Special Report to Readers of The Urantia Book
Urantia Foundation ends its Relationship
with the Former Urantia Brotherhood
The true perspective of any reality problem--human or divine, terrestrial or cosmic--can be had only by the full and unprejudiced study and correlation of three phases of universe reality: origin, history, and destiny. (Page 215, a Divine Counselor of Uversa)
The Trustees understand and sympathize with readers' concerns over the Trustees' decision to end the Foundation's relationship with the former Brotherhood, which now calls itself the Fifth Epochal Fellowship (F.E.F.).
The purpose of this report is:
- 1. To provide the historic as well as contemporary background necessary to understand why we had to make this difficult decision.
- 2. To identify and discuss the principles which govern all our decisions--past, present, and future.
We want to make clear that the termination of the use of the registered marks applies only to the central organization of F.E.F. This withdrawal of privileges does not apply to Societies, study groups, or individuals--although Societies must decide whether they want to affiliate with the new Brotherhood which we are forming and which is called "Urantia Brotherhood Association."
The Trustees would also like to emphasize that a major goal of Urantia Foundation is to work with Urantia Brotherhood Association to enhance our rapport with readers, study groups, and Societies. We believe that the ultimate effect of recent and current events will be to strengthen such ties.
Urantia Foundation was established by the Declaration of Trust (January 11, 1950):
1. To disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book.
2. To protect the text of The Urantia Book through maintenance of the copyright.
3. To protect the unique identity of Urantia Foundation and its publications and services by establishing and maintaining its trade name and its trademarks and service marks, the word Urantia and the Concentric-Circles Symbol.
THE FOUNDATION'S ESTABLISHMENT OF Urantia BROTHERHOOD
The Trustees were given the authority to form Urantia Brotherhood by Article III, Section 3.4 of the Declaration of Trust:
It shall be the duty of the Trustees to disseminate the teachings and doctrines of The Urantia Book and to devise, to develop, and to effectuate means and methods for such dissemination, and to apply and use the Trust Estate for the accomplishment of that end.
On January 2, 1955, some ten months before The Urantia Book was published, the Foundation organized Urantia Brotherhood to assist the Foundation in disseminating the teachings of The Urantia Book. The Brotherhood was established as a social, fraternal organization with a spiritual objective.
In a letter distributed in July 1970, during the third Triennial Delegate Assembly, the Trustees of Urantia Foundation --who consisted of founding Trustee William M. Hales, President; Thomas A. Kendall, Vice President; founding Trustee E. L. "Christy" Christensen, Secretary; founding Trustee Edith E. Cook, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary; and Kenton E. Stephens, Assistant Treasurer--wrote:
The Foundation (a tax-exempt, common law trust) was created January 11, 1950 at the direction of the Revelatory Commission, and was given the custody of the plates inscribed with the text of The Urantia Book.
The Urantia Brotherhood was organized by the Trustees of Urantia Foundation under the direction and guidance of the governing planetary authorities.
It should be apparent then, that Urantia Foundation is not beholden to Urantia Brotherhood or any other organization connected with The Urantia Book.
The Urantia Foundation is separate and distinct. Of The Urantia Book, the Urantia Foundation is the conservator; the Urantia Brotherhood is the promoter, acting under the egis of the Foundation.
PROTECTION OF THE TEXT AND MARKS
In commencing their duties, it was evident to the original Trustees that not since the gospel of Jesus had there appeared on earth such a dynamic nucleus as The Urantia Book about which could be built so many organizations and which would attract so many differently motivated people--good, bad, and indifferent. There had not in 1900 years been anything about which there could be so much competition for control as The Urantia Book.
Responding to these concerns, the Trustees secured the copyright to The Urantia Book, enforcing it nationally and internationally.
In addition, and in order to preserve Urantia Foundation's unique identity, the Trustees established the trade name Urantia Foundation and began using the trademarks and service marks, the word Urantia and the Concentric-Circles Symbol. Contrary to recent suggestions by certain leaders of F.E.F., the Foundation has always owned the marks and supervised their use by the former Brotherhood. In response to a request made by Urantia Brotherhood following its formation in January 1955, the Trustees permitted the Brotherhood as the licensee of Urantia Foundation to use the word Urantia and the Concentric-Circles Symbol in support of Foundation programs. Initially, Trustees served on the Urantia Brotherhood Executive Committee and General Council to provide ongoing supervision of the use of the marks. By the mid 1970's the growth of the two organizations had created a need for a more formal arrangement with respect to the use of the marks. Written understandings, called Confirmatory Licensing Agreements, were entered into with Urantia Brotherhood and each Urantia Society. These Licensing Agreements were prepared with the knowledge, participation, and support of all the serving Trustees, including three founding Trustees (William M. Hales, E. L. "Christy" Christensen, and Edith E. Cook). Their signatures confirmed a fact that had always been true, namely, that the Foundation owns the marks.
The Trustees' efforts to fulfill their responsibility to protect the copyright and to guard the Foundation's name and marks were reiterated in the Third Triennial Delegate Assembly letter (July 1970):
The Foundation's principal object--which object is shared by each of the Trustees--is set out in Article 11 of the Declaration of Trust and maybe briefly summarized as the planning for the spreading of the teachings of The Urantia Book among the peoples of the world, all the while remaining ever vigilant as to the necessity of perpetually preserving inviolate the text of The Urantia Book. To these ends the Urantia Foundation holds the United States and International copyrights of The Urantia Book. The symbol of three blue concentric circles on a white background and the name "Urantia. are registered trademarks. We are in the process of registering the symbol and name in all countries.
The wisdom of the Trustees' actions to protect the text through the copyright and to preserve the unique identity of Urantia Foundation, its publications, services, and licensees through the use of the registered marks is evident from the number of individuals and other organizations that have attempted to conduct activities related to The Urantia Book. The following comments are as true now as they were twenty years ago when the Trustees wrote in their letter of July
Our most trying experience today is, as we have long since been warned, dealing with:
[Many strange isms and queer groups which will seek to attach themselves to The Urantia Book and its far-flung influence. Your most trying experiences will be with such groups who so loudly acclaim their belief in the teachings of The Book and who will so persistently seek to attach themselves to the movement. Great wisdom will be required to guard against the distracting and distorting influence of these multifarious groups and from equally distracting and disturbing individuals, some well intentioned and some sinister, who will strive to become a part of the authentic constituency of the Urantia movement.
THE CONFIRMATORY AGREEMENT
The Confirmatory Agreement signed by representatives of the former Brotherhood states in part:
I (d) The Brotherhood has not used, and shall not (except as specifically authorized herein) use, the word Urantia or the said symbol as a part of any separate or independent trademark, service mark, or collective membership mark, of the Brotherhood, or in connection with any other mark, word, symbol, letter, or design; and the Brotherhood has not used, and shall not use, the word Urantia or the said symbol in any other manner, without the prior written approval and consent of the Foundation;
I (g) The Brotherhood has conducted, and shall conduct, all its activities in accordance with the highest moral and ethical standards, and has exerted and shall at all times exert its best efforts to maintain, promote, and create good will for the benefit of the Foundation in connection with the Brotherhood 's use of the word Urantia and of the said symbol in connection with its said activities;
I (I) To insure the observance of the aforesaid standards and any other standards hereafter prescribed by the Foundation, the Brotherhood shall permit representatives of the Foundation to examine and review, at all reasonable times, the nature and quality of any and all goods distributed, and services and activities being performed by the Brotherhood in connection with which the Brotherhood is making or proposes to make any use or display of the word Urantia and/or of the said symbol.
2. The Brotherhood acknowledges, and shall at all times hereafter acknowledge, the Foundation 's exclusive ownership of, and sole right, title, and interest in and to the word Urantia and in and to the said symbol as trademarks, service marks, and collective membership marks of the Foundation, and further acknowledges and shall acknowledge that all use of the word Urantia and of the said symbol by the Brotherhood has inured, and shall continue to inure, to the benefit of the Foundation. The Brotherhood shall not at any time do or cause to be done any act or thing which will directly or indirectly damage or injure the status or character of the word Urantia and/or the said symbol as trademarks, service marks, and/or collective membership marks, and shall not contest, or take any action which will in any way impair, or tend to impair, any part of the Foundation's ownership of, or right, title, or interest in and to, the word Urantia and in and to the said symbol, as aforesaid.
3. In the event that any infringement, threatened infringement, or misuse, of the word Urantia and/or of the said symbol is brought to the attention of the Brotherhood, the Brotherhood shall forthwith notify the Foundation of all the facts known or readily available to it relating to such infringement, threat of infringement, or misuse. In such event, the Brotherhood shall provide all information and assistance in its power to assist the Foundation in any action, suit, or other proceeding, relating to such infringement, threatened infringement, or misuse; provided, however, that the institution and maintenance of any litigation or other proceedings in connection therewith shall at all times be at the sole discretion and expense of the Foundation.
4. The Brotherhood shall not at any time (either during the continuance of this Agreement or at any time thereafter), file application in any jurisdiction to register the word Urantia or the said symbol, or any confusingly similar word or symbol, as its trademark, service mark, collective membership mark, or any other type of identifying mark.
7. Upon termination or cancellation of this Agreement, for any reason, the Brotherhood shall forthwith and thenceforth cease and desist from any and all use of the word Urantia and of the said symbol.
The Confirmatory Licensing Agreement was signed by Thomas A. Kendall, President, and witnessed by Emma L. Christensen, Secretary, on behalf of Urantia Foundation, and was signed by Paul Snider, President, and witnessed by John W. Hales, Secretary, on behalf of Urantia Brotherhood (January 9, 1975). Thomas A. Kendall, Paul Snider, and John W. Hales were members of the General Council of the former Brotherhood for many years and were serving in mid 1989, during the events which led to the termination of the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. They continue to serve on the General Council of F.E.F.
In furthering the goals and purposes of Urantia Foundation, the Trustees have relied upon certain principles to govern the activities of the Foundation, the Brotherhood, and the dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book:
- 1. The Principle of Minimal Organization.
- 2. The Principle of Proper Procedures.
- 3. The Principle of Slow Growth.
The Principle of Minimal Organization:
This principle stemmed from a belief that a key purpose of organization is to prevent over-organization and that one vital purpose of government is to prevent governmental abuses. It accords with the following statement of a Melchizedek of Nebadon, which appears on page 803 of The Urantia Book:
That state is best which co-ordinates most while governing least.
The Brotherhood was thus conceived to be a "co-ordinator," rather than an "organizer,. in order to minimize the human tendency to use an organization as a means of acquiring bureaucratic power and control. With a minimal Brotherhood as a support organization, the Trustees could encourage the worldwide development of thousands of informal study groups in which readers could develop satisfying friendships and enhance their individual spiritual growth by focusing their energies on the teachings of The Urantia Book--enjoying this all the more without organizational burdens and intrusions. Thereafter, if study groups themselves decided to organize more formally, they could be linked together as Urantia Societies.
The Principle of Minimal Organization was well-known among early readers. It was one of the main subjects of a speech entitled "Unity, Not Uniformity," delivered in Los Angeles at the 1973 First Western Urantia Conference. This speech was written by Martin W. Myers in close cooperation with E. L. "Christy" Christensen, who was not only a founding Trustee of Urantia Foundation, but also intimately acquainted with events leading to the formation of both Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood. (See Enclosure 3 for a reprint of Unity, Not Uniformity.)
The Principle of Proper Procedures. This principle is also drawn from the teachings of The Urantia Book. On page 560, a Melchizedek notes:
"The universes are conducted in accordance with law and order. On page 802, a Melchizedek states:
Liberty can be enjoyed only when the will and whims of human rulers are replaced by legislative enactments in accordance with accepted fundamental law."
And on page 1490, the Midwayer Commission informs us that:
"Mortals cannot live together in peace without becoming subservient to ... laws, rules, and regulations ...."
The Principle of Proper Procedures:
The principle of proper procedures, when applied to the Brotherhood, required the creation and functioning of a constitution and by-laws to encourage sound decision making and discourage the rise of self-appointed leaders or others with well-meaning or ulterior motives who might try to use Urantia Brotherhood or The Urantia Book for their own purposes. The need for these safeguards was noted by William S. "Bill" Sadler, Jr., a founding Trustee and the first President of Urantia Brotherhood, in his April 1958 memorandum to the Trustees. Bill began by stating:
"This memorandum is prepared on a confidential basis, and it is recommended that its contents be restricted to the Trustees."
The current Trustees have decided to quote a portion of the memorandum since the entire text has been reproduced, made available on request to the membership of the Brotherhood, and mailed to the Area Co-ordinators--all on the instructions of David Elders, who is now the President of F.E.F.
In the memorandum, Bill Sadler, Jr. said:
"Being an elective body, the Brotherhood is vulnerable. A really clever conspiracy could destroy the Brotherhood or otherwise divert or pervert its mission. Such vulnerability is inherent in a self-governing body. We should accept it as an inevitability."
A careful reading of the Foundation Trust Agreement discloses that the Foundation itself could reconstitute a functional Brotherhood if the original one ever lapsed. May we never have to do this, but we could if it became necessary.
Bill's 1958 memorandum makes clear:
- 1. At least one early leader had concerns about the vulnerability of the Brotherhood.
- 2. A constitution and by-laws were important in order to protect the Brotherhood from the unwise or self-serving actions of its leaders.
- 3. The Trustees have had an interest in the implementation and administration of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Brotherhood since that organization's inception.
- 4. The Trustees would have to take corrective action if the Brotherhood were to fail to cooperate with the Trustees in observing the guiding principles which govern the presentation of The Urantia Book.
The Principle of Slow Growth:
On page 557 of The Urantia Book, an Archangel of Nebadon cites the following illustration of human philosophy:
Impatience is a spirit poison.
On page 616, a Mighty Messenger makes the following comment about Lucifer:
"All these precious endowments were lost by giving way to impatience and yielding to a desire to possess what one craves now and to possess it in defiance of all obligation to respect the rights and liberties of all other beings composing the universe of universes."
And on page 840, Solonia, the seraphic "voice in the Garden, " makes the following comments about the unfortunate default of Adam and Eve:
"But they would have sometime met with success had they been more farseeing and patient. Both of them, especially Eve, were altogether too impatient; they were not willing to settle down to the long, long endurance test. They wanted to see some immediate results, and they did, but the results thus secured proved most disastrous both to themselves and to their world."
On page 841, Solonia goes on to state:
"It should again be emphasized that Serapatatia was altogether honest and wholly sincere.... [He] was entirely loyal.... But ... he was impatient; he wanted to see some immediate results--something in his own lifetime."
The Principle of Slow Growth is of great importance. It is discussed at length in the joint statement of the Brotherhood and the Foundation entitled The Dissemination of The Urantia Book and Statement on Publicity, published in December 1983 and available on request. To us, slow growth means the slow, deliberate, person-to-person spread of the teachings of The Urantia Book, without undue fanfare or public attention to The Urantia Book as a book.
The positions of past and present Trustees regarding the Principle of Slow Growth are also discussed in Unity, Not Uniformity:
"The Urantia Book is a feature of the progressive evolution of human society. It is not germane to the spectacular episodes of epochal revolution. The Book belongs to the era immediately to follow the conclusion of the present ideological struggle. That will be the day when men will be willing to seek truth and righteousness. When the chaos of the present confusion has passed, it will be more readily possible to formulate the cosmos of a new and improved era of human relationships. And it is for this better order of affairs on earth that The Urantia Book has been made ready.
"We must learn to possess our souls in patience.
"We are in association with a revelation of truth which is a part of the natural evolution of religion on this world. Over-rapid growth would be suicidal. The Book is being given to those who arc ready for it long before its worldwide mission.
"In the meantime thousands of study groups must be brought into existence. Thus will the Book be in readiness to comfort and enlighten the peoples of the world when the battle for man's liberty is finally won and the world is once more made safe for the religion of Jesus and the freedom of mankind."
Numerous statements and actions of the leaders of the former Brotherhood seemed to imply that they thought the success of The Urantia Book was critically dependent on what they chose to do, even if that conflicted with the guiding principles, and that unless they carried out their projects and plans, The Urantia Book and its mission of truth and enlightenment would fail.
The success of The Urantia Book is, of course, dependent on its truth content and on the personal, inner responses of its readers--not on the plans of those who might have their own personal or organizational agendas. The Trustees believe that it is by following the guiding principles--not personal agendas--that the success of The Urantia Book will be ensured. We are convinced that time is essential. Given time, the natural human quest for truth will attract people to The Urantia Book's teachings and lead to widespread acceptance.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT FOR BROTHERHOOD ACTIVITIES
The former Brotherhood has alleged that it could not do its "work" because of an uncooperative Foundation. Although the Foundation occasionally questioned certain activities of the Brotherhood, the Foundation nevertheless gave substantial support to the Brotherhood.
The Foundation's records show that in 1988, the Brotherhood received a subsidy from the Foundation of more than $125,000--which, when added to the Brotherhood's stated budget of approximately $250,000, brought the Brotherhood's total expenses for that year to about $375,000. The Foundation's 1988 contribution therefore equaled one-third of the Brotherhood's actual operating expenses.
The Foundation paid the entire salaries of Michael Painter and Scott Forsythe, but only about one-third of their time was spent doing Foundation work; the other two-thirds of their time was devoted to Brotherhood activities.
The Foundation provided direct financial support to the following Brotherhood projects:
- 1. The Library Book Placement Program, which provides for the Foundation's donation of copies of The Urantia Book to libraries throughout the world. The Foundation has spent approximately $20,000.00 to date for this and the following two programs.
- 2. The Book Consignment Program, which provides for the placement of The Urantia Book in bookstores throughout the world at the Foundation's expense.
- 3. The Gift Book Program, which provides copies of the Urantia Book to needy individuals and groups throughout the world.
The Foundation rented office space to the Brotherhood for $750 a month. This was less than half the average price for an equivalent full-service lease in a building comparable to 533 Diversey Parkway.
The annual budget of the former Brotherhood increased 84% in the last five years, or an average increase of 16% per year. During this same five-year period, the Brotherhood's membership grew by only 29% (from 919 in 1983 to 1,185 in 1988), an annual growth rate of only 6%. Despite the Foundation's subsidies, the Brotherhood ran a deficit for 1987 and 1988. (For the Brotherhood to run a deficit was counter to Article XII, Section 12.6 of the Constitution of Urantia Brotherhood, which proposes that budgeted expenditures be no more than ninety percent of annual income, so as to discourage deficit spending.)
Despite F.E.F.'s accusation, there is no evidence that legitimate programs of the former Brotherhood were impaired by a lack of cooperation on the part of Urantia Foundation. In fact, the reverse is true: Without the subsidy provided by Urantia Foundation, the Brotherhood's deficit would have been much larger, and that would have greatly impaired the Brotherhood's legitimate programs. Are there actually any significant programs or activities which a fully independent F.E.F. can now carry out, and which the former Urantia Brotherhood was "prevented" from performing? We doubt it.
PRELUDE TO SEPARATION
Disregarding the Foundation's authority, responsibilities, and support, the leaders of the former Brotherhood increasingly objected to the Foundation's review of Brotherhood activities, even though the Foundation was fully within its rights to do so under the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. At the same time, several individuals who served on the General Council sought to implement their own personal agendas which conflicted with the basic policies of the Foundation. Some of these individuals created separate organizations for the purpose of pursuing these potentially conflicting agendas, which, of course, gave the Trustees cause for concern.
In addition, the Trustees were especially concerned about what we saw as a drift toward a cult-like mentality, including the increasing dominance of a few individuals within the Brotherhood and their efforts to control and limit the flow of information to the General Council and the Brotherhood's overall membership.
When the Trustees considered our responsibilities under the Declaration of Trust Creating Urantia Foundation, we became increasingly concerned about the widening divergence between our views and those of the Brotherhood's leadership. Over a number of years, the Trustees worked to resolve these concerns through both written and verbal communications. This continued even after leaders of the former Brotherhood attacked the Foundation in the summer of 1989. After that attack, however, all of the Foundation's attempts to resolve the issues under discussion were disregarded.
THE BROTHERHOOD'S DEPARTURE FROM THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES
It must be remembered that the Foundation created and licensed the former Urantia Brotherhood to work in harmony with the Foundation to advance the programs of the Foundation. But an uncooperative Brotherhood, increasingly acting in ways which conflicted with the policies and principles of the Foundation, made it difficult for the Foundation to accomplish its goals. As the former Brotherhood deviated from the principles and policies which the Foundation had established over a period of 40 years, there was a need for the Foundation to step in to uphold the principles governing the dissemination of The Urantia Book--the Principles of Minimal Organization, Proper Procedures, and Slow Growth. The following are three examples of problem areas where the Trustees found it necessary to intervene:
- 1. Aggressive Marketing vs. Prudent Distribution of The Urantia Book.
- 2. The Removal Amendment.
- 3. The Area Co-ordinator Program.
1. Aggressive Marketing vs. Prudent Distribution of The Urantia Book:
Subsequent to the election of David Elders as President of the former Brotherhood, the first major statements of the Foundation to the Brotherhood were the Foundation's letters of July 27 and July 28, 1987. These letters resulted from the General Council's growing desire to make marketing and pricing decisions concerning The Urantia Book without consulting the Foundation.
In these letters, the Trustees felt it necessary to reiterate the Foundation's position on promotion and marketing of the Urantia Book as well as on a number of other issues. The letters emphasized the Principle of Slow Growth--slow, deliberate, person-to-person growth--and the error of commercial marketing and promotion. The Trustees viewed these letters as an educational effort rather than a threat, which is how some General Councilors apparently interpreted them. (See Enclosures 4A and 4B for copies of the letters.) The Trustees who authorized these letters were Hoite C. Caston, Gloriann Harris, Martin W. Myers, Frank Sgaraglino, and Helena E. Sprague.
The Trustees have a duty to administer a consistent policy relating to the dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book, including practical matters associated with the distribution of The Urantia Book itself. Nevertheless, many General Councilors resented the Foundation's fulfillment of these duties and interpreted that as undue "control.. This attitude called into question the Brotherhood's willingness to fulfill the goals for which it was created.
2. The Removal Amendment.
Another event which caused concern among the Trustees stemmed from certain actions taken shortly after the Family of God/Vern Grimsley episode by the chairman of the Brotherhood's Judicial Committee, Duane Faw. (Mr. Faw was also a participant in the 1984 Grimsley affair; he is now a member of the Board of Directors of Mo Siegel's Jesusonian Foundation. For more information, write to Hoite C. Caston, care of Urantia Foundation, and ask for a copy of the "Vern Grimsley Message Evaluation. ") This series of events has come to be known as the Removal Amendment controversy. It was important because it involved the application of the Principle of Proper Procedures, which is based on the idea that the individual or group is not above the law.
To fulfill its mission and purpose, the Brotherhood had to conduct itself in accordance with the spirit and letter of its Constitution and By-Laws. The importance of this approach had been recognized in Opinion 3-1974-1 prepared by the Judicial Committee of Urantia Brotherhood:
The Constitution is designed to encourage a decision process which will work to the benefit of our simple organization. We haw at one and the same time a healthy balance between representative democracy and the procedural safeguards that insure stability and sound decision making. This is a delicate balance that must be maintained (Emphasis added.)
Against this background, there was concern that the Chairman of the Judicial Committee was trying to amend the bylaws of the Brotherhood in haste, without justification, and by circumventing proper procedures. Trustee Martin W. Myers, who had served on the Judicial Committee and was a member of the General Council at the time, asked the Executive Committee to review the matter. Instead, the Executive Committee referred it back to the Judicial Committee, which had created the controversy. Further, the Judicial Committee then failed to give full consideration to Martin's written objections, thereby departing from the legal procedures which governed the actions of Urantia Brotherhood.
