How The Devil Got Into 533 -- Part I

The following Internet post was sent to Ann Garner on Sunday, 23 May 1999. I offer it here as a brief summary of the personal difficulties I faced in coming to grips with the influence of Caligastia on a divine Revelation. I edited to remove private remarks, and to make it suitable for a larger audience.  The essential subject content is the same.




I shall give you background in order for you to recognize how events unfolded.


In the "History" document, which you may find on my web site, and other places, Sadler made two remarks that provide information on this puzzle.


"In a way, there was a third presentation. After receiving these 196 Papers, we were told that the "Revelatory Commission" would be pleased to have us go over the Papers once more and ask questions concerning the "Clarification of Concepts" and the "Removal of Ambiguities." This program again covered several years. During this period very little new information was imparted. Only minor changes were made in any of the Papers. Some matter was added -- some removed -- but there was little revision or amplification of the text." 

"What has just been recorded refers more particularly to Parts I, II, and III of the Urantia Book. Part IV -- The Jesus Papers -- had a little different origin. They were produced by a midwayer commission and were completed one year later than the other Papers. The first three parts were completed and certified to us in A. D. 1934. The Jesus Papers were not so delivered to us until 1935."


These two paragraphs appear together, in that sequence, under a section entitled "Receiving The Completed Papers."

The sequence of Sadler's paragraphs implied an order in time. However, if you examine these remarks you will find that they are in reverse order. That is, the first three Parts were completed and certified in 1934. The Jesus Papers came one year later.


Then, after the Papers "were complete and certified," a new regime took over. As Sadler said, "In a way . . ."


I hotly argued this problem with Matthew Block. I fully believed that the Revelation was exactly as Sadler said, "completed and certified" in 1934, and in 1935 for Part IV.


I was firmly opposed to any notion that changes took place with the Revelation after it was "completed and certified." I assumed that the order of Sadler's paragraphs described the time sequence correctly. Because the preceding paragraph stated that changes had been made to the 196 Papers, I further assumed that Sadler had not described events correctly, and that there were no 196 Papers during the Forum question and answer period that preceded the "completed and certified" Revelation. I based this conclusion on the fact that Part IV did not come until 1935. Therefore, 196 Papers did not exist during the Forum "question and answer" period prior to 1934. (Note that the Jesus Papers were not the result of questions and answers from the Forum. This is contrary to Sadler's statement about "No questions, no Papers.")


What really created a problem for me was Matthew's discovery that human sources published after 1935 were used as a base of presentation. Matthew believes changes had to take place in the text in order for those sources to be used. My alternative answer, in attempt to salvage Sadler's statements, was that the Revelators had "time anticipation." They knew before 1935 what human mortals would write after 1935. I was trying to avoid the fact that changes were made to the Papers after they were "completed and certified."

I now know my position was wrong. I simply was unwilling to admit that Sadler made changes to the Papers after 1935. I believed in his integrity, and that he would not meddle with the text. Matthew has forcibly emphasized with me on several occasions that Sadler did not make changes on his own, that he made changes under the command of celestial authority.


The question then devolved to "which authority?"


As a result of my continued investigation I came to recognize that changes did, indeed, take place, and that the "spiritual" authority did not derive from "good" sources.


My immediate reaction was one of personal appall. I was dismayed by the possibility.


But common sense righted itself. God had brought me back to him through the Revelation. I was not about to chuck it into the garbage. The nobility of concepts, and the transformation in the lives of many of us, are testimony to the power and worth of the Revelation. The Papers were designed for the next age of man; they will see their true fruitfulness in the coming centuries.


Some evidence for changes was already in the public domain. These were brought to our attention by Kristen Maaherra, and by Merritt Horn through the publications of the Fellowship. Before Sadler died in 1969 he made changes to the text to correct obvious contradictions. I analyzed these changes. You may find my analysis on my web site. We now know, from that evidence, that Sadler made changes to the text under his own authority.


The question then became one of "how much?" What other errors might exist as a result of that "false spiritual authority."


