When people find The Urantia Book, they experience new enthusiasm upon discovering something bigger and truer than anything they had ever known. Very often, a first reaction is to share this same enthusiasm with all those surrounding us. To our dismay, we readers quickly find people are not interested in our discovery or our experience.
Towards one o’clock in the afternoon, while the one hundred and twenty believers were in prayer, they all realized a strange presence in the room. At the same time, all these disciples became aware of a new and profound sense of spiritual joy, confidence, and security. This new consciousness of spiritual strength was immediately followed by a powerful impulse to publicly proclaim the gospel of the kingdom and the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead. [Paper 194: 0.1, page 2059.1]
It seems that this passage from The Urantia Book illustrates well a typical mental condition when first discovering the book. So, why did it not produce for most of us the same effect as it did for the apostles and disciples? These early believers convinced hundreds and thousands of others to accept the good news. I believe part or many of the answers are found in the narrative of the life and teachings of Jesus. More answers may be in ‘The Publication Mandate.’ *
If we review Jesus’ strategy, we can easily see he prepared a solid foundation well in advance of his public life. He perfected his methods and teaching style for sharing truth. He improved his ways and gained more knowledge of humankind throughout his pre-baptismal life as he journeyed around the Mediterranean Sea. He knew how to avail himself of every possible opportunity, sowing seeds of truth, preparing for his later disciples and apostles’ ministry after his departure from this world.
Jesus trained the apostles and disciples over nearly four years after his baptism, while providing spiritual edification and practical experience. We also know the apostles were ordinary men, not formally advanced scholars. They were people like you and I with an average education of their time.
There is something else that is interesting from this era—as the revelators tell us, the planet has never known a period as conducive to the spiritual awakening as during the time Jesus lived. It seems that Machiventa Melchizedek’s teaching 2000 years earlier also prepared people for Michael’s appearance on Urantia. He helped to create a spiritual climate favoring an upgrade from Jesus. Could we compare this past receptive period to our time? How might we be as effective today at sharing the upgraded teachings of Jesus?
Additional considerations emerge upon reflecting and thinking on the challenges about possible solutions. Let us attempt a better understanding of the present era and what we are invited to do. The revelators say The Urantia Book is the latest of five epochal revelations. None of us have had any prior experience with epochal revelation dissemination. Few of us in the past 2,000 years have gained experience in disseminating spiritual or religious teachings. This task was reserved almost exclusively for priests or other religious educators. Rare are those who acquired experience as a professional teacher; even less as a religious teacher.
Can we compare the present epoch to the time of Jesus? There are several differences and challenges preventing us from directly copying techniques of the past. The Publication Mandate states:
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. When the chaos of the present confusion has passed, it will be more readily possible to formulate the cosmos of a new and improved era of human relationships. And it is for this better order of affairs on earth that the book has been made ready. [Publication Mandate]
What can we deduce from this statement? Probably the present epoch of ideological struggle is far from over and most people today are not yet ready to seek truth and righteousness. People would be much more receptive to The Urantia Book teachings if we had no trouble in the past. Expert opinions or surveys are not needed to see how far the world today is from that future time when the battle for freedom will have been won. We could look at the present world situation to make our own evaluation of wars between religions, terrorism, and the rise of atheism, social inequalities, and dictator regimes in many nations, illiteracy, and many other prevailing conditions.
So, what shall we do if the time in which we live is not the right one? Here is the answer from ‘The Publication Mandate’:
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. 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. [Publication Mandate]
We could respond to this statement by telling ourselves that we do not have the qualities to be a leader or even less a teacher! And I don’t have a lot of money to fund translations. So why bother? What can we do? Or, we could step up to the challenge!
Once again, The Publication Mandate offers food for thought:
This book is given to those who are ready for it, long before the day of its world mission. Thousands of study groups must be set up and the book must be translated into several languages. [Publication Mandate]
Here again, mention is made of the period in which we live, and especially our relationship with the book. Interestingly, in this passage there is also a temporal time dimension and again the need for translations. Are we really the ones who are ready for this book or will there arise more gifted people for this mission? Each person must decide for himself.
The teachers of this new religion are now equipped with spiritual weapons. They are to go out to conquer the world with unfailing forgiveness, matchless good will, and abounding love. They are equipped to overcome evil with good, to vanquish hate by love, to destroy fear with a courageous and living faith in truth. [Paper 194:3:11, page 2064.3]
What may seem difficult at first could easily be accomplished if each one of us contributed repeated and meaningful efforts to support the Revelation in our lifetime. It is not a question of making clever or brilliant strokes, convincing the masses, or even convincing our whole family, friends, fellow workers and neighbors; but simply and gradually sowing the seeds of truth through our life example. We could offer encouragement for bestowing ourselves in loving service.
Jesus gave us a phenomenal amount of practical and spiritual examples. The Publication Mandate invites us to explore its lessons:
The future is not open to your mortal comprehension, but you will do well to diligently study the order, plan, and methods of progression as they were enacted in the earth life of Michael when the Word was made flesh. [Publication Mandate]
Not only do the Urantia papers teach us how Jesus did it, but also they give us invaluable lessons on personal spiritual life transformation.
Without personal spiritual transformation, the task ahead would be practically impossible; at most, we would be impostors. Learning what can help transform us is not that complicated. Learning efforts might seem arduous and impossible if we try to do it all alone. Have we heard it is not well for man to be alone? What better way to start this work than by joining a group seeking personal and world improvement while helping prepare for the opening of the next spiritual era!
If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, then you have to go as a group. [African proverb]
Study groups can offer the privilege of fraternizing while promoting spiritual growth. Effective growth must be validated by and in service to others. In Paper 48 we are informed:
You have not really acquired a virtue until your actions have made you worthy of it. [Paper 48:7.19, page 557.3]
Unfortunately, it is often too easy to fall into intellectual understandings and fail to achieve spiritual transformation. Jesus told us to appeal to the spirit in man. Genuine spiritual experience through loving service to others is very important. Study groups are effective if participants are actively engaged in personal transformation. A desire to help transformation our wider society is very important. Does not The Urantia Book itself tell us that once we are born of the spirit we have a desire to serve others?
If we sincerely desire to improve the world in which we live, each of us must put our grain of salt in it.
You are the salt of the earth, salt with a saving savor. But if this salt has lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. [Paper 140.4.2, page 1572.2]
In addition, what better way to do that than by participating in a dissemination project of The Urantia Book teachings through service to others? Jesus gave us many examples with his life model on how to do this and by his exhortation to his apostles and disciples. He taught them to practice his lessons by giving back to others what they understood, thereby gaining a better understanding of his spiritual values.
True, he continued his teaching, but his personal work consisted mostly in ministering to the sick and the distressed, while his apostles did the work of public preaching and baptizing believers. [Paper 145.3.13, page 1633.4]
Let us not forget that we live in the era of the Supreme and that nothing can be acquired without experience. If we are to be the sowers of truth and the lights of this world, each of us must engage ourselves in multiple and diverse ways in dissemination projects. We must find ways to realize these experiences so that we can progress in our mission.
Here are a few examples:
- Be part of a study group or become a study group host.
- Participate or become a facilitator in The Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) courses or other training courses available on the Internet.
- Volunteer in an activity that suits your personality.
- Write articles or comments without naming sources in national or regional magazines or newspapers when the topic is of interest to you and the teachings can be used as a solution.
- Get involved in a political party.
- Get involved in a church in your neighborhood.
- Become a coach for a hockey or baseball league.
- Become a member of an association such as the Optimists, Lions, and Rotary.
- Read to the sick or blind people or simply visit them at the hospital.
- Minister to dying people during their last days in this world.
- Read the document titled “101 Ways to Introduce The Urantia Book” by Vern Grimsley and spread spiritual truth. Put some of his advice into practice.
- Give your name for an activity that appeals to you in the volunteer center in the city where you live.
Let me tell you a little story about an episode of the time when I was President of the Urantia Association International (UAI). During one of my many trips to Colombia, I was invited to a dinner organized by a world-renowned international social club, I believe it was the Rotary Club. The person who facilitated this invitation, Tamila Ragimova, then President of the Urantia Association of Medellin, had taken great care to seat us at the table of Presidents, which gave me the opportunity to be seated next to the outgoing President of this association. During supper, I asked him about the importance of social clubs such as Rotary in Colombia and his response really surprised me. He said without these social clubs the country would find itself in financially and intellectually poorer conditions, while facing many problems of social inequality. He then said that the United States, thanks to the presence of many associations of this kind, could enjoy a cultural and economic wealth superior to many countries by promoting the sharing of cultural, religious, artistic, and information resources.
The world abounds with many various associations sharing an unimaginable number of exchanges of all kinds. This sharing would aid the world’s cultural and religious evolution adventure. Each person should participate in one or more organizations or projects to sow seeds of truth. We can “fertilize” the ground thus helping to prepare the world for our time.
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. [The Publication Mandate]
The important thing for us is to be systematic and consistent in our actions. There is no need to travel the world or be scholars to make a grain of salt; but simply to recognize available opportunities “as we pass by” in our lives. We may live a salty life regularly sowing the seeds of truth from our souls. There is nothing more powerful and rewarding than unselfish loving service. Neither do we need to convince them to read The Urantia Book. When they are ready they will find it like you did, because the angels will be ready to harvest the seeds you so lovingly scattered.
Opportunities to influence family, friends, fellow workers, even managers and bosses, might emerge if we truly desire service.
You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor’s motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being. If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 100:4.6, page 1098.3]
We found The Urantia Book because we were searching for the truth it contains. The responsibility for sharing truth now rests with us. We must make this truth live in our hearts as we team together in unselfish service, helping to inaugurate this next era of liberty.