After that, the matter was brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation. After reviewing the matter and consulting the Foundation's legal counsel, the Trustees unanimously agreed that the amendment (which provided for the removal of a member of the General Council) had serious flaws and had been improperly adopted. This, of course, was important to the Trustees because it involved a violation of the Principle of Proper Procedures.
To convey the Trustees' views to the General Council, Trustee Frank Sgaraglino and the Foundation's legal counsel appeared before the January 1988 meeting of the Brotherhood's General Council. That meeting was dominated by confusion, emotion, and hostility toward the Foundation's legal counsel, and this prevented the Foundation's representatives from fully explaining their views. Thereafter, the Foundation offered the Brotherhood the assistance of the Foundation's legal counsel in helping to draft a removal amendment which would meet the requirements of due process and proper procedures. Although progress was being made in seeking to resolve this issue, it had not been settled at the time the Foundation ended its relationship with the Brotherhood.
To facilitate understanding of the Removal Amendment controversy and its overall context, we are including Enclosures SA and SB, drafts of two letters that were prepared by Urantia Foundation's legal counsel in February 1988 but kept in the Foundation's file and not delivered to the General Council. This restraint on substantive communication occurred at the insistence of David Elders, the President of the former Brotherhood.
3. The Area Co-ordinator Program.
A third event which concerned the Trustees was the Brotherhood's proposal to establish the Area Co-ordinator Program as an expansion of the Field Representative Program. The Trustees objected to the Area Co-ordinator proposal because it undercut the role of study groups and Societies as the basic building blocks of the Brotherhood, and because it violated the Principle of Minimal Organization.
The Area Co-ordinator Program envisioned an approach similar to that of a centrally-directed sales organization. Instead of leaving grass-roots activity to the Societies and local readers, the leaders of the Brotherhood wished to direct and control such matters from the Brotherhood's headquarters. For example, new referrals were to be given to Area Co-ordinators instead of to Societies and local study groups, thereby allowing the central organization to exert influence over strictly local activities. The Trustees felt very uncomfortable with this approach, but they sought to make the program as balanced as possible--in part, attempting to ensure that it would not be used for political purposes--and then they gave the Brotherhood permission to implement it on the understanding that the Trustees would reevaluate it periodically.
The Trustees' concerns about the program were almost immediately confirmed. The program had hardly been operating before the Area Co-ordinators were not only involved in political matters related to the work of Urantia Brotherhood, but they were also being used as conduits for statements about the internal affairs of Urantia Foundation.
On July 24, 1989 David Elders, acting on behalf of the Executive Committee, sent a letter to the former Brotherhood's entire membership, as well as a private note to Society Presidents and Area Co-ordinators, summarizing the July 17, 1989, emergency meeting of the Executive Committee and announcing a special session of the General Council to consider the private affairs of Urantia Foundation.
The Trustees have been notified that the Domestic Extension Committee and the International Fellowship Committee have used the Area Co-ordinators as conduits for transmitting political information to readers, including anti-Foundation views. In addition, several persons have reported that Area Co-ordinators have disseminated political propaganda. One person described his Area Co-ordinator as a "political ward boss..
We consider all this highly significant. It confirms what the Trustees foresaw as one possible abuse of the Area Coordinator Program, namely, efforts by the central organization of the Brotherhood to extend its power and influence over the readership. (Enclosures 6A and 6B contain a fuller explanation of how the Area Co-ordinator program conflicts with the Constitution of Urantia Brotherhood and the principles of Minimal Organization, Proper Procedures, and Slow Growth.)
THE "CHURCHIFICATION" OF THE BROTHERHOOD
For quite some time, the Trustees have also been concerned about the former Brotherhood's tendencies to adopt or advocate church-like practices. The dangers of "churchification" of the Brotherhood were mentioned as early as 1958 by William S. Sadler, Jr. in his President's Triennial Report for 1955-1957. Further, Unity, Not Uniformity also referred to these dangers. (See Enclosure 7 "Part VII. A BROTHERHOOD--NOT A CHURCH OR A SECT.")
Although the former Brotherhood had not become a full-fledged church at the time its leaders attacked Urantia Foundation, the Brotherhood had definitely begun to move away from being a minimally organized "social and fraternal organization with a spiritual objective." Instead, it was becoming a more regimented, authoritarian group with limited and specific values, such as "autonomy,. "independence," "group wisdom,. and "democracy" as its effective creed, despite the assertion that it remained dedicated to the teachings of The Urantia Book.
This incipient metamorphosis was increasingly evident after the election of David Elders as President of Urantia Brotherhood in 1985. For example, the Bulletin adopted a steadily more religious orientation, featuring sermonettes by David. In addition, the former Brotherhood took other significant steps away from a minimal end non-authoritarian organization toward creating a church-like organizational structure and acquiring church-like authority and control over members:
- 1. Advocating aggressive promotion and marketing of The Urantia Book, so that the physical distribution of the Urantia Book itself -- rather than dissemination of the teachings -- became a principal focus of Brotherhood attention.
- 2. Politicization of the Area Co-ordinator Program, thus institutionalizing intrusions by the central organization down to the local level--including even the personal lives of individual readers.
- 3. Increased emphasis on fund raising, which more and more was necessary to pay for the former Brotherhood's rapidly expanding bureaucracy and organization-enhancing programs.
Even more disturbing was the inclination of the Executive Committee and General Council to sit in personal judgment on others--especially anyone who might disagree with them. These two bodies have presumed to require that personal conduct of others conform to the Executive Committee's and General Council's ideas of orthodox behavior--approaches which were portrayed as being "consistent with the teachings of The Urantia Book," but which really had more to do with the ideas of the Executive Committee and General Council concerning group authority and social control. (See Enclosures 8A and 8B for examples of the thinking of two General Councilors along these lines.)
It is revealing that these behavioral practices have continued even after the Foundation, in late October 1989, took action which accorded with the former Brotherhood's repeated demands for "autonomy" and "independence." The November 1989 meeting of the F.E.F. General Council and Society representatives was described by one individual as an emotional pep rally devoted to anti-Foundation and anti-Martin Myers themes. The tone of the meeting, according to this observer, was not one might expect from a body claiming to be dedicated to the spread of the teachings of the Fifth Major Epochal revelation, and to the personal realization of these teachings through serious study and loving service.
In sum, the Brotherhood was succumbing to the temptation to feed its desire for organizational power; it was becoming increasingly an "organizer" rather than a "co-ordinator"; and it was using its growing bureaucracy for political purposes.
The leaders of the former Brotherhood were shifting their focus from spiritual objectives of service and study, toward objectives of politics and power.
This shift in focus conflicted with the long-established policy of the Brotherhood and the Foundation that the Brotherhood be neither a church nor a sect. Urantia was never to be the name of a "religion," and neither was the Brotherhood ever intended to be a religious organization. Instead, Urantia Foundation created the former Brotherhood to serve as a social and fraternal organization with a spiritual objective.
The Trustees regarded all these disturbing trends as being deviations from the Principle of Minimal Organization. In the considered opinion of the Trustees, the direction of the former Brotherhood's organizational behavior was toward a centralized, hierarchical structure which would be based on subordination and authority, and which would adopt organizational and social practices that are, at best, characteristically Western, Christian, and evangelical rather than culturally neutral, Jesusonian, end worldwide. Several passages in The Urantia Book suggest that F.E.F.'s approach is inappropriate, especially in relation to an epochal revelation.
For example, on page 2064 the Midwayers make the following two comments:
"The gospel of the kingdom was to be identified with no particular race, culture, or language."
"No revealed religion can spread to all the world when it makes the serious mistake of becoming permeated with some national culture or associated with established racial, social, or economic practices."
And on page 2042, the Midwayers quote Jesus as saying:
"Go, then, into all the world proclaiming this gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men to all nations and races and ever be wise in your choice of methods for presenting the good news to the different races and tribes of mankind."
THE BROTHERHOOD'S REPUDIATION
OF ESTABLISHED COMMUNICATIONS PRACTICES
In spite of the problems described above, the Trustees not only continued not only to support Brotherhood programs, but also to encourage orderly deliberations within and between both organizations. The General Council, repeatedly tried, however, to involve the Trustees in the General Council's deliberations. To clarify the separate functions of the two organizations, on November 18,1988, the serving Trustees (Hoite C. Caston, Gloriann Harris, Martin W. Myers, Frank Sgaraglino, and Helena Sprague) outlined their approach to communication between the Foundation and the Brotherhood in a letter to Marilynn Kulieke, Vice-President of the Brotherhood. In part, the Trustees' letter stated:
We want to communicate, but in a structured way that helps each body develop its best thinking in accord with its unique type of organization, internal operations and organizational responsibilities. Once that is accomplished, the two groups will thus be able to communicate their carefully considered group conclusions to one another.
We look forward to additional meetings between representatives of Urantia Brotherhood and Urantia Foundation, and the additional opportunity of personal contacts between the Trustees and members of the Executive Committee and the General Council.
Contrary to suggestions made by certain General Councilors, the Trustees recognized--actually insisted--that the Brotherhood and the Foundation follow their respective internal procedures for decision making. This promised a reasoned way of defining issues, choosing positions, and communicating each organization's thinking to the other.
When the Brotherhood leadership found that they could not coopt Foundation decision making by means of an indirect approach, they directly attacked Urantia Foundation in July 1989, declaring an "emergency" and a "crisis. as justification for their actions. At that point, in part, they repudiated communication procedures which protected the independent decision making of Urantia Foundation.
FOUNDATION COMMUNICATION WITH THE BROTHERHOOD
In F.E.F.'s after-the-fact, inaccurate portrayal of the Trustees as "isolated" and "uncommunicative," F.E.F. written commentaries and public statements have failed to recognize the established methods for communication with Urantia Foundation, as described above. In addition, the F.E.F. leadership has not mentioned that there actually were meetings and correspondence between representatives of the two organizations.
The agenda of one meeting, for example, included the Trustees' explanation of their concerns about the proposed program for marketing The Urantia Book. Another meeting related to the Trustees' concerns about bureaucracy within the Brotherhood and the possible assertion of political control over the readership by means of the Area Co-ordinator Program. There were also many telephone calls and additional correspondence between the two organizations on a variety of other matters, and F.E.F. has chosen to ignore all this.
Further, F.E.F. has attempted to put a negative gloss on Martin Myers's written request of February 2, 1989, asking David Elders to communicate, not to him directly, but to the Trustees as a group and in writing. This request grew out of the fact that communications between David and Martin had broken down.
The unfortunate lapse in personal communication developed, in part, as a result of a disagreement concerning the roles of the Brotherhood and the Foundation with regard to the Finnish translation and the formation and licensing of the Finnish Urantia Society. In addition, David had accused Martin of improprieties in relation to these matters. These accusations have never been substantiated, and neither have they been corroborated by the Finns. (See the account which appears below, under the heading The Finnish Situation.)
Martin's February 2, 1989, request, therefore, was intended to prevent further arguments between the two Presidents, and to keep communication open between the former Brotherhood and the Foundation despite these personal disagreements.
During that same month, February 1989, the Trustees also developed a broadly-based plan which was aimed at improving communications with the Brotherhood. A major element of the plan was the appointment of Frank Sgaraglino as the liaison between the two organizations. Unfortunately, before the plan could be implemented, Frank and two other Trustees resigned.
Frank's liaison duties were then assumed by Richard Keeler, one of the new Trustees, who engaged in a wide-ranging program of personal contact, face-to-face and by telephone, with General Councilors, Brotherhood officers, and others concerned about the relations between the Brotherhood and the Foundation. The General Council chose to omit any mention of Richard's ambassadorial activities in its October 1989 report to the membership. More important, that report took no note of the message that Richard conveyed:
- 1. Let us keep talking. Feel free to call us [the Trustees].
