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How I Found the Urantia Book—J.j. johnson (1975) 

I WAS BORN in Kentucky. My grandparents had a tabernacle with a crackerjack stand in front on their farm. A preacher would visit once a week to give a sermon. Looking back, they all must have been holy rollers, since they spoke in tongues. When I was five, during one of these scary—and to me meaningless—worship services, I ran out into a huge empty field, looked up into the sky and, addressing myself in silence, affirmed, “I can’t believe in God! If this is what God is all about, I don’t want any part of it!” I was prepared to get hit by a bolt of lightning.

For the next seventeen years I was an agnostic—who was I to say there was no God? I knew that if there was a God he would know that I was sincere and he would somehow give me proof of his existence.

In 1969, in my early twenties, I was attending a business seminar in Chicago. The attendees had broken up into small discussion groups. Suddenly, from out of nowhere a warm, loving presence manifested itself and everything around me lit up. This loving presence communicated to me—not in words but in “feelings that lie too deep for words”—that there was a loving heavenly Father. This experience, so personal and so sublime—which I had no doubt had been caused by something other than my own mind—was the turning point in my faith journey. This was my spiritual birthday and it transformed my life.

Prior to this experience I could not make spiritual decisions. I could see other people being motivated by living faith, but in myself there seemed to be a spiritual void. The experience gave me the ability to discern spiritual truths for myself and act on them. I also felt very comfortable perusing any book to perceive for myself the truths revealed inside and discard anything that wasn’t in harmony with what I knew to be true.

I was in Hawaii in February 1975 when I received a letter from a man named Bill Ibarra, whom I’d gotten to know when we worked together on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. Bill mentioned the Urantia Book. As soon as I saw its name, I had a compelling urge to rush out and get my hands on the book, even before finishing Bill’s letter. I realized how strange my reaction was, since Bill hadn’t really described what the book was about.

After calling around I found a copy in a downtown Honolulu bookstore. Starting from the front, I enjoyed and was fascinated by the Foreword, but it took me until page 24 to recognize that no human could have revealed such knowledge. The UB is the only text I have found that I can wholeheartedly embrace.

Faith to me means experiencing the tranquility of supreme and unquestioned trust in God and feeling the tremendous thrill of living, by faith, in the very presence of the heavenly Father—the new and higher type of living so magnificently and humanly demonstrated by Jesus. My favorite line in the Urantia Book is: “Love is the desire to do good to others.”

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JJ Johnson and baby with Emma (Christy) Christensen, circa late 1970s

Read JJ's book, Up Close and Personal With The Urantia Book