May 10, 2012

Meredith Sprunger Affidavit, the full text

NOTE: Meredith wanted his affidavit regarding the authenticity of the Urantia Papers to be published in our History. I included part of his affidavit in the obituary I wrote for him. Some people wanted the full text, so here it is. Surely it is a historical document every Urantian should read.                                                                                                                                       Larry Mullins

MEREDITH J. SPRUNGER

4109 PLAZA DR

FORT WAYNE, IN 46806

219‑745‑4363

 

Oct. 24, 1998

 

AFFIDAVIT

 

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that the following are my recollections about the authorship, and the issues surrounding the authorship, of The Urantia Book.

Following my discovery of The Urantia Book in December of 1955, and after introducing it to a number of clerical colleagues and friends, I spent years researching with them the historical aspects of the book. We quickly discovered the Urantia Papers were received by a small group of people in Chicago. Their leader was Dr. William S. Sadler. Dr. Sadler was a highly respected psychiatrist and college teacher in the graduate school of medicine at the University of Chicago. For almost thirty years Dr. Sadler was also a lecturer in Pastoral Counseling at McCormick Theological Seminary.

On May 7, 1958, our group of ministers had an appointment with Dr. Sadler to discuss the phenomena associated with the origin of the Urantia Papers. My personal association with Dr. Sadler continued until his death in 1969. In the course of this friendship, we had many candid conversations about the materialization of the Foreword and the 196 Papers that were eventually published as the text of The Urantia Book. It is important to point out that in this regard Dr. Sadler was a professional researcher of unquestioned integrity.

 

Dr. Sadler categorically declared that there was no known psychic phenomena attached to the origin of the Urantia Papers. The final text of the Urantia Papers was materialized in written form, but it was not channeled or spoken, nor was it the product of automatic writing. Dr. Sadler stated that although the Thought Adjuster (a fragment of God that indwells all normal human minds) of the “contact personality” was somehow engaged in the materialization process by spiritual beings, the contact person was totally unaware of this activity. Neither this contact person, nor any other human, wrote any of the text nor authored or originated any material used in the revelatory text of the Urantia Papers, which consist of the Foreword and the 196 Papers.

Although Dr. Sadler was emphatic that no known psychic phenomena were associated in any way with the authorship of the Urantia Papers, he admitted that he was baffled as to precisely how the text of the Urantia Papers was materialized into the English language. He was very clear in his conviction that no human being edited, selected, or had any creative input whatever into the authorship of the Urantia Papers, nor in the arrangement of the text of The Urantia Book, which consists of the Foreword and Papers one through 196. Dr. Sadler was crystal clear that the members of the contact commission had no editorial authority whatever, and their responsibility was confined to spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Members of the forum were not even permitted to see the original materialized documents, and they had no input in their authorship. Dr. Sadler was convinced that the Urantia Papers are exactly what they purport themselves to be, an epochal revelation authored solely by celestial beings.

I have studied The Urantia Book in depth for over forty years, and I am likewise convinced that the authorship of the text was superhuman, and that it was materialized by unprecedented means that are not fully understood. In my best professional and personal opinion, I am absolutely convinced there was no human authorship or creative input, and there were no human

editorial decisions involved with the materialization of the Urantia Papers. I believe the truth of what Dr. Sadler wrote‑and personally disclosed to me numerous times: the Urantia Papers were published just as received, and the contact commission had no editorial authority whatever, and its role was confined solely to the clerical tasks of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Neither did the forum members contribute to the creative contents of the Urantia Papers. The forum was similar to a modem focus group in that they were used by the celestial authors solely as a gauge to measure human understanding.

Dr. Sadler was also absolutely clear about two related things: (1). Absolutely no human name or names should ever be attached to the authorship or materialization of the Urantia Papers and the publication of The Urantia Book. Even the printer, R. R. Donnelly and Sons, was not permitted to place an indicia in the first edition which stated their identity. (2.) No human being knows, or ever knew, the exact method by which the Urantia Papers were materialized. We can only be categorically certain that there was no human authorship, no human editorial involvement, nor any human activity in creating, selecting and/or arranging the Urantia Papers, which consist of the Foreword and Papers one through 196 inclusive, and which constitute the text of The Urantia Book.

 

Dr. Sadler made it plain to me that the revelators, held total authority over the process by which the Urantia Papers were materialized. The revelators suggested the submission of questions, and, at one point after the contact commission and forum had read some of the papers, requested that more significant questions be developed and asked by the contact commission. Dr. Sadler said that in a particular session a celestial personality who claimed to be a student visitor to our planet stated to the commission: “If you people realized what a high spiritual source you are now associating with you would stop making these puerile investigations to detect fraud and would ask some significant questions about the nature and reality of the universe.” It was at this point the forum was engaged by Dr. Sadler to help him formulate appropriate questions in answer to the challenge of the revelators.

The forum had originally been assembled by the Sadler family as an group of lay persons who gathered together in Dr. Sadler’s home for tea and an hour or two of informal discussion and social exchange. The revelators soon answered the questions the forum had asked, and these answers were presented to the forum by the contact commission. Shortly after this the revelators directed Dr. Sadler and the contact commission to make the forum a closed group, and required each member to take a vow of secrecy about their knowledge of what the contact commission was doing and what information the revelators had disclosed to the forum through the contact commission “The forum, as it were, was taken away from us” wrote Dr. Sadler. He was indicating that the general discussions in the forum ceased, and the revelators henceforth directed the agenda of the group through the contact commission, and used the forum essentially as a focus group for the Urantia Papers.

