Comments from the Soul Workshop

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Marta Elders

Editor’s Note: At the end of October, 2014, Marta Elders facilitated a workshop on the soul. Participants came from Asia, Europe, and across North America. What a delight to have such an international group of readers of The Urantia Book. Several attendees wrote about their experience here, and we are happy to share them with you.


A Divine Counselor commented on the challenges that the Orvonton corps of truth revealers faced in their “endeavor to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception.” (1.2) 0:0.2 It is a natural step to conclude that this purpose of expanding cosmic consciousness and also enhancing spiritual perception is a worthy goal for any seminar dedicated to deepening one’s embracing of revelatory material in The Urantia Book.

Over the weekend of October 31, twelve individuals gathered to share their insights and understandings in a seminar on the soul as revealed in The Urantia Book. This study was held at 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, and was sponsored by the Education Committee of Urantia Foundation. We considered the origin, nature, and destiny of the soul with each participant preparing a short paper (3-5 pages) and leading an experiential practice (meditations, worship, poetry, web insights, guided imagery, etc.). It was remarkable to experience the magic and mystery that evolved and unfolded when, together and separately, we wholeheartedly reached higher and deeper.

~ Marta Elders, workshop facilitator, Connecticut, United States


The soul workshop was phenomenal. We shared knowledge, feelings, opinions, energy, admiration, and information.

We came together to learn and to collaborate concerning the soul: What is it? Where is it? How does it develop? And how does it relate to mind, spirit, and God.

We all left the workshop with much more understanding and appreciation for our souls and for the fact that we are all connected in mind, body, and spirit.

I met twelve people that I would never have expected to feel so comfortable with in such a gathering. It was as if we had known each other from some other time and space and, in three days, became like family.

I feel inspired by, and grateful for, The Urantia Book, and appreciative of Marta Elders and Joanne Strobel who brought us together for such an enlightening experience.

~ Keith Avery, Hawaii, United States


It would have been easier to stay home, but none of us did. We all ended up at Urantia Foundation in Chicago for the workshop on the soul. At first glance, it seemed as though this would be for learning what the papers say about the nature of the soul. Although it was that, it became more than that. The gathering allowed us to be more aware of our own souls and the souls of others. We had fast-paced group discussions followed by quiet conversations. We shared stories and jokes, and enjoyed tasty meals and silent meditation together.

I feel very grateful to the presenters and my fellow students for making the weekend much, much better than staying home.

~ David Neufer, Pennsylvania, United States


Prior to my arrival at the workshop on the soul, Joanne said that the attendees were students of The Urantia Book for many years, and after hearing that, my wife and son both thought that I would be “blown out of the water” by their experience and knowledge. The group would look at me as the new recruit.

I was surprised that we all had similar backgrounds in our search for truth and with the book. As my new friend Jan from Poland said to me, “Without The Urantia Book, it is like the blind leading the blind.”

We all stayed on the second floor, shared a roommate, and were treated like kings. Mike’s food could not be beat!

Being a reader for two years now, I was very curious about the people and their stories about how they discovered The Urantia Book and especially their stories about life, love, and struggles.

Many attendees were cautious about giving their opinion, but I was not. I wanted to be told whether my opinion was right or wrong. Jan did not disappoint me. He gave me a shellacking, and it was just what I needed.

My favorite take-away from the weekend was the time spent talking to my fellow pilgrims around the breakfast table prior to our early morning meditations.

~ Kirk Graham, Iowa, United States


Many subjects were covered and many questions were asked. What is the soul? What is the soul made of? Are we born with a soul? Is there such a thing as old or young souls? Is being born of the Spirit the same as the birth of the soul?

What a blessing to have the teachings of the fifth epochal revelation in our hands to find the answers to these questions and to understand the soul better.

~ Guy Perron, Québec, Canada


As a new reader of The Urantia Book, I am especially interested in hearing from long-time readers about their relationship with God, their Thought Adjusters, and their souls. The soul workshop seemed a perfect opportunity, so I went to Chicago to meet a most interesting group of readers. The papers we all wrote were read before going to Chicago, which gave us an advance introduction to each attendee.

Our time together was lively and rich as we shared experiences, questions, and struggles. Being together as a small group for three days created an intimate connection as we opened up to each other and the collective wisdom. Both Marta and Gard Jameson brought skills as facilitators and invaluable perspectives as long-time readers who have integrated the teachings of The Urantia Book into their broad and compassionate understanding. I felt as if my approach to The Urantia Book matured in a very brief span of time by participating in this workshop.

Mike Wood provided wonderful meals as he and Joanne made us feel so comfortable and at home. I hope to return to 533 W. Diversey Parkway for more!

~ Betsy Millard, New Mexico, United States

Gretchen Chandler, Marta Elders, Guy Perron, Zophia Michniewicz, Joanne Strobel, Betsy Millard, Jan Michniewicz, Gard Jameson, David Neufer, Keith Avery, Kirk Graham
Front row: Gretchen Chandler
2nd row: Marta Elders, Guy Perron, Zophia Michniewicz
3rd row: Joanne Strobel, Betsy Millard, Jan Michniewicz, Gard Jameson
4th row: David Neufer, Keith Avery, Kirk Graham

Foundation Info

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