One of the most challenging and important aspects of The Urantia Book is its mission to this world. In the foreword of the book, the revelators express part of it by this quote “In our endeavour to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception”. To accomplish this complex task the revelators gave us The Urantia Book and a set of directives.
Many of us readers of The Urantia Book and leaders within the movement have different views and ideas about our mission and how to accomplish it. For many years leaders within Urantia Association have struggled with the concept of this mission. Many were not aware of the “Publication Mandate” and many others had no clear idea of the origin, history and destiny of The Urantia Book, its mission and the movement supporting it.
Because of this confusion of ideas and misunderstandings concerning our mission and the purpose of our movement, a group of well intentioned leaders got together and organized this symposium so we could all learn together the simple facts about our mission, its origin, history and destiny.
So this morning my goal is to introduce you to some of the meanings and purposes of that mission.
Urantia Association has taken for its mission statement “To foster study of The Urantia Book and to disseminate its teachings.” This statement in itself is wide in scope and interpretations, so the writers of our organizational Charter went further and developed a statement of purpose, which defines our mission.
Part of that statement of purpose states Urantia Association is “to foster study groups and create opportunities for the development of teachers and leaders.”
How to go about achieving this endeavour and this mission for the whole world is probably the most difficult and challenging spiritual and intellectual task ever faced by a group of humans. Each one of us is part of that group. Through our search for truth, quest for meanings and loyalty to values, we have earmarked ourselves as candidates for the realisation of the greatest spiritual mission to our world in this era.
As leaders within the Urantia movement or hosts of study groups, more is expected of us. In taking this quote of Jesus, “The blind leading the blind.”, we can understand very well the value of knowing where we are going if we ever hope to lead the peoples of this world to the light and for our successors in the centuries to follow , to one day say “Mission accomplished.”
If we really want to understand the real meanings, purpose and goal of our mission and how to accomplish it, we can direct our attention to those directives left to us by the revelators in the document that is called the “Publication Mandate.”I believe the mission statement of Urantia Association was inspired by this document.
Of the many many things that have struck me in the “Publication Mandate”are those passages which are very explicit and relate to our mission. The first passage to consider is this.
“The Book belongs to the era immediately to follow the conclusion of the present ideological struggle. That will be the day when men will be willing to seek truth and righteousness.”
Do we truly believe that we are in that new era? Is the ideological struggle over? Are a majority of men and women seeking truth and righteousness? We all need to explore the meanings of these words and understand their values when we formulate goals and strategies to accomplish the mission left to us by the revelators.
In The Urantia Book we find this passage mentioning the era we are in:
“This new and oncoming social order will not settle down complacently for a millennium. The human race must become reconciled to a procession of changes, adjustments, and readjustments. Mankind is on the march toward a new and unrevealed planetary destiny.” 1086.4) 99:1.1
“Mankind should understand that we who participate in the revelation of truth are very rigorously limited by the instructions of our superiors. We are not at liberty to anticipate the scientific discoveries of a thousand years.” (1109.3) 101:4.2
In those two places in The Urantia Book it mentions a period of 1000 years and for me it means we need to prepare the world for that next era coming in 1000 years. It is like building a third garden to welcome the next Son of God. Do we really think the world is ready to welcome such a Son or a Trinity Teacher? How long before Jesus did Machiventa Melchizedek appeared on earth? It was 2000 years. Do we really think that men today can change in a few decades or even in one hundred years?
The revelators went a little further by telling us:
“But the publication of the Book has not been postponed to that (possibly) somewhat remote date. An early publication of the Book has been provided so that it may be in hand for the training of leaders and teachers.”
This is one of the places where it tells us how we should accomplish our mission. The simple words LEADERS and TEACHERS carries with them many meanings in each of our cultures. Let us explore how those meaningful words can serve us well in accomplishing our mission.
In one of his books, Deepak Chopra describes many attributes and qualities of leaders; it is a very interesting book to read for anyone looking to improve the effectiveness of their potential as a leader. Here is what he says at the beginning of his book:
“Becoming a leader is the most crucial choice one can make-it is the decision to step out of darkness into the light.”
When we take charge of our life, when we take responsibility for our choices, when we make significant decisions concerning our spiritual growth, when we take initiative, are we not in some way stepping into the light?
As leaders, we always have to make a decision of who we want to become and where we want to go and embrace the responsibilities of those choices and express our potential. Once we decide to become a leader, we should devote all of our energy to becoming a good leader, to let ourselves be guided by the spirit that lives within us. To adopt for ourselves spiritual practices that will help us become spiritually fragrant.
Deepak goes on to say:
“When you change on the inside so that you draw on the unlimited wisdom of the soul, you become a leader without needing to seek followers. As you put your vision for a better world into tangible form, they will find you.”
In simple words, we lead by influence, by the examples of our life. For all of you who are fathers, do you not lead your children by the examples of your life? Were we not lead as children by the examples of our parents, of our teachers or by our older bothers and sisters or by some national hero?
