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I Wanted the Magic of the Spirit

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I first had an opportunity to discover The Urantia Book in 1966. I was working in the warehouse of a department store while going to college. Working with me was a peculiar, introverted guy, a Urantia Book reader named Mike. After listening to him talk about Adam and Eve being "purple giants," I more or less tuned him out from then on. Now I'm sorry that I didn't get to know him better and pay more attention to what he was saying. Shortly after that I joined the Navy. I would have looked at the historical places I visited with a keener eye if I had been reading The Urantia Book back then.

It wasn't until 1973 or 1974, in Houston, that I came across the book again. It was given to me by a mechanic who took my old, broken-down Karmann-Ghia in exchange for an equally old, broken- down Volvo. He was a recovering drug addict and thought I might be interested in the book. When I asked him what it was about, he replied, "It's kind of science fiction." Right!

I struggled through the book for several days, maybe weeks, wondering where all of it was leading. It told an incredibly detailed story. I speculated a little bit about the authorship, but did not bother to glance ahead to the Jesus papers. I didn't even know they were there.

One night at a meeting with some people who could best be described as early New Agers, I happened to mention the book to a woman who was a friend of my ex-wife. She said she read The Urantia Book all the time to see how Jesus would handle things.

"Jesus? Is he in the book, too?" I asked.

"Of course," she replied, "that's what it's all about!"

I had been trying to discipline myself to read the book from front to back, suffering through some of the more complicated papers, building images in my brain of the panorama of other worlds and creatures it revealed, when suddenly I learned that the book also contained the real story of Jesus as recorded by midwayers who were there when it happened. I went home and skipped ahead to the rest of the story. That was when the power of the book suddenly hit me. I have never been lonely since then, and I live with the assurance that I have an eternal future in the service of my Father and his children.

While sometimes I regret not having found the book earlier in my life, I know that through my struggling and ignorance I learned how to determine right from wrong. Failure usually followed error, and pain usually accompanied failure. My Adjuster managed to lead me through literature, relationships, vocations, war, and even peace, and still always pointed me toward something better. I wanted the magic of the spirit. I wanted the power that the sure knowledge of eternal life offers. I wanted to know the love of God.

Of course I didn't know that's what I wanted. I only know that in retrospect. As Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead said, "What a long, strange trip it's been!"