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How I Found the Urantia Book—WILL SHERWOOD (1969)

Albuquerque, October, 1962. It was my sixteenth year, and the Month of the Rosary—ugh! My mother had gotten the idea that my sister and I should say the rosary every day, when I wanted to be with my friends. After mumbling through I-don’t-know-how-many Hail Marys, anger building all the time, I stomped out of the house and slammed the front door on my way out of my family’s home, saying, “If that’s what God is about, I don’t want anything to do with him!” I’ll always remember that late afternoon, the clear, crisp New Mexico sunset. It is forever burned in my memory as the first day of my eight-year-long personal search for truth.

Over the next seven years my journey took me through in-depth studies in astrology, numerology, Tarot, The Tibetan Book of the Dead. A little of it made sense, but mostly, reading that stuff was like wading through mud. Hardly any of it was consistent. It just wasn’t right, but that’s all I could find to study.

One afternoon, late in the summer of 1969, my studies find me together with a group of friends at a reception for some visitors from California. Sitting in a small living room with about a dozen other people, talking about dreams for the future and metaphysics, I overhear someone loudly say, “So you’re into reincarnation, are you?”

I look over to see this big blue book being handed to Eddie Chavez, my best friend. I remember thinking, “Great—another big book . . .” A couple of minutes later, Eddie comes over and says, “Will, you’ve got to read this!” He points me to the first page of the Foreword and the small paragraph on the following page. I am cynical, but I say, “Okay,” expecting to find more of the same intellectual mud.

The first sentence grabs me, rivets my attention and focus unlike anything I’ve ever read: “In the minds of the mortals of Urantia, that being the name of your world . . .” I think, “My God! These people are not from here! They know what they’re talking about!”

I am sold. This is the book I have been searching for, period. But there’s a catch: When I try to read “Deity and Divinity,” I get bogged down and I think, “Guess I’m not ready for this.” But I know that this is the highest truth on the planet and know I must have the book.

I find it in a metaphysical bookstore, and for another six to eight months, everywhere I go, I tell people about it. I tell them to read the first page of the Foreword. I tell them this is the greatest truth on the planet. I am sometimes even obnoxious about it. It never occurs to me that there might be something easier to grasp further on in the book, so I never even bother to look there.

Fast-forward to the spring of 1970. I am now living in Long Beach, California. I give my little this-is-the-ultimate-truth speech to a lady friend, Ruth Flanders, a.k.a. Ruth Holmes. She reads the first page of the Foreword and declares me full of it. (Remember that I am 23 and she is to a great extent correct.) She decides to prove me wrong and starts reading somewhere in the middle of the book.

A couple of days go by, then I suddenly hear her say, “Will, do you know what this says?” She is obviously excited, impassioned, impressed. I say, “What? What?” and come around to look over her shoulder. She’s reading “Religion in Human Experience.” My head spins. “You mean there’s other stuff in there that I can understand?”

So I read the whole book, meet Julia Fenderson, join FUSLA, start a study group, and accept personal responsibility—my journey with the Urantia Book had begun.

To this day, I wonder who those two travelers were who turned me on to this life-changing book. If you were passing through Albuquerque with the Urantia Book in the late summer or early fall of 1969, please get in touch so I can thank you personally.

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