A History of the Urantia Papers - Epilogue

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A History of the Urantia Papers - Epilogue

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A History of The Urantia Papers
by Larry Mullins
with Dr. Meredith Justin Sprunger

Epilogue

WE HAVE TRAVERSED NEARLY a century in our examination of the history of the Urantia Papers. The editors of this book have strived to provide the best available information about the materialization of the Papers, their conversion into a typed manuscript, the process by which they were further converted into printing plates, their publication as a book in 1955, and the fate of the original text after that. Along the way, we discovered many unexpected events and linkages and tried to candidly disclose them as we followed the truth wherever it led us. Considered individually, these ideas may not necessarily be news, but each is supported by documentation, and each is logically connected to the whole picture. The composite gives us a cohesive and reasonable story from beginning to end.

The most important fact about the Urantia Papers that I believe we established with reasonable certainty was that the 1955 printing of The Urantia Book was produced without deliberate human intrusion. The errors that exist in that text were minor and unintended human errors. The subsequent printings of the Urantia Papers, although containing intrusive human changes, are reasonably close to the original 1955 text. I write this with some reservation because I remain convinced the situation demands that a reliable "keeper of the text" should publish the original text again (with appropriate endnotes) and again make it available to all Urantia Book readers.

Second in importance were the following sequences: Documentation and testimony of Forum members clearly establish that the Revelation process took place continuously from January 18, 1925 until May 31, 1942, when the text was frozen by the Revelators. The Forum was told at that time that no additional questions would be entertained. The Revelation had been completed, and the Sunday Forum ceased to exist as a Forum and became a Sunday study group. The text was then set in type, proofs were made, corrected, and approved of by the Contact Commission, and then the text was plated. A team of Midwayers (no longer as Revelators) oversaw the entire process from a calculated and respectful distance. They saw to it that the Fifth Epochal Revelation had been delivered into the evolutionary mainstream in reasonably good condition.

Once the plates were made, the typewritten manuscript of the original text itself was destroyed by order of the Midwayer Commission. Thus, by 1945, after decades of Revelatory activity, the printing plates (and the proof pages generated by them) became the only material manifestations of the original text of the Urantia Papers. The plates contained (presumably) human errors that had accumulated somewhere along the evolutionary process, and there was no paper trail left to discover when or how these errors took place. However, it is self-evident that the Midwayers found the text (and subsequently the plates) acceptable, notwithstanding the imperfections that existed. Urantia Foundation was established in 1950 "on the basis of" the plates, (which now constituted the original text). The plates were stored in the vaults of the R.R. Donnelley & Sons Crawfordsville, Indiana plant from approximately 1945 until 1955, when the book was printed. After the printing was completed, they were then returned to the vaults.

Urantia Foundation was specifically designed to function as an autonomous entity, and the Contact Commission remained active until sometime in 1955. At the time the Declaration of Trust was finalized in 1950, it was well established by continuous reading of the proof sheets from the plates that there were typographical errors in the plates. However, beyond typographical errors, it is highly probable that the possible editorial inconsistencies that eventually were discovered in the published text were not known to the Contact Commission at the time of the establishment of Urantia Foundation. The Midwayers apparently conferred tacit approval of the Declaration of Trust with full awareness of the possible editorial problems that existed within the plates. It seems probable that the Midwayer Commission was constrained to rely upon human wisdom -- within the parameters of the Declaration of Trust document -- to eventually deal with the typographical errors and the editorial issues. After the Book was published in 1955, the Midwayer Commission signed off, and the mortals were told they were now on their own. In 1967, apparently without the knowledge of all of the Trustees, a considerable number of plates were destroyed and replaced with altered plates for the 1967 second printing. Dr. James C. Mills succeeded Christy as a Trustee in 1971. According to what Dr. Mills wrote in 1991 (See page 210, and the full text of the letter in Appendix B), some Trustees were told the entire Urantia Book had to be reset in 1967 due to technological changes in printing. This was not the case.

From a historical perspective, and confining ourselves as much as possible to the question of the Urantia Papers and their welfare, what are we to make of the disarray and turbulence that has followed after the second printing in 1967? Dr. Sprunger has often observed that the significant threats to the Urantia Movement have come -- not from the outside as most early Urantians had anticipated -- but from the inside. Why? In my judgment, two factors emerge as the underlying attitudes and forces that have caused confusion and chaos within the Urantia Movement. One is fearful proprietorship, and the other is prideful entitlement. The proprietorship issue is rather clear-cut, while the related issue of entitlement is more difficult to define.

Proprietorship - who owns the Revelation?

Two thousand years ago, according to my Catholic upbringing, Peter was supposedly given the "keys to the kingdom" by Jesus. And (again supposedly), with the words: "Upon this rock (Peter) I shall build my church," the Catholic Church was established. Christian hierarchal religious "authority" and "divine rights" of succession were established upon these presumptions, and centuries of rule by "infallible" Popes has followed. All of the "spiritual implications" regarding Jesus and the "individual believer" were thus shifted from Jesus to the church. And when Paul and his contemporaries did this, "they struck a deathblow to Jesus' concept of the divine kingdom in the heart of the individual believer." [1865, bottom]

When I was relatively new to the Urantia Movement, I was told by some individuals that the Trustees and their successors had been given the "keys to the kingdom" in the form of the "mandates." More than that, Urantia Foundation has asserted ownership of the Revelation itself, the Banner of Michael, and the word "Urantia," on the basis of these mysterious "mandates" and "special messages" that are allegedly locked in a safe somewhere at 533 Diversey Parkway. To many Urantians, this would be comparable to the Pope claiming ownership of the text of the Bible, the symbol of the cross, and the word "Christian." To a large number of Urantians, in the face of warnings by Clyde Bedell, Bill Sadler, Jr., and others, the human foible of desiring to own and control the text has created disunity and impeded the propagation of the Revelation. Time and evolutionary struggle appear to have determined that The Urantia Book will be permanently in the public domain. Yet in question are the appropriateness of human "ownership" and "authority" over the Banner of Michael, the right to freely use the name of our planet, and the right to identify oneself religiously as a Urantian.

The commentary that follows may be characterized by some as political. But, what is at issue has little to do with organizational questions. What is at issue is not politics but values. Most significantly truth -- not simply the factual nature of truth, but also the meaning of what we have discovered. At this point it is appropriate to repeat what was written in the Introduction of this history:

"Histories are inescapably adversarial and painful processes. The people who undertook this task of developing a good, sound history are aware that the final product is a compelling argument that could help shape the destiny of the Urantia Papers. The stakes are high, because what is ultimately at issue are the various philosophies and agendas of those who seek to control the Urantia Revelation. It will come as no surprise then, that the interpretations of the events relating to the Urantia Papers are destined to be fiercely contested. Sometimes the facts about the Urantia Papers are at issue, but more often the meaning of the facts will be the center of historical controversy."

With these notions in mind, we will revisit some of the difficult issues and challenges that confront each Urantian, fully aware that what each of us decides is of momentous importance to the Revelation.

There are no "secret" documents

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that all the supposed "secret messages" and apocrypha said to be associated with the Urantia Papers have doubtful origin. There may be a moral issue as to whether copies of any of this material should even exist. None of the supposed messages are revelation, none can be authenticated. They may have varying degrees of academic value and -- at best -- only moderate degrees of reliability and relevancy. Whenever I have used one of these documents in this history, I have tried to carefully disclaim certainty about its authenticity. Yet, although it is appropriate to weigh apocryphal information for historical examination, it is not proper to use it to support claims of authoritative control.

One further example of the inappropriate use and questionable reliability of apocrypha should suffice. In Chapter Ten, endnote #19, we documented Tom Kendall's statements about how, in 1980, a "message" supposedly from the "Midwayers" was delivered by Trustee Emeritus Christy and Trustee Martin Myers to Tom Kendall, President of Urantia Foundation. The message warned against "long, drawn out discussions" with Jacques Weiss, who had translated The Urantia Book into French. The "message" suggested reading page 840, which relates to Caligastia's plot against Adam and Eve. We documented how Tom testifies that he brought this "message" to the attention of the other Trustees and employees at 533 for their consideration. The impression given was this procedure of receiving "messages" relating to important Foundation policy decisions and passing them around was not an unusual occurrence in the culture at 533. Another equally disturbing example of the "inner-inner" circle's use of suspect "messages" is also documented in Tom and Carolyn Kendall's 1990 paper, which they distributed within the Urantia Brotherhood General Council when I was a Councilor: RESPONSE TO URANTIA FOUNDATION'S SPECIAL REPORT TO READERS OF THE URANTIA BOOK AND COMMENTS ON OTHER RELATED SUBJECTS. On page three of the original document, Tom discloses:

