Duane Faw: Honoring a Man Who Served the Revelation

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Saskia Praamsma
Duane Faw
Duane Faw

By Saskia Praamsma

Editors Note: In the March 26, 2008 issue of the Mighty Messenger, Duane Faw, a long- time reader of The Urantia Book, was honored for his contributions to the Urantia movement. Duane and his wife, Lucile, had a rich history of studying The Urantia Book. Duane was an active member in The Urantia Book Fellowship. He had a military career, retired from the Marine Corps as a Brigadier General, became a Law Professor and Professor Emeritus at Pepperdine University School of Law, and authored The Paramony and another book entitled Religion Ought to Make Sense.

Duane was also honored by Saskia Praamsma by including him in her book, How I Found The Urantia Book and How It Changed my Life.

Saskia wrote this about Duane's story regarding how he found The Urantia Book:

"This is one of the many stories that I collected to pay tribute to those who discovered The Urantia Book in the early days.

There were a number of things that inspired me to gather the stories for, and to publish, How I Found The Urantia Book.

First, I had been out of the movement for a while, and when I got back in, around 1997, I was shocked to discover that readers were taking sides against each other. Yet I knew that deep down all were brothers under the skin, alike in having found the same pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and I wanted to find a way to highlight that aspect.

Around the same time, Norman Ingram was planning his mission to Africa to place The Urantia Book from north to south, and he needed money. I thought it would be a great idea to collect everyone's stories and publish them in a book that could be sold to finance his trip. That first edition made over $8,000 profit, every cent of which went to Norman.

Also, around that time Gabriel of Sedona appeared on Dateline NBC. I thought we could use a book showing that, while Gabriel and his group did indeed study The Urantia Book, they were by no means the leaders or the only group to do so.

When Polly Freedman shared with me the 20 or so stories that our dear friend Julia Fenderson had collected, I was inspired to build on --especially with the Internet and new technology, which made them much easier to collect.

And last, but not least, I thought it would be fun to read other people's stories!

I am pleased to present Duane's story of how he found The Urantia Book."


In August of 1965 I was flying from Portland to Dallas by way of Denver. As we neared Denver, the woman sitting next to me asked me about the book I was reading. I told her it was about Edgar Cayce and reincarnation. She asked why I was reading it.

I told her the study of religion was my hobby. We briefly discussed reincarnation and life after death.

She asked if I had ever heard of a planet called Urantia. I had not. She said she belonged to a group who believed we live on a planet called Urantia, and that when we die, we simply go to another planet for a while, then another, and another, etc.

She said she knew exactly where she was going when she died. She'd gotten her information from a book called The Urantia Book and said I would never know all there was to know about religion until I'd found—and read—The Urantia Book.

In the Denver airport I was waiting in the boarding area for my connecting flight when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the lady from the airplane. She had with her a man and two women whom she wanted me to meet. She said to them, "This is the man I told you about meeting on the airplane. He wants to read The Urantia Book." The man said, in effect, that if I were seriously interested in discovering man's role in the universe and his relationship to God, I must read The Urantia Book.

I met up with my wife Lucile in Dallas, and we stayed a few days with her sister before flying home to Arlington, Virginia.

One day, left alone while they went shopping, I decided to find a copy of The Urantia Book. I looked in the Yellow Pages and telephoned every new and used bookstore in the Dallas directory. Each conversation went something like this:

"Do you have a copy of The Urantia Book?"

"The what?"

"The Urantia Book"

"How do you spell it?"

"I don't know—E-U-R? U-R?—phonetically it is Urantia."

"Who wrote it?"

"I don't know."

"Who published it?"

"I don't know."

"Sorry, but we don't have it and need more information to order it."

Back home in Virginia I called all the bookstores in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with the same results. I went to the Library of Congress and looked for it under Religion. (I missed it because, as I found out later, it was catalogued under Occult.) Finding The Urantia Book became an obsession with me. I asked for it every place I saw a bookstore.

In the fall of 1971 I retired from the military, and we moved to California, where I taught law. I kept up my quest for the book. One day in early 1972 I was looking for a particular part for an unusual lamp base. I had a list of six shops. I did not find it in the first five I visited, but as I left the fifth shop, I saw a used bookstore. As was my custom, I asked if the store had a copy of The Urantia Book.

A man on a ladder said, "Do I have a what?"

"Forget it," I replied.

"Hey, wait a minute," he said. "I did not say I didn't have one. I've worked in this bookstore for many years, and no one has ever asked for The Urantia Book. I'd never heard of the book until yesterday. I got it in an estate sale of books, and last night I was sorting them. The only book of any interest to me was The Urantia Book. I put it on my desk to read, but if you want to buy it, you may."

I gave him $10 for the book.

When I got home and looked at the titles and authors of the papers, I became angry. I had been searching all that time for what turned out to be an occult book, and I was not into the occult! I threw the book, open and face down, into a waste basket.

My background was Bible-centered Christianity. My grandfather was a circuit-riding Cumberland Presbyterian preacher, ultimately elected to the church's highest office, moderator of the General Assembly. My father, ordained in the same denomination, organized churches. Everyone wanted me to become a preacher, but I did not feel the call. I did, however, love the Bible and everywhere we went with the service, I organized Bible classes. I was not ready for an occult book. The next few days I forgot completely about The Urantia Book. My mind had been cleared of any thought of reading it— even out of curiosity.

A week or so later, reaching for the Reader's Digest on my nightstand to read myself to sleep, I discovered it was not there.

Lucile said she had left it at the bowling alley. At that moment I received a very strong impression in my mind. I heard no voices and saw no writing, but the intensity of the impression startled me. It was this: "If that book you found had been written by John Jones or Joe Smith, you would have read it. Never judge a book by its authors." On the off chance that the trash had not yet been emptied, I got out of bed, wandered down the hall to my office, and felt in the waste basket. In the bottom—face down and dog-eared—I found The Urantia Book.

Returning to bed I opened the book at the front. It still looked bad with all those weird authors. I saw, however, that the last part of the book was about the life of Jesus. Now I had read some crazy stuff about Jesus without it corrupting my thinking, so I decided to start reading there. What I found completely fascinated me. Instead of putting me to sleep, it kept me awake. About 2:30 a.m., Lucile said, "Turn out the light! I need my sleep."

I found in the Jesus papers the most beautiful, loving, lovable Jesus I had ever met. Yet I needed to read the first three parts of the book to understand the words in Part IV. In so doing I learned who God is, who I am, what God wishes of me, my ultimate destination, and much, much more. In the process The Urantia Book did not displace the Bible in my view. I still love the Bible, now more than ever, since I know what it is and what it is not.

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