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How I Found the Urantia Book—paula garrett thompson (1976) 


ON HALLOWEEN night 1975 my then-husband was arrested on drug charges. I was twenty years old at the time and our daughter had just turned one. My husband had had several run-ins with the law and this was his third strike. He would end up spending the next seven months in jail. But this was not the worst thing that happened that fall and winter. On the evening of December 22 my best friend and biggest fan, my father, died of heart failure immediately following surgery. He was 59 years old.

My dad was one of those good people who make the lives of others good. No one who knew him could ever imagine life without him. He was devoted, loving, strong, gentle, wise, funny, and my hero. It took two years for me to be able to think of him without crying. To this day I cry to think how much I love him and miss him.

My family went into a tailspin of inexpressible sorrow and grief. Because my husband was in jail, I was living with my parents when my dad died. I have often thought that the angels put me and my beautiful little child there, at just that time, to help keep my mom together. The loss of my dad was simply more than she could endure. It was only the adorable antics of a one-year-old that brought her out of her depression and gave her relief from her crushing agony.

At the time, I felt utterly alone. It was my dad who had helped me see the bright side of things; it was always he who could make me feel better. He was gone, my husband was unavailable, my mom and my siblings were grief-stricken, my baby needed me, and I had nowhere to turn. So I turned to God. I told God that I needed to hear some good news. I wanted to know specifically where my dad was. I thought I could find it in the Bible—where else would it be? I searched through it numerous times and each time became increasingly more disappointed.

One evening in early 1976 I reached the peak of my crisis. I had decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. I reasoned that if I did, surely then I would find the “good news” I was looking for. I read up to the part that explains who begat who begat who. I remember thinking, “So what? Who cares who begat who?” My need to hear the good news was so great that I couldn’t bear to read one more page. I threw it down, sobbing to God, “I have to hear the good news now! If I don’t hear the good news soon I am going to lose my mind!” I then sobbed myself to sleep.

The next day my husband called me from jail. He asked me to bring $12.50 with me when I came to visit on Saturday. I didn’t have much money, so I asked him what he wanted it for. He said it was for a book.

“What kind of book?” I asked.

“A big, spiritual book,” he said. “I’ve been reading it with some friends here and I would like to have my own copy. A guy named Buck is going to bring it to the jail; he will meet you outside the fence in front. Bring the money and he will sell you the book.”

“Okay,” I said, wondering what kind of spiritual book could grab this man’s interest.

That Saturday I went for our weekly visit. There was Buck standing behind his car with the trunk open. Inside he had a box of big blue books. I sheepishly approached him with my $12.50. He said nothing; he just smiled at me broadly and handed me a book. I took it and went inside.

I met my husband at the regular table and after our usual greetings I handed him the book. He pushed it back at me. “Open it,” he smirked. So I did. I opened it to the paper concerning the birth and infancy of Jesus, and began with the section on Mary and Joseph. Reading about these two people, I was struck at once by the richness of detail. I will never forget what went through my mind. My first thought was, “This is not in the Bible.” My second thought was, “Who would pretend to know this?” And my third thought was, “If they did pretend to know it, why would they do such a thing?”
I looked up from the book and said to my husband, “I need to read this book.”

“I know,” he said. “Take it with you.”

“But . . . what will you read?” I pushed the book across the table to him.

“I will share a book with someone else. You take this one with you.” He firmly pushed it back at me.

“Well, all right, if you’re sure.” I took it with secret delight, knowing full well that this was the answer to my prayer.

I couldn’t wait to start reading it. Oh, how delicious it was, how soothing, how sublime! I felt as though I were being tenderly nurtured, fed and watered by a divine hand. I was born again, as a child of a divine creation, and I became a member of a cosmic family. I understood that I was loved by God as much as any man or angel. I came to know the God of my dreams—the God that I could not hesitate to worship. And how could I forget the reality and rapture of Jesus’ promise: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For every one who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door of salvation will be opened” (p. 1619).

I asked, I sought, I knocked, and all that I wanted was given me in such a measure that I could not have imagined. I was pulled back from the precipice of doubt and despair by the truth in the Urantia Book, and I am eternally grateful.

My husband, Robert, died in 1982 in a car accident. He never read the Urantia Book. He even refused to let me read it to him. I have come to believe that Spirit uses some people as conduits to deliver what needs to be delivered. Often they are not involved and do not necessarily believe what they are compelled to deliver to you.

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Paula in 1999