with Gabriel of Sedona
The Emperor Has No Clothes
by Keith Graham
Recently Seattle was host to an event that theoretically could have had far greater ramifications than the much heralded Asian Pacific Economic Conference. Gabriel of Sedona was coming to town to "Channel a Transmission" in order "To Bring Continuing Fifth Epochal Revelation to our Planet Urantia." With a scant few days' notice many Urantia Book readers in the Seattle area received a flyer informing us that Gabriel of Sedona, "Mandated Vessel for: The Bright and Morning Star of Salvington, Head Administrator of our Local Universe, the Finaliter Paladin, and The Present Planetary Prince Machiventa Melchizedek", was going to be appearing at a small church called the New Age Christian Church in Seattle.
From the instant I opened the announcement I felt strongly impressed with the need, even, perhaps, the duty to be there. I was familiar with some of the writings coming out of Sedona since I had somehow ended up on their mailing list and had taken the time to read through each mail-out carefully. Being by nature a skeptic and also a hard core reader of and believer in the Urantia Book for many years, I was obviously not going to be attending this gathering without some preliminary opinions. Yet I am always willing to consider the possibility of learning something new which might further enrich my spiritual life and I recalled vividly the wrords of Jesus to "Fail not to discern the words of truth which come not through the traditional oracles of supposed inspiration", and, again, "Divine truth must not be discounted because the channel of its bestowal is not human." (Page 1733)
On the day of the event, I put in a solid ten hours of work in my usual occupation and was tired and hungry and ready to see my wife and children; yet when I called Janet and told her I felt compelled to attend the meeting and she encouraged me to go. The setting was a small church with approximately fifty or so persons in attendance in the pews, several long-time readers from the area among them. In front sat seven women and four men who introduced themselves one by one as members of the community from Sedona, now functioning in various positions in the "Planetary Government". Several narrated their previous spiritual odysseys in detail and took pains to establish their credentials as well educated, long-time truth seekers.
The Urantia Book received prominent mention in these introductions. The former editor of "Six-0-Six", the publication of the readers of the UB in Australia was there. There was a PH.D. psychologist who spoke of hungrily reading through transcripts of Gabriel's "transmissions" between client visits. Niann the wife of Gabriel of Sedona spoke at length of her search for truth and purpose. We were informed that forty more dedicated members of the community were in Sedona, people of impeccable credentials, "from all over the world". Much was said of Gabriel's illustrious past, having been formerly incarnated as Ikhnaton, David of the old testament,, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, an apache warrior named Gentle Eagle and Simon Peter among others. Still, it was said, he was just a regular guy from Pittsburgh who would probably rather be "shooting some pool and drinking a beer", if he had not been occupied witrh such momentous tasks as being the "walk-in" or "mandated vessel" of high universe personalities.
Finally Gabriel himself emerged from the rear door, dressed in a while outfit not unlike that worn by a student of karate, white headband and all. He seemd affable enough and proceeded to recount his personal history in this particular incarnation as the son of a steel worker who became involved in the charismatic catholic movement, a worker on the Nikki Cruz evangelical crusades for some years, a musician who turned down financial success in Hollywood, because "they wanted me to take God out of my music", director of a halfway house for addicts undergoing rehabilitation, etc.
It was in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona that he saw his first UFO and was contacted by "Skyhawk", a spiritual being who informed Gabriel of his new responsibilities. After these fairly extensive preliminaries, Gabriel gave way to "the Finaliter Paladin". His voice became deeper and took on an odd accent, somewhat difficult to characterize. He paced up and down the aisle, attempting to engage the audience with direct eye contact, rambling on about a number of topics. He talked of the coming "tribulation" and rescue of at least some lucky mortals by spaceships; some would receive "bodies of light" and be able to bypass death, while still others would remain on earth while "millions perished". In his book THE DIVINE NEW ORDER, he goes into great detail about his tribulation and evacuation event as well as the physical holocaust which will strike the earth no later than 1998.