- 2. Let us [the Trustees] build up to strength [five in number] and three or four of us will meet with three or four of you.
- 3. Let us go slowly, be patient, and do nothing rash. We can work through this.
F.E.F. also ignores the fact that after the Executive Committee's July 22, 1989 attack on the Foundation, discussed below, the Foundation wrote a number of letters asking the former Brotherhood's leaders for dialogue and urging cooperation and avoidance of any action that might jeopardize the relationship between the Foundation and the Brotherhood. These letters were dated August 24, September 11 (two), October 4, and October 5, 1989.
Further, during this critical period from July through October, Martin Myers put aside his personal communications problems with David Elders and chose to speak with him at least a half a dozen times. Martin initiated all these conversations but one, which was a chance meeting at 533 Diversey Parkway. The purpose of Martin's calls to David was to stem the growing crisis between the Brotherhood and the Foundation and seek to focus on issues instead of personalities.
During this same period, Richard Keeler met with twelve of the fourteen members of the Executive Committee. In doing so, he requested communication and reasonable time for the Brotherhood and Foundation to consider the issues.
David not only refrained from initiating any calls to Martin or to any other Trustee, but also--at a critical juncture, on October 5, 1989--denied the Trustees' request to see and to discuss a report which the Brotherhood was mailing out (as discussed below, under the heading THE CRISIS). David Elders, with the support of officers and General Councilors of the Brotherhood, thus closed off communication at the critical moment--even though the Trustees of Urantia Foundation had made an earnest request for the opportunity to explain and perhaps resolve their solemn and serious concerns over the Brotherhood's insistence on making public the divergence of views between the General Council and the Foundation.
THE ATTACK OF THE FORMER Urantia BROTHERHOOD
In July 1989, three Trustees (Gloriann Harris, Frank Sgaraglino, and Helena E. Sprague) resigned within an eight-day period. Each resigned for personal reasons which were separate and distinct.
The resignations of the three Trustees created a difficult situation for the two remaining Trustees, who would have appreciated an offer of friendship and support. Instead, the former Brotherhood's leadership seized the situation as an opportunity to attack the Foundation. In launching this attack, those who are now the leaders of the F.E.F. enlisted the support of the three recently-resigned Trustees, even though they, as a majority of the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation, had originated or administered--and could have insisted on changing--the Foundation's policies and personnel which they were so quickly willing to criticize.
Although it may be understandable that three Trustees who resigned found themselves unable or unwilling to fulfill the difficult and challenging responsibilities they had assumed as Trustees, that does not justify their support for a systematic and premeditated attack on Urantia Foundation--the very same organization which they had been obliged as fiduciaries to defend and uphold.
In pursuing the assault, the leaders of the former Brotherhood attempted to intimidate the two remaining Trustees. For this purpose, David Elders telephoned the Foundation's General Legal Counsel, Quin Frazer, insisting that Martin W. Myers and Hoite C. Caston appear before the former Brotherhood's fourteen-member Executive Committee to hear its demands.
It was obvious to Mr. Frazer that David was committed to forcing Martin to resign from the Board or be removed by any available means, even if that required litigation. The tone and content of David's conversation with Mr. Frazer indicated that the only purpose of having the Trustees attend the meeting was to demand Martin's resignation or removal, not to discuss the issues.
David's anger was so intense that Mr. Frazer reached the following conclusion: If the Trustees attended the meeting, the agenda would not be a dialogue but just ultimatums and threats. (See Enclosure 16, Quin Frazer's report to the Trustees on his conversation with David Elders.)
The intent of the leaders of the former Brotherhood to intimidate Urantia Foundation and to pursue the Brotherhood's bureaucratic goals was further evidenced in the themes of the former Brotherhood's July 21, 1989 letter to the Trustees (Enclosure 17A) and its report to the membership in early October (Enclosure 17B). In the July 21 letter and by means of subsequent decisions and actions, the former Brotherhood unilaterally advocated or undertook sweeping changes in its relationship with Urantia Foundation:
1. The former Brotherhood General Council insisted upon "the entire first floor and basement. of 533 Diversey Parkway, an area which had always been shared by the Brotherhood and the Foundation (thus, in effect, pushing the Foundation out of its own building). Although certain F.E.F. leaders subsequently sought to diminish the Council's demands, these same leaders denied the Foundation's requests for staff projections and planned departmental usage which might have sufficed to permit the Trustees to appraise the appropriate configuration of space which would have been shared with an increasingly antagonistic organization.
2. F.E.F.'s leadership demanded the resignation of Foundation President Martin W. Myers, the Trustee with the longest and most extensive association with the early leaders, a person who had been closely connected with the philosophy and business of Urantia Foundation for the preceding twenty years. This demand amounted to direct interference in the internal operations of the Board of Trustees, and it thereby threatened the integrity and independence of the Foundation's decision making process.
3. F.E.F.'s leaders unilaterally decided to "redefine. Urantia Brotherhood's relationship to Urantia Foundation, declaring the former Brotherhood to be an "independent. and "autonomous. organization. (It is a bit ironic that in deciding to take such a momentous action, these leaders did not feel compelled to seek the counsel of their members, but later, in relation to the task of choosing a new name for their newly independent organization, went to great pains to solicit the advice of everyone on their mailing list.)
4. F.E.F.'s leaders unilaterally decided they were going to pick and choose which of the Brotherhood's long-standing "organizational commitments to work with Urantia Foundation. they would continue to honor, based on their interpretation of how those commitments reflected what they defined as being "the principles for which Urantia Foundation was established. "
5. In another attempt to compromise the independence of a Foundation free from social, economic, and political pressure, one of F.E.F.'s current leaders, Gard Jameson, wrote the Trustees: "Urantia Brotherhood does not feel comfortable raising funds for another organization with which it does not participate in budgetary review and control. (emphasis added). In demanding that the Foundation be financially accountable to the Brotherhood, the leaders of the former Brotherhood attempted to exert defacto Brotherhood control over Foundation expenditures.
6. The leaders of the former Brotherhood then unilaterally broke a 35-year tradition of joint fund-raising with the Foundation, saying it would solicit funds exclusively for itself. By this step, the former Brotherhood was placing itself in direct competition with the Foundation for donations, thus threatening the financial resources which the Foundation needs to continue to publish and protect the Urantia Book. In effect, the former Brotherhood's decision to raise funds separately imperiled contributions to the Foundation, thus striking at the Foundation's ability to carry out its mission. The Trustees are inclined to regard this policy shift as an attempt to usurp the financial support the Foundation needs to implement its programs.
7. The leaders of the former Brotherhood unilaterally decided to separate the office staffs of Urantia Brotherhood and Urantia Foundation at Chicago headquarters, thereby ending central office operations--a management method that had proved itself more productive.
8. The leaders of the former Brotherhood unilaterally abrogated their organization's agreement with Urantia Foundation on the use of the joint mailing list, stating that the Brotherhood would use it in any way it deemed appropriate, without consulting the Foundation, the list's co-owner. In addition to potentially damaging mailings which the former Brotherhood could have sent out as further attacks on the Foundation, unauthorized use of the list could have violated the confidential relationship that may have existed between the Foundation and some of its supporters whose names appeared on that list.
9. The leaders of the former Brotherhood initially threatened not to continue to update the mailing list jointly, thus putting the Foundation in danger of being cut off from any changes of address from old readers and from the names and addresses of new readers. Since the former Brotherhood controlled the access to new names derived as a result of the Urantia Brotherhood Corporation's activities as sales agent for the Urantia Book, and as a result of the Brotherhood's identification as the prime contact for reader activities (an identification which resulted from inserts contained in each copy of the Urantia Book), this potential isolation of the Foundation was a serious threat to its ability to carry out its work.
10. The leaders of the former Brotherhood unilaterally launched an intense political campaign against Urantia Foundation, using the Area Co-ordinators and, as feared, the newly "liberated" mailing list.
11. In this process, the leaders of the former Brotherhood unilaterally made public disclosure of private matters which had been under discussion between the former Brotherhood and the Foundation, and in doing so they published critical remarks containing many misrepresentations of fact. Furthermore, they disseminated these inaccuracies under the registered marks of Urantia Foundation, thus giving falsehoods the appearance of legitimacy and further damaging the Foundation's reputation and goodwill.
12. The leaders of the former Brotherhood unilaterally declared they would not submit Urantia Brotherhood plans and programs to Urantia Foundation for review, as required by the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. By denying the Foundation's right and legal obligation to ensure that the activities of its licensee are in keeping with Foundation policy, the central leadership of the former Brotherhood threatened the continuing legal validity of the marks.
The Trustees believe that the resolutions and actions instigated by the leaders of the former Brotherhood threatened not only the reputation, credibility, and vitality of the Foundation, but also the Foundation's continued ability to protect the marks. In effect, the current leaders of F.E.F. resolved to use the marks without the review required by the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. This repudiation of the Foundation's right to ensure that use of the marks is in keeping with Foundation policy, threatened to throw the marks into the public domain. That is because unsupervised use of the marks by the Brotherhood or by any other organization would cause them to become public property and available for use by anyone in any manner, moral or immoral.
THE CRISIS IN OCTOBER 1989
When the crisis erupted in October 1989, the office of Urantia Foundation was staffed by only one of its usual four employees, plus the newly appointed Executive Director.
The staff had previously consisted of a part-time office manager, Gloriann Harris, a recently-resigned Trustee; two administrative assistants, Scott Forsythe and Michael Painter, who are both members of the General Council, and a secretary, Sheila Schneider. However, in mid-September 1989, the office director and both administrative assistants resigned. The two administrative assistants immediately accepted full-time employment with the former Urantia Brotherhood, where the office director, Gloriann Harris, was continuing her employment.
These staff resignations made it impossible for the Foundation to carry on its regular business, which included arranging for the forthcoming tenth printing of The Urantia Book, the fifth printing of Le Livre d'Urantia, and ongoing supervision of the Spanish and Finnish translations in their final stages. In order to prevent total paralysis, the Trustees decided to appoint Martin Myers as the Foundation's full-time Executive Director. Martin accepted this position on October 1, after having resigned as a Vice President of a major Chicago bank and trust company where he had been pursuing a successful career for over two decades.
On Thursday, October 5, 1989, Martin learned that the Brotherhood was going to distribute to its members a report, bearing the Concentric-Circles Symbol and the word "Urantia., which was so objectionable that the Brotherhood employee Vincent Myers, who was assigned to print it, refused to do so. This Brotherhood employee said that the report was unethical, confusing to the membership, and slanderous.
During prolonged conversations with Brotherhood President David Elders and Brotherhood Vice President Marilynn Kulieke, Martin Myers asked for permission to see the report, a request that was fully justified by the provisions of the Confirmatory License Agreement. Elders and Kulieke nevertheless refused, even after Martin told them he believed the report contained questionable and misleading information, and that the Trustees would like to review it and discuss it with Brotherhood officials before it was distributed.
Martin then sought permission to put a Foundation letter in the same envelope containing the Brotherhood report, so as to present the Trustees' views of the situation. Elders and Kulieke again refused. Martin next asked them to wait three days before sending out the letter, during which time the Brotherhood could reconsider the Trustees' requests. They refused this also.
Martin told them orally, and the Trustees told them in writing, that what they were doing could harm the long-term relationship between the Brotherhood and the Foundation, and they acknowledged that fact.
On Friday, October 6, 1989, the former Brotherhood spent $1,200.00 for the services of an outside printer, employed on a "rush job. basis, so that copies of the report could be prepared and sent out immediately.
The former Brotherhood's report proved as objectionable as the Trustees had been led to believe. After reading it, we concluded:
- 1. The report was highly inaccurate and misleading.
- 2. The report was divisive and would polarize the readers.
- 3. The report was political, especially for a document issued by "a social, fraternal organization with a spiritual objective.
- 4. The report attacked the Trustees' reputation, credibility, and vitality, bringing into question our ability to raise the funds needed to sponsor translations, defend the copyright and marks, and even to keep The Urantia Book in print.
If the leaders of the former Brotherhood had agreed to wait to discuss the report with us, both organizations might have been able to agree on a statement that provided mutually acceptable, factual information to the readership. Even more important, the two organizations could have continued their private dialogue about policy issues and might have avoided any need to end their longstanding relationship. This, in turn, would have avoided much confusion and personal hurt among readers throughout the world.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE BROTHERHOOD'S ACTIONS
While claiming allegiance to the teachings of the Urantia Book, the current leaders of F.E.F. undercut and contradicted the Foundation's established principles for disseminating those teachings. They did this while using the Foundation's marks, so that their activities had the appearance of being valid and legitimate. The effect on the Foundation, the organization primarily responsible for protecting the text of The Urantia Book and for disseminating its teachings, was as follows:
- 1. To harm the reputation and credibility of the Foundation.
- 2. To polarize and politicize the readership.
- 3. To diminish the Foundation's ability to obtain public support for its efforts to protect the Urantia Book and marks and to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book.
- 4. To make the Brotherhood a competitor of the Foundation rather than a supporter.
If the attacks on the Foundation by a related organization had been allowed to continue, the Foundation might well have lost the resources and ability necessary to perform its essential mission of protecting the Urantia Book and disseminating its teachings according to the Foundation's guiding principles.
The Trustees could not allow that to happen. If we had allowed it, we would have been in default of our trust. This was the unanimous conclusion of the Trustees at the meeting we held on October 14 and 1S, 1989.
THE FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP SEEKS TO REDEFINE HISTORY
Dr. James C. Mills, who originally had taken a neutral position in this matter, commented as follows in his February 5, 1990 letter to "Whom it may concern":
"The incident which has caused me to reconsider my original stand and to speak out was the receipt early last week, of a document from F.E.F., which was originally directed to the San Francisco Bay Area Urantia Society, and which was titled: The Foundation-Brotherhood Relationship Crisis. A Question of Underlying Philosophy. As a philosopher, this categorization caught my eye and naturally it received critical appraisal. It turns out that it is very poor philosophy and, as it was perused, it began to stand out that it was a crude attempt to rewrite history solely for the purpose of its writers. It was rewriting history on a foundation of purely personal assumption and a convenient disregard of fact. It appears more like prophecy from prophets of questionable lineage. This is something we have had far too much of in this century. Its potential for harm is frightening and also spiritually dangerous. I dislike to say this of people I have long considered friends, but it is definite! ely misleading, and totally self-serving. As one dictator within our memories is alleged to have believed, "Tell a lie often enough and it takes on the trappings of truth. " The air of pseudo-authority assumed by F.E.F. in this document can easily mislead trusting individuals who have not heard both sides of this controversy. This is unfortunate.
"The present behavior of F.E.F., to anyone who has read to any extent in the history of religion, can be characterized as a typical evolutionary response to a revelation. Within fifty days after the final departure of Jesus from Urantia, Peter had found a sales "gimmick. which brought three thousand converts to the budding religion he was selling on the first Pentecost. The gimmick was the risen Christ: The did it and so can you!. Most of the wisdom dispensed in nearly four years of laborious, painstaking effort by Jesus was replaced, almost overnight, by an emotional substitute of very little philosophical substance. Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity have all suffered the same fate. To see this, one has only to find a readable history of religion such as Huston Smith 's The Religions of Man, 1957, now in paperback in The Perennial Library Edition, Harper & Row, Publishers, 1986, and 1989. Read the original discoveries of the founders and then not! ice how they have been affected by the insistence of some followers. Within fifty to one hundred years after the death of the founder, local rituals, sacraments, teachings, doctrines, psychologies, fantasies, legends, and what-not were woven into the teachings. The aim of Urantia Foundation is to prevent this from happening to the text of The Urantia Book as long as the copyright can be preserved An attempt at this happened in the Forum in the late forties when an individual attempted, unsuccessfully, to have some of his beliefs woven into the Papers. The individual was expelled."
Dr. Mills goes on to say in his letter:
"I happen to be the seventh trustee, unmentioned on page 2 of The Foundation-Brotherhood Relationship Crisis. A Question of Underlying Philosophy. Prior to the publication of this missive, I received a call from one of the three recently resigned trustees of Urantia Foundation, and a call from the president of the Jesusonian Foundation, asking me to sign a document critical of Urantia Foundation. After I had turned both down, the president of the Jesusonian Foundation asked me if a former president of the Brotherhood--currently a director of the Jesusonian Foundation and president of his own foundation, Christian Fellowship of Students of The Urantia Book, and close friend of mine --were to call me, would it help to change my mind. My answer was a flat "No. " His comment was: "You are a hard man, Jim. " These people just cannot seem to understand that not everyone is in sympathy with their tactics, and can hold opinions different from theirs. This is a fatal blind spot because ! it denotes a rigidity of opinion which defies the application of any wisdom, common sense, logic, or any methods conducive to truth seeking. The entire doc ument reflects this frozen mind-set and rigid sense of purpose.
"If F. E. F. desires to become an independent organization, that is certainly their privilege. This is an American right. However, the main thrust of much that I read goes much beyond this function. There is a decidedly strong effort developing to destroy the personnel of Urantia Foundation by an attack upon their personal characteristics in a manner very close to personal character assassination. It already borders on libel. This appears to have but one aim: to so weaken Urantia Foundation that a takeover of its functions by persons sympathetic to F.E.F. will in effect transfer its powers to F.E.F. Would you want these people as trustees of a sacred privilege?"
"FIFTH EPOCHAL FELLOWSHIP": AN ECHO OF "THE FAMILY OF GOD''?
The Trustees are inclined to believe that the former Brotherhood attack on Urantia Foundation was, in part, the expression of motives, animosities, and feelings which grew out of the Family of God/Vern Grimsley "voices. episode of six years ago and which were never fully resolved. For a further explanation of this point, the Trustees wish to direct attention to the August 22, 1989 letter written by Trustee Hoite C. Caston to David Elders. A complete copy is included with this report as Enclosure 19. As previously indicated, a copy of the Vern Grimsley Message Evaluation can be obtained by writing to Hoite C. Caston, in care of Urantia Foundation.
The organization formerly known as Urantia Brotherhood is now independent and autonomous--as it wished. At present, it is operating under the name of "Fifth Epochal Fellowship," a choice which complies with the provisions of the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. That Agreement states in part that the Brotherhood agrees that, if its license ever be revoked, it will ". . . cease and desist from any and all use of the word Urantia and of the said [Concentric-Circles] Symbol," and will not "file application in any jurisdiction to register the word Urantia or the said [Concentric-Circles! Symbol, or any confusingly similar word or symbol, as its trademark, service mark, collective membership mark, or any other type of identifying mark,. and it will not "contest, or take any action which will in any way impair, or tend to impair, any part of the Foundation's ownership of, or right, title, or interest in and to, the work Urantia and in and to the said symbol. "
[In spite of this language, F.E.F. sent out a questionnaire in early January 1990 inquiring about possible support for a lawsuit against Urantia Foundation which might have resulted from F.E.F.'s potential use of the Foundation's registered marks.]
Those Urantia Societies which choose to identify with F.E.F. rather than the new Urantia Brotherhood Association will be required to end all use of the Foundation's marks, just as this step was required of F.E.F.
The new, licensed, fraternal organization, Urantia Brotherhood Association, will support Urantia Foundation and its purposes and principles. All those who wish to work with Urantia Foundation in the furtherance of its goals and purposes are invited to join the Urantia Brotherhood Association. Although the Urantia Brotherhood Association does not claim to be the sole membership organization based on interest in the teachings of The Urantia Book, it will be the only worldwide membership body which is entitled to use the word Urantia and the Concentric-Circles Symbol as part of its name and logo.
Organizational steps associated with the transition to the new Urantia Brotherhood Association are proceeding satisfactorily. Full implementation will require some adjustments, but the Trustees are pleased with progress thus far. The Trustees are proceeding with implementation in full awareness of the following factors.
On page 85 of The Urantia Book, a Divine Counselor states:
Inherent in the bestowal plan, and as a provisional feature of this ministration of love, the Paradise Sons act as rehabilitators of that which misguided creature will has placed in spiritual jeopardy. Whenever and wherever there occurs a delay in the functioning of the attainment plan, if rebellion, perchance, should mar or complicate this enterprise, then do the emergency provisions of the bestowal plan become active forthwith. The Paradise Sons stand pledged and ready to function as retrievers, to go into the very realms of rebellion and there restore the spiritual status of the spheres. And such a heroic service a co-ordinate Creator Son did perform on Urantia in connection with his experiential bestowal career of sovereignty acquirement.
Like these special provisions of the bestowal plan, The Urantia Book is an emergency measure. The Trustees' efforts as custodians are complicated by the lingering confusion and undisciplined impulses which stem from the Lucifer rebellion and the Adamic default. The Trustees realize that their work must be adjusted from time to time so as to cope with our planet's imperfect realities.
As a Divine Counselor implies on page 34 of The Urantia Book, the Father's will eventually prevails:
The Universe Sovereigns may engage in adventure; the Constellation Fathers may experiment; the system heads may practice; but the Universal Father sees the end from the beginning, and his divine plan and eternal purpose actually embrace and comprehend all the experiments and all the adventures of all his subordinates in every world, system, and constellation in every universe of his vast domains.
The structure of the former Urantia Brotherhood was not revealed; it was an experiment. Experience has shown that different methods will be required in order to harmonize the managerial and fraternal aspects of our duty to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book. The Urantia Brotherhood Association will provide a new format for pursuing the fraternal aspects of these duties. We would appreciate positive and forward-looking suggestions concerning the structure of the new Urantia Brotherhood Association, and will give all such suggestions serious and thoughtful consideration.
Urantia Foundation is continuing to work diligently on a number of programs. The Trustees welcome the help and suggestions of anyone who desires to work with us in ways that respect the Principles of Minimal Organization, Proper Procedures, and Slow Growth. We invite you to join us in the realization of the following tasks:
- 1. The Publication of The Urantia Book. Despite past donations that established a perpetual printing fund, each new printing of The Urantia Book costs more than what remains in these donated funds. The Trustees, therefore, have to use donated and invested funds to supplement the perpetual printing fund. The tenth printing of The Urantia Book was delivered in March 1990, at a cost of about $250,000. Of that amount, only about $195,000 is available from previously donated resources in the perpetual printing fund.
- 2. The Protection of the Copyright and Registered Marks. The Foundation is obliged to defend the copyright and registered marks. The Trustees devote no small amount of time and money to monitoring the proper use of the copyright and registered marks, in order to maintain inviolate the text and the uniqueness and exclusivity of the identifying marks of The Urantia Book, the Foundation, and its affiliated organizations. It is a fact of law: we must protect the copyright and registered marks from infringement, or risk surrendering The Urantia Book and the marks to indefensible misuse in the public domain.
- 3. The French Translation. We are now preparing the fifth printing of the French translation. In an effort to improve the quality of the French version of The Urantia Book, the Foundation is exploring the possibility of revising the current translation or, more likely, commissioning a new one.
- 4. The Spanish Translation. This translation is now in the final editing stages. Its cost, initially estimated to be $350,000--which was raised through a special fund-raising campaign--is likely to exceed that amount.
- 5. The Finnish Translation. This translation is also in the final stages of editing. It was done on a volunteer basis with donations from the Finns, without any broad-based Urantia Foundation fund-raising campaign to support translation work or eventual publication. The Foundation must now raise the money to pay editing and printing costs.
- 6. Future Translations. Interest has been expressed in translations of The Urantia Book into Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian. Future translations will depend on a number of factors, including the availability of funds.
- 7. the Urantia Book in Electronic Format. The text of The Urantia Book is already in computer form and editing is underway. Once that is completed, publication of an electronic version will be feasible.
