31 Oct Learning the UM was Fun!
I first became acquainted with the Universal Model about 6 years before its public launch. At the time, I was a senior in college, majoring in biological sciences. I, of course, was in many biology classes, all of which focused on the paradigm of evolution. This was emphasized more strongly in some than in others, and in one particular class during that last semester of college, I realized I just couldn’t pass the class without going along with that paradigm. I had to write a paper – the longest paper I had ever written in my life at that time – solely about a specific tenet of evolution. This was a problem for me, because for my whole life I had never believed in evolution. Part of it was my religious upbringing, but the other part was that evolution truly makes no logical sense to me. It didn’t matter how many evidences were produced in the many classes I took or scientific articles I read, evolution didn’t fit together. I saw and agreed with changes within a species, but when it came to one species changing into or descending from another… There were gaps; there were holes. It didn’t work.
Enter the UM. I knew I couldn’t write my paper, which comprised of half of the grade points I needed to pass this class necessary for graduation, without lying. I couldn’t write about evolution in an educated and convincing way without diverging from what I knew to be true. I considered all of my options – none of them desirable – and explained my situation to my husband. Luckily for me, he remembered that a high school friend of his had a father-in-law researching science. He suggested we give him a call, and my life has been changed ever since.
I spoke with Dean Sessions on the phone, explaining my situation to him, and he said it wouldn’t be a problem at all: There is plenty of evidence against evolution, and I could write my paper along those lines. My husband and I met with him, and I received a chapter to read. I ate it up. As I read, the truth of the words was loud and clear, and I wanted more. (I wrote my paper using the UM chapter and other resources, and the professor deemed it well-enough written that I passed the class.) I received more chapters to read, but although I enjoy learning about many topics and subjects, the geology chapters were particularly difficult for me. I found them boring and hard to understand, and they took me a long time to read. But I knew what I had felt while reading the biology chapters, so I kept seeking understanding.
Eventually I began to do various work for the UM, beginning with editing the text. As I read for the first time or reread chapters in this detailed way, understanding came. Things which before had seemed vague and useless to me now “clicked,” and it was so exciting to learn each new thing and realize that it made sense! Despite having no interest at all in geology before, even that became, to me, a topic worth studying. It was a joy to point to clouds or rock formations or other things in everyday life and be able to explain to my children how they formed or how they function. I loved editing because I felt like I was helping out a great work. Later on I began to teach and understood information on a whole new level as I sought to be able to not only teach myself, but explain it in a clear and coherent way to others. As I did, I found new enjoyment in the information. Learning the UM was fun! This is one of the many wonderful things the UM provides – enjoyment of science even for those who do not deem themselves “science people.”
As the final chapters have been written and I continued to learn, I found myself coming up against things that strongly challenged beliefs and others ideas I had held to be true. For some, my continued perseverance and open mind brought answers; for others, I am still seeking. But I know that, in the overall view, the Universal Model holds many truths and answers that will help everyone see the world differently and gain understanding and wisdom about the way it works. I invite all to explore its pages and see what new things they can learn.
Rachel M. Harper, Bachelor of Science, USA
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