For as long as I can remember I have been spiritually curious. I used to listen to Bible stories, wondering what was behind them and what they meant. Growing up I questioned things that did not make sense to me. I would pray for hours at a time, asking God for answers.
As I got older I began to study other beliefs, although I never officially joined any organization. I was always interested in different religious practices, and I began creating my own religious viewpoint. I did not think my spiritual longings strange, however, until I recalled a story told to me by my great aunt Lula and my mother.
The story goes like this: Aunt Lula's husband, Rev. Calhoun, was the pastor of Lizzy Chapel Church in Macon, Georgia. He died a couple of months before I was born. My mother and her sister, both of whom lived with Aunt Lula, were pregnant at the same time and both delivered boys in February of that year. One night Aunt Lula had a vision: Her husband came into the room where the two infants were sleeping and placed a crown at the foot of the bed of one of the boys. He then turned to Lula and said, "This one will be special."
Later, they told me I was that special child. When something like this happens, it is expected that the child will grow up to become a great preacher. There was no doubt in anyone's mind that this was my destiny, until my cousin and I both left college the same year - he to become a preacher, and I to join a band. On the surface this would seem to contradict the dream, except that my spiritual experience is still evolving and maturing. I've always felt that my life was being lived in preparation for something special.
The band I joined was called Psalms. We were devoted to playing music with a positive, and sometimes spiritual, message. Then in 1971 a guitar player joined our band and everything changed. His name was Eugene Patricella, and he had just returned from Hawaii where he'd found The Urantia Book on a table at the house of some friends.
One evening we were sitting around playing some music, engaged in a conversation about spiritual matters, when he handed me a big blue book, simply saying, "Check this out." My first impression was sheer amazement. I said, "Wow! This is what I've been waiting for!" Some time prior to this I'd had a vision wherein I was told, essentially, that I would receive a special book. It was unbelievable to me that the truth was now right here in my hands.
For days I read constantly. The material was so intellectually pure, so absolute. I would read, fall asleep, awaken, and read some more. It was as if I had to sleep so that my Thought Adjuster could present images and meanings to me of the sometimes dense material. For weeks I glowed with excitement. Everything was new, as if I had been reborn. Every aspect of my life seemed perfectly relevant, leading me to the precise moment. I had always believed in God, but now I knew with assurance. I attempted to tell everyone the good news but I quickly found that that wasn't the prudent thing to do. Friends, associates, and family members (except my brother and father) all backed away from me. Some even thought I had totally lost it. I realized that not everyone was ready for truth on that level.
I thank God for this gift - an answer to prayer. I continue to actively disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book, but I now find that people are drawn to me who are ready for the good news.