Dr. Sadler said no forum member except members of the contact commission, was ever present during any of the contacts with the revelators. He also said that only one “sleeping subject,” or person was involved throughout the entire process of materializing the text of the Urantia Papers.

Dr. Sadler told me that at one point he and his son Bill wrote a draft for an introduction to the Urantia Papers, and submitted it to the revelators. At a contact session with the revelators they were told that although they meant well, such submissions were not acceptable, and the revelators made the comment, referring to the introduction written by Dr. Sadler and Bill Sadler, Jr.: “A candle cannot light the sun.” At the proper time, the humans were assured, an introduction to the book would be materialized. When the revelators produced the Foreword to the Urantia Papers, Dr. Sadler stated that he and his son realized the inadequacy of their own attempt to write an introduction.

Dr. Sadler and his son were, however, given permission to compose a Table of Contents for The Urantia Book. Bill Sadler compiled the titles as they appeared in the Papers, and the section headings from the Papers, and he briefly outlined some of the material that was originated in the Urantia Papers, and incorporated it into a Table of Contents for The Urantia Book. Dr. Sadler and other members of the contact commission assured me that no human wrote, edited, or arranged any of the text of the Urantia Papers, which consist of the Foreword and all of the Papers from Paper one through Paper 196 inclusive. Dr. Sadler told me that one individual, not a member of the contact commission but rather a member of the forum, who made suggestions to “improve” the Urantia Papers was vigorously informed by the revelators (through the contact commission) that no human additions to the Urantia Papers would be allowed. Dr. Sadler said that every possible precaution was taken to see that the text of the Urantia Papers was presented just as the revelators had authored and materialized it.

It should be emphasized that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a human authority on the content or the origin of the Urantia Papers. However, Christy often requested that I reply to many of the letters Urantia Foundation received from readers requesting information on the origin of the Urantia Papers. As these requests increased, I produced a paper on the essentials of the origin of the Urantia Papers, which constitute the text of The Urantia Book. This paper was approved by Urantia Foundation, printed, and freely distributed for several years by both Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood.

In regard to outreach efforts by Urantians, the following statement was written by Dr. Sadler under the heading, Distribution of the Urantia 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.”

 

Signed,

 

Meredith Justin Sprunger

 

 

May 1, 2012

Meredith Sprunger … We will never see his like again

Dr. Meredith Justin Sprunger was a highly   respected Urantian, serving in numerous capacities, including President of the original Urantia Brotherhood. Meredith authored many important Urantia Book derivative works, including, Spiritual Psychology, 1988 and The Abridged Urantia Papers, 2008. Few would dispute that Dr. Sprunger was probably the most reliable source of first-hand information about the intriguing origin and history of the Urantia Papers. Moreover, Meredith became a friend and colleague of Dr. William Sadler (1875-1969), the prominent Chicago psychiatrist who led the Forum, safeguarded the Urantia Papers, and oversaw the publication of The Urantia Book in 1955. He personally knew two other members of the original contact commission.

Meredith had a distinguished career aside from his interest in the Urantia Papers. He earned his Masters from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph. D in psychology from Purdue University. He taught at Elmherst College and the Indiana Institute of Technology where he functioned as the head of the Department of Psychology, Chairman of the Division of Liberal Arts, and as President. Dr. Sprunger was a licensed and practicing psychologist, and an ordained minister with pastorates at United Church of Christ in Indiana.

Dr. Sprunger first met Dr. William Sadler in Chicago on May 7, 1958, shortly after The Urantia Book was published. Meredith led a group of eleven other ministers to Chicago. These men had all read The Urantia Book and wanted to learn more about how it came to be. From that time, Dr. Sprunger served Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Brotherhood, and later the Urantia Book Fellowship as a loyal and dedicated Urantian. Throughout the years of turmoil in the Urantia movement, Meredith held steady as a resolute and judicious leader, and emitted a light that all factions could trust and depend upon.

I first met Meredith in the mid-seventies at a Urantia conference. In those days, the older Urantians were rather secretive about matters concerning the origin of the Urantia Papers. However, I found Meredith quite open and gracious. His wisdom was balanced, his spiritual depth extraordinary, and his knowledge and understanding of the Urantia Papers profound…yet he served with remarkable humility. Over the years I developed a warm relationship with him and Irene, his wife of 66 years who was also a selfless, dedicated Urantian, and who preceded him to the mansion worlds in 2007. Meredith assisted me in many projects, and even conducted the marriage ceremony for Joan and I in 1991. When Joan suggested that I attempt to write an authentic history of the Urantia Papers, I turned to Meredith. Without his help, I knew it would not be possible to shift through the misinformation and bizarre theories about the materialization of the Urantia Papers. His only stipulation was that we would follow and document the truth wherever it led, and so we did. Dr. Sprunger, who was known for his sterling integrity, provided a sworn affidavit regarding the authenticity of the Urantia Papers for our History. I can only offer a portion of it here. It is a testament to Meredith’s unwavering loyalty to the Fifth Epochal Revelation:

“I have studied The Urantia Book in depth for over forty years, and I am likewise convinced that the authorship of the text was superhuman, and that it was materialized by unprecedented means that are not fully understood. In my best professional and personal opinion, I am absolutely convinced there was no human authorship or creative input, and there were no human

editorial decisions involved with the materialization of the Urantia Papers. I believe the truth of what Dr. Sadler wrote–and personally disclosed to me numerous times: the Urantia Papers were published just as received, and the contact commission had no editorial authority whatever, and its role was confined solely to the clerical tasks of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Neither did the forum members contribute to the creative contents of the Urantia Papers. The forum was similar to a modern focus group in that they were used by the celestial authors solely as a gauge to measure human understanding.”

 

LARRY MULLINS