My review of the new book, The Urantia Notebook of Sir Hubert Wilkins, by Saskia Praamsma and Matthew Block, at Amazon.com.
Some 45 years ago, I began reading The Urantia Book, a 2,097 page tome published in 1955. A self-described epochal revelation, its authors do a masterful job of integrating science, philosophy, and religion. The text has answered my many questions about the nature of God, the universe, and the individual role that each of us plays within its grand scheme. Naturally, I have wanted to share its revelatory insights with others, and have encouraged many to buy and read it over the decades. However, given its 1.1 million words of text; the fact that much of it requires a college level education to read and comprehend; its mysterious origins, questions about authorship, etc., it’s not an easy sell.
Enter Sir Hubert Wilkins, a highly accomplished scientist, explorer, adventurer, and wartime spy whose enthusiastic acceptance of The Urantia Book provides a good name to drop when recommendations about fellow readers arise. (I could provide an impressive list of famous musicians and entertainers, living and deceased, who have embraced the book, but that would be a bit off-topic.) While he is best known for his pioneering flights over the Arctic and Antarctic, he brought that same spirit of exploration and discovery to his quest for spiritual understanding.
Sir Hubert was introduced to The Urantia Papers in 1942 by Harold Sherman, his co-author of the book Thoughts Through Space, which recounts a series of experiments in ESP and telepathy they conducted, inspired by Wilkins’s attempt to locate the missing Russian aviator Sigismund Levanevsky who, with five other crew members, had disappeared on a test flight from Russia to Alaska. Wilkins quickly became an avid supporter of The Urantia Papers, and one of the first (if not the first) people to fund its publication, some thirteen years later.
The Urantia Notebook of Sir Hubert Wilkins contains facsimiles of Wilkins’s neat, handwritten notes and the authors’ transcriptions, which have the added benefit of making them more easily searchable. Given the long, long period that preceded the publication of The Urantia Book (some forty years in the making), there were legitimate doubts about whether it would ever escape its confinement in a Chicago brownstone, where its 196 papers could only be read on site. Individuals were permitted to take notes but not to take them out of the building until after publication. Had the book never been published, thanks to Wilkins’s notebook (as well as his friends Harold and Martha Sherman’s “Diaries”), the world would still have a pretty good idea of the remarkable contents of The Urantia Book.
The pages that Wilkins copied show his embrace of the perennial questions of science, philosophy and religion, as well as a keen interest in the many multi-dimensional orders of beings with whom we share the universe and this planet. In Sir Hubert, I have found a kindred spirit. His exploits, recounted in a concise and informative manner in The Urantia Notebook of Sir Hubert Wilkins, provide me with yet another avenue for introducing The Urantia Book to a broader slice of humanity.