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How I Found the Urantia Book—MARK FREEMAN (1972) 

As a non-denominational Christian minister I was searching for a more complete definition of spirit that would be helpful to myself and others. The doctrine I had been taught was that spirit is simply an activating force; but I was aware that the original Greek and Hebrew words had meanings that also included qualities of mind.

In the public library in La Jolla, California, I picked up a copy of the Urantia Book and, flipping haphazardly through the pages, noticed a number of papers defining the Father’s spirit as a fragment of himself that indwells our mind and “adjusts” our thoughts.

After taking the book home and scanning the 65-page table of contents, my doctrinal prejudice against the words “trinity” and “evolution” almost caused me to put the book down without reading further. But my brief glimpse of the Thought Adjuster section roused my curiosity enough to consider what the book’s author—a Catholic, I supposed—had to say about it. I felt that I should at least be familiar with his viewpoint.

My second impression, after noticing the names of some of the purported authors—Divine Counselor, Universal Censor, Mighty Messenger—was that perhaps the book was a Rosicrucian publication since Rosicrucian authors had similarly high-sounding titles.

I decided to read further regardless of the source of the information. As I began studying the Thought Adjuster papers I became more and more impressed by the friendly yet unquestionably authoritative tone of the writing. I found the material so believable that I decided to read what the book had to say about the Trinity, to see whether it defined “trinity” in the standard Trinitarian way.

The book confirmed my belief that Jesus was not the second person of the Trinity. But I learned that the Father, Son, and Spirit can truly function as a trinity just as many religionists believe.

Similarly the new revelation corroborated my belief in the direct creation of Adam and Eve while enlightening me on man’s evolutionary beginnings on this planet. Opposing views of science and religion were both shown to be partially correct. The book’s explanation that man was the final result of a series of sudden mutations which “Life Carriers,” in cooperation with divine spirit, had designed as part of the unfolding of the original life implantations, thoroughly satisfied my theological logic.

The enlightenment I had received so far from the Urantia Book was sufficient to overcome my initial resistance to reading the entire book, with its unfamiliar terminology and extensive discussions of science. I decided to start at the beginning and read it at least as far as it would continue to hold my interest.

I began reading on March 16, 1972, and took copious notes as I went along. By the time I’d reached page 651, my notes had become so lengthy that I considered buying my own copy at a used book store. I was surprised to learn that used Urantia Books sold quickly and that many used-book dealers were acquainted with the book, whereas most clerks in religious bookstores had never heard of it.

About this time I also discovered the Concordex, which not only contained exhaustive reference material but had it indexed for fast retrieval. After all the writing I had been doing this would have been a real bargain for me at double the cost. I bought the Concordex as an aid to revive my memory of the passages I had read whether or not I ever finally did get a personal copy of the Urantia Book. I just didn’t believe that the book would continue to sustain my interest over an additional 1400 pages.

As I continued reading, I noticed personal differences in writing style from paper to paper but no inconsistencies; minor differences of speculative opinion but no contradictions. I was also impressed by the lack of typographical errors in such a large volume. The book seemed almost too perfect. I felt sure I’d find some parts of it disappointing before I reached the last page. At the same time I found my interest intensifying. I even began praying at the end of each day that nothing unforeseen would happen to me to prevent me from reading the book through at least once.

Often I would read a statement that sounded so complex that I was sure it was beyond my understanding. Yet, invariably, the succeeding paragraph would clarify the concept at least somewhat for me.

After 407 hours I completed the first reading on June 18, averaging slightly more than eleven and a half minutes per page, although I remember spending more than an hour per page in some sections.

With the exception of a few book dealers and librarians, no one I spoke to knew about the Urantia Book and no one I met had read the book beyond a few pages. I searched in vain for book reviews and magazine articles about it. As a minister who had discussed many of the subjects contained in the book with thousands of individuals and hundreds of congregations over a period of more than twenty years, I’d never heard anyone mention the Urantia Book. The thought suggested itself to me that I might be the only person on earth who had read it. Yet I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a group of Urantia Book readers somewhere who got together to talk about what they had read and how they could best put the information to use.

Alvin Kulieke, then president of the Urantia Brotherhood, was the first to reply to my inquiries. The next letter was from Clyde Bedell who told me about the Los Angeles Society; through them my name was given to Captain Bill Hazzard in San Diego who invited me to the meetings at his home, where in turn I met Betty Tackett—one of the group who had had the privilege of reading the Urantia Papers before they were published, and the individual who had donated the book that I had discovered in the La Jolla Public Library. In discussing how I found the book, none of us felt that my experience had been just a chance occurrence.

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