Urantia Book readers believe they embrace the greatest spiritual treasure on the planet, a powerful revelation of cosmic truth that will require generations to fully understand. They have differing and conflicting views of how to share it now, how much to share, and with whom.
Over the years, there have emerged some answers to those questions dressed up as celestial mandates. These things you must do, so command the celestials who gave us the text. They have come from an anchoring Urantia Foundation of self-appointed trustees who are answerable only to themselves. They were originally established by the Sadler and Hale families in Chicago as custodians of the Urantia text.
As Doc Sadler aged and passed, the text came under the control of Mr. Martin Meyers, who spiraled the organization into years of misguided legal conflicts. He repeatedly threw copyright violation lawsuits against true Urantia believers who wanted to reach out in ministry, draining the Foundation treasury and requiring readers to pay their own lawyers in the fight. He was finally deposed by the other Trustees after years of damage. He sued to get back on the Board of Trustees, and was repulsed again.
Now today, with a treatise circulating in Urantia circles that calls for the re-establishment of those Foundation spawned ‘mandates,’ it reminds me that we are indeed living in an age of ‘trumpery’ in the way the dictionary describes it.
There was no golden age of unity and loyalty to mandates in Urantia. This apocrypha was delivered over the years as the means to maintain absolute control of all translations, all publishing, all marketing of the Urantia Book worldwide. Total domination in the world. The book was rightly seen as the greatest literary and theological work ever produced, well above any other printed document in the world. The Foundation wanted total control of it and most readers have gone along with that over the years.
But now with growing dissatisfaction over the minimal impact we have made in science, philosophy, religion, and the public mind, readers are logically asking if these mandates were a good idea in the first place. When those ‘rebels’ in the Urantia movement could no longer tolerate Mr. Meyers’ attitude or abide by his misguided decisions, there was no choice but to leave and re-form themselves. They were actually evicted from the premises in Chicago. Do we blame today’s Fellowship for this and declare them in default, as the recent treatise does? This is bizarre.
And even though the Foundation ridded itself of Mr. Meyers some years later, there remains the misguided notion that our failure to adhere to his mandates is the cause of our so-called failures to spread the revelation. It’s like his voice screaming from the netherworld — you are all in default. I was right. Sounds like trumpery talk.
Fact is, Mr. Meyers should be forgiven and passed by in our Urantia history. His highly suspicious mandates should go with him. The Fellowship of readers that has resulted from the split has done nothing but work valiantly to maintain book study and spread the book globally. To consider them in default is utterly ridiculous. To set up a rival collective of Foundation-approved study groups was short-sighted, ill-advised, and divisive.
Maybe it’s the human way — set up your Walgreen’s right across the intersection from the CVG. But it seems bizarre that the greatest cosmic revelation of the century hasn’t provided enough wisdom that people can work together productively in spreading it.
If we disdain the mandates, we can see a new picture. And if our history recognizes that there are two great motivators — Fear and Love — we can ask ourselves if we have chosen wisely. The Foundation has invariably chosen fear — of having their text polluted by their fellow humans. Or maybe losing power and control. Is that the right call when ministry is what we need?
A first edition protects the text by copyright; there are no enemies. Allow widespread usage of quotes and cooperate with professors, journalists, theologians, and all people seeking personal spiritual salvation. It’s loving ministry, not fear.
Significantly, there was fear of the established religions, and the publishing industry. Now we can see that society sees our foundation as a cult because we established one. They believe this to be a bad word. We remain outliers.
Though we recognized the greatness of the book ourselves, we somehow thought that the major publishers in New York and their highly educated people would not see this as well. Did we want more control, total control, with the notion that we could actually succeed by self-publishing? This decision left us isolated from the publishing world with its distribution and marketing network.
There is that story that the guiding lights of Urantia sent 100 copies of their newly published revelation to that many distinguished scholars and leaders of the 1950’s. They were hit with a wall of silence, minimal or no response. They took it as a wall of rejection and made some momentous decisions.
