the expression wow! a hundred times. I had finally found something that was shot through and through with truth. By the time I had finished the first five papers I was a mess.
Something happened to me that night, and I'm not sure what it was. If I could put it into words, I'd have to say I felt the Spirit of Truth descend into my being. I was left emotionally depleted, shaking like a leaf and crying uncontrollably for the better part of an hour. Once that event had passed, I felt the most wonderful glow. The glow remains, as I grow in spirit. My life has changed in ways too numerous to mention. Praise God. May his will be done.
JUAN JOSE MARTINEZ AFONSO: Born in Argentina, I moved to Spain as a child. I lived in a Catholic community, went to Catholic schools, and attended Mass regularly.
As I grew older I became fed up with feeling guilty and fearful of hell. I needed some love and compassion. No matter how hard I tried to live as I should, I always seemed to fail. Was I therefore to be condemned? How could God condemn me so easily? Shouldn't he speak loving words to me, as a father would do for a hurt son? I believe it was such thinking that began leading me towards a personal relationship with our Father.
In 1969 I was 18 years old. I had a good friend who was deeply into yoga and was seriously trying to find God in his daily life. I admired his devotion, but for myself I still failed to recognize the truth; I couldn't find that soft and lovely embrace. I would become disappointed when, occasionally, I thought about God and my life. I look back on those days as a time when I was being prepared to be led to God.
One day in 1987, when I was working as a police officer, a friend came to me with some pages that he wanted translated from English into Spanish. As I was reading, I noticed the following:
"When fully perceived and completely understood, the righteous justice of the Trinity and the merciful love of the Universal Father are coincident. But man has no such full understanding of divine justice" (p. 115).
O my God! There it was! When I was finished reading, I asked my friend, "Where did these papers come from?"
"From the United States," he told me, "from the Urantia Book." I immediately asked my father, who was living in the United States, to find me a copy as soon as possible. Back then there was no Spanish translation.
Since that time I have read the book through front to back twice, and various sections from "The Life and Teachings of Jesus" many times. The book helps clarify many ideas I had before, presents new ones which I suspect are true, and offers other concepts which I have not yet "swallowed." Nonetheless, it is the greatest written manifestation of truth I have ever found. Through reading the Urantia Book I've begun a new path. I've come back to God, my loving Father, and renewed my search for love and light.
I have since found out that the friend who sought my help in translating the pages of the UB actually reads and understands both English and French. What was his purpose in asking me to help him translate the English text? I haven't asked him that question, but next time I see him, I will!
ROB LAWSON: In 1987 I was at a birthday party for the one-year-old son of a client of my best friend. During the course of the afternoon, I struck up a conversation with a young couple I had never met before, who were sitting across from me at the table. After I mentioned that I had recently attended the Whole Life Expo in Pasadena, the conversation turned to spiritual matters, all of us realizing that we were on some sort of spiritual quest. They suggested I read the Urantia Book.
I couldn't grasp the word "Urantia" at first, even after they pronounced it several times. When they spelled it for me I wrote it down. They weren't able to tell me very much about the book, but they did impress upon me that they thought the book was truly unique and of biblical stature. They said it was available at a popular New Age bookstore close to where I lived. The following week I stopped in. I felt a strong connection to the few passages I read, and bought both it and the Concordex on the spot.
I have never seen that couple again nor do I know who they were, but I shall be ever grateful for that "chance" meeting.
MARY HUGGINS: At 15 I attended meetings of Young Life, an evangelical Christian group. For some time they had been telling me that I needed to give my life to Jesus, but I couldn't handle the emotionalism of the meetings. I felt a need to talk to Jesus one-to-one instead of proclaiming my faith so publicly. One evening, while walking from one end of my room to the other, I spoke to him, and I knew my life would never be the same again. Since then my beliefs about God have changed a great deal, but that first commitment was real, heart-centered, and is still the core of my relationship with the God that I've found through the Urantia Book.
I got married, had children, and became too busy with life to attend the mainline Protestant church in which I had grown up. But always, beneath my blase exterior, there remained that silent core. During the '80s I felt the stirring of spiritual longing, but did very little about it. I was so preoccupied with teaching and raising a family that I had no time for religion.
In 1987, while still teaching, I enrolled in summer and night classes to get my Master's in French, mostly for the challenge and prestige. The first summer was spent taking an intensive class that met five to seven hours a day. The teacher, Dr. Jean-Pierre Heudier, was demanding, yet caring, loving and gentle. One of the girls in the class, his student secretary, had known him for several years and talked about what a wonderful person he was, that he'd been a real mentor to her. She also told us that he read a strange book that was like a bible to him. I was intrigued.
During the next semester, Jean-Pierre and I became personal friends, sharing light dinners together before the weekly class. We talked about many things, and in time we came around to religion. He eventually invited me to a Urantia Book study group in his home. When I arrived that first Saturday afternoon, he gave me a big blue book. We talked about fairies (or midwayers, as he called them) and Jean-Pierre explained how they came to be here: Invisible babies - hundreds per couple - grew to maturity and then mated with one another to have more invisible babies. It was really weird stuff.
But the example I saw in my friends life drew me in more than the strangeness of his bible put me off. So I dug into the book. I was working full time, raising a young family, going to grad school nights, and yet I read the UB from cover to cover in less than a year. Whew! A couple of years later I began attending a study group closer to home, and I have been a core member ever since.
There are no words in this language to express my gratitude for the Urantia Book. Learning about how our universe really operates has totally changed my perspective on all within that universe. I have rediscovered the real Jesus of my teen experience; but now, not only do I know why he died on that cross, I know why he came to our poor, beleaguered planet. I also have a glimpse of what the future holds beyond this world. It puts all the suffering into perspective. We are little children, like babies, and we are here to learn.
LOREN LEGER: While living in Hyattsville, Maryland, between 1970 and 1976, I used to visit the public library and browse among the books. One day I found a religious book that described the boyhood years of Jesus of Nazareth. The information amazed me and I never forgot it.
My next encounter with the material occurred in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1987. I was at a singles club meeting when a woman passed a book around the circle of members for everyone to examine. I recognized the material I had seen some fifteen years earlier. The impact was immediate, and I have been an eager student of the Urantia Book ever since.
TOM CHANNIC: A lot of readers can tell you exactly where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing when they first came in contact with the Urantia Book. I cannot. The book slipped into my life like a secret agent on a mission.
I know my ex-wife bought one during the time we were married, but I believe I had heard of the book before then and had seen a copy on the bookshelf of a friend or two. The book had been under my nose for quite some time, but it was a time when I could scarcely see the nose on my face.
I had strange preconceptions about the book. My ex-wife believed it was some kind of oracle: You could ask it a question, and by opening to a random page, you would receive your answer - not necessarily a direct answer, but the answer your soul needed at that time. Right. Once, just to spite her, I opened it and started reading. I opened to a paper on Thought Adjusters. I figured a Thought Adjuster was a human teacher who actually knew something about spirituality. I remember wishing that I might find one.
Some time later, I was writing a play about God taking a vacation. I pictured God as a CEO and heaven as having more of a corporate than a lie-around-in-the-clouds-all-day atmosphere. Where these notions came from or why I found them worth developing, I have no clue.
While writing this play, I ran into a block in the scene involving the transfiguration of Jesus. According to the Bible, Jesus is visited by Moses and Elijah and, from the clouds, the voice of God bursts forth with words of approval for his Son.
The problem I had with this scene was: Why did God have to announce his approval? Jesus constantly referred to God as his heavenly Father. Moses and Elijah must have known that God approved. The apostles present wouldn't have been following Jesus if they didn't already believe that God approved. And, if God was omnipresent, why at this time did he become so localized? If God was within, why the big outward display?
I spent weeks thinking about these questions and was getting desperate, so desperate that I decided to read what the Urantia Book had to say about the transfiguration. I borrowed my wife's copy. I found out that Moses and Elijah weren't at the transfiguration; the two individuals with Jesus were actually Gabriel and Father Melchizedek, who were conveying testimonies of satisfaction from, respectively, the Eternal Mother-Son of Paradise and the universe representative of the Infinite Spirit.
So now I had a lot more questions. I had heard of Gabriel, so I looked him up in Part IV, and yes, he did appear to Mary, but he was also the Bright and Morning Star of the local universe of Nebadon. Uh oh! More questions. After several minutes of page turning and head scratching, I figured the book had worthwhile information, but if I were going to get anywhere I would have to start at the beginning. So I opened to the Foreword.
O my God... the Sevenfold?!
It took me well into the evening, but I managed to finish the Foreword, realizing I was on to something really big. That was on Sunday, February 28,1988. Within eight months, I had finished reading the fifth epochal revelation to our planet and had no doubt that it was precisely what it claimed to be. Also, within that time the book brought me my partner and family co-creator, but that's another story.
