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How I Found the Urantia Book—JAMAIL McKINNEY (1971) 


I WAS living in San Francisco in 1957 and a passing tourist was visiting a friend of mine. Over dinner, the visitor talked about the Urantia Book and I, as a compulsive reader of anything, asked to borrow it. I took it up to Kings Canyon National Park for a quiet weekend and only got as far as “The Seven Superuniverses” when I had to return the book. Hungry for more, I searched for another copy. For several years in my quest, I inquired at many bookstores for a book called Arancha. I never found it.

Then one day in 1971, while living in a commune in Portland, I found the Urantia Book in a small bookstore for $15. I bought it using money granted me by this communal group, although we were barely surviving at the time. In 1972 we moved to land in Aeneas Valley in Washington and there I finally finished reading it. Inspired, I began a campaign trail of hitchhiking and talking about the book all around America.

That spring, through an ad, I found another reader. Zabriel was the second person I’d met who had ever heard of the book. He came up to our land and we had many talks in my tipi. Together we spent the fall picking apples in nearby Okanogan County. That winter I met Burt King and Doris George of Urantian Research in Los Angeles. A communion of spirits ensued and they opened many doors for me. By then I was well into my third reading of the book.

In the spring of 1973, up on my land, I began teaching a class on the book with seven close friends as students. Deciding to have a larger group, I left for another tour of America and invited any and all to visit us the following July. That class—a group of seventeen—lasted for ten days and culminated in a fire-walking party. From it an enthusiastic group emerged to travel the national parks all summer spreading the word of the Urantia Book, love and peace. We wore white and conducted daily classes as we hitchhiked from park to park, having fun every step of the way.

In October eleven of us made our way from Washington to Yosemite to the Grand Canyon to Ocala National Forest in Florida. In Titusville we were joined by a turbaned person, and as twelve we moved up to Madison, Wisconsin, for the wedding of two of our number during the Christmas holidays. When we left there, we were eighteen in number and holding daily readings of the book.

In Salt Lake City, staying with the brother of a member of our group, we reached out to Mormons and hippies. Soon the people in the house next door joined with us. When both houses were sold we left Salt Lake twenty-four in number, and bought a large parcel of land in Southern Oregon which we called Ascendington. We spent the spring organizing and cleaning up the land and giving short teacher classes.

That June I returned to Aeneas to hold a ten-day class for sixty. That class, and a few more that we conducted that fall and spring, flourished. However, problems eventually arose and the group scattered just before Thanksgiving Day.

I returned to Portland to seek guidance with other groups from Colorado and British Columbia. In the process I learned that to properly lead, you must first walk in the steps as a follower and wait upon God’s timetable.

The good seeds were planted; they sprouted, emerged, and slowly grew and began to thrive. Now, many years and many life experiences later, many of us are still connected and we continue to enjoy prosperity, peace and a family of good-seeking friends. Today we hold reunions, parties and gatherings and a few funerals. Living the faith of Jesus in this world, as it is, does make the difference.

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