The Brotherhood’s recent experience with the Clayton incident illustrates the importance of the democratic process in determining the policies and actions, which we espouse. It is the best guard against cult strategies and influences.
During the period when I served as president of the Brotherhood a few years ago we were able to open the Brotherhood power structure to the healthy influences of democratic procedures, largely terminating the oligarchical practices of the early years. There was, however, one aspect of the democratic process, which I was unable to get the Executive Committee to adopt: nominating two persons for all positions to be filled. This is almost a universal practice in democratic institutions.
After almost being taken over by thinking triggered by the Clayton messages – which, incidentally, reminds one of some of the experiences of the early Christian Church – we should fully revise our procedures to insure the operation of the democratic process and thereby guard against oligarchical power structures and cult psychology. I should like to place a motion in our next meeting that the Executive Committee when making nominations for any position always nominates at least two persons. Failure to do this allows oligarchical and cult influences to operate in the Brotherhood more effectively than if we followed the generally accepted procedures of democratic pluralism.
I should like to discuss another issue, which faces us in the aftermath of the Clayton incident. There are many who feel that it would be unwise to ask Vern or the Family of God to fill leadership or speaker roles at the General Conference in August.
I, personally, love Vern and the Family of God people and believe they have some of the finest talents in the Urantia Movement. I think our primary objective in our relationships with them should be to help restore their credibility and lay the foundations for their renewed service in the Brotherhood.
The most effective and most rapid way to accomplish this with the least conflict within the Brotherhood, in my judgment, is for them to serve among us in non-leadership positions for a couple of years and through fellowship allow confidence to rebuild by this quiet person to person relationship.
I would hope that Vern would not continue to publicize his “special” position of “special” messages. I pray that this “contact personality” phase of his experience will go into quiescence or may function as a quiet personal religious experience and that he will be able to serve with humility in the democratic processes of the Brotherhood. If this does not happen the service of his great talents will be largely lost to the Brotherhood.
These reasons suggest that the most rapid and effective way to restore Family of God members to credibility and full service in the Brotherhood is for them to serve quietly for a couple of years. Therefore, I recommend that we not handicap their future service in the Brotherhood by asking them to serve as leaders or speakers at the General Conference in August. To do so will only deepen the divisiveness within the Brotherhood and lessen their future service potential.
Our emphasis should be on accepting and loving them as individuals and helping them regain the confidence they once enjoyed in the Brotherhood. This is accomplished best through fellowship and service in non-highly visible positions until the democratic processes have an opportunity to restore them to leadership positions.
Best wishes for a good year in 1984!