Letter from Jim Mills to Eva Van Sant justifying
Removal of Tom Kendall as Trustee
March 6, 1984
THE MONTROSE TRAIL
Tallahassee, FL 32308
March 6th, 1984
Dear Mrs. Van Sant:
As I am in the midst of writng a doctoral dissertation, it is difficult to find enough time to answer the letters I am receiving. Fortunately, most of them are concerned with convincing me of the correctness of the writer’s pre-established convictions so that an answer is not really necessary. I read them, make a note of their author in case of future personal contact, and file them.
However, your letter is asking me to do something I cannot do and I feel obligated to tell you why.
I have known Tom Kendall since Carolyn first brought him to meetings of the then fledgling First Urantia Society of Chicago, which Eunice and I were, members as former Forumites. Her impressed me as a warm, responsive, genial, friendly and unusually gentle individual. I felt his honesty and humanity were genuine. I have never changed that opinion. This was in the middle and late “fifties.” At that time my job in chemical marketing necessitated a move to another city some 200 miles distant from Chicago forcing me to resign some of my official activities with the Urantia Brotherhood. At the end of my term as president I also asked that I not be re-nominated. I felt that at that time Chicago residency was important, though I did remain on the Executive Committee for a number of years and continued to serve as Field Representative.
In 1972, I was elected to Trusteeship of the Urantia Foundation and served until 1975 then resigned to move to Florida, having previously retired from business in 1973. We had moved to Chicago in 1973 and lived there for two years in order that I could be close to 533. I was appointed special agent for the Foundation when I left and resigned that position sometime after moving to Florida. Vern Grimsley was appointed in my place. I never felt it necessary to make public announcement of the last named appointment though at my own expense I had visited Paris twice in the interests of the Foundation.
From 1972 until 1975 I attended every meeting of the Foundation, did a large amount of research for reports, initiated the first mail funds solicitation campaign which recovered its costs within two weeks, and served in many other ways; one being as a buffer to the stream of unusual individuals who would appear at 533. One of which for example was self-styled “The Earth Order of Melchizedeks.” All were of the youthful mentality of the “sixties”. Because the Library of Congress in 1955, after a very brief reading of the Urantia Book, had classified it as “Occult”, and probably because its retail price then was $5.00, occult bookstores placed most of the orders for Urantia Books. Thus its early readership was often linked to the type of mind, which buys occult literature. Some of our finest people have come to us through this route, however.
When I joined the Foundation in 1972, Tom Kendall was president and it was a pleasure to work with him because I had always carried in mind the early impressions I had of his nature and personality.
At that time I had just retired from a highly competitive environment on my job, one in which I could point to the construction of a ten million dollar Chlorine and Caustic Soda manufacturing plant to serve the very business I personally brought in. I was thus a chemist turned businessman. The plant was built in the midst of my so-called “territory”. I tell you this only to show my credentials. What I was bringing to the Foundation was a lifetime in business combined both scientific and business attitudes and experience.
It immediately became apparent that the function of the Foundation differed greatly from that of the Brotherhood because of the very duties entrusted to it and that there are certain spelled-out responsibilities incumbent on membership. To begin with, the most basic one is to see that the Urantia Book stays in print. It also immediately became obvious that there are people to whom “copyright” was a word without meaning. It also became obvious that continual vigilance is necessary because one of the statements of responsibilities to which the trustees must subscribe is, “to preserve inviolate the text of the Urantia Book,” and that the easiest way to muddy-up the text is to permit anyone who does not have an understanding of the philosophy and spirit of the book to put in into a foreign language. We had one unfortunate experience of this nature.
To shorten this already too long epistle lets summarize the Foundation functions as those of a commercial, non-social, economic, publishing, legal unit operating under the dictates of the State of Illinois in its regulation of non-profit entities. That is it.
But the Foundation had no means of carrying out another of its Declaration of Trust self-mandates: “to disseminate the teachings of the Urantia Book.” So the Brotherhood was brought into being with the most liberal constitution that could possibly be established for it. A constitution that unfortunately has suffered curious interpretations from those who cannot distinguish between liberty, freedom, and license in their own minds. The basic function of the Brotherhood is to disseminate the teachings of the Urantia Book. This is its first, foremost, and primary function. And it should be forever noted that membership in the Brotherhood does not give anyone ipso facto, membership in the Foundation or a part in its affairs. This is an often too easily overlooked fact.
