Introducing The URANTIA Book – The discovery for a lifetime
The Australian Conference
1984 September 29-30 , Toorak Campus, VIC
We wish to announce the second Australian conference for people interested
in The URANTIA Book.
The conference will take place in Melbourne during the weekend of September 29th-30. The venue to be announced next month will be centrally located and dependent upon the number of people who notify their intention to attend.
The theme for this year’s conference is: Introducing the Urantia Book – the discovery of a lifetime!
It is hoped that this format will also appeal to those who do not have detailed knowledge of the book. Friends and family members who may wish to know more about your interest, are encouraged to attend. We are sure they will find the meeting stimulating if not inspirational.
The program will be offered in three parts:
Saturday 9.30 Am – Introducing the teachings into our own day to day activities
Saturday 2.00 PM – Introducing the book to others – creating the basic interest.
Sunday 10,00 AM – The global introduction – It’s impact around the world.
Sunday afternoon will be allocated for general discussion.
Saturday evening will be the occasion of a social get together. It will be a great opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
The subject of cost needs to be considered and it is expected that 420 will cover morning and afternoon teas, lunch Saturday and Sunday, and the Saturday evening Bar-b que. Sound great value. All this and lively discussion too. Now it’s up to us. All it needs is Participation.
Your revelation of truth must be so enhanced by passing through your personal experience that new beauty and actual spiritual gains will be disclosed to all who behold your spiritual fruits…In accordance with the truth committed to your hands will the Master of truth require a reckoning ( 1917-1918)
We look forward to seeing you.
Conference Report – Neil Francey – (606, Oct 84)
The recent Australian URANTIA Book Conference was an outstanding success. Everyone who attended contributed at all levels and are to be congratulated.
Special mention should be given to those who traveled from NSW, SA and VIC county areas. We numbered approximately 32 and by the end of the two days, it would be reasonable to suggest that we all knew each other as friends.
There was a balance between talks and specific subjects and group participation. Lectures were given on personal experience by Trevor, Pamela and Keith. We all saw the enormous diversity in approaches to
The URANTIA Book and the uniformity of the effect it has on our lives. In the afternoon session, following a magnificent lunch, we learned of the history of The URANTIA Book in Australia from Tom. His involvement over a period of twenty years in all facets of teaching enabled him to give us a superb insight into “ the story so far”.
Kathleen and Trevor then gave us all positive encouragement on the importance of study groups and the progress to date on book placement in libraries. This was followed by Leith’s artistic interpretation of the Brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of God. His most unusual drawing created much interest. The afternoon session concluded with light refreshments and general discussion. Most of us joined forces in the evening for something a little stronger and lots of good fun.
The proceedings on Sunday commenced with Pam singing the Lord’s prayer, which was a highlight of the conference. Her rendition was so beautiful that many were moved to tears.
Following this, William got everyone involved with his viewpoints on the future direction of the URANTIA Movement at a global level. It had all the ingredients of humour, controversy, careful research and rhetoric.
Next came what we believe to be a World First. Steve gave a scholarly presentation of parallels between the modern day URANTIA text and the first century gospels of the Gnostics. This was also compared to orthodox Christianity since its inception. We look forward to continuing discussion on this subject.
After another magnificent lunch we had an open forum on our aims for the future. This covered such topics as the need to make contact with others, future conferences and the need for an organization to administer future activities.
Everyone who attended agreed that we received spiritual enrichment and we shall each look forward with great anticipation to future get togethers.
In the meantime, we will be bringing you exerts from lectures in future issues of the newsletter.
Opening Address of Welcome – Neil Francey – (Nov 84)
My good friends welcome! We offer our silent prayers of thanks to oour God, our Creator Son, and our Spiritual associates. We are truly in their care today and we trust that we may be guided in the Father’s will.
Congratulations to you on attending. It is proof of a willingness to learn, to explore new horizons and to socialize philosophical viewpoints. By our presence here today, we are taking a firm grip on our right to freedom of speech and expression. Civilization is founded on these essential freedoms and we trust our activities may enhance this modern era.
We represent a distinct minority. Perhaps already we have made personal sacrifices to follow the paths we have chosen. If this is so, we would also believe it is a small price to pay.
We are not to be afraid of our own originality of mind. Yes, it may be that we can mentally embrace a cosmology that others cannot. However, we must remember that neither intelligence nor worldly position confers wisdom. Our growth will belong to us. It will be bestowed by our sincerity, our patience and our decisions.
We should be unafraid of debate, but avoid its tendency to intellectual debasement. In fact, the URANTIA Book enhances individuality and truth seeking skills. I always say that if a sixth epochal revelation is published, I will be the first one into the bookshop to buy it, be it UB the second, UB revisited, Son of UB – not that I will ever sort out the fifth!
As we see to alter our value systems, we may expect the natural extension of our beliefs to impinge upon the value system of society. At this stage, we will be right or wrong, depending upon our presentation to them and if we present ourselves as a united family, we will get the message across.
If we accept the validity of these teachings, then we have a responsibility. We will be asked to draw upon our intellectual capacities and show our moral courage, to play a part in the progress of truth on this planet. The part we choose represents a free will decision and it need not be seen as an awesome task. We need to take just one day at a time; that will provide the conscious and continuous effort that is required.
The book does contain a blueprint for this planet. These guidelines for spiritual and social advancement are presented with subtlety. We are coaxed by a masterful technique of teaching and insight. A complete reading of the book presents a step by step approach to a highly complex subject. So we should remember that while it is interesting to read to book on a ad lib basis, our aim should always be to recommend its reading from cover to cover.
In my closing words, I would like to say, “these are great days”. .
I say that because there are though days ahead – days of criticism, vested interests and confusion. We will be prepared for that, so enjoy our small effort of initial progress, which is going to prove of immense value. This will change and we must of necessity move with the times and adjust our efforts accordingly: but for today, “these are great days”.
A reflection – Les Sheridan – (Nov 84)
I believe that where an extremely powerful thought of love has been expressed, it is recorded for all time in the earth and in the souls of all who witness it.
The soul reflects the love it knows, the physical equipment being too gross for such a pure vibration. Sometimes it cannot accommodate the beauty in words and manifests that love in tears. We, who witness this expression even if only for a short time, will know that something of power is forever there.
Pam Reynolds’ rendition of The Lord’s Prayer on the Sunday morning of the Conference was a pure expression of the presence of our Father – the Eternal Substance, and I consider myself fortunate and wholly blessed to have had the privilege of witnessing it.
How I first found The URANTIA Book – (Nov 84)
Presentation by Tom Reynolds to the Melbourne Conference 1984
Many years ago life dealt me some strange cards and I was rather puzzled as to how to deal them. The finding of The URANTIA Book seemed to be the trump which won the hand. At this time a very loud and authorative voice called “Tom”
The voice had somehow come from within myself. A friend and minister of the local church lived opposite to me, so I called on him to see if he could give a reasonable explanation, but he had no answer.
When discussing this in the tiny room that he used for interviews, another strange thing happened. I literally felt a presence standing beside me and on telling him, he said he could see no one.
I was not religious or a believer of anything at this time – just a family man & engineer. From this time on, I seemed to acquire an inner drive to find truth at any cost.
It led me first to become a Sunday school teacher, then to join the yoga school and to study Eastern philosophy and religion, for I recognized my own ignorance. My teachings to the teenager in church were interesting to them, but unfortunately, the authorities of the church did not entirely agree with me as I tended to reach relative to the need of the pupils rather than the dogma and literal teachings of the Bible.
For I had found a new and very deep meaning at this time in the Sermon on the Mount and it seemed to have a greater and deeper meaning every time I read it.
The normal teachings of the Christian church seemed shallow in relation to these understandings.
In the Yoga class I found the teacher to be a very fine example of honesty and forthrightness. When asked a question, he answered in a very forthright manner, or said he didn’t know. I found a new meaning to personal discipline, concentration, relaxation and a very deep understanding of my development as a person.
As a senior student, I began teaching prisoners at Pentridge, which was quite a unique experience. I am sure that I learned more than the prisoners and I also saw amazing results from changes in personality and attitude. After many months of gaining the confidence of the prisoners and seeing to the physical and emotional needs, we were able to build a basic type of morality, which could be classed as a ‘turning the other cheek’ type of philosophy.
My study of Eastern philosophy and religion was an amazing experience in understanding in relation to Eastern people’s thinking. It appeared to me that basically, behind every religion and philosophy were guidelines to righteousness in every way, although the methods and approach were always different.
My Bible studies has left me with even more questions. The story of Adam and Eve didn’t ring true, neither did the flood. The body of Christ: where did it go? The miracles: could they be explained?
My experience in yoga had also brought a number of what might be termed mhystical experiences, again unexplainable.
The metaphysics of the Eastern philosophies appeared to be very good and very intelligent, but somehow, not perfect. Some unanswered questions remained. I found I could not agree with the impersonal concept of Deity at all. The Absolute, I felt, could not be ‘it’. I imagined the absolute to be the ultimate of all qualities: therefore, personal. The idea of people coming back again to live on earth as animals, or even people in any form, did not seem to me to be the workings of a loving God.
I found much of the teachings of Buddha very good, but was not happy with the idea of Buddha and repetitious lives. And my search through the theosophical library was very long and thorough.
I was about to give up my search when one day, Miss White, the librarian, who knew what I was seeking, told me that the spiritualist’s leader had brought back from America five books which he had thought were suitable for spiritualists, but on reading, had found them to reject spiritualism, so he had sold them to the theosophical library. Miss White asked me if I would care borrow one and after six weeks of borrowing, I found that I could not snag this book as I had all the others, so I had no choice but to accept it; in fact I have been studying it ever since. After the first reading, which I found very difficult, even with a good dictionary at my elbow, I wrote to Miss Christiansen in Chicago with the thought in my mind that some queer religions come from America and wondering if the people behind this book were sincere and genuine.
I can only say that all my contacts with Chicago, even visiting them, I can find nothing but admiration for the whole way in which they go about their business. After studying the book for about three years and seeing the magnificent and stupendous picture presented therein of the how, why and when of the Cosmos and eternity, I like all others, wanted to shout to everyone from the roof tops ‘look what I have found’. Of course, no one understood. In fact, it took me three years to find even one person who had read a part of it.
Over the years, my connection with and study of The URANTIA Book and its teachings have enriched my life in so many ways. It has taught me a brand new philosophy of life, which makes it harmonious and beautiful. I call it ‘reflective philosophy’.
The first group came about, not due to the collecting of URANTIA Book readers, but to my giving lectures on yoga and Christianity. I slowly brought into my lectures The URANTIA Book philosophy. I have never kept strictly to the reading of The URANTIA Book in the group, but have always tried to satisfy the needs of the individual persona as I feel indoctrination is repulsive. I believe that knowledge can be shared only with the other person’s wisdom. What the person and the deity within him can accept at that time is also relevant.
We have tried mixing with other groups and this has sometimes been good, but of course, not always. It is so rare to find another teacher who has an open mind to new teachings or even new methods of teaching.
The Bible is a book which has been and still is, of the highest value to mankind, but a spiritual believer or interpreter sees much more than a literal believer.
The same goes for The URANTIA Book. No matter how highly we hold the teachings, we should not try to push them down someone’s throat, for word are only symbols – the personality places the value on the symbols; therefore, the words can have a very different meaning to different people. So let the divine sprit in man interpret the meaning relative to that person’s ability to understand.
Into the 21st Century – (Feb 85)
Presentation by William Wentworth to the Melbourne Conference 1984
Speculations about the future are usually incorrect, but there are some areas which at this stage seem likely to be significant influences in the near future.
- Spanish and Finnish translations
The fact that The URANTIA Book will be in the hands of large numbers of non-english speaking people will surely alter interpretations of the book and raise controversy. These hundreds of millions of Spanish speakers come from a mostly Roman Catholic tradition which emphasis authority more heavily than the predominantly protestant tradition of North America and Australia. The way they receive the book is bound to be of great interest to us.
- The growth of religious experimentation
The weakening of Christianity, the acceleration of social change and the slow cultural disintegration of the western world have led to widespread moral and spiritual experimentation. Many cults are appearing, some with eastern influence, illustrating the confusion of modern man, the lack of meaning in his life, and his yearning for a reality more fulfilling than the one arising from a purely secular social existence.
The people who retain their spiritual sanity in this era are most likely to be those who ‘seek first the kingdom of heaven’ – and there are many ways of seeking, as The URANTIA Book itself points out. Students of the book will always be prepared to acknowledge truth from sources other than the book as long as they remember that the book itself denies its own infallibility. But at the same time, attempts by activists to use this tolerance to force the acceptance of lies and distortions can be seen clearly only if a distinct intellectual rigor is maintained. Politics which masquerades as religion, such as so called ‘liberation Theology’ must be resisted if the future subversion of true religion is to be avoided .
There seem to be general agreement that women will continue to demand and obtain a more prominent role in social and religious affairs. This is bound to produce results not now foreseen and results in important changes in many fields of human activity.
- Study Groups
Study Groups are going to be essential if the Revelation is to be understood. Study groups, however, may well face an identity crisis. There is a tendency among members of some study groups to regard the group as a spiritual centre with spiritual authority to preach their interpretation of the Revelation. This attitude tends towards ‘cultism’ the development of dogma, creed and ritual. It is probably better if study groups remain simply a group to study the URANTIA Book. That way the advantages of the group are maintained; group members assist one another in their understanding of the book and get to know one another at the same time.
the disadvantages of authoritarianism and cultism are avoided. In addition, there will e less temptation for people to adopt the role of specialist evangelists. Rather they will continue in tghier worldly professions and occupations and thus avoid those departures into unreality so common among those obsesses with a ‘spiritual mission’.
- Sense of Humour
We are bound to have many problems and disagreement with one another. And it doesn’t take much discernment to discover problems in the world, for they are everywhere. There is no point in being downcast about this. A productive and progressive life is very enjoyable and much enhanced by humour.
Let’s do our duty, by all means; but let’s have fun doing it!
(Second conference in Australia; report in 10th Anniversary Issue of 6-0-6)
32 people met to discuss the conference theme “Introducing the URANTIA Book: Discovery of a lifetime. This was the first of several conferences held at Victoria College. Readers traveled from Sydney, southern NSW and northern Victoria and represented most of the Australian readership at the time, the majority coming from Melbourne which then had more readers than any other part of Australia
The desirability of setting up some kind of organization was first mooted at this conference.