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Dave Holt

  • 2013-12-11 11:12 AM | Dave

       I was a teenager when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught me about Absolute Being as a source of personal power, a way of discovering “greater fields of happiness.” But he rejected the idea in Western religions of a God who loves you personally. This suited me just fine when I was a young man who’d rejected his Christian church upbringing. I thought of the Absolute as much like “the Force” that Yoda instructs Luke Skywalker how to use in the Star Wars saga. Perhaps the Force was even innately Good as Plato spoke of it—Goodness as an absolute quality, the Perfect Form of goodness. The philosopher Jules Evans writes, “Plato thought our reason was divine, a fragment of God.”  But Plato’s God of Reason had no personal or lovable qualities.

       My examination of these questions began when I made a mess of my life in the big city and was on a forlorn train trip back to my parents’ house. While gazing at the passing countryside out the window, I was overcome by emotion and started to pray for help until I stopped myself with the question, “What was I praying to?” Thinking reasonably, it seemed to me the unknowable Absolute Force would be indifferent to personal pleas although I believed its nature sustained, energized. “True prayer does not … appear until the agency of religious ministry is visualized as personal.” (The UB, 91:1.4, pg. 995)

       Was I trying to go back to the God of my Sunday school upbringing which I debunked as a childhood fairy tale? Was I on my knees praying because of weakness, a pathetic inability to deal with a crisis?

       Obviously I was confused and needed to sort out what I truly believed. I continued to read and study Asian religion and philosophy but this mostly added to my confusion because passages of scripture contradicted each other. After struggling for centuries with the question, spiritual teachers appeared unresolved about Bhagavan, personal nature, and Brahman, the impersonal aspect of the divine.

       Then I read The Urantia Book (The UB) and was astonished by its concept, “The personality of the Paradise Son is absolute and purely spiritual, and this absolute personality is also the divine and eternal pattern, first, of the Father's bestowal of personality upon the Conjoint Actor and, subsequently, of his bestowal of personality upon the myriads of his creatures throughout a far-flung universe.” (6:7.2, pg. 79)

       This information represented a huge irony to me. Where I had been struggling with an either/or “difference,” I actually got a both/and result, two sides of the same Deity. I eventually came to accept the new idea (for me) that the Absolute Being was also the God of love. This happened at the end of a very long struggle. But the question persists to this day. I hear the debate, is God a Person or an impersonal Force? Often in our modern secularized society, we also currently deal with the new aggressive doctrines of atheism.

       When you’re young, they tell you that you have great potential. It pleased me to hear that and it satisfied me temporarily. But I didn’t want to just have potential; I wanted to achieve something. I was partly influenced by our highly individualistic nation where personal motivation to achieve is prized. Our first desire as motivated individuals is to make our dreams real. The question occurred to me, would God be any less motivated than I? Why should God not dream as we do, to have the desire to realize his full potential as a personality? The old proverb, “A stream cannot rise higher than its source,” seemed truly insightful and accurate. I could not imagine that “the source” would possess anything less in its nature than we mere mortals living downstream.

       God had a dream that he wanted to bring to fruition. In my exploration of Hindu literature, I’d read the Rig Veda Creation Hymn that calls this the birth of desire, “first seed of mind.” God wished to be a creator, a creative artist, as well as a divine parent, a father as Jesus taught. He was perfect but also somehow incomplete without the actualization of his idea of nature and the rhythms of evolution. God wished to have the children of nature gathered around him.

       We learn from the Foreword of The UB, that “Total Deity is functional on the following seven levels” (I’ll quote just the first five levels which are most relevant to a consideration of my questions here, leaving out Supreme and Ultimate for the moment):

    0:1.4 Static —self-contained and self-existent Deity.

    0:1.5 Potential —self-willed and self-purposive Deity.

    0:1.6 Associative —self-personalized and divinely fraternal Deity.

    0:1.7 Creative —self-distributive and divinely revealed Deity.

    0:1.8 Evolutional —self-expansive and creature-identified Deity. (0:1.4-8, pg. 2)

       We can readily observe that the universe is not just static, absolute and unchanging. We are witness to change, creativity, and evolution all around us.

       In Genesis 1:2, the “Spirit brooded over the face of the deep” and suddenly there was a wrinkle in the fabric of eternity. A great personality stirred like the first ripple across the surface of “the waters.” God differentiated himself, rising like a wave out of the Unqualified Absolute, achieving “liberation from the fetters of unqualified infinity through the exercise of … eternal free will,” (0:3.21, pg. 6) to begin a long roll from one end of eternity to the other. This picture I imagine is perhaps inaccurate. Levels of Total Deity are concurrent, coexisting all at once, not unfolding in phases, but my metaphor helps me to understand the different levels of Deity, how Deity is both static—self-contained, and yet also creative—self-distributive and divinely revealed.

       Once I accepted the reality of a Supreme Being, supreme albeit analogous in all aspects to my being, I was cognizant of an innate sense that we are part of a destiny that carries us to the other shore. We can’t see the far shore unless we use what some call the third eye, or the eye of faith. Locating it in our line of vision has to do with the “actualization of the Supreme” (117:4.9, pg. 1284).

       The impulse to create a self and define a direction for that self must have a relationship to the segregation of personality out of static, undifferentiated (absolute) reality. We choose difference, movement and a purpose for this creative act, and we share all these motivations with the Creator, the First Source, who originally instigated the movement.

       The teachings of Jesus expanded our horizons. He made a new revelation of an even higher aspect of the personality of God. “And so I give you this new commandment: That you love one another even as I have loved you. And by this will all men know that you are my disciples if you thus love one another.” (180:1.1, pg. 1944) When he gave his apostles this new commandment, Jesus emphasized the personal aspect of God who loved as a Father.

