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The Fall, 1992 Issue of Circles Magazine

Channeling, "Teachers" and Revelation

 

By Kaye and Bill Cooper

Houston, Texas


              This article is intended neither to validate nor invalidate channeling. What it is intended to do is to recommend a process by which individuals may deal with phenomenal occurrences such as channeling and make decisions as to their worth.

            A process or rational response is both appropriate and imperative because extraordinary psycho-spiritual events should be expected to take place more or less continuously among Urantia Book readers.


            People who read The Urantia Book will probably always be interested in "channeling" and things of a similar nature. After all, the book itself came into human hands in a manner that is superficially similar to channeling.


ATTITUDES


Our Personal Attitudes

            Why is it important to even consider these strange phenomena? Why can't we simply reject them all out of hand and stay firmly in the traditional camp? That way there's less danger that we will be viewed by society at large as a weirdo cult. It's bad enough to have to overcome the fact that the book claims to be a revelation written by spiritual beings and all the secrecy surrounding its "similar-to-channeling" origins.

            But there is an expensive price for this closed attitude. It is important not to reject unusual religious experiences, because Jesus' religion is one of personal religious experience -- and I think that can involve some very unusual events. It is described as "faith voyages of daring adventure out upon the high seas of unexplored truth." (1729) This is not a religion for the faint of heart nor for those who reject spiritual phenomena doctrinairely. Jesus was considered by large segments of his listeners to be "beside himself." If we follow him in the path of spiritual adventure, we may be judged the same way. That is an inherent risk of this religion of personality validated religious experience.

            On the last page of the book we are told that the greatest adventure in this mortal life is to attempt to achieve better communication with the spark of God that indwells our minds. Communicating with your Thought Adjuster is not your everyday, ordinary, traditional religion, and it will not conform itself to anyone's expectations, dogmas, or doctrines. It doesn't come to one who stays safely within the boundaries of reading, thinking, analyzing, and following logic. Trying to communicate with your Thought Adjuster puts you in danger of discovering new truths that no one has heard before! "The religion of the spirit leaves you forever free to follow the truth wherever the leadings of the spirit may take you. And who can judge--perhaps this spirit may have something to impart to this generation which other generations have refused to hear?" (1731:3)



The Costs of Being Wrong

            On the other hand, those of us who were in the movement ten years ago know from experience the grief that can come from listening to someone who is getting messages from beyond the material world. The movement was suddenly and dramatically split between those who believed in Vern Grimsley's messages and those who did not. It did not require very many months to be able to prove the inaccuracy of his predictions. When the time came for the predicted war, there was only the silence of peace--and the pain of wounded faith.

            But something else happened during those months that is very relevant to the current conflict and to future exploration into strange religious experiences. The believers in Vern's messages found themselves attacked publicly by old and dear friends. Some were shorn of all authority in an organization they had served loyally for many years. Most of his followers were suddenly outcasts in the group they considered to be family. To the cost of being wrong was added the devastating destruction of close friendships and the difficulty of attempting to return to the group or remaining in isolated rejection. But friendships did not have to be destroyed. Deep wounds did not have to be inflicted.

            Since our religion is one of spiritual exploration, freedom and personal experience, being wrong sometimes is an inevitable aspect of it. So what our religion needs is an attitude which tolerates efforts to have closer contact with God--even if they seem unusual--and even if they are misguided.

            What I propose is that we seek the understanding and the inspiration to make the costs of being "wrong" less devastating. In the current conflict either the channeling is being initiated by beings connected to our spiritual planetary government--or it isn't. If channeling groups such as the Woods Cross group are actually in contact with Melchizedek, Abraham or other nonmaterial--but real--persons, then those of us who did not ask for a "teacher" will be "wrong." If these groups are in error and the information coming through the human channels is coming from the fertile unconscious mind of the channeler, then those who were involved may one day be proved "wrong."


Our Group Attitude

            I suggest that we find a way to continue being unified, allowing each person to decide whether channeling is of value to him or her without being cut off from friends who have not made the same choice. Then when one group or the other is proven "wrong," there will be no obstacles to continued friendship and association, no painful memories. Those who were proven "wrong" can say, "Well, I was wrong. I wish I hadn't made that error, but these things happen. Fortunately I learned a lot from the experience. Let's get on with the business at hand." And those who were proven "right' can graciously welcome their brothers and sisters into continued service with them.

