The Indonesian Translation: A Journey with The Urantia Book

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Nugroho Widi

The Indonesian translation has finally been completed and was published here: urantia.org/id/buku-urantia. I see this as only the first milestone in my story—there is more to come. But right now, I will share with you the first part.....


Buku Urantia

By Nugroho Widi, Jakarta, Indonesia

Editor’s Note: The Indonesian translation of The Urantia Book was published on the Foundation website in April 2020. Widi, the head of the translation team, shares with us his story of this project.

The Indonesian translation has finally been completed and was published here: urantia.org/id/buku-urantia. I see this as only the first milestone in my story—there is more to come. But right now, I will share with you the first part.

My name is Nugroho Widi. You can call me Widi, which many people find easier to pronounce. (Like many Indonesians, I don’t use a family name.) I was born in Indonesia and have lived here my entire life. I am currently retired, and most recently I have been a web administrator, developer, programmer, and consultant.

I had a great start in life with great prospects. My primary and secondary education were excellent, so I went to university. I got a bachelor’s degree in agricultural technology, but that kind of work didn’t make me happy, so I got a master’s degree in management. I was not as successful in business as I had expected to be. So I got a master’s degree in theology, studying Christianity and Islam. However, I was not interested in becoming a pastor.

So there I was, in limbo, not successful and not rich. I felt capable, but somehow unable to attain the high levels where I felt I belonged. I failed to achieve excellence in anything, and feelings of mediocrity haunted me. Later years brought me mundane and common work, and I experienced many failures.

Meanwhile, around 1997, driven by curiosity about the supernatural, I found The Urantia Book on a paranormal website which no longer exists. I downloaded the English papers from urantia.org, and one year later bought the printed book from Amazon. I finished reading it by 1999.

As a truth seeker, I experienced a good vibe within my heart from this book, so I quickly accepted it. For me, its truth is coherent to both the brain and heart. The text is also systematic and answers many questions. Having a scientific mind, I could only accept theological teachings that are consistent with simple facts such as evolution, geological ages, and astronomy.

Naturally, I wanted to share The Urantia Book in Indonesia. Islam is the majority religion with 80%, Christians are 15%, and the rest include Buddhists and Hindus. I faced negative reactions from evangelical Christians who believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. I found that most Catholics, however, did not reject The Urantia Book.

The majority of Muslims I have connected with have shown no reaction so far. There are a small number of Muslims that tend toward the new age and metaphysics, and I met a few that were interested in reading it. They kept asking me to do a translation. When the project began, some even joined the team by reviewing my work.

This journey was a clear calling, so I contacted Urantia Foundation. In 2000, I had an agreement with Seppo Kanerva, who was Urantia Foundation’s manager of translations at the time, but I made very slow progress because of my inability to support the project by myself. This changed in 2013 when Georges Michelson-Dupont (who is the current manager of translations) visited my country and met our small group: me, Yusuf, Intan, and Rahman. We received a new contract, supervision, and enough support to continue the journey.

This translation path was a long, rough, and winding road. Asian languages have a different structure than English. The Indonesian language came from Arabic and Sanskrit. Verbs are derived from syllables and expanded using prefixes and suffixes. There are no past and present tenses, and the grammar structure is different. The Urantia Book uses so many complex sentences, one can imagine the difficulties in translating it!

With 2000+ pages to translate, my daily work rate could be very slow. Understanding one sentence’s true meaning could be a big challenge. Some were simply too much for my mind, and I would spend days on one page. The most challenging parts to translate were the Foreword because of new words and definitions, and papers about the Supreme because of their many complex sentences.

In total, the translation took four laptops plus 20 years of countless hours every day including weekends and holidays. Georges maintained steady communication and assisted me in many ways including much patience and meaningful insights. Thankfully, my secular career always allowed enough idle time to sit down and translate.

Looking back, I believe our Master arranged everything and took full advantage of my strengths, weaknesses, failures, and mediocrities. My hunger for high achievement motivated me to continue, day by day, on what appeared an endless road. My wasted career ambition came to life at the prospects of translating the fifth epochal revelation. Had I been successful in the same way as my friends, I would not have become a translator. And through it all, God provided for me and my family.

Now that the Indonesian translation is finished, the work of spreading its supernal teachings begins. I hope the translation will be improved over time, and that it will be an uplifting reference for bettering the current religions of our time. Ultimately, they will unite in the religion of Jesus.

When the project was completed, I inhaled deeply. I recently retired and am now self-employed and learning to live again. I cannot rest for a long time though. Soon I must check my engine, fill my fuel tank, and prepare for new challenges ahead. This translation was only the first milestone, the first phase of the original calling of the Master!

I must continue serving even with my worn-out engine, until it is broken. But I know that the Master will give me a better engine on the mansion worlds.

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