In this November edition of Journal we have several essays that focus on the personal understandings gleaned from studying The Urantia Book. Our first essay, The Purpose of the Fifth Epochal Revelation, was written by members of the Sunshine Coast Study Group, Queensland Australia in 1990. A prominent member of that group back then was Ken Glasziou who is well-known in the Urantia community for his many scientific papers. The essay starts with a very important question, “Why has this new revelation come to us specifically at this time, and not one thousand years hence or whence?” Their answer helps to edify the reason, paraphrasing from Paper 99, “In the past, religion did not have to adjust its attitude to extensive changes in economic and political systems; today the rapidity of changes in living conditions is such that institutional modifications must be greatly accelerated, and religion must quicken its adaptation to an ever-changing social order. We are told that these periods of gross instability will endure for a thousand years; that the human race must become reconciled to a procession of changes, adjustments and readjustments and that mankind is on the march toward a new and unrevealed destiny.”
Another question presented was about how we accomplish the spreading of these truths. Should we be a disciple or an apostle? As a disciple we become a follower or student of a teacher: “One difference between discipleship and apostleship as announced by Jesus is that, in undertaking apostleship, we elect to represent him in the world in the same way that, in his human life on Urantia, he represented the Father. This is certainly a rigorous undertaking, for it is not by the words we speak but by the lives we live that we will represent Jesus to the world.” Our authors succinctly address this directive “to farsighted men and women of spiritual insight and with the necessary skills and abilities, using The Urantia Book as source material, to conduct those secondary works that will permit the teachings of the book to penetrate to all segments of all societies and thus…
…attract all that is good in the mind of man and challenge that which is best in the human soul. [Paper 2:7.10, page 43.3]
Are you a disciple or an apostle?
Our next essay by David Elders, The Personal Experience of Revealed Truth, “is an exploration of the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) pedagogy and methodology in response to a provocative question:
“Can our encounter with newly-revealed, epochal truth be facilitated successfully by employing
evolutionary techniques of education or can revealed truth be comprehended using the interpretive teachings of the evolutionary religions of authority?” David offers us a detailed response to his question with an educational rejoinder from UBIS explaining how “Revelation is the fruit of the collaboration of beings from the highest spheres with the objective of expanding the cosmic consciousness and enhancing the spiritual perception of humanity so that every human being can enjoy spiritual freedom and live in full consciousness a better life of consecration to do the Father’s will, produce the fruits of the spirit, and experience the growth of divinity in the soul in a unique and personal way.”
Providing us a history of the development of UBIS, David awards us with the methodology its success has established by following the question and answer lead of Jesus contained in the UBIS promise: “…to facilitate students’ personal discovery of truth before sharing that discovery with fellow students.”
Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit. The eternal salvation of this truth-discerning and beauty-loving soul is assured by that hunger and thirst for goodness which leads this mortal to develop a singleness of purpose to do the Father’s will, to find God and to become like him. There is never conflict between true knowledge and truth. There may be conflict between knowledge and human beliefs, beliefs colored with prejudice, distorted by fear, and dominated by the dread of facing new facts of material discovery or spiritual progress. [Paper 132:3.4, p. 1459:4]
David Linthicum delivers our third essay The Eyedropper, Spoon, and Shovel, which is a delightful primer on introducing the fifth epochal revelation to his family and friends. It began with a workshop at the UAUS conference in San Antonio, Texas in 2016 and became fully developed as a 2018 plenary at the Netherlands international conference. David gives us the history of his attempts to spread the truth he found after reading The Urantia Book, many of which failed “dismally.” After participating as a booth volunteer at the 2015 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, he discovered the best way to spread the word: “The magic moment came when a visitor asked me what I thought of the book. That is when I hit my comfort zone. The Urantia Book had a profound impact on my life and I was eager to share what I had learned and how it changed my life. We ended up talking for about an hour. After that exchange I felt energized and confident.”
By using his personal experience and following Jesus’ method of delivery based on his audience “Jesus tempered what he said to others, he used an ‘eyedropper’ of truth here and there to illustrate his teachings. He would give them revealed truth by the spoonful, when they were ready for more. And when he did divulge additional information, as he did with Nathaniel, he charged Nathaniel to ‘tell no man.’ He did not attempt to shovel too much truth; it would have surely overwhelmed them.” Taking this to heart David reminds us as we zealously head out with our book in hand to “bring the eyedropper and the spoon… leave the shovel at home. If you find someone who desires a book, give them one but let them get their own shovel and dig for the truths it contains.”
The final essay, Family Crisis was adapted from a deeply personal presentation given at the Midwest conference in 2018 by Rick Lyon. By learning from his own experience with his family, this heart wrenching account of his struggles with a child who was disabled from birth, he endeavors to impart his understanding of coping with and enduring the difficulty of personal family crisis. In an attempt to understand and survive this difficult situation, “I began writing a newsletter article called, ‘Survival of the Subnormal Minded.’ This article took me a few years to write, beginning a couple of years before my son passed away. During that time my thinking about this topic evolved and so did the article, which is why it took so long to write it. And the reason for writing it took on greater significance with his death.” It is difficult to summarize Rick’s story for you in this introduction, it is even more difficult to feel what he experienced in his search for healing, not only for himself, but for his family. I will let each reader find in their own heart the healing Rick found through his struggle of living through this type of crisis. Thank you Rick for sharing your story, my tears are with you and my heart has been strengthened by your journey of understanding and the acceptance of your resolve through the eulogy
that enlightened and comforted your family and friends. We must all remember, “death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery.”
Sunshine Coast Study Group, Queensland, Australia, 1990
Is it the Recruitment of Genuine Apostles?
What is the specific purpose of the fifth epochal revelation on this planet? While this may seem obvious to very many readers of The Urantia Book, to others who are familiar with the finest concepts and teachings of Christianity as well as the best in several other of the world’s religions and philosophies, the answer is not so obvious. Excepting for detailed information on the hierarchical structure among the heavenly hosts that we have no means of verifying, much of the book’s content has been stated elsewhere. Neither do the scientific aspects of the book bring much new knowledge independently within a short time after the book’s publication.
Perhaps the simplest conclusion is that it has been given to us in order that we should recognize our sonship with the Father and the brotherhood of all men. But that message is not new, so is there some other purpose for this revelation? Undoubtedly part of its purpose is to rectify error that has partially negated the effectiveness of the fourth epochal revelation. Another purpose would be to amplify upon our knowledge of our place in the totality of God’s creation. But why has this new revelation come to us specifically at this time, and not one thousand years hence or whence?
To try to answer this question, let us take a look at Paper 99, The Social Problems of Religion, presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon and specifically addressing problems currently confronting our planet. In the past, religion did not have to adjust its attitude to extensive changes in economic and political systems; today the rapidity of changes in living conditions is such that institutional modifications must be greatly accelerated, and religion must quicken its adaptation to an ever-changing social order. We are told that these periods of gross instability will endure for a thousand years; that the human race must become reconciled to a procession of changes, adjustments and readjustments and that mankind is on the march toward a new and unrevealed destiny.
If we believe in the validity of the fifth epochal revelation, we have no option other to than to take these prophetic statements into account. Many of us may feel an urgency about getting on with changing and saving the world right now. But this prophecy is telling us that as fast as we remedy a world problem, new changes will be occurring that will require different adjustments and this situation will be with us or at least a thousand years. What is the role of religion to be? Paragraph 2 of Section 1 states:
Religion must become a forceful influence for moral stability and spiritual progression… [Paper 99:1.2, page 1086.5]
and in paragraph 3:
…the paramount mission of religion as a social influence is to stabilize the ideals of mankind during these dangerous times of transition from one phase of civilization to another, from one level of culture to another. [Paper 99:1.3, page 1086.6]
Paragraph four tells us there are no new religious duties to perform, that the role of religion is to be a wise guide and experienced counselor. But the leaders of our best religious institutions know all that, and there is certainly plenty of wisdom and experience to draw upon in the churches, seminaries, theological colleges, university departments of religion and so on. So why was the fifth epochal revelation necessary?
Perhaps Section 2 of the paper supplies an answer to this question. We are told that institutional religion is unable to provide the necessary leadership and inspiration because it is in a catch 22 situation. It cannot reconstruct itself until society has radically reconstructed itself. It then goes on to tell us that religionists must function in society, industry and politics as individuals, not as groups or institutions.
Some of us have been inclined to think that from the time of publication of The Urantia Book in 1955, those who gave us the papers have left us to work out our own destiny. This is only partially true; if we search the book conscientiously and prayerfully, we find that much explicit instruction is given even for questions that have since caused much perplexity and disruption. For example, the references just quoted tell us that for a long time to come the main role of religion in the advancement of our civilization rests not with institutions but with the individual. This is confirmed in Section 3:4 which states that:
The attainment of a high cultural civilization demands, first, the ideal type of citizen and, then, ideal and adequate social mechanisms wherewith such a citizenry may control the economic and political institutions of such an advanced human society. [Paper 99:3.4, page 1088.5]
Summarizing these comments, we have been told that we have a thousand-year job in front of us that initially should be confined virtually entirely to the production of ideal citizens who will, as individuals, serve to stabilize the moral and spiritual progression of society during these rapid periods of change. However, the requirements for producing an ideal citizenry have been known to millions upon millions of Christians for nigh on 2000 years. Where then is Christianity deficient and how is The Urantia Book telling us to compensate for that deficiency? Perhaps the answer to that question is that the vast majority of Christians know but do not live the message of Jesus. Undoubtedly a very large proportion of practicing Christians are genuine believers and qualify to be called disciples of Jesus. But according to The Urantia Book there is a considerable difference between the requirements for discipleship and apostleship. Perhaps then, the demand being placed upon us by the fifth epochal revelation is that we must follow the original twelve apostles into apostleship!
The qualifications for apostleship are set out in Paper 140 of The Urantia Book—The Ordination of the Twelve. It is quite possible to read this paper and to conclude that it was meant only for the original twelve. But this is not so. In Section 1:4 apostleship is offered to all who would take the path of the twelve. That offer is reiterated in Section 3:20 where Jesus says:
But everyone who hears this charge and sincerely executes his commission to represent me before men even as I have represented my Father to you, shall find abundant entrance into my service and into the kingdom of the heavenly Father.” [Paper 140:3.20, page 1571.7]
Thus we need to consider whether the real demands of the fifth epochal revelation may be for firstly hundreds, then thousands, followed by millions upon millions of Urantia Book students, all willing to undertake the pathway of apostleship.
Allowing that our train of thought may be close to the truth, what does it all mean for the present crop of Urantia Book students? It has been said that ultimately we are judged by the highest standards that we know, hence if we know the standards set out in The Urantia Book, then those are the standards by which we shall be judged. Though at first Urantia Book readers may be permitted to nominate as disciples, and hence avoid the rigorous demands of apostleship, this cannot be a continuing state. If we have received the book, read it thoroughly and understood its message, we must accept the challenge of apostleship or risk the consequences of rejection.
One difference between discipleship and apostleship as announced by Jesus is that, in undertaking apostleship, we elect to represent him in the world in the same way that, in his human life on Urantia, he represented the Father. This is certainly a rigorous undertaking, for it is not by the words we speak but by the lives we live that we will represent Jesus to the world.
Apostleship is a demanding but enormously spiritually rewarding undertaking. Many of its requirements are set out in Paper 140 and need to be fully understood as, in undertaking apostleship, we place ourselves permanently on trial before the bar of human judgment. The Christian experience has been that it requires unchristian behavior from a relatively small proportion of Christians to bring a highly damaging and condemnatory reaction. Perhaps it is in recognition of this fact that we find an extraordinarily harsh judgmental statement in The Urantia Book that perhaps applies only to those who undertake apostleship. It was made by Jesus during a resurrectional appearance to a group at Tyre who may all have been of apostleship status. It occurs on page 2054 and says:
And the fruits of the divine spirit which are yielded in the lives of spirit-born and God-knowing mortals are: loving service, unselfish devotion, courageous loyalty, sincere fairness, enlightened honesty, undying hope, confiding trust, merciful ministry, unfailing goodness, forgiving tolerance and enduring peace. If professed believers bear not these fruits of the divine spirit in their lives, they are dead; the Sprit of Truth is not in them; they are useless branches on the living vine and they will soon be taken away. [Paper 193:2.2, page 2054.3]
In conclusion we offer one final thought. There has been a considerable division of opinion about how the teachings of The Urantia Book should be spread to the general community. Just as the answer to the problem of what our role should be in our daily lives is to be found in the book, so the answer to that question of how the teachings are to be spread is also in the book. It was given to us by a Divine Counselor acting by authority of the Ancient of Days on Uversa and appears in the third paragraph of page 43. There is only one work on this planet that can fit the description given there of
…enlarged and exquisitely integrated modern concepts of cosmic truth, universe beauty and divine goodness, [Paper 2:7.10, page 43.3]
and that is The Urantia Book itself.
Just as Paper 99 addressed the current problems of this age, so too this direction is for right now and is to farsighted men and women of spiritual insight and with the necessary skills and abilities, using The Urantia Book as source material, to conduct those secondary works that will permit the teachings of the book to penetrate to all segments of all societies and thus…
…attract all that is good in the mind of man and challenge that which is best in the human soul. [Paper 2:7.10, page 43.3]
This essay is offered as a context exploration of our Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) pedagogy and methodology in response to a provocative question: can our encounter with newly-revealed, epochal truth be facilitated successfully by employing evolutionary techniques of education or can revealed truth be comprehended using the interpretive teachings of the evolutionary religions of authority?
I would observe that it is the combined nature of revelation and the revelatory process which together determine how revealed truth is encountered, accessed, experienced, perceived, and learned to facilitate its integration into the soul of each truth seeker. I do not believe that this is possible using intellect alone, but only by accessing truth in our progressing morontial (soul) consciousness. Some two thousand years ago, Jesus sought acceptance and certification of his revelation by the existing, established, evolutionary religious authorities—the Scribes and Pharisees. But as revealed truth designed to uplift and supplant existing evolutionary beliefs, it was rejected at the time by these leaders. Nonetheless, it was eventually spiritually integrated into human consciousness via the living power of Jesus’ life, the Spirit of Truth, the consequential, universal bestowal of Adjusters, and at the present time by the gift of the fifth epochal revelation to our world. Indeed, Jesus’ crucifixion represented the conscious evolutionary response by religious authority to destroy the newly-revealed truths which were seen as a challenge to existing beliefs and theologies. Is that response a warning for us today?