            The way to nurture unity (without uniformity) among ourselves involves establishing an atmosphere free of pressures so that individuals may judge for themselves whether they choose to participate in channeling. "Pressure…never stimulates growth….Spiritual growth is greatest where all external pressures are at a minimum." (1135:1)

            I am not suggesting that the Urantia movement as a whole should rush off in pursuit of every unusual religious practice that comes along, or that it should take such a flexible attitude that the world is unable to perceive what it believes in. Jesus admonished the apostles not to offer their individual and conflicting interpretations of parables as a part of their public teaching. (1691:2) In a similar vein believers in the book should refrain from representing disputed ideas as being basic to the Urantia movement. For years I assumed that reincarnation was a basic tenant of Unity--because of statements by a member of a Unity church on a television show. Only recently did I discover that to be inaccurate. Unity is simply extremely tolerant of any beliefs held by its members. I would not want the world to be as unsure about what The Urantia Book teaches.

            The leadership of the Urantia movement has every right to withhold sponsorship of a controversial movement, such as channeling, so long as they allow the individual the freedom to investigate on his own. Study groups have every right to require that those who are involved in channeling not impose their interest on the group. Individuals have every right to express their individual choices not to be involved in channeling, firmly and definitely. What I suggest is that they do so without denouncing (overtly or by implication) the character, loyalty or mental acumen of someone who has chosen differently.

            I think Jesus set the example for such freedom from pressure. The Urantia Book describes two instances in which Jesus was faced with the preaching of someone he had not trained. One of these was simply a person who had heard of his teachings and was attempting to teach the new religion. Jesus warned his apostles at that time, "In the generations to come many who are not wholly worthy will do many strange things in my name, but I will not forbid them." (1764;3)

            The second situation was even further afield from what the apostles wanted to be happening. Kirmeth, a trance prophet, was causing trouble in camp with his visions and his teaching. Jesus insisted that he be allowed entire freedom for a few days. People recognized that his teaching was not compatible with the gospel. After a few days Kirmeth left taking a handful of "unstable and erratic souls." (1666:2) I think these examples encourage us not to rush to pass judgement and punish, but to allow personal choice to function.


Personal Choice

            I would like to share with you from research and experience things I think are helpful in evaluating the worth of channeling and other extraordinary religious experiences. My own approach in evaluating such phenomena is three-fold: (1) research relevant information in the book, (2) depend on the Spirit of Truth to guide me in my decision whether to try it for myself, and (3) if I do decide to try it, use the test of living truth.


RELEVENT INFORMATION


            Personal revelation is a commonplace phenomenon. Yes, it happens frequently. People may not always recognize what it is, but it happens all the time--especially to people who are deeply interested in things spiritual. God speaks to us constantly. Sometimes we get the message, and that is personal revelation. So, having contact with the spiritual world is not an unusual event. Even mysticism, "as a technique of the cultivation of the consciousness of the presence of God" is described as "altogether praise-worthy" so long as it avoids social isolation and religious fanaticism. (1000:2)

            On the other hand, having apparent contact with the spirit world while in a trance state is not a part of ongoing personal revelation. The book states unequivocal, "Under no circumstances should the trance like state of visionary consciousness by cultivated as a religious experience." This state is described as, a "diffusion of consciousness with vivid islands of focal attention operating on a comparatively passive intellect." "The mystic status is favored by such things as: physical fatigue, fasting, psychic dissociation, profound aesthetic experiences, vivid sex impulses, fear, anxiety, rage, and wild dancing." (1099-1100) Any unusual religious experience proceeding from such a trance state should be highly suspect.

            Assuming that an incident of channeling can be distinguished from the trance state, what else sets it apart from the more-or-less constant insights that arise in our daily lives? One thing that is unusual about channeling is that it is so overt. The coincidences of life which we suspect may be angelic guidance leave a lot of room for interpretation. Impressions which we think may be spirit leading are also quite vague. But in the case of channeling someone is speaking words which are purported to come directly from a spiritual being. Here there is less comfort zone for equivocation.