Since this generation’s finest minds were not ready for this revelation, then it is intended for future generations. We should safeguard and prevent its pollution from all of those writers who would want to utilize it for their own inferior scholarship. This was so far beyond, a Fifth Epochal Revelation in fact.
We can ask ourselves if we would have decided to disdain ministering the book and shrink it to personal, under the table, sharing, like a cult object. Would we feel fearful pangs of rejection or would we continue to see the light of a new age dawning and want to be part of it?
Books of the period now show that the time between 1957, just after publication, and well into the 1970’s was a time of remarkable spiritual ferment in the world — a surge of interest in spiritual publishing, the messages of Eastern religions and their commonalities, the Catholic ecumenical council, great new interest in Jesus and explorations on how to present his message fresh and new.
The Urantia papers were rich with all this. But our autocratic and self-centered Foundation was busy suing our own readers over copyright violations in this era, and letting this new spiritual interest surge pass us by. We were locked up in courts of law, with our Foundation battling to stop free dissemination. We remain split in twain, and controversy and conflict are part of our history.
Since Dr. Sadler’s library disappeared somehow and the book provides no bibliography, major publishers would surely be wary in the first place. And since Dr. Sadler lifted freely and inserted whole sections derived from existing, published literature of the day, and devoted entire Forum sessions to reading from those books, we have to know that the book includes all of the highest forms of human expression that is truly mandated in the text itself. But the academic world wants footnotes and references, and publishers want credit given where credit is due. They have their own publishing mandates to follow.
When Dr. Sadler was once questioned by several Forum members as to why the purported transmissions the insiders were receiving from celestials were suspiciously the same as information in current books, Dr. Sadler explained that they were certainly not the only people receiving the new celestial information from above. It’s coming to other people, maybe all people. I believe it is still coming to attuned people today.
And so other authors were inspired and informed from above, including the one providing much the same material as The Faith of Jesus paper. Dr. Walter Bundy, professor of English Bible at DePauw University, and published by Bobbs Merrill in nearby Indianapolis, published The Religion of Jesus and Recovering Jesus in the late 1920’s. There is a telling textual analysis by Matthew Block, who has devoted years to finding human sources for the text. There are many.
The Foundation seems to have wanted to push these human sources under the rug in favor of an occult story of a single, unconscious and mindless man blurting out pure and amazingly rational essays, and also the actual materialization and disappearance of paper documents. This keeps this one revelation pure of human ‘contamination.’
As the story is spun out, one is led to believe that this is an epochal, one-time event, thereby well above any other source of information, channeled or written, on the entire planet, now and forevermore, even into the 21st century.
Such a massive global publishing asset. Exalt oneself as the only One and serve us as a monopoly. The book has much greater value that way and pummels the idea that humans can actually get personal spiritual guidance on their own. Forget that; read this. You can’t trust what you might transmit from within, but you can trust the one and only Fifth Epochal Revelation. When the Foundation was in control of all publishing, they attached a very hefty $50 plus price tag on their revelation but they wanted you to believe it was well worth it.
This inclusion of other worthy human authors, however, is in keeping with the true celestial mandate within the text, of including highly spiritualized human opinions in the planetary revelation, thereby making it co-creative and honoring the authors who previously published this spiritual wisdom. This is highly compatible with the Father’s plan for the ascending humans in the time and space worlds. Explore, learn, and grow. Co-create and serve those just behind you in the ascension plan.
In retrospect, we should have produced a bibliography, passed academic muster and obtained a publisher who would spread the book across the world. We created a fiefdom with no connections to anything.
And there has been fear of the media and academia. The apocrypha says we should only utilize word-of-mouth to share the book. On the other hand, it says that we should have a million study groups before we do anything else. Doing this by word-of-mouth seems like a Quixotic quest. Gagging the media to control the flow of communications is a feature of Lawyering 101.
There is fear of established religions and public discourse. If we get roundly criticized, it will hurt sales. Keep the revelation safe within the womb; do not give birth into the world. We might get attacked, heaven forbid.
