Carolyn Kendall Speaks on History - Part I
New York City, July 27, 2003
Timing - It's All in the Timing Rising Leaders, Lifting Spirits, and Raising Money
BACKSTAGE - FEBRUARY 1924
Greetings: First, I would like to engage in a little role-playing.
The year is 1924. The month is early February. The Great War ended just a few years earlier. New nations are forming from the ashes of defeated countries. The world is at relative peace. The post-war population is beginning to search for meaning. Scientific and technological achievement is accelerating. The American economy is growing at a high pitch. Exploration of the planet has never been greater. The speaker is one who is in authority. He is addressing his associates:
"My dear friends, I have a momentous announcement to make. I am pleased to inform you that our mission is about to enter a new phase. I am gratified with the progress that the core group has made so far. We have subjected these personalities to every possible test over the past twenty years, and they have certainly employed every effort to ascertain by what authority we engage their cooperation! We are now satisfied that all of them are committed to working with us. They may not be perfect, but they are better qualified than any other group we could select! We are confident that this is the group who can carry forward our great experiment.
"Although the leader still has a few reservations, we are sure he will eventually come around to fully believing in us. He is a brilliant man of great versatility. He has devoted his life to cleansing society of charlatans and frauds, those who prey upon the weaknesses and gullibility of common people. All of the humans—contact commissioners—are loyal, disciplined, and diligent.
"Today I am authorizing the termination of contacts with both back-up groups. We won't need them any longer. We will go forward with the Chicago group. They have followed our suggestion and have gathered about themselves a group, known as the Forum, which will serve our purposes quite well. Their responsibility will be to ask questions, lots of questions, and then to review the material as we send it through. In time, others will join their group.
"The 400 years of planning the content of our message are almost over. We have been contemplating what we will reveal to them since the Middle Ages. That was the time of-the invention of the printing press, the Reformation, and the discovery of America.
"As for the sleeping human subject, he is the perfect individual to participate in this project. He has no curiosity about what is transpiring; his mind and his body are not affected in the least. He is content to remain in the background and he seeks no notoriety. We are setting all manner of safeguards into effect to ensure that there will be no relics to complicate the legacy of the revelation. No one will know his name nor what he looks like. He will leave no papers, no writing, and no fingerprints, just as was the case with our Master when he walked the earth. The techniques employed by the midwayers and the Thought Adjuster will remain secret, and there will be no magic tricks.
"The twenty years of testing will soon end. Next week, on February 11, we will make the announcement to our human associates, the members of the contact group. We anticipate that the development period will require just over ten years, until about 1935. We are still awaiting word from higher authority about the inclusion of the full story of our Master Son's bestowal on Urantia. Ifwe receive permission, the finishing touches will take another five or six years, and then publication will occur in the early 1940s. However, in case of war or unforeseen political crisis on the planet, publication can be delayed a few more years. The science might become a little out of date, but the basic spiritual revelation will be good for at least a thousand years. Nevertheless, we, and we alone, will tell them when it is time to publish the book!
"Any delay could work in our favor, however, to develop the leadership base of the eventual Urantia movement. Once the book is published, they will begin establishing thousands of study groups, training additional leaders and teachers around the world, and raising money for translations into many languages.
"Looking ahead, I anticipate that the most difficult thing for these humans will be to work together once they establish their organizations. And they must have organization, even a minimal structure. There could be a tendency to overorganize. Unfortunately, not in nineteen hundred years will there be anything about which there will be so much confusion and competition for control as there will be about The Urantia Book. Eventually, we hope they will learn that duplication of function merely confuses people and reduces the resources necessary to carry out their important work.
"Let us hope that the human believers never lose sight of the high purpose of this revelation, which is first and foremost, to save souls; second, to prepare the planet for the termination and adjudication of the Bestowal Son Age, and lastly, to foster evolutionary growth in anticipation of the arrival of the next order of Sonship.