       "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Live in my love even as I live in the Father's love. If you do as I have taught you, you shall abide in my love even as I have kept the Father's word and evermore abide in his love." (180:2.2, pg. 1945)

       This was the great reward at the end of a long search, my discovery that I have a growing relationship with God the Person (really three Persons) as God the Father. And through Michael, our Creator Son, we are held in the embrace of the Eternal Son, the Absolute personality. A source of refreshment springs up within our weary souls. With water from the pure well, we slake the thirst brought on by our wanderings through the parched landscape of unanswered questions. 

  • 2013-11-30 11:10 AM | Dave

    An odd and provocative announcement appeared November 19th in various science and nature magazines, such as, The article is about the genetic sequencing of two fossil finds from the same cave site in Siberia, one from a Neanderthal (H. sapiens neandertalensis) and a finger bone from a Denisovan female specimen discovered in 2008. The previously unknown species is named after the Denisova Cave. Because both the Denisovan and Neanderthal genomes come from bones discovered in the same cave, they are thought to be “cousins.” 

    A year later (2009), analysis of the Denisovan mitochondrial DNA sequence revealed that it belonged to a kind of human being never before seen. It had been thought by many to be a species of Homo Sapiens (our species). Others classify it under the more general "hominin" (as a possible Homo Sapiens). This month’s articles revealed that more genetic information about “the mystery humans” was uncovered. In my own research I’d thought the new Denisovan fossil was archaic human, archaic H. Sapiens until I learned of the uncertain classification. The newest articles indicate the intermixing of an "unknown human type." 

    Denisovans are known only from this distal manual phalanx bone and two unusually large molars, all excavated at Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. DNA from the fossils, well preserved by the cold climate, has been sequenced by the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig. However, the fossil DNA does not show up in the genomes of the Chinese or any other Asian people. Therefore they are not yellow Sangik race as would be classified in The UB’s terminology.

    It should be noted that the article writer is a bit confused. His second last paragraph reads, "Most surprisingly, Reich said, the genomes indicate that Denisovans interbred with yet another extinct population of archaic humans that lived in Asia more than 30,000 years ago — one that is neither human nor Neanderthal." Oddly the writer discusses them as human in the next paragraph!

    I can see grounds for the author’s confusion. For The UB readers, the time line of over 30,000 years ago is right for offspring of Adam and Eve, known as the Adamites (the violet race after the default). Note however that the date of the fossil site has been variously reported as 41,000 years old a year ago (2012) or 80,000 years ago by the BBC, both dates from long before Adam and Eve’s arrival on Urantia. As you can see, the uncertainties that plague the Denisovan discovery may possibly scuttle my Adamite theory. However let us proceed to explore it.

    “The planetary history of the violet race, begin[s] soon after the default of Adam, about 35,000 B.C., and extend[s] down through its amalgamation with the Nodite and Sangik races, about 15,000 B.C.” (78:0.2)

    “The more intelligent of the races of earth looked forward eagerly to the time when they would be permitted to intermarry with the superior children of the violet race … as it was, tremendous gains resulted from the small amount of the blood of this imported race which the evolutionary peoples incidentally secured.” (74:7.23, pg. 836)

    Is the “pure” violet race human?  Technically perhaps not, especially as to how their DNA must look to our genetic scientists, since the “imported” violet race does not spring organically from human populations as the Sangik races did. They are the children of a Material Son and Daughter. 

    “These Material Sons are the highest type of sex-reproducing beings to be found on the training spheres of the evolving universes. And they are really material.” (45:5.3, pg. 515)

    Adam and Eve were the founders of the violet race of men, the ninth human race to appear on Urantia. Adam and his offspring had blue eyes, and the violet peoples were characterized by fair complexions and light hair color—yellow, red, and brown.” (76:4.1, pg. 850)

    The identity of the Denisovan female as a child of the Adamites does at least theoretically explain the discordant information in the DNA research.

    There is one other significant detail about the findings in the Denisovan cave. It was originally thought the bone might belong to a member of our own species, Homo sapiens, because of the discovery of a sophisticated artifact. A beautiful stone bracelet of polished green chlorite found in the same deposits could only be the work of modern humans, unless perhaps of the unknown “human group.” It is a find that would be consistent with the presence of the more artistically gifted Adamites on the scene.

    Readers of The UB might like to agree that this hypothetical group whose unfamiliar DNA has been found could be the violet race. We are tempted to view these discoveries as supportive of the information revealed in The UB.  However, it is mysterious that violet race DNA would be considered “unknown” because much of it should be present in the genetic sequencing of modern day races. Perhaps it is the quantity of undiluted violet race blood (the unfamiliar DNA) that is mystifying the researchers. There is a lot to speculate on here. The scientists are speculating also! More info is most definitely needed to clear up the mysteries.

    Other sources: (2012)

  • 2013-11-20 11:08 AM | Dave

       “ … I feel a peace within my soul; somebody said a prayer for me, I’ve never felt this good before. Somebody prayed that I’d be well; somebody cared to send me strength; somebody wants me to have faith; I’m feeling healed once again.” (Copyright © Francyl Gawryn)

       The folk-gospel song quoted above, Somebody Said a Prayer For Me, was composed by Francyl Gawryn, an accomplished singer and performer, also recognized for her songwriting ability. She has worked hard to perfect it and just completed her college senior project in composition. I have heard many of Francyl’s songs; the lyric, Somebody Said a Prayer For Me, has long been one of my favorites. It puts into words an experience that I’ve had a couple of times in my life.

