Volume 2 Number 8

April 25, 2007

MarketFaith Ministries is an equipping ministry which is focused on helping Christians become more effective in living out their faith in the midst of the increasingly diverse worldview environment of modern society.
Introduction Today’s newsletter is a bit longer than usual – but for a reason. It is an e-mail conversation with a believer in the Urantia Book. Never heard of it? Neither had I until someone sent me a notice about it. Just out of curiosity, I decided to check into it and contacted the person who operates their website. This led to a back and forth exchange that is the content of today’s newsletter. The more common way for Christians to investigate an unknown belief system is probably to read up on it and see where it differs from our Christian faith. That approach is, of course, important. But I don’t have the time or the interest in doing an in depth study of every belief system out there. I just want to know what it is and why it is not the truth. An understanding of worldview gets us right at that issue. By using worldview principles, I immediately discovered the flaws in the foundation of the belief. For the Urantia Book, it is in its foundational authority. As you read the e-mail exchange, you will clearly see how this plays out. It is my prayer that you will not only find this interesting, but helpful as you strengthen your own witness. I am excited to share with you that MarketFaith Ministries conducts a witnessing seminar which teaches how do a (Continued on page 2) Conversation with a Urantia Book Believer This article is an actual e-mail conversation that was held over a several day period with a believer in The Urantia Book. As you read this conversation, you will come face to face with how using worldview principles can help a person get right to the heart of the validity of any belief system. Before engaging this person, I had never heard of this belief. As you will be able to tell, it is not at all necessary to know all of the various doctrines of a belief to get at whether or not it is true. In the case of The Urantia Book it will become obvious very quickly that the authority it claims is totally and completely without any foundation. It is my hope that as you read the conversation, you will see how an understanding of worldview principles will help you as you deal with people who have other beliefs. Please note that there are places in the e-mails where the other person’s words are picked up and used as the basis for addressing particular issues. To make it easier for you, the reader, these words are in red. Also note that I am using the initial “L” as the name of the other person in the conversation. April 3, 2007 Greetings, I came across your website and there are a couple of things that are confusing to me which I would like for you to clear up. 1. What is the source of the Urantia book? Who wrote it and where did the extra-biblical information come from? 2. What is the means by which a person enters into relationship with God? Is it automatic for everyone, or is there something that a person must believe or do? (Continued on page 2)

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(Introduction - Continued from page 1) worldview analysis as part of the witnessing process in order to bring an individual to the place where an effective gospel witness can be shared. Contact MarketFaith Ministries if you are interested in how you can bring this unique witness training to your church or Christian organization. God bless, Freddy (Conversation with a Urantia Book Believer - Continued from page 1) 3. Who is responsible for authoritatively interpreting the teachings in the Urantia book? Is there an individual or group who is responsible? Thanks for your feedback. Freddy April 3, 2007 Hello Freddy, Thank you for your post to Truthbook.com. Yes, this can be confusing on first contact -- I'll see if I can help. For background, The Urantia Book speaks for itself; it claims to be the next (the fifth) revelation of truth to the world following on the heels of Jesus and as such it proclaims that nothing that has transpired in the intervening 2000 years is of the epochal significance it presents to you personally. There are organizations that publish the book and handle administrative tasks related to the shepherding of the revelation but there are no official pronouncements about the book's contents other than those the book makes regarding itself. As a new revelation of divine truth it is written specifically to you, not to any one culture, group, religion, race, but to each of its individual readers. It is a revelation of truth in book form with no authorized human spokesperson. With that background the answer to your first question is -- the authors of the 196 Papers (or chapters) of the book plus its foreword are listed and described within the text of the book -- we'd call them celestial beings because they do not live here (on Urantia) -- they were tasked with a divine mandate to present the new knowledge and spiritual insight that are contained in the book. This occurred in the 1930s and was completed by the early 1940s; the book was first published in 1955. Some of the celestial beings either are, or are in close contact with, the angels administering life on this world -- the extra-biblical information you mention comes either from previously published or written records, or, when those were inadequate, it and other revelatory material comes from the records the angels keep. Your second question: an excellent and insightful question. There is no teaching, no philosophy, no religion that is required in order to enter into a relationship with God. Teachings, religions, philosophies can help, can provide stepping stones and bridges to know and understand our heavenly Father, but any human being, even one born and raised in the jungle, can have a personal relationship with God -- God resides within every human being (in the Urantia revelation this divine fragment of the heavenly Father is named the adjuster, thought adjuster, mystery monitor). God is right here within us, we each have an inborn urge to seek God in whatever manner we may and if we do so a connection is made. Meditation may help, prayer and worship may help, a tragic or life-altering event may help or the connection may just come naturally. However natural this connection may be, it isn't automatic or automatically experienced because many people don't recognize its existence. God reaches down to us but we are required also to reach up toward God in order for that connection to occur. Your third question -- who is responsible for authoritatively interpreting its teachings? You are. No one else is. The book is written to you -- your challenge is to read it. If it rings true your life will be transformed. If it doesn't then it would be your duty to refute its teachings -- that's something many attempt to do without reading the book or understanding its message so such criticisms are irrelevant. There are thousands of students of The Urantia Book who would be willing to discuss their understanding of its teachings with you but the only way to know the truth is to taste and experience if first hand. Thank you for your questions and feel free to ask any time. May I also recommend that if you're not already signed up that you consider subscribing to the Quote of the Day. It's a free service from our site that offers a daily quote from the incomparable teachings of this marvelous book with an audio clip and a beautiful and inspiring image, a great way to start one's day as well as to begin to understand the teachings of the book. To subscribe go to the upper right corner of our home page, click on Quote of the Day and follow the instructions. Best wishes, LW (Continued on page 3) 2