Substantial evidence exists for the post-1935 changes, other than Matthew Block's discoveries. However, to repeat, they did not begin until after Lena died in 1939.


Thus my pursuit of possible errors in the text. Just how much was the Revelation corrupted, can we define the extent of that corruption, and how might it impact on acceptance of the Revelation by the outside world?


Since evidence for changes to the text now exists in the public domain, we cannot hide that fact. Sooner or later someone will come along who will collect the facts, (other than Martin Gardner), to bring further challenge. We would be negligent fools to avoid the realities by sticking our heads under a bushel basket.


Thus my work.


Rather than provide a full description in this post, I will offer some suggestion of the results of my work.


I believe that many of the errors were made to simple changes in paragraphs. This is denoted by the change in dates to the paragraph on page 2041. This is also denoted by a phrase inserted into the text on P.1363 - §5. (Refer to following Chapters.)


But other, more substantial, corruptions altered the Revelation. As Sadler said, "Only minor changes were made in any of the Papers. Some matter was added -- some removed -- but there was little revision or amplification of the text." I have identified a section where matter was removed.


I hope this will enlighten you on the purpose of my work, and how God does work with those of us who are dedicated to him.




Matthew Block's work showed an inescapable fact: Human material published in 1942 served as a basis for presentation within The Urantia Papers after Sadler said they were "completed and certified" in 1935.


The Hartshorne list of absolute perfections was modified and heightened by the authors of the Papers. Hartshorne was one of the leading human philosophers of his day. But he did not arrive at the ennoblement of thought displayed in the Papers, nor did other human philosophers. That uplift in concept must have come from immortal sources.


In attempt to explain the Hartshorne concepts found in the Papers, we have four choices:


a) the Revelators instructed Sadler to make changes after 1935, or

b) some human mortal among the Contact Commission or Forum persuaded Sadler to alter that text to that noble expression, or

c) the Revelators knew beforehand that Hartshorne would give expression to those thoughts, and incorporated them into the Revelation before Hartshorne knew he would publish those ideas, or

d) the Devil inveigled himself into 533 and deceived Sadler into making changes after 1935.


I, for one, could not believe the Devil would incorporate the Hartshorne thought into the Revelation.  It gives us wider perspectives on God.  Knowing Sadler's personal integrity I would not accept that he found this statement in Hartshorne's publications and decided it was too worthy to not be included.  Such was Martin Gardner's position.  Therefore, I was left with options a) or c).


I asked Matthew, "How many sources did you discover which were published after 1935, and which served as a basis for presentation in the Papers." He replied, "Seven." I know three of those and investigated one other than the Hartshorne material. Solar Radiation and the State of the Atmosphere was published by Harlan Stetson in The Scientific Monthly in 1942. The article served as a basis for the presentation on the earth's atmosphere in Paper 58, Section 2. In fact, every sentence in 58:2 was borrowed from the Stetson article, (sometimes slightly modified), except for paragraph three, and a phrase in paragraph 4. A casual reader and hasty thinker, like Martin Gardner, would naturally assume that Sadler or one of his compatriots had lifted the article from Stetson in 1942 to "fill in space" in the Revelation.


Paragraph 3 states:

And yet some of the less imaginative of your mortal mechanists insist on viewing material creation and human evolution as an accident. The Urantia midwayers have assembled over fifty thousand facts of physics and chemistry which they deem to be incompatible with the laws of accidental chance, and which they contend unmistakably demonstrate the presence of intelligent purpose in the material creation. And all of this takes no account of their catalogue of more than one hundred thousand findings outside the domain of physics and chemistry which they maintain prove the presence of mind in the planning, creation, and maintenance of the material cosmos.


Again, I could not accept that Caligastia would place such thought into the Revelation, or that he would give the midwayers that much credit. While the text of the atmosphere Section is borrowed almost completely from Stetson, this insertion adds a component to elevate our thinking to more noble attitudes.  Caligastia's purpose is to disrupt and destroy, not to elevate and ennoble.