- 8. An "Infinite" Electronic Concordance. The Trustees are seriously considering offering an electronic concordance using the text of The Urantia Book already in computer form.
- 9. A Printed Concordance. From information gained through having the text of The Urantia Book in computer format, the Foundation is now exploring the possibility of a printed concordance--an exhaustive listing of all the words in the Urantia Book and where they occur.
- 10. An Index. The printed concordance would be a list of all The Urantia Book's words, but an index would list concepts, subjects, and themes. The Trustees are currently working with one indexer, exploring this possibility.
- 11. A Key Word Index. This handy listing is a valuable guide to major topics and concepts, and its continued availability appears to be worthwhile.
- 12. An Audio Version of the Book. Though it will be a formidable task, both technically and economically, to make an audio recording of The Urantia Book that will match the high quality of its printed form, the Foundation is committed to making such a version available. Discussions are already underway with individuals who have submitted plans. Once the questions of copyright protection, technical procedures, and recording format have been resolved, funds will be raised for this project.
- 13. Audio-Visual Study Aids. The possibilities in this area are limitless, whether directed toward long-term students of The Urantia Book or as a means of introducing it to new readers.
- 14. The Library Placement Program. The Foundation will continue to supply free copies of The Urantia Book for placement in libraries. This project will ultimately be supervised by the new Urantia Brotherhood Association. We welcome the participation of Urantia Societies and individual readers in placing copies in libraries across the United States and around the world.
- 15. The Gift Book Program. As in the case of the Library Placement Program, the Foundation will continue to supply books for this project as the need arises.
- 16. The Book Consignment Program. This is a program designed to involve individual readers and help them get The Urantia Book into bookstores. Under this program, a person can go to any bookstore that does not carry The Urantia Book and offer to place a copy in the store on consignment. If that copy is not sold within a stated period of time, it is returned to the Foundation. If it is sold, however, the store will pay for it and perhaps order another copy through normal distribution channels. This could probably be called the "prime the pump at the bookstores" program. We hope that this method will be especially helpful in countries where book distribution problems are more difficult. In addition to risking a loss by agreeing to receive payment only after a copy has been sold, the Foundation will ship each such copy to foreign countries by air. This ensures that The Urantia Book will be on the shelf within a week of the order, as opposed to the normal four to six weeks it take! s for surface delivery. This shipping process, which is often more expensive than our cost of the book itself, is paid for by the Foundation.
- 17. Distribution of The Urantia Book. The Trustees will continue to work for the distribution of The Urantia Book and its translations through normal channels, so as to increase their availability within the United States and elsewhere throughout the world.
- 18. Reader Service. While the Urantia Brotherhood Association is being organized, Urantia Foundation will continue to provide reader support services, including answering readers questions and referring inquirers to nearby individual students and study groups. Once fully in operation, the Urantia Brotherhood Association will assume these functions. Further, the Association will increasingly serve as the first contact with most new purchasers of The Urantia Book, as well as the source of information about the copyright, registered marks, translations and all other Urantia programs and projects. All of the Association's activities will be conducted in accordance with the Foundation's guiding principles.
- 19. Training of Teachers and Leaders. The training of teachers and leaders continues to be a priority. While avoiding official interpretations of The Urantia Book and the development of "gurus," the Trustees will continue to work for the preparation of qualified individuals to enhance the understanding and dissemination of The Urantia Book's teachings. The Trustees believe that the Urantia Brotherhood Association will largely assume this task.
- 20. Encouraging the Formation of Study Groups. Consistent with the Foundation's guiding principles, the Trustee will continue to encourage the formation of study groups at home and abroad. As with the training of teachers and leaders, this will largely be accomplished through the Urantia Brotherhood Association.
- 21. Keeping the Text Inviolate. In all our projects, our primary goal is to keep the text of The Urantia Book inviolate, free from any interpretive distortions or cultural biases and free from control by individuals and groups who might want to impose their own ideas on how it and its teachings should be studied and disseminated. By maintaining the text unchanged, uninterpreted, and accessible to the public in as many languages as possible, while supporting the growth of thousands of study groups and providing them with objective study aids, we believe that the content and message of The Urantia Book will eventually find their way into the hearts and minds of truth-seeking men and women all over the planet.
The programs described above will help the truths of The Urantia Book, by themselves, accomplish their revelatory purposes. Given time and freedom from needless or smothering human interference, the teachings of The Urantia Book will achieve a fulfillment far exceeding our imaginations. The Urantia Book can stand on its own; it does not require the efforts of ambitious leaders or marketing plans. Would you light a candle to illuminate a searchlight?
In order to give readers a deeper understanding of the overall situation, the Trustees would like to highlight the following aspects.
Why did the Trustees not turn the other cheek to the Brotherhood's attacks?
In our personal visits with local readers, we found that many regarded the problems with the former Brotherhood as personal, not organizational. We wish to offer the following discussion to add perspective to the Trustees' approach in dealing with the organizational aspects of this difficult matter.
Jesus said one should forgive seven times seventy, go the second mile, love one's enemies, and return good for evil. We agree and believe that on a person-to-person basis, one should practice these "rules of love.. But we think there are different rules where groups are involved, and these are the "rules of law..
Let us digress for a minute and pose a question. Was Abner right or was Paul right? Was Gandhi right or was Churchill right? We suggest that Abner was right as to truth but wrong as to fact. He was an idealist--so idealistic that even the angels could not work with him. Paul, on the other hand, was a realist. He was right as to fact and right enough as to truth that the angels chose to work with him instead of Abner.
We would suggest that Gandhi, like Abner, was an idealist, that he was right as to truth but wrong as to fact. For example, he told the British who were being bombed at the time:
Let them [the Germans] take possession of your beautiful island with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls nor your minds.
When it looked like Japan was about to invade India, Gandhi advised his fellow Indians not to resist and to let the Japanese take as much of India as they desired but make them feel "unwanted..
Gandhi advised the Jews to protest their treatment at the hands of the Nazis by committing suicide en masse. This would be, he said, a noble martyrdom. It would "arouse" world opinion and leave humanity "a rich heritage."
Churchill was, in our opinion, like Paul. He was right as to fact and right enough as to truth that he was a very effective leader. He could fly with the eagles and fight in the trenches. He might have said: "I don't believe in fighting, but if someone tries to take my liberty away, I'll fight.. Those are the words of an idealistic realist. The idealist says, "I don't believe in fighting," and the realist says "but if someone tries to take my liberty away, I'll fight." And fight the British did, led by Churchill. They took on Nazi Germany, led by Hitler and his clique of gangsters. And the British were among the victors, helping preserve the world for democracy and the realization of the freedom of humanity through law.
As an individual, Churchill should have been willing to turn the other cheek to Hitler, forgive seven times seventy, return good for evil, and love his enemies. He should have acted according to the "rules of love." But as the head of a nation, Churchill's actions should have been governed by the "rules of law.. And, we think, they were.
In a similar manner, we feel strongly that the Trustees, as individuals, should practice the "rules of love." And we feel equally strongly that the Trustees, as the Foundation, should practice the "rules of law..
The Midwayer Commission writes the following at page 1490:
If one man craves freedom -- liberty -- he must remember that all other men long for the same freedom. Groups of such liberty-loving mortals cannot live together in peace without becoming subservient to such laws, rules, and regulations as will grant each person the same degree of freedom while at the same time safeguarding an equal degree of freedom for all of his fellow mortals. If one man is to be absolutely free, then another must become an absolute slave. And the relative nature of freedom is true socially, economically, and politically. Freedom is the gift of civilization made possible by the enforcement of LAW.
Religion makes it spiritually possible to realize the brotherhood of men, but it will require mankind government to regulate the social, economic, and political problems associated with such a goal of human happiness and efficiency.
So it was that we as Trustees decided that the General Councilors, acting as the Brotherhood, were not keeping their agreements with the Foundation. We told them we did not like what they were doing. We asked them to stop, and we warned them that if they did not stop and talk before acting, their actions might jeopardize our long-term relationship. They refused to stop, and they refused to talk--at a very critical time in this situation. The rest is history.
The Finnish Situation:
A major contributor to the rift between Urantia Foundation and the former Brotherhood was the events which led to the chartering of the Finnish Urantia Society in June 1989. Acting in our capacity as owner and licensor of the marks, the Trustees reviewed the proposed Finnish constitution in mid-1988 and saw the need for revision which would guarantee rights of individual members and more clearly set out the basic structure of the future society. Suggestions for modifications were made to Mr. Joel Rehnstrom, and the Trustees offered the help of the Foundation's Finnish counsel to work out necessary changes. Unfortunately, the Foundation's requirements were not incorporated in the document put forward in response to the Trustees' stated concerns. During a personal visit to Finland in October 1988, Trustee Martin Myers was closely questioned by a number of Finnish readers as to the status of the constitution. After learning of the Trustees' concerns, the Governing Board of the organizing Finnish Urantia Society formally requested the help of Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood to resolve any legal or other questions.
The Brotherhood and the Foundation jointly responded in their letter of October 25, 1988, offering help and assistance. Moreover, the Trustees (Hoite C. Caston, Gloriann Harris, Martin W. Myers, Frank Sgaraglino, and Helena E. Sprague) unanimously authorized the use of the Foundation's Finnish legal counsel to resolve differences in law and otherwise satisfy the requirements of the Governing Board of the organizing Finnish Urantia Society.
During the ensuing discussions and efforts to resolve the issues, David Elders accused Martin Myers of interfering in the internal affairs of the Finnish Urantia Society. David offered no evidence then, nor has he since, of any improprieties by Martin or the Trustees. Ultimately the matter was brought to a conclusion satisfactory to the entire Finnish Governing Board, Urantia Brotherhood, and Urantia Foundation, and the thanks of the Finns was communicated to Martin W. Myers and the Trustees. (See Enclosure 13.)
Nevertheless, in spite the specific request of a majority of the Governing Board of the Finnish Urantia Society and the subsequent unanimous thanks to Martin Myers and the Trustees, David Elders continued his unsupported allegations of improprieties. This was carried over to the former Brotherhood's Charter Committee, where at least one member said that Urantia Foundation "interfered" in its business, even though the licensing of the Foundation's marks cannot occur unless the Trustees have adequate assurance that the affairs of any licensee will be conducted in accord with the Principles of Minimal Organization and Proper Procedure.
David Elders's persistent accusations of Martin Myers's (and the Foundation's) supposed wrongdoing led Martin to withdraw the Foundation's invitation for David to accompany Martin and the Foundation's legal advisor to Finland in February 1989. This decision was well within the Foundation's rights, because the February 1989 visit related to the Finnish translation --a Foundation responsibility, not a Brotherhood matter.
David's antagonistic attitude at that stage led to the clear inference that his participation would not have benefited the Foundation. To the contrary, there seemed good reason for concern that his actions in Finland might undermine or destroy the relationships and efforts which Martin and the Trustees had put forward during the previous fourteen years in support of the translation project carried on by Finnish readers of The Urantia Book, and their prospects for forming a bonafide Urantia Society. Unfortunately, it was this disagreement between Martin and David over this issue and the consequent withdrawal of the courtesy invitation to David which led him to launch a personal attack on Martin in February 1989. The intensity of David's resentment and the effect it had on his actions, and subsequently on those of the Executive Committee and the General Council, is best appreciated against the backdrop of the interchange of letters which followed the Finnish Urantia Society's st! atement of support of Urantia Foundation in the face of the former Brotherhood's attack on Urantia Foundation. Please see Enclosures 20C, 20D, 20E, 20F, 20G, 20H, 201, and 20J. The Trustees believe a careful reading of these enclosures will be of great help in placing this entire matter in perspective.
Foundation's response to Brotherhood's demand for direct financial accountability and its decisoin to raise funds separately:
On October 17, 1989, Gard Jameson, the chairman of the Brotherhood's Finance Committee wrote a letter to the Foundation in which he said that joint fund raising with the Foundation (as had been the custom for almost 35 years) would be unacceptable to the Brotherhood unless the Foundation conformed to the Brotherhood's ideas of financial disclosure and reporting. On October 24, 1989, the Trustees responded at length to the letter. (See Enclosures 21A for the Brotherhood's letter and 21B for the Foundation's response.)