SAGE WAITTS: During the summer of 1988 I was living at Breitenbush Hot Springs, a community/retreat center in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. I was searching for a way to live in the world that was counter to the mainstream. My search for a spiritually alternative lifestyle had begun several years previously, when I spent four months at the Findhorn Community in northern Scotland. Findhorn is an eclectic spiritual community that first became known for growing 40lb cabbages in the sand while working in cooperation with nature spirits. Dedicated to planetary transformation, it provides educational courses in spiritual disciplines, alternative energy sources, unique business approaches, and ways to get along with one another. In the years since my first visit to Findhorn I returned three times, each time with the intention to remain, but it never seemed quite the right time.
My spiritual exploration began in 1982, while attending my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Even though I could barely utter the word God, I remained with the program, and as I became more committed to my sobriety, I grew more passionate about my spiritual life. It was this hunger that led me to read anything on spiritual topics I could get my hands on. My search took me on many adventures where I met many fascinating people. It eventually led me to Breitenbush, where I hoped to find integration of spirit purpose with mundane work.
After one year, I became a member of the Breitenbush community, which was operated as a worker-owned co-op servicing guests through workshops and personal retreats. It was not unusual for individuals to wander through Breitenbush and stay for a while, and it was one such person who turned my world around This person was a Urantia Book reader claiming to be an Avonal Son on a mission to destroy the anti-Christ. She had a magnetic personality, as many slightly insane people do, and I found our frequent conversations about the Urantia Book fascinating.
One night, after a particularly intense discussion with her, I had a dream in which I saw the Urantia Book against a black background, as if it were hanging in a night sky. This might not seem so unusual except that I had never seen a copy of the book. The next morning I drove to the nearest town that had a bookstore and bought it. When I saw the cover of the book, its color and the way the title was laid out, I stopped breathing for a second. Except for the night sky, the cover was identical to the one that had appeared in my dream.
For the next six months or so I read it off and on. Breitenbush was a pressure cooker for personal growth, and by March of '89 I was ready for a break from the rain as well as from the growth opportunities. I packed up and headed south to Arizona, where I found a nudist camp (more sunshine per square inch!) and spent the next seven days, butt to the sun, reading the Urantia Book.
The moment of realization came on my way back to Breitenbush. I had driven all night and was in eastern Oregon, which is high desert country. I pulled onto a dirt road and found an open vista and a place to park, and had some breakfast. I was sitting on the floor of my van, eating, side door open, sun shining on me, birds singing, reading "The Attributes of God."
Boom! Boom, again! I got it! This was for real! I don't know why then - maybe my Adjuster was finally able to break through because of the open spaces - but I finally got it.
My enthusiasm was mainly self-contained during my remaining three years at Breitenbush. I would occasionally share what I was reading with a few friends, but I didn't seek out any other readers because I was afraid they would be as crazy as the person who'd introduced me to the book.
Finally, when the day came to leave Breitenbush, I knew it was time to meet other readers, so I got the name of our area coordinator and called him. He invited me over and we spent the afternoon in his back yard, within hearing distance of the Pacific Ocean, talking about the book. He was normal. Still is. And this was the beginning of a new chapter in my adventure with the teachings of the Urantia Book.
SUZANNE KELLY-WARD: In 1988 I moved to San Diego. I was hired by a woman from India who had lived in Australia from the time she was in high school. She and I became fast spiritual friends and I gave her a copy of my epic poem "Elan Vital," which at the time was 28 pages long. It was a compilation of truths I had gleaned from reading volumes of religious and metaphysical teachings in my lifelong quest for the real story of man and God.
She read it and beamed, "Oh, you've read the Urantia Book." "What's that?" I asked.
"Everything that is your poem," she replied.
I don't know who looked more confused at that point, but needless to say, I ran to the nearest metaphysical bookstore to get the book - they just happened to have one copy.
The Urantia Book filled in all the blanks in my previous epic speculations - and then some! I was amazed.
"Elan Vital" is now 128 pages long. My study group compadres refer to it as the Cliffs Notes to the UB. I'm still amazed.
ROBERT SCHREIBER: As a child, then as a youth and an adult, I felt something was missing in my life. I was drawn to things religious, but had no idea what I was looking for.
In college I took a World Religions class, but found the way they were studied was too analytical. I read the Bible and found it helpful but lacking something. I read many religious books and studied Edgar Cayce, parapsychology and the paranormal, but nothing really spoke to me.
Gradually I settled into mainstream Protestantantism and was reasonably happy, but deep inside I was still unfulfilled. Then, in 1988, my colleague and friend, Bill Kelly, told me about the Urantia Book, which he had just discovered.
Though a skeptical person by nature and still smarting from a long history of disappointments, I quickly but unenthusiastically secured a copy. To my astonishment I knew from my first reading of the Urantia Book that it was what I had been looking for all my life. I felt I was home at last.
I am now in my fourth reading of the book. (I'm a slow reader.) I still find it the source of much satisfaction and continued enlightenment. In 1996 I founded The Correcting Time Ministry to introduce and promote this new revelation to my friends and relatives.
STEPHANIE FORBES: Since I was 17 years old I have been actively searching for God. In the first phase of my search, I was a Rastafarian. I know that God used that religion to reach my heart because no other religion would work. When I came to realize that it could not answer all my questions, I looked for something else.
In 1982 I became a born-again Christian and had a very close relationship with God again. My experience of God was very intimate; he was my closest friend. I would ask him questions and receive very strong answers. I guess he knew I would not "get it" if he wasn't very blatant. Later I came upon troublesome times and found that once again I could not get answers to some difficult questions.
I developed a close relationship with my earthly father, Larry Gwynn, who was very insightful and intelligent. One day I saw the Urantia Book on his table. When I started reading it I could not put the book down. It was so obviously true. I would read non-stop for six hours at a time, excited to find answers to questions that I had been asking for over ten years.
The first section I read was "The Meaning of the Death on the Cross.* I found that all I read rested well with the spirit of God within me. I never doubted for a moment that what I was reading was the truth.
My then-husband was very unhappy with my choice of reading material. He demanded that I stop studying the book. When I refused he said he did not want to sit across the table from a demon-worshipper and even arranged a conversation between me and two pastors we knew. I was comfortable standing my ground in my belief that the Urantia Book was true, and felt as though the Spirit of Truth was helping me reply to the pastors' questions. I know they were displeased by my responses but I feel right about it to this day.
My belief in the God portrayed in the Urantia Book has enabled me to change my entire life. I have gone from a pathetic, beaten girl to a strong, loving, and comfortable woman. I never could have fully broken free from the bonds of my first marriage without the knowledge that God would love me no matter what. I now know that I have some wonderful gifts with which to serve my Father in heaven.
I love the fact that we have a divine purpose in this universe and that we are all treading the same road to the Father. We are never truly alone. We are surrounded by our God at all times.
WILLIS DAVIS: After visiting church after church and having none of my questions answered, I finally realized that the people I had been asking really had no more knowledge than I did. Their only source of enlightenment was the same as mine - the Bible.
As my frustration grew, I continued to wonder at how retarded our planet was. I felt that there must be something available that explained why God allowed this. I had an insatiable desire for facts about Adam and Eve, Jesus, and Lucifer. I wanted the real deal on creation and evolution.
While venting my frustrations with a friend, William Gainor, William said, "Davis, you're just searching for truth." Those were strange words coming from him. William is a great guy but a saint he was not. I would never have dreamed that he had the answers to my or anyone else's universal questions! But I decided to "listen to the message and ignore the messenger." He fed me enough data for me to ring my "truth bells.
William and I had a history of trying to "one-up" each other, and that pattern carried over into the way I got this revelation: He would copy a few pages at a time for me to read so that he could keep the upper hand by having something I really wanted but couldn't get until he was ready to give it to me. He gave me a few pages about Adam and Eve, which answered two decades worth of questions. Then he gave me a few pages about energy and matter, which aligned science and religion in a way that confirmed what I had suspected for years. After about a week he reluctantly told me where I could get a book.
He and I have grown immeasurably since then, and since 1989 we have had a reading group. We have spun off two more study groups and have found numerous new students of the book.
MICHAEL D'AMBROSIA: I attended a Christian high school, going to Bible class every day for five years. I was a very disciplined, serious Christian.
In 1988, I began to experience an intense state of consciousness which lasted about a year and a half. During that time I was guided in my spiritual and emotional life by an inner wisdom which was not my own. I felt as if I were God. Although I logically denied that possibility, I still used that sense as a reference for what I was thinking and feeling. I felt secure until I began to search for conscious knowledge of what I was experiencing in my superconscious mind.
As this intense experience continued, I gradually became internally stressed because I could not understand or communicate the glorious feelings I was having. Looking back, I can see that I was becoming delusional and getting sicker due to the onset of schizophrenia, which runs in my family.
I began searching used book stores and libraries for books on metaphysics, pyramids, alchemy, and Rosicrucian thought. I found many interesting ideas about personal transformation, but eventually I gave up searching for an answer to my intimate questions.
Right before I had my emotional breakdown, I spotted the Urantia Book on a shelf in my local library. When I got it home and began to read it, I couldn't believe my eyes. I had actually found something that explained a big part of what life, the universe, and Jesus were all about.
On April 20, 1990, I had a breakdown and lost contact with my normal mind. Eventually I found help, became stable on medication, and am now basically back to normal. Throughout these experiences, I continued to read the Urantia Book when my mind would let me.
I am very thankful that the Urantia Book was written. I experience a great satisfaction in discovering new information as I read and attend study groups. The book is here to answer the many mind-boggling questions about life, God, and the universe.
PERI BEST: In 1989 my husband and his partner John were busy writing a film script loosely based on the life of James Dean. At the same time, I was working on a story set in ancient Crete. I was fixated on the Minoans because they were precursors of the Greeks, upon whose ethics and ways of thinking our present civilization is based. I felt that in studying the Minoans we would find out why we are the way we are.
My search for the answers to the big "whys" had been the driving force behind my leaving the Anglican Church as a teenager and submerging myself in all aspects of the occult - especially astrology, Aleister Crowley, Tarot, and Taoism. It also led me to Sufism and my spiritual teacher, Murat Yagan. Ten years and two children later, I considered myself an authority on New Age thinking and religions.
So when I told John that I was looking for more information on Crete and he suggested that I check out the Urantia Book, I was taken aback by the fact that I didn't know what he was talking about. I had to utter those famous words, "The what?" John suggested I look in the local library and, by golly, there it was. After checking it out for three consecutive months, I finally found a second-hand copy of my own.
Since I was eight years old, my reading material of choice had been science fiction; now, suddenly, I didn't want to read it anymore. Recently a friend asked me why I no longer read sci-fi after finding the Urantia Book. After much thought, I answered, "Truth is stranger than fiction."
After three years of studying the book for clues of its being a hoax, I finally had to cry "uncle" and admit that I could not conceive of it being anything other than what it said that it was - a revelation.
SUSAN KIMSEY: During an acrimonious divorce in 1985, I was encouraged to read A Course in Miracles as a means to heal my discouragement and bruised emotions. I found the Course to be compelling; it opened my mind to the possibility of spiritual guidance from sources other than the Bible.
In 1989 I joined a Course in Miracles study group, where I met Cheryl
Zents, who became one of my closest friends. Cheryl had been a reader of the Urantia Book for a number of years, and she never hesitated to introduce the book to anyone she sensed might be open to hearing about it. She perceived this openness in me.
One night she brought the Urantia Book with her to a Course meeting and plopped it in my lap. I was somewhat overwhelmed by the size of the book, but I trusted Cheryl. I began to look at the table of contents. As I skimmed the titles of the papers, I was seized with a strong curiosity. Just as the Course had given me a broad perspective on human relationships and human understanding, I sensed that this book would give me a broad perspective on the universe in which I lived.
Cheryl loaned me her Urantia Book for a few days, and I thumbed through its contents. I told myself that someday I would read the book. A few days later, I went to the local library just to browse the shelves, and the Urantia Book was the first book I saw, in the first book stack I approached.
This felt like too big a nudge from the universe to ignore, so I checked out the UB from the library and have been a reader ever since. I finally bought my own copy after I had borrowed the UB as many times as the library would allow.
FRED HARRIS: As a young boy, I seriously thought of becoming a priest. I was raised Catholic by my mother, but my father was not Catholic and so the religious training of the children was often a contentious topic in our household. Still, I might be a practicing Catholic today had it not been for my puppy love for a girl in one of my classes.
To be able to see her outside of class, I attended her church and made sure to sit where she would see me. After the service I spoke to her, but it turned out that she was not interested in me. In those days it was a sin for a Catholic to attend a non-Catholic church service. Although it was a minor sin from what I could tell, I took no chances and mentioned it when I made my next confession. When I informed the priest of my offense, he upbraided me as if I had murdered someone and gave me a stiff penance of twenty-five Hail Marys. Twenty-five Hail Marys! I was incensed. I walked out of the confessional, refused to do the twenty-five Hail Marys, and left the Church forever.
I embraced hedonism during my college days and for a few years thereafter, but by 1989 I was married to a wonderful woman, had a family and was practicing law in Tallahassee, Florida. At that time I was representing Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman Brothers Band. As a favor to Butch I agreed to meet with a promising young musician who called himself T-Ray, to discuss the possibility of my becoming his lawyer. T-Ray had traveled from Utah to Florida to record an album of original songs.
Although T-Ray could not afford to pay for my legal services, he would not agree to become my client until I understood his philosophy of life. I assured him that I could represent him anyway, but he was adamant. Rather than argue with him, I said, "Okay, then. What is your philosophy?"
"All my life," he explained, "I've been a seeker, jumping from one philosophy or religion to another. But each time I felt that something was lacking and I continued to search. Then one day I was in a bookstore looking for a birthday present for my father-in-law, when I came upon a large blue book that looked interesting. I bought it for him. But while perusing it before wrapping it, I became interested in it and went back to buy one for myself. It is in that book that I found revelatory truth, and it is from that book that I get the inspiration for my music and life. I want you to read the Urantia Book," he said, reaching into his knapsack and pulling out a book that resembled the New York City phone book. He handed it to me.
I took one look at the huge tome and started laughing. I pointed to all the books littering my office, saying, "I read all day for a living! Do you think I want to spend my free time reading this book? That's unrealistic!"
After glancing around my office, T-Ray marked several key pages in Part IV of the book and suggested that I just read those. To humor him, I agreed and took the book home with me.
That night I lay in bed and began reading the Urantia Book. My first thought was that it was very well written, structurally and grammatically. Then I began enjoying the story. Then I couldn't put it down. For the next several weeks I was exhausted at work because I was staying up a good portion of the night reading this book. Being trained in logic, I had always had a problem with the irrationality of much of the dogma that I had encountered in institutional religions. The Urantia Book was the first document I had come across that presented spiritual concepts in a logical context.
Ultimately I came to the conclusion that this was indeed a revelation, and I began buying cases of books to give to friends and family. I was shocked that they weren't interested. I prayed to God to help me find a way to let people know about this wonderful revelation, and those prayers are beginning to be answered. The Urantia Book is not the exclusive source of truth or of the revelation of God, but it has opened my eyes to a spiritual path that continues to unfold. The Urantia revelation has been a blessing to me.
MIKE BAIN: It was my 18th birthday. I unwrapped my last present - a Urantia Book - and said, "Oh, ummm. . . ."
"It's for you," Dad said, "for when you are ready."
"Gee, thanks, Dad," I said. The book wound up in the back of my closet.
A year and a half later I was living with a buddy and slaving away in college, not really enjoying the courses. I had picked up the Urantia Book and was reading it, when something told me that this was it. The experience was beyond description. It was sublime.
I started with the Foreword. I didn't get much sleep that night. Or the next. Or the next. I think I was up every night that first year until 3 a.m. reading. I got so involved with reading and restaurant work that college suffered. I dropped all of my classes and devoted myself to my job and studying the Urantia Book. I finished the book in a year and a half.
Some papers were so beyond the scope of my mind - "Universe Levels of Reality" and "Deity and Reality," for instance - that I had to skip them. The rest of the book was so overwhelming that I almost went insane with the knowledge. I had to cut back and read just a little at a time.
When I went to the clubs and watched everyone dance and have a normal" life, I imagined myself a prophet rejected by his generation. I had all this truth to share with them but was extremely disappointed by their lack of interest. I still try to help them today, but not in such a direct way. The Urantia Book has taught me that there are many paths to our Father and that everyone has their own level of spiritual receptivity.
I am overjoyed to have been blessed with a dad with whom I can communicate about all this Urantia stuff. We've spent many a lunchtime at Pizza Hut talking of cosmic things.
LEONARD ABLIETER: Growing up in an areligious household in a largely areligious society - Germany during World War II - had left me without any real religious convictions. It also had left me without any religious baggage.
Yet, there were always questions in my heart and mind, and occasional spiritual urges and longings. The former resulted in my investigating various religions, including Buddhism, Taoism, Mormonism and traditional Christianity. None of these belief systems inspired me to pursue them further. At one point I was led to peruse an atheist manifesto, which proved even less acceptable. The urges and longings were harder to ignore but seemed to generate an appreciation of beauty both abstract and physical. At times these sensitivities led to pantheistic musings, but such thoughts were fleeting.
So my life went on, dominated largely by career interests and demands. God remained a mystery, and Christ an interesting historical figure.
