A Urantia Book Youth Turns Forty

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Michael MacIsaac
Michael MacIsaac
Mike and his two daughters

By Michael MacIsaac, Sweden

I was raised by readers who began reading The Urantia Book in the early 1970s. My parents had a Thought Adjuster party for me when I was little and often brought me to study groups when growing up. I began participating in the study groups and reading the book in my mid-teens. In 1996, when I was twenty years old, I attended my first conference. Meeting so many enthusiastic readers from all over the world inspired me to become active in the Urantia community. It was difficult to find readers of my generation at that time, and I spent the next decade on a mission to find other young people with interest in The Urantia Book, and to foster friendships, study, and mutual support. Many years followed that were filled with amazing conferences and gatherings, book placement and outreach projects, and extensive group-travel adventures (“young reader tours”).

I want to express my gratitude to the many mentors and hosts who were so encouraging and supportive of these efforts to connect and galvanize younger readers. Throughout these decades, there has only been a trickle of younger-generation individuals becoming active in America and Europe (many of the most active young readers in the United State are, like me, second-generation readers). I continue to do what I can to help, and I am glad to see the efforts that are being made today to involve young readers and bring them together. It is exciting that the conference in Texas next summer will be sponsored by both The Urantia Book Fellowship and the Urantia Association of the United States. I hope to work with the organizations to help attract many more younger-generation conference attendees.

Both the teachings of The Urantia Book and the book's readership have inspired and enriched my life in many ways. One teaching that I have been striving to live up to, since I was in my teens, is to fully utilize my possibilities to learn to know, understand, and love my fellows. The teachings, such as a “true relationship” between personalities has spiritual value and is “an end in itself,” have also been important in motivating me to prioritize investing in relationships and to reach out to my fellows.

Through my travels and efforts among readers of The Urantia Book, I have been blessed to experience so many priceless relationships and friendships. With life being busy and the readership being so spread out in the world, we are limited in the extent to which we can stay connected and maintain active friendships. Also, I hope that the baby boomers and the silent generation will stay in good health so as to continue to enrich the community for decades to come. We miss the many members of our community, the valiant “soldiers of the circles,” who have graduated from this world. I'm grateful for the exquisite, detailed description of the afterlife that is found in The Urantia Book, and I look forward to seeing the “graduates” at “Urantia conference” reunions on the mansion worlds and beyond.

I reside in Sweden, where I have lived most of my adult life. I keep busy raising my two young daughters and working as a teacher of English and comparative religions at Sweden's oldest high school. I have also been working on another project related to The Urantia Book. It is a book that provides an overview of the book’s origin and contents as well as its readership and broader influence.

I started writing this book about ten years ago when my supervisor at Stockholm University, a researcher of new religious movements, encouraged me to write my bachelor’s and my master’s thesis in comparative religions about The Urantia Book and movement. He was surprised that little academic research on the book and movement had been published, and said it was needed. I dove deeply into the project and wrote a 220-page thesis with an immense reference list. The professors and department head who were at the essay's “ventilation” were impressed with it and insisted that I must publish it and make it available to researchers and students.

Before publishing it, I want to complete the research that I began on famous and influential people who have been influenced by, or been readers of, the book. Little did I know that I would continue to find so much more information about scores of fascinating and talented individuals who have found inspiration in The Urantia Book, that regardless of how much research I do, the finish line seems to remain at the same distance. I may publish a preliminary version in the near future since it seems the research could go on forever!

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