            So what are the possibilities given in The Urantia Book? Do such things happen? Do spiritual beings contact human beings? I was surprised to find more support for the possibility than I had remembered.

            At one point the book categorizes revelation into two groups: "Truth is always a revelation: auto-revelation when it emerges as a result of the work of the indwelling Adjuster; epochal revelation when it is presented by the function of some other celestial agency, group, or personality." (1109:4/101.4.3)

            I'll deal with auto-revelation and the Adjuster later. First let's look at some of the possible sources of epochal revelation.



Epochal Revelation


            Guardian Angels. Mortals in this first life are not usually aware of their guardian seraphim. Their teaching is indirect, achieved through the social, ethical and moral environment of their subjects. They do not make contact with human beings except in emergencies and such occurrences are described as "very unusual." (1245-6/)

            On the other hand the guardian angels "have functioned as the spiritual helpers of mortal man in all the great events of the past and the present. In many a revelation "the word was spoken by angels, many of the mandates of heaven have been received by the ministry of angels." (1241:1) One recipient of an angelic message may have been Joseph, the father of Jesus, who was spoken to in a dream by a brilliant celestial messenger. (1347:3)

            Master Seraphim of Planetary Supervision. These angels to whom the reserve corps of destiny are attached "so manipulate planetary conditions and so associate circumstances as favorably to influence the spheres of human activity to which they are attached….They function as ideational clearinghouses, mind focalizers, and project promoters. While unable to inject new and higher conceptions into human minds, they often act to intensify some higher ideal which as already appeared within a human intellect….the master seraphim insure planetary progress against vital jeopardy through the mobilization, training, and maintenance of the reserve corps of destiny." This reserve corps of destiny numbered 962 at the time of the book's writing and less than 20 contact personalities were conscious of their connection to this corps. These mortal reservists are described as being "little known to their fellows except in those rare social emergencies and spiritual exigencies wherein these reserve personalities function for the prevention of the breakdown of evolutionary culture or the extinction of the light of living truth." (1254-1258)

            Cosmic reserve corps. This group of human beings may be in contact with the planetary government, but there is so little said about them that it is hard to tell. The book's total comment on this group follows: "The cosmic reserve corps of universe-conscious citizens on Urantia now numbers over one thousand mortals whose insight of cosmic citizenship far transcends the sphere of their terrestrial abode, but I am forbidden to reveal the real nature of the function of this unique group of living human beings." (1258.5)

            Seraphic Evangels. Seraphic evangels function primarily on the Mansion Worlds, but even on Urantia they "counsel the human teachers of truth and righteousness." The example given was the "Twenty-third Psalm" which the book describes as being "whispered in the night season to the shepherd boy." (553:1/)

            Social Architects. "Social architects do everything within their province and power to bring together suitable individuals that they may constitute efficient and agreeable working groups on earth; and sometimes such groups have found themselves re-associated on the mansion worlds for continued fruitful service." (432:6) Unfortunately nothing specific is said about how these seraphim might influence individuals to come together.

            Heavenly Reproducers. One type of Celestial Artisan called heavenly reproducers is able to contact certain mortals on earth. "So versatile are these artisans that, when they function en masse, they are able to re-enact an age, and in collaboration with the seraphic ministers they can actually portray the eternal values of the spirit world to the mortal seers of time." (501:10)

            Prophets. Then there is that category of mortals called "prophets." Although very little is said about the process of prophecy, we are assured that it is real. "But true prophetic vision is a superpsychologic presentiment. Such visitations are not pseudo hallucinations, neither are they trance-like ecstasies." (1000:4) One example is, however, described. While he was in prison, a group of John's disciples visited him and criticized Jesus for not attempting to gain John's release. John replied with great power regarding the divinity of Jesus. Afterward he was "much agitated for he perceived that he had uttered a prophecy." (1507:2)