We need much more faith that the text is perfectly wrought and presented, and can take care of itself in all quarters. Logically, it is bulletproof. It presents the Truth that bolsters faith and removes doubt. It could also have done this in 1955, while revealing the real facts of the Jesus incarnation for all the world.
There is still fear that the world is not ready for it. No — it seems the Foundation was not ready for it, and still seems oblivious to the altruism and personal religion it teaches.
There is now fear of inter-personal relations with spiritual teachers in the Stillness. The Foundation has declared it to be ‘nefarious channeling’ which is designed to disrupt study groups, even a part of Caligastia’s plan to bring down the revelation.
You can’t bring down what has not been established; you can’t absorb the Urantia revelation and remain a fearful person who doesn’t believe in spiritual connections and the personal religion that the book preaches. You either believe that Jesus succeeded in his mission of empathy and love, or you still fear the devil.
I can assure all readers that our people in the Teaching Mission love the revelation and practice its values as much or more some 25 years after our first contact with celestial teachers. Our participation and service would be even greater if we hadn’t been dubbed ‘nefarious’ in the beginning. As it is, the Teaching Mission has made enormous contributions to personal spiritual growth. Each of our several hundred fellows who still utilize personal spiritual guidance in all they do have embarked on service projects in their fields of interest and expertise, and their stories bearing fruit and spreading love would fill a book. It doesn’t take a huge mass of people to effect positive change in society; it takes motivated individuals who just step up and do it.
There was such fear that Vern Grimsley’s Family of God would usurp the Foundation’s power, and that led to a concerted character assassination plan that turned some civil defense preparations at the facility into the facade of a doomsday cult. A mountain out of a molehill. The ridiculous story persisted and was preached for months and even after a strongly-validated war scare in the fall of 1983.
Ill-fated purported doomsday channelings two years later, in the spring of 1985, from two other, on-their-own, channelers not supported by Grimsley brought the final withdrawal of lingering Family of God support. He absorbed the historic ‘blame’ for all of it.
With the loss went our opportunity to establish a Jesus of Urantia religion. Vern must have wondered why he ever encouraged other members to explore their inner spiritual consciousness in the first place. As the two subsequent channelers later admitted, their own shared transmissions were polluted by themselves. But it also provided an excellent means to bring down FOG’s remaining support, refute the reliability of celestial communications or midwayer contact in all cases, puncture his charismatic personality, and assert themselves as being very wise from their experiences there.
Too bad it’s no longer there. Grimsley was a powerful orator, champion of the real Jesus, with global broadcasting connections, and never did anything against the revelation. He represented it well and pledged cooperation and support for Urantia organizations until the day he passed. He was so altruistic that he helped UB official and financier Rich Keeler develop his speech for a Urantia conference, years after the end of the Family.
This was all akin to the loss of Harold Sherman, a Forumite in the 1930s, who could have greatly assisted Urantia into radio broadcasting, publishing and the new motion picture medium. Dr. Sadler, later in life, expressed regret that he had blown off the energetic young man and not worked with him in media. The five volumes of the Sherman Diaries are indispensable reading for those who want to understand the origins of the revelation. As diaries, they gain greater credibility than polemics, and they are filled with incisive details of the Forum years from which readers can draw their own conclusions.
Such bad decisions have been major signposts in our history of spreading the Urantia truths. Just as the apostle Paul diverted the truth for guilt and atonement theories, and as Mr. Meyers has diverted Urantia’s Jesus ministry into court battles for control, we must be very conscious today that we begin to make good decisions — built around loving altruistic ministry and not the fear and loathing that corporate humans and their lawyers always seem to impose on us.
We need to question all those supposed mandates today. There seems no default for breaking them since they are all still in effect. We are where we are because of the clot of mandates, not because we disdained them. We didn’t. No doubt the Foundation still represents them all, and still proclaims itself the only rightful, celestially appointed, publisher that should exist in the world.
Conversely, breaking the copyright and giving the Urantia text to the world via the Internet was a great step of progress — one they still disdain. What does this tell us? How has the book been polluted? Has not the ‘protection’ story been effectively discredited?
