The Urantia Book

A couple of years ago, when I was just beginning to seek out ACIM study groups, I ran into a man who would serve as a sort of good-natured mentor. He was a former minister who had “converted” to A Course in Miracles in his early fifties. Closer to seventy now, he had a long history and a deep understanding of the course. One day, after we had finished the meeting and were chatting after, he ducked into his study and came out with a massive tome that he suggested I take a look at. It was the Urantia Book.

My friend introduced it to me this way: if the ACIM Text was the Lord of the Rings, the Urantia Book was  The Silmarillion. As a devoted reader of Tolkien, that analogy resonated right away. I took the book home and immediately began to read it.

The Urantia Book was a channeled text that came into existence in Chicago between 1924 and the mid-1950’s. It’s a huge book that takes into consideration a whole host of subjects – Jesus, God, the Universe, Origins, Science, Personal Destiny. Some critics have noted that it reads more like an incredibly detailed and consistent book of science fiction or fantasy.

The individual who allegedly channeled the material did so in a trance of which he remained relatively unaware. The beings that did the communicating were celestial beings (almost like angels, although the text is more precise with that term) or groups of beings. William Sadler, who was a Chicago-based doctor devoted to uncovering and revealing psychic hoaxes (even those that were benign), was introduced to the person who was receiving the material. Sadler, who took some responsibility for ensuring the text made it out into the world, making it available for humanity, called it one of the few cases where he could not find a logical, scientific explanation.

I first read the sections on Jesus’ life. It is a great read – very entertaining, very revealing. The author purports to know a great deal more about Jesus than the Gospels reveal, and more than scholars and historians are able to discern. Indeed, by the time we get to the end and Jesus is being crucified, the narrative has become far more gripping than any Mel Gibson movie ever was.

The other sections proved harder for me to wade through. The language was a bit stiff and archaic. The names were hard to track and, quite frankly, it seemed pretty far out. That might seem strange coming from a guy who studies and teaches A Course in Miracles – a text authored by Jesus and channeled by an aetheist Jewish psychologist – but it’s true. The teachings in the Urantia book never resonated with me the way ACIM does.

Should you read it? Well, I generally take the position that you should try everything. The text is relatively easy to find – either in hard copy or online – and there are some great resources maintained by the Urantia Foundation that can help you explore the text. I have a copy on my shelf, and although I no longer turn to it with any regularity, and don’t rely on it as part of my own spiritual practice, I remain open to the possibility that I might one day. It feels to me that it’s an important part of the library of channeled texts and other material that signifies some change or alteration in human consciousness. For that reason alone, it’s worth taking a look at.

The truth is – and A Course in Miracles is very clear on this point – there is no one right way or method to the universal experience. There are many paths to waking up. If you are searching, then search with gusto – get the Urantia book and give it a read. It might be what you need. And if it’s not, don’t be discouraged. There is always another way station ahead.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Beth June 24, 2013, 3:34 pm

    Do you think the separation spoken of in ACIM is revealed in Urantia? I have been studying ACIM for over 20 years. I studied Urantia for awhile, but I felt it focused on the infinite possibilities of separation. A very good friend of mine feels the Course and Urantia are the same. She feels the Lucifer Rebellion and the separation are the same. Would you be kind enough to share your feelings on that subject? Thanks! Beth

    • Sean Reagan June 24, 2013, 4:23 pm

      Hi Beth,

      My thoughts are probably more shallow than is helpful here, but I’ll try.

      First, my interest in the Urantia Book was short-lived, even though I have deep respect for it, and for the men and women from whom it is the backbone fo their spiritual path. I am a lot more familiar with ACIM. My practice over the years – which was once pretty broad (EFT, Urantia, LOA and so on) has really compressed to just A Course in Miracles. Probably because I’m such a slow learner – can’t focus on more than one thing!

      Yes – I think the case can be made that the Lucifer Rebellion is a correlative to the separation. In fact, I think most spiritual and religious traditions have some correlative because their whole existence is premised on our distance/alienation/separation/fragmentation/fall/exile/etc from God or Source or Light or What Is or what have you. I see it in traditional Christianity, in David Bohm’s writing, in Freud, in Buddhism . . .

      Maybe it’s like listening to Bob Dylan songs: some people need to hear the old geezer himself, some people like the Dead’s covers, or Joan Baez’s, or Odetta’s, or Tom Petty’s.

      I think we look for the language and imagery of separation and atonement so we can find what works for our own personal situation. Me, I need my Bob Dylan straight up. But I respect people who need the Peter, Paul & Mary version of Blowin’ in the Wind.

      What does this mean – if anythign – for your Urantia question? I don’t know! I don’t perceive myself as an explorer so much anymore. Nor do I think ACIM is better or best (than Urantia or anything else) – but it does resonate for me. It makes sense. I get the mythology and language and images and ideas – and I can bring them into application easier. I think they point in the same direction – to the same light – but in such different ways and with such different methods.

      I still pull out my Urantia book from time to time – and I recommend it to friends from time to time too. It’s such a huge and amazing text! And I love the Jesus narrative in it.

      Anyway, those are some rambling – and I hope not altogether unhelpful – thoughts to your question. Thank you for reading – have a great day!

      Sean

  • chris August 22, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Hey… ACIM is central for me; however, I loved reading Urantia until I read about survival (or non-survival) of the personality. It is suggested that some souls who do not chose to evolve will be destroyed. This seems to be in such a contadiction to ACIM as to make the books irreconcilable. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    • Sean Reagan August 22, 2013, 6:02 pm

      Hi Chris,

      For that and other reasons, yes, I think that Urantia and ACIM are very different thought systems. Even thought there are similarities – and lots of students are able to work with both – it seems like a moment comes when one has to make a choice. It’s kind of like if we’re going from NYC to Boston: we can talk about all the modes of transportation, do little trips around the city to check them out, but sooner or later we have to choose one and ride all the way to our destination. That’s not a perfect metaphor, of course, but you get my drift.

      I loved reading the Urantia Book. And I have friends for whom it has been an essential spiritual text. But in the end, it was ACIM that just resonated in a deeper and more practical way. That’s not to say it’s better than Urantia; only that, for me, it was clearly more helpful at this stage of the process. So I went with it.

      So yes – two great books, two great paths – but at some point we have to put one down and focus on the other.

      My two cents! Thank you for reading & sharing.

      Sean

Leave a Comment