With The Urantia Book gripped lovingly in our hands, have we ever been tempted to wonder what the evolutionary response to new revelation might look or sound like today? This is a useful exercise to help us distinguish between newly revealed truth and the beliefs acquired over centuries which now undergird the evolutionary religions of authority. As you set forth on this examination, you may find it unsettling to learn that a new revelation is always contaminated by the older evolutionary beliefs. [93:7.4] Why is that? Perhaps it is because the techniques of evolutionary education and the religions of authority were designed to teach and interpret what is already known and believed, including truths previously revealed. Only revelation can teach new truth not yet known, experienced, and perceived. Nonetheless it is better to know the risk of contamination than to deceive ourselves into thinking that what we consider to be the higher meaning of newly-revealed truth is perhaps no more than a projection of what we already know and believe.
Toward the final days of our Creator Son’s bestowal on our planet some 2,000 years ago, Jesus warned the Apostles to beware of the support of the multitudes who came to see the Master and hear his words. One rest-day in camp he told them this:
And so you must not allow yourselves to be deceived by the great crowds who heard us in the temple, and who seemed to believe our teachings. These multitudes listen to the truth and believe it superficially with their minds, but few of them permit the word of truth to strike down into the heart with living roots. Those who know the gospel only in the mind, and who have not experienced it in the heart, cannot be depended upon for support when real trouble comes. [Paper 177:5.2, page 1927.3]
So, as we buckle down to really experience, perceive, comprehend in our hearts and apply in our lives the newly-revealed truths offered by the revelators in The Urantia Book, we would do well to choose the most effective methodology, informed by revelation itself, to facilitate our encounter with living truth. Lurking behind our choices is yet another question. Mota 16 alerts us to the seemingly counterintuitive fact that truth must be experienced BEFORE it can be perceived… Moreover, if the experience and perception of living truth is then further influenced by the unique personality of each child of God, can it really be “taught” by the older evolutionary and often interpretive techniques of education and authoritative religion? Here is a challenging Melchizedek clue:
Evolutionary religion is sentimental, not logical. It is man’s reaction to belief in a hypothetical ghost-spirit world—the human belief-reflex, excited by the realization and fear of the unknown. Revelatory religion is propounded by the real spiritual world; it is the response of the superintellectual cosmos to the mortal hunger to believe in, and depend upon, the universal Deities. Evolutionary religion pictures the circuitous gropings of humanity in quest of truth; revelatory religion is that very truth. [Paper 92:4.3, page 1007.3]
There is a lot to unpack in this little piece of revelation, but it is worth the effort for each truth seeker to meditate on its meaning. For now, just a few points to notice. The first is the origin of evolutionary religion versus revelatory religion (both personal and epochal): evolutionary religion is a REACTION to belief in a hypothetical ghost-spirit world. Revelatory religion is PROPOUNDED by the real spiritual world, in response to our mortal hunger…to depend upon the universal Deities. Whereas Evolutionary religion pictures the circuitous gropings of humanity in quest of truth; revelatory religion IS that very truth. Revelatory religion is a top-down, superintellectual gift of the real spiritual world; evolutionary religion is a bottom up, mortal mind response. Surely Jesus’ warning to the Apostles that the person who hears and believes superficially with mind alone and who has not experienced truth in the heart (morontial, soul consciousness) cannot be depended on, is a warning which we, even 2,000 years later, need to heed. Of course, we could rely on the presumption that the Spirit of Truth and the Thought Adjuster will automatically turn intellectual comprehension into soul-felt truth experience. But if the direct encounter with revealed truth embodied in the living presence of the Creator Son can be recognized only in the mind, what about revealed truth in the form of a book of words?
There is another issue as well to consider. To what degree do we contaminate revealed truth by the unsurprising tendency to understand new truth using old, comfortable, evolutionary methods; by projecting onto such truth existing human beliefs, even if updated into Urantia Book terminology to impersonate new understanding, especially when such revealed truth is rooted in the personal interpretation of others. Taking comfort in what we already know, such reliance speaks of the theological authority of the evolutionary religions instead of making use of the direct, personal experience and perception of revealed truth that is a hallmark of the planned revelations designed to fuel our growth. Just as lipstick on a pig doesn’t alter the underlying animal characteristics, if we employ evolutionary techniques and recognitions of authoritative education and religion to validate newly-revealed truth, that won’t really conceal the old evolutionary wineskins in which we chose to package the new wine—ostensibly to make it easier to share with others. But such a sea change in consciousness is not always so easy to accomplish: As we are told,
…it requires courage to invade new levels of experience and to attempt the exploration of unknown realms of intellectual living.” [Paper 101:7.2, page 1113.8]
Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) – An Encounter with Revealed Truth
The content of The Urantia Book differs from any other teaching whereas it is intellectual in the discovery of facts about our planet, morontial in the presentation of new concepts of Deity and the universal organization, and spiritual through a renewed presentation of truth throughout the book and in the religious life and teachings of Jesus. The author-revelators have assembled an impressive series of 196 papers (plus a detailed Foreword), logically organized from the transcendent to the immanent, presented as courses of which THEY are the teachers and perfectly adapted to our language and our understanding.
Contrary to the purely evolutionary nature of religious teachings resulting from the human groping to approach and know God, revelation is the fruit of the collaboration of beings from the highest spheres with the objective of expanding the cosmic consciousness and enhancing the spiritual perception of humanity so that every human being can enjoy spiritual freedom and live in full consciousness a better life of consecration to do the Father’s will, produce the fruits of the spirit, and experience the growth of divinity in the soul in a unique and personal way.
At the end of the day, if the system of spiritual education is not doing all of this, it fails.
“Since I encountered Urantia Book and follow UBIS, there is love growing in me, the love that springs from acceptance and acknowledgement that God is NOT what He WAS in my old paradigm. That Jesus is more my very close and intimate brother than God in that Cross; and though I am still learning – there is a subtle change in my motive to live and work. Because I could feel the sweetness of relationship between me and God, then I am hoping to bring that experience into realization in life of many people. The Kingdom of Heaven is here…that is the news I long to spread in real action, through my work and services.” A Student from Indonesia
UBIS Pedagogy and Methodology
In 1998, a collaboration between Dorothy Elder, a long-time reader and experienced teacher by profession, and Urantia Foundation Trustee Georges Michelson-DuPont to develop an internet school to facilitate the encounter with the revealed truths in The Urantia Book gave birth to UBIS (Urantia Book Internet School), a service of Urantia Foundation. The primary guiding principle undergirding the school’s pedagogy was informed wholly by the book’s revelation itself, from top to bottom without intermediary—the true teachers are the revelators, the Spirit of Truth, the Thought Adjuster. The UBIS TFs facilitate the encounter with new and living truth in order to stimulate the students’ self-discovery, experience, and perception of that truth. The design was simple. But to be effective it needed to resist the siren call of interpretive teaching so that the unique personalities of the school’s students might encounter, discover, and express new truth as taught by the truth revealers and rendered genuine by Michael’s Spirit of Truth and the Adjuster; then to mutually and lovingly share their perceptions with fellow students in their own unique and direct ways as they together weave a multi-dimensional understanding of encountered truth reflective of Supreme meanings and values. Teacher-Facilitators (TFs) trained in this pedagogical design and implement the courses offered by UBIS.
UBIS Course Discussion Comment:
“You know what? I appreciate the fact that in a UBIS course no one tells me what to believe but encourages me to reach conclusions for myself. Evolutionary religions seem to spend a lot of their educational energy teaching what they already believe is truth. Revelatory religion, we are told, IS the new truth we all seek. But it comes with a challenge: don’t settle for what you already know and believe about God or even what someone else claims is true. Keep reaching. Keep experiencing. Keep searching to know him better. He is infinite and eternal so that you don’t have to worry that you will run out of what is still unknown or un-experienced. It matters to me that even though the revealed truth provided in The Urantia Book is presented in words we must encounter intellectually, such revealed truth can come alive in our souls when given life by the Thought Adjuster, the Spirit of Truth, and our revelatory teachers who transform truth from an idea in words into a living experience of the God in whom we live. But we can’t just take that for granted, can we? We have to self-consciously will it. Don’t we?”
To support its self-discovery pedagogy, UBIS’ methodology derives its inspiration from Jesus’ masterful approach to stimulate in every child of his Father the direct, personal experience of revealed truth in the soul. Following Jesus’ lead, UBIS adheres to a question-response methodology meant to facilitate students’ personal discovery of truth before sharing that discovery with fellow students. During his bestowal on Urantia, the Master did not only tell his listeners the truths he wanted to reveal to them. Often, in addition to parables and especially during personal interactions, he asked questions designed to arouse in each soul the actual experience of such truth. Employing the Master’s example, UBIS TFs do not teach courses by interpreting revealed truth but instead design thoughtful questions to provoke in students the personal encounter with revealed truths which, once experienced in their souls, leads to enhanced spiritual perception. Because of the transformative effect of the top-down revelation of new truth and the intended growth process of revelation itself, the focus of UBIS is solely on The Urantia Book and does not include secondary (interpretive) works, or the evolutionary expressions of other seeker-authors musing about their views of truth or reality.
The UBIS academic year is comprised of three trimesters of 10 weeks each: January, April and September. The courses offered are based on the study of papers, for example the papers on “Thought Adjusters,” or on a general theme of the book, for example “power-personality synthesis.” Each course is an original creation, prepared by an experienced Teacher-Facilitator. It includes a reading assignment and a series of questions related to the subject of the course. One month before the registration period, early December, March, and August, the list of courses and a brief description of each are posted on the online pages related to the language of the course on Urantia Foundation’s website: urantia.org.
As explained above, a typical 10-week UBIS course, designed by each Teacher-Facilitator, is comprised of four, two-week periods. The first week combines deep study of a reading assignment with required responses to six questions which serve to focalize the reading material and provide personal reflections for the following discussion-sharing week. The questions probe the facts, meanings, and values of the assigned readings. Some are easily answered; others are more open-ended and ask for a deeper student grasp of new truth. Not unexpectedly, many students approach new truth through the lens of what they already know and believe. But encouragement is given to letting go of existing beliefs and probing new truth for new understanding. The initial week of the Course experience orients the students to the class purpose, enables the sharing of personal introductory statements and encourages the first interactions between the students. The final week of the Course is comprised of the posting of an essay based on topics provided by the Teacher-Facilitator, responding to the Student Evaluation Questionnaire to contribute to the refinement of the UBIS Learning Experience, and claiming the Course Completion Certificate. Access to the courses remains open for a week or two so that students have the opportunity to post final comments and observations and interact with the fellow students with whom they have journeyed through the experience of 10 weeks of revealed truth exploration. Students have found this to be a shared sonship experience—children of the Father encountering the revealed truths of that relationship while seeking together the Supremacy of divine perfection in the privilege of doing of his will.
Courses are presented currently in four languages, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese with a Moodle platform adapted to each language. UBIS uses Moodle, an online, user-friendly, digital platform utilized by millions of university students worldwide, to present its courses.
Teacher-Facilitator (TF) Training and Support
Prospective Teacher-Facilitators who have completed at least three courses as students, and who have been recommended by several experienced TFs and/or board members, are invited to take a required 10-week online training program (TFTP) designed to equip them to design and implement their own courses. This training program not only addresses the elements TFs need to be successful, the training also serves to equip each TF with tools that can help them become more effective study group leaders in their home communities. The UBIS approach has been shown to be successful in evolving study groups from reading and socialization to in-depth truth exploration. In addition to training, each TF has the opportunity to have the course they have designed reviewed by a team of experienced TFs. Designated as the Course Review Committee (CRC) this small team helps the TF with course communications, question design, plans for the Discussion-Sharing implementation, and helps to insure adherence to the non-interpretive UBIS self-discovery process, etc. The CRC offers suggestions for consideration; however, the TF makes the final decisions with regard to his/her course. Additionally, each TF is entitled to Faculty Committee Curriculum Integration Support, and a Mentorship Program for new TFs. In this way, TFs are trained and supported by multiple layers of UBIS course support services and certified for their responsibilities by living experience with the UBIS pedagogy and methodology as informed by The Urantia Book revelation itself.
A Sampling of UBIS Courses
The Quest for Consciousness Understanding Mind: Our Bridge to an Eternity of Adventure Unity, Diversity and Reality Three Days in the Life of our Master Teacher The Inescapable Command The Jesusonian Gospel Unfolding Through Epochal Revelations True Religion-Nurturing Spiritual Growth The Religion OF Jesus The Ordination Sermon: Master Philosophy of Life Power Personality Synthesis: Leading to Perfection of Life and Destiny The Thought Adjuster: Our Passport to Eternity and Destiny A Study of God: Our Source and Destiny The Agondonter’s Quest: The Ascent from Individuality to Unity
Along with these creatively TF-designed courses, UBIS offers a Core Curriculum Plan (CCP) comprised of courses built around 4-5 consecutive papers so that over time a student who chooses these CCP Courses will have the opportunity to experience all or most of the 197 Papers (including the Foreword) in The Urantia Book.
Our UBIS Educational Promise: Personally-Discovered Truth
Revealed truth, personally discovered truth, is the supreme delight of the human soul; it is the joint creation of the material mind and the indwelling spirit. The eternal salvation of this truth-discerning and beauty-loving soul is assured by that hunger and thirst for goodness which leads this mortal to develop a singleness of purpose to do the Father’s will, to find God and to become like him. There is never conflict between true knowledge and truth. There may be conflict between knowledge and human beliefs, beliefs colored with prejudice, distorted by fear, and dominated by the dread of facing new facts of material discovery or spiritual progress. [Paper 132:3.4, page 1459.4]
Revelation is a gift from the real spiritual world offering a transformational sea change in our experiential perception of the reality of God. It is profoundly more than just an upgrade to existing evolutionary thinking. The attempt to normalize and establish The Urantia Book as a document of evolutionary philosophy sufficient to affirm its revelatory authority is a species of wishful thinking. The sectarian landscape includes fringe religious institutions originally claiming revelatory origin that have traded or modified such revelatory identities for the apparent status of authoritative, sectarian religion and evolutionary educational accessibility. Indeed, such evolutionary identification is an intellectual temptation which puts at risk our revelation and the universe plan of regular, revelatory bestowals designed to stimulate expanded cosmic consciousness and enhanced spiritual perception. LET’S NOT FALL FOR IT.
In such a context, UBIS has been designed to utilize a pedagogy and methodology informed by the fourth and fifth epochal revelations based on the belief that evolutionary techniques of education and religious authority are not suited to the experience and perception of revealed truth. It is worth considering that in a well-meaning effort intended in part to normalize the fourth revelation as an evolutionary refinement, Jesus’ followers turned the living religion OF Jesus into a religion ABOUT Jesus which gave rise to the disease of sectarianism we suffer from today. How much easier would it be to do that with a book? In contrast, our underlying UBIS commitment is to the facilitated self-discovery OF the revealed truths encountered and understood by each unique student personally and directly rather than presented as teacher-interpreted knowledge ABOUT the truths revealed in The Urantia Book. The true teachers of revealed truth are, after all, the revelators, the Spirit of Truth, and the Thought Adjuster. During its 20 years of existence, more than 30 trained and dedicated UBIS TFs have designed and presented over 200 courses in English plus another 40 courses total more recently in French, Spanish, and Portuguese to a growing base of 2,000 registered UBIS students worldwide.
This article is adapted from a plenary speech delivered at the 2018 Netherlands conference.
The conference theme of the 10th Urantia Association International conference in The Netherlands was “Jesus as a Teacher.” When I was asked to be one of the plenary speakers I thought it would be a great opportunity, even though I had never given a conference speech.
At the 2016 conference in San Antonio, TX, I presented my very first workshop, so I decided to expand on that workshop theme for my plenary speech in Holland, the workshop was titled, “The Eyedropper, Spoon, and Shovel.”
I came up with the idea primarily based on my experience with trying to get my family and friends to read The Urantia Book.
I found The Urantia Book and finished a cover-to-cover reading in 1996. Like many of us, I was eager to share this marvelous book with those closest to me, my family and friends. I couldn’t wait to tell my best friend the good news! I had discovered a true treasure, something beyond my wildest imagination.
One day I bought him a book and handed it to him saying, “Man, you have GOT to read this!” I was fired up! I was hoping my best friend would be just as excited as I was. I wanted him to read it, so we could share our thoughts as we had when we read the Carlos Castaneda and J.R.R. Tolkien books in years past.
Let’s just say, things didn’t work out as I had hoped; my friend never read the book. My effort was a dismal failure. I found out sometime later that he showed it to his wife who thumbed through it and declared it to be the work of the devil. I was heartbroken and disappointed.
In my own defense, please bear in mind that, at that time I didn’t know anything about Urantia Foundation, the history of the book or study groups, and I hadn’t met anyone else who had read the book.
Over the years I tried various approaches, trying to coax people to read the book and none were successful. A wise man once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. It was time to rethink my approach.
My eye-opening moment came during a stint as a booth volunteer at the 2015 Parliament of the World Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah. Not sure how best to talk to folks about the book, I sat back and observed others who were more practiced, many with 40+ years experience.
I also watched the visitors as they interacted with the experienced booth volunteers and made mental notes of their reactions. When it came time for me to take my place at the booth I tried out some of the approaches I observed others using. I didn’t meet with much success; I just wasn’t comfortable with the way things were going.
The magic moment came when a visitor asked me what I thought of the book. That is when I hit my comfort zone. The Urantia Book had a profound impact on my life and I was eager to share what I had learned and how it changed my life. We ended up talking for about an hour. After that exchange I felt energized and confident.
Now, when people ask me what the book is about I simply tell them about my experience and what I learned from reading the book. I endeavor to avoid revelational terminology and simply say:
“For me, The Urantia Book answered the most pressing questions I had about religion, God, creation, angels, the devil and most importantly, life after death.”
“I had always thought that there was more to heaven than sitting around and playing the harp for all eternity. No matter how perfect heaven is supposed to be, that would get kinda boring after say a hundred, thousand or a million years.”
“There must be much more for us to do; eternity is a long, long, long time!”
“Surely God has a plan for us to stay busy, to grow in spirit and seek new opportunities that we can’t imagine today.”
“In this book I learned that God does have such a plan for us, he is our Father and he has made provisions for continued growth and adventure in His far-flung creation.”
And I leave it at that.
If they ask for more information I suggest that if they have similar questions they might also find the answers they are looking for in The Urantia Book. If they persist with questions I do my best to address them while avoiding the introduction of terms that are unique to the book. I’ve also learned that you don’t start out by telling people that human beings don’t become angels and that dogs don’t go to heaven.
As mentioned, a couple of years ago I was asked to give a workshop at the San Antonio, TX conference. The conference theme was “Jesus the Master Teacher.”
After agonizing over what I was going to talk about, I decided to take a closer look at Jesus’ teachings. It was then that I came up with my topic, “The Eyedropper, Spoon, and Shovel.”
The concept came to me when I considered how Jesus taught the common people and his apostles. What really stood out in my mind was not so much what Jesus taught, but how he taught and, equally important, what he didn’t teach.
For instance, Jesus commented on several occasions that, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” On other occasions he said, “I have other sheep not of this fold.”
These utterances are not remarkable to us, we know what Jesus was referring to.
But can you imagine the confusion on the faces of the Apostles? What in the world could he be saying?
Imagine this—Jesus and the Apostles are on the Mount of Olives and Phillip asks Jesus what he means about the Father’s house and this business about other sheep not of this fold?
Jesus takes his rod and begins to draw in the sand, and looking in the faces of his eager but confused Apostles he says:
My Father resides on Paradise which is surrounded by one billion perfect worlds, peopled by an untold number of perfect beings, making up the Central Universe, which is called Havona.
In my Father’s house there are seven superuniverses. There are also the First Outer Space Level, the Second Outer Space Level, the Third Outer Space level and a Fourth and Outermost Space Level.
And those sheep I told you about… well this world we live on resides in Orvonton, the seventh superuniverse in which resides a smaller local universe known as Nedadon; your world is situated in a local system of Nebadon called Satania which consists of over 600 inhabited worlds. My sheep consists of people with one, two and even three brains.
And, I am the creator and administrator over this local universe and all its inhabitants.
At which point Thomas jumps to his feet and exclaims, “Satania! As in Satan?”
That much information, however true it might be, would have blown the Apostles’ minds. They would surely have thought that Jesus “was absolutely beside himself” and one must wonder whether the Apostles would have followed him any further.
Instead, Jesus tempered what he said to others, he used an “eyedropper” of truth here and there to illustrate his teachings.
He would give them revealed truth by the spoonful, when they were ready for more. And when he did divulge additional information, as he did with Nathaniel, he charged Nathaniel to “tell no man.”
He did not attempt to shovel too much truth; it would have surely overwhelmed them.
We can learn much from Jesus’ method of teaching by using the eyedropper, spoon, and shovel approach ourselves when we desire to reveal the truths contained in The Urantia Book.
There is much we can learn from Jesus that will help us to be better teachers and leaders in our daily lives. We tend to attempt too much, too soon, which can overwhelm people. I have found that sharing my personal story about how the revelation has changed my life is much more powerful than saying, “The book says this, or the book says that…” People can relate to a personal story.
Let us bear in mind the method Jesus used as he shared a new revelation of truth with the Apostles, disciples and the masses. We should focus on the things Jesus taught while also keeping in mind those things that Jesus did not teach and let that guide us as well.
Jesus’ life changed the world. His teachings led to the eventual creation of the Christian Church which went on to spread his teachings all over the world. He was able to change the perception of the God of Moses, which depicted an angry and vengeful God, to a God of Love, a loving Father who adores his earthly children. Jesus taught us about the Kingdom of Heaven and the Brotherhood of Man, that men and women are “saved” by their faith alone.
When all is said and done, the Father idea is still the highest concept of God. [Paper 196:3.35, page 2097.3]
These simple messages of love, faith, and family served to change the people’s perceptions of God and their relationship to him. God became more personable, more understanding and sympathetic to our earthly struggles.
Jesus’ message was not complicated; it was ideally suited for the times in which he lived. Jesus was able to deftly weave his higher insights into the fabric of beliefs held in those days, over 2,000 years ago. He was skillful in determining what to say and what not to say.
But what of the times in which we live today? What can we learn from Jesus’ teachings that can serve to instruct us as we reach out to family and friends with our new found understanding of the true teachings of the Master?
When we examine Jesus’ teachings it begs the question: how do we incorporate all the things we have learned from reading/studying this marvelous revelation in our efforts to share these things with the ones we love, our family and friends?