(Conversation with a Urantia Book Believer - Continued from page 2) April 3, 2007 LW, Thank you for your response. I believe I understand your explanation, but you really did not deal with the implications of my questions. Are you saying that the ones who wrote the book are not human? If that is what you are saying, what evidence do you have that the authors were not human? Who received the writings? And when I watched the video, there were claims of historical appearances of Jesus to various specific groups of people. What historical record exists to back up this claim? Anybody can write a document and claim that it came from God (in fact, countless false religions and cults have been started this way). The fact that the book claims authority for itself means nothing. This is obviously a truth claim, and every truth claim is built upon some authority. If I read you correctly, you are saying that the book is its own authority. This makes no sense at all. Following that, every authority appeals to some kind of evidence for its legitimacy. You have not pointed to any kind of evidence that I can see. All you have done is made the unsubstantiated claim that it is authoritative. What makes your claim more viable than a fellow I met who claimed he got a revelation from God while sunbathing on the beach (a very different claim from yours, by the way). Without something to back up what you are saying (other than just the claim that it is true) there is no reason to accept anything you have presented. And that even takes away any reason to read the book. I appreciate your sincerity, but it is possible to be sincerely wrong and you have not given me any reason to consider what you have said to be right. I hope you can give me something more than what you have already said. Best regards, Freddy

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April 3, 2007 Hi Freddy, Thank you for getting back to me with your questions. I'll be happy to try to give meaningful answers, but let me make it clear what we're doing here -- we're skirting the issue, which is that The Urantia Book claims to be a new revelation of truth of epochal proportion, the likes of which have not been visited upon this world since the time of Jesus, his life and teachings. If The Urantia Book is what it claims to be, and no amount of someone else's reasoning can answer the fact or fancy of that adequately for you or for anyone else, then what we're doing is as if, 2000 years ago, you and I were sitting around a campfire of our own talking about what we'd heard others say about Jesus instead of taking the time and effort to go and sit at the master's campfire and see and hear and experience him firsthand for ourselves. Yes, the ones who provided the material that is The Urantia Book are not human. They didn't sit down and write it (Continued on page 4)

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(Conversation with a Urantia Book Believer - Continued from page 3) but they did provide the material -- how it actually got on paper isn't fully understood, nor will it ever be -- that was one of the mandates of their revelatory commission. Sounds far-fetched perhaps to anyone preferring to think in concrete and logical terms, but as others have said who've studied this book and come to believe its claim, they believe in spite of its apparent unconventional origin. What evidence do I have that the authors are not human? None that will convince someone who hasn't studied the book but I can tell you that I have many Urantia book friends, students like myself, who have been intimately associated with the teachings of this book for 20, 25, 30 (like me), and more years, many of them much more intelligent than I, who, despite their early disbelief and misgivings rapidly had their deepest concerns and doubts answered and were readily able to accept the claims the book makes for its own authenticity. It provides the answers that satisfy the sincerely questioning mind. Who received the writing? Don't know -- that's not revealed and for good reason. All we're left with today is a book without human or ecclesiastic trappings. We can't rely on someone else's presumed authority to prove it is what it claims nor can we disprove it by concentrating on the human foibles of the recipient. There is a lot of early history provided on the website of the Fellowship, one of the organizations focusing on dissemination of the book and its teachings -- their website is www.urantiabook.org -- but still, concentrating on the "about the book" avenues rather than sitting at the feet of the master and learning for oneself may be an interesting intellectual exercise but it's spiritually unproductive. What historical records exists to back up the claim? Are angels a figment of imagination or are they real? Did Jesus only say and do the few things recorded by the Bible or did he live a rich and complete human life? A point in clarification -the life and teachings of Jesus comprise the fourth epochal revelation of truth to the world even though they've basically been confined to Christianity, much to the loss of non-Christians the world over. The Urantia Book provides a year by year and day by day account of Jesus' life partly because of the misunderstandings that have arisen about Jesus and partly to give Jesus back to all the peoples of the world, but The Urantia Book is the fifth epochal revelation. It goes beyond Jesus' teachings although it uses them as a foundation to its teaching and to do so an accurate historical perspective is required which in many cases doesn't exist in our records. In those cases it uses records provided by the angels. I agree with you wholeheartedly that anyone can, and has and will, write and claim it's from God and that the fact that The Urantia Book does this means nothing. Some questions though, who is one willing to surrender one's own spiritual discernment to? Who does one turn over the authority to make decisions for oneself to? Who are you willing to make lord over your spiritual life? For me the answer is no one. I am responsible for my own spiritual growth and I don't give authority for that to anyone, no matter what their pretensions or claims may be. So, how do we know what's true? Who are our authorities if we don't rely on other humans? Recall that when Jesus left he said he was leaving his spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth -- a spiritual influence that will guide and help us discern truth from falseness. It may help guide you to become a Baptist, other seekers may be led to become a Hindu or a Moslem -- the Spirit of Truth isn't there to make us all believe the same thing but is there to guide us to truth as we grow into it. The point is, trust Jesus, trust his spirit, ask for and accept guidance. You said that if you're reading me correctly, I'm saying that the book is its own authority and that this makes no sense at all. Who was the authority Jesus relied on? What were Jesus' claims to his authority? Jesus claimed he was from the Father and that his authority came from the Father and that although many of his pronouncements were based in Judaic tradition it was he who was the authority. Does that make sense? If you can see that it does, than the claims of this book should also. There's only one way to know for sure. (Continued on page 5)

