CHAPTER 19  

A HISTORY -- PART II

 

FUNCTIONING OF THE CONTACT COMMISSIONERS(1)

During these early years the Contact Commissioners received many communications and directives in writing(2). Almost all of these messages had a notation at the bottom of the page which read: "To be destroyed by fire not later than the appearance of The Urantia Papers in print." It was the design of our unseen friends to prevent the appearance of "Urantia Apocrypha" subsequent to the publication of the Urantia Book.

 

All of this was encouraging to us in that it assured us that The Urantia Papers would some time be published. It sustained our hopes throughout the long waiting years of delay.

 

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 entertain the belief that the Book would be published during the lifetime of some of us.

The Commissioners were the custodians of the Urantia manuscript, keeping the carbon copy of the typewritten manuscript in a fireproof vault. They were also charged with the full responsibility of supervising all the details connected with the publication of the Book, securing the international copyright, etc.

 

We were enjoined to refrain from discussing the identity of the Contact Personality and, after the publication of the Book, to make no statement at any time as to whether the "subject" was still living or was deceased(3).
 

1. This was a major section, added as part of the expanded version.

2. This again confirms the suggestion that all communications with the Contact Commission were in writing, and not oral.

3. Once again, care must be taken to not confuse the "Sleeping Subject," who is here identified as the "Contact Personality," with the actual "Contact Personality."

 

 

Page 7:

IV.

THE SEVENTY

In 1939, it appeared that the time had come to form a class to engage in the more serious and systematic study of The Urantia Papers. This project was presented to the Forum and when those who wished to join such a group were counted, it was found that just 70 persons desired to enter upon this study. So for several years, this class was referred to as "The Seventy." for several years preceding the formations of the Seventy an informal study group had been meeting on Wednesday evenings. {Most of them chose to be new members of the 70.} The Seventy started a systematic study of the Urantia papers on April 5, 1939. The group was reorganized in a more formal way in September, 1943, but it continued to be known as the Seventy and the study of the papers continued to the summer of 1956. This was the forerunner of the later Urantia Brotherhood School.

During these years the Seventy enrolled 107 students.

 

EXPANDED VERSION
In 1939, some of us thought the time had come when we should form a class to engage in the more serious and systematic study of The Urantia Papers. This project was presented to the Forum and when those who wished to join such a group were counted, it was found that just 70 persons desired to enter upon this study. So for several years, this class was referred to as "The Seventy." Two or three years preceding the formation of the Seventy an informal study group had been meeting on Wednesday evenings(4).

The Seventy started systematic study of The Urantia Papers from April 3, 1939 to the summer of 1956, and was the forerunner of the later "School of the Urantia Brotherhood."

During these years the Seventy enrolled 107 students.

The Seventy carried on its work of study, thesis writing, and practice of teaching for 17 years. During this period eight written communications were given to the Seventy by the Seraphim of Progress attached to the Superhuman Planetary Government of Urantia.
 

4. This would place the beginning of the informal study group at about 1936, or one year after the final revelation. This period is important to understand Sadler's conversion from attempts to explain the Revelation as a production requiring SS, and a miracle where SS was not needed.

 

Page 8:

V.

THE PUBLICATION MANDATE

When permission to publish the Urantia papers was granted, the revelator commission stated that they regarded the Urantia Book as a feature of the progressive evolution of human society; that it was not germane to the spectacular episodes of epochal revolution, even though it may apparently be timed to appear in the wake of one such revolution in human society. {A revolution does not necessarily mean violence and catastrophe. Remember the industrial rev.} The book belongs to the era immediately to follow the conclusion of the present ideological struggle. That will be the day when men will be willing to seek truth and righteousness. When the chaos of the present confusion has passed, it will be more readily possible to formulate the cosmos {cosmology} of a new and improved era of human relationships. And it was for this better order of affairs on earth that the book was being made ready(5).

They further stated that the publication of the book was not being postponed to that (possibly) somewhat remote date. An early publication of the book was being provided so that it might be in hand for the training of leaders and teachers. Its

presence is also required to engage the attention of persons of means who may be thus led to provide funds for translation into other languages.

Upon the receipt of the publication mandate {Accordance with the instructions}(6) the contact commissioners brought into existence the Ur. Foundation which entered upon the task of publishing the Urantia Book and of planning for its distribution.

5. This statement is part of the final instructions Sadler received for publication of the Papers. Thus it can be dated to the early 1950's.   This instruction was instrumental in conditioning activities for formation of study groups and related Brotherhood activities.  It thus set the future of the Urantia community.  Refer to my discussions in the Letter to Bobbie Dreier, and other places.  Refer to more detailed version below.

