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Letter of resignation from the Family of God Foundation
Joy Brandt

February 1, 1984

Dear Family of God Foundation Friends:

It has taken me a long time to write this letter of resignation. It’s hard for me to be critical of an organization of people that I once thought I’d be working with for the rest of my life. Also, I hold much love in my heart for you, and I do believe your motivations are good. But, here goes.

For the past couple of years I have been disappointed in the monarchical rather than democratic tendencies of FOG. Yet, I did not strongly object. I felt it was okay for Vern to run the show since, after all, he had founded the organization, good work was being done, and FOG was moving within sane and reasonable boundaries.

Now, however, I believe Vern has been experiencing mental aberrations which he has erroneously judged to be of superhuman origin, and the well-meaning and loyal FOG enthusiasts have unwittingly joined him in this digression.

I’ve heard it said, "Believing the messages should not be a requirement for working at FOG." Please stop for a minute and put yourself in my shoes. Believing as I do that you have exalted a "reaction of the mortal mind to the sphere of divine dignity," I therefore see FOG as unwisely spending the funds with which it has been entrusted. I also feel that the management of information, both internally and externally, is defensive and isolationist –cultish in a negative sense. And I feel that I have no power as a member of FOG to change these things.

Let me cite some examples of the mismanagement of information. Since any weapons at Clayton have only been purchased by individuals, not the Foundation or Institute, one person stated, perhaps as a suggestion for other Foggers, that if anyone asked about weapons at Clayton, s/he responds, "To my knowledge neither the Family of God Foundation nor the Spiritual Renaissance Institute have purchased any weapons." (Now come on! Is that the point?)

Other examples: We were consistently given a one-sided view of the way the Urantia movement was reacting to Vern’s "messages". In the beginning we were led to believe that "Chicago" totally believed Vern’s war message…that the Brotherhood Executive Committee may have endorsed advertising The Urantia Book, or publishing it in sections, had it not been for Vern’s "messages". (Not so, say members of the Executive Committee.)

We were continuously told about the positive support from those who believed Vern’s "messages" to be valid. Yet, we were not told about the turmoil in the movement, about the many people who rejected Vern’s interpretation of the phenomenon, until it had become so obvious that some of it had to be acknowledged. And even then, the real picture was softened (e.g., Vern’s Special Representative title being taken away – Vern mentioned he might offer to "resign" instead; he was thus serving as a "lightning rod" for the Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood…another e.g., the Los Angeles meeting where Hoite confronted Vern – Hoite’s twenty-plus points were not discussed. Instead, we were told how calm and poised Vern was (and how emotional Hoite was).

With all of the dissention and disbelief by some powerful, long-time Urantia Book devotees, wouldn’t an open-minded, non-cultish organization form at least one committee (amongst all of its other survivalist committees) to objectively check into the validity of the entire phenomenon? Those of you who are interested in the welfare of FOG – aren’t you driven to know why the majority of old-time forum members, some who have been with the revelation since the 1920’s and 1930’s, disbelieve the "messages"? Have you talked with the four Urantia Foundation Trustees who considered this incident so significant as to mail such a devastating letter to the entire Urantia mailing list of almost 4,000? Why is it that the farther east one goes, the fewer "believers" there are?

On FOG person has admonished people to look at the larger picture, meaning Vern’s years of service. That’s a good idea. But why not enlarge the picture even more to include the reasoning, opinions, and considerations of many long-time Urantia Book supporters, leaders, officers, old-time forum members, etc., many who also have significant and much-to-be-respected service careers?

I did not need to read Hoite’s treatise to seriously question Vern’s "messages". I remember doubting them before the October one was announced, and quetioning the wisdom of URNTIA policies being set by one person’s "messages" rather than by group logic, debate, and prayer. When finally released from the oath of secrecy,* I called across the country to try to get as much information as possible, because it has been my experience that good information helps one to make good decisions. By the time I had read Hoite’s paper (shortly after Phil and Jane resigned), the evidence was already overwhelmingly falling against Vern’s interpretation of the phenomenon.

I also started reading some of Sadler’s works, since he is known for his intense interest and research into such experiences. I was surprised to learn that mental aberrations can occur to otherwise sane-acting, well-intentioned people.

*Remember that Vern, when asked by me whether the oath was a human or a superhuman idea, stated mysteriously, with suggestion to the latter, "I know the answer," and refused to comment further. (It was actually the idea of Vern and a small group of people.)

Even as contrary evidence stacked up, I also tried to stay open to the FOG interpretation. I continued to attend FOG meetings until the first week in December, and did not hide my growing disbelief. In fact, I tried several times (in vain) to talk with Vern about all of the doubts I was having. I challenged Marvin, David Gray, Jeff and others with my questions and concerns. Finally, in a phone conversation with Vern on December 11th, he told me that a long-term Urantia movement leader, an old and reliable forum member, had told him that FOG should hang on until the end of the year…that s/he had a strong sense that everyone should stay in place through the first of the year…and that this person had passed this along to Vern and FOG "in very strong terms".* Vern asked me at that time, as a personal friend, not to resign or take any action until January. So I didn’t.

Well Vern, and my other friends, the time has finally come. January has drawn to a close, and I must now write these words: I resign as a coworker and/or volunteer of the Family of God Foundation.

However, while we may stand at opposite ends on this issue, you should know that I love you as individuals, and we can all be assured that "all things (including evil, potential and manifest) work together for good to all beings who know God, love to do his will, and are ascending Paradiseward according to his eternal plan and divine purpose." (Pg. 616)


Joy Wattles

A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship