Presentation to ANZURA Annual Conference—Melbourne 2007
My very first contact with The Urantia Book was in 1993 when I walked into my local public library in Perth, Western Australia and, as was my custom, went straight to the “Religion” section. There staring me in the face was this enormous hard-covered blue volume with an intriguing name but no author. I quickly thumbed through it and, drawn by the fascinating chapter headings, immediately decided to borrow it.
I ended up borrowing it three times in a row!
At this point I need to explain why I always looked for books on religion when I went to the library. My search for spiritual truth started when I was only a young boy of 10. My mother, who was raised a Catholic, was also a spiritual seeker and had looked into a variety of religions including Christian Spiritualism and Tibetan Buddhism. I used to read anything that she brought home and would often accompany her to meetings and would attend groups held at our house.
In my teen years, we were door-knocked by a very kind man from the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization and at the age of 16 I began studying the Bible with him. I raised every conceivable objection to what he was teaching but over a period of two years I became convinced that these people had The Truth.
Within a short time, I became a ‘pioneer’ which meant that I door-knocked for at least 100 hours per month. At the age of 21, I met my first wife who had been born and bred as a Jehovah’s Witness. We had three delightful children which eventually meant that I had to do less doorknocking and more paid work. I remained a devoted member of this organization for the next 8 years. It was then, however, that I began to find inconsistencies and incongruences in their dogma, which led me to approach the elders of my local church as well as write a comprehensive letter outlining my ‘discoveries’ to the Governing Body of the organization in New York. I was warned not to discuss my doubts with anyone, including my wife, which put an enormous strain on our marriage.
My doubts quickly turned into strong convictions and the situation became very serious. I was given an ultimatum by the elders that I could not breathe a word of my beliefs to anyone otherwise I would be excommunicated from the organization. In my conscience, I could not agree to this and so in September 1983 I was formerly disfellowshipped from “The Truth”. My wife continued as a Jehovah’s Witness and under these difficult circumstances, it was impossible to maintain the viability of our relationship. We divorced several years later and I began to explore what other Christian churches had to say; my God was becoming bigger!
However, I was soon to be disillusioned by the attitudes to truth that I discovered….everyone had their own ‘ism’ and looked askance at anyone who was different.
In 1990, I went through a rough patch, a kind of ‘nervous breakdown’ during which I became very angry with God and fed up with the narrow-mindedness of organized religion. I put God and religion on the ’backburner’ and decided to start having some fun. It was then that I met my second wife. I also decided to go back to university and study psychology and history. Despite all that had happened to me, however, I couldn’t get God out of my system.
It was just before I started uni that I discovered The Urantia Book in my local library. I went to university full-time for 6 years which left little time for religious pursuits. Nevertheless, I came in contact with spiritual people who were not Christian and this made me realize that God was much bigger than I ever imagined. I had almost forgotten about The Urantia Book when in November 2003, I ‘stumbled’ across a brand new copy in a book shop a few years after graduating. I bought the book and started reading vociferously. I then moved with my wife and our two children to Tasmania where I began my own private clinical psychology practice. I started a Urantia Book readers group with another couple living close by and made contact with ANZURA.
I have just attended my second Conference and have met some truly inspiring people. I can say with total conviction that The Urantia Book has in a truly breathtaking way, broadened and enlarged my concept of God. I feel so blessed that God has rewarded my ongoing quest for truth.