February 1, 2014

Dr Meredith Sprunger meets Dr. Sadler in Chicago

THE KEY PLAYERS IN THE MAY 7, 1958 meeting were certainly Dr. Sadler and Dr. Sprunger. It is important to set the stage for this rendezvous by providing additional background about both Dr. Sadler and Dr. Sprunger, so the reader will understand the meeting’s significance. Each was a formidable personality. Dr. Sadler was energetic and dominating in a friendly, personable manner. At the time Dr. Sadler met with Dr. Sprunger and his associate ministers, Sadler was nearly 83 years of age, still vigorous, but mellowing well into the autumn of a very successful career. Meredith Sprunger was a gracious and perhaps less assertive man of 42, yet one who possessed comparable depth and academic development.

Dr. William S. Sadler was without question a man of unique academic and professional stature. Dr. Sadler’s 1942 listing in Who’s Who gives an idea of his versatility and accomplishments (see next page).He had been nationally noted, and featured in an article in Reader’s Digest magazine. His training had been exceptionally broad in two key disciplines: psychology and theology. Dr. Sadler’s books reflected religious insights, extensive clinical experience, as well as profound knowledge of the science of the human mind. If there was any weakness in his holistic vision that was apparent from his written works, it might be the third key discipline of human thought — the great intellectual unifier — philosophy.

Dr. Meredith Sprunger was one of those rare scholars who was as well grounded in religion and science as Dr. Sadler. As an ordained minister he naturally had a strong educational background in theology. In addition, Dr. Sprunger had a doctorate in psychology, a clinical practice, was trained as a social scientist, and engaged in a successful academic career at the Indiana Institute of Technology. With his long experience as a college professor and administrator, Dr. Sprunger was also thoroughly trained in philosophy. So it was that Dr. Sprunger brought to the meeting what might be considered an even more balanced and broader working knowledge than Dr. Sadler of all three of the great disciplines of human knowledge: science, religion and philosophy.

The stage was set for a unique relationship. Dr. Sprunger would win the confidence and respect of William Sadler. The two would become colleagues in their pursuit to better understand, and to help propagate, the Urantia Revelation. It was over a decade later when Dr. Sprunger officiated at the memorial service of his friend and colleague. He would later write of the human side of Dr. Sadler:

“Although Dr. Sadler was an extraordinary person with great talents and diverse experience in serving humankind, he was also a warm and loving person with a great sense of humor. Dr. Sadler’s life experience uniquely prepared him to serve as a pioneer in the field of medicine, psychiatry, and religion.”

Next week: The astounding meeting.

January 20, 2014

More on: “Mind at Mischief”

The astounding narrative of Dr. Sadler continues …

“A thorough study of this case has convinced me that it is not one of ordinary trance. While the sleep seems to be quite of a natural order, it is very profound, and so far we have never been able to awaken the subject when in this state; but the body is never rigid, and the heart action is never modified, the respiration is sometimes markedly interfered with. This man is utterly unconscious, wholly oblivious to what takes place, and, unless told about it subsequently, never knows that he has been used as a sort of clearing house for the coming and going of alleged extra-planetary personalities. In fact, he is more or less indifferent to the whole proceeding, and shows a surprising lack of interest in these affairs as they occur from time to time.”

Although this may seem old-hat to Urantians now, we should remember that this may be the most complete description of the early contacts that Dr. Sadler ever wrote. The Mind at Mischief was printed in several editions in 1929, and after that, Clyde told me the reference was deleted. The most astounding paragraph follows:

“In no way are these night visitations like the séances associated with spiritualism. At no time during the period of eighteen years’ observation has there been a communication from any source that claimed to be the spirit of a deceased human being. The communications which have been written, or which we have had the opportunity to hear spoken, are made by a vast order of alleged beings who claim to come from other planets to visit this world, to stop here as student visitors for study and observation when they are en route from one universe to another or from one planet to another. These communications further arise in alleged spiritual beings who purport to have been assigned to this planet for duties of various sorts.”

Dr. Sadler then admits he has not been able to discover the psychic, or unconscious, source of the information that was being disclosed. The case remained a bafflement to him.

“Eighteen years of study and careful investigation have failed to reveal the psychic origin of these messages. I find myself at the present time just where I was when I started. Psychoanalysis, hypnotism, intensive comparison, fail to show that the written or spoken messages of this individual have origin in his own mind. Much of the material secured through this subject is quite contrary to his habits of thought, to the way in which he has been taught, and to his entire philosophy. In fact, of much that we have secured, we have failed to find anything of its nature in existence. Its philosophic content is quite new, and we are unable to find where very much of it has ever found human expression.”