This would involve tremendous storms and cataclysmic events such as earthquakes (including the loss of most of the west coast (!) in a major shift of the tectonic plates.) He said that The Urantia Book was only the "first tenth" of the fifth epochal revelation and that he would be instrumental in bringing forth the rest, presumably 18,000 more pages of material similar to what we already have. He preached about our greed and envy, and inquired when the last time was "...you gave someone 50 cents who was in genuine need".
He became more tangential and quoted Bradshaw about child rearing, ridiculing those of us who were raising "rebellious brats" because we decline to spank the "fannies" of our screaming children in the supermarket. At this point he bent over with his generous buttocks toward the audience and spanked himself loundly, then laughed and asked why we thought God had made fannies if not to be spanked? By this time, several of the audience members, clearly disenchanted with the "transmission" headed for the door. Gabriel paused, pronounced God's blessing on those leaving and remarked, still in his Paladin persona, that he had never been known for his ability to make friends.
Gabriel then announced that it was time for Gabriel of Salvington to arrive. Two assistants helped him to don a long white robe and a shimmering headband. He hung a long dangling earring from his ear. His voice changed again to a very high pitched, squeaky voice. He spoke briefly about the feminine aspects of the universe. When he stated that "Gabriel of Sedona is the most highly evolved human being on the planet", I felt a sudden impulse to respond. I stood up from the pew and stated, "My brother, you are a false prophet!"
Yes, it was confrontational, but by this time I was affronted by what I saw as a mockery of the Urantia Book and values of truth and love. I believe I had two main motives for my behavior: a strong need to point out to any new or potential Urantia Book readers that Gabriel in no way fairly represented the teachings of the Urantia Book, nor did he appear to be displaying the values contained therein, or indeed, the fruits of the spirit as I understand them; secondly, in my training as a political activist, I always held strongly to the idea that "silence is the voice of complicity" and that I have a moral duty to confront grievous error where it may cause harm to others.
In my past work this had led me to occasionally publicly face off with politicians, elected representatives, and others who were misleading the public about the effects of various policy decisions. As you might imagine, Gabriel was taken aback at my behavior. At first, he invited me to explain my accusation, but as the dialogue proceeded he became more belligerent and less tolerant of my behavior. No longer speaking in his Gabriel of Salvington voice he accused me of being an intellectual who knew the idea of God but whose heart had never accepted the reality of God. "I know you", he thundered, "You are the arrogant one!" He came and stood as close as the two people between us would allow and asked, "When was the last time you gave 50 cents to some in need?"
When I responded "Today." he challenged me to prove it. During what became an increasingly chaotic interchange I tried to remain utterly calm and speak directly from my heart. I sought to avoid putting the entire entourage on the defensive by stating that I did not question any of their commitments to serve humanity, nor their purity of heart, or love, but I did question their wisdom and the clarity of their thinking. To Gabriel I said that he was using his ego for personal aggrandizement and that it was clear that these supposedly divine pronouncements were simply the voice of his own ego seeking attention and love from others. I told him that he was misguided in his mission and that there was much work that needed to be done in terms of service to humanity and in the work of the fifth epochal revelation. I also told him I was truly ashamed that anyone would think he had anything to do with the Urantia Book or the community of readers whereupon he bellowed that he did not represent the Urantia community. At least we agreed on this much.
By this time I was standing directly in the aisle in front of him, face to face, and he was angrily accusing me of "being rude and interrupting the voice of God." I told him that I listened to God every day of my life and never interrupted. Then one of the men in his entourage asked me to leave the church. I paused a moment to consult my heart. I felt I had accomplished my task. No other words seemed pressing to say and I could also see that Gabriel was quite stressed. His ego appeared to be fragmenting under the challenge. I left and was surprised to see that half of those seated, all but one, strangers to me, stood up and followed me.
Once outside they hugged me and thanked me for having stood up to the "false prophet". Throughout the event I felt no animosity or anger in my heart toward Gabriel. In fact, I sensed tremendous pain from him and felt love and pity toward him. I pray that Gabriel will be able to set his feet back on the path of doing the Father's will in his life. On reflecting on the experience I recalled the story of the emperor's new clothes and how each person was afraid to speak up about the obvious, for fear of being branded a fool. Finally a child spoke the obvious and everyone else was relieved to find that others also could not see the alleged wondrous clothing.