       The “somebody” she describes as praying for her doesn’t have to be a friend, family member or a fellow human being in every case. That someone who holds you lovingly in his or her prayers could be the indwelling Spirit Helper, or your angels who guide you.

       “… the urge to pray so often experienced by God-conscious mortals very often arises as the result of seraphic influence.” (113:4.4, pg. 1245) 

       “Jesus consistently employed the beneficial influence of praying for one’s fellows.” (144:4.6, pg. 1621)

       One morning upon waking to a winter sunrise through gray pines, I experienced a moment of cleansing. A feeling of forgiveness for all, and our human failings swept through me. In response to this sudden wave of spiritual uplift, I said a prayer specifically for my sister. Years before, we’d become estranged after a family quarrel and parted without resolving it, withholding any expression of forgiveness from each other. But we continued to exchange polite Happy Birthday notes and Christmas cards.

       This sunrise moment released me from the burden I’d carried. For a brief time, everything sparkled before I had to return to my job in the tense, workaday corporate world.

       That night after the same morning I made the prayer of forgiveness, my sister wrote to me for the first time in years, a real (email) letter of contact that seemed to prove there was a kind of circuit connecting us, as if she heard or felt my prayer and responded to it. This circuit must be there ready to be used at any time, even by those who couldn’t forgive each other in the past.

       “You become conscious of man as your creature brother because you are already conscious of God as your Creator Father … Fatherhood becomes, or may become, a universe reality to all moral creatures because the Father has himself bestowed personality upon all such beings and has encircuited them within the grasp of the universal personality circuit.” (16:9.14, pg. 196)

       I can recall another experience like it, only it was with a stranger the next time. I met Jim for the first time at a party celebrating a friend’s music studio opening. People came from many different towns to the open house gathering. Most of us didn’t know each other. I was in a group of three or four men talking together, meeting for the first time, when Jim, who was the oldest, suddenly told us he had leukemia, announcing he had six months to live. He said it without emotion and with no expectation of a response. He simply stated it as a fact and didn’t seem to be asking for sympathy.

       It was not a moment when I felt comfortable about answering him with something real and direct. Apparently none of us did. However I was aware in my mind of an immediate sensation that I’d conveyed a message of strength and support to him. Though I was hesitant to voice it out loud, I transmitted it to him over the “air waves.” All this occurred unconsciously at first, that is, until he spoke up as he left the party. Then I consciously realized what had happened.

       He expressed gratitude to the group in a manner that struck me as unusual, thanking us for the “quality of the conversation.”  “Especially you,” he said, turning to face me. Somewhat astonished, I went over what I remembered about our talk. The only thing said that could truly be described as having “quality” was the silent message I’d sent. I realized that he must have been aware of receiving my prayer sent to comfort him.

       “When you pray for the sick and afflicted, do not expect that your petitions will take the place of loving and intelligent ministry to the necessities of these afflicted ones. Pray for the welfare of your families, friends, and fellows, but especially pray for those who curse you, and make loving petitions for those who persecute you. ‘But when to pray, I will not say. Only the spirit that dwells within you may move you to the utterance of those petitions which are expressive of your inner relationship with the Father of spirits.’” (146:2.11, pg. 1639)

       I asked my wife if she’d ever had the experience of praying for someone and feeling that it was recognized or received. She confirmed it had happened to her before. I think probably many of us must occasionally have these experiences of spiritual connection with each other. There are cases when we have the capacity to communicate effectively, even telepathically, with another person who is in danger or in need. I do believe that the effectiveness of prayer, its capacity for binding us together, is something that improves with practice.

       As Francyl’s words say, “I felt so awful and alone; it seemed I’d lost my light upon the path, and I just couldn’t get back home, when hope came flying in at last. Somebody said a prayer for me.” (Copyright © Francyl Gawryn)

       Francyl Gawryn,  is a director of youth and children ministries at Grace Community Church, in Boulder City, NV, where she works with Sunday school and after-school programs, one of those tireless laborers in the vineyard who receives occasional attention for her ministry. Of course, she doesn’t do the work to earn personal recognition. She once said she uses “music, dance, or any way we can worship God, since that's what I'm going for."  

       Somebody Said a Prayer For Me, from her album Love Songs of Heaven and Earth can be heard or purchased at:

    (This article is modified from the original that appeared on site in October 2012.)

  • 2013-11-07 11:05 AM | Dave

       I recently featured in this blog an article encouraging the use of spiritual resources to improve one’s mental health. It turned out to be a hot button topic. Shortly afterwards, there was a discussion in one of our Facebook friend groups that fascinated me because more people were drawn to talk about their struggles with depression than most topics I’d seen initiated on this social media site before. There is such an urgency to the issue it demands further consideration. Many people are suffering; direct and immediate responses are needed.

       The host of the Facebook discussion wrote, “I am moved by the stories of people who know all is not right with their emotional/mental states and pursue full health. When my therapist asked ‘how much time a day I was willing to spend on my mental health?’ it really stopped me. But,” she protested, “that would take time away from my many projects, my work schedule, my housework, etc." The need for a daily application of effort is a consistent recommendation from those who offer therapy, care or guidance.

       Many participants in the discussion were concerned to find a medication that was more effective and also safe, along with a good cognitive therapist. However it is meditation as therapy, not medication that I want to focus on here. The group came up with five pillars of mental wellness: “sleep, nutrition, exercise,” another one which was termed “stress reduction.”  This category is the one under which breathing and yoga, “being present,” Tai Chi, and meditation techniques are usually listed and recommended by health professionals. The fifth and last pillar mentioned by the group was social support, something these Facebook friends were clearly providing for each other.

       Though the causal factor, loss of faith, was not raised in our discussion group (a mostly secular group of poets and writers), it is a major cause of depression. I don’t necessarily just mean faith in God or Jesus or some other spiritual entity (though I would include it). It often involves the loss of a dependable path that once inspired a reaction of desire, passion, or the will to accomplish a goal. We may already even know that what is needed is a re-examination of our faith perspective, looking for ways to regain it. We may also realize this redirection to a goal we’ve believed in before needs to be either recovered, refreshed, or revised and renewed. But depression takes over sometimes, those times when we encounter weakness, helplessness, and even laziness as we contemplate the work required to accomplish a renewal/revival.

       Jesus in The UB is a strong advocate for meditation, his “stress reduction technique,” worshipful communion as he describes it. “Believers must increasingly learn how to step aside from the rush of life — escape the harassments of material existence — while they refresh the soul, inspire the mind, and renew the spirit by worshipful communion. God-knowing individuals are not discouraged by misfortune or downcast by disappointment. Believers are immune to the depression consequent upon purely material upheavals; spirit livers are not perturbed by the episodes of the material world.” (156:5.12-13, pg. 1739)

       We could all benefit by reading the case histories of depression recorded in The UB: Fortune (130:6, pg. 1437), the woman with the spirit of infirmity (167:3.2, pg. 1835), and the apostle Thomas (139:8.10-11, pg. 1562). Jesus was very understanding of Thomas’s struggles. He never questioned the strength of Thomas’s belief or faith.  His support of Thomas and his teachings reassure us that the more we progress in our faith, the more we will “increasingly” be immune to depression.

       One of the meditative techniques taught at conferences and in many churches, is the Centering Prayer, a practice promoted by Fr. Thomas Keating ( We can in our contemplation or worship time move the perspective away from ego-based mind to spirit mind. We allow spirit mind to come in and consult with us on our faith path, our life journey. “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart.” (Proverbs 20:27) Whether we call this process meditation, worship, communion, prayer, or visualization, the technique can have the same results we desire—renewal and revival.

       Completion of the grief process, or unfinished emotional business, was a topic that came up in the Facebook discussion. One of the group said, “It is true that true mental stability requires a lot of attention, attention that I am often reluctant to give, partly because I resent having to deal with past traumas.” I have sometimes wondered if there is a final point where we have completed the grief process. My own experience in completing my experience with my father seems to require occasional revisiting.

       The apostle Thomas suffered from depression and it seemed to stem at least partly from an unresolved grief from his childhood. “Thomas had some very bad days; he was blue and downcast at times. The loss of his twin sister when he was nine years old had occasioned him much youthful sorrow and had added to his temperamental problems of later life.” (139:8.10)

       The solution to his depression was choosing to take advantage of the “pillar” of his support group, his fellowship with the other apostles. “He was inclined toward melancholic brooding when he joined the apostles, but contact with Jesus and the apostles largely cured him of this morbid introspection.” (139:8.5)

  • 2013-10-30 11:03 AM | Dave

       There is a statement I frequently come back to in The Urantia Book (UB), Paper 67:0.1, pg. 754. It’s an important touchstone I have quoted from before in this forum. “The problems associated with human existence on Urantia are impossible of understanding without a knowledge of certain great epochs of the past, notably the occurrence and consequences of the planetary rebellion.”

       Not only has our planet needed a “new universe story,” it has also needed an upgraded and improved version of the old. The UB provides both.

       Memories of the Lucifer Rebellion are fading but I can sometimes find a distant echo in Christian commentary. Author C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) once said in a sermon, “Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation.” (fr. The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis)

       Clearly Lewis discerned the importance of, the very necessity of, possessing a knowledge of the planetary rebellion that The UB preserves for us.

       Some readers may believe this council of twenty-four is new information, revealed in The Urantia Book for the first time. Indeed much of it is quite new. However, those raised with the Bible may have already encountered the Four and Twenty Elders in John the Divine’s Book of Revelation, 4:4, (also quoted in The UB, 45:4.1, pg. 513). There we find, "And round about the Throne were Four and Twenty Seats (Thrones): and upon the Seats I saw Four and Twenty Elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads Crowns of Gold."

       “When in temporary exile on Patmos, John wrote the Book of Revelation, which you now have in greatly abridged and distorted form.” (139:4.14, pg. 1555) 

       In their interpretations made from the scant record preserved in the Bible, scholars have already deduced much of what The UB says about the Book of Revelation. These theologians have understood John’s Revelation better than we did from anything we heard about it in an average Sunday morning sermon, if such a sermon about his book was even preached.

       I know I must have heard one in my church, St. Paul’s United Church of Canada, because I remember I wanted to have my name “written in the book of life. (Rev 20:15)” Otherwise it was “the lake of fire” for me!

       Many Christian commentators figured out that the elders are surviving (resurrected) mortals of advanced spiritual standing. Some speculate that they are the twelve apostles and the twelve patriarchs of Israel ( however that would make it a somewhat one-sided ruling body, not only all male, but a completely Jewish council. The UB presents a more diverse group. It is revealed that the twenty-four include the spiritual leaders of the eight races of Urantia such as Onagar, Singlangton, and Onamonalonton.

       Some UB readers have unhappily pointed out that the council has only one woman representative out of the sixteen members named, she being Adam’s mate Eve.  My only speculation on this point is that if spiritual leadership is the criteria, “by nature they were all real leaders when they functioned on Urantia,” (114:2.1, pg. 1251) there were few women to choose from. Most ancient societies did not allow woman to hold such leadership positions. 