"In early 1966 the Trustees began to realize that the Foundation needed to do more to protect the name, Urantia. Christy had recently brought to my attention a message which was given to the Contact Commissioners in 1942:

"`You have not done enough to protect the name. You must carefully safeguard the name Urantia. Make it very safe for one generation so that it cannot be pre-empted. In a common-law trust you hold the name. You also do it in the copyright. You must also carefully register it with the division of government which controls trade relations, trademarks. In all ways you must safeguard the name. This is one of your most important duties.'"

We could ask several questions about this "message." Evidently, it is a purported copy of a message that was said to have been communicated in 1942, because all originals of authentic Midwayer messages were to be destroyed. But, was it supposed to have originally been a written or verbal "message?" Was it given to the Contact Commission according to established protocol, or is it claimed to have been "received" by a lone individual? Why had such an important message never been noticed before? Why is it not mentioned in the Histories?

Carolyn and Tom provide additional clues to the possible origin of this "message" in an interview with Polly Friedman in the Summer, 1993 issue of The Conjoint Reader (published by the School of Meanings and Values, Santa Monica, CA). During the interview, the same alleged 1942 "message" mentioned in the Kendall's 1990 paper is brought up. In this interview, we learn that it was a verbal "message." Carolyn discloses, page 3: "There were additional verbal messages that came to Dr. Sadler and Christy. One that came through was the message: `You have not done enough to protect the name Urantia; you register it in the branch of government that I've looked into just like you do with a copyright for the book.' That was in 1942." Polly then offers this lob: "So protecting the name is important; that was an actual suggestion?" Then Carolyn and Tom (in unison) reply: "Yes, it was an order." And Polly, evidently won over, adds: "And to be taken very literally." Carolyn then decides to emphasize the 1942 "message" by reading the document to Polly verbatim, which she happened to have with her. Carolyn says to Polly, "Here it is, regarding the name Urantia." Note the significant variations from the document she and Tom prepared and distributed in 1990. (Additions to the 1990 version are indicated by unbolded, non-italic CAPS type, deletions by a strike-through:

"You have not done enough to protect SAFEGUARD the YOUR name. (MEANING THE NAME URANTIA). You must carefully safeguard the name Urantia. Make it very safe for one generation so that it cannot be pre-empted. In a common law trust you hold the name. YOU DO IT ALSO IN A CORPORATION. A CORPORATION HAS STATUS IN LAW. You also do it in the copyright. You must also carefully register it with the division of government THAT I HAVE LOOKED INTO THAT which controls trade relations, trademarks. TRADEMARK, AND THEN YOU ARE PROTECTED IN COMMON LAW CONNECTED WITH A VOLUNTEER ASSOCIATION SUCH AS YOU ARE PLANNING IN URANTIA BROTHERHOOD. In all THOSE ways you must safeguard the name. THIS IS ONE OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DUTIES."

Carolyn pauses to inform Polly: "And that last sentence was in capitals." [Note: In the 1990 paper this sentence was not in caps.] Then Carolyn continues with additional new phrases:

"IN 50, 75, OR 100 YEARS, THE NAME WILL BE FAIRLY SAFE. YOU SAFEGUARD IT FOR A GENERATION AND IT WILL LARGELY TAKE CARE OF ITSELF."

