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How I Found the Urantia Book—LIZ ENGSTROM CRATTY (1978) 


SEARCHING, searching, searching. I’d done the EST training, taken classes in witchcraft, gone to a wide variety of churches, participated in religious drug rituals, been rebirthed, listened to gurus, read books by the Enlightened Ones, had my Tarot cards read, my astrological chart done, the runes thrown, and still nothing clicked. I was living on Maui, in the middle of New Age crystalline weirdness, trying to find out my purpose in life and my location in the universe. There was only one thing of which I was absolutely certain, and that was that God existed. I had no model or concrete idea about that concept, but one look around me told me that my physical body, this society, this planet, certainly had an architect. This was no accident.

I went to work for an advertising agency as head copywriter in 1978. Tonia Baney was the art director. One day she breezed by my desk and dropped a copy of the Urantia Brotherhood’s journal, The Urantian, on my desk. “Take a look at that when you have time,” she said. I had time. Right then I had time. I can’t remember what I read, but I do remember the feeling of excitement that grew in me as I read. Ten minutes later, I invited her to lunch and I said, “What is this?”

“Have you ever thought about the personality of God?” she asked.

I was floored. Personality of God?

“If he created it in us, then he must have one of his own, don’t you think?” she said. “What do you imagine his personality attributes are?”

“Duh-h-h,” I said.

“When you think of spiritual growth, you must think of growing more Godlike,” she went on. “Who is your role model? Where is your destination?”

“Ahh, well . . .” I said, trying to look intelligent, and failing. I had no response. I’d never considered these questions. I’d always wanted to be a “better” person, but better than what? Where was my ideal, anyway?

On the way back to the office, we stopped by the local bookstore. I bought a copy of the Urantia Book, Tonia bought me a Concordex as a gift, and I have been a rabid reader ever since.

I read randomly, haphazardly, for about a month, trying to get a handle, an overview of it. As I recall, I was a nightly imposition at the Baney kitchen table, enthusiastically discussing it with whoever happened to be in the room long before I had any idea what I was diving into. Eventually I started at the beginning and read the whole book on my own.

We began holding weekly study group meetings in Tonia’s home. At first it was just Tonia, her husband Steve, and me, until the word got out and closet readers ventured forth to join us in worship and study. We experimented with a variety of meeting formats, then eventually read the entire book from beginning to end. It took us thirteen years, including a hiatus now and then, plus those nights when we would barely read a paragraph before engaging in spirited conversation that lasted the whole session. Sometimes one discussion would last two or three consecutive weeks.

I’ll never be able to pay Tonia back for listening to her inner leading and placing that journal on my desk. But I can follow her example by consistently and lovingly placing spiritual concepts before my brothers and sisters. Now that I have an ideal, a destination, a goal, a vision of the ideal spiritual life—one of love, mercy and ministry—I have a true plan for living.

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  photo of Elizabeth Engstrom by Mary Bartnikowski

Elizabeth Engstrom is the author of many books
 
Read about Liz on Wikipedia
Liz Engstrom's Official Website