       Naturally, Christian scholars are forced to fall back on the information in the Bible alone (at least publicly). I came across Pastor John Burke’s scholarly analysis (same link above) which resonates in a fascinating way with The UB revelation. He points out that the elders are “saints,” and resurrected “representatives of the redeemed human race,” not angels. He goes on to say, “These beings are called "elders" and nowhere else in the Bible are angelic beings ever called "elders" but there are many instances where men are so designated.”

       The author of the Book of Revelation believed that the councilors had been given the authority and ability to pass judgment. “I saw thrones and they sat upon them and judgment was given unto them (Rev. 20:4).” However, the UB does not agree with the Biblical account on this point.

       “The actual administration of Urantia is indeed difficult to describe. There exists no formal government along the lines of universe organization, such as separate legislative, executive, and judicial departments. The twenty-four counselors come the nearest to being the legislative branch of the planetary government.” (114:5.1, pg. 1254)

       In John the Revelator’s version, the elders sing a song of worship to “the Lamb,” the divine entity we would know as Michael of Nebadon, “and they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the Book, and to open the Seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us … out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth,” Rev. 5:9-10.  For more, also see

       In The UB, we see the elders described as “his [Christ Michael’s] personal agents on Jerusem” (45:4.1) and serving as Governors General of our planet and the other quarantined planets.

       The UB authors do not discredit the Book of Revelation. That they admire John’s work is clear, “This Book of Revelation contains the surviving fragments of a great revelation, large portions of which were lost, other portions of which were removed, subsequent to John’s writing. It is preserved in only fragmentary and adulterated form.” (139:4.14) We have to hope that the missing portions will perhaps be discovered by archaeologists some day in the future.

       The UB adds much to the small amount of information given in the Bible. Just as we were told that the 19th governor general was succeeded by the 20th “during the times of the preparation of these narratives (114:3.1, p. 1252),” note this would refer to the year A.D. 1934 [31:10.22, pg. 354]. We also learn in other sections of The UB the names of two executives who have previously served.  

       “1-2-3 the first, the eldest of the primary order, was released from immediate planetary duties shortly after Pentecost. This noble midwayer stood steadfast with Van and Amadon during the tragic days of the planetary rebellion, and his fearless leadership was instrumental in reducing the casualties in his order. He serves at present on Jerusem as a member of the twenty-four counselors, having already functioned as governor general of Urantia once since Pentecost.” (77:9.5, pg. 866)

       “Less than a thousand years ago this same Machiventa Melchizedek, the onetime sage of Salem, was invisibly present on Urantia for a period of one hundred years, acting as resident governor general of the planet; and if the present system of directing planetary affairs should continue, he will be due to return in the same capacity in a little over one thousand years.” (93:10.10, pg. 1025)

       The UB goes on to say that the name of the current “planetary supervisor” is withheld because human beings are so prone to venerate “even to deify” (114:3.1) these rulers. I know I shouldn’t think such things, and I am undoubtedly guilty of some form of veneration, but it pleases me to think that Onamonalonton, the spiritual leader of the red race, has served as resident governor general during my lifetime!

  • 2013-10-21 10:59 AM | Dave

       “The first mission of this spirit [of Truth] is, of course, to foster and personalize truth, for it is the comprehension of truth that constitutes the highest form of human liberty. Next, it is the purpose of this spirit to destroy the believer's feeling of orphanhood.” (194:2.2, pg. 2061)

       We may first experience the desire for God when overwhelmed by feelings of being alone in the universe. I encounter many fellow humans suffering from loneliness and isolation, described in The Urantia Book (The UB) as a “feeling of orphanhood.” If in discovering God, we experience being comforted, I believe it is the result of the ministry of the Spirit of Truth “which … shall guide and comfort you,” (180:4.2, pg. 1948) also known as the Comforter in both The UB and the Bible (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7).

       The feeling of being comforted may be the initial experience that leads us to accept God as a friend. The UB clarifies that “the Comforter” of John’s gospel is the Spirit of Truth bestowed on earth at the end of Jesus’ life, Michael’s bestowal.

       Just because one has found The UB, or a spiritual self-help book, and absorbed its information, does not mean he or she won’t still experience emotions that can overwhelm one even in situations where there are solutions. Exhaustion and hopelessness, a profound sense of sin and unworthiness, or the paranoia of not being loved can dog our footsteps.  Understanding the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness in ourselves, we can recognize the same in friends and loved ones, knowing there are times we can’t seem to derive comfort in the message of God’s love.

       One of our famous local SF Bay Area characters, Ken Kesey (author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest) once talked with the Paris Review about people who struggle in the valley of the shadow of death. He described the stratagem of self-medicating to deal with pain. “It’s the same old wilderness, just no longer up on that hill or around that bend or in the gully. It’s the fact that there is no more hill or gully, that the hollow is there and you’ve got to explore the hollow with faith. If you don’t have faith that there is something down there, pretty soon when you’re in the hollow, you begin to get scared and start shaking. That’s when you stop taking acid and start taking coke and drinking booze and start trying to fill the hollow with depressants and Valium.”

       Kesey went on to say in this interview:  “Real warriors like William Burroughs or Leonard Cohen or Wallace Stevens examine the hollow as well as anybody; they get in there, look far into the dark, and yet come out with poetry.”

       “The spirit which my Father and I shall send into the world is not only the Spirit of Truth but also the spirit of idealistic beauty. (155:6.11, pg. 1732)

       I recently read Darkness Visible by William Styron, a book I resisted reading for years (it came out in 1990). His experience of depression is illuminating for someone like myself who suffers comparatively mild symptoms when evaluated next to his, though I was still able to recognize features he described with such vividness. Styron’s depression was so severe he sought a cure through a hospitalization that lasted about seven weeks. 