6. In the margin next to this editorial change occur the initials WSSJ.

 

EXPANDED VERSION
At long last, permission to publish The Urantia Papers was granted. The introduction to this mandate reads:  
 
"We regard the Urantia Book as a feature of the progressive evolution of human society. It is not germane to the spectacular episodes of epochal revolution, even though it may apparently be timed to appear in the wake of one such revolution in human society. The Book belongs to the era immediately to follow the conclusion of the present ideological struggle. That will be the day when men will be willing to seek truth and righteousness. When the chaos of the present confusion has passed, it will be more readily possible to formulate the cosmos of a new and improved era of human relationships. And it is for this better order of affairs on earth that the book has been made ready.

"But the publication of the book has not been postponed to that (possibly) somewhat remote date. An early publication of the book has been provided so that it may be in hand for the training of leaders and teachers. Its presence is also required to engage the attention of persons of means who may be thus led to provide funds for translation into other languages(7)."

Upon receipt of these instructions, the Contact Commissioners entered upon the task of publishing the Urantia Book and preparation of plans for distribution.

The Papers were published just as we received them. The Contact Commissioners had no editorial authority. Our job was limited to "spelling, capitalization, and punctuation(8)."

Before the demise of Dr. Lena K. Sadler in August, 1939 she had collected about twenty thousand dollars for the publication fund, and this was used to set type and prepare plates for the printing of the Book.
 

7. This quotation is taken directly from the last written communication, and is found in other versions, including an edited version published by Martin Myers, one-time President of the Urantia Foundation, and an apocryphal version published by Mark Kulieke, son of a Forum member who was a key figure in Foundation and Brotherhood activities after publication of the Papers.

8. The actual words were not altered. However, the written communications and actual revelation appeared without punctuation or spelling. This technique was employed by the celestial Revelators to force more thorough care in the handling of the Revelation. Unfortunately, human mistakes were made. Refer to my paper on Text Changes in The Urantia Papers.

 

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VI.

THE URANTIA FOUNDATION

The plates of the Urantia Book which had been previously made constituted the basis for the creation of the Urantia Foundation by a Declaration of Trust under the laws of the State of Illinois, dated January 11, 1950. This is a non-profit organization.

One of the objects for which the Foundation was created was to perpetually preserve inviolate the text of the Urantia Book and to disseminate the principles, teachings, and doctrines {denotes theological tradition. The U.B. seems to me to avoid using this word(9)} of the Urantia Book.

When an appeal was made to the Forum for funds to cover the expense of printing the first 10,000 copies, the response was immediate. The sum contributed was in excess of $49,000.

With the Urantia Foundation acting as publisher, the Urantia Book was published under the international copyright October 12, 1955.(10)
 

9. The authorship of this note is unknown. It probably was William Sadler, Jr., since Sadler uses the word "doctrine" other places. The Urantia Papers use the word "doctrine" only when referring to human theories and beliefs, never as description of the teachings within the Papers.

10. A note in a different hand at the bottom of the page reads: R. R. Donnelley and Sons Co, Crawfordsville, IN plant.

 

EXPANDED VERSION
It was these plates of the Urantia Book which constituted the basis for the formulation of the Urantia Foundation. This Foundation, set up under the laws of Illinois, was completed on January 11, 1950. The first Board of Trustees were: William K. Hales, President; William S. Sadler, Jr., Vice President; Emma L. Christensen, Secretary; Wilfred C. Kellogg, Treasurer; and Edith Cook, Assistant Secretary.

It was learned that one of the wealthy members of the Forum desired to contribute fifty thousand dollars for the publication of the Book. By instruction, this was circumvented, because, they told us, it was best to give all parties concerned an opportunity to contribute to the publication fund(11).

Accordingly, an appeal was made for $50,000.00 to defray the expense of printing ten thousand copies. The response was

 immediate. The sum contributed was in excess of forty-nine thousand dollars. The first money to reach the Foundation office was one thousand dollars from the late Sir Hubert Wilkens, the Arctic Explorer.

The Book was published under international copyright October, 12, 1955.

11. The Hales family, with their wealth, would assuredly have been involved in this offer. The purpose for rejection of their offer should be apparent to all thinking mortals. The Urantia Papers were not to be unduly influenced by any one person, or small group of persons, based on monetary power, or social position.

 

Page 10 - 12:

VII.

