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How I Found the Urantia Book—DANIEL RAPHAEL (1972) 


IN 1972 I was a counselor at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. My office was on the third tier of E-Block, which housed four hundred prisoners. One day, outside my office, I was talking with an inmate who was in my caseload. We were discussing science fiction, talking about the great sci-fi authors and the classics of the genre. Another inmate, a friend of my fellow sci-fi enthusiast, stopped to overhear what we were talking about.

As do many who live behind those walls, this inmate decided to play the one-upmanship game. When a break came in our conversation he mentioned that he’d been reading the most incredible science fiction book he had ever run across. The book he described was prodigious: over two thousand pages long, not written by humans, and describing universes upon universes like so many grains of sand on the beach.
I was pretty flabbergasted by his claims, so I asked him for the title and publisher of the book.

After the yard line had been called and the work line had been called and all the prisoners were celled in, I went to the library, found the publisher’s address in the card catalogue, and wrote to the Foundation in Chicago to find out the price and shipping costs. In a couple of weeks the answer arrived and I sent in my $27 for my own copy. Now that I think of it, it was rather amazing that I ordered it: I hadn’t seen the book, hadn’t read a review of it, hadn’t ever heard of the publisher, and hadn’t ever paid $27 for a science fiction book!

When my big book arrived, I began with the Foreword. After going through it rather slowly, not understanding much of what it was saying, I read Paper 1.

Almost thirty later, I am here to tell you sweet people that although I was disappointed that it wasn’t really a science fiction book, Paper 1 provided me with the most enjoyable, heartwarming description of God that I had ever read. I went on to finish the book in eighteen months, having to get up an hour earlier every morning to do so.

The Urantia Book has given me a more interesting description of the universe and its inhabitants than I could have ever imagined. And that’s how the Urantia Book found me.

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