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.”

March 18, 2014

THE QUESTION OF THE ORIGIN OF THE URANTIA PAPERS

Ideally, from a human philosophical perspective, Revelation is best served when evaluated upon its content, not upon some supposed miraculous origin. However, many people believe that a mysterious — or even seemingly “miraculous” — origin of revelatory material actually validates the contents of the material itself. Yet, in the case of the Urantia Papers, Dr. Sadler made great effort to avoid attaching some supernatural occurrence to explain their materialization. In point of fact, there is no authentic record I know of that either he or any member of the Contact Commission ever witnessed a supernatural event associated with the actual materialization of the text of the Urantia Papers. They attested to many events relative to the materialization of the text that they could not explain, but none claimed to have witnessed any of the materialization events. Even so, the Urantia Papers themselves tell us that if the human mind cannot fathom the true origin of a phenomenon, it will create an origin:

“Partial, incomplete, and evolving intellects would be helpless in the master universe, would be unable to form the first rational thought pattern, were it not for the innate ability of all mind, high or low, to form a universe frame in which to think. If mind cannot fathom conclusions, if it cannot penetrate to true origins, then will such mind unfailingly postulate conclusions and invent origins that it may have a means of logical thought within the frame of these mind-created postulates. And while such universe frames for creature thought are indispensable to rational intellectual operations, they are, without exception, erroneous to a greater or lesser degree.” [1260, par.2]

We will see that Dr. Sadler may have eventually authorized the preparation of a History of the Urantia Movement” for this reason. Later, in private discussions with Dr. Sprunger, William Sadler would reiterate that he did not know how the materialization of the Papers was accomplished. Dr. Sadler also insisted that everything known about the materialization of the Urantia Papers can be found in various parts of the book.However, based upon these Urantia Book references and Dr. Sadler’s own experiences in relationship to the materializations, the colleagues were led to speculate upon the process, as we shall see.

Dr. Sprunger and his ministerial colleagues left Chicago with a much better idea of how the Urantia Papers came to be. It should be emphasized once more that the origins of the Urantia Papers have little relevance in assessing the truth and spiritual quality of their content. It is, however, an important area of research that was destined to be revisited. On October 6, 1958, Dr. Sprunger and the ministerial group met with Dr. Robert V. Moss, who was at the time Professor of New Testament Studies at Lancaster Theological Seminary and President of the United Church of Christ. The purpose of the South Bend meeting was to evaluate The Urantia Book. There was a lively and spirited discussion. Although Dr. Moss had not read the entire book, he remarked that the Biblical material in The Urantia Book was essentially in harmony with the best scholarship of the day, and that the book had many inspiring passages.

A week after the meeting, Dr. Moss wrote Dr. Sprunger and asked a most provocative question:

“It occurred to me that we did not deal with one basic question. As you know, Christianity is a historical religion and because of that the basis of revelation can be tested by scholarship. It seems extremely important that the source of the Urantia ‘revelations’ be set forth in any serious discussions of its claim. To say there is no historical basis for the “revelation” is to say that it differs greatly from the biblical understanding of the way in which God acts.”6

            It is reasonable to conclude that an investigation into the origin of the Urantia Papers would lend a significant contribution to the evaluation of the text itself. Indeed, issues about the sequences and techniques of the origin remained. In the next decade, Dr. Sprunger would pursue these questions. He would have many conversations with Dr. Sadler as well as with two other members of the Contact Commission: Bill Sadler, Jr. and Emma Louise Christensen (Christy). He would also meet and develop associations with many Forum members.

Our own quest for answers begins in the early years of the twentieth century. It was a uniquely colorful period in world history. Matisse and Renoir were still painting. And, another aspiring artist named Adolf Hitler was attempting to sell his watercolors in Vienna. Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States. Americans were still talking about two brothers named Orville and Wilbur Wright who successfully flew a heavier than air machine in 1903. Chicago was then the center of movie making, and Bill Harris has noted: “in the prairies just out of town someone first headed someone else off at the pass in cowboy pictures. They called it Chicago’s Golden Age. And in every quarter of the arts, from jazz to poetry, Chicago was clearly the place to be.”7  Chicago newspapermen like Carl Sandburg, Ben Hecht, and Ring Lardner were turning to more serious ideas — and America was sitting up and taking notice. H. L. Mencken wrote: “In Chicago, a spirit broods on the face of the waters.”8 It was in this remarkable city of Chicago, Illinois, that the intriguing story of the Urantia Papers was set into motion.