THE URANTIA BROTHERHOOD

It was inevitable that some sort of fraternal organization would grow out of the teachings of the Urantia Book. However, it was clear that it was not the purpose of the Urantia revelation to start a new church.

Accordingly, on January 2, 1955, a group of persons who believed the teachings of the book and who were interested in their proclamation, assembled in Chicago and completed the organization of the Urantia Brotherhood, a voluntary and fraternal organization of Urantia believers. This group of 36 composed the charter membership of the Urantia Brotherhood.

The purpose of the Brotherhood is well expressed in the preamble to the constitution as follows:  

"Inasmuch as it is our most solemn conviction that the comfort, happiness, and well-being of man will be enhanced by the creation of an organization devoted to the purposes hereinafter expressed, and inasmuch as it is our considered judgment that the purposes hereinafter expressed may best be accomplished through the mutual assistance and association of a body of people working together for a common cause, we do hereby unite together as a voluntary association and fellowship under the name of Urantia Brotherhood, and we do hereby adopt and establish this constitution of the Urantia Brotherhood."

The General Council, the original 36 organizers of the Brotherhood and their successors, was to direct the organization for the first nine years. Thereafter, the Brotherhood will be governed by the action of a Triennial Delegate Assembly composed of delegates from the various Urantia Societies.

The Departmental Committees of the Brotherhood are:

Judicial Committee
Charter Committee
Fraternal Relations Committee
Domestic Extension Committee

Foreign Extension Committee

Publications Committee
Finance Committee
Committee on Miscellaneous Activities

The chairmen of the committees, together with the Brotherhood officers, constitute the Executive Committee of the Brotherhood.

When ten or more persons who are familiar with, and believe in, the teachings of the Urantia Book so desire, they may be chartered as a Urantia Society. Membership in any church or fraternal organization does not interfere with becoming a member of a Urantia Society. Several local societies have been formed throughout the United States and the Brotherhood is fostering many study groups which will eventually develop into local societies.

Two Field Representatives have been appointed to act as liaisons between the Executive Committee and the local societies and study groups.

In accordance with Section 3 of Article 13 of the constitution, the Van Award has been established. This provision of the constitution reads:  

"If, in the opinion of the Executive Committee, any member of Urantia Brotherhood shall perform or render some unusual, extraordinary, or distinguished service, the Executive Committee shall present to the General Council the name of such member with the recommendation that a suitable award or citation in recognition thereof be given. Upon the presentation of such recommendation, the General Council, by unanimous vote of all Councilors present at any duly constituted meeting, may give or confer on such member such award or citation in recognition of the unusual, extraordinary, or distinguished service of such member as the General Council may deem fitting and appropriate."

On January 25, 1959, the first Van Award was made.

 

EXPANDED VERSION
It was inevitable that some sort of fraternal organization would grow out of the teachings of the Urantia Book. All interested persons could see that the Urantia teachings were opposed to the sectarianism of Christian believers. It was clear that it was not the purpose of the Urantia revelation to start a new church.

Accordingly, on January 2, 1955, a group of persons who believed the teachings of the book and who were interested in their proclamation, assembled in Chicago and completed the organization of the Urantia Brotherhood, a voluntary and fraternal organization of Urantia believers. This group composed the charter membership of the Urantia Brotherhood, and were 36 in number.

A Constitution and By-laws were adopted, and since that date numerous Societies have been formed throughout the United States.

When ten or more persons who are familiar with, and believe in, the teachings of the Urantia Book so desire they may be chartered as a Urantia Society. Membership in any church or fraternal organization does not interfere with becoming a member of a Urantia Society.

The original organizers of the Brotherhood and their successors were to direct the organization for the first nine years. Thereafter, the Brotherhood would be ordered by the action of the Triennial Delegate Assembly composed of delegates from the various Urantia Societies.

The Departmental Committees of the Brotherhood are:

Judicial Committee
Charter Committee
Fraternal Relations Committee
Domestic Extension Committee

Foreign Extension Committee
Committee on Education
Publications Committee
Finance Committee
Committee on Miscellaneous Activities

The chairmen of the committees, together with the Brotherhood officers, constitute the Executive Committee of the Brotherhood.

The all-over purpose of the Brotherhood is well expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution.  

"Inasmuch as it is our most solemn conviction that the comfort, happiness, and well-being of man will be enhanced by the creation of an organization devoted to the purposes hereinafter expressed, and inasmuch as it is our considered judgment that the purposes hereinafter expressed may best be accomplished through the mutual assistance and association of a body of people working together for a common cause, we do hereby unite together as a voluntary association and fellowship under the name of Urantia Brotherhood, and we do hereby adopt and establish this constitution of the Urantia Brotherhood."

The original 36 organizers became the General Council, which was designed to govern the Brotherhood for its first nine years.

The First Urantia Society of Chicago was organized and granted Charter No. 1 on June 17, 1956. The Society had 34 Charter Members. The present membership of the First Society in 142.

 

Activities Of Urantia Brotherhood
In co-operation with the Urantia Foundation, the Brotherhood is just now interested in the completion of the Index of the Urantia Book -- in reality, a concordance. Its publication is hoped for in 1961.

We are all interested in the progress of the French translation which is in final review and may be published late in 1961 or early 1962.

The Brotherhood recently completed the formulation of a "Funeral Service" consisting of Scriptural passages and appropriate selections from the Urantia Book.

The Brotherhood sponsors a Quarterly News Letter which the Executive Committee sends to all Urantia Societies and other interested persons.

The Brotherhood fosters many study groups scattered throughout the United States and in foreign countries. Eventually, most of these study groups will develop into Urantia Societies.

During the last year two Field Representatives have been appointed to foster the individual Urantia Societies and pay them visits periodically.

In December, 1959, the Internal Revenue Bureau of the United States government ruled that the Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Brotherhood, and the Urantia Brotherhood Corporation were exempt from paying income taxes, and that any and all contributions made to these organizations are deductible from the income taxes of such donors.

The Van Award. Section Three of Article Thirteen of the Constitution of the Urantia Brotherhood reads:

"If, in the opinion of the Executive Committee, any member of Urantia Brotherhood shall perform or render some unusual, extraordinary, or distinguished service, the Executive Committee shall present to the General Council the name of such member with the recommendation that a suitable award or citation in recognition thereof be given. Upon the presentation of such recommendation, the General Council, by unanimous vote of all Councilors present at any duly constituted meeting, may give or confer on such member such award or citation in recognition of the unusual, extraordinary, or distinguished service of such member as the General Council may deem fitting and appropriate."

On January 25, 1959, the first award under this Constitutional provision was made to the President of the Urantia Brotherhood School.

The reason for denominating this "The Van Award" is recited in the declaration of the award, and reads as follows:  

"The spiritual insight and moral steadfastness which enabled Van to maintain such an unshakable attitude of loyalty to the universe government was the product of clear thinking, wise reasoning, logical judgment, sincere motivations, unselfish purpose, intelligent loyalty, experiential memory, disciplined character, and the unquestioning dedication of his personality to the doing of the will of the Father in Paradise."

The conclusion of the award says: "In honor of his many years of devoted and distinguished service in behalf of the Urantia movement."

 

Distribution Of The Urantia Book(12)
At the time of the publication of the Urantia Book we were given many suggestions respecting the methods we should employ in the work of its distribution. These instructions may be summarized as follows:

1. Study the methods employed by Jesus in introducing his work on earth. Note how quietly he worked at first -- so often after even a miracle, he would admonish the recipient of his ministry, saying, "Tell no man what has happened to you."

2. We were advised to avoid all efforts to achieve early and spectacular recognition.

3. During the first five years, these methods have been adhered to. The distribution increases yearly. At present, more than fifty book stores, from coast to coast, carry the Book.

The vast majority of the Brotherhood have concurred in this sort of quiet and gradual presentation of the Book. Only a few individuals have exhibited some restlessness and craving for aggressive plans for increased distribution.

One thing should be made clear: Nothing is done to interfere with the energetic and enthusiastic efforts of any individual to introduce the Urantia Book to his varied contacts and human associates(13).  

12. This section appears last in the shorter version. See below.

13. The methods by which The Urantia Papers were to be spread into the world was a major bone of contention among different parties. Later events took place to alter this view.

 

Page 12:

VIII.

URANTIA BROTHERHOOD CORPORATION

Since the Urantia Brotherhood is not a corporation -- a legal entity -- the Urantia Brotherhood Corporation was formed on October 21, 1955(14), under the laws of the State of Illinois, designed to provide for corporations not for profit, to serve as the legal arm of the fraternal and voluntary association of the Urantia Brotherhood.

This corporation is the fiscal agent of the Brotherhood and in a general way takes care of the varied financial and legal interests of the Brotherhood.

(15)In December 1959, the Internal Revenue Bureau of the United States government ruled that the Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Brotherhood, and the Urantia Brotherhood Corporation were exempt from paying income taxes, and that any and all contributions made to these organizations are deductible from the income tax of such donors.  

