I was led to The Urantia Book in 1973 by a comment from my cousin. I was living in Wichita, he in Los Angeles. My cousin and I had shared many religious experiences since our days in grade school. He and I would get together, draw pictures and talk about God from the time we were about seven until we graduated from high school. In 1958, in my sophomore year in high school, I became a born-again Christian. My born-again experience happened in this way: I was scheduled to see the minister in order to "get saved." That date was days away and I was concerned that something might happen to me - I might get run over by a truck, for instance - before I actually got saved. I was lying in bed discussing this problem with myself - and with God, if he was listening - and I remember saying, "If I can be saved, right here, by myself, instead of waiting for my appointment with the minister, I want to be saved right now."
I was immediately flooded with a vibrant rush that swept through my entire body. I was startled. I did not know what it meant, since I had no reason to believe, at that time, that I could make such a momentous decision by myself. When I went through the ritual of getting saved with my minister a few days later, it was anti-climactic. I knew that I had been saved that night, by myself, alone with God.
After graduating from high school, I went on to a Bible school with plans to enter the ministry. But after two years at The Bible institute, I had to drop out and enlist in the U.S. Air Force because my parents divorced and I had no financial backing to continue school. In the Air Force I became a chaplain's assistant. I worked with chaplains of all faiths and learned that, although they didn't seem to know it, their beliefs were all basically alike. It was a great lesson to learn.
Following military service, I spent the next ten years searching - for what, I wasn't certain. There was a vacuum in my soul, caused by the unanswered questions left by the Church. My search included just about any spiritually oriented belief or mind-expanding practice I came upon. I found no single answer. Then my cousin, who had gone through a lot of the searching with me, happened to mention The Urantia Book.
I was immediately impressed with the thoroughness and exacting detail of the UB. It was the opposite of The Bible in that respect. But the section that really hooked me was the Jesus papers. Jesus had been the focal point of my prior "pure" religious experience, and I knew he was the avenue to real spiritual growth and understanding. The UB told me of the Jesus I knew in my heart. It was a more complete Jesus than the Church had presented. The UB didn't refute The Bible; it augmented it. It brought The Bible to life. It brought Jesus to life.
Although I immediately accepted the UB as authoritative, I didn't accept everything. Some of what it had to say made me angry. At times it seemed cold and almost too objective, almost merciless in its descriptions and judgments of the human condition. But each of those "anger" sessions - after which I would close the book with a sense of "no way can that be the way it is"- led me to further understanding. Those contentious points worked within me and eventually I would come to realize the truth in them.
For the next twenty-four years it was just the UB and me. I had no other readers to relate to. It was the best thing that could have happened because I developed my own sense of what the book was saying and was able to see how it worked in the real world. I held every new idea or philosophy or scientific discovery against what the UB had to say. I began to recognize things in books and movies that had a "UB-like" quality to them.
Today I have no doubt as to my eternal destiny or the existence of God. These are no longer pie-in-the-sky beliefs. The aspect of blind faith has moved its parameters much deeper into the universe. I would be more shocked if I didn't survive death than if I did. I am looking forward to the experience, but not as anxiously as I used to. At one time I wanted to be there - on the other side, free of human bondage. Now I know that I am there, and that there is here.
I'm so thankful for the UB. It has replaced the incredible with the incredibly logical. It has helped me substitute a true sense of responsibility for a sense of guilt. It has given me a certainty of the future without an escapist attitude, a sense of my place in the eternal process, and the instructions on how to navigate the eternal journey successfully. And to think that the journey has only just begun!