"And we, as overseers of this great mission, must remember to honor the divine plan for this revelation. Many of our predecessors fell into default and betrayal because they became blind to the dangers of impatience and sophistry. The divine plan follows a consistent pattern:
Evolution is up-stepped by revelation that is imparted by evolutionary techniques that are built upon existing foundations and allowed to develop naturally.
"We estimate that the Urantia revelation will be ready to blend with evolutionary culture some time in the Twenty-first Century, when the world tires of war and chaos and is ready to settle down to a search for righteousness. This will come when the vast majority of the world's population desires peace."
One of the great treasures of the early Urantia movement was its leadership. Persons of outstanding character took initiative, made decisions and assumed amazing responsibilities.
Dr. William S Sadler was the leader of the contact commission, the group chosen to receive the Fifth Epochal Revelation. My late husband, Tom Kendall once remarked, not disparagingly, that Dr. Sadler had a "great-man complex." He was not a small-minded personality; he had originated great ideas and accomplished great things. Sadler started out as a cereal salesman in Battle Creek, Michigan. He went on to become an ordained minister, a Bible scholar, a detective, a physician, a surgeon, a great orator on the Chautauqua circuit, a psychiatrist, a professor of pastoral psychology at a theological seminary, a popularizer of health issues in periodicals, and an author of 42 books. He didn't waste time on small talk, except for one thing: he was a Chicago Cubs baseball fan, and he never missed listening to a game on the - radio.
He was the best storyteller I ever knew. When he spoke to a group in the Forum or addressed a summer workshop, he could take the roof off the buildingwhen his engines were going full steam. Unfortunately, the only known collection of tape recordings of Doctor Sadler deliver ing a series of lectures burned up in a fire in Phoenix in 2002.
I had the privilege of knowing him during the last 17 years of his life, from 1951 until his death in 1969. I worked for him for two and a half years in the early 1950s. Many patients suffering from depression came into the office with their chins on their chests, and after spending an hour listening to his inspirational counselling, left the office walking on air. He lifted their spirits just by doing as Jesus had done when delivering the rousers to the young man who was afraid, on the island of Crete.
Lena Celestia Kellogg was a registered nurse when she married William Sadler in 1897. After the death of their infant son, she announced to her husband that she was going to study medicine. He decided to join her, and he got a job with the Pinkerton Detective Agency to finance their way through medical school. He was so successful as a detective that Pinkerton's offered him a piece of the business if he would stay on with the agency after he graduated. He declined the offer, and put his wife in charge of their new medical office while he went off to England to study surgery. Dr. Sadler claimed to have performed the first operation using a foreign object to knit two broken bones together. When he heard about Sigmund Freud, he went to Vienna, and with Alfred Adler and Carl Jung, became one of Freud's early disciples. Sadler was the first to reject many of Freud's theories, however, which didn't endear him to his former mentor. I used to see letters in the files from Jung and Anna Freud—but none from her father.
Doctor Lena was a firebrand, a lecturer and writer on causes dear to her heart. She was an activist in women's health issues. She advocated birth control and promoted eugenics. Lena Sadler was the earliest believer in the reality of the phenomenon that eventually produced the Urantia Papers. Her husband was suspicious—he felt he had been burned by Ellen White and her so-called messages. He had gained a reputation as an investigator and debunker of fake mediums and of psychic phenomena. He held out until the paper on the Twelve Apostles came in 1935. By that time he was a practicing psychiatrist, and concluded that no human writer could get inside the minds of those twelve men, so he capitulated and believed ever after.
Through all the years, between the early 1900s and 1935, the Sadlers faithfully fostered the growth and development of the human phase of the revelation-Lena, who was a believer, and William who was a doubter. Before she died in 1939, Lena Sadler collected $20,000 for a fund to set type and manufacture plates that eventually printed The Urantia Book.