            Melchizedek. Machiventa Melchizedek was in contact in some unspecified way with certain prophets and seers at least for the period of time between his own incarnation and the bestowal of Michael. "This same Melchizedek continued to collaborate throughout the nineteen succeeding centuries with the many prophets and seers, thus endeavoring to keep alive the truths of Salem until the fullness of the time for Michael's appearance on earth." (1024:6)

            The Contacts of One World With Another. "Certain wise men of earth knew of Michael's impending arrival. Through the contacts of one world with another, these wise men of spiritual insight learned of the forthcoming bestowal of Michael on Urantia. And the seraphim did, through the midway creatures, make announcement to a group of Chaldean priests whose leader was Ardnon. These men of God visited the newborn child. The only supernatural even associated with the birth of Jesus was this announcement to Ardnon and his associates by the seraphim of former attachment to Adam and Eve in the first garden." (1317:3) This contact may have been made through a dream, because the event is later described this way: "These priests from Mesopotamia had been told sometime before by a strange religious teacher of their country that he had had a dream in which he was informed that the 'light of life' was about to appear on earth as a babe and among the Jews." (1352:2)

            These quotes do not clarify whether Ardnon was the strange teacher or not. The strange teacher may have been a midwayer who assisted the angels in making the announcement--or perhaps the angel herself. Nor is it clear whether the seraphic announcement to Ardnon's priests was an example of "the contacts of one world with another" or an additional event.

            Gabriel. And, of course there were the two announcements by Gabriel to Elizabeth and Mary. (1345-1347)

            Apparently contacts by all of these celestial beings with various mortals on Urantia are considered "epochal," not auto-revelation. This enlarges the concept of epochal revelation from my previous concepts. The contacts of Melchizedek throughout the period of time between his incarnation and the bestowal of Michael would, according to the quote on auto-revelation vs. epochal revelation, be considered epochal revelation. "Epochal" revelation appears to be much more ongoing that I had thought!

            This also changes the expectation as to the quality of epochal revelation. Because of the care with which The Urantia Book was transmitted, we can be fairly sure that there was very little human distortion of it by the mind of the human being through whom it was transmitted. One might, from that experience, expect epochal revelation to be of a higher quality than auto-revelation, i.e., less distorted by human interpretation. However, assuming Melchizedek's collaboration with various prophets and seers was epochal revelation, I would have to say that the various Old Testament prophets certainly varied in their ability to interpret the messages and even added their own distortions. So the talent and involvement of the human mind receiving the revelation affects the purity or contamination of revelation, even epochal revelation.


Auto-revelation

            Auto-revelation is described as originating with the individual's Thought Adjuster. It is extremely difficult for us to distinguish between input from the Adjuster and that which originates in our own minds. The primary reason for this is that the Adjuster has no distinguishable way of communicating with our minds. He uses the same mental mechanisms that we use. Therefore the sound of our own thoughts is exactly like the sound of the Adjuster communicating through our conscious minds.

            The truth that comes to us through our own minds is termed "spiritual insight." This spiritual insight results from "the impress made upon the mind of man by the combined operations of the Adjuster and the Spirit of Truth as they function amid and upon the ideas, ideals, insights, and spirit strivings of the evolving sons of God." (1105:0)

            The Adjuster apparently uses at least two methods of communication: voice and picturization (1199:3 and 1209:5) The most common opportunities for communication are during worship, while asleep, and in flights of liberated but controlled creative imagination. (1203:3 and 1199:2) And the greatest interference with this communication arises from our "unsteady and rapidly shifting mental attitudes" and our own "preconceived opinions, settled ideas, and long-standing prejudices." (1199:4)

            By far most of the ideas which seem to pop into our heads come from our unconscious processes. Our unconscious mind can function in much the same way as our conscious minds. It is capable of coordinating information and drawing conclusions, which it presents to us in final form. It is also capable of a great deal of creative imagination.

            All of this is so complicated and the distinction so treacherous that we are advised that, "a human being would do better to err in rejecting an Adjuster's expression through believing it to be a purely human experience than to blunder into exalting a reaction of the mortal mind to the sphere of divine dignity. Remember, the influence of a Thought Adjuster is for the most part, though not wholly, a superconscious experience." (1208:4)

            Now we're getting somewhere! We can just ignore all those insights that come to us and any suspicious leadings, voices, or visions. They're just the products of our fertile imaginations. Better to stay on safe ground and let well enough alone, right?! Sorry, I can't recommend that.

