Funny that I should remember that night over thirty years ago in 1968 so clearly. I was at a gathering of friends at the Topanga Canyon, California, home of my business associate. He was my partner in an herbal sales and distribution group. (Remember, this was the '60s, folks!) All who were there had been sampling our firm's product for several hours. At that stage in the evening, we were unanimously agreed that our new product would do well in the marketplace. We were singing its praises. It was a jolly, festive moment.
My friend then took me aside and asked me if I would like to check out a book written by Venusians. This person had known me for years and was well aware of my interest in science fiction. He also knew that no other approach would have caught my attention at the time. He took me to his study at the back of the house, sat me down at his desk, and put The Doors' first album on the phonograph. He laid before me a rather large blue book and said, "This will blow your mind!" That was new slang at the time. I asked him what the heck "Urantia" was, and he replied with a knowing smile, "It's the name of the planet we live on."
Well, that surely activated my somewhat befuddled brain synapses and fueled my curiosity. I opened the book to the front and began to scan its contents. Thus was launched a ten-hour reading marathon which became one of the prime moments of my life. With Jim Morrison playing in the background, and surrounded with musk incense and the sweet odors of our herbal product, I began reading one of the few books that has remained a favorite for over thirty years.
My initial impression looking through the table of contents was, "This can't be for real! This sucker was published when I was six years old!" I found it hard to believe that I had not heard of the book prior to that evening. The first section I read was "The Lucifer Rebellion," and it truly did "blow my mind"! I then read "Problems of the Lucifer Rebellion," the Adam and Eve papers, the Melchizedek and religion papers, and finally, "Government on a Neighboring Planet."
When I "came to" around 10 o'clock the following morning and closed the book, I experienced a unique, paradoxical sensation. I knew I should be drained and exhausted, yet I felt so energized. I felt suffused with a sense of other-worldliness, but it was not disassociative, as with chemicals. My overriding realization that day (and to this day, in varying degrees) was that we are all stuck on this "third rock from the sun" together. The brotherhood of man became very real to me that day, and has remained so ever since.
That night I started reading the Jesus papers and finished them, pausing only for sleep and food, in about four days. My view of Jesus was forever changed. What a cool dude! He was nothing like the pious portrayal that had turned me away from the Bible so long ago. My comprehension of his masterful personality is still expanding, and I doubt it will ever stop.