May 15, 2014

THE FORUM BEGINS

About 1923, on his way to the University of Kansas for a lecture on Gestalt psychology, Dr. William Sadler wrote a note to Bill Sadler, his son, who was fifteen and in high school at the time. Dr. Sadler suggested that it would be good to begin getting together with some of both Dr. Lena’s and Dr. Sadler’s friends and colleagues for tea and philosophic discussions on Sunday afternoons. (The Sadlers had moved to their spacious new residence at 533 Diversey Parkway the year before). He proposed that Bill talk over the idea with his mother. When Dr. Sadler returned to Chicago he discovered his wife had invited a group of about thirty friends for a three o’clock Sunday afternoon tea.

              The group was destined to become the “Forum,” and soon began to include interested individuals from all walks of life. ClydeBedell told me there was a brief screening process consisting of an interview with Dr. Sadler, and the early sessions were somewhat informal. Later, as the Urantia Papers were read, the meetings may have been rather tedious. The turnover of Forum members was great, and during its period of existence, a total of 486 members had come and gone. The final meeting of the Forum as such took place on May 31, 1942. In a 1983 interview, Clyde Bedell spoke of those early days. The year was 1924; Clyde was 26 years old. He had just returned to Chicago:

“I saw Lister Alwood . . . I had Sunday dinner at his home    . . . He asked me if I would like to go to a Forum meeting at the home of an eminent Chicago psychiatrist. I asked a few questions, and he said: ‘Well, Sadler is a fantastic speaker; he talks about all sorts of things. Discussion may go in any direction. But he’s a fascinating, interesting, brilliant man.’   . . . So that first Sunday I had dinner at Lister’s home and we went to Dr. Sadler’s Forum at 533 Diversey. It was extremely interesting. I have no idea what it was all about or what he talked about now . . .”

Clyde goes on to tell us that he asked Dr. Sadler’s permission to invite a woman to attend a session. He brought his future wife, Florence Evans, to the next meeting.

“Incidentally, I should mention the fact that shortly after I joined the Forum, Lister Alwood was through with the Forum . . . There was quite a little turnover. There were no limits on what could be discussed. I think a good many people in the very early Forum felt, years later, they had been circumstanced into it. If that is the case, what occurred before papers started coming . . . was of no moment. It’s a strange thing but             . . . many things which you think today we should have remembered we do not remember  . . . What year did the papers begin coming through? I don’t know.   If we had known that such a thing as an epochal revelation was coming through, we would have kept diaries . . .”

              As the Forum began to discuss various issues, Dr. Sadler was continuing his efforts to discover the source of the puzzling night manifestations of the sleeping subject. He and his wife had begun to work out various questions about the universe in advance, asking them verbally as opportunities arose.

Sadler decided to privately develop a series of especially difficult questions as a test. He memorized fifty-two specific questions (Dr. Sadler was noted for having a remarkable photographic memory) to see if these so-called “student visitors” could ascertain what was in his mind. It should be noted that according to Dr. Sprunger, Sadler did not believe that mental telepathy was possible.

Shortly after, in one of the nocturnal sessions with the subject, Dr. Sadler and Dr. Lena encountered a particularly “electrifying personality” who claimed to be from a distant planet. He greatly excited the doctors by his comments. As this personality seemed about to take leave, Dr. Sadler challenged him saying: “How can you prove you are who you say you are?” The entity replied: “I cannot prove — but you cannot prove that I am not.” He then stunned the doctor with this remark: “However, I have just received permission to answer forty-six of the fifty-two questions you have been holding in your mind.”

Lena spoke up in surprise, “Why Will, you have no such list of questions, do you?” Dr. Sadler was forced to admit, “Yes I do Lena, and fifty-two is the exact number.”

The astonishing personality then proceeded to answer the forty-six acceptable questions as promised.13 He then added a pointed admonition:

“If you only knew what you are in contact with you would not ask me such trivial questions. You would rather ask questions as might elicit answers of supreme value to the human race.”

November 25, 2011

The Forgotten Urantian: Dr. Lena Celestia (Kellogg) Sadler

Dr. Lena Sadler

Lena C. Sadler, 1875 – 1939, was a physician, surgeon, obstetrician, lecturer and author, a leader in women’s health issues. Before studying medicine, she was a public school teacher and afterwards a trained nurse. For twenty years Lena and her husband, Dr. William Sadler, worked in rescue mission work for the Seventh-day Adventist Missions in Chicago and San Francisco. Lena concentrated on ministering to women detained in the Chicago jails. Later in life Lena became a leading activist who lectured and diligently worked toward recognizing the contributions of women as professionals in the medical and scientific fields. She was an associate professor of Physiologic Therapeutics in The Post Graduate Medical School of Chicago, an associate director of the Chicago Institute of Physiologic Therapeutics, a fellow of the American Medical Association, and a specialist in diseases of women and children.
Most Urantians know “Dr. Lena” only as the wife of Dr. William Sadler. But she was much more than that. Dr. Lena was a protagonist at virtually every critical turning point in the revelatory process. Many Urantian historians believe she was a destiny reservist who, generally behind the scenes, inspired, drove and motivated her husband and the other humans involved in receiving the revelation. We are told in the Urantia Papers that “… reservists of destiny have seldom been emblazoned on the pages of human history …” on our planet. And so it was with Dr. Lena Sadler.

It was Dr. Lena Sadler who initiated the first contact. After several sessions with the sleeping subject in which he was unresponsive to physical stimulation. “Lena Sadler noticed the subject was moistening his lips. ‘Perhaps he wants to say something. Perhaps we should ask a question,’ she said. ‘How are you feeling?’ To the great astonishment of everyone, the subject spoke!” [From A History of the Urantia Papers.]
It was Dr. Lena Sadler who, in 1923, organized the thirty individuals for a Sunday afternoon discussion group which soon became the “Forum.”
It was Dr. Lena Sadler who took the initial notes regarding the information provided by the pre-Urantia Papers contacts (beginning circa 1906), and read them to the Sunday group in late 1924.
It was Dr. Lena Sadler who concluded that the phenomenon they were experiencing was authentic, and came to believe in the revelation long before Dr. William Sadler.
It was Dr. Lena Sadler who urged her husband William to continue with the process after his interest began to decline.
It was Dr. Lena Sadler who raised the initial $20,000 toward the publication fund of the Urantia Book.
Dr. Lena died in 1939 after a long and courageous battle with breast cancer. The process of receiving the Urantia Papers was nearly completed. For about three decades, she had quietly helped propel the process.

Even avid detractors and critics of Dr. William Sadler acknowledge his wife’s noble character and spiritual fragrance. Some make the bizarre assertion that William Sadler, a successful and renowned medical doctor and psychiatrist, wrote the Urantia Papers. They offer no plausible motive. Surely Lena Sadler, also a successful and esteemed medical doctor, would never collaborate in, or even sanction, an elaborate and senseless charade.

Lena Sadler was a great Urantian. Her significance, like many extraordinary women, has never been adequately acknowledged. For the first forty-five years of her life she could not vote because women had not yet been granted suffrage. She achieved her education and became a medical doctor when it was almost unheard of for females. Dr. Lena served humanity in the shadow of her famous husband, and when he doubted and faltered, she remained steadfast. Perhaps of all the Urantian pioneers, we owe Dr. Lena Sadler the most profound debt of gratitude.
LARRY MULLINS