A place to discuss how faith experiences have changed your life.
Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:13 pm +0000
I am a recent forum member, but a long time reader. Some years ago I underwent some changing experiences that I could more fully understand by the following;
2. Religion and the Individual
(1130.6) 103:2.1 Religion is functional in the human mind and has been realized in experience prior to its appearance in human consciousness. A child has been in existence about nine months before it experiences birth. But the “birth” of religion is not sudden; it is rather a gradual emergence. Nevertheless, sooner or later there is a “birth day.” You do not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you have been “born again” — born of the Spirit. Many spiritual births are accompanied by much anguish of spirit and marked psychological perturbations, as many physical births are characterized by a “stormy labor” and other abnormalities of “delivery.” Other spiritual births are a natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience, albeit no religious development occurs without conscious effort and positive and individual determinations. Religion is never a passive experience, a negative attitude. What is termed the “birth of religion” is not directly associated with so-called conversion experiences which usually characterize religious episodes occurring later in life as a result of mental conflict, emotional repression, and temperamental upheavals.
(1131.1) 103:2.2 But those persons who were so reared by their parents that they grew up in the consciousness of being children of a loving heavenly Father, should not look askance at their fellow mortals who could only attain such consciousness of fellowship with God through a psychological crisis, an emotional upheaval.
I found no person to talk about this transition, I was happy to find God, but lonely among people. Are any of you familiar with these episodes and willing to discuss your experiences with me? I am in the Pacific time zone, and I don't always get the chance to check in, so it may be a drawn out conversation. I am willing none the less.
Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:50 pm +0000
Great post - and I can certainly relate. In fact, when I first found that quote you cited, I immediately recognized myself as one who had had a "stormy labor." It was comforting to me to read that my experience was real. It was validation for me, and instantly rang true, as does the book overall.
I was a person who, early on, rejected organized religion - in my case, Catholicism - and it was quite traumatic to do so. I had had 18+ years of strict Catholic upbringing, complete with daily Mass and nuns in black habits and thorough indoctrination. I was weary of it, and headstrong as only the young can be...Unfortunately, I had not the wisdom to realize that rejecting the religion did not mean I had to reject God, so I pretty much put him on the shelf, too. For all those years of religious education, I did not know God at all. So sad...I still believed in Jesus, for he had the truest things to say. One of the reasons that I rejected Catholicism was that the reality was so unlike Jesus' teachings. Lip-service, but not in the real world that I saw. There was so much hypocrisy...and I was a rebel. I am still the black sheep in my very-Catholic family.
In any event, I then embarked on a nearly 20-year walk in the wilderness, where I relied mainly on my own judgment, my own will, to make my life work. I was confused, disappointed, angry, selfish, self-centered, and determined to have my way. Life had taught me early-on that I was the only person that I could really trust (or so I thought...) This kind of attitude was quite destructive of my personal life...
After those many years with no spiritual moorings at all, the chickens came home to roost, and I found myself in serious trouble - financially, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually. I entered into a deep, black depression from which I could see no light whatsoever. This lasted for many weeks, during which time I could only cry and cry. Somewhere in there, I surrendered. I laid down my arms and just surrendered one day. I began praying the prayers of my youth - the Our Father, the Hail Mary...I began going to Mass...I was desperate to understand what to do next. Even though it was a return to the church, still I realize now that this was the beginning of my re-birth. It was the surrender that did it, for it was truly sincere...I was a beaten woman in so many ways...
When I found The Urantia Book not long after this time, I truly understood that I WAS being born-again, and I was overjoyed. I remember reading the book and thinking that if I kept reading, I was going to have to seriously change my life. And, armed with the beginnings of that joyous response of my soul to my change of heart, I began taking those steps that WOULD change me. Finding The Urantia Book helped me to re-wean myself from the authority of the church, for I now saw clearly - and was validated - that my original divorcement from the church was a good thing...the religion of personal spiritual experience became my all-consuming desire. And I was not disappointed. I saw hope again...God rushed in to fill the void as soon as I opened my heart. My weakness brought all of his strength to me.
My mind became engaged in a higher purpose, my moral development started to regenerate, and my spirit became watered and fed for the first time in many, many years. I was truly a famished soul...
That was in 1985...my life has never been the same since. I have had to back-pedal, I have had to atone (in my own ways) some bad behaviors, I have had to tear down completely my old life - I realized that my life was built on shifting sands - and build a brand new, solid foundation upon which to stand. And it has been a long and painful process, especially at the beginning...very stormy indeed, but full of increasing joy and that peace that passes all understanding.
Have not laid all of this out in a long time, so I thank you for the opportunity to revisit those times, and thank God once again for never forgetting me, for never allowing me to completely destroy myself, for always watching over me, even when I paid him no mind whatsoever. In retrospect, I see it all so clearly. At the time, all on my own, I felt so alone...no more...
God bless you...
Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:11 pm +0000
Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with me. It is of great comfort to me to be able to discuss these occurences with someone.
