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How I Found the Urantia Book—MICHELLE KLIMESH (1974) 

WHEN I WAS TWELVE I began to believe that the Holy Roman Catholic Church was not telling me the real truth. I started browsing through the Bible, skeptically, intending to prove to myself that God was some bogus myth. Most of the Bible seemed like mumbo jumbo to me, but I was attracted to the “red words,” the words of Jesus. I decided to find out if he was telling the truth by testing his advice in the real world. The first thing I tested was: “The Spirit of Truth dwells within you, and the Spirit will lead you to all truth, and the truth will set you free.” That sounded pretty weird to me, that some spirit was living inside of me.

But after about five years I had enough evidence to admit that maybe there was some inner source of wisdom that I could tap into besides my own brain. So I chalked one point up for Jesus, and went back to the Bible to pick out some more red words. I chose “love your enemy.” This was clearly illogical, and I was sure I could refute it.

But in the real world, in actual practice, it worked brilliantly. Two points for Jesus now. I started to think Jesus was pretty smart, maybe even a genius.

It was 1974. I was 19. I signed up for a piano class at the local junior college. After class, the guy I shared a piano with and I would talk about things like, “Who is God?” and “What happens when we die?” I told him that I thought there was no such thing as hell. He agreed. I told him that I didn’t think it was God’s sick idea to torture and murder Jesus. He said that’s what he thought, too.

I started to think he was just agreeing with everything I said, so I pulled out my really big theory, the best thing I had ever come up with while hanging out with the Spirit of Truth all those years. I told him I thought that human beings were just embryos. Of course, he said that he thought that, too. So I told him that he couldn’t possibly have thought that, because I had made it up myself. He said, “Oh yeah?” and, opening his backpack, pulled out a big blue book. He started flipping through the pages, showing me the section on the atonement, and the part where the soul is the embryo made by the human mind and the divine spirit.

I was dumbfounded that someone had swiped my own ideas and put them in a book. I asked to borrow his book, but he said, “No. Go get your own.” I ordered one from B. Dalton.

When the semester ended I lost touch with the guy in the piano class. I kept reading the book, wondering about each paragraph: What does this mean? Is it true? It took me seventeen years to get through the whole book, because I had to stop and think about each new thing, and there sure were a lot of new things. I decided there were three parts of the book: the parts I couldn’t understand (such as absonite reality), the parts I couldn’t verify (such as how fast a Solitary Messenger travels), and the deepest, purest truth I’d ever met. I let the things I didn’t understand go by for a while; I find that the older I get, the more I understand.

Epilogue: Seventeen years later, when my daughters were five and nine, I wanted to give them some religious bearings. I couldn’t figure out how to break the Urantia teachings into child-size bites, so I went looking for other UBers. After several months of dead ends, I found a study group meeting at Sara and Bob Blackstock’s house. Guess who showed up? The boy in the piano class, Mark Turrin. We fell in love. Isn’t that a fun ending?

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Michelle circa 2006