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How I Found the Urantia Book—DELORES DINSMORE (1973) 

THE SUN! When I was very small I wondered why something so important could be dangerous to look at. Angels! My father read the Bible out loud to us. I was amazed by the story of the angels in the fire, preventing Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from burning up. Death! Gramma died of a heart attack when I was ten. My mom reported that at the end Gramma opened her eyes and smiled, saying, “I’m coming, Jesus!”

Such thoughts comprised my childhood spirituality questions. It may seem funny, but I never questioned the reality of Jesus. He was always a very real, living presence to me.

At eighteen my spiritual quest began in earnest when I left home to go to college. It was 1968. Campuses in were turmoil, the revolution was in full force—the Vietnam War, riots, draft-card burning, tear gas, civil rights, environmentalism, Women’s Lib, hippies, drugs, and free love. Where did I fit in?

My life was changed by a near-death experience. My heart had stopped. I floated away from my body and out of the room until I found myself hanging onto a huge golden grid somewhere in space. Beings appeared and led me back to my body. “But I don’t want to go back!” I begged. “Please, can’t I stay with you?” “No, Delores,” they answered, “you don’t know enough about the world yet.” A dog barked loudly and it seemed to start my heart. I believed I had almost died, but after that I also believed there were helpers out there.

The Great Tao, where we melt into an energy field and lose all our friendships and relationships? I couldn’t buy it. Jesus didn’t lose his identity when he rose from the dead.

The great wheel of reincarnation? In that case, shouldn’t Jesus have been reborn as a gnat or a dog or a sacred blue cow? No, he came back as himself.

Or you die and there is a big black emptiness of nothing? Why would God bother with all this amazing detail if that were the case? Sorry, that was not for me.

Transcendental Meditation—what? I need to pay money for a secret mantra for enlightenment? But I loved Yogananda’s poetry and the way he kept saying to keep going, beyond all the psychic phenomena, beyond the out-of-body experiences, beyond the tricks of energy manipulation, until we find the true connection to God.

And why did the churches mostly leave Jesus hanging on the cross, glorifying the sacrifice rather than the promise of a loving, abundant life-everlasting? I could never reconcile the idea of a Father God doing that to the beloved Son.

Something was wrong there. Drink the blood? Eat the body? Did the churches know how barbaric that sounded? What could these things really mean?

I liked the idea that I could take pieces and leave the rest, so I began to build my own cosmology.

In early 1973 I was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, working at a movie theater selling tickets. Some Jesus freaks working the streets handed me the Bible and told me it was a “good book,” so I decided it was time to read it to see what all the fuss was about. I loved Isaiah and the Psalms, but the Bible did not have good enough answers to many of my questions.

That summer, just when I’d gotten into the New Testament chapters, my older brother, Doug, sent me the Urantia Book. Doug had received Big Blue in 1972 from Norm Du Val, his mailman in Missoula, Montana, who had struck up a friendship with him. Having just injured his back, Doug had spent the next few weeks reading the book intensely cover to cover. He then passed it on to me, saying, “This book answers all your spiritual questions, but remember, you can’t read your way into heaven.”

How wonderful to receive this Urantia Book while I was studying the Bible! I began to see that the Bible was the barest outline of a much more elaborate and elegant story presented in the Urantia Book. For a while I tried to share this great revelation with my Christian friends. I brandished the big blue book like a mighty enlightener, trying to enlarge their beliefs.

However, I soon realized that I was alienating myself from the churchgoers. Most were appalled that I did not accept every word in the Holy Bible as sacred and true. How could I say there was no hell? How could I add anything to the Scriptures? They believed the devil most certainly was alive and well, and his best ruse of all was to convince fools like me that he did not exist! One day I stopped in weariness from fighting against these limiting beliefs. I asked Michael, “What should I do now?” I heard him quietly reply, “Please, quit scaring my sheep.”

I realized that I needed to embrace the concept of “wise as serpents, harmless as doves,” so I gave up my Urantia Book evangelism. When I returned home to Helena, Montana, I joined my mom and some others who had been receptive to the revelation and started a Urantia Book study group for those who needed deeper answers to their spiritual questions.

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