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How I Found the Urantia Book—DOUG PARKER (1971) 

THE YEAR was 1971. I had returned to Oregon State University to complete my undergraduate schooling which had been interrupted with a draft notice three years earlier. After my tour in Vietnam, life held new meaning, and for the first time I found myself seriously thinking about the meaning of life and death. One evening as graduation approached, my housemates asked if I would like to accompany them to a talk given by Baba Ram Dass. I passed.

Upon their return both carried a book titled Be Here Now, which I began to peruse in idle moments. From this initial reading I was filled with newfound hunger to read many more books and to eventually seek out a guru of my own. I left Oregon and headed south to California, my native state. I knew there were numerous places in the world to seek enlightenment but California was close, familiar, and had most everything imaginable happening either in San Francisco or in Los Angeles. My quest was to find personal guidance in some form, to experience God connectedness. How this would happen I had no clue, but the search was on.

I hitchhiked to Los Angeles, where I encountered a group of devotees of a 13-year-old Indian guru named Guru Mahara Ji. Within days I was sitting at the feet of a Mahatma seeking to become a devotee and to receive the young master’s “knowledge” (secret methods of meditation). The desire for this knowledge led me to San Francisco, London, and back to San Francisco, where I joined nine other devotees known as “premees.” Now that we had received “knowledge” we wanted to do something with it.

The majority of our group were formerly from the Northern California area near Chico, so that became our destination. As a group we returned to Chico as “blissed-out,” drug-free premees, rented an old three-story fraternity house and opened a premee-style ashram. By day we hawked our organization’s magazine And It Is Divine door-to-door and sold flowers on the college campus, while at night we held Satsang (holy discourse) about the wonders of Guru Mahara Ji and his special “knowledge.” All went well for several months as we were on a communal high of living, speaking and doing God’s—the Guru’s—work.

In the big house we formed a makeshift library. Devotees brought books accumulated along their spiritual paths and lined the shelves of what was formerly the fraternity house library. One day, while browsing this spiritual smorgasbord I spotted a large blue book high on the top shelf and inquired of someone standing nearby, “What is that big blue book up there?”

He replied, “Oh, Kevin took that book as collateral on a hundred hits of acid from some guy up in Paradise, and the guy never came back.”

I was intrigued by the size of the book and also because Paradise, California, was the town I had grown up in. I took the book to my bedroll and skimmed the table of contents, then read the Foreword. From the first page of the Foreword I was mesmerized. Here at last was what I had been searching for, real information about God. For days, then weeks, I holed up in my room doing little other than read and eat. Nightly Satsang soon lost its luster for me, and people began checking in on me to see if I was all right.

I can clearly remember the day I asked myself, “Do I really believe this book?” I answered, “Yes, I do believe this is a revelation just as it says it is.” From that moment on it was clear I had to leave the house. But what of the Guru? Could I follow both, and did I truly want to? To find the answer I hitchhiked that January to Denver, Colorado, to the headquarters of the Divine Light Mission and put the leaders to the test. Three days later I was on a bus heading back to Oregon, reading my Urantia Book. I finished the book and started it again. The rest has truly been divine.

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