The Sadlers had other associates who served as contact commissioners. Lena's sister, Anna Bell Kellogg, was a spunky, decisive, determined individual, with twinkling eyes. She was also a registered nurse, and was crisp, professional and the cutest little woman one could ever imagine. Anna remained faithful to her pledge of secrecy, never divulging any information surrounding the origin of the Urantia Papers. She worked on the Index to The Urantia Book for the last 15 years of her life.
Anna's husband, Wilfred Custer Kellogg, was the business manager for Dr. Sadler's medical practice, doing the bookkeeping and billing. He was a timid, nervous little man who never thought outside the box. He was not an imaginative, nor a creative person. At first I wondered what qualities he had brought to the contact group. But as I came to know and love him, I realized how loyal and dependable he was. He was the "hands and feet" of the contact commission. The Sadlers could not have gotten along withouthis long and faithful service.
Dr. Sadler told me, not long after Anna Kellogg died, that she had received a small inheritance from a Kellogg trust in Battle Creek. Mr. Kellogg had very little money to leave his wife. Her will stipulated that after her last expenses were paid, the "residue" was to go to Urantia Foundation. The Doctor said they were amazed to learn that the so-called "residue" amounted to $20,000. This was enough to pay the balance of the printing of the French translation, La Cosmogonie d'Urantia. She never suspected she had that much money, he said.
When the original contact group needed a secretary in 1922, the revelators found and brought to them a tall, imperious, no-nonsense woman named Emma Louise Christensen. Christy would eventually type the entire book from three to five times on an upright manual typewriter while holding a full time job as manager at the Chicago Federal Reserve. When I worked at 533 Diversey, in Chicago, I was 19 to 22 years old, and frankly, I felt intimidated by Christy. She was firm, decisive and singleminded. Christy had not only been a contact commissioner, she would later become a Trustee of Urantia Foundation and vice president and president of Urantia Brotherhood. She lived for 13 years after the death of Dr. Sadler, the leader of the original contact commission. Christy exercised a firm hand upon the organizations over which she presided. She remembered the instructions that she and her one-time associates had heard, and carried out their wishes to the best of her ability until her death in1982.
There is another important person in the early leadership roster: William S. Sadler, Jr. Bill Sadler was Lena's and William's only surviving offspring. He was the great scholar of the Urantia Papers. It was Bill who asked the questions that brought forth the complex papers on the Supreme and Absolutes. The revelators put great effort into selecting what to include in The Urantia Book. Every word, every nuance was carefully thought out, and intended to be deeply probed. The true meanings may not emerge for years, he predicted. Bill Sadler goaded his mother, Lena, who once despaired of ever understanding the "difficult stuff" in the book."You dig; you'll get it" Bill ordered. She dug, and eventually, she got it. In a 1951 communication, the revelators chided the Forum, saying that they were "shocked by your lack of enthusiasm and your relative indifference to the importance of the mission which has been entrusted to your hands." Bill had no patience with people who only read the papers superficially; they weren't worthy of assuming leadership roles if they didn't know the papers. He was arrogant, but he was probably the greatest teacher of the papers who ever lived!
Bill Sadler was the primary architect of both Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood. Although he served as vice president of the Foundation and president of the Brotherhood, he remained largely in the background until his death in 1963. Bill's period of stardom occurred mainly during the last 20 years of the Forum, and in the few years after publication when he presented seminars in California and Oklahoma.
In the early days, our leaders tended to be spectacular; they were orators, inspirational, and great scholars. They led through pure intellectual or moral force. Later on, leadership became more diffused; the age of stardom diminished. We learned not to trust some of our leaders. Now days, it almost seems that all leaders are suspect. When someone becomes a leader, it is an opportunity to take pot shots, to undermine what they say and write. We live in an atmosphere that discourages people from stepping forward to assume leadership roles.
Last year, Paul Snider, former president of Urantia Brotherhood, expressed concern about what he perceived to be the main problem with our movement-lack of great leadership. "How can we find the visionary leadership we need to move us forward?" he wrote."Should we do a better job of scouting? Should we solicit suggestions from members? Should we define the characteristics needed for such leadership? Is there a visionary leader among us who has not yet come forward?"
The revelators promised that some day a great religious leader would arise to espouse the teachings of The Urantia Book. Will we recognize him when he comes? Or, when she comes?
Take the time to peruse the Declaration of Trust and you'll find that the Trustees have the responsibility to print the book forever, "to keep The Urantia Book in print in perpetuity." Article III, 3.3 says, "It shall be the duty of the Trustees to retain absolute and unconditional control of all plates and other media for the printing and reproduction of The Urantia Book and any translations thereof." All 27 of the men and women who have served as Trustees since 1950 have believed that this is their duty).
The Trustees can claim to publish an "inviolate text" even though there have been corrections of spelling errors, capitalization, punctuation, as well as of small inconsistencies. The plan was to find all of the"gremlins" and to correct them in the early printings of the first edition. All changes made in the text were authorized by the revelators up until the death of the last contact commissioner. These printings were intended to comprise just the first edition. The first printing was a work of art in many ways, but there is unnecessary reverence for it because it was flawed and laced with errors. The dictionary meaning of "inviolate" is: "free from injury, desecration, infringement or corruption," and "unbroken."
Urantia Foundation was intentionally designed to be an autocratic group. Trustees appoint their own successors. It was anticipated that unpopular decisions would be necessary from time to time and Trustees needed to be exempt from political pressure. Their Trust document does not directly specify the number of Trustees, or their length of service. They may serve for life, or not. Over the past 53 years, only two Trustees have died in office: Wilfred Kellogg and Arthur Burch. Longest serving were Edith Cook, 36 years; William Hales, 33 years; and Emma Christensen, Thomas Kendall, and Martin Myers, 21, 20 and 20 years respectively. Three Trustees were removed. The rest averaged 6.5 years—hardly life sentences.
The Foundation is pursuing an appeal of the decision in the copyright case, Michael Foundation vs Urantia Foundation in the United States Supreme Court. Readers ask: Why bother to appeal since the copyright would expire in 2005 anyway? Not true. If the copyright is regained it would be valid for 47 more years, until 2050. A copyright is an important tool to maintaining the integrity of the original text.
People ask: What's wrong with having more than one publisher of the original text? Of course, if it turns out that the copyright on the English book is lost, there will probably continue to be more than one publisher. There are many advantages to having a consistent text in both the original English version and in all subsequent translations. The main benefit is that when pagination, indexes and secondary works are formatted, based upon the original Foundation English book, it reduces confusion.
If the copyright is finally lost, it would not preclude some outside publishers from swooping down and publishing other versions of The Urantia Book. Place yourself behind the scenes with the revelators again, and ask whether you think they would approve of a version that changed the meanings of what they intended to reveal to humankind. Or, how would they look upon a dumbed down version of the book? How would they feel about seeing the market flooded with a comic book version of the book? Without a copyright, there is no legal means of fighting such indignities. Eventually, an adulterated version of The Urantia Book may become more popular than the original, and so bookstores may carry only the "popular" edition. Would they want market forces to determine whether an inviolate revelation is available to the world?
The Declaration of Trust states that it is the duty of the Trustees to "disseminate the teachings and doctrines of The Urantia Book". Since the Foundation is not a membership organization and has no structure to carry out this task, dissemination was delegated to Urantia Brotherhood in 1955. Since the mid-1990s, the Foundation has delegated dissemination activities to the International Urantia Association (IUA). The Urantia Book Fellowship carries on with the same Constitution and structure as it did when it was called Urantia Brotherhood.
