The UBIS Experience

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Guy Stéphane Nyasse

I knew no one who was reading the book, and today I realize I really missed out on the benefits of participating in a group at the time. Yet, as much as I was reading alone......

By Guy Stéphane Nyasse, Douala, Cameroun

The Urantia Book was given to me in 2012, and I read it alone for three years. It was a personal choice; I did not want to be influenced by anyone else. I wanted to develop my own point of view on these wonderful teachings. After being convinced within myself of the value of this revelation, I began to look for other readers.

It is very curious that I had never been aware of the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS), even though it had been promoted for several years on the Foundation's website. I discovered UBIS in 2015 when I read a physical book for the first time. On the publisher page there was mention of the internet link for UBIS.

UBIS, My First Study Group

I knew no one who was reading the book, and today I realize I really missed out on the benefits of participating in a group at the time. Yet, as much as I was reading alone, I could see that The Urantia Book represented a magnificent book of history, cosmology, psychology, philosophy, and religion. But I did not live my religion. How does one live it? I got a taste of the freedom it offered, for its wonderful teachings had freed me from the fear of ghosts, from rituals, and from prejudices about our salvation. Nevertheless, I was missing the fraternal religious connection.

In my youth, I experienced religious life in an organization, as I had belonged to a community, the Jehovah's Witnesses, which I felt was characterized by total control of my life. Later, at the dawn of my adulthood, I was involved with another organization, Sahaj Marg, whose members are totally uninterested in the life of their brothers. It was even recommended by the preceptor, who is somewhat like a priest, not to have a private, personal relationship with other members of the Ashram, for fear of creating a dependency between ourselves. So I was sufficiently curious as well as full of prejudices about what I might find in the Urantia Book Internet School. I was also really happy to move on to the next level of study of these unique teachings!

In April 2015 I enrolled in two unforgettable classes: "True Religion” taught by Guy Perron and "The Inescapable Command” taught by Georges Michelson-Dupont. I was curious and enthusiastic. From the first session, I flooded the class with my many questions. I received pleasant feedback from my sisters and brothers, from my fellow students. The readers of The Urantia Book in my classes were full of benevolence. The fifth epochal revelation speaks truly when it tells us that our points of view are limited and narrow, and now I saw that had been the case with me.

It is overwhelming to discover, for the first time, people in a community that live its teachings. The sisters and brothers in my classes did not pull me down to a lower level. On the contrary, my youth (twenty-six years at the time) and my environment (Cameroon) seemed to give a lot of flavor to my answers, and my sisters and brothers from other continents were struck by this difference. I found a friendly environment where I could flourish. And I did flourish.

These courses coincided with a very difficult period of my life. I was wondering how religion could help me to solve these problems. And all these exchanges brought me consolation and comfort.

One of the questions we were given in a course asked us to share our difficulties, and one brother shared about his difficulty getting hot water for his bath because he lived on the top floor. I had trouble getting enough to eat, and after reading his sharing, I told him of this. From that point on, many in the class were able to put their difficulties in better perspective. One of them wrote me a message with this passage:

Personal, spiritual religious experience is an efficient solvent for most mortal difficulties; it is an effective sorter, evaluator, and adjuster of all human problems. Religion does not remove or destroy human troubles, but it does dissolve, absorb, illuminate, and transcend them.” 196:3.1 (2093.6)

I do not claim to completely understand the meaning of that passage even today. But what I can tell you is that thanks to my brother's sharing, I looked at the situation I was living with a different perspective. I honestly positioned myself as a son of God and decided to bravely face these difficulties.

This same brother sent me an invitation on Skype, and we were then able to speak and see each other on video. We continued our exchanges, which allowed me to have repeated opportunities to deepen my understanding of other passages like this one:

"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:

1. Is courage — strength of character — desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments." 3:5.5 (51.4)

I now find my personal life flourishing as I go forward with courage toward my goals; I remain honest and sincere towards God and myself.

And that's not all . . .

I received another invitation from a brother who gave me personal advice, this time on Zoom, a videoconference platform. There was a weekly study group, and I was also able to see many of these brothers and sisters daily. UBIS has led me to sisters and brothers who live all over the world. And these groups on Zoom are a blessing to this day. Participation in this group, and personal meetings with these brothers and sisters amounted to indirect training. I understood over time that I was learning valuable skills, and that my personal experience was giving me the qualifications to become a facilitator.

A facilitator! It is an important role for me, especially with my material situation being problematic. And yet my situation has provided me with the ability to do a good job. You cannot imagine how happy I was. After that, I received direct training on Zoom. And this training is still going on. I am benefiting from a brother's loving mentoring, even though he lives very far from me.

So in April 2016, just a year after my first courses, I took my first steps as a facilitator, and now my experience is on two levels. I am still involved in classes as a student, and now I also have the opportunity to facilitate a class; so I can benefit from a double perspective. This is really a pleasant responsibility. God blessed me with the Urantia Revelation, and through service, I allow my sisters and brothers to benefit from a benevolent environment which allows each of us to deepen our understanding of these teachings as we all benefit from the different points of view emerging from the religious experience of our classmates.

And even more . . .

Later I met a long-time Cameroonian reader, one about my age. We have had exchanges from time to time. Two young brothers from my local area have also been interested in the teachings of The Urantia Book. All my UBIS experience, the training, and especially the meeting of minds, have given me skills that have made me a full-time facilitator—I am now acting as a facilitator for a small study group of four Cameroonian readers.

UBIS is a magnificent place to share insights and to quest for wisdom. Even though it is virtual, it nevertheless creates a real environment for deep study, and it allows us to meet other sisters and brothers, which is especially important for isolated readers—it is a real foretaste of the universe broadcasts. I would like to express my thanks to the Adjusters that inspired the founders of this school. The flexibility it offers, and, above all, the climate of friendship, gives readers of The Urantia Book from all over the world the opportunity to share their personal religious experience in a meeting of both minds and souls.

French UBIS Zoom Study Group
French UBIS Zoom Study Group

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