The other component in paragraph four is:

". . . more than two-score apparently accidental protective operations similar to the action of this unique ozone layer."


(Both of these non-mortal insertions were noted by Matthew Block in his preliminary 1997 document he used for presentations to Urantia groups.)


I illustrate this Stetson material because of the ease with which Sadler or one of his group could have borrowed from current human sources to shape the Revelation to their desires. Scientific material lends itself more easily than theological or philosophical discussions because of the precise expression of technical facts. Since the entire section of 58:2 is well-nigh direct borrowing from a human scientific source, that accusation could be laid against Sadler. But the non-mortal insertions deny such assignment.


Of course, the Stetson material might have been borrowed and edited by Sadler or someone else to make it suitable to the Revelation, with the two sections above moved from some other location, but such suggestion seems unreal.


How, then, if the Revelation was "completed and certified" in 1935, did post-1935 human material get into the Revelation?


Matthew Block and I had many heated debates over this issue. He believes that Sadler was under instruction from the Revelators to make these changes. But I denied such theory. I held that if Sadler was reliable in his statement about the Revelation being "completed and certified" in 1935 he would not have later made changes to the Revelation. If later changes were made he would not have said that it was "completed and certified" in 1935.


I went one step further. I cannot believe immortal beings would go around looking for "good" human sources, once their job is complete, and then ask human mortals to modify or change the "completed" revelation. I put it this way to Matthew:


"You mean to tell me that immortal beings had second thoughts about matters so important to human kind as divine revelations, then turned around and said to William Sadler, 'Now, wait a minute, Bill, we found this really wonderful human source and want you to incorporate it in the revelation.'?"


I could not go along with such nonsense. To admit such procedure would reduce eternal beings to purely human motivations, and weak ones at that. On the contrary, I could easily accept that Caligastia manipulated Sadler to incorporate post-1935 changes to the text.


But Sadler made a flat statement. Changes were made to the text after 1935 -- if we can take the statement literally: "After receiving these 196 Papers." Indeed, substantial evidence does exist that Sadler made changes to the Revelation after 1935. Although Matthew believes these changes were requested by the Revelators, I shall show that they were under the instigation of the Devil, and that Sadler thought he was dealing with the Revelators. Since both were physically invisible he could not tell the difference. He fell for the oldest trick in the world, one for which he was well equipped to reject, but which came to him in a form he did not recognize.


However, I also believe that post-1935 human material was incorporated into the Revelation -- before the Revelation was closed in 1935.  I believe the Revelators knew of the impending corruptions, and designed around it.  If they could anticipate human authors, they certainly could anticipate the hand of Caligastia.  They knew that Sadler would fall for the deception. And they inserted materials which would make all thinking mortals come to grips with these elements of the design. Sooner or later, as Matthew has demonstrated, someone would come along who would make those discoveries.  This is why I believe Matthew was used as a human agent for those discoveries.  It was important that the corruption elements come to the light of day, and that his work help point that way.  Then, when the further discovery of corruptions took place, the total design would come into better perspective.  And that is what this dissertation is all about.


Sadler should have recognized the hand of Caligastia. The Revelators "materialized" their actual final version of the Revelation. The later changes were made through Christy, and contact she had through her mind.  The process was Spirit Entry Into Human Mind, but Sadler never reached the insight to be wary of such phenomena.


We can discern how this took place by proceeding through the methods involved in the revelatory process.


From the beginning, formal Papers were presented only after questions were generated by the Forum.

"The following Sunday several hundred questions were brought in. We sorted through these questions, discarding duplicates, and in a general way, clarifying them. Shortly thereafter, the first Urantia Paper appeared in answer to these questions. From first to last, when the Papers appeared, the questions disappeared. 


"This was the procedure followed throughout the many years of the reception of The Urantia Papers. No questions -- no Papers." 


The first group of Papers numbered 57. We then received a communication suggesting that since we could now ask many and much more intelligent questions, the superhuman agencies and personalities responsible for transmitting the 57 Papers would engage to enlarge the revelation and to expand the Papers in accordance with our new questions. 