Erich Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods opened up a new avenue, one that appealed to the intellect. Von Danikens theory, that the gods of mythology were actually alien astronauts, was reinforced by a book by a NASA official which analyzed the prophet Ezekiel's visions. My interest then moved to reincarnation, chaos theory, and finally, to the ultimate intellectual challenge, quantum mechanics. Paradoxically the latter subject - a hard science one could easily believe in - opened a door to something intangible and tenuous, a reality or realities beyond what one can touch and see - a world beyond the world of Newton.
I was living in California on my sailboat when I met Karen, a woman from Florida who'd come for an interview about crewing for me. We had an intense intellectual weekend listening to classical music and discussing chaos theory and quantum physics, among other things. Before Karen left she told me about a book she thought I'd be interested in. She herself hadn't read all of it, but she was sure I would find it fascinating.
A year later I chanced to be in Florida and stopped to visit Karen at her home in Key West. Once again there was lots of discussion, and in the midst of it she pulled a big book off the shelf and put it down between us. I grabbed it and read the cover jacket. "The Central and Superuniverses"? Great, I thought. "The Local Universe"? Interesting. "The History of Urantia"?
"'Urantia' is the name of our earth," she said.
"Good - this might be something different," I said, looking forward to the prospect of widening my horizons.
But when I noticed Part IV, "The Life and Teachings of Jesus," the excitement drained away and was replaced by an I-should-have-known disappointment. Without opening the book, I laid it back down. "I don't want to read this; its not what I'm looking for," I said, sad at what I perceived as another dead end. Quickly, Karen assured me that this was not the kind of book I thought it was. She was adamant that I would find it of value, and gave me a form for ordering the book directly from Chicago.
Months passed before I finally sent in my order. A few weeks later the big blue book arrived - with its 2,097 pages, a bear of a Foreword, and that Part IV that had bothered me so much. On the shelf it went But in the end, reasoning that since I trusted Karens judgment and had nothing to lose but an investment in time, I decided to read it. Checking the total number of pages, I calculated that if I read ten pages a day, five days a week, I'd be able to finish the entire book in less than a year. That seemed to be an acceptable proposition. Then and there I went for it.
I had no expectations. I cleared my mind of any preconceived ideas and just read one page after another. Part IV was way down the road and I was prepared to let it take care of itself when the time came. In the meantime there were new worlds to discover, concepts that stretched the mind beyond anything I had encountered before, and historical information that was endlessly fascinating. I approached the book on a strictly intellectual level, the only level I was capable of at the time. And I was continuously pleased by how perfectly the Urantia Book communicated with me.
In due course I arrived at Part IV. I was sorry that Parts I through III were behind me. They had completely taken hold of my imagination and I could not envision Part IV being as interesting or exciting. But I went on, maintaining a three- to five-papers-a-week regimen until the end. And when I had finished I was able to accept, intellectually, the reality of Christ Michael.
Later, I read the Urantia Book again, front to back, and studied various papers independently. Although my first reading had been on a purely intellectual level and fully satisfying at the time, an emotional element, which grew more and more profound, entered into the second reading. As a result an entirely new perspective arose: Out of understanding grew the beginning of knowing, out of belief sprouted the first seedlings of faith, and out of intellectual acceptance ensued the early stirrings of religious experience. Parts I through III became the prelude to Part IV. As I indicated earlier, I had great difficulty bringing myself to read the book initially because of the simple yet necessary reference to Jesus on the cover. Had the reference to Jesus been more prominently displayed on the cover, who knows how much longer my search for meaning might have gone on?
MICHAEL J. ZEHR: I was given the Urantia Book in a manner which I hope will be increasingly common in the coming years: my parents gave it to me.
I was exposed to several different churches when growing up - Mennonite and Lutheran the most frequented - but while my parents demonstrated their values through loyal living, they never tried to dictate to me which faith I should believe in. By the time I was ten years old, I knew enough about God to want to learn more. It was when I started asking questions that could be summarized as "How do I learn more about God?" that my parents started talking to me about the Urantia Book.
We began reading Part IV together on Sunday afternoons, and over the course of a couple of years slowly worked through the book. While doing that, I went along with them to conferences and study groups. By the time I went to college I was ready to read the book in order, on my own. It was during this second reading of it that many of the concepts and ideas clicked in place in my heart and mind and I became even more fully committed to it.
I am looking forward to the day when I have children who are mature enough to ask, "How do I learn more about God?" so that I can introduce the book to them.
CALVIN McKEE: On October 4,1955, the same day the great Urantia Book was issued its catalog number by the Library of Congress, I was born in Tridell, Utah. It took thirty-six years, though, for me to find the UB. I was raised on a large farm, one of fifteen kids in a Mormon family-Our home life was "dog eat dog" - too much stress and work, not enough harmony and loving service. My father was an alcoholic and "in the bamboo" a lot, so my mother had to do the work of ten maids and be the farm boss most of the time. I don't think there is a harder-working woman alive - to this day she still milks over a hundred head of cows daily, tends a big garden and does lots of church work. She and my dad divorced in the late 70s. Dad moved to Canada to escape drunk-driving penalties; he sobered up ten years before his death in 1997 and had rearranged his life to become a faithful, loving and serving person.
I was a very inquisitive kid. While the rest of my family were quite follow-the-standard-pattern Mormons, I drove my Sunday school teacher nuts always wanting to know the "why" of everything I didn't understand - who said what, why, when, where and how. I must have run out of satisfactory answers at about 14 because that's when I began putting my mind to deep study. I turned over a lot of rocks seeking truth and reason. Before I was 21 I went on a Mormon mission to the Tennessee area; while there did some serious study, highlighting passages in Scripture that either moved me or confused me. When I returned home I got married, took over the dairy farm and continued my search.
About ten years and plenty of good church business and community experience later, I found myself wanting answers that no church member could provide. Among my questions was, Where are the greater truths promised in our Mormon scriptures that would give us an understanding of the universe, our origins, the "gods" and the rulers of time and space? In this promised record to come were "the greater things Jesus taught the people," but I could find no one who was seeking such a record.
In search of answers, I went to the Mormon church headquarters and stayed outside the First Presidency's office until someone finally agreed to talk to me. I explained my quest, expressing my confidence that the head prophets had the real truth but were just waiting for the membership to become ready to receive it. The good man there told me, "I don't know what you are talking about and I don't know of anyone who does." I walked out of that office feeling truly liberated for the first time in my life. I was now free to pursue my truth without fear of reprisal from either the church or my family. My new freedom caused my first wife to take the kids and run from her now "anti-Mormon" husband - she would never get to heaven with such a deserter. The whole community, my family and friends, now looked the other way when they saw me coming, fearing that I might taint them. A hundred and one rumors arose.
So, I sold the farm for just enough to pay off my debts, and moved out. What did I do next? I had bought a car from a Pontiac dealership in Salt Lake City, and one day I stopped in to have it serviced. To make a long story short, they offered me a job. The last thing I wanted was to be a car salesman, but something inside told me to give it a try, and I did. One of my co-workers was a student of the big blue book. After listening to me telling about my search, he showed me the book, which he thought I might be interested in. Talk about falling out of my chair! I have devoured the book a few times since.
BILLY BURNETTE: After separating from my wife in 1990, I wondered what true purpose and value I had in my life. Having gone through the trauma of drug addiction and regaining a lost spirituality in 1989, I started praying faithfully for a sign, a fragment of truth. I had always known God to be my Father, but many questions remained to be answered.
I had studied all the great religions and all seemed to contain truth. Jesus was constantly on my mind because of the true faith and courage that he showed, but one thing about him bothered me - his anguished cry on the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Since Jesus had such a sublime and absolute faith in his Father, how could he feel forsaken by Him? Every morning I would also pray for the knowledge of David and Solomon. I would fast for ten days at a time to try and hear from God, to allow the spirit to minister to my worn and tired soul.
It was at this time that a bookstore opened up in a mall near my home in Maryland. I went there looking for something interesting to read and noticed a big blue book. I asked the woman at the counter what the book was about. She didn't know, admitting she had never even seen the book before. Mind you, she was the owner of the store. She opened it up, started reading, and remarked that it seemed to be about God and the universe and some teachings of Jesus. She even commented that it looked very interesting. I asked her how much it cost and she said $36.
"Thirty-six dollars!" I exclaimed. "No way! That is too expensive!" I had about $600 in my pocket but did not yet feel called to the book. I put a piece of paper in the book, telling myself that if the book was still there the text time I came in, I would buy it.
For two months I tried to avoid that place, and when I finally walked in and saw that no one had touched the book, I knew that God had something in store for me. Since that summer day in 1990, I have been robbed of the book on three occasions, and each time I have run right out and bought another copy. I carry the book with me always and it has often been a beacon of light for people whose lives I touch on a daily basis. It has truly taught me that joy comes in the morning and that there is no greater service than to serve the Father by serving others.
GENE NARDUCY: I was raised in a Catholic neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. During the '60s I became steeped in the turmoil of social and spiritual change, embracing and then dropping every belief system I could find while growing my hair long and dropping out. I became an agnostic.
