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How I Found the Urantia Book—PHIL CALABRESE (1970) 

Raised Roman Catholic and called “The Pope” by my fellow dorm residents in college, I realized at around age 23 that there is no certainty in Catholic dogma. The principle of papal infallibility was an error. Putting aside the regular practice of Roman Catholicism without losing sight of God, I decided to think about it all after some time had passed.

Six years later, married and finished with graduate school, I resumed my questioning. In college and after I had asked myself and others, “What is my connection to God? Is it the Church? the Pope? the Bible? tradition?” I returned to this question as a mathematician, but was willing to read anything that might be helpful. I thought I should read what Jesus, presumably a master of religious knowledge, had said about this question.

This led me to read the four Gospels, skipping over any words not uttered by Jesus. I soon realized that Jesus was always talking about “the kingdom of God,” and I determined to understand what he meant by this phrase. After several sessions of reading, I reached the Gospel of Luke where Jesus answers that “the kingdom of God is within you.” It dawned on me that the certainty I was seeking about God could never come from outside my own mind; it had to be like an insight, like a mathematical theorem. It could not be through some outer confirmation; that could always be a magician’s trick.

As soon as I had this realization, I became aware of another mind in the room with me. I turned around in my seat but there was no one there. Although I could see no one, I was aware of a very strong feeling of being loved. My question had been, “What is my connection to God?” and here was more than an answer. It was a demonstration. After several minutes of this, my mind wandered onto some ideas related to the experience, and I momentarily forgot the smiling presence in the room. When I came back from my daydream I was a bit alarmed to realize that the experience was still happening. I thought, “How long am I going to be this way?” Back came the answer into my mind, “As long as you require it.” So after several more moments basking in this presence, after there was no doubt whatsoever about what was happening, I thought, “Okay, now I can practice being as I was.” Within ten or fifteen seconds I felt the mind move closer and then coalesce with my own mind, and I was back to normal.

For years I told no one about this experience, but soon I was talking about time and eternity, truth, justice, and other absolutes. One day I was discussing these concepts with Pat Hunt, a professor friend, when he said, “You are reminding me of a book I heard about from a hitchhiker. The name sounds like ‘tarantula.’” Pat’s brother Bob later found it—the Urantia Book—in a metaphysical bookstore. Bob told me that he’d decided to buy the book after thinking of me.

When Bob put it into my lap it was love at first sight. I devoured the book in four-plus months, beginning with thematic readings laid out in Clyde Bedell’s Concordex, and then doing a complete sequential reading, including two readings of the Jesus papers.

I’ve been an enthusiastic reader and student of the revelation ever since. But I’ve never allowed the written word to supersede the living Spirit that we all carry as our personal connection to God.

* * *

Addendum: I heard recently from long-time reader named Char Sneve that Sam, a guitarist for Janis Joplin, had hitchhiked up and down California in the late ’60s with the purpose of telling people about the Urantia Book. Could it be . . . ?

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Phil Calabrese in 2009