I confess that I am baffled. How could such an "important" "order" from "Midwayers" be formally presented twice by the same people and have such wide variances? The second version has doubled in length and has several word changes. Why do both versions feature such poor grammar? Who edited the material? How could a verbal message be delivered with a passage in "capital letters?" And if it was so important to emphasize, why didn't the 1990 report of the message use capital letters for the passage? Urantia Brotherhood was not given Midwayer approval until 1952 and was not officially named and chartered until 1955, thirteen years after the purported message. Why did the second version of the message say: "Trademark, and then you are protected in common law connected with a volunteer association such as you are planning in the Urantia Brotherhood"? A generation is usually defined as twenty-five or thirty years. Why was a celestial personage so ambiguous? First this anonymous messenger says "one generation," and later "50, 75, or 100 years" and still later "a generation" is used again.

Yet, for nearly two generations, on the basis of this purported verbal "message," Urantia Foundation has sought to justify its claim of proprietary ownership of the word "Urantia" and "Urantian." In 1990, Thomas Kendall wrote that in 1966 he had been surprised by the purported "message" because he had "been a Trustee for three years" and "this was the first I had heard of these instructions." He said the "instructions" were contrary to the prevailing opinions of legal counsel, who had advised that "usage, adoption, and use" were the means to gain "rights" over the word Urantia. Nonetheless, according to Tom, in 1966, Trustee Christy had brought him this written version of a "message" (which, if authentic, should have been destroyed when the Book was published). And Tom obediently sallied forth to do the bidding of this anonymous "voice" that was said to have been recorded somehow, by someone, over two decades in the past -- and that had languished unnoticed in a file drawer since then.

Dr. Sadler did not "channel" anything

Another disturbing and relatively new tendency of those who believe in anonymous "verbal communications" from "spiritual beings" to "special" individuals is that they include Dr. Sadler as being a deliverer of such material. Some Urantians believe Dr. Sadler's name is used in a crude effort to impart additional credibility to the process that supposedly produced "secret messages." In the interview with Polly, note that Carolyn implies Dr. Sadler's participation in such "messages" by saying: "There were additional verbal messages that came to Dr. Sadler and Christy." While Carolyn had previously written that Christy told her that Christy was in continued contact with the Midwayers, to my knowledge Carolyn never had written or stated that Dr. Sadler had ever told her anything of the sort.

There is not a fragment of documentation or credible testimony to support the idea that Dr. Sadler claimed he communicated with Midwayers outside of the Contact Commission, and a great deal of testimony and documentation refutes this possibility. In the unanimous opinion of the Editors of this book, Christy was the only Contact Commissioner who ever claimed she was individually in contact with "Midwayers" -- and Christy alone made statements that she had "received" the alleged "approval" for changes in the original text from anonymous "voices." There is no known testimony that Christy's "voices" were ever heard by any other person, and no evidence whatsoever that Dr. Sadler had approved of this practice. It is also reasonably certain that rumors of Christy's "channeling" activities did not begin to surface in the general power-structures of the Foundation and Brotherhood until after Dr. Sadler's death in April of 1969. This is the opinion of Dr. Sprunger, who was there and who knew the individuals and who worked with the power structure at 533. Prior to Dr. Sadler's death, only a very small inner circle was privy to Christy's so-called "messages."

Dr. Sadler did not authorize changes in the text

Urantia Foundation has also published statements to the effect that both Christy and Dr. Sadler were individually involved with "Revelators" in 1967 and both were responsible for changing the original text. In the Foundation's web presentation titled: Setting the Record Straight, (http://www.urantia.org/newsinfo/strs.htm) Urantia Foundation interjects this rhetorical inquiry in part 7:

"We must pose the question to those who knew of the integrity of these individuals: would Dr. Sadler and Christy have made such changes without good reason?"

This attempt to justify the 1967 changes to the original text by linking them to Dr. Sadler is not supported by documentation or reliable testimony. When Urantia Foundation was established in January of 1950, the Trustees accepted all authority and responsibility for the original text (the plates). Dr. Sadler chose not to be a Trustee. We know that in 1967 there occurred a destruction of part of the Substantive Estate (the plates/or the original text) as defined in the Declaration of Trust. Because of the total lack of documentation, we cannot know what "good reason" may have existed in anyone's mind for destroying part of the Substantive Estate without a unanimous vote of the Trustees -- which is the provision in the Declaration of Trust by which such an action could be legally taken. (See Appendix F, Urantia Foundation's Declaration of Trust, Article V, Section 5.2). Neither Dr. Sadler (who was never a Trustee) nor Christy had authority to authorize the destruction of any part of the Substantive Estate of the Declaration of Trust of Urantia Foundation, regardless of any supposed "good reason" to do so.

Yet, if we are to believe Carolyn Kendall, Christy authorized and brought about changes to the original text because she believed the "Revelators" gave her the authority to do so. And, Tom Kendall told Carolyn that the Trustees had "nothing to do" with the 1967 changes. Can we believe these assertions by Carolyn? I cannot be certain, but it is clear that Urantia Foundation relies upon Carolyn's information. Carolyn contributes to the Foundation web material and she was selected to write the fifty-year anniversary history for Urantia Foundation.

"The Golden Years"

In early 2000, Urantia Foundation produced a history to commemorate its fifty year anniversary, titled: The Golden Years, authored by Carolyn Kendall and Barbara Newsome. It states that it is based upon "first hand information," but is not documented in any plausible way to support this claim. Within our own history, I have used Urantia Foundation sources, or sources close to the Foundation, in depicting the events in which the Foundation was a key player. With this constraint, I will limit comment to a few of the many instances in which The Golden Years is inconsistent with previously published Foundation material.

The chronology presented in The Golden Years is generally accurate, although many important events are omitted. This history also leaves the names of the Contact Commission out, "in respect for the spirit in which they served." However, it lists all of the Foundation Trustees since the establishment of Urantia Foundation. In some cases The Golden Years draws heavily on "History Two" which it claims was authored by Dr. Sadler, a belief we have disputed in detail in Chapter Three. In other cases The Golden Years is clearly at odds with History Two. On page 6, The Golden Years states that the Contact Commission consisted of five people (the same number as the Foundation), leaving Bill Sadler, Jr. out:

"Aside from the patient, the Contact Commission consisted of five related people, the two physicians, her [sic] sister and brother-in-law, and the adopted daughter of the physicians. When the doctor's wife died in 1939, their [sic] son took her place. Thus the Contact Commission functioned as five until the organizations were established and The Urantia Book was published. As individuals, they functioned as Contact Commissioners the rest of their earthly lives." [Page 6]

This loaded paragraph supports the Foundation's proprietary claims and legal assertions that Urantia Foundation is a continuation of the Contact Commission. This paragraph also seeks to establish that special celestial "guidance" continued after the Midwayers signed off in 1955. This paragraph is at odds with the Testimony of Dr. Sprunger, Clyde Bedell and others who have stated there were six Contact Commissioners, including Bill Sadler, Jr., who became a Contact Commissioner no later than 1930, after his discharge from the Marines. The statements in this paragraph also conflict with Urantia Foundation's own "History Two," which states on page 21 of the original document:

"The fact that no provision was ever made for replacing members of the Contact Commission who might be lost through disability or death, also led us to the belief that the Book would be published during the lifetime of some of us."

Why is this important? Because there was never an organizational connection between the Contact Commission and Urantia Foundation. There was no "passing of the torch." In the 1990's Urantia Foundation began making legal declarations that it is the successor organization to the Contact Commission. This is not supported by the facts. The Contact Commission had six permanent members by 1930, with no provisions for replacement of lost members. Urantia Foundation was established in 1950, has five Trustees, and lost members are replaced through the election of another member by the remaining Trustees. The Contact Commission operated under celestial direction, and ceased to function after the publication of the original text in 1955. Urantia Foundation is humanly directed, and was founded as a completely autonomous entity as is clearly stated in the preamble to the Declaration of Trust (See Appendix F). The Contact Commission continued to function for five more years after the establishment of Urantia Foundation. Carolyn Kendall has reported that in November of 1951, the Seventy and the Sunday study group were read an important communication from the "Acting Planetary Prince of Urantia." (See Page 174 for the partial text of this alleged communication). In this message, Urantia Foundation and the Contact Commission are clearly viewed and discussed as two separate entities. Therefore it is misleading when the paragraph in The Golden Years asserts: "Thus the Contact Commission functioned as five until the organizations were established and The Urantia Book was published." The claim that Urantia Foundation is a successor to an organization that was directed by celestial beings is completely unfounded. This distinction must be made if we are to avoid creating a faux "divine right" of succession of "authority" over the Revelation (See Chapter Eight, and Appendix F).

