It was with some excitement that I looked forward to a meeting with Dr. Sadler. He was staying in his summer home about a half mile from my home in Beverly Shores, Indiana. This meeting was in 1960. Now, with the passing of all these years, the purpose or meaning of the interview is clearer, and also the reason as to why it was held at all. For those of us who believe in meaningful coincidence, this was a most significant contact, at least for me.
Dr. Sadler was considered an outstanding authority in the field of psychiatry. By 1929 he had published numerous books on psychology and psychiatry, chief of which was THE MIND AT MISCHIEF, which for many years was considered the authoritative book on mental illness. In my mind, he was also associated with a group of people who in 1956 had published the Urantia PAPERS, a collection of essays on the nature and origin of life on this and other planets, as well as an intimate description of the unfolding spiritual nature of humankind and their leaders.
I was taken to meet him by a client of his. At that time, there was at his home a rather large group of people--his friends and associates who were having an outing in the dune area. Much to my amazement, this short, rather stocky man shook my hand warmly, looked intensely into my face, and said, "Come with me." We spent the next two hours sharing parapsychology experiences. His study was rather small, in a corner of this large house, and we were not disturbed. He was curious about the experiences which I as a psychologist had with paranormal experiences. At that time I was not unaware of so-called spiritual phenomena, having studied with Dr. Murray in the Harvard Psychology clinic.
I had also had some contact with an Edgar Cayce group and with some other persons who had similar experiences. The Urantia Papers are claimed by some to be the fifth revelation for mankind, and I was curious as to their origin. So when I asked Dr. Sadler where the papers came from his answer startled me. He said, "I don't know." This statement was revealing as to the extent of this scientific bent of mind and his integrity as a scientist. When I pressed him further he began to explain the events surrounding the origin of the material. He was told by a psychic that if he would collect the best minds he knew, from various fields and professionals, ask any question and write the request on a piece of paper and then leave the paper in Dr. Sadler's desk, the following Monday they would have a complete written essay on this question.
A more narrow-minded person might have backed off at this point, but not Dr. Sadler. His manner of authority persuaded other professionals to join him. And so, for ten years or more, the questions were asked and the answers came. Always skeptical, Dr. Sadler said that at one time he became concerned, for his wife began "to believe the papers", particularly as they related to the life of Jesus and the development of the Christian relgion. At one time, he said, he put the questions in his locked safe in his downtown bank. The essay came as usual with a note attached, "Please don't do this again, as it caused us a bit of trouble."
As time went on there grew, he said, an intense interest in the qualtiy and depth of intelligent minds giving the answers. The papers were all signed by angelic beings. Finally, he said, as the papers described in detail the personality of each of the disciples, Dr. Sadler was so fascinated by the quality and description of the characters that he decided, with others, to have the papers published. The first edition was published in 1955, followed in time by other editions. Some 200,000 copies have currently been sold, with some editions in foreign languages.
Yet, Dr. Sadler faced a dilemma. He had been told not to publish these papers widely, or share them with the media or with current professional journals. Nonetheless, he shared these experiences with me, an apparent stranger at that time. Outside of my particular group of associates and friends, I have not talked very much about this interview. After twenty-five years, however, I am convinced that the secrecy surrounding the original group of researchers is no longer needed. The time has changed a great deal since those early years. Many books have been written on materializations and contacts with discarnate spiritual beings, so that the great fear of these matters has to some extent been replaced by a more objective viewpoint.
With the threat of atomic destruction, the inability of mankind to stop recurring wars, and a disintegration of values, the times call out for a renewing of convictions of man's spiritual values for the sake of his survival. The Urantia papers do just that. They can deepen and shape man's search for love and truth. For Dr. Sadler and his associates it was good advice not to share this information widely, for they would be subjected to vicious attacks from many sources. Dr. Sadler and his original associates are not all on "the other side". So their dilemma is solved. The people now charged with the knowledge of the Urantia papers, face new challenges as they publish the materials and let the "good news" spread.
We are indeed grateful for Dr. Sadler and his associates who so courageously preserved this experience. And we are also grateful for the faithful servants on the other side who shared with us their wisdom and love.
The Journal of Religion and Psychical Research
William S. Sadler, MIND AT MISCHIEF. Chicago, Ill.: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1929.
Urantia BOOK. Urantia Foundation, 533 Diversey Parkway, Chicago, Ill.
Dr. Mark Roser is a clinical psychologist.
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship