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How I Found the Urantia Book—PAT McNELLY (1969)


I WAS brought up Roman Catholic in a large family of seven. My mother was deeply religious and a daughter of Polish immigrants, my father a convert from mainstream Protestantism. I went to Catholic grammar schools and was an altar boy. I knew all the rubrics and was proficient in the Latin Mass. I was also a seminarian during my first two years of high school in the early ’60s. I sensed that I had some sort of calling or vocation from God, but learned quickly that I was not meant for celibacy or the Catholic priesthood.

After that I attended an all-boys, college-prep Catholic high school and soon lost interest in religion. During the mid-’60s in college, I became an agnostic. I could no longer believe in the dogmas of the Church, and was disillusioned by the world and its absurdities.

Feeling lost, and in an attempt to get control of my life, I left school and joined the U.S. Army in early 1968. After six months of training, I was sent to South Korea. But my spirit had begun to stir. I started reading Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ouspensky, and the I Ching. I wanted to find my own way. I wrote volumes and volumes of poetry. And then my world changed.

It was October, 1969, and I was home on leave from Korea after spending thirteen months overseas as a Remote Sensing Imagery Interpreter for the U.S. Army. I was having a conversation with my mother about God and religion, and she said she had something she wanted to show me. She took me into the den to look at a book that she was giving to my father for his birthday in December. She had heard about it from a bookseller in town while attending a faculty party. My father was an avid reader of science fiction and taught the first university course on the subject in the late ’60s, at California State University, Fullerton. The subject of science fiction had come up at the party, and this bookseller said he had a book that he wasn’t sure was science fiction, called the Urantia Book, that my father might enjoy. My mother bought his last copy, a second printing.

She explained to me that this was a book allegedly written by angels who had all the answers to all the questions mankind had ever asked about God, history, religion, cosmology, life on other worlds and the universe. I paged through it for about twenty minutes and it made a deep impression.

I returned to finish my tour in the Army at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, and went to a local bookstore to order my own copy, but was told it was out of print. Imagine having just a hint of this revelation, but not being able to get a copy for thirteen months!

When I was finally discharged in January, 1971, the third printing had just come out and I immediately bought my own book. I devoured it in about three months and joined the First Urantia Society of Los Angeles in December that year, after studying under the tutelage of Julia Fenderson, then West Coast Field Representative for the Urantia Brotherhood.
The book has answered so many of my questions and has renewed my faith and belief in God, but I have since learned that the real revelation is not in a book, but in the lives we lead.

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