Note the scientific detachment by which Dr. Sadler addresses this case. He apparently had not yet, in 1929, given up his quest to find a scientific answer to the phenomenon.

“Much as I would like to report details of this case, I am not in a position to do so at present. I can only say that I have found in these years of observation that all the information imparted through this source has proved to be consistent within itself. While there is considerable difference in the quality of the communications, this seems to be reasonably explained by a difference in state of development and order of the personalities making the communications. Its philosophy is consistent. It is essentially Christian and is, on the whole, entirely harmonious with the known scientific facts and truths of this age. In fact, the case is so unusual and extraordinary that it establishes itself immediately, as far as my experience goes, in a class by itself, one which has thus far resisted all my efforts to prove it to be of auto-psychic origin. Our investigations are being continued and, as I have intimated, I hope some time in the near future to secure permission for the more complete reporting of the phenomena connected with this interesting case.”

        The e next step for the team of ministers was clear: They would need to go to Chicago and meet personally with Dr. William S. Sadler to discuss the origin of the Urantia Papers. The remarkable meeting took place May 7, 1958.

Larry Mullins

January 14, 2014

Dr. Sprunger discovers Sadler’s “Mind at Mischief”

When Dr. Sprunger revealed to a group of ministers what little he had learned about the origin of the book from Mr. Harrah, the group began studying the books written by Dr. Sadler as part of their research project. They discovered highly relevant material in one of the books that Dr. Sadler had authored: The Mind at Mischief, Funk & Wagnalls, 1929. The subtitle of the book was: “Tricks and Deceptions of the Subconscious and how to Cope with Them.”

 The Mind at Mischief

Out of all of his voluminous mainline writings, Dr. Sadler mentions the process that was to eventually lead to the materialization of the Urantia Papers in only one year’s printings of a single book. At the time of writing The Mind at Mischief, Dr. Sadler was known to be a leading debunker of psychic phenomena. The book itself is a powerful rebuttal of all known processes involving marginal human consciousness that produce “messages” from the “spirit world.” In the foreword to the book, Robert H. Gault, Ph.D. and Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University wrote:

“The psychiatrists of our day are showing us that in the background of personalities are wells of latent memories that may account, literally by the wholesale, for the phenomena of dreams, automatic writings, “spirit communications,” and many other phenomena connected with hysteria, disassociation, and other abnormal psychic  states.” 1

    In The Mind at Mischief Dr. Sadler took the position that, in his experience, all psychic phenomena fall into three categories: (1). Self-deception. (2). Emotional Illness. (3). Fraud. In his book he presented case history after case history to support these views. However, the ministers found a tiny crack in his professional stance on page 332:

“Perhaps this statement should be qualified by adding that there are possibly one or two exceptions to this general classification of so-called psychics and trance mediums. Many years ago I was made acquainted with a very extraordinary phenomenon of this sort, which it has been my privilege to observe periodically from that time to this, and someday I hope to report more fully upon this unique case; but I hasten to say that in none of my observations of this individual and the peculiar associated experiences of the night period was there ever anything that pointed toward spiritualism. In fact, the contacts of this individual with the alleged forces which dominated at such times, whatever they were, were always in a most positive manner antagonistic to, and condemnatory of, all beliefs or tendencies associated with the idea of the return of the dead to participate in the affairs of the world of the living.”

      A footnote for this paragraph led the investigators to an Appendix in the back of the book. Here they discovered a rather detailed disclaimer written by Dr. Sadler.   Dr. Sadler mentions two cases in this Appendix, only one of which he was able to investigate. It was this case that he expanded upon in depth.   It appeared that the ministers had found the thread they were looking for:

  “The . . . exception has to do with a rather peculiar case of psychic phenomena, one which I find myself unable to classify, and which I would like very much to narrate more fully; I cannot do so here, however, because of a promise which I feel under obligation to keep sacredly. In other words, I have promised not to publish this case during the lifetime of the individual. I hope sometime to secure a modification of that promise and to be able to report this case more fully because of its interesting features. I was brought in contact with it, in the summer of 1911, and I have had it under my observation more or less ever since, having been present at probably 250 of the night sessions, many of which have been attended by a stenographer who made voluminous notes.”

To most Urantia Book readers this is now a very familiar paragraph. Yet, in the Seventies and Eighties it was very seldom seen. I recall seeing it for the first time about 1975. It was in the home of Berkeley Elliott, of Oklahoma City. Berkeley had been a reader almost since The Urantia Book had first been published. She was a good friend of Bill Sadler, Jr., the son of Dr. Sadler, who often visited the Oklahoma group in the late Fifties and early Sixties. I happened to pull a volume off of one of Berkeley’s bookshelves that day, titled: The Mind at Mischief. I remembered Clyde Bedell once telling me of the Appendix of that book, and how it contained a reference to an individual known only as the sleeping subject.” When I was able, at last, to read those words of Dr. Sadler the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was so rare, in those days, to see anything like this. Material such as that in The Mind at Mischief was considered secret, and only a special few were privy to it. The narrative continued, more in the next blog.            LARRY MULLINS

January 3, 2014

Dr. Meredith Sprunger reads The Urantia Book

About a month after first seeing the Urantia Book in December of 1955 and being amused by its claim of celestial authorship, Dr. Sprunger, who was Vice President of the Indiana-Michigan Conference Board, was to pick up Judge Hammerschmidt and drive him to their January council meeting in Jackson, Michigan. During the two and a half hour journey, the Judge cautiously mentioned his tentative investigation of Spiritualism.

Hammerschmidt had lost his wife over a decade before and, in his grief, he looked into the practice of Spiritualism. He was not impressed by what he discovered. Upon seeing that Dr. Sprunger was not at all disturbed about an open discussion of such things, the Judge was emboldened to comment: “Say, I’ve got a book that I would like you to read and tell me what you think about it.” Dr. Sprunger kept his eyes on the road and the bleak January landscape ahead. He knew what was coming. Not wanting to hurt the Judge’s feelings, however, Meredith replied: “OK, Judge, send it to me.”

In about a week, a package was delivered to the Sprunger household with The Urantia Book enclosed. Over the subsequent months, Dr. Sprunger made several efforts to read sections of the extensive work. From his fleeting appraisal of the Urantia Papers, Dr. Sprunger thought the authors’ use of esoteric names might indicate the Papers represented some form of Theosophy. He even took it on vacation with him that year, but could not get interested in the material enough to read much of it.

September of 1956 arrived, and The Urantia Book had not been even partially read. Dr. Sprunger realized that he would be meeting with Judge Hammerschmidt in October, and he felt obligated to read something to get off the hook. He decided to read a small series of Papers and candidly tell the Judge what he thought of the material. So Dr. Sprunger began to examine the Table of Contents again.

As he skimmed the contents, Meredith recalled the book had a large section devoted to the Life and Teachings of Jesus.” He surmised that with his academic theological background he could surely make short work of this material. Previously, he had read other attempts, such as the Aquarian Gospel, to portray the early life of Jesus. Apocryphal stories about Jesus molding little clay birds and then bringing them to life did not impress him. So, with the intention of quickly refuting the material, Dr. Sprunger began to read the Urantia Papers’ account of the life of Jesus. He did not find what he expected to find.

Meredith became gradually enthralled as he read. The Papers had the ring of reasonable, perhaps even authentic, historicity. As the narrative progressed to the story of John the Baptist and paralleled the New Testament account, Dr. Sprunger was deeply impressed. The colorful and vivid recounting of the life of the Master unfolded, at times moving Dr. Sprunger to tears. When he closed the book on the final Paper: The Faith of Jesus, Meredith concluded the Urantia account was harmonious with perceived New Testament realities. More than that, he believed it was the most profound and inspiring life and teachings of Jesus in print.

Due to the unexpected high quality of Part IV — the 700-page depiction of The Life and Teachings of Jesus — Dr. Sprunger suddenly found himself intensely motivated to read the rest of the material. Starting with the Foreword, Meredith read the balance of the Urantia Papers. When he had finished, he realized the Urantia Papers offered the most comprehensive and integrated picture of science, philosophy and religion that he had ever read. Suddenly, everything he had ever learned was rearranged and melded with new concepts into a grand, new, mind-boggling synthesis.

Dr. Sprunger pondered this immense new paradigm of actuality for some time. He thought: “If this is not an authentic picture of Reality, it is the way it ought to be!”

    Meredith contacted Judge Hammerschmidt to find out where he had gotten the book. The Judge, delighted at Sprunger’s interest, informed him that a friend by the name of W. H. Harrah had given him the book. Mr. Harrah was a successful businessman, and the co-founder of the National Standard Company. He was also a member of a group in Chicago that had somehow originally acquired the Urantia Papers.

A luncheon meeting was arranged. Mr. Harrah explained that the leader of the group that had published The Urantia Book was Dr. William Sadler. Dr. Sprunger was surprised. He knew of William Sadler by his reputation. Dr. Sadler had studied overseas with Freud, and was sometimes referred to as the “father of American Psychiatry.” Dr. Sadler was also a prolific author in his field and a college professor. Meredith had friends who had taken Dr. Sadler’s course of Pastoral Counseling at McCormick Theological Seminary.

Meredith decides it is time to investigate further. He begins with a study of Dr. Sadler’s book, “The Mind at Mischief,” a treatise debunking virtually all psychic phenomena, published in 1929. I will explain what he discovered in my next blog.                                           LARRY MULLINS

December 22, 2013

How Meredith Sprunger Got Involved with The Urantia Book Part I

Dr. Meredith Sprunger Circa 1955

The late Dr. Meredith had a formidable resume. He was president of the Indiana Institute of Technology, and taught as a professor at Elmherst College.  He was a licensed practicing psychologist, and an active ordained minister. How did such a man, so much a part of the religious evolutionary mainstream, get involved with the Urantia movement?

In December of 1955, Reverend Edward Brueseke, Pastor of the Zion United Church of Christ of South Bend, Indiana, handed Dr. Meredith Sprunger a copy of a newly published book. This 1955 printing of The Urantia Book was impressive in size, containing over 2,000 pages and a million words bound within its deep blue covers.

“Judge Hammerschmidt gave me this book,” said Dr. Brueseke. “Some businessmen think it’s a new Bible.” He and his wife smiled as Meredith held the massive volume in his hands and opened it. Meredith scanned the Table of Contents pages. It was the alleged authors of the various 196 Papers that composed the book that challenged his credulity rather than the titles of the Papers. The second Paper was titled: “The Nature of God” by a “Divine Counselor.” Another was titled: “The Universe of Universes” by a “Perfecter of Wisdom.” Another: “Personalities of the Grand Universe” supposedly authored by a “Mighty Messenger.” These were enough to turn him off and strike him as ludicrous.

Meredith read a few of the titles and authors aloud to his wife, Irene, seated next to him. Then they all had a gentle laugh about Judge Hammerschmidt’s naiveté and closed the book. However, both ministers and their wives maintained respect for Judge Louis Hammerschmidt’s contributions to the Zion Church. He was an esteemed layperson of the larger United Church of Christ. Judge Hammerschmidt had been instrumental in bringing a Children’s Hospital to South Bend, and he had donated a chapel to Elmhurst College.

However, there seemed no euphemistic way of putting it, The Urantia Book must be some kind of hoax. Dr. Sprunger set the book aside, and assumed that the December, 1955 glimpse would be the last he would see of it. He was wrong.

In my next blog, I will explain the circumstances that changed his mind … and redirected his entire life.

 

December 16, 2013

Why Did I Write this History Part 2

I would not attempt the writing of this history without the help of the late Dr. Meredith Justin Sprunger. He is an ordained minister with an educational background in philosophy and theology, a social scientist with a doctorate in psychology, and has had a distinguished career as a college professor and administrator. He has also had an extensive writing career, and is currently the editor of The Spiritual Fellowship Journal.

Dr. Sprunger was acquainted with three of the six individuals who made up the team (known as the Contact Commission) that interfaced with the celestial Revelators. When I met Dr. Sprunger in the mid-seventies, I had many questions about the origin of the Urantia Papers. Information was extremely difficult to come by in those days. I knew that he had written several papers on the origin, content and the significance of the Urantia Papers, and had authored the only “official” material that was published by Urantia Foundation (the publishers of The Urantia Book) on the origin of the Revelation. I was certain that Dr. Sprunger knew more than he was allowed to present in his official pamphlets. To my surprise, I found him to be open and candid about what he knew. Unlike any individual in the “inner circles,” his explanations were clear and refreshing. He supplied me (as he has many seekers) with his own writings about the Papers, and also prudently disclosed many interesting things Dr. Sadler had told him. My curiosity was soon dispelled, and I followed Dr. Sprunger’s advice and continued to evaluate the Urantia Papers on the basis of their content. Over the years I have become completely convinced that the Urantia Papers are exactly what they purport themselves to be: a Revelation of epochal significance.

However, I was convinced that many questions about the origin remained unanswered, and several “forbidden” doors had never been opened to candid investigation. As stated, I had hoped eventually some Urantian old-timer would fearlessly open those doors and begin an authentic historical investigation. Then it dawned on me one day that I had become an “old-timer” myself. I had been handed a first edition of The Urantia Book by Clyde Bedell, who was one of the first Urantians, and a charter member of a group called the Forum. I had watched Clyde pore over an immense table covered with files of 3 x 5 cards, as he prepared his original Concordex of The Urantia Book. I worked for Clyde for three years, and discussed the Urantia Papers and his experiences in the Forum numerous times. In the seventies I had several conversations with one of the surviving Contact Commissioners, and served for eight years as a General Councilor in what was then called the Urantia Brotherhood.

Fortunately, my wife Joan (who had originally suggested this project) has a remarkable knowledge of the Papers. I have always depended upon Joan’s insights and integrity when developing Urantia undertakings. Even so, we came to realize that we needed help, and that an adequate history of the Urantia Papers could only be achieved with group wisdom and collaboration. A team effort by several Urantians would be necessary. I first sought out our friend Dr. Sprunger. Gradually we added several seasoned Urantians who have an exceptional knowledge of the Urantia Papers, and a great deal of experience in the Urantia Movement.

The History delves deeply into the origin of the Revelation. Dr. Sprunger’s early investigations have produced a great deal of information. His knowledge is the product of years of research and hours of discussion with those associated with the origin of the Papers. During the period of his inquiry, Dr. Sprunger had continued to serve pastorates in the United Church of Christ. His career as a faculty member of the Indiana Institute of Technology also went forward. In addition to serving as head of the Department of Psychology, he also chaired the division of Liberal Arts and served as President. In his own investigations, he has been careful to maintain academic objectivity and to exercise critical evaluation of both the Urantia Papers and the Urantia Movement. He cross-validated the essential elements of the episodes we are about to relate with people who had first-hand experience with the events associated with the origin of the Urantia Papers.

The story of the Urantia Papers also required the assembling of a mosaic of older documents and correspondence, more recently available documents, and testimony from a great number of sources. Not all sources I used were friendly to this inquiry. Yet, some individuals who have strong agendas to prove the Urantia Papers to be a fraud have sometimes provided vital links and illuminated dark corners. At other times, individuals who have sought to explain or rationalize errors or obscure the facts have provided information that could not have otherwise been obtained. Whatever the source, I drew upon evidence that was plausible, verifiable and consistent with other credible elements of the puzzle. The reader can develop personal conclusions from the resulting assemblage.

I pledge to the reader that I have been candid in these pages. In the spirit of a sincere quest for truth, with the guidance and suggestions of Joan, Dr. Sprunger and several esteemed Urantians, I have related everything I have personally learned from various sources, and have documented those sources. When in doubt, I admitted it. If I needed to speculate, or draw a general conclusion, I have disclosed this to the reader. If an editing team member strongly disagreed with a conclusion, I have drawn out and presented his or her views in addition to my own. The essential testimonies of the protagonists who were there, and who played roles in this extraordinary drama have been documented. Otherwise, in the case of verbal information that I have personally acquired from various Urantian veterans, I used only things I have heard from at least two or more sources independently, and that were generally harmonious with other data. On this basis, I believe the basic historical facts have been fairly, reasonably and clearly established. Even when not varnished, embellished or speculated upon, these facts form clear patterns and weave an intriguing and fairly complete tapestry.

Histories are inescapably adversarial and painful processes. The people who undertook this task of developing a good, sound history are aware that the final product is a compelling argument that could help shape the destiny of the Urantia Papers. The stakes are high, because what is ultimately at issue are the various philosophies and agendas of those who seek to control the Urantia Revelation. It will come as no surprise then, that the interpretations of the events relating to the Urantia Papers are destined to be fiercely contested. Sometimes the facts about the Urantia Papers are at issue, but more often the meaning of the facts will be the center of historical controversy. Our effort to develop a good history was very carefully orchestrated, but we are aware that it will not contain the final words. Our team discovered many unexpected things along the way that need a great deal more research. What we will attempt to achieve here are three cardinal goals: [1]. To establish a reasonable foundation of documented facts, [2]. To open as many heretofore “forbidden” doors as possible for further investigation, and [3]. To lay down threads for future Urantians to pick up, follow, and develop. In short, we are attempting a beginning.

November 30, 2013

WHY WAS A HISTORY OF THE URANTIA PAPERS WRITTEN?

I have spent more than thirty years studying the Urantia Papers. I have had dozens of discussions with many people who had personal knowledge about the events that culminated in the materialization of the Papers. As a result, I am utterly convinced that, circa 1906 – 1955, non-material beings of super-human intelligence and maturity interfaced regularly with a group of (eventually) six mortals for the purpose of providing a religious revelation of epochal significance.

      The people involved were neither psychics nor dilettantes. On the contrary, the key figure, Dr. William S. Sadler, was a nationally prominent psychiatrist and the author of 42 books. Dr. Sadler had a well-deserved reputation as a debunker of psychic phenomena. In his book, The Mind at Mischief, he refers to those who engage in such esoteric phenomena as generally: “Fraudulent mediums and self-deceived psychics.” The story of his struggle against honest recognition of what took place before his eyes ¾ and the validation of what he had trained all his life as a scientist to debunk, is a fascinating subplot to the history of the Urantia Papers.  

      However, Dr. Sadler and the other five central protagonists in these events are all gone now. Aside from the Papers themselves, the six key players left only fragments of information about how the Urantia Papers came to be. There is not, nor has there ever been, an authority on the Urantia Papers ¾ neither on their origin nor their remarkable contents. How the Papers were materialized into the English language is not fully known. Although no human author has ever been associated with the Urantia Papers, there was a seventh individual who is critically important to this discussion. He has been called the “sleeping subject,” or the contact personality.” All accounts indicated he was an ordinary person who was somehow involved with the materialization of the Urantia Papers. We know only that he was not a so-called medium, and although the entire text of the Urantia Papers was originally in written form, we can reasonably declare that he was not the author ¾ nor did he “channel” or “automatic-write” the text of the Urantia Papers. The Urantia Papers tell us that a part of God indwells each normal and morally conscious mortal, and this Divine Fragment somehow participated in the materialization, but the mind of the human sleeping subject was not used. Dr. Sadler emphatically and repeatedly stated that no known psychic phenomena were associated with the materialization of the Urantia Papers. The sleeping subject has never been, and will probably never be, identified.

      Surely, the original intent of the unseen Revelators was not to create mysteries, but rather establish a framework that would allow the Urantia Papers to stand on their own. It was apparently deemed desirable by the Revelators that readers would base their evaluation of the Urantia Papers purely upon their content, and not upon some supposed “miraculous” source. Therefore, neither the identity of the “sleeping subject” nor what little the team of six knew about the materialization of the Papers were to be disclosed. However, human nature being what it is, there has gradually developed much speculation about the identity of the subject and the method and circumstances by which the Urantia Papers came to be.[1]

      For these reasons, conjecture has unfortunately filled the void. Due to the nature of the material in the Urantia Papers, they attract a great variety of individuals. Some are allured by the Apocrypha surrounding the origin of the Urantia Papers more than by the spiritual message of the Papers themselves. Likewise, critics of the Urantia Papers have generally focused upon erroneous accounts of the origin of the Papers and the alleged foibles of the people involved in the Urantia Movement, and have not seriously considered the content of the Revelation. Serious scholars have been repelled by the bizarre speculations of a few Urantian pretenders ¾ as well as by commentaries by critics of the Papers ¾ many of whom claim to have special status and to have exclusive possession of “inside” information.

      However, in recent years a valid body of known historical background facts about the Papers has gradually emerged. If we could stand back, so to speak, and view all the information available in one sweeping glance, we would likely be confused. Yet, if we cautiously and discriminatively begin to follow the chronological thread of verifiable data, we can trace a consistent, documented, and continuous path. The sources are scattered and varied, but the emerging body of information is consistent within itself — plausible, and generally satisfying.  

      I have hoped that an accurate, documented history of the Urantia Papers would eventually be formulated, but this has not happened. So, I have decided to make the effort. This account will not be encumbered by any “official” sanction or approval. At the outset, it is important to understand that this is a history of the Urantia Papers, not a history of what has been called the Urantia Movement. We will discuss the readership and the personalities involved only to the degree they are related to the history of the Urantia Papers.



[1]The identity of the sleeping subject continues to fascinate readers. A book published in 1999 by John M. Bunker and Karen L. Pressler sought to prove Edgar Cayce was the subject. (Edgar Cayce and The Urantia Book, 1996). The Cayce family denies this, and Dr. Sprunger and other Urantian scholars remained unpersuaded as well. My own judgment compels me to refute this idea. Cayce died in 1945, which was very probably ten years before the final messages were received. Also, the Cayce writings, with their emphasis on reincarnation and psychic phenomena, are far afield from the Urantia Papers.

 

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