The Trustees' October 24 response repudiated the notion that the Foundation had any financial accountability to the Brotherhood. The Trustees' legal counsel has substantiated the Trustees' position and has shown that there was no basis for the Brotherhood's claim that Illinois law required the Foundation to be financially accountable to the Brotherhood in order for the Brotherhood to raise funds jointly with the Foundation or for the Foundation. (See Enclosure 21C for the November 20, 1989 memorandum which addresses this subject.)
The Trustees believe that the Brotherhood's unfounded demand that the Foundation be financially accountable to the Brotherhood was part of a broader plan to assert control over the Foundation and to destroy its ability to act independently in furthering the Foundation's goals and purposes.
Brotherhood charges that the Foundation is control hungry:
We do not see ourselves as taking control but as taking responsibility. We are not controllers; we are custodians. As custodians, we have a duty to facilitate the dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book. Licensing the former Brotherhood to use the Foundation's marks to enhance the spread of the teachings of The Urantia Book in ways consistent with the Foundation's guiding principles, was the Trustees' way of enabling a cooperating organization to assist the Foundation in achieving its goals and purposes. The Trustees thus permitted the Brotherhood--under the legally required supervision of the Trustees--to use the Foundation's marks in conjunction with certain Brotherhood activities. The Foundation's past permission for the Brotherhood's licensed use of the Foundation's marks was confirmed, and the Brotherhood's future licensed use of the marks was granted, in the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. Among other things, the Agreement provided:
I (g). The Brotherhood has conducted, and shall conduct, all its activities in accordance with the highest moral and ethical standards, and has exerted and shall at all times exert its best efforts to maintain, promote, and create good will for the benefit of the Foundation in connection with the Brotherhood 's use of the word Urantia and of the said symbol in connection with its said activities;
I (I). To insure the observance of the aforesaid standards and any other standards hereafter prescribed by the Foundation, the Brotherhood shall permit representatives of the Foundation to examine and review, at all reasonable times, the nature and quality of any and all goods distributed, and services and activities being performed by the Brotherhood in connection with which the Brotherhood is making or proposes to make any use or display of the word Urantia and/or of the said symbol.
These two provisions, in setting out the essence of any licensing agreement, clearly established that the former Brotherhood was obliged to "create good will. for the Foundation and to permit the Foundation to review its activities. Further, in accord with trademark law, the Trustees had a legal duty, as well as a contractual right, to review the activities of the Brotherhood --notwithstanding that David Elders apparently did not see it this way. On October 5, 1989, he refused verbally and in writing to permit the Trustees to review the letter which was discussed above. (This was the letter to which the Trustees so strongly objected, and which the Brotherhood employee, who was in charge of printing, refused to print, saying it was slanderous and unethical.) And then on October 12, 1989, in a memorandum to the Trustees, David conveyed essentially the same message when he wrote:
Your verbal and written requests for detail concerning the number and names of our planned staff and the programs we intend to conduct is, in our view, an inappropriate request.
Even though the former Brotherhood agreed to permit the Foundation to review its activities, it declared such review to be "inappropriate, " and even though the former Brotherhood agreed to "create good will. for the Foundation, it did just the opposite, damaging the Foundation's reputation, credibility, and vitality, in part, by attacking the President of Urantia Foundation prominently and publicly, both orally and on Brotherhood letterhead bearing the Foundation's marks--and even mobilizing the Area Co-ordinators for that purpose. When the Foundation questioned the Brotherhood's adherence to the Foundation's guiding principles or the Brotherhood's compliance with the terms of the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement, the Foundation was exercising no more control than the Brotherhood had agreed to accept. Further, Foundation intervention was all the more justified when the Brotherhood was proceeding in a way harmful to the reputation and public good will of Urantia Foundation.
Ironically, it was the Brotherhood, especially through the Area Co-ordinator Program, which was increasing its control, not only over the formal membership of Urantia Brotherhood, but also over the readership at large. These actions were inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution of Urantia Brotherhood, if not actually in conflict with its letter. But it was not just the readership--members or non-members of the Brotherhood--which was the sole object of the Brotherhood's attention. The Brotherhood took aggressive actions toward Urantia Foundation which seemed to be aimed at intimidating the Trustees and acquiring control over the Foundation. The Brotherhood's campaign against the Trustees disregarded the spirit of the thirty-four-year relationship between Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood, and it clearly violated the spirit and letter of the Confirmatory Licensing Agreement. It was the former Brotherhood, now F.E.F., which was pursuing an agenda of enhanced cont! rol- -not the Trustees of Urantia Foundation.
Having assumed the responsibilities placed upon us by the Declaration of Trust, the Trustees have a legal as well as a moral duty as custodians to carry out the necessarily long-term programs and policies of the Foundation, even though the Trustees' tasks may be difficult or may render the Trustees unpopular. The Trustees are obliged to take responsibility for their actions, not as controllers, but as custodians.
Brotherhood charges of Foundation "Autocracy" and claims to Brotherhood "group wisdom":
We again invite your attention to the February 5, 1990 letter of Dr. Mills, in which he responds to F. E. F.'s charges that the Foundation is "autocratic,. and F.E.F.'s claim that it makes its decisions by "group wisdom.:
"F.E.F. claims that the authority of Urantia Foundation is autocratic. It pays lip service to this but proceeds to attack its President when some of F. E. F. 's proposed activities are not supported by the necessarily conservative policies of Urantia Foundation. The impression they attempt to give is that this member is guilty of at least misfeasance, if not malfeasance. They do not offer a shred of proof of a serious breach of conduct on the part of this member. This same member has had almost twenty years experience in defense of the revelation. Thus by implication they would suggest that their untested ideas, which they conveniently label "group wisdom, " are repulsed by behavior which they pejoratively label autocratic. Group wisdom has long since been shown to be the wisdom of the least common denominator of the group. Nothing seems to be critically wrong with an autocracy of quality; except it is just not "fashionable. to make an admission of this kind today in our fuzzy ! liberal milieu. There is no more autocratic offering than The Urantia Book revelation. One either chooses to do t he will of God or eventually the penalty is extinction. On page 179 of The Urantia Book we read: "It is on such worlds as Uversa that the beings representative of the autocracy of perfection and the democracy of evolution meet face to face. " This is not to imply in the least that Urantia Foundation represents something anywhere near to this kind of autocracy. The Urantia Book is talking about the headquarters of our superuniverse, and it is not until this point that democracy gets much recognition. In fact at our level it is called "the rule of mediocrity. " On page 801 we are warned against "The glorification of mediocrity, " and among other things, "slavery to public opinion; the majority is not always right. "What our friends are talking about is the exact living conditions on Urantia at this moment. We are definitely not on a par with Uversa."
Having received a letter dated February 7, 1990 from a member of the former Brotherhood who resigned after the Fifth Epochal Fellowship was formed, and aware that this letter had been sent to all General Councilors requesting a response, Dr. Philip A. Rolnick (a Councilor who has a seminary degree and a Ph.D. in Ethics and Theology, and who teaches ethics in a church-related college), replied as follows:
"Thank you so much for your letter of February 7. Your pointed questions are well put, and were folks thinking about the issues in a reasonable manner, your questions would be effective. Unfortunately, I have thus far seen very little reasonable thinking from the Executive Committee or the General Council which has been pulled along in its wake.
"As a member of the General Council, and as one who has made it his business to understand both sides of the dispute, I was very early on looked upon with some suspicion by my colleagues. I am afraid that there is a kind of cult mentality pervading the FEF, a kind of group-think which is setting the organization up for future trouble. (As if it has not already caused enough trouble!) For instance, I have already been informed, by one of the few Council members who still seems to enjoy hearing and discussing my views, that you were a "Martinette. " That appellation seemed to excuse this Councilor from any further troubling with your views. But this is precisely the ideological head set which is currently prevailing.
"My advice to you and to any other clear thinking individuals not caught up in the train ride of the FEF, is to continue to write letters and ask that they be circulated to all Councilors. Also you may indicate to anyone interested that you have it first hand that the General Council is NOT unanimous about its current policies and behavior, not as long as I remain on the Council. Finally, I hope you will pray for the successful outcome of all this mess, for without some divine help, I just do not see how Humpty Dumpty is going to get back together again."
On March 23, 1990 Dr. Rolnick resigned as a General Councilor of F.E.F. In his resignation, Dr. Rolnick describes the disturbing internal dynamics of F.E.F. He wrote, in part:
"I suggest that the Council has been superseded by the Executive Committee, who's unauthorized actions have been at heart of the dispute causing the dismantling of the former Brotherhood. I believe that the President and Executive Committee have railroaded the procedures and actions taken.
"It may surprise some to know that similar tactics were used at the most recent meeting of the General Council in Phoenix. While I was unable to attend this meeting for financial reasons, I felt it my duty as a Councilor to make certain views known to both the Council and the Plenary (which I have already pointed out was invited to be present by a very questionable non-Council decision). I did this through a two page letter with a two page enclosure of Dave Elders' letter to the President of the Finnish Society. I sent it to the Secretary of FEF, requesting that the letters be read aloud to my fellow Councilors as well as to the Plenary. The letters never made it to those to whom they were addressed Instead, the Secretary, Brent St. Denis, delivered the letters to the Executive Committee, which then voted 14" to suppress the letters, letters which showed the FEF in something other than a favorable light (See copies enclosed). Now by what used to be the Constitution and by-laws ! of U RANTIA Brotherhood, only the General Council can decide whether or not to approve something for its own agenda, and any Councilor may propose agenda items. In other words, the Executive Committee once again did not have the authority to make that decision. It really is like reading someone else's mail and deciding that the letter would not be good for them to hear.
"But as is typical of propaganda techniques utilized to protect an ideological position, Dave Elders, while the other thirteen members of the Executive Committee remained silent, informed the Council THAT I had written a letter and anyone was free to read it if they wanted to. Now what is so remarkable in what he said is what he did not say, namely, that I had specifically requested that the letters be READ ALOUD to the General Council and the Plenary. The Councilors present, had they been given the opportunity and chosen to do so, might have been within their rights to reject hearing the letters (although I think even that would be a serious problem). But for Dave Elders to have omitted the one fact which would change the entire picture fits the propaganda pattern perfectly. Would you be surprised if I told you that I actually had predicted to my wife that the FEF president would do exactly what he did with the letter? I did not think the FEF would deliver a full and fair hearing or a full and fair rejection. The pattern of propagandized treatment of counter evidence and claims was already too apparent."
Against this background, F.E.F.'s mantra of "group wisdom. and "democratic process" wears exceedingly thin.
Urantia Foundation is a trust and not a representative body:
The Trustees are required by law to represent the best interests of the object of their trust: The Urantia Book. The Trustees do not represent a specific public constituency and have no formal organizational responsibility to any particular group. Cries that Urantia Foundation be a "democratic" organization therefore miss the point. This is all the more true when people unthinkingly demand that Urantia Foundation should be a representative body because, they argue, that this form of organization somehow guarantees wise decisions. A Brilliant Evening Star states on page 970 of The Urantia Book (in Paper 88, which is entitled "Fetishes, Charms, and Magic"):
Men have also made a fetish of democracy, the exaltation and adoration of the common man's ideas when collectively called "public opinion. " One man's opinion, when taken by itself, is not regarded as worth much, but when many men are collectively functioning as a democracy, this same mediocre judgment is held to be the arbiter of justice and the standard of righteousness.
The majority is not always right. This simple fact was graphically portrayed during the Lucifer rebellion, when vast numbers of beings were lost. For example, on page 856 an Archangel of Nebadon tells us that "a little over four fifths of the primary midwayers. went into rebellion; further, a Melchizedek indicates that sixty percent of the Planetary Prince's staff went into rebellion (page 757). It is for this very reason that constitutions are necessary for human organizations, in order to provide proper procedures and help prevent the majority's abuse of the fundamental rights of the minority and even of the individual.