As you go forth in your travels, remember to bring the eyedropper and the spoon… leave the shovel at home. If you find someone who desires a book, give them one but let them get their own shovel and dig for the truths it contains.
And that friend I mentioned earlier, what I failed to realize was that he was already safely in the Kingdom of God. He is an active member in his church and has a strong faith in God’s saving grace and eternal salvation.
(Adapted from a presentation given at Midwest Conference 2018)
All of us have faced a family crisis at some point—actually multiple points—in our lives. Some we create; some we fall victim to; and some that just happen.
This article is going to look at family crisis. The goal here is to help you look at how crisis effects our families, the barriers to overcoming family crisis, how we have addressed previous crises, find better ways to solve crises in the future, and perhaps prevent crises in the first place.
Let us look at my own personal family crisis as an example. The major crisis in my family was the physical and mental problems of my second son. His name is Brad. He was born in November of 1978; the same year I discovered The Urantia Book. He passed away in September of 2010.
Brad had problems even before he was born and when the happy day came it was soon apparent that his problems were not over. His first month of life was filled with episodes of projectile vomiting and no dirty diapers. The doctors said that it was just the formula so try something different. We did—several times. Breastfeeding was totally out of vogue at that time so it wasn’t even considered. We put our trust in our old family doctor until Brad’s young inexperienced mother finally threw a screaming temper tantrum in the doctor’s office.
The result was the discovery of an intestinal blockage called Pyloric Stenosis. This required emergency surgery to correct. Probably because of this, Brad became autistic and mentally handicapped, never to progress more than the mental age of about three years old. This created a great crisis in our family. Even though life with Brad presented its challenges, we loved him with all our heart. We took him everywhere and did all the typical family things trying to make his life and ours as “normal” as we could.
Brad’s mom nearly had an emotional breakdown. She developed caregiver syndrome where she thought she was the only one capable of taking care of Brad. She then felt trapped by her circumstances, which led to anger and depression. Brad’s brother felt neglected at times because of our required focus upon Brad.
Family members tended to either feel sorry for Brad or were uncomfortable around him and stayed away. Many of them offered advice that we either had to ignore or found offensive.
The doctors wouldn’t tell us what was wrong with our son. Actually we denied that anything was wrong with him and thought he would grow out of it. We tried to function as normally as we thought normal should be, hoping the crisis would go away. At first, we turned to each other and then we turned on each other. His mom decided that this was her punishment in life. I turned to The Urantia Book.
I read that parents of a handicapped child have an 80% divorce rate. After 22 years of marriage we ended up divorced. At the time, I honestly thought that would make things better for everyone but it didn’t. When Brad became physically bigger and stronger than his mother, we were forced to do something we did not want to do. Brad went to a group home where he was kicked out after a year, then to the children’s hospital in South Bend and then, when the state closed all the children’s mental health facilities to cut costs, I moved him to his own home with 24/7 Medicaid staff caring for him.
So that is the short version of our family crisis.
I began writing a newsletter article called “Survival of the Subnormal Minded.” This article took me a few years to write, beginning a couple of years before my son passed away. During that time my thinking about this topic evolved and so did the article, which is why it took so long to write it. And the reason for writing it took on greater significance with his death.
If you ever need help figuring out a difficult problem or answering a difficult question, try writing a newsletter article about it—even if you don’t intend to publish it. The research to write such an article is great therapy and helpful in finding a solution. Maybe others can benefit from your research too.
A few years after Brad was born a friend of mine had a severely handicapped newborn child. He was terribly upset. I told him that first you will blame yourself; then you will blame your spouse; then you will blame God; and then you will finally realize that nobody is to blame but you are left with the frustration of “Why?” When a crisis arises we usually feel the need to blame somebody because we cannot accept that bad things just happen. We want to know “why” it happened. Reading the inevitabilities on page 51 of The Urantia Book helps us to understand not only the “why” of all this when we face a family crisis but also the necessity of it.
Brad never had a pal or buddy, never had a girl friend or got married, never had children, never had a job or been part of a team. I remember when Brad passed away I asked the funeral home for just graveside rights because the only people attending will be his mom, his brother, myself, and maybe a few family members.
However, on the day of the funeral there were 50-60 people there. That is when I realized that Brad’s life provided the opportunity for others to experience and demonstrate courage, altruism, hope, faith, loyalty, and unselfishness. Even with his handicaps, Brad was able to serve others.
The purpose of this article is to share with you our own personal growth in finding answers to our many questions. Perhaps we will see how applying The Urantia Book teachings to family crisis situations can help us to understand them and react to them in a more positive manner. We can put the teachings into action and grow and benefit from them. I hope this will bring the same peace we have found in The Urantia Book concerning our son to those of you who have experienced or currently experiencing a major family crisis. Even Jesus experienced several family crises from the death of Joseph, the death of little Amos, poverty, illness, to disagreements, misunderstandings, and separations. And of course his greatest family crisis: the Lucifer Rebellion. Look at how he dealt with these crises in his life to help you deal with those in your life.
So, let me take you through the evolution of my solution to our family crisis. Of course, my solution did not change the circumstances; only my perception, understanding, and reactions to the circumstances.
As parents of a mentally handicapped child, we asked ourselves many questions but the big ones are:
Why is Brad the way he is? What happens to my son if I die? What happens to my son if he dies? Does a person who does not have a normal mind survive mortal death?
I struggled with these questions for many years. I suspect that all parents of a mentally handicapped child do too.
The first question, “Why is Brad the way he is?” is one that all parents of a handicapped child will ask and the next one is usually “Why did God let his happen? Or even worse, “Why did God do this to my child?” The conclusion that I came to was that we live a material life with material bodies and like any material thing on an imperfect world, they are sometimes defective and sometimes break or go bad or eventually wear out.
Jesus said, In the matter of sickness and health, you should know that these bodily states are the result of material causes; health is not the smile of heaven, neither is affliction the frown of God. [Paper 166:4.10, page 1831:1]
The difficulties of Brad’s life were not in any way a sign of God’s disfavor with him or us. Brad was simply an innocent victim of one of the material accidents of time. Such occurrences are not pre-arranged or otherwise produced by the spiritual forces of the realm. Our Father does not cause or send pain and suffering upon us.
The Father causes his rain to fall on the just and the unjust; the sun likewise shines on the righteous and the unrighteous… [Paper 166:4.4, page 1830:4]
I think this quote means that bad things happen to good people just as good things happen to bad people. The situations in life are different for each person but our lives are made up of both good and bad events regardless of who we are or what kind of person we are. If I have learned anything from my 65 years on this planet it is that good things often come from bad experiences. Often there are unforeseen benefits to suffering or the difficulties and disappointments of life.
So, why do bad things, or what we perceive as bad things, happen?
From The Urantia Book we are told:
The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God. All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following:
Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments. [Paper 3:5.6, page 51:5]
Is altruism—service of one’s fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality. [Paper 3:5.7, page 51:6]
Is hope—the grandeur of trust—desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties. [Paper 3:5.8.3, page 51:7]
Is faith—the supreme assertion of human thought—desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe. [Paper 3:5.9, page 51:8]
Is pleasure—the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities. [Paper 3:5.14, page 51:8]
We are also told that the greatest affliction is to have never been afflicted. It is often the bad things in life that make us appreciate the good. It is the ugliness in this world that makes us appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. It is the potential of evil that gives us the opportunity to choose the good. Stars are best discerned from the lonely isolation of experiential depths, not from the illuminated and ecstatic mountaintops.
