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How I Found the Urantia Book—JANET QUINN NILSEN (1973) 


IN THE EARLY ’70s I was a young mother with two small sons. My husband and I were building our own home in a tiny, rural neighborhood, with very little experience or money. Times were often challenging, and I found myself in dire need of some sort of spiritual transfusion plus straight information on how best to deal with the difficulties of life.

Around this time a nice young man who was interested in UFOs was staying with a neighbor. This fellow mentioned to me that his sister had told him about a book written by aliens—that it was very thick and had little, teeny printing. I am a reading addict who loves thick books, and I remember thinking, “Hmmm. . . . Maybe that would be something I could really sink my teeth into—a fat book by aliens! How interesting!” and I put the thought in the back of my mind.

During the next few months I investigated some of the current spiritual trends: TM, yoga, mysticism. I dusted off my old Sunday school Bible, read it, and once again came to the conclusion that the Old Testament was profound but barbarous. I felt deeply that I loved Jesus but that he had been grossly misrepresented by the men who wrote the Gospels. I needed to know about the real Jesus.

Shortly thereafter a new couple moved into the neighborhood. I was slightly acquainted with the woman, and so I helped them move boxes from the van to the house. I picked up a box of books—the fellow’s small but varied library of spiritual books—and on top of the stack was a beautiful, big blue book. I knew in a flash that this was the book by the aliens! My hunch was confirmed when I flipped it open and saw the list of titles and authors—Lanonandeks, Vorondadeks—yep, this was indeed the book!

I borrowed it and started reading it that day. I gobbled it up the next month or so, starting with the life of Jesus, and anything in the front sections that caught my fancy. After I finished the Jesus papers, I started at the Foreword for a proper front-to-back reading, the first of many.

As I was reading the Urantia Book, I also had a chance to peruse the rest of my neighbor’s collection of spiritual books. All were interesting, some perhaps inspired, but none were revelations, and all suffered in comparison with the big blue marvel—in scope, language, and in direct spiritual helpfulness. I was thrilled by this book and thought everyone should read it. I scraped together $20 and bought my own copy at an esoteric bookstore. It seemed to me that any literate and somewhat spiritual person should want to read this book—should be thrilled to know more about Jesus, God, and the universe.

I was disturbed that so few people who I thought would want to read the book, actually did. The fellow who had first told me of the book didn’t want to read so thick a book. The neighbor whose book I first read was convinced that Guru Mahara Ji was the latest incarnation of Michael of Nebadon. The esoteric bookseller stopped carrying the Urantia Book in his store when he realized it denounced astrology as a superstition.

“What is it with these people?” I wondered in frustration. But I soon came to realize my own arrogance in introducing the book to those folks I thought needed to read it. My irritating zealousness subsided as I began to absorb the gospel of Jesus and incorporate it into my life. When I am tempted to say, “The Urantia Book says . . . ,” I try to share my version of the gospel instead, that we are loving children of a loving God and cherished members of a universe family. I have not met one person who is offended by those words.

My hope for all future readers and disseminators of the Urantia Book is that they have as wonderful an introduction to it as I did, and that they take the teachings deeply to heart. Most important, in response to Jesus’ request, I hope that they become ardent proclaimers of his gospel: the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

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