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Fearlessly Foreword: A Brief Introduction


Merritt Horn

Start Date:

Monday, April 10, 2023

End Date:

Monday, May 8, 2023


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm MT
4:00 pm PT/ 6:00 pm CT/ 7:00 pm ET (12 am GMT)

Course Description

In this course, we’ll examine the Foreword’s structure and content as informed by its purpose and function, with the goal of enhancing the student’s ability to more effectively assist new and experienced readers alike to better understand and utilize the Foreword.

Understanding a piece of writing–especially revelatory writing–is about more than memorizing the words and dissecting the sentences the author uses; we also are well-served by examining the author’s purpose for the work as a whole as well as for the various elements that comprise it. So as we seek to better understand the Foreword, we’ll continually be asking not only what is on the page, but why it’s there.

We’re going to approach our task of better understanding the Foreword by posing the challenge in this way: 

The Foreword isn’t just an artifact from the past that people study, it has an ongoing role in the outworking of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. Is there anything that we can do to enhance its effectiveness in the present? Is there any assistance we can render in the task of accomplishing the goals the Divine Counselor had in mind when he wrote the Foreword. There will be several projects designed to help us focus and clarify our insights by developing practical methods for assisting other readers in their efforts to understand and use the Foreword.

Attendance at the orientation session is required. 

Date: Monday, April 3, 2023

Time:  5:00 pm - 7:00 pm MT

4:00 pm PT/ 6:00 pm CT/ 7:00 pm ET (12 am UTC)


  • Course work includes weekly readings, videos, and discussion board participation culminating in a weekly online seminar using Zoom video conferencing. 

  • Course materials will be accessed through UUI’s Online Campus.

  • Participants are expected to attend all the weekly meetings and complete the reading and homework assignments. Under extenuating circumstances, a video recording of the Zoom meeting will be made available if you have to miss a session. 

Level: Intermediate-Advanced

Size: Class is limited to 20 participants.

Language: English

Grading: None

Can I register as an auditor? No. This course requires active participation for us to be successful in achieving either of our goals.

Weekly Outline

Orientation (Monday, April 3, 2023)

  • An introduction to the course and participation expectations. You will also receive a short tour on UUI’s online Campus and how you will access course materials. 

  • There will be discussion board questions to answer and a video to watch in the week between the Orientation and the first live seminar.

Week 1 (Monday, April 10, 2023)

  • Conceptual Poverty, Ideational Confusion, and the Limitations of Language–The Origins of the Foreword and the Interpretive Tradition

  • Sections 0-3 of the Foreword

  • Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Instructional Design: Sections 0-1 of the Foreword compared with sections 0 and 1 of Papers 1-3

  • Introducing the Class Projects…..

Week 2 (Monday, April 17, 2023)

  • Building a terminology-tracking spreadsheet

  • Meaning and Function: Not only “What does it mean?” but “How is it used and what does it do?”Sections 4-6 of the Foreword

Week 3 (Monday, April 24, 2023)

  • Sections 7-10 of the Foreword

  • Interpretive Models: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Week 4 (Monday, May 1, 2023)

  • Sections 11-12 of the Foreword

  • Discoveries and insights from terminology-tracking

  • Linking the Foreword to the Papers 1-12  of The Urantia Book

Week 5 (Monday, May 8, 2023)

  • Class project presentations & evaluations

  • Tentative Conclusions 

  • Student evaluations of the course  

Learning Outcomes

Since this particular course is designed for experienced readers of The Urantia Book, the achievement of our goals for the course will be primarily self-assessed and of a different type than they would be for newer readers:

  • The first goal is that most of the questions you began the course with have been answered or superseded by the end of the course and that when we’ve finished you have not only many new questions but questions of a different type—that you’re asking different kinds of things about the Foreword.

  • Second, that your notion of understanding the Foreword has been enhanced, and that by that new standard, you better understand it.

  • And finally, that you feel more confident in your ability to assist others in their own efforts to read and understand the Foreword.

Merritt  Horn has been reading The Urantia Book since 1968, and is the author of The Call of the Spirit (1984, 2008). He has examined typographical issues in the text of The Urantia Book for many years and is a member of the committee tasked with maintaining the Standard Reference Text of The Urantia Book. He is currently completing work on his new book, The Life and Teachings of Jesus: A Harmony of the Urantia Narrative and the Four Gospels.

He is a Trustee of UrantiaUniversity, was the co-founder of the  Boulder School for Students of the Urantia Book in the early 1980’s, and has served both as a General Councilor for Urantia Book Fellowship and  as an Associate Trustee for Urantia Foundation.

Merrit is theoretically retired and lives in Boulder, CO with his wife, Jeanney, and any of their four daughters who might happen to be “visiting” at the moment.

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