In the mind of God there is a plan but as mortals on this tiny isolated material world it is nearly impossible for us to comprehend that plan. While at times we may question God’s ways and wonder why things happen the way they do, all we can do is believe and put our faith in God and in the wisdom of His plan for we know that our Father loves us unconditionally and he would never do anything to hurt us.
The ways of God are true, beautiful, and good. It is the truth, beauty, and goodness instilled in us by the indwelling spirit that leads us to love our children, our grandchildren, each other, and even those difficult to love.
Something went wrong during the material development of Brad’s physical body. His hardships and our disappointments gave us courage to fight for his happiness and well-being. The unfairness of Brad’s situation inspired many people to serve as caregivers and their service no doubt brought them spiritual satisfaction. The uncertainty of his survival and the reasons for his problems caused us to have faith because we believed more than we knew about Brad’s life and his future. Brad’s pain and suffering caused us to appreciate our own health and happiness and that of his brother and our grandchildren. Caring for Brad made us unselfish as we chose to put his needs above our own.
The second question, “What will happen to Brad if we die?” is a question concerning the care of Brad while here on Urantia. Since Brad has gone before us this is no longer of concern. However, let me share these quotes that I think relate to Brad’s mortal life.
The teaching about guardian angels is not a myth; certain groups of human beings do actually have personal angels. It was in recognition of this that Jesus, in speaking of the children of the heavenly kingdom, said: ‘Take heed that you despise not one of these little ones, for I say to you, their angels do always behold the presence of the spirit of my Father.’ [Paper 113:1.1, page 1241:3]
Originally, the seraphim were definitely assigned to the separate Urantia races. But since the bestowal of Michael, they are assigned in accordance with human intelligence, spirituality, and destiny. Intellectually, mankind is divided into three classes: [Paper 113:1.2, page 1241:4]
The first classification is:
… The subnormal minded—those who do not exercise normal will power; those who do not make average decisions. This class embraces those who cannot comprehend God; they lack capacity for the intelligent worship of Deity. The subnormal beings of Urantia have a corps of seraphim, one company, with one battalion of cherubim, assigned to minister to them and to witness that justice and mercy are extended to them in the life struggles of the sphere.
Had Brad outlived his parents, the guardian angels would have continued to watch over him. The other two classifications of intellect are the average, normal type of human mind and the supernormal minded.
The third question is, “What will happen to Brad when he dies?” If we study things like the planetary nursery and the subnormal minded, perhaps we can find an answer to this. This question always seems to come up in study group at some point because of my son Brad.
Because Brad did not have a normal mind, does that mean that he was merely an animal and not human? Since he could not make a moral choice (or at least a moral choice that we could perceive) was he unable to receive an Adjuster? If he could not receive an Adjuster was he less than human?
So, here is a list of questions for your consideration. I also encourage you to use them for discussion in your study group.
What is or was our family crisis?
What was or will be the outcome?
How did I react to this crisis?
Did I do or say anything to create the crisis or make it worse or to prolong it?
What does The Urantia Book say that can help me to find a good solution for our family or to do better next time? Try to answer these questions unemotionally.
Here is how I used The Urantia Book to address my family crisis.
Does a person of subnormal mind survive mortal death? Let me point out that:
Subnormal minded people are not animals but are mortals with less intelligent minds that function on levels higher than animals.
The first mansion world has a nursery dedicated to the pre-choice children of surviving mortals.
Infants who have not yet received a Thought Adjuster have survival potential and are kept safe in the planetary nursery until a parent arrives to make decisions concerning their future.
Thought Adjusters come to indwell the children of the planetary nursery just as they would on this material world.
A corps of seraphim, one company, with one battalion of cherubim, minister to the subnormal minded children of Urantia to assure that justice and mercy are extended to them in this material life.
Mansion World Teachers, under the supervision of the Melchizedeks, maintain extensive educational facilities for the training of the probationary wards of the Finaliters.
Finaliters, Melchizedeks, seraphim, cherubim, and surviving parents all are involved in the mortal and post-mortal life of these undeveloped souls. Education and training in infant-receiving schools are provided to prepare these children of time for the ultimate adventure. A corps of seraphim and a battalion of cherubim watch over the mortal life of the subnormal minded. It seems that a lot of effort is put forth to care for these imperfect children of this imperfect material world. So apparently they must have potential survival value. There is in The Urantia Book an entire sentence that is in italics:
Nothing of survival value is ever lost in all the wide universe. [Paper 109:3.2, page 1197:4]
We see in The Urantia Book that potential is very important for it is not what we are, but what we are becoming that is important. In this spiritual universe, I suspect that only real or potential spiritual value is worthy of the efforts of angels and spiritual beings. I now believe that we are assured that the material difficulties and physical imperfections of Brad’s mortal life do not follow him or hinder his potential for an eternal spiritual life or in any way prevent his survival and attainment of the presence of God.
I now believe that because of the patience, tolerance, understanding, and merciful sympathy of the governing bodies of Orvonton and Nebadon that Brad will be afforded additional time and accorded further opportunity in which to make his choice and shall not be deprived of the eternal joy of pursuing the ascending career.
The failure to make a final choice concerning God before mortal death will not prevent Brad’s survival and advancement to the mansion worlds. The mental handicaps of my son will not prevent him from being given full and ample opportunity to make one irrevocable, self-conscious, and final choice.
I am convinced that Brad is now sleeping, awaiting for his mom or I to arrive and awaken him on the mansion world; where perhaps for the first time he will make a clear and conscious choice about his future.
I believe that some of the greatest lessons from The Urantia Book are that “In the mind of God there is a plan” and that the universe is friendly and everything works for the good. While Brad’s passing was painful for us, some good has come from it. I did the eulogy for my son because it was the last thing I could do for him. Those who know me personally know what a difficult thing it is for me to speak in front of people. That eulogy allowed me to share teachings from The Urantia Book with family and friends that I have not been able to reach otherwise.
I boldly quoted The Urantia Book and mentioned it by name in the eulogy.
The funeral home director told me that in 15 years of doing funerals that was the best eulogy he had ever heard. And all of it came straight from The Urantia Book.
A couple of weeks later, my two sisters showed up at my study group for the first time ever. They came because of what I had said at Brad’s funeral. Brad’s mom (Deborah) has suffered years of guilt over Brad’s condition but the words of The Urantia Book washed away this guilt and fear in a way that I was not able to help her with before.
The guys at work sent flowers for Brad. I thanked them for their sympathy by sending an email to about 750 people at work that said, “While we are sad at the loss of Brad and miss him dearly, we are excited for him because we know that “death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery.” Along with page and paragraph of The Urantia Book. I got about half dozen nice emails back commenting on this statement.
So, this is the story of my progressive journey concerning my son, his eternal future, and our family crisis. I struggled for years wavering between believing that my son would not survive but hoping that I was wrong, to being convinced that he has survived and looking forward to monitoring his future growth and progress in service to our Heavenly Father. I came from believing that Brad had no potential survival value to being convinced of that fact and looking forward to the day when I will see him again.
I came from feeling somehow responsible for his handicaps—and disappointment that he would miss the opportunity to experience the ultimate adventure—to the point of knowing that sometime soon he will be able to communicate with a clear functioning mind, a new and improved morontia body, and once again enjoy the loving embrace of a father for his son.
Here are a couple of last quotes about crisis:
Rodan said: But the greatest of all methods of problem solving I have learned from Jesus, your Master. I refer to that which he so consistently practices, and which he has so faithfully taught you, the isolation of worshipful meditation. In this habit of Jesus’ going off so frequently by himself to commune with the Father in heaven is to be found the technique, not only of gathering strength and wisdom for the ordinary conflicts of living, but also of appropriating the energy for the solution of the higher problems of a moral and spiritual nature. [Paper 160:1.10, page 1774:2]
The Master well knew that many of his followers were slowly but surely preparing their minds finally to reject him. He likewise knew that many of his disciples were slowly but certainly passing through that training of mind and that discipline of soul which would enable them to triumph over doubt and courageously to assert their full-fledged faith in the gospel of the kingdom. Jesus fully understood how men prepare themselves for the decisions of a crisis and the performance of sudden deeds of courageous choosing by the slow process of the reiterated choosing between the recurring situations of good and evil. He subjected his chosen messengers to repeated rehearsals in disappointment and provided them with frequent and testing opportunities for choosing between the right and the wrong way of meeting spiritual trials. He knew he could depend on his followers, when they met the final test, to make their vital decisions in accordance with prior and habitual mental attitudes and spirit reactions. [Paper 153:1.3, page 1708:2]
Perhaps the repeated crises of our lives are this same kind of training for us. Exposing us to the ups and downs of life, the joy of victory and the agony of defeat until we develop good problem-solving habits without crumbling during a crisis or getting too full of ourselves in our successes.
Before Jesus was put on his cross, the two brigands had already been placed on their crosses, all the while cursing and spitting upon their executioners. Jesus’ only words, as they nailed him to the crossbeam, were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He could not have so mercifully and lovingly interceded for his executioners if such thoughts of affectionate devotion had not been the mainspring of all his life of unselfish service. The ideas, motives, and longings of a lifetime are openly revealed in a crisis. [Paper 187:2.4, page 2007:3]
What do our words, actions, and feelings—our emails, tweets, and Facebook posts—during past crises tell us about ourselves? What does this tell us about what we need to do to become better crisis managers in our families? When a crisis is over, we all have things we wish we had said, things we wish we had not said; things we wish we had done, things we wish we had not done.
The worst thing about a major family crisis is that it almost always tears the family apart. The anger, resentment, and hurt often lasts a lifetime, sometimes gets passed on to future generations, and a good family is destroyed in the process. It is very difficult for any family to repair the damage and rebuild the family they once had or always wanted.
But, what if we could learn how to put our families back together. What if we as students and teachers of the Urantia revelation could be the first to teach others how to rebuild broken families. What if we could figure out how to put humpty dumpty back together again? What if we could be the shining examples of what real families are and how they can recover from crisis? What if we could figure out how to prevent family crisis in the first place?
Can we begin to lead our families back to the loving relationships that represent the family of God to others and demonstrates the love of our Paradise Father for all? Can we be examples of the parental affection of Christ Michael and the Mother Spirit?
Can we be the father-husband, mother-wife that God wants us to be and that we have the potential to become?
So, let’s change gears a bit.
Christianity is seriously confronted with the doom embodied in one of its own slogans:
A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The non-Christian world will hardly capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom. The living Jesus is the only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true church—the Jesus brotherhood—is invisible, spiritual, and is characterized by unity. [Paper 195:10.12, page 2085:03]
We can see in The Urantia Book that many splits and divisions have occurred in the past within the community of believers in Jesus. Abner split from the Apostles. Nathaniel split from the Apostles when they changed the gospel. There was the great Schism of 1054, that brought about the final separation between the Eastern Christian churches and the Western church led by Pope Leo IX that did not end (kind of) until 1965.
Every major religious group has undergone one or multiple splits or schisms. They are usually based on succession disputes, political power, or doctrinal disagreements. In addition, there are usually three divisions within such groups that represent different types of belief—conservative, moderate, and liberal views.
Even though we all feel and share in the personal spiritual unity as individuals within our Urantia community, we see these same organizational differences and membership personalities within our Urantia organizations. Will it take us 911 years to solve our crisis? I am convinced it will not.
How can we prepare for or prevent future disagreements within the worldwide and rapidly growing Urantia community? What can you do personally to help put our Urantia family back together again?
We are currently experiencing a major family crisis right now within our Urantia family. Many people blame this crisis on someone who no doubt did what they thought was right in the best way they knew how, but one person cannot create a crisis.
The reactions of each party contributed to the crisis. Some of the issues resolved themselves or became less important over time but a few remain to be solved. However, many people are working to resolve this crisis and the issues that once seemed insurmountable are now viewed as potential areas of negotiation. Unity is no longer seen as impossible to achieve but as a matter of “when and how can we achieve it” What will this unified movement look like in the future?
This crisis began roughly in 1989. Only a handful of people alive today really know what triggered the crisis. Our young students and leaders don’t really care what happened back then. For them it is all about today and tomorrow.
I recently met with a team of people for what we called the Unity Initiative. One person who was directly involved in the Urantia schism told me that, “Looking back, I can’t believe some of the things I said and some of the things I did.” Another one said, “We could have and probably should have done things differently.”
It is obvious that many people on all sides could have done things differently and all of us, me included, have said things we wish we had not said.
Perhaps the real issue is not what happened in 1989 but what happens in 2018? Perhaps this separation is a training ground for us—much as Jesus trained his organization of apostles to deal with crisis and disagreements. How can we solve our schism? What good can we harvest from our family crisis? Even the Lucifer Rebellion produced far more good than it did damage.
Are we prepared for the growing wave of interest and students of The Urantia Book? What image will we project when that wave crashes upon our shore? Let it be an image of love and unity for each other—whether we are all in one organization or perhaps a union of organizations—that will attract all those who will soon arrive on our doorsteps.
I feel like our community at the moment is like the marriage counselor who is getting divorced. We are supposed to be those who love one another as Jesus loves us. We are supposed to be those who have a close personal relationship with God in Heaven and have chosen to do his will. We are supposed to be those who love even our enemies.
We are those with a revelation of truth and we are God-conscious, born of the spirit as children of light and life, unafraid to preach the good news of eternal life to our fellows who languish in darkness and hunger for the bread of life and the light of truth. We are those who use our faith to reveal the light of truth to the world; who share this fifth epochal revelation to open the eyes of those blinded by tradition.
We are those whose loving service effectually destroys the prejudice engendered by ignorance. We are those who are supposed to draw close to our fellow men and women in understanding sympathy and with unselfish devotion lead them into a saving knowledge of the Father’s love. We are those who are not to hide our light under a bushel. We are those who are supposed to make known the love and the mercy of God to all mankind. We are the ones who have been given ten talents.
Through fear we often flee from the facts of a disagreeable experience, but we have been baptized with the Spirit of Truth, to bravely and joyously go forth to meet the new experiences of proclaiming the good news of eternal life in the kingdom of God.
We are the children of truth and light; therefore, let us not stumble into the misunderstanding entanglements of mortal suspicion and human intolerance because of something that happened thirty years ago between people most of us don’t even know or have ever met.
If you are ennobled, by the grace of faith, to love unbelievers, should you not also equally love those who are your fellow believers in the far-spreading household of faith and the fifth epochal revelation? Remember, as you love one another, all men will know that we are disciples of Jesus. And I believe that knowledge will break down their fear of “our new religion” and this epochal revelation.
Go, then, into all the world proclaiming this gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men to all nations and races and ever be wise in your choice of methods for presenting the good news to the different races and tribes of mankind. Freely you have received this gospel of the kingdom, and you will freely give the good news to all nations. Fear not the resistance of evil, for I am with you always, even to the end of the ages. And my peace I leave with you.” [Paper 191:4.4, page 2042:1]
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