This was the plan: We would read a Paper on Sunday afternoon and the following Sunday the new questions would be presented. Again, these would be sorted, classified, (and duplicates eliminated). This program covered several years and ultimately resulted in the presentation of the 196 Papers as now found in the Urantia Book.


(Note here that Sadler is not accurate in his statement. The Jesus Papers were not the result of questions and answers by the Forum.)


Matthew then goes on to fix his final date for changes in 1942 from the following remark:

The last meeting of the Forum as a genetic assembly was held on May 31st, 1942. During 17 years of official existence the Forum attained a total membership of 486. (From) this date in 1942, the Forum continued as a study group to the time of the organization of the First Urantia Society (in 1956).


He believes that changes continued to the Revelation up to that date. He also believes that no human sources would be found after that date, and has not sought any.


Unfortunately, if the Revelators know time, before time event, they may have incorporated material from human sources published in 1948, or 1954 or 1965. We just do not know. I feel it unfortunate that Matthew takes the attitude that immortal beings cannot know future time. He has an uncanny ability at finding sources, while I personally lack the intuitions and the time to pursue that possibility.


It is my personal belief, based on the limited available evidence, that Sadler and the Forum members believed the Revelation was complete in 1935. Several remarks were made in the "History" document which would lead to that conclusion, other than the one quoted above.


Also, Robert Burton, a long time member of the Forum, in October 1975, published a brief document he called "How Evil Infected 533." As he stated: "The complete revelation was completed in 1935 and consisted of 196 Papers and its Foreword." Why would he make that statement if changes continued into 1942? Matthew responded to my objection by saying that the minor changes which took place after 1935 were not regarded as "changes" to the body of the Revelation, but as mere "corrections" or "refinements."


In making assessments of the circumstances we must keep in mind the labor to get through the entire Revelation by weekly meetings. With 196 Papers, and one paper a week, 196 weeks would require four full years, with no time allotted for summer vacations, or other break.  Even that schedule did not give much time to ponder the contents, especially when the Forum members were not allowed to take copies of the text away from 533. Thus we can see why 1939 is an important year. Four years were required for everyone to go completely through the Papers. Sadler noted the importance of that date:

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 formation 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. 


We should also keep in mind another important event. Lena died on August 8, 1939. Her stabilizing influence on Sadler, and on the conduct of the Forum, would have held until the time of her cancer illness. We have no direct evidence when her influence began to wane in 1939.

In a September letter in 1942 Harry Loose expressed his belief that "Something snapped with Dr. S before the death of his wife." In an October letter he further rails against Sadler for claiming he hypnotized the "instrument." He writes that Sadler should not have done so, because it would have been against the will of the "subject," and Sadler wasn't skilled in this area. He states that "It was Dr. Lena that kept Sadler balanced."


Harold Sherman offered this remark:

As we became acquainted with more and more Forum members, they confided that after the death of the doctor's wife, Dr. Ruth, they had noticed a growing tendency for the doctor to be irascible and adamant, whenever anyone associated with him showed indications of not conforming to his thoughts and ideas. They said he could be agreeable and even charming at times, until he felt himself to be crossed in any way or questioned about his conduct of the New Revelation affairs. We were to have ample evidence of this developing side of his nature as time when on. 


We should further keep in mind that after the Papers were "completed and certified" in 1935 a need for the Sleeping Subject no longer existed. He may have become completely passive, without further transmissions through him. Even more, if the Papers were directly "materialized" his role became unnecessary. (The possibility exists that the Papers were "materialized" in his apartment, thus to keep Sadler puzzled about their true origin.)


In addition we should keep in mind that World War II broke out at this time. This brought a sharp rise in tension for everyone in the world, including the United States, which was debating entry into the European conflict. By December, 1941, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, general social tensions were accentuated. This brought about a delay in the printing and publication of the Papers. Surely, Sadler and others asked, "After all these years when will we finally see publication?"


Altogether these elements, the lack of instructions and advice through the Sleeping Subject, the death of Lena, and the onset of World War II, introduced an entirely new environment into 533. Sadler and Christy, as the two key personalities, were now on their own in a way heretofore not experienced.


As a result, with considerable tension now conditioning the environment at 533, it was quite simple for Christy to seek help. All she had to do, with belief that celestial helpers were all around them, was sit down at her typewriter, and give her mind over to the "celestials."  All she had to do was say, "Please help us!"


She received help alright, but not of the kind she was looking for.


Early in 1942 another critical element was added to the watch care of Sadler and Christy. Harold Sherman appeared on the scene, and immediately sensed that something was happening to bring changes to the Revelation. From the correspondence between Loose and Sherman we have good evidence to show that Sadler was indeed making changes. Martin Gardner was quick to sense this, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that the entire Revelation was of human creation. For the benefit of this present evaluation it is helpful to mention that evidence.


As stated by Sherman about Loose:

In retrospect, he must have been aware of things that were happening to the manuscript in its preparation which was not going "according to plan" or as originally intended. What he may have thought that we or anyone could do about certain practices, which, if discovered, would need correction for protection of the integrity of the material, is likewise an open question. 


Sherman had the same concern we feel today. Why was Sadler altering the Revelation?


Sherman was so disturbed by this possibility, he wrote the following to Sadler:

Have you, by your attitude, altered or excluded any material or truth which should be in this New Revelation Book? 


You know, in your own mind and heart, the steps you have taken which have not been authorized by higher intelligences. You will have to answer for each one of these steps ... but there is still time for you to clear up much. 


It should hardly be necessary for me to remind you that, if any material intended for The New Revelation Book has been withheld or wrongly interpreted or purposely misunderstood or altered for personal or biased reasons, or because of a "closed mind" attitude -- you will be held responsible as trusted custodian for centuries yet to come. 


My only interest, as always, is in the purity, unadulterated genuineness, and complete authenticity of The New Revelation Book. I shall know, and others will know, if when it is published, any of the papers have been tampered with for any human reason whatsoever. 



(signed)Harold Sherman 


Clearly, Sadler was making alterations to the final Revelation. His actions raised questions about the integrity of the work, but Forum members accepted that process as merely an extension of the earlier exchange with celestial beings, before the final Revelation in 1935.


Sherman's forecast was not fully correct. Not until Merritt Horn and Kristen Maaherra published their studies of text changes between printings did we begin to get some insight into the problems Sadler created when he altered the text. Although the scientific contradictions were recognized in the early 1980's those problems were shuffled off onto "the science of the early twentieth century."


Sherman also made this remark:

 It must be said here that before Harry Loose passed on in the fall of 1943, he had sadly commented, in one of his last communications, that the Great Book, which he had originally recommended so highly, had been so altered because of mortal perversities and shortcoming that the project had become almost a total failure.


This remark by Sherman is extreme, reflecting his frustrations in persuading Sadler to alter the text to include "psychic materials."


Sherman did not glimpse the real source for the changes -- channeling by Christy. He thought Sadler was making the changes by his own authority. Had Sherman known the actual origin he would have been in a real dither. That would have confirmed his position that psychic phenomena were valid. But Sadler did not see it that way. Sadler thought he had a process ordained by celestial authorities, and continued to reject channeling by other individuals as either of subconscious origin, or as frauds.


Clearly, alterations were being made which did not sit well with Loose. He not only knew of the alterations; he denounced them. Sherman spoke of his concern and dilemma in continuing with the Forum, or of forsaking it:

Had it not been for our great and almost overwhelming interest in the New Revelation papers at the time, we would not have persisted. The interest of all Forum members had been heightened by the doctor's telling us in recent Forum sessions that we should be thinking and preparing for a time in the fall when he had been instructed to surrender his custodianship of the New Revelation project to the Forum. When this happened, we must assume the responsibility for financing, publication and distributions of The New Revelation Book. 


