Revelation: Its Spiritual Wisdom and Commercial Logic
In the brief history since the initial reception and subsequent publication of the URANTIA Papers, one issue has consistently attracted the attention of many readers. The issue is whether the commercial motive of humans might supercede the spiritual wisdom of the revelators, who intrusted these Papers to human care. Even before the Papers were published, a few readers advocated modern merchandising techniques to achieve rapid and widespread dissemination of the book. This approach is still advocated today and contrasts with the personal approach recommended by the early leaders and supported by the present Board and all past Boards of Trustees.
The URANTIA Papers, presented in their entirety, are a work of linguistic art, requiring the skills of many who were not named as authors. It is they who undertook the task of organizing into a unified text, the different works of a vast assemblage of beings from various ranks of universe citizenship. Even the sequencing of the papers was a labor of love. By revealing that which is infinite, eternal, and divine in the first parts of the book, the revelators lead us down the path of spiritual wisdom (p. 215, par. 2). However, the more natural human approach to the study of reality is just the reverse. This is the reason that quite often persons approach, or recommend that others approach, the perusal of the book starting with the beautiful narrative of the Master's terrestrial life and teachings. This may be the human way, the path to genetic knowledge, as the book describes it, but it is not the path to spiritual wisdom. The Foundation's position is that the publication of Part IV as a separate volume is fraught with the great danger of succumbing to the error of the circumscribed viewpoint, to the evil inherent in a segmentalized conceition of reality and divinity (p. 215, par. 1)—not to mention the fallacy of abstraction (p. 42, par. 6).
We accept that the conventional wisdom of commerce would probably support the publication of Part IV as a separate volume as a way to sell more books. But the task of merely selling larger quantities of the book is not one to which we are primarily called. This is but a mechanical process, whereas the experience of personal transformation by the truth revealed in the book is our primary spiritual task. Here, as always, if we seek first the higher and greater goal, the lesser will often be found therein.
There is always a best and right way to do things . . . (p. 280, par. 5) which implies that there are other ways to do things. We believe that the "best and right way" to make the book available is as a whole, not broken into its parts or even smaller units. The Trustees believe, think, and feel that it is their sacred duty to preserve the text inviolate, which, to them, means that Parts I, II, III, and IV must remain together as one unit. We are talking about the wise, patient introduction of epochal revelation to hungry souls, to children of God.
The authors and sponsors of the URANTIA Papers have given the people of this planet a work of art that illuminates higher universe realities. They secured it against fragmentation and distortion by charging the Contact Commission and its successor, URANTIA Foundation, to obtain international copyrights.
Copyright protection and patient, person—to—person dissemination allows for the revelation to slowly take root in the souls, minds, and hearts of those who hunger and thirst for love and the source of all true love, for God himself. Such a method may not be the way of the world, but it is the way of our predecessors and, we believe, the revelators.
URANTIA Foundation was established as a means, and was intrusted with a responsibility to protect and disseminate the revelation. The dissemination of the book, the physical thing, is administered by URANTIA Foundation, while the dissemination of the teachings belongs in the realm of the personal ministry of individuals and fraternal groups. One is a commercial function, the other personal and spiritual. Discernment of this important distinction avoids the conflict which would otherwise ensue upon the elevation of the material fact of this revelation over the truth it reveals. Such a folly would result in a mere religion about the book, with the faith of such devotees being measured by the number of copies each had sold (or given away.)
The promise of this dispensation requires our moving into deeper spiritual waters. Each of us must choose: Will we betray or will we honor the trust and confidence placed in us by the midway commission? Will we put greater trust in our own commercial logic or the spiritual wisdom of those who intrusted the Papers to us?
We are confident that we shall honor this trust. We are confident that we shall eschew the ways of our natural inclinations, which might lead us to become like so many who proclaim their particular revelation with zeal, while forgetting the truth revealed: that personality relationships, that friendship with God and with others is the one true end, and all else but a temporal means.
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