14. This phrase is not contained in the expanded version.

15. This paragraph was moved to the earlier section of the expanded version, as shown.

 

Page 13:

IX.

URANTIA BROTHERHOOD SCHOOL

Among the early activities of the Brotherhood was the organization of the School of the Brotherhood, which began its first session in September, 1956. The highest degree granted is that of "Ordained Teacher." A shorter course of study leads to the degree of "Certified Leader."

The school is conducted by the Committee on Education. Many textbooks have been prepared for use in the school and for use by a future correspondence school which will no doubt materialize as the Urantia Book continues to be distributed throughout the world. These textbooks cover, among other subjects, theology of the Urantia Book, the teachings of Jesus, worship and wisdom, science in the Urantia Book and topical studies. Other texts are in preparation.

At this writing, only part-time evening classes are being provided.

The curriculum embraces courses in the following subjects:

Technique of Public Speaking
Leadership and Teaching
Comparative Religion
Educational Psychology
Christian Sects and Denominations
Old and New Testament History
Organization of the Urantia Book
Studies in the Urantia Book:
Urantia Doctrine
Synthetic Studies
Topical Studies
Life of Jesus
Worship and Wisdom
Short Course in Doctrine
Comparison with the Four Gospels
Science in the Urantia Book
Critical Analysis

Up to this time no degrees of "Ordained Teacher" have been granted, but diplomas as "Certified Leader" have been given to 14 individuals.

EXPANDED VERSION
Among the early activities of the Brotherhood was the organization of the School of the Brotherhood, which began its first session in September, 1956. The degree granted after three years of training is that of "Ordained Teacher." A shorter course of study leads to the status of "Certified Leader."

The school is conducted by the Committee on Education. Many textbooks have been prepared for use in the school and for use by a future Correspondence School which will no doubt materialize as the Urantia Book continues to be distributed throughout the world. These textbooks cover, among other subjects, theology of the Urantia Book, the teachings of Jesus, worship and wisdom, science in the Urantia Book and topical studies. Other texts are in preparation.

The following textbooks have been prepared:

The Theology of the Urantia Book, Part I.
The Theology of the Urantia Book, Part II.
The Theology of the Urantia Book, Part III.
The Theology of the Urantia Book, Part IV.
The Teachings of Jesus.
The Short Course in Doctrine.
Worship and Wisdom.
Science in the Urantia Book, Vol. I.
Science in the Urantia Book, Vol. I.
Topical Studies, Vol. I.
Topical Studies, Vol. I.

In Preparation

The Urantia Book and the New Testament.
Analytic Studies in Part I.
Analytic Studies in Part II.
Diagrams and Maps.

The course of study is planned to cover a three years' seminary education. At present, only part time work is provided at evening sessions.

The curriculum embraces courses in the following subjects:

Technique of Public Speaking
Leadership and Teaching
Comparative Religion
Educational Psychology
Christian Sects and Denominations
Old and New Testament History
Presentation of the Urantia Book
Studies in the Urantia Book:
Urantia Doctrine
Synthetic Studies
Topical Studies
Life of Christ
Worship and Wisdom
Short Course in Doctrine
Comparison with the Four Gospels
Science in the Urantia Book
Critical Analysis

As yet no degrees of "Ordained Teacher" have been granted, but diplomas as "Certified Leader" have been given to 14 individuals.

The number of registered students taking credit courses has averaged about thirty. A like number of "auditors" attend the classes.

 

Page 14:

X.

DISTRIBUTION OF THE URANTIA BOOK

At the time of the publication of the Urantia Book suggestions were given by the revelators respecting the methods to be employed in the work of its distribution. These instructions may be summarized as follows:

1. Study the methods employed by Jesus in introducing his work on earth. Note how quietly he worked at first -- very often after a miracle, he would admonish the recipient of his ministry, saying: "Tell no man what has happened to you."

2. It was suggested that we avoid all efforts to achieve early and spectacular recognition.

During the first five years these suggestions have been followed and the distribution increases yearly. The vast majority of the Brotherhood have concurred in this sort of quiet and gradual presentation of the book. However, one thing should be made clear: While it is the policy of the Brotherhood to work slowly in the distribution of the book, nothing is done to interfere with the energetic and enthusiastic efforts of any individual to introduce the Urantia Book to his friends and associates.
 

16. The plans expressed in these latter sections, while detailing early efforts to establish a "Urantia Movement," eventually failed.  The schools, the credentials issued for 'teachers,' the theological documents, the awards, and so on, did not mature.  All were soon abandoned.