My father was an avid reader, a self- taught man, and a seeker of truth. I don't think he believed in a personal God, but my mother was Catholic and raised us as such. The Catholic Church meant little to me other than rituals and dangerous nuns, and after twelve years I decided that I never really believed in God at all. My father had always been interested in science, ancient pyramids, and UFOs, and in my later years these interests became a common bond between us. I read many books on those subjects and was convinced of the existence of extra- terrestrial life.
In 1970 I was still in school and working during vacations. My best friend had moved to Oregon after high school to live in a commune. She was a poet, a young mother, and a follower of the Guru Mahara Ji. She told me she had come across a book that I might like, though she herself could not understand it. She claimed it was written by extra- terrestrials and had been dropped off on earth. Something inside me knew that was true and I wrote down the name of the book. I told my dad about it, and since it was close to my birthday, he said he would give it to me as a present. Together we went to a bookstore in the Coventry area of Cleveland, a hip community from the '60s, and ordered The Urantia Book.
When I finally got it, I was shocked by its size and complexity, and intrigued by the table of contents. I started at the beginning, but the enlarged concept of God had no meaning for me since I was still an unbeliever. I stopped after three pages, but I must have at least glanced at the Jesus section, because I recall telling friends that "when certain planets are in trouble, a Jesus is sent to straighten things out." I wrote to the Foundation asking for more information, but I stopped reading the book.
Years later, Walter Dychko, a Urantian from the west side of Cleveland, called one day to try to organize a study group. I thought it would help me to understand the book if I could study it with other readers. We corresponded for over a year without getting a group together. Something always got in the way.
I had been working as a medical secretary in a hospital for three years, and a nurse friend of mine phoned me from Atlanta where she had moved the year before. She had been quite wild, and I was shocked to find out that she and her new husband had become Jehovah's Witnesses. She spent a long time telling me about her new beliefs and the prophecies of the Bible (which I had never even looked at in my twelve years of Catholic schooling). The prophecies were interesting, but my main thought was that she had been duped by those Jehovah's Witnesses. I felt sorry for her.
The phone call had come early in the morning so I went back to bed but couldn't sleep. I found myself thinking about God and what little time I had given to learning about him. Suddenly, the room was filled with a warm and glowing light. I felt so strange, as if I had received the gift of faith right at that moment, as if I had been "born again." I couldn't get back to sleep and had an irresistible urge to be out in the summer morning. Taking my dog with me, I went outside and was amazed at how clear and bright everything looked, like I was wearing a new pair of glasses!
I came home and had such tremendous urges - to read The Bible, to join a church, to learn everything I could. I called different churches at random, went to the library, and got some books on Edgar Cayce, the Dead Sea Scrolls, world religions, The Koran, even The Talmud.
That same day I called Mr. Dychko and told him how I felt. He suggested I read The Urantia Book but to start with the Jesus section this time. I read for about five hours without stopping and my Thought Adjuster must have responded because I knew that every word I was reading was the truth. It was exciting to finally believe in something, to have faith in God! I kept reading and studying the UB together with The Bible and my other library books, and was amazed at how they interconnected.
My family knew of this experience I was having and encouraged me to go to the Midwest Urantia conference in Michigan. There I met some great people, including my future husband, Richard. Richard had found the book on a friends coffee table in Hawaii while stationed there in the Navy. We discovered that we lived in the same area, and decided to try to get a study group together. We met with Mr. Dychko a few times, but his wife, being Catholic, refused to let us meet there anymore. So Richard and I studied together, fell in love, got married, and had a beautiful baby daughter.