            I cannot ignore the "great challenge to modern man." Remember the last page of the book, the place where the author always reiterates the thing he most wants you to get from his book? The last page of The Urantia Book says, "Man's greatest adventure in the flesh consists in the well-balanced and sane effort to advance the borders of self-consciousness out through the dim realms of embryonic soul-consciousness in a wholehearted effort to reach the borderland of spirit-consciousness -- contact with the divine presence." (2097:2) And if that were not enough to spur me on to seek this communication with my Adjuster, this next quote would do it. Jesus' religion is described as a "religion based on personal spiritual relations with the Universal Father and wholly validated by the supreme authority of genuine personal experience." (2087:4) Spiritual progress on this planet can and should lead to our hearing the Adjuster's voice and seeing his picturizations. So how do we deal with this warning that it would be better to think that God's voice was only our own than to think that our own voice was God's?

            What I do, is to assume that insights I receive are either from my own unconscious or are adequately distorted by my own mind, so that I cannot simply accept them as a revelation from God. But that doesn't mean that I ignore these insights. It means that I keep in mind that they might be genuine inspirations and test the nature and quality of their content.


Epochal Revelation, Autorevelation and Channeling

            So how does what the book says about auto-revelation relate to epochal revelation and channeling? Channeling may be any of these:

            --the uprising of the channeler's subconscious

            --auto-revelation, more or less distorted by the mind of the channeler

            --epochal revelation, more or less distorted by the mind of the channeler.

            Jesus warned, "Mark you well my words, Nathaniel, nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible. Through the mind of man divine truth may indeed shine forth, but always of relative purity and partial divinity." (1768:4) Because of this warning, I can't accept unquestioningly the product of any channeler -- just as I do not accept unquestioningly the insights of my own mind (which may or may not be auto-revelation).

            The most reliable approach I can think of is to treat channeling as I do personal insights: Keep in mind that the material might be coming from a source beyond the channeler and test the nature and quality of its content.


TESTING CONTENT - - LETTING THE SPIRIT LEAD


            Over the years I have run across many instances of channeling and other things vaguely similar. Because it is my policy to remain open to the possibility that such things may have value, I try to get a chance to hear or read some of the material. I depend upon the Spirit of Truth to confirm truth for me whenever I find it. Jesus said, "Those who are born of the spirit of God shall henceforth discern the word of God regardless of whence it appears to take origin. Divine truth must not be discounted because the channel of its bestowal is apparently human." (1735:5)


The Truth Response

            When I read the material, I feel for a truth response within me. My mind is asking such questions as:

            Is this material consistent with my highest values and my understanding of God's way and God's attitudes?

            Is it consistent with the truths of The Urantia Book?

            Does it meet Jesus' test: "What does it do for the human soul? does it bring God to man? does it bring man to God?" (1388:5)

            When I read The Urantia Book, my truth responses hum. I don't have to do much sorting out there. With other material I find some of it rings true and some does not, so I keep what I can use and throw the rest away. This aid from the Spirit of Truth is a long-standing aspect of my life that I can count on. The truth response is described this way in the book: "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." (42:7)

            Each of us has this great source of guidance in our lives. The Spirit of Truth is perceivable to us. The believers gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost felt a "strange presence in the room." They "became conscious of a new and profound sense of spiritual joy, security, and confidence." (2059:1)

            We are capable, with the aid of the Spirit of Truth, to recognize truth in any material. However, it is extremely important to maintain a strong determination to perceive the truth. We are strongly inclined to hear what we want to hear and to believe what we want to believe. The costs of fooling ourselves can be among the most painful events of our lives and can detrimentally affect those around us.

            There are several ways to decrease the danger of fooling yourself: (1) be sincere in your desire for truth, (2) be willing to look honestly at your own desires and motives, (3) want God's will more than your own, (4) take seriously the tests mentioned above (comparison to your values, consistency with The Urantia Book, and "Jesus' test"), and (5) get plenty of practice in perceiving the truth response by making truth seeking an ongoing part of your daily life.

