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How I Found the Urantia Book—K. BRENDI POPPEL (1972) 


I BEGAN reading the Urantia Book in March of 1972, on the island of Jamaica. I had gone there after my husband’s suicide. I was 23 at the time.

My husband and I had first seen the book in September of 1971. We had traveled to Colorado with a group of friends, all recent graduates of Cornell University. Our lifestyle was typical of the times—we were hippies and political activists. We found ourselves living in the Colorado mountains in a large trailer with nine people and five dogs. One individual, Ron, who had been living in the trailer before we arrived, had the Urantia Book and would often read passages aloud. We all congregated around a large cable-spool kitchen table, and were generally stoned. At the time, I didn’t understand what Ron was reading, but I had this strange and unusual notion that the Urantia Book was a holy book, and that Ron and his girlfriend, Sheri, could help me. This is, in fact, what happened.

Our Colorado commune was short-lived. After six weeks or so, many of us decided to go back to Ithaca, New York. Instead of driving back in a caravan as we had done when we originally drove out, we went in separate directions. Ron and Sheri arranged to come with us. By December of 1971, six of us (three couples) found ourselves living in a comfortable house in upstate New York. This too was short-lived. On January 3, 1972, Allen, my husband of less than five months, killed himself by jumping off the suspension bridge at Cornell University. (Sadly, this is not an uncommon phenomenon). As you may imagine, I was in total shock. I felt utterly lost. My whole life was disintegrating.

Two months later, I went to Jamaica with Ron and Sheri. We planned to stay there forever. We went to a non-tourist part of the island where Peace Corps workers lived. Ron resumed reading from the Urantia Book. This time he was reading about Thought Adjusters, and what he read went straight to the core of my consciousness, resonating truth to my soul. I immediately usurped Ron’s book and was soon reading it voraciously.

Not long—maybe a few weeks—after starting to read the book, I had an experience with Jesus. My background is Jewish. I knew absolutely nothing about Jesus. I was with my two friends on the beach and felt I had to kill myself—drown myself—in retribution for Allen’s death, yet I wanted to live. Tears streamed down my face and I felt the presence of Jesus come to me. I felt him say that he didn’t want me to die. I was cradled in his comforting presence. I believe I was truly reborn there.

Shortly after this, I received a telegram that my father had suffered a severe heart attack. My mother had been stricken with a debilitating stroke not long before, so I left Jamaica after being there about six weeks and stayed with my parents until October of 1972. I had no siblings. Everyone close to me was dead or dying. However, I felt very strong. I was empowered by God. I had never known God before. My reality was completely transformed.

I finished reading the Urantia Book that October. Ron and Sheri stayed with me and my parents for a while, then went to live on a commune in upstate New York. I never heard from them again.

The Urantia Book completely changed my life. But that’s another story.

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