(Editor’s note: This article was first published in the 2021 June Tidings. We are re-posting it here in memory of the late David Linthicum.)
During a recent Urantia Association conference, a question was posed to those assembled: “How many have been successful in introducing The Urantia Book to family or friends?” The response was not surprising; a quick count revealed that only a smattering few raised their hands. For all those who have tried and failed to introduce the book to family and friends, you are in good company.
Here we have in our hands a divine revelation, the fifth epochal revelation to mankind, the most amazing treasure since Jesus walked the Earth and yet many of our family and friends are not interested. I’m sure this is a reality for a great many of us and a disappointing one at that!
I’ve been a student of the book for 26 years, yet despite my best efforts to interest family and friends, for the most part they have shown only passive interest, perhaps tolerance or even appeasement would be more like it; none have taken the time to read the book. I was able to get a previous girlfriend to read the book several years ago and she became a dedicated student of the book. So, one person after 26 years of trying—not a great record!
The inability to share The Urantia Book with those closest to me has been disappointing to say the least. It is a failure that is difficult to bear at times. If this is your story, you know what I mean.
It hasn’t been for a lack of effort; I’ve tried everything I can think of. I even tried talking about the book without mentioning the book. What I found was that most people just aren’t interested in that type of conversation; they typically subscribe to the old “It’s best not to talk about religion or politics” excuse.
I even tried reverse psychology with a friend who asked me what I was reading. He is one of the most well-read people I know; we’ve been close friends for over 40 years. I told him a little bit about the basics of the book but suggested he shouldn’t bother. “It’s over 2,000 pages long,” I told him, “and a difficult book to read and even tougher to comprehend.”
He asked me to send him a book, which I promptly did. Yes! I thought, success at long last! As it turns out, he never read it, and he didn’t want to talk about it either—once again, my hopes were dashed.
I did have a total stranger ask me about the book just a couple of months ago. While in the waiting area at a tire store, a gentleman noticed I was reading the book and asked what it was about; he wondered if it was it some kind of Bible. I asked him if he was a religious man and told him that the book was along those lines. He said he was, named his faith, and added that he had an open mind. So, I handed him the book, open to the “Contents of the Book”; we sat and talked while he glanced over the pages.
After a nice chat, he said he’d order the book when he got back home and really looked forward to reading it. He seemed genuinely enthused. I gave him my phone number and asked him to call me once he got a chance to read some of it. Did he order the book? If so, did he read it? I don’t know—I haven’t heard back from him. Still, it was a pleasant experience.
That is one side of the coin; there is always the other side. On that other side, I am pleased to say, I have personally sent The Urantia Book to hundreds of people all over the country. And, more importantly, I know with certainty that many of them have read or are currently reading the book. How do I know this? I know because they write me often. They write to ask questions, to express how grateful they are to have such a wonderful treasure in their possession, to tell me how it has changed their life, and how they are sharing the book with their family and friends.
I like that side of the coin!
Here’s the difference: each of the individuals I have sent a book to personally asked me for the book. Most of the men and women I’ve sent books to have said they heard about the book from a friend. It is so encouraging to see this beautiful revelation spread from soul to soul in such amazing and inexplicable ways.
What a fulfilling service it is to be a small part in this mighty epoch in which we all live!
Along with a small group of my Urantia Book brothers and sisters, each a “seasoned” student of the book, we have been able to provide nearly 3,000 books, in like manner, over the past 16 years. Each book was requested; we didn’t set up stands in the park, man a booth at a bookfair, or use any of the typical means of reaching people and getting the book “out there.” Still, we have been blessed with the ability and means to provide books to so many—thousands of books to thousands of searching souls! It is an amazing story, such a wonderful and satisfying experience.
One of the supreme joys for a reader/student of The Urantia Book is the opportunity to introduce the book to an eager truth-seeker. The delight in being able to answer the questions of someone who is in the midst of reading the book for the first time is truly soul-satisfying. In connection with sending out so many books, it should not be surprising to learn that many of those grateful recipients continue to write with their questions.
Here are some of the questions I’ve received just this past year:
- I feel greatly troubled by what it says on page 30; “…a loving personality can hardly reveal himself to a loveless person.” Can you explain what that means?
- I want to feel love, but I just don’t know how to spark that feeling within myself.
- …Caligastia. What can you tell me about this being and how should I guard against it?
- So, we have a Thought Adjuster, a “God particle” in us. Where? The brain? The solar plexus? I was wondering this, like if it were in me, where was it in me so that I could contact it and communicate with it? Then I thought, if I am contacting God, what does that mean?
- Are the Holy Spirit and the Thought Adjuster one and the same?
- What prompts us, or draws us to this book? Is it solely our free will? Is it the “inner ministry” of the Father Fragment? I often think to myself, why me? Why me in regard to blessings and mercy? I guess I still struggle with that “not being good enough” mentality.
- I know I need to work on prayer, suggestions?
For those of us who attend study groups, we understand that such questions are essential to new readers as they sort through their current beliefs and/or disbeliefs about so many things. Being able to wisely answer their questions is not always an easy endeavor. One must be mindful not to injure or offend an inquisitive mind, not to say too much too soon, and to avoid confusion that might discourage further study.
It takes a delicate hand when your only form of communication is the written word, the exchange of letters—postal letters! Yes, the old-fashioned way.
Here’s the thing: I’ve never spoken to a single one of the people I’ve provided a book to, not a single one, not in person, by phone, Zoom or any other means. Just the exchange of letters.
Here’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Each of the people I’ve sent a book to is a man or woman who committed a crime and is incarcerated at a state or federal facility. You might say we volunteers have a “captive” audience. The fact that these men and women are incarcerated does not in the least diminish their value or worth in God’s eyes—nor should it in ours!
It has been quite an experience these past 16 years, being able to shine the light of truth in such dark and dismal places. I have found that there are many who sincerely desire to know better, to be better, to do better, to know God, to strive for a chance to make things right with their loved ones, but more importantly, with themselves. It always gladdens my heart to receive a testimonial of renewed spirit! These same folks are, in turn, spreading the word to their family and friends.
I thank God for the opportunity to experience the joy of being involved with like-minded brothers and sisters who sincerely and unselfishly desire to share this divine gift, The Urantia Book, with those who need it most, the so-called lost souls, the lost sheep, searching souls, to those who are looking for answers, to all who seek truth, no matter their station in life.
If you’d like to know more—if you’d like to be a part—if you’d like to donate to the cause, please contact me anytime. Feel free to email me at [email protected]. I’ll be here till graduation…