When I completed this last post I had to lay my head on the desk and cry. Without guidance from the Urantia Book, I may have very well commited myself as crazy. I know the people around me certainly saw it this way. I had been an avid UB reader for many years, but suffered from "chosen people" syndrome. I finally realized first hand the difference between 'believing' and 'faith'. I too had made countless errors which I had to face and account for. The thread of hope that kept me going was an understanding of God which I can best describe as
" beyond this wall of agony is joy". Truly the tremendous agony I experienced for many years was always comingled with the joy of faith and forgiveness. My life is progressing more smoothly now, but it still brings tears to my eyes when I remember these times. I feel tremendous compassion for people who go through this experience, particularly those without reference to the reasons and purpose. This is not the kind of subject that is easy for anyone to talk about. I hope other readers may recognize this in themselves, or friends and family in their lives to help in the understanding of this natural occurence in growing Godward.
Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:14 am +0000
Thanks, Conrad...my experiences bring me to tears, also, but these days, more tears of joy than sadness.
It is hard to imagine going through such tough times without some sort of anchor, like The Urantia Book, to help it all to make sense. Of course, I started my rebirth without it, but finding it when I did made such a difference. Harder to imagine is the person who never finds God and does not get to experience the joy of the spiritual awakening...It sounds as if your rebirth started AFTER your discovery of the book...faith is an on-going search for me..always find that I need more, but God is always there to supply it when I ask...
I am glad to hear that life is better for you now...me too...much better.
One of my favorite quotes:
"Increasing happiness is always the experience of all who are certain about God. "http://www.truthbook.com/index.cfm?linkID=1411#U159_3_10
Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:46 am +0000
Thanks for sharing your stories folks. It's always been hard for me to understand the "stormy labor" type of spiritual awakening, so I appreciate your efforts. I, myself, have never experienced that, having had the "natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience" type of awakening . . . nice and slow and gradual since childhood, despite having irreligious, dysfunctional parenting. I never let go of the hand of Jesus once I was introduced to him, and that I consider to be a miracle in and of itself. It just goes to show how important diversity of experience is to the Supreme.
Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:50 pm +0000
Attaining spiritual growth of any kind is difficult without others who at least understand the subject, but less difficult when learning from a tome like TUB if one has some formal religious background of some kind, i.e. at least traditions. And, when surrounded by secularists it's even harder.
It can be done by accepting God as a the First Source and Center by faith, which is the start. Then Part IV of TUB can give real familiarity with Jesus the man and the Son, and God as your Father. Part IV is a wonderful view, not flavored with doctrine, fear, and repression.
This type of learning is a parental responsibility, but failing such help many have to find God by themselves. And, many have to do that even if taught something as children which doesn't seem OK as an adult.
If you do the first 1% the spiritual Family of God will do the rest. Have faith.
Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:09 am +0000
La mia esperienza personale è tale e quale quella descritta al fascicolo 103 di Urantia. Il mio è stato un percorso misto di Fede e di travaglio mentale.
Sono nato con la Fede e vivendo in una famiglia cattolica ho praticato il cattolicesimo fino all'età adulta di 20/25 anni, dopo di che in me è iniziato un processo di trasfmormazione che mi ha portato ad uscire dagli schemi religiosi tradizionali cattolici e rituali per condurmi di nuovo nella strada in cui il Padre mi aveva generato all'origine imprimendo nella mia Personalità la "sete" stessa di Lui. Poi, molto tardi ho scoperto il libro di Urantia ovvero circa 20 anni più tardi e nel frattempo ho vissuto anche molti travagli mentali di assestamento non compresi soprattutto dagli altri e mal interpretati. Per me sono stati una grande prova e credo di averla superata, ma non sarà questa l'ultima, non credo. Poi appena scoperto il libro di Urantia mi sono imbattuto in diversi forum di Esoterismo come per provare che quella realtà che non conoscevo era fallibile e in parte per cercare conferme alle tante tematiche del Libro di Urantia. Sono stato in questi forum circa 3 anni e la Verità di fondo della mia vita come anche la verità del libro di Urantia è venuta "a galla" e nonostante aver sentito e vissuto molto tempo con realtà diverse dalla Verità non ne sono mai stato contaminato. Ora provo dispiacere per questi fratelli che non hanno ancora trovato la strada giusta la strada Vera. Chissà quanti e quali altre prove saranno in serbo per me.
Auguro a tutti un Vero percorso di vita in preparazione di un Glorioso Futuro.
My personal experience is such and such as that described in the file 103 of Urantia. My path was a mixture of faith and mental anguish.
I was born with the faith and living in a Catholic family I have practiced Catholicism to adulthood of 20/25 years, after which I began a process of trasfmormazione that led me to break the mold religious rituals and traditional Catholics to lead me back into the street where my Father was originally generated by impressing the people in my thirst same of him then, much later I discovered the book of Urantia or about 20 years later and in the meantime I lived many mental troubles bedding not included above and misinterpreted by others. For me it was a great test and I think I have surpassed it, but this will not last, I think not. Then just discovered the Urantia book I came across several forums esoteric to prove that reality did not know he was fallible, and partly to seek confirmation of the many themes of the Urantia Book. I've been in these forums about three years and the basic truth of my life as well as the truth of the Urantia book is coming "afloat" and despite having heard and experienced a lot of time with reality than the truth I have never been contaminated. Now I feel sorry for these brothers who have not yet found the right way the true path. Who knows how many and what other tests will be for me in Serbian.
I wish you all a true path of life in preparation for a glorious future.
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