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How I Found the Urantia Book—LES TIBBALS (1971) 


When I was young, people considered me a street-wise incorrigible, but there was a side of me that my dad and the other authorities didn’t know or care about. Trying to be independent of my severely alcoholic dad, I left home at 15 and hitchhiked to Chicago with my girlfriend Luanna, a Menomonee Indian girl I’d met in Wisconsin. The year was 1968—a rough time.

The experience taught me that I could survive on my own. I had learned how to weave between the police, the riots, and the perverts who prey on young boys and girls. During this time I was also an avid reader of religious material, especially anything about Jesus, all the while dabbling in yoga and meditation. But none of this satisfied me.

At 18 I started out on a spiritual quest. I remember thinking that if God wanted me to find something—whatever it was—I was open to it. And so began the hitchhiking experience that culminated in my finding the fifth epochal revelation.

In 1971 a girl named Sandy and I were headed for Oregon from Oklahoma City. Our plan was to meet some friends at their grandmother’s farm in Salem. At Grand Island, Nebraska, where hitchhiking was against the law, we were picked up by a highway patrolman. Unable to pay the fine, we spent six days in jail. There were no facilities for women, so Sandy was taken to the next county. It meant that when I got out of the pokey I had to hitchhike over to the next county to find her, all the while hoping I wouldn’t get picked up and land in jail again.

While still in Nebraska, Sandy and I were waiting for a ride at an exit when I wandered away briefly from the road and found myself standing in a field of marijuana plants ten feet high. Excitedly I ran back to the roadside, shifted my clothes around, and stuffed my duffel bag full of big, bushy tops.
We scored a ride with some folks, and I let them try some of the smoke. After much thought, I said, “If we can ride with you all the way to the coast, you can have the whole duffel bag full.” They accepted. We made it as far as Nevada when the car overheated and the engine blew up somewhere in the desert.

The guy volunteered to leave his wife and all their belongings on the side of the road with us while he hitched a ride to California to borrow another car. We were camped in the sun next to that car for several days—hot, hungry and thirsty. He finally showed up and we headed for the California coast. Seeing the ocean and the giant redwoods for the first time was a religious experience in itself.

When eventually we made it to our Oregon destination, our friends had already left. After a couple days of home cooking and wonderful hospitality, Grandma drove us into the beautiful Cascades where we found our friends living in a commune of hardcore hippies. Feeling awkward, I sat myself down in the living room and decided to bury myself in a good book—or any book for that matter.

On a shelf I noticed a big book with a white cover and letters that said “The Life and Teachings of Jesus.” Although I was only 18, I’d read plenty on Jesus, none of it exceptionally informative or terribly inspiring, so with a cynical attitude I thought to myself, “I wonder what they have to say about Jesus.”

Reading the introduction to Part IV, written by the midwayer who was onetime assigned to the watchcare of the apostle Andrew, the authoritative tone struck a positive chord in me. And when I read about Jesus coming into the world like any other human—no immaculate conception—I was hooked. I headed for the barn and didn’t stop reading for six hours. I remember saying to myself, “This is real; this is what it claims to be.”

When I returned to the house I was on fire. I asked everyone, “Have you read this book? Do you know where it came from?” Nobody knew or was interested. I was disillusioned.

I hitchhiked back to Oklahoma alone without a penny in my pocket, eating out of orchards and vineyards through California. Back in Oklahoma I found the Urantia Book in a bookstore right off, but I had no money so I worked for a month until I could pay for it. In the phone book, under “Urantia,” I found Berkeley Elliott and joined a study group, turned my future wife on to the UB and raised both my kids with the UB experience. My daughter has gone on to the mansion worlds and my son is still an avid reader.

I had rambled my way across the States to find God and the UB, yet the book was right in my own back yard and God was inside me the whole time! I guess the angels thought I needed a little more seasoning before handing this revelation to me. My sincere thanks to our unseen friends for their consideration, protection and the continuing adventure.

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