It took me twenty years to begin reading the Urantia Book after first discovering it 1970. In that year I was living in an apartment building on the north side of Chicago with a group of free spirits. Our days and nights were an endless celebration of peace, love and brotherhood - and, of course, drugs.
Many unusual people passed through, but one day, as I was sitting alone in the music room, a tall, gowned figure with long blond hair placed in front of my eyes a blue book. I opened to a page with very detailed print that bore the title, "Paper 74 - Adam and Eve." I read a little, turned to the figure, and said, "I'm not ready yet." The person left with the book and I didn't think much of it at the time.
Years later, in 1990, after completing a marathon in Napa, California, I was with some friends in a bookstore in downtown Calistoga. Leafing through a book called Dolphins, Angels and ETs, I came upon a page that described the Urantia Book. I showed it to my friend. It turned out that he knew of a Urantia Book study group in the area and gave me contact information, but I never got in touch with them.
As things in my life became more chaotic, I thought, "I'd better get that Urantia Book." I went to a bookstore, picked up a copy, saw the price, and put it back down. After going home I reconsidered and went back for it but it was gone. When I came across it again later I bought it immediately. I eventually found my way to a study group in Santa Monica, and have now begun my Paradise ascent!
SHERIE CROSBY: I cannot remember how old I was when I was first blessed with spiritual thirst, but I do remember, as a child, being alone in a room watching a movie on television about the life and death of Jesus. The scenes of this man loving everyone and teaching wonderful things about God held me in rapt attention. Nothing could prepare my young mind for the sorrow that overcame me as I watched Jesus being nailed upon the cross. I had no knowledge of the theory that he was dying for anyone's "sins." I felt sad and cried genuine tears.
Later, learning the "blood of the lamb" theory, I began to reject the concepts of Jesus as presented by the popular churches. I was repulsed by the dying, bloody image of Jesus. I desired the truth, the missing links that would bring him to life.
Another milestone in my spiritual searching came when I was a teenager. We belonged to the Christian but non-denominational Unity Church in Lees Summit, Missouri. I often went into the prayer chapel to meditate and pray for guidance in the direction of my life. One day, after a deep, longing prayer to know more, I walked over to the Bible that sat on a pedestal and opened the book to "any answer." The words jumped out at me and seared into my heart: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set ye free."
Much time and many experiences passed until the Urantia Book came to me. In the summer of 1987 I befriended a drummer who had come to Kodiak with a band to play at a nightclub. Because he was from Los Angeles, I was surprised by his answer when I asked him what he liked most about Kodiak. He said, "I feel closer to God." During a discussion about Jesus, he alluded to a book that contained a fuller presentation of Jesus' life than the Bible. He said it spoke of universal truths and revealed the true concept of the Trinity. Thinking this book was yet another New Age version of sci-fi, I was skeptical. But after devoting a summer to reading the Jesus papers, I knew I had discovered the Truth.
I understand that the Urantia Book came into my life as a divine gift, at a time when I was most ready to receive it. Reading the book is a never-ending story. Never will I think that I have learned every truth it contains. I will continue to read and study it as long as I live on this planet.
MARGO LEWIS-SUTTER: Living in Western New York, approximately sixty miles from Lily Dale, a Spiritualist camp, I spent many summers over the course of thirty years at the camp with friends. Occasionally I would get readings from the mediums. In 1983 I befriended one of these medium-teachers, a woman with whom I had a lot in common. She moved to another state but continued to come to Lily Dale for the summer. In the summer of 1990, during a reading with this friend, she came through with the name "The Urantia Book." She told me I had to get it and read it, and mentioned that it had something to do with the history of creation - a hot topic for me. About three years later I walked into a bookstore and saw the Urantia Book on display. Because it was expensive I decided to try to get it from the local library. I was successful and renewed it several times after my interest was engaged.
Deciding to buy it, I went back to the store. While there I picked up a copy of an alternative newspaper. Inside was an advertisement for a Urantia Book study group. After a few days I called the number and was enthusiastically greeted by the groups host. That was in the mid-'90s, and I have been a member of the group ever since. So, regardless of the Urantia Book's negative comments about rnediumship, it was through this avenue that I first found out about it. I'm very grateful that I did.
HAMID REZA MAZDEH: I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Since the age of 15, I have been fascinated with our immense universe and its numerous known and unknown phenomena. I spent a good portion of my late teenage years reading astronomy and science books. Another area of interest for me was the supernatural. I read books on telepathy, reincarnation, and the spirit world.
The revolutionary crisis in Iran prompted my parents to send me to America to pursue my academic education. I began attending university in the United States in 1978. I majored in aerospace engineering and got my B.S. degree. I was also a political activist and wanted to help transform Iran into a democratic society. Unfortunately the Shahs fall did not result in bringing about democracy in Iran. The ruling Mullahs were worse than the Shah and caused much destruction. Being opposed to the Mullahs, I was not allowed to return to Iran.
I was hired as an engineer by a major aerospace company in Southern California. But living an average day-to-day life was not satisfying to my hungry soul. I had many unanswered questions about life and was desperately looking for answers. I wanted to know: Who is God? Why am I here? What is my role in the total picture?
As a Muslim, I had read over one hundred books by progressive Iranian Muslim thinkers, but found many of their answers unsatisfying. So, I decided to go back to the source, and read the Koran in three languages: English, Farsi and Arabic. I concluded that although a beautiful work of inspiration, exquisitely narrated in poetic style, the book was obviously of human origin. I also read the entire Bible. This book was very inspiring as well, but its tribal God concept and its message of the atonement of Jesus made me very uncomfortable. The real God, I thought, must be far more loving, merciful, and universal. More importantly, he must have a solid plan for human growth and evolution.
In October 1990, while visiting an Iranian doctor in California, I started sharing my scientific knowledge about celestial objects and the possibility of other life in the universe. At the time, I was writing an astronomy book in Farsi called A Comprehensive Survey of the Universe. She told me she had a book I might be interested in. As she described the book, I became so captivated that the next day I went to a local bookstore and bought my own copy. It was the Urantia Book. I found it to be by far the most fascinating and intriguing book I had ever read. It confirmed my personal belief that we live in a loving and orderly universe, that there is a divine purpose for our lives, and that we are not placed on earth in vain.
In 1999 it occurred to me that it would be a good idea to translate the book into my native language, Farsi (Persian). I took up the challenge, and have since found a few other Iranian Urantia Book readers to help me with the translation.
The Urantia Book has made me a much more loving, caring and service-oriented person. I love the teachings, and try to implement them in my personal life and share them with other searching souls.
EVELYN HAMMOND: One day in 1990 I was in a different branch of the public library than the one I ordinarily patronized. I checked out the spiritual/religious section and saw a big blue book on the shelf, one that I'd never seen before. I started to read, then sat down and opened the book to some pages that talked about the administration of the universe. I was hooked.
I checked it out along with my usual bagful of books, but the other books never got read. All that winter I read the Urantia Book, first dipping into parts that interested me, then reading it straight through from the beginning. After that, I contacted the publisher for local readers and found a study group. Our hostess was the one who had placed the book in the local libraries.
In my second reading, I discovered many new things and suddenly grasped concepts I hadn't understood the first time. And for every question answered, ten new ones presented themselves. It seemed, as I read, that I was "remembering" - that my mind would say, "Yes, that's how it is ... or was!" In the process of reading, I came to feel like a cosmic citizen.
The book found me late in life, and I agree that it is probably meant for the coming generations. With that hope I have placed a copy in each of my three daughters' homes. They are daunted by its size, and are all very, very busy; but I know the day will come when they and my grandson will discover it for themselves.
ANGEL SANCHEZ ESCOBAR: Although I grew up Catholic, I had always been a truth seeker. Before finding the Urantia Book, I believed in reincarnation, channeling, spiritualism, the faithful protection of saints from physical dangers, and so on. At that time I was an exultant, euphoric person. I felt that nothing seriously bad could ever happen to me because I was well protected by spiritual agencies.
I remember in 1990, when I was 37, how happy and proud I was to share one of Conny Mendez's metaphysical books with my friend Josefina, a former partner in spiritualism sessions. It was my latest find in my favorite subject of positive-energy thought. But Josefina also had a gift for me: the Urantia Book in English.
Being an English professor, I expected to have no problem reading it, but the book stayed on the shelf for around six months until one day I picked it up and decided to read "The Lucifer Rebellion." After that, I read many more papers and finished the whole book in less than six months. Since then I have read it four more times and have helped to revise the faulty 1993 Spanish edition.
When I left my old beliefs I felt completely alone. But the Urantia Book awakened me to the fact that I have a fragment of God within me, and this realization dispelled my sense of loneliness. Further, many things have happened in my life - disappointments, frustrations, and other setbacks - that have forced me to grow. I no longer feel as if I'm in seventh heaven or Nirvana. No, I am not so exultant as before but more realistic and sober-minded. I feel I am being more truthful to myself, more faithful, and more capable of following the non-easy path to Paradise.
PAT PORTER: My first encounter with Big Blue was in the early '80s, when my ex-husband brought it home and then forbade me to read it. He said it was "magic" and that it was so deeply written that I wouldn't understand it anyway. The challenge was delivered. I accepted it. One night I picked it up and started reading from page one.
The timing wasn't right, however. I was just returning to graduate school and working full time, and we were starting to make contacts to adopt a child. My husband, having become deeply depressed, had to be hospitalized. I had no time to concentrate on the book, but I did get very positive feelings about what little I had dipped into. Ten years later, the book had become a distant memory, and vanished along with my by-then ex-husband.
Living in Denver, I made a new friend named John. I enjoyed his company and the company of his friends. I learned that one of Johns friends, Eric, frequently flew in from the East Coast to attend a "Urantia group" in Boulder. Hearing the word "Urantia" brought back vague recollections.
Eric became someone I could talk to like family. We would discuss John's problems and how I could help him. The subject of the Urantia Book was never brought up until an awful thing happened. John committed suicide. Eric was a great help during this difficult time. He spoke about the morontia worlds, and the beauty, the peace, and the love that are on the other side of our present life. He convinced me that John was all right, that he was in the care of wonderful, loving beings who would help him find himself.
I was given the book for my 50th birthday. I read it. I study it. I try to live it as my understanding grows.
KARRIE HUMMEL: In August of 1991 I signed up for an Anasazi weaving class that was being offered at the University of Utah extension school at Moab. It was a small group - three students and the instructor. We spent three days trying to duplicate a mat woven out of yucca cordage and reeds. The mat had been taken out of a Grand Gulch site and placed in the museum in Blanding because it was very fragile and had been disturbed too much at its original site.
During those three days I spent a lot of time talking with Penny, another student who, like me, was in her late forties. We discovered that we lived only fourteen blocks from each other in Salt Lake City, had both grown up in Illinois, and had many of the same interests, as evidenced by the obscure class we had both signed up for. We continued our friendship when we returned home. We talked together about many things, eventually getting around to religion and spiritual matters.
In Illinois I had attended the Lutheran Church of my dads family, had taken the catechism classes, and was confirmed. When I was 14 we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, the home of my Mormon mother. During my junior high school years, I signed up for a Mormon seminary class in lieu of a free period so I could learn about my mother's church, and ended up graduating from seminary after attending from eighth grade through my senior year in high school.
I enjoyed learning about God, whether it was from the Bible or The Book of Mormon. I often kept the seminary teachers after school answering my lists of questions. However, my Lutheran and Mormon educations never gave me satisfying answers. I had learned that God was fearsome and punishing, and that I could never be good enough for him. I would say my prayers of thanksgiving, but never dared ask for anything. So I continued searching. Over the years I looked into New Age religions, Native American folklore, and many other creeds and doctrines, but something was always missing.
One day, about a month after the class ended, Penny said, "You might be interested in a book I've been reading for a long time." The next time I saw her she gave me a copy of the Urantia Book. I started reading it from page one but was very discouraged by my inability to grasp much of its teachings. At her suggestion I began attending a study group with her. This offered me a chance to ask questions and have discussions with like-minded people who were seeking to understand the book better themselves. Thus a whole new world opened up for me.
After attending the study group for several months, I began to find the Urantia Book to be more than I had ever expected. My mind was reeling from all the information I was digesting. I was finding the answers to questions for which I had never been able to find acceptable answers before.
The book began to speak to my heart and soul. It led me to what I believe has been the greatest realization of my life - that my Father in heaven loves me just as I am. It's a simple thing to say, but experiencing the reality of that love was very new to me. Discovering the Urantia Book marked the beginning of a period of incredible changes and intense learning experiences in my life which continue even today, and will continue on through eternity. I look forward to this growth with great excitement and joy.
TERRY: In early 1992 I was studying at a local library, doing some work on my dissertation. At some point I was interrupted by an intrusive thought - not a voice, mind you, but an intrusive thought: "Go get the book." The idea was an extreme annoyance, since as a wife, mother, grad student and full-time nurse my time was very precious and not to be wasted. Nevertheless, the thought would not pass.
I got up from my desk, wandered down a particular aisle and stopped at the end. On the bottom shelf - a shelf I generally avoided because of its inconvenience and my nearsightedness - I saw a huge book with a white cover. On the cover was a blue, tri-circled insignia. I opened the book out of curiosity and spent the remainder of the afternoon enthralled, feeling as if I had "come home." Synchronicity? Maybe, but I choose to believe that my Thought Adjuster was redirecting the course of my life. And to think, I never even knew I had a Thought Adjuster!
JUDY TUTTLE: I was in Egypt during the month of Ramadan in 1992. Sitting alone on the deck of our small tourist boat, drifting down the Nile, I was mesmerized by the call of the muezzin echoing from the tall minarets stretching lazily against the sky. Every sunset, night, dawn, noon and afternoon the faithful are summoned to worship - man reaching out to God, God reaching out to man - an endless loop. The sun was beginning to go down, quenching itself in the great river, exuding a coral sheen on the water and far distant horizon, as if setting fire to the papyrus beds. The graceful feluccas glided silently along the Nile, like the wings of long-forgotten water birds glistening in the last rays of sunlight.
As if in a poetic trance, I asked myself, How did I find myself here? From what distant call was I summoned and allowed to place my hands on each of the Holy of Holies, participating in ancient, mystical initiations in Abu Simbel, Aswan, Philae Island, Kom Ombo, Edfu, Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, Dendara, Abydos, Tell el Amarna, Beni Hasan, El Mina and finally, the Giza plateau. Just where and when did my pilgrimage begin?
I was on tour with a group of Rosicrucians, having been a member for the past eighteen years. The Rosicrucian Order is an ancient, metaphysical organization that traces its roots through Akhenaton to the days of Atlantis. During the '70s, when others were experimenting with psychedelics and drawn to New Age religions, I, too, experienced the restless urge to open the doors of perception. As a child, I was intrigued by the advertisements of the Rosicrucian Order in popular magazines. The attraction for me was their promise to expand one's psychic ability; since early childhood I had had psychic experiences.
When I joined the order, I was told that, upon the completion of our studies, we would be allowed to remain as social members if we so wished, but that each would embark on a new course of study, directed by an unseen hand. After eighteen years, I was finished with my weekly monographs and had no desire to participate in social activities. My time as a Rosicrucian would culminate in this final, three-week pilgrimage to Egypt and two-week stay in Israel.
As I sat on deck, listening, thinking and waving to the beautiful children who threw kisses to us from shore, I was joined by a German woman who lived in Ottawa. She was a curious woman who had caught the attention of all, because of her insistence upon wearing white dresses of Battenberg lace and carrying a white lace parasol while the rest of us wore running shoes, T-shirts and our cleanest pair of dirty jeans as we trudged through the hot, dusty desert. Resembling a character from an Agatha Christie novel, Eva proved to be a charming and enchanting companion with whom I shared many conversations. She told me about her horrific time in Russian-occupied Germany during Hitler's final hour, her escape to Paraguay as a Mennonite, and how she had cleared the fields and given birth to her three children on the dirt floor of her hut.
One day I confided to her some of my own private hypotheses, one of which was that the Adamic default had nothing to do with eating forbidden fruit but rather with an inadvertent transmutation of the human DNA.
"Uh oh!" she whispered in her child's voice, "That's the Urantia Book!"
"What's that?" I queried.
"It's a great secret! A big, blue book!" She said in hushed tones, half covering her mouth with her wispy fingers.
"Who wrote it?" I asked.
"No one knows! But a group of people were given the book and they want to keep it a secret! At this moment," she added, "my friend, Joseph, who lives in Ottawa, is translating the book into Farsi for his wife, so that she can share it with him. Maybe he can give you an address."
When I arrived back in the States I was determined to find the "secret" book recommended by the little gingerbread lady, but in the days before Windows and Amazon.com it was not an easy task. I enlisted the help of my friend Pam, who was endlessly dabbling in New Age religions. Within two weeks Pam came bounding over to my house, a big blue book securely held in each arm. She had found the book at a New Age fair in nearby Long Beach. The warm and loving Urantia folks that she met not only openly sold her the book, but also gave her flowers and a gold pin with concentric circles, one for each of us.
And that is how I found the Urantia Book, or rather, how it found me, or better still, how we found each other!
LEE AND MILDRED MAXTON: In September of 1992 my wife Mildred and I went to California for a vacation and stayed with my son in Santa Ana. Shortly after our arrival we noticed a big book on his coffee table. When we asked him about it, he told us that he had discovered the book while on a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We also asked some questions regarding its authorship. Mildred became intrigued by the book, and she and my son selected various papers to read together. We all became so deeply absorbed that instead of visiting the various tourist sights, most of our visit was spent just reading the Urantia Book.
