Reflections on Introducing The Urantia Book

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Jay Peregrine

By Jay Peregrine, Executive Director, Urantia Foundation, Illinois, USA

I've been trying to introduce people to the book for nearly 35 years. These days I'm amazed and delighted when someone DOES find it and starts to read it. They usually "discover" it on their own; a kind of conversion process happens where they begin to think, at some point, "This is real!" Most don't get that far. I'm convinced that the old wisdom, passed on behind the scenes, that the book was presented ahead of its time to prepare teachers and leaders, is correct. You'll find, I think, over time, that you've joined a world-wide "club" with a small membership, and that it's going to stay that way for our life times. I've stopped worrying about introducing The Urantia Book to people (other than point out that it exists), and now I concentrate on how I can pass on what I've learned from reading the book to others–in their own terms, in their own language if you will.

When I do talk about the book (as the Executive Director of Urantia Foundation I'm often in that position, of course), there are some key points I try to make:

  1. I don't know who wrote it. Nobody really does.
  2. The book has no "authority" for what it says, other than the authority of its own words. One has to decide for oneself about its authority.
  3. Urantia Foundation does not interpret the teachings of the book, nor do we add to it, or take away from it. Our job is to make it available as we got it. We try to make it as widely available as possible.
  4. I certainly recommend reading it. I can recite a long list of the benefits to my life. But you have to make up your own mind.
  5. We are not an organized religion; we have no priesthood, ceremonies, rituals, and creeds.
  6. We will be happy to put you in touch with other readers and with a study group in your area, if you wish.

The "problem" with The Urantia Book in terms of main-stream intellectual thought is that it doesn't have a clear authorship and cannot therefore be categorized easily. There are several ways to think of its origins, and–in the absence of clear evidence–the new reader will posit his own ideas of its origin based, I think, on his personal attitude of being; that is, whether he is skeptical or credulous, faith-based or agnostic, etc. If he's a skeptic, the book must be a hoax. If he's credulous, it's channeled. If he's orthodox, it's heretical If he's agnostic, it's fiction. Those are the four main categories I've discerned. So, if you want someone to read The Urantia Book I suggest first investigating their thought system. You can then address their concerns up-front: Why we don't think it's a hoax. Why we assert it's not channeled. Why it's not heretical. Why it's not fiction.

The wider problem is that most people are actually not interested at all. They are indifferent. Getting them to care at all becomes the issue. With that, we are back to the "given ahead of its time" idea. Most of the world isn't all that interested in the ideas presented in the book. The number one response I've gotten over the years is: "It looks like a good book; I wish I had time to read it." If they put it on their shelf, maybe someday they, or someone they know, will read it or parts of it.

Foundation Info

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