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You've written that I've not not pointed to any kind of evidence for its authority. I shouldn't have to -- it's not my position to prove the authenticity of The Urantia Book. I see my job as being constrained to making the claims of The Urantia Book meaningful enough to those who seek for truth beyond what they've already encountered that they'll be willing to test for themselves what this book offers -- it's the book's job to provide the authority you seek and it will if given the opportunity. You asked "What makes your claim more viable than a fellow I met who claimed he got a revelation from God while sunbathing on the beach (a very different claim from yours, by the way)." You're right, I've not made that claim. You know though, that fellow on the beach may have received a true, legitimate, authoritative revelation from God or God's agents -- the difference between his revelation and what this book offers is that his is personal; it may mean the world to him but to you it's meaningless -- it was his spiritual encounter and has nothing of value to offer to you. If it was true for him and not just wishful thinking then that's personal revelation which occurs all the time -- deity making connection with human intelligence. It may not happen often during any one life but it happens constantly the world over. So one is personal revelation and the other, The Urantia Book, is epochal revelation -- of meaning and value to everyone who chooses to test its waters. You wrote: "Without something to back up what you are saying (other than just the claim that it is true) there is no reason to accept anything you have presented. And that even takes away any reason to read the book." So it does sound as if you may be entirely willing to let someone else do your spiritual work for you -- I don't really think so though, you don't seem to be that kind of man. "I appreciate your sincerity, but it is possible to be sincerely wrong and you have not given me any reason to consider what you have said to be right." Yes, I am sincere -- if I'm wrong it's by my own choice and decision. But apparently something you saw in the Easter presentation struck a chord within you -- maybe you should pursue this further -- otherwise you'll never know what you've passed by simply because I've been unable to adequately satisfy your curiosity. My recommendation is that you evaluate this for yourself and not rely on anyone else's judgment -- it's too important to leave up to someone else to do for you. You can read The Urantia Book on-line and hear it read through our site or you should be able to find a copy at your local library, or you can find it at Barnes and Noble or other bookstores, or you can order it through our site at Amazon.com. If you do purchase a copy may I recommend you get the Uversa Press printing because it's the only one that provides an extensive index in the back. If you find that the book doesn't ring true for you you'll have been out at most $20 -- but if it does .... God be with you, LW

April 4, 2007 Greetings again, L,W Could I make one request from you. The blue background on your e-mails are creating havoc on my e-mail program. If possible it would be helpful to me if you could use text only. Thanks. I certainly don't question your sincerity. I respect that greatly, so I hope you don't think I am simply attacking you. I would never do that. My questions relate simply to the validity of the Truth claim you are proposing. The fact is, the overall structure of reality does not change. Either there is a God or there is not. If there is, he is personal or he is not. Jesus Christ was either God in the flesh or he was not. A person either enters into a relationship with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ made possible by his sacrificial death and resurrection or that it not true. The fact is, it is impossible for both the Bible to be true and the Urantia Book to be true at the same time. They, obviously, teach radically different things about the nature of God, the nature of mankind, and how a person enters into a relationship with God I don't think you have given me any reason to set aside the Bible for a new teaching that has no evidence to support its truth claim above that of the Bible. (By the way, concerning the person I spoke about who received his own revelation: that revelation was not merely a personal spiritual thing. He has a full theology concerning heaven, hell and reincarnation that operates completely contrary to what you are expressing. It is impossible for your teaching and his to both be true at the same time). Concerning the authority of Jesus Christ, you are absolutely correct in saying that he claimed divine authority, but it was not merely his own word as you indicated. Christ literally fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophesies which gives an objective basis for his claims. This is the kind of evidence that your book seems to be sorely lacking. 5

I hope that you don't think that I am skirting your claim that the Urantia Book is a new revelation. I understand your claim completely. My point is, you have not given me any reason to believe that it is anything more than some person's attempt to begin a new religion. There are plenty of writings out there which claim what you are claiming and many of them contain quite lofty spiritual teachings. The question is, “Does it reflect the objective reality of who God is, what he is like, what he wants with our lives and how we can know him? My beliefs are certainly based on faith, as you have so perceptively pointed out. In fact, every belief system that exists is based on a faith foundation. But blind faith is presumption. Even faith positions need to have some kind of evidence of their validity. You haven't given me anything but to say, "just read it and you can see the truth in it." I hope you are not taking offense at my probing. These kinds of questions deserve answers. Hope you have a terrific day. Freddy

April 4, 2007 Hello Freddy, Greetings again, LW, Coud I make one request from you. The blue background on your e-mails are creating havoc on my e-mail program. If possible it would be helpful to me if you could use text only. Thanks. Yes, the email program I use on Truthbook is more fancy than the one I use in real life so I'll switch this to my personal account. There, that's better isn't it. I certainly don't question your sincerity. I respect that greatly, so I hope you don't think I am simply attacking you. I would never do that. My questions relate simply to the validity of the Truth claim you are proposing. The fact is, the overall structure of reality does not change. Either there is a God or there is not. If there is, he is personal or he is not. Jesus Christ was either God in the flesh or he was not. A person either enters into a relationship with God through a relationship with Jesus Christ made possible by his sacrificial death and resurrection or that it not true. The fact is, it is impossible for both the Bible to be true and the Urantia Book to be true at the same time. They, obviously, teach radically different things about the nature of God, the nature of mankind, and how a person enters into a relationship with God I don't think you have given me any reason to set aside the Bible for a new teaching that has no evidence to support its truth claim above that of the Bible. (By the way, concerning the person I spoke about who received his own revelation: that revelation was not merely a personal spiritual thing. He has a full theology concerning heaven, hell and reincarnation that operates completely contrary to what you are expressing. It is impossible for your teaching and his to both be true at the same time). I agree that the overall structure of reality does not change — our interpretation and understanding of it do though. I would not agree that it is impossible for both the Bible and The Urantia Book to be true — first, The Urantia Book does not claim infallibility; it explains that our perceptions of truth do evolve. Most Urantia Book students will agree that the Bible contains great truth, beauty, goodness but not that it is the inerrant word of God or that it doesn't contain error — again we must rely on the leadings of the Spirit of Truth to discern truth, whether it's from TUB or from the Bible. To you the atonement doctrine in the Bible may ring true and to other believers in the divinity of Jesus it doesn't — the truth behind the fact is relative to one's perception. To some degree you're correct that the Bible and The Urantia Book teach radically different things about the nature of God — but again it's a matter of an individual's understanding of the truth. There have been profoundly religious people throughout history who, with nothing more than the Bible as their source, have reached and understood the nature of God just as it is so eloquently related in The Urantia Book. Perhaps a quote here will help: "And thus the successive teachers of Israel accomplished the greatest feat in the evolution of religion ever to be effected on Urantia: the gradual but continuous transformation of the barbaric concept of the savage demon Yahweh, the jealous and cruel spirit god of the fulminating Sinai volcano, to the later exalted and supernal concept of the supreme Yahweh, creator of all things and the loving and merciful Father of all mankind. And this Hebraic concept of God was the highest human visualization of the Universal Father up to that time when it was further enlarged and so exquisitely amplified by the personal teachings and life example of his Son, Michael of Nebadon." http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U97.htm#U97_10_8 6