Without going one step farther, this should be enough to establish the fact that individual Brotherhood members are getting themselves in an unnecessary dither over the Foundation’s relations with any one Trustee and should they wish to resign from the Brotherhood in protest, that will harm only the Brotherhood to whatever extent they have been creative, supporting members and produce no other effect. Insofar as they have not been creative, supporting members of the Brotherhood’s loss will be negligible. Of course, individually then can bask in whatever emotive level self-immolation brings to its devotees.
As far as Tom Kendall is concerned, in my own mind he is the same generous, loving, kind, humane and gentle being that I have always known. However, the point at issue is: does the Foundation have the right to politely request the resignation of a Trustee as president of the body when the four other members are convinced that this is in the best interests of that body? My answer is yes. This is also stipulated in the by-laws of that group.
Another point is: Does the Foundation have the right to remove that Trustee from office when he refuses to resign in an effort to contravene the group decision of the remaining Trustees? My answer is yes.
A third point is: are gentleness, humaneness, kindness, love, and al the other attributes we laud so highly, the only requisites necessary to carry out the function so f a Trustee, Urantia Foundation? My answer is emphatically no. I would refer you to the second paragraph from the bottom of page 1,222 of the Urantia Book to learn what a Solitary Messenger has to say on mundane matters. If you want to know the status of a Solitary Messenger, page 256 (ibid) will give you the information.
A fourth point: as a business enterprise, subject to all the influences of the total business climate, the Foundation’s affairs must be conducted as a business enterprise. Inefficiency, poor business judgment lack of judgment in competitive situations, are given as examples of some of the areas in which wise judgment is necessary for the Foundation just to keep going. This is not to include its most unusual obligations to stay operative as an entity for the sake of all future generations of potential Urantia Book readers. Now this is neither rhetoric nor sophistry; it comes from long personal experience with the Urantia Papers.
As to all these people who are wringing their figurative hands over the predicament of To Kendall, I would ask; how many belong to the Brotherhood? How many contribute to the dissemination of the teachings of the Urantia Book? How many are capable of doing so without irreparable harm to their listeners? How many belong to a local a society? And finally, how many are competent to be Urantia Book teachers? Which is another way of saying: “how many really understand it?”
I read about your emotional reactions and can testify to their strength when you use such adjectives as “unfair”, “merciless”, and “uncivilized”. I am also somewhat at a loss to understand this usage when you have failed to supply data to support these terms. Are you, and all others who are conducting a “write-in campaign” in behalf of Mr. Kendall completely aware of all the facts involved? If so, would it not be better to state your facts first and then draw an inductive conclusion from them? Even then it could only be theory to be proved. By association you have judged the Foundation in the same categories. Suppose someone asked you to prove it?
The only conclusion I can draw from the facts as I see them at the moment, is that someone has organized a write-in campaign for whatever reason she/he may have and it is based on nothing but love, gentleness, kindness, etc., etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum. The campaign, if it exists, is obviously devoid of judgment and rationality. All the qualities that I so admire in Tom Kendall are not sufficient for status as a Trustee of the Urantia Foundation. But, in addition, he obviously has exhibited other qualities, which are equally devoid of value for such a position or this situation would not have arisen. Please remember that of the four Trustees who voted negatively in this situation, three are members of the original Forum who have given immeasurably of themselves both in time and finances to insure that the Urantia Book was first printed. They must have some small measure of judgment and experience in themselves. As I know and have worked with them I can certify to that. On a purely numerical basis four to one is a pretty good margin unless you are in a position to prove that they are all that your words may suggest. Then, whose end do you serve?
There is nothing personal in this. I speak only to the words of your letter separate and apart from you. There is so much nonsense being put into words these days in such an illogical manner that to say the least, amazement is mine.
Anyway I hope you can come to a logical reconciliation with this problem. I wish you the best. Remember not my criticisms, just the logic.
James C. Mills
*Corrected on original sent