The IUA exists and thrives because its members support the Foundation as exclusive publisher of The Urantia Book, as well as its management of the name Urantia and the concentric circles—the registered marks. IUA members prefer not to become part of the Fellowship. Many members of the Fellowship also support the Foundation as exclusive publisher and translator of the book, as well as owner of the marks. These folks do not wish to leave the Fellowship and switch to the IUA. They, their friends and families founded the Brotherhood and the Societies, and are loyal to the purposes for which the Brotherhood was originally created. The publication mandate from the revelators commissioned all of us to establish thousands of study groups, and to train leaders and teachers. By and large, the local Societies are continuing to carry on with these responsibilities.
Where's the Money?
There has never been enough money to do everything. At first this was a Mom and Pop enterprise. The Sadler family provided the space and general hospitality. Dr. Sadler told me that he was once the second highest paid speaker on the Chautauqua circuit, next to William Jennings Bryant. It isn't generally known that the Doctor left the building at 533 Diversey in Chicago to the Foundation and not much else. He had needed to sell the Beverly Shores lodge property on Lake Michigan in Indiana to make ends meet. Christy lived on her pension from the Federal Reserve. When she died, Family of God graciously provided the memorial luncheon enjoyed by the many who came to pay their respects. When she and the Doctor needed money for building upkeep, personal travel, or to host social events, a generous donor provided the money. One family in particular paid for more of the niceties than we will ever know.
When it came time to print the first Urantia Books, one wealthy gentleman offered to foot the entire $50,000 cost. The revelators indicated that it was desirable for everyone to participate in paying for publication of the book, rather than having just one or two wealthy individuals pay for it. The fund-solicitation letter netted over $49,000. Forum members pre-paid for their books at $5.00 a copy. There were pledges, subscriber rates, and multiple copy rates. The first contributor of record was the late, great Arctic explorer and adventurer, Sir Hubert Wilkins who sent $1,000, when that was a lot of money.
Of course, we won't conquer the world if we can't find enough money to print books. Until now, every Urantia Book ever published has been subsidized. A very few people have contributed disproportionately huge amounts of money to make sure this revelation reaches those who need and want it. Some very rich people, as well as some persons of very modest means, have paid for all of these books. Mrs. Kellogg's entire inheritance, her "widow's might" funded the original French translation.
Many of us believe that paying our own transportation costs to attend organizational meetings and claiming them on our income tax forms is sufficient. There is a simple answer to that: Meeting expenses do not translate books; they do not print, bind and warehouse books; they do not buy gift books; and they do not ship books. As we have benefited, so must we become benefactors to the rest of the planet.
Preparing for the Future
As we look forward to the eventual spread of the teachings of The Urantia Book worldwide, we are confident that evolutionary progress will continue to prepare the way. Think of drivers entering the on-ramp of an expressway, blending with the traffic, and gradually picking up speed. Then think about the late 19th and early 20th Century writers that Matthew Block has identified as some of the sources of the Papers. Besides being incorporated into the Papers, these authors also influenced other writers and philosophers, and their ideas trickled downinto classrooms and churches. Perhaps they indirectly prepared the minds of some of our current readers.
Writers of today could well be preparing young minds to accept The Urantia Book. For example, the J.K. Rowling Harry Potter series could stimulate a search for spirituality as well as for satisfying complexity, instead of the mindnumbing triviality so prevalent in today's culture. The strange names in The Urantia Book shouldn't pose an obstacle for Potter fans. Many current novels, movies and television shows beg to be used as stepping stones or as introductions to The Urantia Book.
The search for spiritual values is never ending. As Bill Sadler wrote in his Third Triennial President's Address:
"The Book itself is not an End; it is a most important Means to an End. The Brotherhood is designed to promote the Book and the Book is designed to bring God and man closer to each other. God is the only true End. Our primary spiritual loyalty and dedication is to the Universal Father, and to Him alone. All other things are secondary and subordinate to the acquisition of this one 'pearl of great price'—the realization of sonship with God."
[This is the first of two parts, which will conclude in the next issue of Newsflash!]
Audio Urantia Book
Board Meeting Decisions
Urantia Foundation History