When we address ourselves to the idea of training leaders, we are looking for ways to help and train others and ourselves on the art of influencing positively and spiritually our acquaintances, our co-workers, our friends and family members. We want to train others and ourselves on the art of being good hosts of our study groups, on ways to foster and support these groups. To train others and ourselves on ways to become more effective board members of our organization, on ways to organize conferences and dissemination projects. Any one of us who is doing those things is a leader and can show others how to lead, and by doing this you are becoming a better teacher and training new leaders.
In another place in the “Publication Mandate” we are told:
“The book is being given to those who are ready for it long before the day of its worldwide mission.”
Who are those who are ready for it? Is it us or someone else? How is it that we have found the Book and were interested in it? What is different about us? As I said yesterday in my welcoming speech, we are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. If not us, than who? I believe by our choices, we have been lead to this Book. Now it is our responsibility to lead others to the light, by the fruits of the spirit that we produce.
It is the same with teachers, we first teach by our example, by loyalty to the values we cherish. How we become better at this is what we can teach others. The life of Jesus is full of examples on how to teach. Why not explore this subject in our study groups and develop a program to teach others and ourselves the methods that Jesus used? Whether we realize this or not, we always teach by who we are. Do we want to risk resonating like empty cymbals?
Sharing the teachings is not only a matter of giving books away. We know from experience that this method has very limited effects. We need to be spiritually fragrant in order to become very effective disseminators. As a fraternal organization we should be as much concerned about disseminating the teachings as we are about giving books away. Not that we should not make the book known to others, but we could be more effective at it in our dissemination efforts if we would learn to be a better father or mother, a better husband or wife, a better brother or sister, a better neighbour, a better co-worker, a better religionist, a better son of God and a better servant to others in need of comfort and light.
In Paper 140 Section 4, we are told that “Even one’s vocation can be utilized as an effective “reflector” for the dissemination of this light of life.”
And the revelators go further by saying this:
“Its presence is also required to engage the attention of persons of means who may be thus led to provide funds for translations into other languages”
How many countries in the world are still without The Urantia Book in their own language? Were we not fortunate to have The Urantia Book in our own language many years ago? Can we truly appreciate the fact that while the book is made available to all nations of the world we are still in the beginning stage of our mission? How long will it take before we truly and fully realize the importance of supporting the Foundation so it can accomplish its part of the mission? Without books in those waiting countries, no readers, no study groups, and no progress toward the goal of the revelation “to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception”.
And the last strategy to accomplish this extraordinary mission is to follow this simple directive:
“Thousands of study groups must be brought into existence and the book must be translated into many tongues. Thus will the book be in readiness when the battle for man’s liberty is finally won and the world is once more made safe for the religion of Jesus and the freedom of mankind.”
How many study groups do we have so far? I believe not even a meagre 800 and some readers believe that study groups are not that important. Can we imagine for one second what it would be like to have one thousand study groups in Chicago, which has a population of 3,758,500 souls or any other city where you might live in? Let us do the simple math. If each study group would have 8 members, that would make 8,000 readers and if we can imagine that each of those readers could influence by their example at least 10 other persons around them, that would make 80,000 people influenced by the living truth. Then that 80,000 would influence others and so on…
Now imagine, of all those people how many would be politicians, legislators, doctors, teachers, social workers, scientists, lawyers, judges, policeman, ministers, fathers, mothers and many other kinds of peoples. Don’t you think this would start to make a difference on how the citizens of those cities would be administered, served and influenced in a wiser direction? Now imagine if we would have that number of study groups in every major city of the world, this is when we will approach readiness for this new era. But before this could happen we need to have The Urantia Book translated in all major languages of the world.
In North America, The Urantia Book has been available in English since 1955 and in French I believe since 1961. How many readers do we have so far? How many study groups? It took us more than 50 years to get where we are now and we don’t even have 1000 study groups yet, some countries do not even have readers that we know of, much less a study group. A very simple fact, as a fraternal organization, we are still at the very beginning when it concerns our mission. Much is left to do.
We can use study groups as a means to train leaders and teachers, as a place to learn how to integrate the teachings of The Urantia Book, how to teach friendship with God. Our mission is simple and unbelievably complex and gigantic, but by fostering, creating and catering to study groups one at a time, by training leaders and teachers within them we and future generations of dedicated students will get the world ready for the next era when the world is once more made safe for the religion of Jesus and the freedom of mankind.
As candidates to serve in this mission, we are still left with many choices and many decisions:
1st To choose to participate in this extraordinary adventure,
2nd To choose to work as a team
3rd To choose to follow the directives left to us by the revelators.
4th To choose to work sincerely for this mission
5th To Choose to live and be transformed by those teachings.
6th To be generous of our time and resources.
7th To do the Father’s Will.
“You who have and will dedicate your lives to the service of the Book and the Brotherhood can little realize the import of (your) doings. You will doubtless live and die without fully realizing that (you) are participating in the birth of a new age of religion on this world.”
God has already revealed Himself to us, now it is time to reveal ourselves to God by embracing the mission that was given to us!