Much of our world view with respect to the great questions of life are "inherited" from our early moral, religious, and philosophical environment. My early environment conveyed to me the moral view that we are all members of the great family of man. Spiritually, however, I had no teaching or direction to follow. My father had suffered at the hands of Roman Catholic nuns in an orphanage for a short time. His experience and the stories he told shaped my early view of religion in a most negative way. My father always asserted his agnostic position regarding the existence of God and felt passionately that one's religion was too important to be left to the choice of another.
In my teenage rebellion I did him one better by going all the way to atheism. As a philosophical materialist I enjoyed poking holes in the religious reasoning of my peers. However, after some poor decisions and traumatic experiences I found myself, 23 years old, anxious and depressed, seeking answers and meaning in astrology, the occult, and drugs.
In a moment of despair one day I asked - or should I say, the question was asked of me - "Who was Jesus?" In light of my past experiences it seemed an odd question to ask or be asked. I picked up a King James version of The Bible and read the synoptic gospels. Perhaps because of its archaic language and terminology, which was associated with a religion I had already rejected, I put The Bible back on the shelf, somewhat disappointed.
About two weeks afterward a friend of mine, Roger Minor, greeted me most enthusiastically with The Urantia Book, saying things like, "This is it! This is the book! It's all here!" Curious, I began to examine it. I bought my first copy a few days later. Little did I understand the significance of the date of my purchase - January 6, 1969, the Day of Epiphany in the Christian Church.
Six months of reading the book led me to my own epiphany. I read that God was real, not just man's invention or the repository of his highest values and hopes. All at once I felt the presence of God. That experience lasted a few hours. During this experience I "saw" the solution of all my personal problems as well as the solution to the problems of the world. Everything was wrapped up in the loving presence that enveloped me. In that marvelous moment I was given the certainty of my own personality survival.
More than thirty years later this survival-certainty is just as vivid and real as it was on that miraculous day. In the matter of a few hours my world view was turned 180 degrees. It took me a number of years to regain my equilibrium and integrate my new orientation to life into all of my affairs. To this day The Urantia Book continues to be my most powerful calling card to sonship with our heavenly Father.