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.