Although A Story of Five Faces is not what one might call a “secondary work” to the Urantia Book, it is still very much related and infused with what I’ve personally learned from the Fifth Epochal Revelation. An author might normally present their book through a third person summary, but I’d like to share what I’ve created with the Urantia family using straightforward reference to the book that so heavily influnced it.
It was a couple years ago when I first started understanding something of the Unqualified, the Deified, and the Universal Absolutes; how they kind of reach out like arms from the First Source and coalesce (what a great word!), or clasp hands, in the events of the outer universes. At least that’s how I visualized it. Around that time I started to conceptualize this first little novel of mine. In fact, it actually began with poetry – which I include as The Dialogues at the back of the book – an abrstact attempt at better realizing the mentioned absolutes. The poems eventually evolved into, or revealed, five different characters with five seperate but co-operative functions. And when I started to feel familiar enough with them, when I began imagining the ways they were “present” in my own life, I wanted to find another way to share and express them. So I gradually wrote down the story that was building and building, and self-published it this past summer.
A Story of Five Faces is about a single life as it fraternizes with the ineffable. The nameless protagonist describes his experience of grappling with the forces and paradoxes that seem to govern his existence. And throughout this adventure, in all of the seeking and wrestling, he finds himself confronting some Thing or some One beyond all of it.
I tried to capture the principle, presented in the Urantia Book, that religion is not so much the “experience of feeling” as it is the “feeling of experience.” (101:5.9) That’s always meant a lot to me, and frankly I believe (and hope!) it’s a realization which goes a long way in building up a sane or stable religious consciousness. With that said, even though the story is hardly lacking in the gamut of emotions we normally sample during the mortal life, I tried to reinforce the impression that no single feeling, no mere emotion, trumps the overall experience of living a life of which emotions make up only a part. I attempted to write a compelling, feeling book, yet that was a goal secondary to writing about the experience of being caught up, subtly or directly, in raw spiritual gravity – to be drawn inward over the course of time, inward and upward for that matter.
Another important facet of the story is that it introduces a person familiar to everyone, who, although significantly drawn Godward, is more often than not only able to conjure that faint flicker of faith sufficient for salvation. And so, in spite of the fantastic, fairytale-esque elements of the story, here is where the realism lies: The haphazard and mysterious flavour of a life which only seldom realizes the leadings of spirit in any kind of obvious way. The patterns and lessons become clear with hindsight. The experience of drawing closer to God is the primary proof thereof, to any one person. Or in a more intricate manner of speaking: “The experience of the realization of the reality of unconscious religious growth is the one positive proof of the functional existence of the superconsciousness.” (100:1.9)
As I was thinking of what to write here I drew up a list of how the Urantia Book made its way into A Story of Five Faces, but it seems a little silly to include that list. It’d be much more interesting, for those of you who would honour me by reading it, if you contacted me afterward and told me what principles of the UB it might have highlighted for you. And hey, if it does nothing of the sort, please let me know that, too!
I was really caught off guard when one friend told me after reading it, “It helps you better understand important things in life.” I could never hope to help with more through writing, but I think it’s difficult to fail when we sincerely infuse any work with the many applicable truths which we find in the Urantia Book.
Cover art by Stephen Gibson