What Is a Study Group?
Readers who want to gain an enhanced appreciation and deeper understanding of The Urantia Book’s teachings have found it immensely helpful to study with others, to explore its rich content and share personal insights with other readers. An informal study group is an effective way to gain a greater comprehension of the Urantia revelation which can help students gain insights into how they can integrate the teachings into everyday life experiences.
There are many successful models for forming and conducting study groups. Some groups meet in reader’s homes or in meeting rooms. Others meet online with Zoom or some other interactive internet service. Some meet weekly, others biweekly, still others monthly to suit the schedules and lifestyles of the members. Some groups read the papers sequentially, discussing the content as they go. Sometimes a topical study is preferred where a member researches a specific topic and presents a series of readings from the book. Every study group is free to develop a schedule and style that best fits the needs of its members.
Urantia Association also offers a comprehensive resource, the Urantia Association Study Group Guide that was created to help Urantia Book students organize new study groups and enliven existing ones.
Why Are Study Groups Important?
Individuals who seek a deep understanding of the teachings of the book find it helpful to study with others. Study groups are considered to be the primary social environment for learning about the teachings and educating others. Here are forged fellowship and teamwork, as individual experiences and interpretations are shared in an informal atmosphere conducive to spiritual growth.
Studying The Urantia Book with others has a balancing and corrective influence on individual opinions, and group participation has a nurturing and spiritually reinforcing effect. We can find God and grow spiritually by means of what we discern in our inner lives, and also through close association with our fellows. These groups can also provide excellent opportunities for students to develop teaching and leadership skills for sharing this new revelation.
The Publication Mandate
The early leaders who were involved in the initial organization of the Urantia movement had been told many things by the celestial overseers on the public dissemination of The Urantia Book. As the book was being readied for publication in 1955, these early leaders were given specific advice concerning the timing of The Urantia Book. This advice was included in a memorandum dated April 4, 1955 and was shared with members of the Forum. It has become known as The Publication Mandate.
Here is a portion of that memorandum:
The Timing of The Urantia Book: “We regard The Urantia Book as a feature of the progressive evolution of human society. It is not germane to the spectacular episodes of epochal revolution, even though it may apparently be timed to appear in the wake of one such revolution in human society. 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.
“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.
“You must learn to possess your souls in patience. You are in association with a revelation of truth which is a part of the natural evolution of religion on this world. Over-rapid growth would be suicidal. The book is being given to those who are ready for it long before the day of its world-wide mission. 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 to comfort and enlighten the peoples of many languages 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.”