            Ability to recognize the truth content in channeling does not, however, necessarily make us able to determine the facts in the situation. Because a channeling contains much truth does not automatically prove that the channeler is really in contact with the supermortal planetary government. Just as one "can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth," so one cannot necessarily judge the factual accuracy of something by its truth content. Jesus commented on this relationship between fact and truth when he said about the Scriptures: "Many of these books were not written by the persons whose names they bear, but that in no way detracts from the value of the truths which they contain. If the story of Jonah should not be a fact, even if Jonah had never lived, still would the profound truth of this narrative, the love of god for Nineveh and the so-called heathen, be none the less precious in the eyes of all those who love their fellow men." (555:1)


Intermediaries

            In the case of channeling there is an additional and important question I would ask: am I allowing this channeler to become an intermediary between myself and God?

            There has always been a tendency for human beings to seek someone worthy of their respect to look up to and follow. If we had a Planetary Prince in residence or an Adam and Eve, that need for heroes would be filled with appropriate leaders. We have no such beings to depend upon for guidance and leadership. Our very lack of contact with superhuman leadership on this planet makes us vulnerable to the charm and appeal of those who claim to be more enlightened, to have higher sources of information, or to be especially gifted with psychic ability. We must take care that we do not place our trust too blindly in someone who claims to have better connections to spirit than we have.

            The coming of the Spirit of Truth liberated our world from the authority of "special priest hoods." (2065:3) We have no need for intermediaries. We have not only the right, but the responsibility to establish our own relationship with God and be guided by the inner and spiritual sources of wisdom in all things.


Revelatory Instructions

            When looking at channeling which claims to be intimately connected with the Fifth Epochal Revelation, I would also ask: just what instructions are being given? Then I would compare the nature and tenor of those instructions to what I know from past revelations.

            The experience of John the Baptist seems relevant. John had very little direct instructions on which to base his part in the Fourth Epochal Revelation. He and Jesus had one visit as young men of approximately 18 years of age. John had about decided to launch his public work, but Jesus advised him to await the "coming of the Father's hour" -- whatever that meant! He was left alone to sort out what his mission was to be and when to begin. (1400:4)

            And when his mission was essentially complete at the baptism of Jesus, he was left to ponder what he should do next. He had no instructions; he simply "felt that his work was almost finished." The time in prison was even worse. "And this experience was a great test of his faith in, and loyalty to, Jesus. Indeed, this whole experience was a great test of John's faith even in God. Many times was he tempted to doubt even the genuineness of his ow3n mission and experience." (1506:3 and 1507:0)

            Jesus himself faced years of confusion as he tried to understand what his mission should be. At age 12 when he went to Jerusalem for the celebration of his first Passover, he experienced "flood tides of spiritual illumination" and during the night "there appeared to him an assigned messenger from Salvington, commissioned by Immanuel, who said, 'The hour has come. It is time that you began to be about your Father's business.'" (1376:1)

            During this time in Jerusalem he "lingered long into the night, vainly endeavoring to think out some definite plan of approach to the problem of his lifework…. But the clear light did not come to the truth-seeking lad." (1383:3) Only two years later Jesus found himself the head of his earthly family and sole support of his mother and eight brothers and sisters. What must he have thought, to be told that he must be about his Father's business and then to be saddled with years of responsibility for his earthly family?

            We do know how he handled the situation. "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." (1393:1)

            Even after Jesus was in direct communication with his Thought Adjuster, his guidance about his mission was not always direct. At the transfiguration Jesus "noted that his Father did not indicate that the urantia bestowal was finished." Later he "sought to know his Father's will and decided to pursue the mortal bestowal to its natural end." (1755:4-5)

            My conclusion from these examples from the Fourth Epochal Revelation is that the Father's will is rarely given in specific instructions. It is a messy, uncertain business requiring ever-greater expenditure of faith and involving risk that you will make plenty of mistakes along the way.

            And what does that say about channeling or other insights and possible messages? It says to me that explicit information is not very common -- not impossible, but improbable.