The paragraph further asserts that: "As individuals, they functioned as Contact Commissioners the rest of their earthly lives." This strongly implies that the Contact Commissioners, as individuals, remained in contact with Revelators after the final message: "You are now on your own." The question of continued special celestial guidance is arguable, and one that we have discussed at length. However, I am constrained to point out that there is no documentation to support the statement that those individuals whom Bill Sadler, Jr. referred to as the "defunct contact commissioners"1 had retained their personal status as "Contact Commissioners" after 1955. The statement in The Golden Years, authorized by Urantia Foundation, implies the Contact Commissioners as individuals personally remained in contact with Midwayers. The only testimony to that effect is what Carolyn Kendall has told us came from Christy, and Christy's comments about alleged individual "contacts" (as reported) referred to herself, not the other members of the Contact Commission. This sentence also apparently attempts to support the principle of psychic "messages" and "channeling" by "special" individuals -- activities which have proved so divisive and damaging to the Urantia community.

On page 9 of The Golden Years the statement is made:

"The Jesus Papers, undated in The Urantia Book, were delivered in 1935 with the input of questions from the Forum."

This statement seems crafted to support the legal position of Urantia Foundation against the publication of the Jesus Papers by Mr. McMullan. The clause: "with the input of questions from the Forum" is incorrect. History One and Two relate that there were no questions that prompted the delivery of the Jesus Papers, which were materialized in a single written manuscript. The Jesus Papers were read to the Forum over a period of years, and according to Clyde Bedell, did elicit questions from 1935 until all of the Papers were read to the Forum. However, History Two (published on Urantia Foundation's website) is clear about their initial arrival: "Of all the Urantia Revelation, the Jesus Papers were the biggest surprise." [Page 3]

On page sixteen of "The Golden Years," under "Planetary Government Rulings - 1951 to 1952" important information is omitted. Once more, the information that has been removed runs counter to the idea that special celestial guidance was being given the Trustees after 1955. The same omission was made in another presentation by Carolyn, and this was discussed in Chapter Eight, page 174, and endnote #6 in the same Chapter. It would be redundant to repeat the discussion here. However, it is repugnant to many Urantians that supposed celestial messages are apparently edited when it is convenient to support a specific position.

In the past few pages we have disputed several contentions made by those who believe Urantia Foundation has proprietary ownership of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. Using Urantia Foundation's own material, the issue we have sought to join is one of proprietorship. Carolyn and Tom Kendall report that Bill Sadler, Jr. warned against this attitude in an intra-office memo in 1958:

"Unless Urantia Foundation conducts itself with wisdom it may breed dissension between itself and the Brotherhood. There is no room for naivety or any exhibition of proprietary feeling toward the Urantia Papers."2

The end of proprietorship

Many of us who have the conviction that the Urantia Papers belong to the people also believe that, unknown to all of the Trustees at the time, the noble task of Urantia Foundation to preserve inviolate the original text of the Urantia Papers fell into default in 1967. Those responsible for this error were probably driven by the desire to have a "perfect book," as Carolyn Kendall explained. To achieve this human aspiration, these individuals elected to by-pass the Declaration of Trust and "correct" the original text by applying a "quick fix." There was no documentation, no paper trail, no unanimous vote by the Trustees. This impatient act of short-cutting of the appropriate processes eventually resulted in the 1967 default, and has been followed by increasing doubt and confusion among readers.

After Dr. Sadler's death, during the 1970's, the Foundation's original mission of preserving inviolate the original text of the Urantia Papers was supplanted by efforts to establish ownership of the text, ownership of the Banner of Michael, and ownership of the words "Urantia" and "Urantian." Secular enforcement of these claims was supported by alleged "secret mandates" that were never fully disclosed. Rumors surfaced that the last remaining "Contact Commissioner" reported that she was receiving "special messages" from Midwayers. Shortly after her death, Christy's heir-apparent, Vern Grimsley, also claimed to be in contact with celestial beings. More chaos and strife followed, and continues to divide the Urantia believers. And, in my judgment, nearly all of this cascading confusion has been the harvest of a single stupendous error: the taking of an expedient shortcut in an attempt to "correct" and make "perfect" The Urantia Book.

