Born in 1947, I grew up in a Mennonite Brethren Church environment in North Dakota. When I was around seven years old, my older brother Edward and I were playing with our toy trucks one day when Edward asked me if I was "saved." I didn't know what he was talking about. He told me that when it was time to go to bed that night, I should tell Mom and Dad that I wanted to be saved.
That night, as I was crawling into my bunk bed, I remembered what he had said. So I went into my parents' bedroom and stated: "I want to be saved." We all got on our knees by the bedside and prayed. I don't remember who said what, but I saw the most beautiful, bright-white apparition imaginable. He didn't say anything to me, but his presence was overwhelming and the encounter changed me forever. At that point I knew beyond a doubt that other unseen realities existed.
The power of that experience was enough to carry me through my youth until I was 15, when scientific curiosity and a belief that the world was understandable soon put me at odds with the creation story of The Bible. I took many wrong turns on my way back home - the major one was turning to alcohol for relief.
I discovered The Urantia Book in 1972 and read it alone for many years. But I never felt my childhood connection with God again, and couldn't understand why. I used to tell people, "They put me here on the planet and didn't give me any instructions!"
It wasn't until 1995, when I ran out of self-will and went to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, that I finally reconnected with my God. The Urantia Book immediately became my Big Book, and now I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be. I have finally gotten over my desire to die and enter eternity, and understand that I'm a