On hot Kansas summer nights, back in the 1930s, my family sometimes slept outside on the hay rack to escape the heat. We would count meteors, study the stars and speculate on whether there were other worlds and, if so, whether they worshipped the same God we did. My parents tried hard to answer our questions but sometimes I dropped off to sleep hearing Mother or Dad saying, "Willie, that's a great mystery. If God wanted us to know, he would tell us."
Time passed and we survived the Depression, dust storms and cyclones. I watched the sky as I worked in the fields, now and then seeing an airplane, and my imagination took wings. Eventually I had my first ride in an airplane and subsequently joined the Army Air Corps
About this time, something happened that changed my life. I was riding the bus home from work one evening reading Popular Science magazine and saw some photographs of alien spaceships taken by one George Adamski near Mt. Palomar, California. The idea took root in my mind: We are not alone in the universe!
I don't remember how I learned about the annual UFO conventions at Giant Rock airstrip on the high desert of Southern California near Yucca Valley, but in 1953 I drove out there from Kansas to investigate. In 1956 we moved to Utah and were able to attend the annual conventions more easily. It was difficult to know what, if anything, to believe. The people who spoke about their contacts were obviously sincere and I was inclined to accept much of what they said at face value; I stored away the remainder for future reference.
It was during our last visit in 1958 that I found The Urantia Book. There, on a table on the runway of that small airstrip, were a number of metaphysical and other books tended by a little old lady from Allen's Book Shelf of Fontana, California. While browsing, I saw a big blue book containing a paper entitled "Government on a Neighboring Planet." I knew I had to have that book! We spent our last $ 12 for it. It was a first edition, published in 1955.
For almost fifteen years I read it alone, unlearning many things and gaining new insights and appreciation for other aspects of reality. My first- edition UB gave no street address for the Urantia Foundation in Chicago, which made it difficult for me to find other readers. In the late 1960s I moved back to Kansas from the West. I had given up Mormonism and was exploring other organized religions. Naturally, I thought that Christians who loved the Lord would be receptive to the beautiful Urantia revelation, and I like to feel that I have been instrumental to some extent in spreading the good word.
Things happened fast for me in the early 1970s. Imagine my surprise when I finally learned that there were "conventions" nearby where many people came to share the delights of the revelation. The 1971 Concordex by Clyde Bedell was a wonderful adjunct to my learning. I began to meet other truth seekers who enriched my life, among them Loren and Ila Hall. The Halls found their first Urantia Book at a UFO meeting in Missouri so we had something in common. I first attended an international conference of Urantia Book readers in Vancouver, B.C. in 1978, where I met Christy, Vern Grimsley and many other early leaders of the revelation. The first regional meeting I attended was at Fountainhead Lodge on Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma. In 1987, I was a founding member of the Heart of America Urantia Society. In 1988,1 had the privilege of introducing the book to my present wife, Eugenia.
The Urantia Book has been such a blessing in my life. It answered my childhood yearnings. Through TUB, God is telling me what I had always wanted to know. And I have learned that I am a cosmic citizen on an eternal adventure. Thank you, Lord!