you can go directly to the text through the link -- this email program may not provide a link but you can copy it to your browser if you're interested in reading more. So through a study of the Bible one can connect with the loving creator God the Father or can believe that God is wrathful, smiting, judgmental, austere, vindictive, and subjected his son to the torturous death wrought by barbaric zeolots. You said I've not given you any reason to set aside the Bible for a new teaching — and I've not tried to. First, if you're satisfied and content with what you've gotten from the Bible then there's no need for looking further. However, if you still have questions, wish to know more, find your religion perhaps lacking in some areas, maybe want a deeper understanding of Jesus than you currently enjoy, then you've found the source you've been seeking. No one gives up the religion of their heritage for the new teachings or gives up the wisdom and beauty of the Bible. The Urantia Book is not a replacement for the Bible but an augmentation, an expansion, an amplification, a reality check; I and many others I know have come to appreciate the Bible in much more profound ways than we ever did before we encountered the Urantia teachings. You're asking again for evidence of its truth. One form of evidence is the impact of its teachings on the lives of those who study it. You can read some personal stories on our site under the topic "How The Urantia Book Changed My Life" at the left side of our home page. But the only real evidence can come from your own association with it. You could read the book for yourself and eventually you might add your own story. About your friend, yes, there are too many self-deluded souls even to shake a stick at; it's possible to call any kind of subconscious upwelling a message from God. There is a distinct difference between reality and what one imagines as real. Concerning the authority of Jesus Christ, you are absolutely correct in saying that he claimed divine authority, but it was not merely his own word as you indicated. Christ literally fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophesies which gives an objective basis for his claims. This is the kind of evidence that your book seems to be sorely lacking. Have you read enough of the book to make such a criticism? I hope that you don't think that I am skirting your claim that the Urantia Book is a new revelation. I understand you claim completely. My point is, you have not given me any reason to believe that it is anything more than some person's attempt to begin a new religion. There are plenty of writings out there which claim what you are claiming and many of them contain quite lofty spiritual teachings. The question is, does it reflect the objective reality of who God is, what he is like, what he wants with our lives and how we can know him? Who would that new person attempting to begin a new religion be? No one that I'm familiar with. And your question about whether it reflects the objective reality of who God is.... is a good one. How will you know? Remember, Jesus was unpopular among the established religious authority of his day. His teachings varied from tradition; he offered new and radical interpretations of the existing scripture, he taught new and previously unheard of concepts. He was killed because of his heretical teachings. He brought an epochal revelation to the world. In reading The Urantia Book one doesn't want to make the mistakes of the pharisees of Jesus' time — one doesn't want to attempt to force this new wine into old wineskins. My beliefs are certainly based on faith, as you have so perceptively pointed out. In fact, every belief system that exists is based on a faith foundation. But blind faith is presumption. Even faith positions need to have some kind of evidence of their validity. You haven't given me anything but to say, "just read it you you can see the truth in it." I hope you are not taking offense at my probing. These kinds of questions deserve answers. Hope you have a terrific day. Freddy Thank you Freddy. I appreciate your honest concern and questions and I'm not attempting to put you off — my interest, as I mentioned previously, is to pique your interest to the point where you decide to give this book an honest appraisal for yourself and not rely on anyone else's opinion or interpretation. Should you decide to jump in with both feet may I suggest that you read the book rapidly without regard for understanding it all the first time. By the conclusion of a first read you'll know whether it's worth your time to delve deeper or whether you've satisfied your curiosity. I'm suggesting this for several reasons. One is that The Urantia Book is written much like a symphony — it has refrains, melodies, songs woven throughout its pages, melodies that won't make sense at first until they're placed into the context of the whole. A rapid reading gives you the overall context and scope of the text, a better framework for pursuing the radically new concepts you will have encountered. Another reason is simply that there's much in The Urantia Book you simply won't understand at first — what's a revela7

tion if it's not new understanding? A regurgitation of ancient lore and fable, a reiteration of esoterica, substantiating long-held beliefs — this is not the stuff of true revelation. Expect to be shaken and challenged even as much if not more than Jesus shook and challenged those in his day and ever since. Feel free to refute the teachings of The Urantia Book — read it with that objective in mind. Just realize that you can't actually refute something you don't understand. Best wishes, LW

April 4, 2007 Greetings again LW, I have started a new e-mail since our back and forth is getting a bit long, but I will basically pick up where we left off. I am really having trouble with your relative understanding of truth. Something is truth and everything else is not. It is easy to say that our perception of truth changes, but how can one ever know whether or not our perception is based on reality or not if we cannot depend on the revelation we look to for our authority. I have spent years investigating the truth claims of the Bible and find that they are solid and based on very good, supportable evidence. Your approach that the understanding of God as recorded in the Bible has changed over time is simply not true. You are taking an approach to hermeneutics that is simply not valid. You are trying to understand it based on form of postmodernist philosophy (a form of relativism) rather than basing it on the character of God as revealed in the Bible. If you start with a wrong premise you will always come to a wrong conclusion. There are many books and other writings which contain elements of truth. I have no doubt that the Urantia Book contains a lot of truth. I have not read the whole thing yet (I am working through it a little) but I also see a lot of what I would consider to be untruth, as well -- and many of those directly contradict the teachings of the Bible. The big problem is, the Urantia Book has no basis for a truth claim other than that there are some people, like yourself, who say it is true. Again, I am not doubting your sincerity or that it has had a tremendous impact on your life. But that can be said for virtually any religious or philosophical belief. There are Muslims whose lives have been so impacted by certain teachings of the Koran that they will strap on bombs and blow up themselves along with as many innocent civilians as they possibly can. They are sincere believers, and according to your approach their belief could be just as valid as yours. I just don't see it. One last thing. Jesus did offend the religious authorities of his day, but he demonstrated by various miracles (objective historical acts) that what he was teaching was the correct interpretation of scripture. I don't see any of that in your teachings. I am enjoying the dialogue. Hope you have a terrific day. Freddy

April 4, 2007 Hi Freddy, Thank you for your reply — I'd just like to say again that any logic to my arguments isn't going to be enough to convince you. That's not to say there's anything wrong with your objections or that there's anything inaccurate about my replies but the only "proof" that will have meaning for you can only come from the connection you make with truth as you read this book who's teachings you're disputing. You've said you're working through it a little so that's a fine start and I couldn't ask more of you. To me it's fine that you see what you consider untruth and contradictions to teachings of the Bible in what you're reading — it's good to keep an open mind even if skeptical; that's why humans have the attribute of discernment and I expect that's close to how Jesus' followers and detractors would have received his teachings too. After all, if you were alive at that time and didn't have the perspective of 2000 years or even 200 years to weigh your judgment, who was he? how would you know whether to believe him or not?

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No, I don't expect you've read it all yet — if you've not seen the physical book it can appear daunting — about 1.3 million words, 197 chapters, a vocabulary of over 23,000 words. My first and relatively fast read took 9 months. You said "There are Muslims whose lives have been so impacted by certain teachings of the Koran that they will strap on bombs and blow up themselves along with as many innocent civilians as they possibly can. They are sincere believers, and according to your approach their belief could be just as valid as yours. I just don't see it." Yes, their understanding of the truth is convincing enough that they're willing to die. You, on the other hand as a Christian, have an enlarged vision of God's nature that differs so significantly from theirs that you would never take such barbaric action. According to my approach, their belief is ignorant and lacking in perception of God's real nature even though to them it seems valid. Along with the rest of the world Muslims will greatly benefit eventually from an understanding of the Urantia teachings. Best wishes Freddy, LW April 4, 2007 LW, I really don't have a very open mind about the whole thing, just like you don't have an open mind that the Bible is the ultimate truth in relationship to the Urantia Book. I am personally convinced that the teachings in the Bible are Truth, in the ultimate sense, and to the degree that the Urantia Book deviates from that, it is false. My point is, the Urantia Book is, in the ultimate sense, either true or false. As I mentioned before, I think that there are truths that are articulated in the Urantia book. However, the way that it describes the nature of ultimate reality, the nature of a human being, the way that we can know who God is, the means of salvation, the general understanding of morality, and what happens to a person at death, are all truth claims that it has no way of even addressing other than just an unsubstantiated claim that what is written in it is the truth. The fact that it contains some expressions of truth does not counteract the problems that are inherent in the whole. I wonder if I could get you to do me a favor. Would answer as simply and as straightforward as possible how the Urantia Book would answer the following seven questions. This would help me to have a more comprehensive sense of what you are advocating. I deeply appreciate your indulgence on this. 1. What is the nature of ultimate reality? (ie. How is spiritual reality structured, what is God like, what are God's overall purposes in creation, is there a heaven and/or hell and, if so, what are they like, etc.) 2. What is the nature of material reality? 3. What is a human being? 4. What happens to a person at death? 5. Why is it possible for us to know anything at all? 6. How do we know what is right and wrong? 7. What is the meaning of human history? I deeply appreciate your feedback on this, and hope you are having a terrific day. Freddy

April 5, 2007 Hello Freddy, Sure, I'll provide answers to your questions although from my point of view what I'll be doing once again is answering questions about Jesus instead of you just walking over to him and talking to him yourself. My answers are my interpretation of the book's teaching — I'm fallible; my answers may be shallow but there's no way for you to know that without having your own foundation in the The Urantia Book teachings. 1. What is the nature of ultimate reality? (ie. How is spiritual reality structured, what is God like, what are God's overall purposes in creation, is there a heaven and/or hell and, if so, what are they like, etc.) We're human beings, the lowest order of free will creature in existence. Our understanding and grasp of reality is distorted and limited because our ability to comprehend God is limited. Ultimate reality exists but is incomprehensible to

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us at this stage in our spiritual development — therefore we're confronted with knowing only partial and relative reality. Here are some quotes that you might find of value: The uncertainties of life and the vicissitudes of existence do not in any manner contradict the concept of the universal sovereignty of God. All evolutionary creature life is beset by certain inevitabilities. Consider the following: 1. Is courage—strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments. 2. Is altruism—service of one's fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality. 3. Is hope—the grandeur of trust—desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties. 4. Is faith—the supreme assertion of human thought—desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe. 5. Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible. 6. Is idealism—the approaching concept of the divine—desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings stimulative of the irrepressible reach for better things. 7. Is loyalty—devotion to highest duty—desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of betrayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default. 8. Is unselfishness—the spirit of self-forgetfulness—desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast. 9. Is pleasure—the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities. Take this link for the text http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U3.htm#U3_5_1 There's also a section titled "Discourse on Reality" which provides an overview of some of Jesus' teachings to one of his disciples — it's at (130:4.1); you would do well to read this section. Here's the link http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U130.htm#U130_4_1 How is spiritual reality structured? The first 56 Papers of the book will lay that out for you in exquisite detail. It would benefit you immensely to read these first 56 Papers of the book so that your questions were properly addressed. Is there a heaven? Yes, like you can't conceive. Is there a hell? No. What are they like? It took the revelators those first 56 Papers to define them. If you're really interested then you'll gladly read them and be amazed. You can begin with Paper 1 by taking this link http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U1.htm 2. What is the nature of material reality? Like spiritual reality, material reality comes from God, the First Source and Center of all things. Material and spiritual are inextricably linked — they're two parts of a seamless whole. I did a word search of the book for "material reality" — there are 116 paragraphs containing that particular phrase so there's plenty within the book to satiate your curiosity and to answer your question to a depth you're currently unprepared to recognize. 3. What is a human being? Being the lowest order of free will creature a human being has the highest potential for experiencing God and creation although we catch not much more than a fleeting glimpse of that possibility during our one short life as a material being. There are 77 paragraphs containing the phrase "human being" so TUB has a lot more to say about the human condition than I'm able to summarize here. 4. What happens to a person at death? We pass on to the mansion worlds that Jesus mentioned. Jesus' mention is recorded in the Bible in a very short comment. TUB has a complete Paper (which you can read here http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U47.htm devoted to a description of the mansion worlds. It also contains over 120 paragraphs where that phrase is found scattered throughout the book. Paper 112 is titled "Personality Survival" and contains a section titled "The Phenomenon of Death" — please read that Paper, which you can easily get to via the link http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U112.htm 5. Why is it possible for us to know anything at all? It is only possible because we're living organisms, endowed with life by our Creator, connected to spiritual, mindal, and energy circuits that permeate all of creation. Creation exists for the express purpose of sustaining and evolving life and 10