He had other evidence which suggested changes were being made:

One night we invited Cindy to our apartment as a dinner guest. During the evening we quite naturally discussed The New Revelation Book. I pointed out to her that when it would be published, people would wonder why no mention was made of telepathy or other psychic phenomena as a preparations for the existence of such powers in higher realms. Then came the "shocker." Cindy said she agreed with my contention, and since Sir Hubert Wilkins and I, as a result of our thought transference tests, had perhaps as much knowledge as anyone, why didn't we write a chapter explaining them. The doctor could submit our paper for consideration of the "higher ups," and if they okayed it, it could be inserted in the New Revelation Book! 


Cindy indicated that they would think about it, and the subject was dropped. But for Cindy to have made this suggestion clearly revealed humanly written insertions had been put in the manuscript, and later evidence came to light when member Floyd Winters one of Chicago's prominent businessmen, confronted the doctor with extensive almost word-for-word quotes from author Emery Reeves' well-known book, A Democratic Manifesto, which were contained in a New Revelation chapter. The explanation: Occasionally, when the intelligences dictating the New Revelation papers came across something expressed on a subject by a human, as well as they could express it, they authorized its inclusion.


As I indicated in an earlier chapter, Sherman's conclusions were unfounded. Christy often used such technique to deflect the interference of other people. As we now well know, human sources were used as a basis for presentation in the Papers, but at that time the evidence suggested that Sadler had plagiarized the work by Emery Reeves and had placed it in the Revelation.


Certainly, matters were far from clear.


Other evidence exists for changes after 1935.


Helen Carlson was sister to Leone Sadler, Bill Sadler's wife. Her husband died in 1935. At that time Leone invited her to live at 533, where she has remained until today. After the formation of the Urantia Brotherhood she became active in their office functions and as a keeper of records.


In the Foundation law suit against Kristen, Helen was asked to provide a deposition in which she was questioned about changes made to the Revelation. The date of the deposition was June 29, 1994.


Helen had come to knowledge of The Urantia Papers when her sister married Bill. In the deposition she stated that was in September, 1935, or about the time the Papers were "completed and certified." According to her testimony Forum meetings were held at 533 on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 or 3:00 PM in which Papers were read, with following discussion. Questions were then written on small slips of paper and placed in a large "fish bowl." These questions were addressed at the meeting on the following Sunday. According to her testimony changes were then made to the Revelation in response to the Forum question.


Helen made an important point about dates. She was asked:


"Can you give us any way of defining how many years after 1935 that the question process went on?


She answered:


"Well, I know it was long after 1939, and I would say a good ten years. I don't know. I know that it would be ten years."


Q: "After 1939?"


A: "Yes, after 1939."


Why was 1939 important to Helen? 1939 was the year of Lena's death. It was also the year in which changes began on the "completed and certified" Papers. Although Helen did not clearly remember the sequence of events, this year stuck in her mind.


We should discriminate between questions and answers through the "fish bowl" which led to changes in the Revelation, and questions and answers through the "fish bowl" which were asked by individuals for elucidation of the completed Revelation. When I attended the first formal Summer Study Session in 1968 the very same fish bowl was used. In the afternoon we were handed small slips of paper and told to write on those slips questions we might have concerning the Revelation. These were deposited in the fish bowl, and that evening the questions were answered. Helen's response must be understood in that light. Not only did she not remember the sequence of events clearly, she did not distinguish between the two different fish-bowl purposes. Therefore, she was not able to answer questions as to when changes in the Revelation ended, and when questions were asked merely for elucidation. This confusion shows in her deposition.


Thus we have three independent sources to show that changes were being made to the Revelation after 1935. The Matthew Block discoveries, the correspondence between Harry Loose and Harold Sherman, (and Sherman's independent remarks), and the Helen Carlson testimony under oath. Various anecdotal stories also suggest changes were being made, but these are not documented. One example is a remark Clyde Bedell made about an earlier text statement that "Nathan had a good sense of humor for a Jew." According to his story this remark was removed in the corrected text. Larry Mullins, who worked for Clyde for several years, believes that Clyde was referring to changes made after 1935.