Most of us who believe the Urantia Papers belong to the people contend that there are no "secret messages" or special endowments to justify dishonoring the Declaration of Trust. We believe that the destruction of a substantial number of the plates in 1967 without the unanimous vote of the Trustees was a human error, and was not authorized by "Revelators" or "Midwayers." We do not believe the 92-year old Dr. Sadler had any part in or knowledge of the destruction of part of the Substantive Estate in 1967. We believe attempting to deny or cover-up the error has compounded it. In our judgment, the misguided actions of a few people have caused untold harm to the spiritual unity of the Urantia Movement. And we believe the fragmenting of the Urantia Movement stems, in large measure, from the false idea of ownership and the application of the unfounded proprietary and commercial "rights" of an entrenched few over a Revelation that in reality belongs to all of the people.

Entitled and special people

The fearful attitude of proprietorship leads to a second, and equally dangerous quality: entitlement. Entitlement, like proprietorship, is not wholly a political issue, but is also an issue of values. Entitlement attitudes affect all sides of the political struggles that are taking place to control the Urantia Papers themselves. The issue of presumed "entitlement" within the Urantia Movement reaches back into the mid-Sixties, perhaps even farther back than that. It may be that it began to energetically emerge as soon as the celestial personages signed off with the message: "You are now on your own." Surely that statement, which was freely circulated among the Sunday study group and the Seventy, was a clear appeal to all Urantians to take personal responsibility for the Revelation.

Yet, human nature does not readily embrace freedom and responsibility. The failure of previous epochal revelations have left marks upon our planet, and timid men and women generally wait for someone in "authority" to give them permission to perform:

"And men have always tended to venerate the leader, even at the expense of his teachings; to revere his personality, even though losing sight of the truths which he proclaimed. And this is not without reason; there is an instinctive longing in the heart of evolutionary man for help from above and beyond. This craving is designed to anticipate the appearance on earth of the Planetary Prince and the later Material Sons. On Urantia man has been deprived of these superhuman leaders and rulers, and therefore does he constantly seek to make good this loss by enshrouding his human leaders with legends pertaining to supernatural origins and miraculous careers." [1008, par.7]

The questions Urantians should answer are these: "Are there really entitled people who have a special relationship to the Urantia Papers? Are there really infallible human authorities on the Papers themselves? Is unique celestial guidance now being provided to an inner-circle of special people? Are celestial personages really talking through certain entitled people?" These questions are not directed solely to Urantia Foundation, nor to the "leaders," but rather to the broad movement itself. Each individual Urantian must confront these issues because the most wise and mature people have too often been shunted aside while the most aggressive and ruthless have assumed positions of leadership. Also, with modern technology, virtually anyone who can put up a web site can posture in the role of an "authority" on the Urantia Papers. A rule of thumb used by Clyde Bedell, Berkeley Elliott and other seasoned Urantians was: There has never been, nor will there ever be a human "authority" on the Urantia Papers.

Distortion of a Divine Revelation

While the editing team and I were still researching and working on completing this history, yet another new history was published. Birth of a Divine Revelation by Ernest Moyer seeks to put forward several notions within its 600 pages that are so bizarre they need no comment. However, the book also postulates that the Urantia Papers were corrupted by Dr. Sadler, a charge that strikes at the heart of the integrity of the Urantia Revelation, and which cannot remain unanswered.

Each individual has a right to his or her own ideas. However, there is a discipline that is traditionally required of a historian who claims to be presenting reasonable notions to the reader. Like some other efforts by Urantians to write histories, in Birth of a Divine Revelation Moyer mixes pure speculation, undocumented claims, and established facts carelessly and without informing the reader which is which. It is these flaws that make Moyer's Birth of a Divine Revelation more of a collection of curious artifacts and theories than a serious historical work. Mr. Moyer attempts to degrade the personal experience and contributions of Dr. Meredith Sprunger -- and he seeks to cast doubt upon the personal integrity and professional competence of Dr. Sadler. To support his attacks, he uses sources such as Martin Gardner, Harold Sherman and H
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