       Unfortunately, I think, his book shows no experience of, or recognition of the Spirit of Truth, or any other spiritual assistance or helpers, for that matter. His one mention of religion is to condemn the ineffectiveness of Christian platitudes. I concluded that his complete indifference to the influence of spiritual life was a reason he suffered depression to such an extreme. However there is more to say on the unconscious experiences leading to his rescue that is beyond the range of this article. I came away from that book with a stronger faith in having our minds centered on "God." Anchoring oneself in the love of the Spirit helps me recharge, restore, regain balance, and continue to make progress in life. 

       The Apostle Paul wrote about the Comforter as the Spirit of Adoption: "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:12-17)

       "The Supreme Spirit shall bear witness with your spirits that you are truly the children of God. And if you are the sons of God, then have you been born of the spirit of God; and whosoever has been born of the spirit has in himself the power to overcome all doubt, and this is the victory that overcomes all uncertainty, even your faith. (Discourse on Assurance, UB pg. 1601, 142:5.3)

       Styron wrote that “self-hatred … a failure of self esteem and… a feeling of worthlessness,” were key causes of his depression. Jesus taught a new insight into Job’s self hatred in his private conference with the apostle John. He perceived another meaning to Job’s suffering, how Job used it as a fulcrum to turn it around.

       “Even in the very face of the breakdown of his theological defenses he ascended to those spiritual heights where he could sincerely say, ‘I abhor myself’; then was there granted him the salvation of a vision of God. So even through misunderstood suffering, Job ascended to the superhuman plane of moral understanding and spiritual insight. When the suffering servant obtains a vision of God, there follows a soul peace which passes all human understanding.” (148:6.3)

       Jesus taught believers, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) “I have come that my brethren in the flesh may have joy, gladness, and life more abundantly.” (John 10:10, and 15:11, UB pg. 1558) “I have come into the world to put love in the place of fear, joy in the place of sorrow, confidence in the place of dread, loving service and appreciative worship in the place of slavish bondage and meaningless ceremonies.” (UB 149:6.5, pg. 1675)

       With his gift of the Spirit of Truth to the planet, this access to joy obtained, the door was opened. We can in our meditations and prayers ask for guidance and comfort from this Spirit and expect with confidence to receive it.

       “Intellectual self-consciousness can discover the beauty of truth, its spiritual quality, not only by the philosophic consistency of its concepts, but more certainly and surely by the unerring response of the ever-present Spirit of Truth. Happiness ensues from the recognition of truth because it can be acted out; it can be lived. Disappointment and sorrow attend upon error because, not being a reality, it cannot be realized in experience.” (2:7.6, pg. 42)

  • 2013-09-27 10:57 AM | Dave

    The problems associated with human existence on Urantia are impossible of understanding without a knowledge of certain great epochs of the past, notably the occurrence and consequences of the planetary rebellion.” (67:0.1; pg. 754)

    With Onamonalonton recently on our minds after The United Urantia Family Festival’s (TUUFF’s) Yosemite celebration in August, let us also honor him for his position on the council of twenty four, assisting our planet as a representative of our Creator Son, Michael. It’s even possible Onamonalonton has served his one hundred year term as resident governor general at some point since Michael became Planetary Prince. He could be serving as we speak but we are not given such provocative details in The Urantia Book

    Each of these counselors serves as a governor general on Urantia as “a provisional and advisory chief executive.” “Every one hundred years of Urantia time, the Jerusem corps of twenty-four planetary supervisors designate one of their number to sojourn on your world to act as their executive representative, as resident governor general.” (114:3.1, pg. 1252)

    Sixteen of the counselors are introduced by name in The UB, (45:4, pg. 514). The other eight seats are “not permanently occupied.”

    “Urantia had no sure and settled relationship with the local universe and its administrative divisions until the completion of Michael's bestowal in the flesh, when he was proclaimed, by the Union of Days, Planetary Prince of Urantia. … in practice the Sovereign Creator Son made no gesture of personal administration of the planet aside from the establishment of the Jerusem commission of twenty-four former Urantians with authority to represent him in the government of Urantia and all other quarantined planets in the system. One of this council is now always resident on Urantia as resident governor general.” (114:1.1, pg. 1250)

    Of the consequences The UB asks us to understand, a major one is the effect of the quarantine imposed on our planet following the Lucifer Rebellion of 200, 000 years ago. After the default of the Prince’s staff, a temporary government was installed under twelve Melchizedek receivers (as discussed in my blog item of 9/13). The rebellion ended our relationship with the visible representation of universe rule that we had with the Prince’s staff, although Prince Caligastia himself was not visible to human eyes. Some relief for this situation came much later with the arrival of an Adam and Eve, a Material Son and Daughter, 37,927 years ago.

    “These Sons [and Daughters] provide the inhabited worlds with a mutually contactable intermediary between the invisible Planetary Prince and the material creatures of the realms.” (45:5.3, pg. 515)

    However as we learn in The UB story, later machinations of the deposed Planetary Prince Caligastia ("the serpent" of the Bible) led to the default of our Adam and Eve. They then experienced a degradation of status from “Son and Daughter of God” to that of mortals. When they subsequently departed Urantia through the normal process of mortal death, the isolation of our planet seemed complete. Our planet Earth had suffered a double default of universe leadership.

    How will this “restoration of … lost knowledge (101:4.5)” of the Lucifer Rebellion help our understanding of human problems? I have noticed that it has sharpened my awareness of where, how, and when the Lucifer Doctrine still operates in our planetary affairs.

    Another crucial lesson for us here is the importance of renewing our faith as a way to build relationship with “the kingdom,” or universe government. Because we no longer have a visible representative of a heavenly government, we must learn to treasure our relationship with the Father through the Thought Adjuster’s presence, with Jesus through the Spirit of Truth, with other “heavenly helpers,” and rely on our faith “in the evidence of things unseen (99:5.8, Hebrews 11.1).” We must proudly fulfill our role as “agondonters … evolutionary will creatures who can believe without seeing, persevere when isolated, and triumph over insuperable difficulties even when alone.” (50:7.2; pg. 579)

    (In Part 2 of this article, I will cover previous revelations of the twenty four counselors. Please stay tuned!)

  • 2013-09-12 10:55 AM | Dave

    We usually think of philosophy as the quest for meaning in life. Religious certainty, faith may be the end result of the quest. Strength of character can also result from our efforts to think clearly about our values. When we have made wise choices in favor of goodness and truth, allowed a hopeful optimism to triumph over our crushing disappointments, humility instead of egoistical pride, these decisions are our accomplishments, evidence of our growth in self-mastery. The behavior choice becomes our possession, and eventually a habitual reaction, the foundation of a philosophy of living.

    “When these experiences are frequently repeated, they crystallize into habits, strength-giving and worshipful habits, and such habits eventually formulate themselves into a spiritual character, and such a character is finally recognized by one's fellows as a mature personality.” (160:3.2, p. 1777) 

    In giving advice to achieve a healthy philosophy of life The UB authors offer us in contrast the example of Judas: “Judas met defeat in his battles of the earth struggle because of the following factors of personal tendencies and character weakness: … 3. He never acquired a philosophic technique for meeting disappointment. Instead of accepting disappointments as a regular and commonplace feature of human existence, he unfailingly resorted to the practice of blaming someone in particular, or his associates as a group, for all his personal difficulties and disappointments.” (193:4.4-7, pg. 2056)

    Jesus had learned this “philosophic technique” from his own personal life experiences growing up. For example, after the death of Joseph, “Apparently all Jesus' plans for a career were thwarted. The future did not look bright as matters now developed. But he did not falter; he was not discouraged. He lived on, day by day, doing well the present duty and faithfully discharging the immediate responsibilities of his station in life. Jesus' life is the everlasting comfort of all disappointed idealists. (126:5.4, pg. 1393)

    Are you a disappointed idealist?  You will probably agree with me that those who read and believe in The Urantia Book (UB) are susceptible to encountering such a fate. 

    Some writers believe that this lack of a philosophy of life has become a part of the national character at present. Jesus felt this had happened to the Jewish people and so he told Gonod and Ganid (132:7.5, pg. 1467): “my people are piteously enslaved to the fear of a God without a saving philosophy of life and liberty.”

    In commenting on American society, poet Robert Bly wrote, “Denial can be considered as an extension—into all levels of society—of the naïve person’s inability to face the harsh facts of life. The health of any nation’s soul depends on the capacity of adults to face the harsh facts of the time.” (Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, pg. 195)

    Bly believed that “great art,” particularly great poetry, would help people get used “to having that flavor of bitter truth in the mouth.”

    American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, saw disappointment as an opportunity to learn courage. “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” 

    The Japanese have a saying, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” 

    Our greatest master teacher, Jesus, taught that love and service could be learned during episodes of disappointment. His final admonition to Nathaniel the philosophical apostle was, “Admix friendship with your counsel and add love to your philosophy. Serve your fellow men even as I have served you. Be faithful to men as I have watched over you. Be less critical; expect less of some men and thereby lessen the extent of your disappointment.” (192:2.10, pg. 2049)

  • 2013-09-02 10:52 AM | Dave

    It is not recognized in currently understood history of planet Earth that our affairs were administered for over 160,000 years by an emergency council of Sons of God. They worked in liaison with the loyal children of Urantia whose steadfast faithfulness was crucial to the cause. This council was put into place following the “war in heaven.” There are vestiges of this knowledge in the Bible and world literature but sadly even these are fading from memory. This is revealed history, “the restoration of important bits of lost knowledge concerning epochal transactions in the distant past.” (UB 101:4.5)

    Melchizedek Sons, the first order of the local universe Sons of God (35:2), joined with the Amadonites, the human associates of Van, a former leader on Prince Caligastia’s staff, to preserve Urantian civilization. This period of governance began when the Lucifer Rebellion of 200,000 years ago resulted in the default of Caligastia and most of his staff.

    “The affairs of Urantia were for a long time administered by a council of planetary receivers, twelve Melchizedeks, confirmed by the mandate of the senior constellation ruler, the Most High Father of Norlatiadek [a Vorondadek Son]. Associated with the Melchizedek receivers was an advisory council, “that included [among others] … the two resident Life Carriers, … a volunteer Teacher Son, … advisers from two neighboring planets, … and Van, the commander in chief of the midway creatures. And thus was Urantia governed and administered until the arrival of Adam.” (67:6, 5, pg. 759)

    Note that the “Most High” are Vorondadek Sons, the second order of universe sonship (35:5), constellation administrators as differentiated from the third order of sonship, the Lanonadek sons, Caligastia being one. The Lanonadeks serve as rulers of the local systems (35:8).

    Let’s look at this unusual use in a philosophical/religious work of the term “receivers.” It made sense after I checked my dictionary. In the legal sense of the word, a receiver is a person appointed by a court to manage the affairs of a bankrupt business or person, or to care for property in litigation.

    Our Walnut Creek Study Group was reading The Garden of Eden, Paper 74, during our meetings last fall.  Many questions came up about the rarely-discussed Melchizedek receivers, described in The Urantia Book (The UB) as having taken charge of the affairs of rebellion-torn Urantia. Their authority continued up until the arrival of Adam and Eve. It is very troubling to watch them depart the planet leaving our Material Son and Daughter in total loneliness.

    The era of Melchizedek rule represents a time period from 200,000 years before present to 37,848 years before present (1934 dates), lasting more than 162,200 years. It will especially interest students of The UB that Machiventa Melchizedek, who later completed his own emergency bestowal mission to Urantia about 4,000 years ago, was one of this group of twelve receivers (93:1.3, pg. 1014).

    Going back to the times of the Rebellion 200,000 years ago, all were given time to choose where to affirm their loyalty. This is described as, “The Seven Crucial Years,” in paper 67:3.  No action was taken before that point in respect of the free will decision of every personal being involved with the insurrection. The Melchizedeks formed their provisional government on Urantia only after the “seven years of waiting.” 

    “But at last the final decision of the last personality was made, and then, but only then, did a Most High of Edentia arrive with the emergency Melchizedeks to seize authority on Urantia. The Caligastia panoramic reign-records on Jerusem were obliterated, and the probationary era of planetary rehabilitation was inaugurated.”  (67:3.10, pg. 757)

    The Melchizedeks granted Van titular authority over our planet, and “his loyal army of men, midwayers, and angels,” was entrusted to carry out their policies. Van and Amadon, who gained renown as “the human hero of the rebellion,” set out to establish communities loyal to the Universal Father’s rule. “Within one thousand years after the rebellion he had more than three hundred and fifty advanced groups scattered abroad in the world.” (67:6.5-6, pg. 759)

    Many of these settlements were situated around the lake that still bears Van’s name (present day Turkey). “Van was left on Urantia until the time of Adam, remaining as titular head of all superhuman personalities functioning on the planet. For over one hundred and fifty thousand years, he and Amadon were sustained by the technique of the tree of life in conjunction with the specialized life ministry of the Melchizedeks. (67:6.4)

    Another question that came up for our study group was: could Van actually see his Melchizedek advisors in face to face meetings with them.  Recalling that Van, as an original member of the Prince’s staff, once directed “the supreme court of tribal co-ordination and racial cooperation” (66:5.31, pg. 749), I did more research. I wanted to find out what supernormal capabilities the original staff possessed before they lost their immortal status. Van would have still retained these abilities as he still had access to the tree of life.

    We are informed in 66:4.10 that “the primary midway creatures” were “wholly visible to the planetary staff and to their celestial associates but … not visible to the men and women of the various human tribes.” From this I deduced it was likely Van could also see the Melchizedek receivers while he held conference with them and the advisory council.

    “The twelve Melchizedek receivers of Urantia did heroic work. They preserved the remnants of civilization, and their planetary policies were faithfully executed by Van,” with the aid of the 144 Amadonites led by Amadon (67:6.5-6; p.760).

    Many millennia later, Adamson, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, set out on a three year search for the people and the northern lands by Lake Van, the stuff of romance, his “childhood fantasies (77:5.5).” With the life companion he finds there, Ratta, who became the mother of sixty-seven children, he founds another outpost of civilization, one that became the basis of our present day civilizations in Europe and India.

  • 2013-08-27 10:48 AM | Dave

    I have been asked a few times about the location of Onamonalonton's "headquarters" in the California redwoods.  I borrowed the title of this blog item from the Fellowship Herald article I published in 2009. In that essay, I put forward a theory that this Pre-Columbian center of civilization was founded at "a place on the Klamath River" (from a Hupa tribe legend) near Mt. Shasta, a location that fits within the California redwoods range. The redwood forest extends all the way up to the northern border of our state. Here’s the link to the 2009 article:

    “Many of his [Onamonalonton’s] later descendants have come down to modern times among the Blackfoot Indians.” (Urantia Book, 64:6.7) Such an ancestry places Onamonalonton securely within a group of native peoples who speak what linguists call the Algonkin dialect. The term is a broader category than the more familiar term Algonquin which is a tribe name.

    I have since done more research on the linguistics along with other related anthropology studies. The evidence we have is not without controversy and disagreement (as in most science) but it places the only incidence of the Algonkin dialect in California among the Yurok, Wiyot, and other tribes (related to the Hupa) who inhabit the Mt. Shasta region. This location is quite a bit north of Yosemite.

    There are several reasons besides the Algonkin language and tribal literature (such as Hupa traditions I wrote about) to place Onamonalonton's headquarters in the Mt. Shasta region and I hope to publish these.

    I realized after I wrote the Fellowship article in 2009 that my Shasta theory did not agree with apocryphal lore associating Yosemite’s Grizzly Giant Big Tree with Onamonalonton's headquarters. This unpublished material, which was also not authorized for inclusion in The Urantia Book, is circulating at present because of The United Urantia Family Festival recently held in Yosemite. 

    Much of the scholarship I did to back up my Mt. Shasta theory was not ready to include in the 2009 article. I hope for a new version of "the Civilization of Onamonalonton" in the near future. 

    How do I account for the discrepancy between my research based on linguistic and anthropological evidence with information given by previous Contact Commissioners involved with publishing The Urantia Book? 

    I have had to come to the conclusion that an error was made either in transmitting or receiving this information. I believe it was not done intentionally, just that information handed down became garbled in some way. I also speculate that folks living in Chicago were too far away from our geography. Thus they easily fastened on making the connection of Onamonalonton's headquarters with the Grizzly Giant Urantia legend. 

    I’ve researched California Indian and other regional histories for many years and I can find no support for the idea that Onamonalonton's headquarters were located in Yosemite. I hope for the opportunity to make the argument in detail in support of the theory that his base was located near the mountain that is sacred to many Indian tribes, Mt. Shasta.

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