Similarly, Jesus commends to us the spiritual simplicity, not the mental immaturity of the child. We were also admonished to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. With the gifts of the Father's own spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Adjutant Mind Spirits, the Divine Minister and her ministering daughters, and all the other loving benevolent spiritual influences with which we are blessed, why would we need human "channels" through which to hear God's message to us, his children? If Gabriel and Melchizedek are able to assume human form at will, why invade the mind and body of a flawed human being to impart presumably precious information to us?
Whoever Paladin is, it is interesting to see how his words are direct plagiarism of the Urmia lectures (page 42, "third printing" of THE DIVINE NEW ORDER.) I believe that we must always search our hearts for the truth of any idea or concept,and we must always earnestly seek to listen for the voice of the Spirit of Truth in all that we experience. I have no doubt in my mind about the "sordid performance" I observed and feel at peace with my confrontational behavior. I believe it is imperative that the "channeling" phenomenon be thoroughly investigated and evaluated by those who have any doubt about its true nature. The truth never suffers from honest examination. Others will feel led to deal with it differently than I, but if we remain passive and uninvolved, much damage may be done to our sisters and brothers who are still young in the spirit and uncritically accepting of all these potentially harmful falsehoods which are being attached to our beloved fifth epochal revelation.
Whether confronting false prophets and money-changers in the temple, or misguided, self-serving public servants and policy-makers, confrontation can be a valuable tool for change as long as we are able to keep love in our hearts and treat our opponents with brotherly affection.
Part II: Still Naked
by Anthony Finstad
On the day of the visit to Seattle by Gabriel of Sedona, (Nov. 20th, 1993), Keith had called me about going to hear him. We had both received the invitation in the mail just a couple days previously. As it turned out our schedules wouldn't permit us to car pool together, so we agreed to meet each other at the church. I mention this as an attempt to dispel any notion that this was a prearranged attack by a couple of headstrong, closed-minded, UB fundamentalists who were on a mission from Chicago to infiltrate, interrupt and harass.
Actually, it was all rather spontaneous. We were invited, we attended, we listened and we responded as individuals. Certainly I'm in no position to judge all the Urantia movement's so called "teacher mission" activities nor the many different reported "channeling" episodes. I am, however, in a good position to share what happened here in our community and to express my concern. I feel it's time to expose some of this Urantia coded "spiritualism" for what it is. Inez, Mark French and I arrived at the church ten minutes late; the program had already begun. This was our first clue that this was not to be the usual Seattle Urantia gathering. We slipped into a back row pew and recognized only four attendees as Urantia Book readers who have interracted at any of our local activities.
We surmized that the remaining four dozen or so were either from the church (New Age Christian) or people who were responding to a generous advertisement placed in the Seattle Weekly newspaper. Speaking for myself, I believe I entered with a concerned heart and a curious mind (even slightly open), much as I did when I witnessed the "Ham" channeling production in Los Angeles (Feb. 1st, 1992). Perhaps much the same mind as when I was introduced to the Urantia Book - cautiously skeptical and yet eager to receive spiritual truth. To the best of my limited ability I was in prayerful contact with my spiritual guidance. I was thinking that if this has the blessing Michael and the Spirit of Truth, I would certainly feel some kind of inner peace and comfort.
Conversely, if I felt there was an absence of truth and an obvious misrepresentation fo the Urantia Book and the Master's gospel, I prayed for the truth to act upon it. To give you a time perspective, it was nearly one and a half hours into their show before Keith stood up and confronted Gabriel. There was plenty of uninterrupted stage time for Gab 'o Sed and his mandated vessel to produce some spiritual fruit. It was fruitless. Gabriel's impression of a Finaliter was filled with negative, scolding and demeaning energy that was directed towards the "ignorant and unspiritual" audience. In my opinion this was all coming from a human being. Northing more, nothing less. He soon became angry and defensive -- much like the egocentric type of human that needs power, control and lots of attention.
It seemed to me that Keith's actions and timing were most appropriate and perhaps guided. There was a natural desire for us all to stand up with him and walk out in united support. However, we gave him a smile of support as he walked past and then remained in the church where we would be of better service. With more than half the seats now vacant, I was able to reposition myself for more direct interaction with the stage.
Mr. Paladin was again in charge (or so he thought). He continued to belittle Keith and righteously defend himself. It was as if he had never been challenged before. I find that hard to believe. Is Sedona a place where anything and everything spiritual is accepted without question because it's the self-proclaimed spiritual planetary headquarters? I heard Gabriel announce that this was his third public appearance outside Sedona. What were his other two receptions like, and where does he go from here? How many more readers are out there willing to support this kind of cultish behavior? At any rate, Paladin went on for several more minutes without further interruption until he sat back down and asked if there were any questions.
Mark asked how we could all receive the further writings of the revelation. Paladin answered that we must come to Sedona and see the truth for ourselves. When Mark calmly suggested that he shared no new revelatory information that wasn't already available within The Urantia Book, Paladin once again became angry and defensive. During the next five minutes he berated Mark, telling him that he was helplessly stuck in his fourth psychic circle; that Mark thought he was God's gift to women, that he should stop smoking marijuana (Mark has been a non-smoker for decades), that he would die in the big earthquake unless his cancer got him first. Imagine all this coming from a personality that has successfullly traversed time and space, all billion spheres of Havona, reached Paradise and been embraced by the Heavenly Father. I think not. If this is the great reward I'm not interested in the journey.
Then it was my turn. To spare you all the details, "Pal" and I had several minutes of interaction before it came down to this question and response. I asked, "It's my understanding that a finaliter is a unique personality expression of the Father's love and yet all I hear from you is human anger. Where's the love?" Paladin's response came visually packaged with a lot of body language; As he shook his head from side to side he said, "Love, love, love...what is love? Bullshit!" At this moment the woman who operates the church (Alice) stood up and asked them to leave, She said, "This is a church of love and I cannot have you continue with this." Gabriel got up from his seat, turned to his stage groupies and told them to stay behind to "take care of things." He then walked off. Alice made yet another request for the others to leave. The show was over.
I quickly invited those remaining to attend one of our study groups. We handed out several Urantia cards and had the opportunity to talk and answer questions. We also met with Alice and talked about giving an introduction to The Urantia Book (from the human perspective) at one of these Saturday evening gatherings. I'm sure the believers in the teaching mission and the continuing papers of the fifth epochal revelation would never agree with this public pronouncement of negative love. Who would? In fact, I've read much of the so-called transmitted material that has been circulated and it consistently suggests quite the opposite. The writings are all about love, adjuster communion and everything beautiful...including the material from Gabriel of Sedona! Something changed between those clean writings of wisdom and when he theatrically got up there on the stage (where I think most of these teachers would like to be.)
Then to be rudely confronted, challenged and questioned by disbelieving readers who are not a part of the inner circle of ego-feeding followers. How embarrassing. Was it just a bad night in front of a tough audience? Did we mean little humans expose a personality weakness in the Finaliter Paladin and during this confusing episode we scared away the shy and timid Bright and Morning Star of Nebadon? Perhaps it's nothing more than bad reception here in Seattle with all the rain clouds hovering overhead.
After we finally closed out the church that evening, there were five of us who walked outside and suddenly formed a prayer circle. It was an uplifting spiritual experience. It came complete with the personal presence of our collective group teacher. There was no need to channel it or put a new age name to it. He was there. Not just for the chosen few but for everyone, even us. No, God has not stopped talking. Revelation happens every day. The planet is filled with spiritual energy and great mystery. Let's rejoice and praise God! We all want to serve and there seems to be a perceived void in how to "channel" that burning desire to evangelize.
Yet with all the kingdom-building opportunities that are available to the inspired and courageous readers, why would a balanced person choose to conveniently alter an epochal revelation, add some new papers and then plagiarize other sections? Are we to believe God is speaking through our new age friend and we should just take a leap of faith into the desert? I'm not saying I know how to deal with these kind of situations. I've been quietly ignoring them until now. This one was hitting too close to home.
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship