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How I found The Urantia Book

Beautiful and Inspiring Messages About God, Life,

I first came across The Urantia Book in early 1976, while sitting in on a metaphysical class my mother was taking. My mother actually had little interest in metaphysics; she was more interested in the marketing potentials of pyramid power. I, on the other hand, was obsessed with the esoteric, and as I sat in that class I found myself in my element. At the time, I was a tortured, searching, eighteen-year-old college dropout (I�d started at sixteen), on my third psychiatrist, and working as a Boy Friday for a well-known Philadelphia psychic.

I don�t remember what the lecturer was talking about, but I recall that at one point he held up a copy of The Urantia Book and invited us to look through it after class. At first sight I was lured by its encyclopedic size. Flipping through the pages, though, I was more repelled than attracted. It seemed to be written too dryly. I was put off by the rosters of superhuman personalities and the neologisms, and cringed at bizarre chapter titles like "Melchizedek Teachings in the Occident." The lecturer noticed my reactions and advised me not to dismiss the book too rashly.

Several weeks later, while haunting the bookstores in a new suburban mall, I found it again and decided to delve into it further. Its analytic style of prose still didn�t sit well with me; I�d always supposed that a revelation would read like the Upanishads or Kahlil Gibran�s The Prophet. But certain passages about God and religious experience�written with a unique combination of eloquence, fervor, rational intelligence and authoritativeness�began to appeal to me.

Despite my fascination with the occult, and despite the fact that I�d rejected the Judaism of my childhood when I was twelve, I retained a very strong, liberal Judaeo-Christian sensibility. I never gave up craving communion with a personal God. Since childhood I�d felt drawn to Jesus, but was never able to get a good grasp of him from my Catholic relatives or from reading the New Testament. The Urantia Book was one of the very few books I�d come across that seemed to be written in a Judaeo-Christian vein and yet had something urgently new to say. I remember feeling a dim excitement at the prospect that The Urantia Book might help lead me to God and perhaps even to Jesus.

In the weeks that followed I kept going back to that mall, since it was the only place I knew that carried the book. After four or five visits, I finally rushed back to buy a copy after realizing that beneath its stark exterior, the book carried intensely beautiful and inspiring messages about God, life and destiny. The deciding factor, I think, was the "Rodan of Alexandria" paper, one of the few that didn�t presuppose familiarity with Urantia terminology. I was inspired by its sound, affirmative, God-centered philosophy, and its message about the precious values of friendship. Once I�d finally bought it, I felt a tremendous sense of relief. The book seemed to glow as it rested on my desk. But it took several months to integrate the book into my life and thoughts. The pull of astrology and psychic phenomena was still strong; I kept thinking of Jesus as a Leo and had trouble squaring Edgar Cayce�s account of Jesus with The Urantia Book�s. Nevertheless the Urantia philosophy beamed its way through the occult haze, and I gradually stopped thinking in terms of astrology and reincarnation.

Though I thumbed through the book every day, it took me about a year and a half to actually read it from cover to cover. Ironically, the stumbling block for me was the Jesus papers; while I was intensely interested in Jesus, I simply wasn�t ready to follow such a detailed narrative with all its Biblical references. For years my favorite part was Part III; but since 1991, as a result of a quiet, Jesus-centered spiritual experience, Part IV is now my preferred "literary gateway" to God.

In 1977, I decided to return to school, choosing a university in Chicago to be near the Urantia headquarters. Thus began a twenty-plus-year association with the Urantia movement, during which I worked as a volunteer and, later, a paid employee of Urantia Brotherhood (now called The Urantia Book Fellowship). Since 1992 I�ve been doing research into the sources of The Urantia Book, an endeavor which has immeasurably enriched my understanding of the whole Urantia Book phenomenon. But that�s another story.

M.B., Glendale, California

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