When they persist in saying the world is not ready to understand and accept it and we should be patient for a hundred or so more generations, I wonder at their perception of reality. More people find it and love it and use it for their guidance than ever before. Millions more are ready for it, but they haven’t found it. Give it to them. Isn’t this the mission, more so than worries that learned humans will make critical comments about it? One doesn’t have to completely understand the Foreword to be ready for the book; Urantia’s highest officials don’t.
And what is it about our society ‘quivering on the brink’ of massive change do they not understand, and see all around them? The planetary adjudication is underway, all around us.
In their lack of perception, some believe that the book should be the only source of spiritual information that we should accept. Yet, the text itself notes that it includes much revelatory information that we could not discover on our own, but has omitted much information that we should learn in the experiental education plan of human ascension. Learn it on our own. The Father’s plan is solid. This is the best, maybe the only way to learn some things.
So we have needed to start with the Urantia papers, the first step of a continuing fifth epochal revelation, and continue learning and growing our soul and living the revelation since 1955, with all the wonders of continuing evolvement and not a 1955 stagnation. Halting our search for spiritual experience and personal growth to read this book alone is patently foolish.
The Foundation’s attitude doesn’t seem to improve either. They ignore a dangerous Urantia cult in Arizona, but they insult those loyal readers who seek the stillness and share what they receive — like those automatic writing exercises that Bill and Kaye Cooper promoted in Urantia circles for many years. Contact was real then; it’s real today. And it has nothing to do with going somewhere to listen to somebody channel spiritual guidance for you. True guidance comes from within — always. This is the major message of the Teaching Mission.
It’s pretty funny that the treatise calling for a return to unity is presented in the guise of a visiting celestial commission that declares us all in default, and that’s the reason we haven’t received any celestial help in spreading the revelation. So we should have kneeled to the Foundation’s Game of Thorns and endured it, for the sake of the mandates? That’s what Mr. Meyers would say.
In the first place, these treatise people don’t really believe in celestial communications. Most Urantians don’t. They don’t understand the concept and they worry that a channeler might try to exercise some political control when group interaction is always needed, as prescribed by the most famous Grimsley and channeling critic, Meredith Sprunger, an influential Church of Christ minister who asserted some authority within Urantia and gave us the ‘nefarious’ tag.
The treatise is also written in a harsh, judgmental, authority-demanding style — with warnings of retribution. And I can say this after a quarter century of reading transcripts: You can’t fake a celestial transmission. You only come across as another human trying to control something.
We need to dump all the fear and forboding of the mandates and this silly treatise, and do just what the Foundation ironically preaches sometimes — use the text only, no self-serving admonitions of dubious origin. Also use our own Indwelling Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the ministering teachers, angels and rising Morontian teachers for true guidance, without fear of being rebuked by some organization.
In truth, the Foundation should never have started interfering in Urantia students’ private spiritual lives. If they are Aetheists or Pantheists or Baptists or Catholics or Jews or Muslims or Sun worshippers — the book is for all souls on Urantia. The Foundation has no business setting up a screening service. They have overstepped their bounds throughout history and it’s time that they re-evaluate what they have done, its consequences, and what they should be doing today.
I surely think it wise that they not try to assert authority over the Fellowship, which is clearly on the right track to joining the Urantia revelation with the many other compatible spirit ministries that are blessing the world — and providing them with a centerpiece and foundation of spiritual truth that is logically and cosmically bulletproof.
There are, of course, a few lingering fundamentalists who believe that our altruistic ministry to all others represents a ‘dilution’ of the revelation — enmeshing it with less perfect teachings. They can’t explain how the 2,100 page text can be somehow diluted when more people buy into it. They can’t explain how blending our book into all hearts and minds on Urantia is not a good thing. They can’t explain why they fear dissemination. Neither can the Foundation.
If Urantians truly want Unity, we need to unite with the world and all of the souls living in it. This was the mission of Jesus. I don’t see that the Foundation has ever wanted to do that. They want readers united to stand against the world. Love or Fear?
The Urantia Papers:
Release and Resurgence of a Celestial Revelation
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