living organisms — it's through life that God experiences creation. There is a "spiritual gravity" that will draw us toward truth, beauty, goodness because God is our ultimate destiny. We're endowed with mind, rational thinking, logic and common sense each of which can tap into the spiritual reality which impinges upon this material reality. If we were simply complex machines we would know nothing at all. We know because of the spiritual connection. Sections 5-9 of Paper 195 specifically address this question which is addressed throughout the book. Take this link for Section 5 of Paper 195 http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U195.htm#U195_5_1 6. How do we know what is right and wrong? You won't like this answer; for us, right and wrong are relative. In the absolute sense anything that denies God or repels God's law is wrong, but here, in our lowly estate, there are few absolutes. We learn right and wrong at our mother's knee; it's conditioned by culture and social evolution, by heritage, nationality, and race. Is it wrong to kill another human being? Usually, but not if necessary for self-preservation or to protect loved ones. Not if it is the social law of the land — on a small scale society is patterened much as God administers creation through his vast system of administrators; societal good takes precedent over individual rights. What is right and wrong in China is different from what is right and wrong in Canada. There are eleven paragraphs in TUB containing the phrase "right and wrong" plus many others that address these concepts; right and wrong are thoroughly addressed so if you'd like an in-depth understanding of true right and wrong then your authoritative source will have to become The Urantia Book. 7. What is the meaning of human history? Human history provides the evolutionary ladder whereby humanity drags itself up from a near animal-like beginning to achieve a condition not unlike heaven on earth. It's the saga of the human spirit struggling against seemingly unsurmountable odds to achieve greatness, being drawn by an overriding stimulus to find God and to impart divine meaning to life. It's an ever upward journey that follows a roller coaster track to arrive at the pinnacle of evolutionary progress; TUB defines this pinnacle as the age of light and life. There are 134 paragraphs in TUB with the phrase "light and life" – Paper 55 is titled "The Spheres of Light and Life" and you can read it by taking this link http://www.truthbook.com/urantiabook/U55.htm Freddy, you can continue asking questions that are better answered in the text of this extraordinary book, but I think I've provided you with more than enough reason to read it for yourself if you're so inclined. I have the feeling though that you're looking for me to offer an answer that you can summarily refute and so summarily dismiss this book as being beneath the value of personal scrutiny. You don't know me — I may be a complete crackpot and you'd be basing an evaluation of something that's well outside your current comprehension on my poorly phrased commentary; not a particularly enlightened way of exploring new territory. So, my recommendation is, either decide there's nothing of value to be gained in pursuing this course of inquiry and go on to something you can really sink your teeth into or begin to read the book. There are somwhere in the vicinity of 1,000,000 Urantia Books in circulation. Readers span the spectrum from the poorly educated to the most educated people on the planet. It's read in just about every nation or country in the world by every nationality, religion or lack thereof. You'll be in good company. I have no interest in debating "your book versus my book" merits — The Urantia Book is an open book; it's freely available on the internet to be read and listened to. Feel free to take it or leave it. If my reply seems a bit abrupt it's because I believe I've given you more than enough reason to delve into this on your own and I have the feeling you've disregarded my recommendations; it appears we're really not communicating after all. Best wishes, LW

April 5, 2007 LW, Just an aside out of my curiosity -- Do you somehow work for the Urantia Book organization? Why is it that you are the one who ended up responding to my questions? Freddy April 5, 2007 Hi Freddy, I work with the people at the Jesusonian Foundation in Boulder, CO -- I helped develop the original website in the early 90s that later became the Truthbook.com website. Truthbook.com offers the quote of the day, an occasional newslet-

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ter, flash presentations and introductory material to The Urantia Book concentrating primarily on Jesus as he is disclosed by the teachings. Apparently someone forwarded our most recently completed flash presentation titled "Jesus has Risen From the Dead" which intrigued you enough to send a note to the Truthbook email account inquiring about it. Another person and I answer questions that come to the site as well as help administer the site's discussion board. I have no particular qualifications for answering questions about The Urantia Book that other long time students of the teachings don't also possess but I have the time and it's a form of ministry for the two of us. I've copied our exchanges to her and if you'd like you can try your questions out with her; she's very good but I suspect she'd expect you to actually read the material as well. There are two primary Urantia Book organizations -- Urantia Foundation and the Fellowship for Readers of The Urantia Book, each with their own website and I do computer work for the Fellowship. That's about the extent of my organizational working relationship. I see from your signature line you're also associated with a form of Christian ministry -- you've been more open in your questioning than most fundamentalist Christians are, but still with some of the flavor of dogmatism that most religious organizations exhibit and that's okay as far as we're concerned. As you've learned we're interested in encouraging individuals who are open minded and willing to take a critical look at what's been available in their libraries and bookstores for over 50 years now -- material that despite its origin is vital to the spiritual evolution of the world as well as to the further progress of science, religion and philosophy, material that will transform the lives of individuals and the future of cultures and nations. Best wishes, LW

April 5, 2007 LW, I certainly don't want to continue something that would be a burden to you. You are right, I did receive a link from a friend to your video (nicely done, by the way - even if I don't agree with all of it) and that is what got me to your website. I had never heard of your group before. As you may imagine, my time is limited and I don't have the time to delve personally into all of the intricacies of the Urantia Book. I have spent a little bit of time reading some of it and a little more doing some background research on your group, just out of curiosity. It has never been my intention to debate you about your religion. You mentioned that you noticed my signature line, and I don't know if you actually looked over my website, but if you did, you will see that my primary interest is in the topic of worldview. I don't make it a practice so much of following up on every belief system that I come across, but since I was not aware of yours before, it piqued my interest a little. If I had the time, I could read your entire document and get the answers on my own, but since the Urantia Book is a rather hefty project, I had simply hoped to shorten that process a little - not to use your answers exclusively, but simply to get a little bit of perspective to make it easier to filter through it myself. I really appreciate you taking the time on this. As I said before, the teachings of the book itself is not the major issue with me. Not that the teachings are unimportant. But my interest is in understanding the Truth about reality, and the question is, "Does the Urantia Book represent that truth? My biggest problem with the Urantia Book is with its source (though I have uncovered some information which sheds some light on that, as well). A book that claims to have just descended suddenly out of heaven and give all kinds of new revelations from the pens of angels is very suspect. Anyone could make that claim about any writing. It is not entirely unlike Ron Hubbard's science fiction writings (though at least here we know the author) which became the basis for Scientology or perhaps more closely resembling the giving of the Book of Mormon. That is why I was initially asking you the kinds of questions I did. What basis is there for believing that the Urantia Book represents the Truth. And, if I understand you correctly, your answer is that if you read it, it will speak to your spirit. Unfortunately that is not a reliable test, because the practitioners of virtually every religion say the same thing. They all have people who will give testimonies about how their teachings have affected their lives. There has to be some other kinds of evidence that points to whether or not the Truth is actually being represented. 12

I certainly don't have any objection to corresponding with your friend, if she would like to do it. However, my main interest, before I get too deep into studying the specifics of any belief system, is to try and understand why I should pay any attention to it in the first place. I want to thank you again, very much, for taking the time to answer my questions. If you have further light that you would like to shed on all of this for me, I would be more than delighted to hear it. You have been more than gracious and I deeply appreciate the attitude you have shown toward me as I have asked them. God bless, Freddy

April 5, 2007 Hello Freddy, I've forwarded your note to MJ so that she can reply if she chooses to. I see our main difference being that you want to know "the truth" and expect that it's out there, nicely wrapped up in some package, that it's the "one" and everything else is partial and incomplete in comparison. Many Christians ascribe that feature to the Bible, just as Muslims confer it upon the Quran, and like you mentioned, Scientologists say it's in Scientology ... The Urantia Book offers another perspective by stepping outside of religion and placing all belief systems in a meaningful historical context that stretches back trillions of years. What it offers is spiritually uplifting and non-dogmatic and not for the purpose of establishing yet another religion. No one religion is correct although all contain varying degrees of truth and spiritual value. Jesus wasn't a Christian but the Christian religion has laid exclusive claim to the Jesus it knows and will only offer him to the outside world if the world accepts the Christian viewpoint. One of the missions of The Urantia Book is to give Jesus back to the world without Christian trappings. God doesn't expect us to think or to believe alike -- we're individuals. Religions of all kinds help us know and understand God and as God is no respecter of persons neither is God a respecter of human institutions or religions -- God loves the atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Moslem, Christian alike and we're to strive to do the same. Best wishes, LW

April 5, 2007 LW, I hope you are able to catch the significance of what I am about to say. Here is the statement you have made. The Urantia Book offers another perspective by stepping outside of religion and placing all belief systems in a meaningful historical context that stretches back trillions of years. What it offers is spiritually uplifting and non-dogmatic and not for the purpose of establishing yet another religion. No one religion is correct although all contain varying degrees of truth and spiritual value. Jesus wasn't a Christian but the Christian religion has laid exclusive claim to the Jesus it knows and will only offer him to the outside world if the world accepts the Christian viewpoint. One of the missions of The Urantia Book is to give Jesus back to the world without Christian trappings. God doesn't expect us to think or to believe alike -- we're individuals. Religions of all kinds help us know and understand God and as God is no respecter of persons neither is God a respecter of human institutions or religions -- God loves the atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Moslem, Christian alike and we're to strive to do the same. I don't know if you realize it or not, but you have just made a dogmatic statement that the teachings of the Bible are not the correct way to understand reality. Rather, that distinction goes to the Urantia Book. You have made several assertions: 1. The Urantia Book steps outside of religion. 2. It places all belief systems into a new context. 3. That its teachings are non-dogmatic. 4. That it is not establishing another religion. 5. No one religion is correct (except perhaps the Urantia Book teachings?) 13

6. That just anyone can create a new history for Jesus and interpret it in their own way. 7. And you have provided a very specific way in which God thinks and acts toward humanity. I hate to tell you this, but you have described a very specific religious teaching which asserts that yours is right and that all other ways of looking at faith are wrong. That is a dogmatic and exclusivistic teaching. It just has its points of exclusivity in different places than Biblical Christianity. If you are committed to your faith, then you must be willing to live by the results of that commitment. But don't live under the illusion that it somehow transcends everything else out there. You have asserted a truth position and you have stated definitively that my position is wrong. Please don't take this as an attack, but I can't simply let you make the kinds of assertions you just made without pointing out the problems with it. I sincerely hope that you have a terrific day and if MJ wishes to correspond I would be delighted to meet her, as well. God bless, Freddy

April 5, 2007 Hello Freddy, I'd hoped you'd be able to catch the significance of what I've related to you every time I've written without jumping to prejudiced conclusions. Yes, I've made several assertions: 1. The Urantia Book steps outside of religion. 2. It places all belief systems into a new context. 3. That its teachings are non-dogmatic. 4. That it is not establishing another religion. 5. No one religion is correct (except perhaps the Urantia Book teachings?) I have stated the first part of what you've related but I haven't said the second, and for good reason. In fact I've told you that The Urantia Book, even as the fifth epochal revelation of truth to the world, an event in the spiritual transformation of the planet as significant, if not even more so, than the birth, life, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, does not claim infalibility. We're still expected to read and interpret its message using all the spiritual and mental functions with which we're endowed. The roadblock you face is that you're searching for a truth that can be all tied up into one nice neat package that won't require much time or effort to digest; once this elusive gift is in hand you'll be able to use it to subdue those who don't believe such a concocted packaged truth. Truth doesn't fit such a mold. 6. That just anyone can create a new history for Jesus and interpret it in their own way. No Freddy, your comments are biased and prejudiced. I've certainly said nothing of the kind but you're welcome to quote any words I've written back to me if you think they say otherwise. You're taking offense because the book we're discussing makes claims that can be seen as contrary to the biblical teachings you hold dear and that upsets you although I've only said good and positive things about the Bible. 7. And you have provided a very specific way in which God thinks and acts toward humanity. I hadn't thought I'd done so but if I have then my comments weren't intended to be taken in that way. I would never presume to speak for God. Then you said of my remarks "I hate to tell you this, but you have described a very specific religious teaching which asserts that yours is right and that all other ways of looking at faith are wrong. That is a dogmatic and exclusivistic teaching. It just has its points of exclusivity in different places than Biblical Christianity." No, Freddy, you've put words in my mouth and interpretations in my words that come from your bias and not mine. Never have I said that "mine is right and all other ways of looking at faith are wrong" -- in fact, I've said just the opposite! I can see why you'd have trouble understanding the black ink words on the written pages of a book if they didn't happen to fortify your preconceptions. Your dogma is distorting your perception. In regard to your comment "If you are committed to your faith, then you must be willing to live by the results of that commitment. But don't live under the illusion that it somehow transcends everything else out there. You have asserted a truth position and you have stated definitively that my position is wrong." You've labeled something that you have no comprehension of an illusion. Doesn't that sound just as the pharisees of Jesus' day would have sounded when discussing Jesus? You haven't been able to grasp the concept that there may be something so big, so awe inspiring, so

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transcendent as to transform the world simply because you're immersed in tradition and have refused to taste and see that it is good. And I have not in any manner stated definitively that your position is wrong -- quote my words back to me that you think are saying that please. I hope by pointing your errors in interpretation out to you that you begin to recognize that you may not be seeing clearly. "Please don't take this as an attack, but I can't simply let you make the kinds of assertions you just made without pointing out the problems with it." The problem is in the eye of the beholder Freddy. "I sincerely hope that you have a terrific day and if MJ wishes to correspond I would be delighted to meet her, as well. God bless, Freddy" Thank you Freddy. Please don't take my rejection of your comments as an attack either but, to convolute metaphores, you're gnashing at gnats while the camel you seek is standing right in front of you. Best wishes, LW April 5, 2007 LW, You can't have it both ways. You can say all of the nice things about the Bible you want, but the Urantia Book gives a completely different message. They simply cannot both be true at the same time. My whole point is that you have given me no reason to take your book seriously. Now you go one step further and say that the Urantia Book does not claim infallibility. So, how do you have any confidence whatsoever that any of it is true? You are definitely misreading what I am saying. I am not looking for something that is tied up into some neat package. Spiritual reality is far beyond anything that we, located in material reality, can comprehend. The only place we can find certainty is in a revelation from the outside (from God) which gives us that information. We both agree on the that, I think, but we disagree on which revelation is "The Truth." The Bible does not tell us everything, but it does tell us enough to know the things we need to know in order to relate to God. And I do see the Bible as authoritative to the extent that what it does reveal is the Truth in absolute terms. A person can build a life on that. But when you don't know what is true and what is not, which is what you have claimed for the Urantia Book, it is nothing more than guesswork. You challenged me to show you what you said that indicated the "new history" and as it relates to how God thinks. Here is is again: Jesus wasn't a Christian but the Christian religion has laid exclusive claim to the Jesus it knows and will only offer him to the outside world if the world accepts the Christian viewpoint. One of the missions of The Urantia Book is to give Jesus back to the world without Christian trappings. This is definitely a new way to interpret history. This kind of thinking about Jesus has no historical basis. Where do you get off making a claim like this? And: God doesn't expect us to think or to believe alike -- we're individuals. Religions of all kinds help us know and understand God and as God is no respecter of persons neither is God a respecter of human institutions or religions -- God loves the atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Moslem, Christian alike and we're to strive to do the same. This is definitely your expression of what God thinks concerning how he relates to various peoples. If this is right, then the Bible is wrong. The Bible says that individuals must come to God through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Both of these approaches simply cannot be right at the same time. I understand that you are asserting that the Urantia Book now supersedes the Bible. What I am asking of you is to back it up. It is not so just because you and a few other people say it is so.

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You claim that you have never said that other understandings of faith are wrong, but by default you are. If the Urantia Book is right, then my Biblical faith is wrong. It is impossible for it to be any other way. I don't believe that is a distortion or a misconception based on preconceptions. Now are you saying that since I don't see things the way you do, that I am somehow like the Pharisees of Jesus' day? You said, "You haven't been able to grasp the concept that there may be something so big, so awe inspiring, so transcendent as to transform the world simply because you're immersed in tradition and have refused to taste and see that it is good." Correct me if I am wrong, but that seems to be saying that my interpretation of reality is wrong and that yours is right. I don't think that is an assertion which allows both of us to be right. You are saying it is "my way or no way." I certainly don't, and never would, take your comments to be malicious or an attack. I understand that you believe what you are saying and simply want to express your faith. My only point is that there is something that is Truth, and that what you are saying and what I am saying cannot both fit into that category. Both of us can be wrong, but both of us cannot be right. I am still waiting for you to give me something that would validate the authority of the Urantia Book beyond just simply your own sense that it is true. Thanks for engaging me. God bless, Freddy Note: This conversation continued with a second member of this group for a little while. If you are interested in reading the further conversation, you will find it posted at http://www.marketfaith.org/resource_creation.htm. When you arrive at the web page, click on “Dialogues with People from Other Worldviews” and go to “Conversation with a Urantia Book Believer #2.” Coming in May - Worldview and Pornography

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