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How I Found the Urantia Book—TOMMY OUTERBRIDGE (1975) 

I WAS SEARCHING for the Truth, to find out why the Biblical story was okay for Christians but not for me. The Spirit urged me to study theology at university. My teachers were surprised. My father was aghast. I was supposed to become a lawyer not a preacher. Just before I started at Exeter University in 1976, an old friend of my dad, Alaine, thrust the Urantia Book into my hands and said, “Read this.” To this day Alaine still has no interest in the fifth epochal revelation.

My interest in Spirit dates back as far as I can remember, but the defining moment came in 1968, when I was “saved” in Harrington Sound, a landlocked body of bright blue sea water in Bermuda. An old black fisherman who was harvesting mussels off the shallow bottom using a long pole and a glass through which he peered at the water’s surface, hailed me over. After I tied my new 11-foot fiberglass boat alongside his old 14-foot cedar fishing boat, he inquired, “Have you been saved?”

But my boat was not sinking. Saved? Saved from what? “Saved from the Devil,” he intoned earnestly. Was I assured of Jesus coming into my life and of my going to heaven? I should hereby confess my sins, accept forgiveness and be saved. Well, in the unfolding of my young life—I was eleven—this seemed a logical next step. Solemnly I bowed my head, closed my eyes, formally repented and was thereby saved. From that day on the quest was on to connect with the Urantia Book.

Come September I returned to boarding school, whose grounds bordered on a railway track so you could hear the sound of passing trains quite clearly. One night I had a tremendously vivid nightmare in which I dropped off a cliff and landed on my back with a bang. I startled awake only to hear the loud and distinct clickety-clack of a speeding train, a real train. A strong impression was forged but in the following years the episode was naturally forgotten.

Fifteen years later, on Father’s Day, whilst trying to build a nest for Bermuda’s indigenous sea bird, the longtail, I was atop a 100-foot cliff near my home when the ledge collapsed and I plummeted to the beach below. I broke my neck, my back and my left arm. Upon surfacing from a coma three days later, I was a C5 quadriplegic strapped to a Stryker frame and wearing a halo brace.

After a period of auditory and visual hallucinations accompanied by delirium, lucidity returned but my memory was shot, vaguely hovering at about age seven, with the rest of my life a zero. Physically crippled with flailing spasms and mentally handicapped by amnesia, my mind and body were seriously challenged. I was not abandoned, however. “Footprints” says it in a nutshell: “God carries you when you can no longer walk.” And when Jesus taught that the good shepherd actively searches for his lost sheep, he wasn’t joking.

Two years after my fall and firmly entrenched in hospital, my memory was still blank. My Adjuster must have been working overtime, because I recalled and mentioned the Urantia Book fairly often in those dim days of rehabilitation. Eventually I had the hospital bursar prepare a draft to send to the Urantia Foundation in Chicago, asking for the UB to be sent to the library at my old school.

Soon after that, I had the same dream. I fell off a cliff, felt myself falling and crash landed—bang!—onto my back to awake with a startling jolt, only to hear the loud and distinct clatter of a train outside my window. It faded eerily into the distance, same as I’d heard somewhere before . . . but where? Slowly, over a long period of months, it came back to me.

“To God there is no past, present or future; all time is present at any given moment” (p. 34).

The task of rebuilding my life and recalling my past has been a wonderful if grueling ordeal, a superb challenge. To look over the ongoing scenario and see the Father’s helping hand along the path has been a unique education, and I feel very grateful to be alive to praise Him. Indeed I feel fortunate to have been afforded this unique opportunity to appreciate Him, the Master, and life on Earth.

My human guardian angel is my wife Angela, whom I met when she was my physiotherapist in hospital. Our son, Robert, was born in 1992.

I now join the [late] actor Christopher Reeve in a quest to be healed and independent. However, rather than simply anticipating a “cure” through medical research, I concentrate on prayer, meditation, visualization, affirmations, positive thinking and faith.

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Tommy (center) and wife Angela with friend
Matthew Block in 2006