            Eventually by the combined processes of mental comparisons and truth reaction, I would either be drawn to participate in the channeling or not. If I did participate in the channeling, I would have yet another way to evaluate the quality and truth of the experience.


LIVING TRUTH


            Truth can be lived. And living is a test for the truth content of an experience. This process is described this way: "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." (42:7)

            It is amazing just how well living works as a test for truth. I have many times tried on an idea for size and discovered right away that it did not live well -- it was not truth for me. How do I tell that it is not living well? There are various signs, such as: my inner peace is disturbed; there are conflicts with the real and important things of my life; people are hurt; I recognize an increase of selfishness in my life.

            There are two very handy sets of criteria in the book which I use for judging how well an idea lives. The first is a practical test for strange religious experiences of mysticism, ecstasy and inspiration: "…observe whether these phenomena cause an individual:

            "1. To enjoy better and more complete physical health.

            "2. To function more efficiently and practically in his mental life.

            "3. More fully and joyfully to socialize his religious experience.

            "4. More completely to spiritualize his day-by-day living while faithfully discharging the commonplace duties of routine mortal existence.

            "5. To enhance his love for, and appreciation of, truth, beauty, and goodness.

            "6. To conserve currently recognized social, moral, ethical, and spiritual values.

            "7. To increase his spiritual insight -- God consciousness." (1000:6-10 and 1001:1-3)

            The second set of criteria are these which Jesus set out: "An experience is good when it heightens the appreciation of beauty, augments the moral will, enhances the discernment of truth, enlarges the capacity to love and serve one's fellows, exalts the spiritual ideals, and unifies the supreme human motives of time with the eternal plans of the indwelling Adjuster, all of which lead directly to an increased desire to do the Father's will, thereby fostering the divine passion to find God and to be more like him." (1458:2)

            These criteria are invaluable for assessing the truth of any new and unusual religious experience, because the living of truth has effects such as these in one's life.


The Triumph of Truth

            If channeling passes your logical and truth-coordinated tests, try it. If when you try living with it for awhile, you eventually see the results of truth in your life and become strongly convinced of the value of channeling for you, at that point the fact of its source will not be very important anymore. But always keep your balance by remembering Jesus' warning, "Mark my words…nothing which human nature has touched can be regarded as infallible." (1768:4) The Urantia Book will continue to be the best basis for comparison factuality. And the Spirit of Truth is your constant truth resource. If you eventually become disillusioned with channeling, then gain all the insight you can from the experience and put it behind you. Mistakes can be the best teacher.

            If, on the other hand, channeling does not pass your logical and truth-coordinated tests, then channeling does not hold value for you and you will not participate. Having honestly and sincerely sought the confirmation of the Spirit of Truth, you will be able to make that choice in full confidence that you are doing the Father's will for you.


***


            The process I have suggested here is not limited to the issue of channeling. It is a process that will serve for any unusual religious experience. These difficult decisions are not confined to today. These kinds of issues will arise 100 years from now, and 500 years from now, too. There will be conflict any time new spiritual experience arises which seems phenomenal compared to current common experience.

            If the followers of Jesus' religion are not at least open to considering these new experiences, they may miss out on truths intended for their generation. A few of the strange religious practices which arise today will become commonplace religious practices of the future. Keep in mind that Jesus' "having a little talk with his Father" instead of saying set prayers was an extraordinary religious practice for his generation.

            The religion of Jesus, which we aspire to follow, is a bold, robust, adventurous exploration of truth, hand-in-hand with God himself. This is sufficiently radical to provide new and therefore strange religious practices for untold future generations.

            If we use the information in The Urantia Book as our foundation and the aid of the Spirit of Truth to explore the possibilities, we will be able to learn which new and unusual experiences are real and which are chaff. And we will be following Jesus whose "faith was personal, living, original, spontaneous, and purely spiritual." (2087:5)





[Acknowledgment: article courtesy of Bill and Kaye Cooper, “The Circles” magazine, (Arlington, Texas) Fall 1992 issue, pp14,15,20. Extracted from the Fellowship web site where the issue is archived at http://www.urantiabook.org/archive/newsletters/index.html]