After returning home to Tempe, Arizona, we looked for local study groups and found one in Scottsdale, hosted by Larry Bowman on Thursday evenings. Larry welcomed us and we have been going there ever since. In the summer of 1993 we joined the Grand Canyon Society and became very much involved in its activities, Mildred serving as secretary and vice-president, and I as treasurer and navigation chairman. Presently I am the publisher of our quarterly newsletter.
These past few years have been very rewarding for us. Both of us had always had so many unanswered questions regarding our religious beliefs, and we discovered the answers we were searching for in the Urantia Book. We have not found the book to conflict with our individual religious backgrounds - Millie is a Mormon and I am a Presbyterian. Rather, the teachings of the Urantia Book have greatly strengthened our religious life. We have also met many interesting and dedicated Urantians. Now in our senior years, we are so thankful for the peace and beauty the Urantia Book has brought into our lives.
ALLENE VICK: I first saw the Urantia Book in 1985 when a friend got out her copy to look up the Lucifer rebellion, which three of us had been discussing. I took some time to page through the book, knowing that someday I would have a copy of my own, but at the time I didn't have $38 to buy one.
I next came across the Urantia Book when I was visiting my mother for three months in Florida while she was awaiting surgery. It was about the only stretch of time I'd had since I was 16 that I wasn't working. I went to a small branch library and, to my amazement, there it was. For three months I couldn't put it down. I read the Jesus papers, and in between flipped through the first three parts, stopping at various passages that caught my attention. Being a fast reader, I covered most of the book, but it was at times overwhelming.
Later, when my brother asked me several times what I thought of it, I found myself saying that I didn't need to know the hierarchy of heaven. That seems strange to me now, because since the age of 14 I have had a compelling desire to understand how the universe works. I had been seeking answers for over thirty years, following a lot of different paths, studying Eastern religions, metaphysical and New Age material, philosophy, science - you name it. But I had accumulated so much knowledge by then that I was more interested in learning how to apply it than learning any more.
In 1992 an acquaintance, Chris Hart, came over to talk to me about polarity units, and as we got to talking, we discovered many mutual interests. She asked me if I had read the Urantia Book. When she found out I had read most of it, she invited me to join a small local study group. I began attending classes twice as week with a wonderful teacher, Patije Mills, who helped to bring the book to life for me. I have been reading and studying it ever since.
When I think of what I like most about the book, two things stand out. First, its portrayal of the Universal Father. The God I'd learned at church was either highly judgmental, or omnipresent but impersonal.
I love the fact that I can have a personal relationship with him. Second, its story of Jesus. I believed he lived as portrayed in the Bible, but I always sensed he was much more and had put him on hold. Thanks to the understanding gained from the Urantia Book, I now have a very intimate, loving, personal relationship with Michael.
Over the years I had acquired kernels of truth from many sources, but always they were found amidst a lot of mythology and distortion. I didn't know what to do with these truths or the truths I had learned from my own personal experiences, as they didn't fit any system. The Urantia Book is like a giant oak tree, where all the truths I've gleaned over the years find a place to belong - a leaf here, a twig there, a branch over here. My lifelong desire to understand how the universe works has at last been satisfied, and it has been pleasing to see the magnificent order of the whole. Now I can focus my full attention on learning to live the truths of the Urantia Book.
DON ROARK: When I was 16 years old, I was standing with others in a traditional Christian church reciting the Apostles' Creed when it occurred to me: I don't really believe what I am saying, so I'd better leave until I find out why.
Thus began a long adventure looking for the meaning of life, why we are here and what we should do. This search included altered states of consciousness, Eastern philosophy, Science of Mind, the 12-Step Program, A Course in Miracles, and many blind alleys.
Then in 1992 I went to the Whole Life Expo in Los Angeles. After wandering around not seeing anything of interest, I found myself standing in front of a beautiful, blue, awe-inspiring booth. A tall, distinguished, older man (older than me) smiled and said, "This is quite a book - you might want to read it!" So, I bought the Urantia Book from Duane Faw, and my life has never been the same.
At first I bounced around for months, reading bits and pieces, and concluded that this was either the greatest science fiction story ever written, or it was indeed a revelation of truth. I preferred the first alternative, and decided to read one whole paper every night without fail. Soon I was reading the book "religiously." Halfway through my second reading I concluded that the book was, indeed, a revelation.
I am now on my fifth reading and it is truly amazing that concepts continue to emerge; words that were "not there" during the first four readings suddenly appear. The things that I do remember are suddenly magnified as if they are in neon lights. Part IV is illuminated in vivid 3-D and I sometimes believe I am immersed in a virtual reality environment with surround sound.
The Urantia Book is not merely the most amazing book I have ever encountered, it is the most amazing source of truth this planet has had in the last two thousand years!
ALBA TERESITA ROJAS AGUDELO: In the early '90s, every eight to fifteen days I would travel nine hours by car to Tabio, Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia, to assist two groups in their study of the Enneagram, Each study session lasted three days. During one session I saw, among several books on a table, the big blue Urantia Book. I picked it up and leafed through it. It looked very interesting. One of the speakers for the Enneagram, Juan Osorio, sat down next to me and we talked about the book. He told me of its wonders, and my heart opened with a joy that I couldn't explain.
That afternoon I was asked to assist at a meeting. During this time I wrote down questions I had about the Urantia Book and then discussed them with Juan. I was beginning to fall in love with the book. Then Juan took me to a bookstore in Bogota and I bought a copy to take home with me.
Sometime later, when I could no longer attend the meetings, I studied the book alone at home. I searched for a group to study with, but couldn't find any. I tried to form a group of my own but people treated me as if I had lost my mind, as if the Urantia Book were a strange religion. Still I continued reading at home, but that got me in trouble, too. I had to hide my book for fear it would be burned.
One day I faced my family and told them that for me the Urantia Book came first. I put the book back on my bookshelf, although not without fear, because if they were to burn it I would have to go to Bogota to get another one, as there was no place to buy it in my hometown. In reply, my family told me to leave home and go live with my book.
That was in 1996. At a later Enneagram meeting, someone invited me to another gathering to talk about the Urantia Book. At first I was nervous, but I took control of my emotions and finally was able to discuss the book at some length. The next Tuesday a Urantia Book study group began and I have been in charge of it ever since.
I like everything about the Urantia Book. It has totally situated me in life. I now know things I didn't have the slightest idea about previously. I have learned not only to live with others but also to forgive, to understand, and to love them even more. By the way, most of those who had treated me like I was nuts now ask me to let them read the book. Its bewildering!
HOLLY: At the age of eight I was already having prayer time with God. My prayer was simple, "God, please let me be like Jesus." I had learned about Jesus from my grandmother - together we would pray the Lords Prayer. At nine I attended a Church of Christ summer Bible school where I accepted Jesus into my heart. When I learned that as he was dying he said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do," I knew that he understood our spiritual ignorance and loved us in spite of it.
For the next ten years I had a deep desire to know God intimately. I attended Baptist revivals, Lutheran retreats, Methodist Bible schools, and Young Life meetings. I gravitated to friends who would talk about God and were involved in church. But somehow I wasn't getting the big picture, the big truth - the daily personal experience of knowing God. By the time I began college, I was starting to drift away from my search.
In November of 1992, at the age of 32, I began having spiritual talks with a friend. Knowing how much I loved Jesus, he mentioned the Urantia Book to me. He said it contained a more complete version of Jesus' life. I was curious and skeptical. I thought it was probably channeled and therefore not to be trusted.
A year later I was in Ruidoso, New Mexico, in a candle shop that had a small selection of books. How excited I was when I saw that one of the books was the Urantia Book! I read through some of the Jesus section and liked what I read. I wasn't yet ready to buy the book, but I did purchase a pamphlet entitled "The Birth of a Revelation, The Story of the Urantia Papers" by Mark Kulieke. Its description of the way the book came into existence - through a unique interaction between spiritual beings and human beings - sat well with me. This sort of process made more sense than channeling.
A few months later I was in a New Age bookstore in Austin, Texas, where I saw a high-quality magazine entitled The Jesusonian. The "Jesus part of it caught my eye. I read through it and soon realized that its material was based on the Urantia Book. I bought it. The bookstores owners said they held a meeting each week to study the UB with other readers. At one of the meetings I met a reader named Mary Huggins, whom I had previously met through my brother. Wow! What serendipity! She and I got together a few times after that, and she loaned me a book. Since I was still investigating. I read my borrowed UB diligently every day for two weeks, as well as the supplemental UB material I'd purchased through the Jesusonian Foundation in Colorado. A few months later, the UB softcover came out, and I bought it.
I have received so much inner peace and freedom from the truths in the UB. The book's narratives completed the partial biblical accounts I had been questioning. They answered my questions about Jesus' crucifixion, Adam and Eve, the Lucifer rebellion, Melchizedek's purpose and identity, and Paul's Christian religion. I had not been in complete agreement with the Christian view of these subjects, and the UB confirmed my gut feelings about "the rest of the story." I was relieved to learn that true religion is personal and experiential and is not necessarily derived through associating with a church. I was also relieved to find confirmation of the fact that absolute rejection of God is the only way we don't survive into the next life. I experience sanity and unity in my thinking due to the support I receive from the Urantia Book.
JORDI SOLSONA I ESTRADA: I've long been reading books that attempt to explain the reason for our existence. I began with Teilhard de Chardin, continued with Rosicrucian literature, and discovered the revelations of Paiporta. Paiporta is a town in Valencia, Spain; the revelations were given by angels to some local teenagers. I then began to search for other angelic revelations. As I studied and compared these revelations, it struck me that all their various teachings contained truth.
One day, I asked a friend who was traveling to New York to try to track down a book entitled the Urantia Book, which supposedly talked about extra-terrestrials. I had just learned of the book's existence but wasn't desperate to get a copy as I wasn't particularly interested in ET's. When my friend returned he reported that he couldn't find the book.
Two weeks later I was searching through a bookstore in Barcelona when I suddenly saw the Urantia Book. I felt it was ironic, and figured that my friend would be glad to know he could buy it right here in Barcelona. I was surprised by its great size and the logo, but as soon as I read the table of contents and saw "The Life and Teachings of Jesus," I bought it and began to read it.
That day I felt that all my urges and searching for truth had led me to that book; I found it at the precise moment when I needed it. It answered all my desires for integration of the different ways of telling truth that I had been finding up until then.
DONNA BROWN: I found the Urantia Book while attending a Whole Life Expo in Pasadena, in March of 1993. I was wandering around looking at various booths when one with a picture of Jesus and the words "Jesusonian Foundation" caught my eye. I've always felt drawn to Jesus.
At the booth I talked to a very nice lady named Ann Garner. I asked her some questions, such as, "What is this about?" and "Is this a church?" She told me it was about a book. She then showed me a copy of the Urantia Book and gave a brief description of it. She asked me what I did for a living, then recommended some chapters in the book that I might be interested in as a marriage and family counselor. I asked her if there was anything to join, and she said no. Lastly, I wanted to know where I could get the book to read before buying it. Ann suggested I try my local library, and that if I had any trouble obtaining the book to contact her.
That was my introduction to the book. I was skeptical about finding it in my local library, since I had read most of the books in the Spiritual/ Metaphysical section and had never noticed it there before. Ann assured me that it could always be found through an inter library search.
I took some pamphlets and brochures from the booth and went home determined to track the book down. I was successful. My local library ordered it for me and I had it in my hands within a week. First I read the parts I was most interested in, then quickly perused the table of contents and the chapters Ann had pointed out that pertained to my profession.
I loved what I read. The literature I had received contained information on study group meetings, where you could read together and learn more about the book from experienced readers. Being a people person, it didn't take me long to find a group nearby. I first heard of the book on March 20, 1993, requested a copy from my local library on March 22, wrote the Urantia Book headquarters in Chicago on April 21, and attended my first study group at Hal and Lucille Kettell's in Arcadia on May 17, 1993. I've been there ever since.
I also held an experimental study group bimonthly in my own home in Temple City two years later, beginning with an "Introduction to The Urantia Book" party on March 19, 1995. In my introductory talk to some twenty-one friends and family members, I said:
"If you have ever wondered, as we all have, who we are as human beings and what our place is in the larger scheme of things, how we got here and why we are here, what our purpose is on earth, this source answers these questions - the big questions - in a most eloquent and comprehensive manner. It is inspiring, enlightening and enlarging. It will augment and expand your concepts of divinity and the physical creations of the whole grand universe as nothing you have read before. I encourage you to read it and to judge it by its content and how it speaks to your heart."
I continue to enjoy my study of the book as well as my association and fellowship with many other readers at meetings, conferences, and retreats, including a pilgrimage to Israel in 1994.
If you are a spiritual seeker, open the book, open your heart and open your world.
DIANA ELWYN: As a teenager in the mid-70s I was always lurking in the Religion and Philosophy section of the library. I was desperately seeking higher meaning. I grew up in an alcoholic family but was ever the hopeful optimist. I was the vegetarian with the Earth shoes (anyone remember those?). I started doing TM at age 14. Somewhere along the line I lost the desire to find the faith that kept eluding me.
I was practically an atheist when in 1993 I went to the Spring Fair and happened across a Urantia Book booth. A man I had worked with, Lee Smith, was in the booth. I knew that Lee was into some strange UFO religion - at least, that's what people at work would say when they teased him! He had shown me the book about a year before but it looked like too big of a task. I only stopped because I knew him to be one of the nicest and most sincere people I had ever met. So I asked some of the questions I'd had for a long time, and darned if his answers didn't make sense! At that moment the spirit moved.
Sometimes I wish my hometown library had had a copy of this divine revelation during my teens. Mostly I'm just grateful I finally found it.
JEANNIE SCOTT: When I was a toddler my mom took me to church, and I loved Jesus. At 12, I went to Bible camp and was saved by Jesus Christ. Then, as a teenager, I gained a stepfather who was an atheist. I adopted his beliefs, namely, that religion is a crutch for those too weak to face the truth that this life is all there is. I certainly didn't want to be identified with those weaklings, and sided with my stepdad, much to my mother's dismay.
In the ensuing years I searched and wandered, wandering right into alcoholism, where I stayed for thirteen years. Throughout this period, I continued to search for truth. New Age looked good to me, especially the reincarnation bit - I loved the idea of having been famous in a previous life!
I tried repeatedly to quit drinking. Every morning I awoke with yet another hangover, despite my best efforts to stay sober the day before. Where was my willpower? One Friday night I hit bottom, and hit hard. Two days later, I was packing for a drinking vacation, still hung over from the Friday before. How and when would I get off this hellish merry-go-round? In anguish I cried out, "God, I can't do it alone!"
I was immediately transformed. My desire for alcohol left me and was replaced with the most sublime feeling of peace and serenity I'd known in all my forty years. God has had me in the palm of His hand ever since.
Although there was a major shift in my soul, New Age still provided the bulk of my diet - it was filling, yet lacking substance and value.
Fast forward three years to 1993. Serving tables at Red Robin, I waited on a man named JJ Johnson who had his Urantia Book strategically placed on the table. When I asked him about it, he shared just enough to intrigue me, wisely refraining from answering my question about the UB's teachings on reincarnation. I later found the Urantia Book in the library - the other Big Book. I got it home, glanced at the Foreword and thought, "Yeah, right!" I decided to read the book just to spot errors - an easy thing to do, I thought, in such a large volume.
I was hooked immediately and fell in love with the book. I read it three hours per day, renewed it, and continued until I had to return it to the library. The next morning, I felt as if I'd lost my best friend, or worse. I called bookstores until I located a copy and immediately drove down to buy it. Ah! the pure joy I felt when I left the bookstore with my book in my arms!
It's been a rough and rocky seven years since the Urantia Book entered my life. The book has been my anchor in the choppy seas of life. It has lifted me up, yielding the most sublime peace and joy I could ever imagine. It saved me. God, I love your book!
DOUG HUNTZINGER: My big question during the early '90s was, "What is a human being?" I searched many places for the answer, trying everything from different religions to literature about extraterrestrials, but no real answer was forthcoming. Then in 1993 my mother handed me a big blue book that had been sitting on her shelf since 1955, mostly unread. I must have passed by that book thousands of times! This book - the Urantia Book - explained to me just what a human being is and what his origins are. It also revealed the celestial realm, and that spirit entities are right here and can be contacted.
During the summer of 1995 I finished my first reading. Wanting to contact the spirit realm, I asked a fellow UB reader, Fred Smith, if he knew how to get in touch with the Holy Spirit, and on his recommendation I joined a Pentecostal church. Watching Rev. Benny Hinn on TV I saw many people filled with the Spirit of Truth, which he called the Holy Ghost, and I had never seen people so happy. I had to have that touch.
It was during the first night's service at one of their Men's Retreats up in the high mountains near Los Angeles that I was "baptised by the Holy Spirit." As I stood in the middle of the dining hall of the camp, I felt the Spirit enter me through the top of my head. It energized inside of me for about thirty minutes, feeling like a thousand volts of spiritual electricity filled with love. A white mist seemed to form around me and I was enveloped by golden spirit fire. As I looked up, the ceiling drew away to reveal thousands of stars and galaxies in full color, all in silence and in slow motion. It was during the first five seconds of this awesome event that the Urantia Book became real for me. Being indwelled by the Spirit of Truth was like being held in the arms of Jesus. The love I felt was cosmic and eternal. I now see each person as a child of God.