A Knowledgeable Guide to Point the Way—Urantia Foundation’s Index

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By Bruce Johnson, New York, United States

The Value of Guides

Most of us can appreciate the value of having a knowledgeable guide to point the way while exploring new places. I experienced this firsthand during my trip to the April 2018 Urantia Association International Conference in Amsterdam. As a novice international traveler, I was coping with “travel anxiety” even before leaving home.

After the flight from New York to Amsterdam, I began following the somewhat daunting directions I had copied from the hotel’s website: Take a train, then a bus, and transfer to another bus. By frequently asking for help, I made it to the final transfer bus stop—in a remote neighborhood, with no businesses in sight. My cell phone was deactivated, and I had no idea where I was.

There was one other person waiting at the bus stop. This young man, seeing my suitcase, asked, “Are you going to the conference?” He lived in Amsterdam and said he had recently discovered The Urantia Book while doing a web search for his many unanswered spiritual questions. I couldn’t have been more relieved and grateful to find not only another reader, but also a “guide” who knew exactly how to get to the conference. For the next 45 minutes, we got so caught up in talking about spiritual discoveries that we almost missed our destination stop.

A New Guide to The Urantia Book

This article is really about discovering another type of guide for those moments when you’re thinking: “I read it somewhere in the book, but I can’t find it now.” Searching The Urantia Book definitely isn’t easy. I’ve been active with the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) for several years, where deeper study of topics takes place in online classes. Currently I’m preparing a fall class that includes the subtopic “Limitations of Revelation.” My work involves searching for examples and then cross-referencing to various authors’ advice about developing “wisdom” around this issue. The process is typically very time-consuming so having the right guide is essential!

Of course, there are several existing search tools for The Urantia Book, including online searches, the Paramony, which correlates The Urantia Book with the Bible, and The Urantia Book Concordance.

Also, one of my early Urantia movement heroes is Clyde Bedell, widely known for his labor of love, the Concordex of The Urantia Book. The third edition has over 110,000 references, and was finished just before Clyde’s death in 1986. Many times the 500-page Concordex has led me to my destination in the book. But Clyde writes in the Concordex introduction, “Some time in the future a professional staff may do the job as it should be done ... better than any individual can do it.”

The Foundation’s Index has arrived!

Several years ago I heard that the Foundation was nearing completion of its Index. That was great to hear! For me, anticipating this Index felt similar to waiting for my first driver’s license. I am excited to share the news that Clyde’s prediction has finally come true, and the Index I had been waiting for is finally available online.

Try It for Yourself

You can find the Index by on Urantia Foundation’s website by clicking on the tab “Study” which is on the left sidebar menu on the home page. You’ll see it listed (again, in the left sidebar list) under “Index of The Urantia Book.” Or you can click here. To begin your own guided journey, click on the link for the first letter of your search word, and scroll down in alphabetical order to the word you want. You’ll see subentries and sub-subentries introduced by key words and phrases, sometimes with multiple links pertaining to a phrase. For some major terms in the book (see my example below) the topic is broken out into subcategories, arranged alphabetically.

Each phrase in the results is followed by two ways to locate it: a one-click feature taking you to the “paper:section.paragraph” in the text of the book on the Foundation website, with the whole paper scrollable from there. In addition, the page and paragraph numbers are shown in parentheses.

Here is an example of a search I did. Being interested in understanding the concept of “spiritual capacity and receptivity,” I was wondering in what ways one could expand it, while maintaining a healthy balance with other important aspects of living.

My search began by clicking “S” and scrolling to “Spiritual.” The Index lists seventeen “Spiritual” subcategories such as Attainment, Beings, Destiny, etc. For this example, I scanned the subtopic “Attainment” where there are about 40 quotes grouped into about 10 even more specific categories. These subcategories typically list 3–10 related descriptive short phrases. At this point I had more than enough references to satisfactorily answer my question. The only problem is that finding an answer inevitably leads to even more questions—so the searching usually goes on!

The Fruit of Decades

The one thing I really like about the Index is that it shows you a manageable number of closely related references. These are the fruits of decades of experienced study and work by those who were involved in this project from the early days, results that are only now available. The editing team’s knowledge and wisdom were absolutely essential to the monumental task of properly indexing the fifth epochal revelation.

As a bonus, this is discussed in a fascinating background preface on the Index home page, which states, “Our watchword ... was utility to the user. We hope ... [the] product ... is genuinely useful, however elaborate and comprehensive.”

The preface refers to “the original Index team of the 1940s and 1950s,” which is said to have included Dr. William S. Sadler, Wilfred Kellogg, Anna Kellogg, Bill Sadler, Jr., Anna Rawson, Edith Cook, Marian Rowley, and many more over the decades. It was finally finished by a twenty-first century team under the direction of Urantia Foundation staff Tamara Strumfeld, Cece Forrester, and Larry Watkins.

My New Favorite Search Tool

This Index is an ideal guide for getting even more connected to The Urantia Book—whether you’re a new reader or a longtime student. Of course the real test is for you to try out the Index and experience it for yourself!

Foundation Info

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