Next: “Something has happened to my husband”

March 5, 2014

The Forum, and How Dr. Sadler Changed from Skeptic to Believer

     When he met with Meredith Sprunger and several ministers, Dr. Sadler also explained that, in addition to the Contact Commission, there had been another, larger group associated with the Urantia Papers. This group was known as the “Forum.” Several members of the Forum had speculated that the above restrictions were imposed because the Revelators wanted nothing “miraculous” associated with the appearance of the Urantia Papers.

Dr. Sadler confided to the group of ministers that he had spent a great number of years seeking to discover natural explanations for what he had been observing. He had consulted with Sir Hubert Wilkins, a noted scientist and explorer who had an interest in psychic phenomena. He also contacted Howard Thurston, a professional magician who was noted for his ability to expose fraudulent mediums and psychics. All of the outside experts who were consulted agreed that the phenomena associated with the contact personality were not classifiable as known so-called psychic activities, such as automatic writing, telepathy, clairvoyance, trances, spirit mediumship, channeling — nor as any psychological disturbance such as split personality.4

It was obvious to Dr. Sprunger that William Sadler had started as a professional, objective researcher and skeptic, and yet somehow had become a believer. Dr. Sprunger asked him how this transformation had occurred. Dr. Sadler replied:

“We set up our ‘Forum’ in the mid-twenties as an informal Sunday tea, a place where a group of about thirty interested people could meet and discuss medical and social issues. The Forum was composed of people from all walks of life, including professionals such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, ministers and teachers, as well as housewives, secretaries, farmers, and laborers. The Forum eventually became involved in examining the Urantia Papers, and in discussing them. Each week, I began to read them one of the Papers and accept questions from the Forum members about what they had heard. In time, it seemed to me the folks in the Forum were becoming more and more impressed with the content of the Papers, and were losing objectivity. I was most concerned with Lena, my wife.”

Indeed, Dr. Lena Sadler was evidently a strong believer in the Papers long before William. She apparently urged him to continue the process when his interest began to flag. Unfortunately, Lena died of cancer in 1939 at the age of 64, more than fifteen years before the Urantia Papers became The Urantia Book.

“So one Sunday,” continued Dr. Sadler, “I made a speech to the group about the importance of maintaining a tough, critical and objective approach to the material. To my astonishment, the response I got was almost like a testimonial meeting! The essence of the reaction was: ‘We don’t care who wrote these Papers, they simply make more sense than anything else we have ever read along this line.’”

“Now, I believed that my own professional reputation was at stake. I had often declared in public that there were no genuine mediumistic phenomena, and I wasn’t going to let one baffling case change my mind. I felt that in time I would discover a natural explanation for this remarkable case.

“However, as years went by I became more and more impressed with the quality and the consistency of the material that was being received. I became satisfied in my own mind that the subject involved in the materializations could not have authored the Papers we were receiving. He simply did not have the qualifications nor the abilities to do so. I finally became satisfied that I was not dealing with some hoax or trick, but some kind of an authentic phenomenon.

“Finally, in the mid-thirties — over twenty years after I had first encountered this case — I carefully studied a Paper evaluating the personalities of the apostles of Jesus. It was at that point that I threw in the intellectual towel. I am a psychiatrist, and I believe I know my business. But this Paper was a real blow to my pride. I believe that if I assembled a half dozen of the world’s best psychiatrists and had years to prepare it, we could not collectively fabricate a paper with this ring of genuineness and insight. So I said to myself: ‘I don’t know what this is, but I do know it is the highest quality of philosophical-religious material I have ever read.’

    From that point on, Dr. Sadler became not simply a detached professional director of the group, he became a proactive and dedicated leader.

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

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.