In a variation on the above call for "democracy,. a number of persons have told the Trustees that since The Urantia Book says that representative government is the ideal form of government, the Trustees should be selected by popular election of the readership or by the General Council of the former Brotherhood. We agree that representative government is the most enlightened method for governing human political interaction, but Urantia Foundation is not a government. It is a trust, a form of beneficial management and protective ownership. Democracy is not suited to managing a book, especially one which is an epochal revelation and about which there could be so much competition for control. If the Trustees were selected by popular election, then the Foundation would be vulnerable to political, social, and economic pressures which would be highly undesirable. We think that the individuals who created the Foundation showed great wisdom in forming the Foundation as an irrevocable, ! unam endable, self-perpetuating charitable trust.
Contrary to the impression some F.E.F. leaders have tried to create among the readership, the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation is a democratic body, although its constituency consists of only five persons. Internally, the Board of Trustees operates in a democratic manner. We seek to make decisions by consensus; if we cannot reach a consensus, we act by the vote of a majority.
The Trustees do believe it is our responsibility to be open to the ideas of others. We certainly do not have a monopoly on wisdom, but we object to being unfairly pressured in a formal way and by political means.
Should the Trustees be responsible to the readership?
We think the Trustees should be responsive to readers, but we are legally responsible to the requirements of the Declaration of Trust, and to local, state and federal authorities. In a spiritual sense, we believe we are ultimately responsible to the supermortal planetary government.
We believe that wise leaders should acknowledge "public opinion, " but should not let it deter them from doing what they think is right, especially where there is a higher legal or moral duty requiring them to act--no matter how unpopular that might be. For example, some persons think that the Foundation should not protect the marks, the word "Urantia" and the Concentric-Circles Symbol. Suppose that these persons were in the majority, and that "public opinion,. therefore, favored the Trustees letting the marks become public property. What should we do then? We think we would still be obliged to protect the marks, redoubling our efforts to explain why that is important.
Do not the word "Urantia" and the concentric circles symbol belong to everyone in the universe?
This statement may be right as to ultimate truth, on a spiritual level, but wrong as to material fact, on a practical level. Down here on rebellion-torn and sin-seared Urantia, the Foundation owns the trademarks, the word "Urantia" and the Concentric-Circles Symbol--in perpetuity. And if we do not enforce our ownership, then, as has already been explained, the marks enter the public domain, and anyone could use them as they please. World War III prophets could use them. Self proclaimed reincarnated Melchizedeks, Michaels, and John the Baptists could use them. And "The Urantia Massage Parlor, as one establishment in Long Beach, California, called itself, could use them.
The Concentric Circles Symbol--the Satania symbol of the Paradise Trinity--was used in conjunction with Machiventa Melchizedek's sojourn on earth, the Third Epochal Revelation. The early Trustees believed--and the current Trustees believe --it is appropriate that the Symbol (and the word Urantia) should exclusively be reserved for use in conjunction with the Fifth Epochal Revelation, The Urantia Book, as was intended under the Declaration of Trust. Such a use in trust will guard the symbol, and the mark Urantia, from misuse.
In the Memorandum to The Executive Committee of Urantia Brotherhood reporting on the actions of the Trustees at the July 20, 1959 Foundation meeting, the serving Trustees (William M. Hales, William S. Sadler, Jr., Russell W. Bucklin, Emma L. Christensen, and Edith E. Cook), through the efforts of Miss Christensen, Secretary, stated:
"It has come to the attention of the Board of Trustees of Urantia Foundation that in the course of establishing and fostering the growth of Urantia Brotherhood so that Urantia Brotherhood might perform its function of disseminating the teachings of The Urantia Book and effectively creating an interested membership through the chartering of Urantia Societies, it would be beneficial for Urantia Brotherhood, Urantia Brotherhood Corporation and the Urantia Societies to make use of the Urantia symbol, comprised of three azure blue concentric circles, in several aspects of the activities of Urantia Brotherhood, Urantia Brotherhood Corporation and the Urantia Societies.
"Urantia Foundation made application for the registration of a trade-mark to protect the Urantia symbol and, accordingly, the trade-mark was approved and registered with the United States Patent Office, with Urantia Foundation named as the registered owner of the mark. Inasmuch as the Board of Trustees of the Urantia Foundation does not want the mark to become diluted within the meaning of the law regarding trade-marks through the injurious and indiscriminate use by persons or groups not sufficiently allied to the purposes and objectives of Urantia Foundation, as guided by the teachings of The Urantia Book, the Board of Trustees has duly enacted a resolution which defines the authorization limits and purposes to which the trade-mark can be put by organizations related to the Urantia Foundation.
"By circumscribing the use of the Urantia symbol, the Board of Trustees will achieve the objective of legally protecting the use of the trade-mark so that it will be prevented from becoming a part of the public domain subject to exploitation. It is felt that with this protection Urantia Brotherhood, Urantia Brotherhood Corporation and Urantia Societies can more freely make use of the Urantia symbol in correspondence and publications and on pins and other objects."
The Trustees of Urantia Foundation sympathize with the thrust of the many questions which, in effect, have asked why all this had to happen and why so many harsh words have been exchanged. To be quite frank, the Trustees do not understand that either.
We still do not know what the "emergency. was in July 1989, or what could be argued to justify the campaign of angry recriminations and personal invective directed against Martin Myers and the Foundation by the leadership of the former Brotherhood, the current leadership of F.E.F. Three individuals had resigned from their previous duties as Trustees, but that was a matter of their own personal decisions. There was no crisis of a substantive nature, nothing relating to policy or management issues that the Foundation was addressing. To the contrary, the work of the Foundation was proceeding smoothly. So, in effect, there was no valid reason to declare an "emergency..
In the long run, the Trustees hope to develop a closer relationship with readers at the regional and local levels. We think this will be a long-range benefit of these tumultuous events. We know that the seraphim and other unseen associates frequently bring about unexpected benefits from circumstances which at first seem difficult. In addition, we believe that the experience of having dealt with this crisis will help the Foundation work out a superior plan for the new Urantia Brotherhood Association, one that will make it less easily politicized and more likely to concentrate on its spiritual mission.
In a fundamental sense, our policies as the Trustees of Urantia Foundation are based on our understanding of what The Urantia Book is and why it was given to our world. If we had no clear view of that, then all this administrative detail, all these social arrangements, would serve no useful purpose.
In describing the spiritual epochs on a normal planet, the author of Paper 52 does not mention any instance of revealed truth being put forward as a book. So, then, what is The Urantia Book? We are compelled to consider it an emergency ministry, an emergency revelation. The fact that we have this book at all is quite strange, as compared with what occurs on a normal planet.
Our planet's spiritual emergency had to do with the decadence of civilization. It had to do with totalitarianism. It had to do with the failure of established religions to meet the spiritual needs of individuals. It had to do with the fact that Jesus' real teachings were not being understood. In other words, our planet's spiritual emergency was REAL.
For these reasons, and undoubtedly for many others, the supermortal planetary government decided to sponsor a book. It may have taken them hundreds of years to work out the best way to do that. Once they succeeded, Urantia Foundation was entrusted with the custodianship of The Urantia Book, having the duty to preserve it and disseminate its teachings wisely.
What shall we do with the profoundly moving teachings the revelators wove into The Urantia Book's two thousand pages? Shall we memorize them intellectually and parrot them to each other, as if it were crucial to know that there are exactly seven mansion worlds and that the spiritual being assigned to administer an inhabited planet is called a Lanonandek Son? No, these facts are not ESSENTIAL. What IS essential is the spiritual transformation of all mankind.
In the second paragraph on page 598 of The Urantia Book, a Mighty Messenger tells us that "The brotherhood of man is, after all, predicated on the recognition of the fatherhood of God.. He goes on to state:
The quickest way to realize the brotherhood of man on Urantia is to effect the spiritual transformation of present day humanity. The only technique for accelerating the natural trend of social evolution is that of applying spiritual pressure from above, thus augmenting moral insight while enhancing the soul capacity of every mortal to understand and love every other mortal.
That is what The Urantia Book is, spiritual pressure from above. And our mission is a spiritual one. In the final analysis, we have to find a way for the people of our planet to take these teachings into their hearts and change the way they think and live--not merely learn some assortment of selected facts.
Now how do we achieve this as a group of believers? We are not to foster a "religion.; we are to foster spiritual growth in each individual. We are to do this in some way that transcends our planet's religious traditions, which are identified with specific races or cultures or languages or nations. We have to present the teachings of The Urantia Book, make them available to all races and peoples of mankind, in a way which suggests that these teachings are universal--not particularly linked to Western culture or Christianity or the white race. That is absolutely crucial. It is a precondition for the effective spiritual transformation of our world.
We believe that the Foundation's policies of Minimal Organization, Proper Procedure, and Slow Growth are entirely necessary. What we are discussing is an extended process that will require many generations, several centuries, a millennium, or even longer.
In round numbers, it took three hundred years for Christians to work out a stable framework, from the death of Jesus to the proclamation of Christianity as the Roman Empire's state religion. Three hundred years!
The teachings of The Urantia Book are far more complex and immeasurably more sweeping. It may take far longer than three hundred years for most human beings to accept them.
We must be patient. Our goal is not a book but the spiritual transformation of our entire planet. The book we are using is merely a means to an end. We are the servants of the Father's servants, and time is nonexistent on Paradise.
One of the major revelations in The Urantia Book is the information about the Supreme Being. We are told that from the Universal Father we get love; from the Eternal Mother-Son we get mercy; from the Infinite Spirit we get ministry; and from the Supreme Being we get the question "What have you done for me lately?.
Perhaps the Supreme Being, the experiential Deity, is feeling a certain satisfaction with the growth-experience logged by those of us whose lives have been put under severe stress by the recent events which have swept through our growing readership.
"All things work together for good to those who love God." (Page 55, quotation cited by a Divine Counselor)
"Sometimes your most disappointing disappointments have become your greatest blessings." (Page 555, an Archangel of Nebadon)
"You cannot perceive spiritual truth until you feelingly experience it, and many truths are not really felt except in adversity." (Page 557, illustration of human philosophy selected by an Archangel of Nebadon)
"New meanings only emerge amid conflict ....There can be no growth without psychic conflict and spiritual agitation." (Page 1097, a Melchizedek of Nebadon)
"[Thought Adjusters are] concerned in making your life reasonably difficult and rugged ...." (Page 1192, a Solitary Messenger)
"The doing of the will of God is nothing more or less than an exhibition of creature willingness to share the inner life with God." (Page 1221, a Solitary Messenger)
"Jesus did not want simply to produce a religion man, a mortal wholly occupied with religious feelings and actuated only by spiritual impulses. Could you have had but one look at him, you would have known that Jesus was a real man of great experience in the things of this world .... What he aimed at in his life appears to have been a "b self respect .... He placed great value upon sincerity--a pure heart .... The teachings of Jesus constitute a religion of valor, courage, and heroism. And this is just why he chose as his personal representatives twelve commonplace men, the majority of whom were rugged, virile, and manly fishermen." (Page 1582, the Midwayer Commission)
Perhaps you can now appreciate our concerns and can better understand why we decided to end the Foundation's partnership with the former Brotherhood. We encourage you to call or write us if you have any questions. As the Trustees look forward to the future with confidence, we invite all those who share our commitment to the truths of The Urantia Book to join us in proclaiming its teachings to our planet according to the principles that the Foundation has always embraced: the Principle of Minimal Organization, the Principle of Proper Procedures, and the Principle of Slow Growth.
The Trustees of Urantia Foundation
Hoite C. Caston
Patricia Sadler Mundelius
K. Richard Keeler
Martin W. Myers
Neal A. Waldrop III
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship