UrantiaUniversity Institute

Thought Leaders Forum Archives

An online forum for exploring new directions and integrative
thinking in science, religion, philosophy and human systems

September 7, 2019

Jeffrey Wattles

"What Roles Can Philosophy Play in the Spiritual Life?"

Video Recording of the Thought Leaders Forum:  Click this link to view a full-length recording of the Thought Leaders Forum with Jeff Wattles.

Transcript:  Click on this link, What is Philosophy?  to view a copy of the script by Jeff Wattles which he used as the basis for his guided inquiry into "What Roles Can Philosophy Play in the Spiritual Life?"

Related Materials on Jeff's Website:  Jeff invites all those who wish to continue this study of the roles of philosophy in spiritual living to continue this exploration with him at his website:   https://UrantiaBookProjects.org  where he will launch and guide further discussion starting Sept 10, 2019.

Summary Statement by the Presenter:

Jeff invites us to prepare for this Forum discussion by considering the passage below from Paper 110 of The Urantia Book. It’s one of the more detailed quotes about love – one more gem that enriches our understanding of the way of simplicity, by providing a path of thoroughness which is inexhaustible.

While reflecting on the passage, bear this question in mind:  What roles can philosophy play in the spiritual life?   

“You must not regard co-operation with your Adjuster as a particularly conscious process, for it is not; but your motives and your decisions, your faithful determinations and your supreme desires, do constitute real and effective co-operation. You can consciously augment Adjuster harmony by:

  1. Choosing to respond to divine leading; sincerely basing the human life on the highest consciousness of truth, beauty, and goodness, and then co-ordinating these qualities of divinity through wisdom, worship, faith, and love.
  2. Loving God and desiring to be like him—genuine recognition of the divine fatherhood and loving worship of the heavenly Parent.
  3. Loving man and sincerely desiring to serve him—wholehearted recognition of the brotherhood of man coupled with an intelligent and wise affection for each of your fellow mortals.
  4. Joyful acceptance of cosmic citizenship—honest recognition of your progressive obligations to the Supreme Being, awareness of the interdependence of evolutionary man and evolving Deity. This is the birth of cosmic morality and the dawning realization of universal duty.” (110:3.6-10/1206.4-8)

Everyone is welcome to join philosopher Jeff Wattles as we search for deeper dimensions of meaning and value in our most intimate and mysterious relationship with the adjuster of our thoughts, the father of our soul, and the conductor of our worship. Time and again, as we journey inward, we can return to these teachings to renew our sense of direction.

Click here for further information about this Forum and Speaker.

May 11, 2019

“Knowing God Our Mother"

Speakers (in order of appearance): 

Dave Tenney, Kaye Cooper, Bill Cooper, Sharon Porter, Mary Huggins, Lu Schanfarber, Patrick Yesh, Maureen Amato Mayes, Esther Wood, Stuart Kerr, K. Brendi Poppel, Meredith Tenney, Frieda Friendentia, Diane Labrecque, Andre Radatus, Tom Choquette & Susan Cook, and moderator Elisabeth Callahan

Video Recording of the Thought Leaders Forum:  Click this link to view a full-length recording of the Thought Leaders Forum on "Knowing God Our Mother."

Transcripts:  Click on this link to view the video transcripts of the individual speaker's presentations at the "Knowing God Our Mother" Forum.

Related Materials:  Click on this link to view other written contributions by members of the Urantia community on the topic of God Our Mother and Our Universe Mother Spirit.

Summary Statement:

Many Urantian women and men gathered on May 11, 2019, the day before Mother's Day, to speak briefly about their personal experiences and understanding of our Universe Mother Spirit in this 90-minute UUI Thought Leaders Forum.

Their intention was to illuminate the personal existence, life-giving and mind-bestowing nature, and manifold functions of our Universe Mother Spirit and God our Mother, the Supreme Being. Their ongoing hope is to encourage greater personal discovery and appreciation of our Universe Mother Spirit through their personal stories. The more we love God, the more we understand God, and the better we can co-create a loving world. 

We can know God our Mother through the Holy Spirit, the personal presence of the Divine Minister, the co-creator of our local universe. The original revelation of God our Mother in The Urantia Book has the generative power to help humanity in establishing a new and higher ground of loving and balanced relationships between men and women, within the global community of humanity, and with our earth's biosphere and the cosmos.  This higher spiritual culture will manifest as wise and loving thinking, compassionate feeling, and love in action - the way of living that Jesus demonstrated for us.

The Urantia revelation comes at a time when the human race and our world civilization have commenced a long and volatile stage of transformation to a more spiritually advanced way of living, far from the greed and self-interest of the present age. Such an enlightened civilization will evolve from a balanced view of the power and will, and love and mercy, of God Our Father and Mother, so beautifully revealed in The Urantia Book. 

Click here for further information about this Forum and the Speakers. 

February 16, 2019

Dr. James Perry

“The Mission of Adversity and the Spiritual Value of Disappointment”

Moderator:  Dr. Gard Jameson

Panelists:  Dr. Steve Dreier, Katharina Becker, Sherry Cathcart Chavis

Jointly sponsored by Urantia University Institute and the Urantia Foundation Education Committee

Video Recording of the Thought Leaders Forum:   Click this link to view a full-length recording of the Thought Leaders Forum with Dr. James Perry and Panel.

Transcript:  Click on this link for a full-length transcript of the talk given by Dr. James Perry:   Dr. James Perry_The Mission of Adversity and the Spiritual Value of Disappointment_UUI Thought Leaders Forum_Feb 16, 2019.pdf

Summary Statement by the Presenter:

 “Even as mortals, so have these angels been father to many disappointments,

and they will point out that sometimes your most disappointing

disappointments have become your greatest blessings.”  48:6.36 (555.4)


Progress is the watchword of the universe. Adversity and disappointment are tools provided to us in mercy and grace by the heavenly Father to ensure that we continue to progress spiritually. Adversity rescues us from our comfort zones and disappointment stimulates us to change as we experience adversity. It is a value given to us because of the relativity of our concept frame, which must continually give rise to higher and higher concepts.  

In this Forum Dr. James Perry presented his reflections on the meaning and value of our common struggles with adversity, disappointment, and suffering in the light of the Urantia revelation.  He shared personal insights gained as a result of a very recent crisis, which caused an enhanced understanding and appreciation of some of the spiritual qualities being taught to us by our loving Father.

Click on this link for a copy of  Rumi's Poem: The Guest House.pdf

Click here for further information about this Forum and Speaker. 

March 24, 2018

Marvin Gawryn

"... This Higher Symbolism of a Higher Civilization ..." 87:7.6

Video Presentation:   Click this link to view the video of Marvin Gawryn's 22-minute presentation on "... This Higher Symbolism of a Higher Civilization ..."

Recording of Complete Thought Leaders Forum:   Click this link to view a full-length recording of the complete Thought Leaders Forum with Marvin Gawryn (includes both Marvin's 22-minute video and the Q&A session with the audience)

Video Transcript:  Video Transcript_Marvin Gawryn_This Higher Symbolism of a Higher Civilization_UUI Thought Leader Forum_3-24-18.pdf

Supplemental Educational Materials from Marvin Gawryn on the Topic:

  1. Marvin Gawryn_TLF Handout_Toward a Broader Socialization of Our Religion (2).pdf
  2. Marvin Gawryn_The Formation of Spiritual Culture - Intentional, Unconscious, or Both_TLF Handout.pdf

Summary Statement by the Presenter:

The revelators tell us that we have just entered a 1000 year period of massive societal transition. It will carry us from the current materialistic, nationalist cultures that have developed over the past 500 years, over to the beginnings of a higher stage of civilization — with the end of war and the establishment of a global government, one language, and a unified culture that values spiritual goals as primary.

But they warn us that this next 1000 years will be a time of head-spinning, non-stop change and turbulence — both for societies and the individuals afloat within them — with great risk of confusion, dislocation and regression. Indeed, it is precisely in preparation for this stormy millennium of danger and opportunity, that they have fortified us with an emergency revelation.

And in section 87:7, The Nature of Cultism, they urge us to evolve a new spiritual culture from the up-stepped truths of this revelation — a compelling higher symbolism, an idealistic vision for self and society — that can provide guidance for humanity, as well as solace and stability, during this oncoming hurricane of transition.  Marvin invites the audience to explore the context of the title phrase above, and its implications for our collective efforts as religionists devoted to the unfolding mission of the fifth epochal revelation. 

Click here for further information about this Forum and Speaker.

July 1, 2017

David Kantor

Personal Religious Experience and the Quest for Cosmic Citizenship

Video Presentation:  Click this link to view a short, pre-recorded video of David's 15-minute presentation on "Personal Religious Experience and the Quest for Cosmic Citizenship" 

Recording of Complete Thought Leaders Forum:  Click this link to view a Full-length Recording of the Thought Leaders Forum with David Kantor (includes both David's 15-minute video and the Q&A session)

Video Transcript:  Video Transcript_David Kantor_Personal Religious Experience and Quest for Cosmic Citizenship_TLF_07.01.2017.pdf

Supplemental Educational Materials from David Kantor on the Topic:

1.   A Roadmap of the Journey Through the Psychic Circles, by David Kantor.  This material is derived from the work of Dr. James Fowler as set forth in his book, "Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and the Quest for Meaning."  Fowler's work is based on the stage theories of psychological and social maturation developed by Erick Erickson, Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg.  This study attempts to correlate their work with The Urantia Book's material on faith and spiritual growth, in particular the ascent through the psychic circles of consciousness of progressive kinship with the cosmic actuality of the Supreme Being. 

2.  Seraphic Ministry in a Personal Universe, by David Kantor. This study reviews the way in which seraphic ministry is conducted in the context of interpersonal relationships at multiple levels in the universe.

3.   Spiritual Genetics, by Stephen Dreier.  We accept the notion that God is our Father but do we appreciate some of the qualities we inherit from him as his children?  This essay by Steve Dreier provides an overview of qualities derived from the Father which form the foundations or our personalities.

Additional Suggested Reading

Rolnick, Philip A.; Person, Grace, and God.  If you’re a Urantia Book reader who enjoys scholarly but readable expositions in theology, you might find this to be an extremely helpful book related to your understanding of personality.  Dr. Rolnick provides a well-informed overview of the history of the development of the concept of personhood and in his concluding chapter integrates concepts of personality from The Urantia Book with current leading-edge thinking on the topic, resulting in a significant degree of revelation.  Highly recommended.

Summary Statement by the Presenter:

Are we attempting to assimilate a new revelation using old paradigms of thinking, just as did the apostles? In popular religion today, personal religious experience is often understood as the cultivation of particular states of consciousness and the construction of an idealized self. How does this relate to the Urantia Book’s vision of a quest for cosmic citizenship in a personal universe? Join us for a reconsideration of our fundamental ontological situation, and the implications for cultivating personal religious experience.  

Click here for further information about this Forum and Speaker. 

February 25, 2017

Claire and Angie Thurston

How Do We Do the Will of God in This Moment of Our Planet’s Evolution?

Video Presentation:  Click the link to view a short, pre-recorded video of Claire and Angie's 15-minute dialogue.

Recording of Complete Thought Leaders Forum:   Click the link to view a full-length recording of the 80-minute Thought Leaders Forum (includes both Claire and Angie's 15-minute dialogue and 65-minute Q&A session).

Video Transcript:  Transcript_Claire_Angie Thurston_How Do We Do the the Will of God_Feb 25 2017 UUI Forum.pdf

Summary Statement by the Presenters:

We know from The Urantia Book that our ideals grow exponentially compared to our ability to live them.  How do we maximize our impact to help ourselves, our communities and our planet? What are some practical ideas for enhancing our spiritual lives to leverage progress in these especially turbulent times? 

Click here for further information about this Forum and Speakers.

The UUI Thought Leaders Forum is a series of online dialogues modeled in part

on the TedTalks concept.  The primary distinction is that the UUI Thought Leaders Forum 

is interactive and has a spiritual context for examining and presenting ideas of progressive, 

evolutionary value in science, philosophy, and religion that are inspired and informed by

The Urantia Book.  The Presenters examine and reveal how one or more of these

domains of knowledge intersect with culture and the development of civilization.

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