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How I Found the Urantia Book—DANIEL LOVE GLAZER (1977) 


MY PARENTS did not believe in the fatherhood of God, but they ardently believed in the brotherhood of man. They were active in promoting liberal political and social causes. They were the children of Eastern European Jews and reared me with a strong Jewish identity. This identity was primarily ethnic, but they did send me to Hebrew school and a Jewish Sunday school. We never went to a synagogue, not even on the High Holy Days. We did attend Passover Seders at the grandparents’ and celebrated Chanukah.

I was a religious boy. I would fast on Yom Kippur—no one else in my family did. I used to pray every night. I was proud to be bar mitzvahed, though I did not know the meaning of the Hebrew scriptures I’d memorized for the occasion.

My religiosity lasted until high school, when I fell under the spell of Bertrand Russell. I read so much Bertrand Russell that my friends called me “Bert.” Russell’s philosophy, purporting to base everything on logic and nothing on metaphysical assumptions, won me over to agnosticism. As for Jesus, I particularly remember reading Russell’s book, Why I am not a Christian. Russell asks, "If Jesus was as good and as powerful as Christians believe, why did he not banish disease from the face of the earth, rather than just heal a few individuals?" To me, that seemed a knockdown argument.

At seventeen, after participating in Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, I went off to college, to Columbia in New York. I was experiencing the traumas of adolescence and suffered from an acute inferiority complex. I spent most of my freshman year playing chess and most of my sophomore year hanging around the downtown pool halls. My major reading was Henry Miller. After two years I decided to stop wasting my parents’ money and dropped out of school.

Then came grass. Smoking grass changed a miserable life to a pleasant one. One of the first few times I turned on, I went to a lecture at Columbia by Timothy Leary, onetime Harvard psychology professor-become-evangelist of the drug-inspired gospel, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.” Leary talked about higher consciousness. He told us why Eastern mystics meditate in the lotus position for hours at a time: to get high!
I started doing yoga exercises when turned on, and sure enough, I got higher. I read and reread Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi.

In November of 1966 I attended a lecture by Swami Satchidananda, an Indian yogi with a long beard and charismatic manner, who had recently come to New York. I became his student and disciple, attending his Integral Yoga Institute in New York each day while working as a mail sorter for the Post Office. Under his influence, I foreswore drugs, meat, caffeine, alcohol, and sex. I covered the walls of my efficiency apartment with pictures of the Swami and converted my walk-in closet into a meditation room. I expected to become a Swami myself, if only I could achieve the elusive samadhi, the state of enlightenment. But after two dedicated years on the yoga path, I continued to experience conflict, confusion, and other distinctly non-enlightenment states of mind.

Eventually I allowed myself to entertain the possibility that something in the yoga path itself, as I had adopted it, might be at the root of my non-enlightenment. I looked deep within and asked for the truth, putting everything on the table. When I did so, it became clear to me that my yoga path had taken on some false and unhealthy aspects. One was the guru trip. I realized that achieving enlightenment could not mean following in someone else’s footsteps and obeying his commands. Second was the realization that the drive to transcend my individual personality via absorption in the Absolute was ultimately false and impossible. So I left Satchidananda, initially becoming a Hatha Yoga teacher on my own, and eventually moving to Washington, D. C. and becoming a computer programmer for the Federal government.

For the next five or six years I didn’t bother much with ultimate questions. Then I was visited by a friend who had been living in California for six years. He told me that I had been an inspiration to him in his spiritual quest. In the wake of his visit I was reawakened to the realization that there was something spiritual going on in the world. I was determined to find out what it was and to avoid the errors I had made on my previous spiritual search.

With all my being I embarked on an intense search for the truth. My constant meditation, day and night, while working, playing chess, square dancing, or listening to jazz, was “What is the truth?” I went to lectures. I frequented Washington’s Yes! Bookstore, which housed books from all sorts of spiritual paths. I read widely: Zen, Edgar Cayce, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Gregory Bateson, Alice Bailey, the Seth material, Krishnamurti, yoga.

The Seth books of Jane Roberts made a particular impression on me. Their message that each of us creates his own reality via every belief and thought he entertains was a tempting one. It seemed to me at one point that if I adopted the framework of Buddhism, reality would take on a Buddhist coloration. Likewise a Christian or Krishna Consciousness premise would cause the world to take on the contours prescribed by those worldviews. But I finally concluded: “Reality cannot be something I make up. There must be a true reality underlying all, independent of my beliefs.”

My best friend, Arthur, a psychotherapist and onetime yoga student of mine, told me the answer: He forcefully proclaimed that unless I accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as atonement for my sins I was doomed to hell. In my incessant search for truth I prayed, “God, if this is the ultimate truth, let me know and I will accept it, but I must know from you that this is it.” Meditating on this proposition with my entire being, I got an answer from beyond myself: “No, this atonement doctrine does not express who God is, who you are, or what you must do to be saved. Indeed the only possible requirement for being saved is your wholehearted desire to know the truth and follow it.” Along with this realization came the assurance that I would be guided into whatever truth I needed to know.

Three weeks later, in the spring of 1977, I was visiting a good friend of mine, Al, another psychologist. He remarked, “Here’s a book someone loaned me that you might be interested in” and handed me the Urantia Book. I opened it up and was immediately fascinated. It was inspiring and had the aura of authority. But a major red flag for me was the 700 pages devoted to the life and teachings of Jesus. I had come to know that the Christianity of the atonement doctrine was false. Of course, when I had read enough to realize that the Urantia Book’s verdict on the atonement doctrine was the same as that provided by my inner guidance, I became open to the whole book, and along with the book, to Jesus, the real and living Jesus. Thanks be to God!

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