It seems whenever a pivotal, epochal revelation of truth is given to our beleaguered planet, forces are immediately on hand to attempt its unraveling.

Fortunately, the powers of divine administration, infinitely patient as they are, always prevail in the end. Look for the pattern in each of the five epochs:

  • The infamous Prince Caligastia’s reign came to an inglorious end due to his transgression of the divine plan, so thorough an end that only scarce traces remained.
  • Adam and Eve’s noble efforts were curtailed shortly after beginning due to the wily voice that suggested a friendly “shortcut” from the divine plan.
  • Melchizedek’s ministry was remarkable and effective, but it was no surprise that his missionaries’ teachings were soon watered down.
  • Then, shortly after Christ was born, Herod the Idumean, King of Judea, became apprehensive about the possibility of the child’s spiritual and political impact. So manic was his concern that he ordered all boy babies under the age of two in the Bethlehem area to be slaughtered. Joseph and Mary narrowly escaped the assault by traveling with Jesus, just over one year of age, in a nighttime escape to Egypt. [1]  I hope the reader will pause to consider how thorough, forward-planning, and malevolent anti-revelation forces have been and can be.

flight_to_egypt

Flight to Egypt

(by Michael A. Wilson, used by permission)

Sometime between 1906 and 1911, Dr. Lena Sadler, a leader in the medical community, came to know her patient in Chicago, a man now known as the “contact personality,” through whom the Urantia papers were conveyed. From this initial contact followed hundreds of sessions where revelation of epochal significance was given. In 1923, as Dr. Lena Sadler’s meetings with the contact personality continued, Miss Emma Christensen came into the Sadler family circle by way of medical treatment she received from them after a purported taxi cab accident near the Sadlers’ home on Diversey Parkway. She was eventually adopted into the Sadler family, even though she was more than thirty years of age (born in 1890), and then took on the activities of a secretary for the Sadlers.

Some in the readership community hold to the idea that Miss Christensen was a sort of stranded

individual. In actuality, she was an influential woman in the Chicago and regional business community. Shortly before meeting the Sadlers, she moved to Chicago and took up the post of Manager of the Capital National Bank Examiners for the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, Seventh District. This was a position of authority and responsibility that oversaw the operation of banks in several states. [2]

She held this position for 28 years until her retirement in the 1940s, working both positions—manager with the Federal Reserve Bank and secretary to the Sadlers—while she typed the Urantia papers. During those years, the operations of the Fed were little understood by the public. Since that time, numerous books have been written on the subject, showing that organization by some estimates to be highly secretive and powerful.

Taking Another Look

jesus_urantia

Dr. William Sadler

Emma Christensen

Dr. Lena Sadler

Vern Bennom Grimsley

The passage of time can clarify and clear the air for another look and a reappraisal of the meanings of historical events. Today’s readers of the Urantia papers generally accept them as a revelation but are also likely to question the validity of purported superhuman communications beyond the revelation itself.

Emma Christensen brought additional doctrines into the readership community. The most significant of these are related to her claiming to be a conduit for messages from superhuman personalities. Communications coming from her and in some cases from those she worked with, which were presented as being authoritative include, notably:

  • Instructions to go slowly with the dissemination of the Revelation [3]
  • Statements about the importance of protecting the name “Urantia” and the concentric-circles symbol [4]
  • Claiming knowledge that certain persons were Reserve Corps of Destiny members or had certain imperative responsibilities [5]

Each one of these points can be examined now from a farther vista in time.

  • What value was gained or what pitfalls were created by the “slow growth” policy?
  • What conflict and division were caused by insisting on a flawed copyright, curtailing use of the symbol, and harassing creative individuals, and at what cost?
  • What confusion was created as Christy filled a primary leadership vacuum during the illness and after the death of Dr. Sadler, by directing leaders in the movement based upon her claims of extranormal knowledge or information?

In my opinion, these policies fostered by Emma Christensen, and participated in by some close associates, fell into misapplication, error, or distortion. In serious matters of this nature, at least three possibilities of genesis present themselves:

  1.  The actor was well meaning but exercised poor judgment or was deluded.
  2.  The person knew an act was in error, but for some reason proceeded anyway, perhaps being manipulated.
  3.  The individual willfully and consistently over time followed a plan to infiltrate, deceive, and redirect a group away from its principles and high calling.

I have struggled with the contemplation of these possibilities. It may not be possible for any mortal to ultimately discern which of these three apply; further, it is not within the purview of this article. However, it may be important to realize that any of these three, or variations of them, could be possible, and to not inappropriately or prematurely conclude upon any particular one of them.

Also, we cannot accurately estimate the damage that may have accrued by these actions. We do know that progress may be delayed, but not stopped. We also know that the results of rebellion in times past have amazingly redounded much more to the good. Perhaps this is just the case today. Each one of these questionable policies has been somewhat mitigated or ameliorated. The delay in publishing the book is now over 70 years in the past. The slow-growth policy has been trumped by the Information Age. The Book is now in public domain and use of the concentric-circles symbol is less regulated. The policies to centrally control and direct an entire movement have given way to a more matured environment in which initiatives are somewhat decentralized—and can stand or fall on their own merits.

Getting “Messages”

An additional important issue remains, and that is Emma Christensen’s contribution to the idea of channeling information from superhuman sources, an idea that she practiced in her own way even after the transmission of the last paper and after the Book’s publication in 1955, and one which thereby came early into acceptance within the movement. One related outcome is that Vern Grimsley, an effective witness to college students and a worldwide radio broadcaster, who was devoted to her, began similar practices. In the early 1980s Dr. Paul Knott examined and interviewed Vern. Vern declared that Christy had told him he was a Destiny Reservist. Dr. Knott asked how Christy would know this. Vern replied: “I don’t know, but I think she got messages the same way I got messages.” [6]

Another result is that today, the channeling movement proceeds, as viewed by some leaders in that movement, as a continuation conceptually of the earlier practice as begun by Miss Christensen. The act, during channeling, of assuming to speak for another, without that person’s direction and permission, is a serious matter.

Consider this quote:

“ . . . [T]here is an instinctive longing in the heart of evolutionary man for help from above and beyond. This craving is designed to anticipate the appearance on earth of the Planetary Prince and the later Material Sons. On Urantia man has been deprived of these superhuman leaders and rulers, and therefore does he constantly seek to make good this loss by enshrouding his human leaders with legends pertaining to supernatural origins and miraculous careers.” [The Urantia Book, p. 1008]

With this in mind, I can certainly understand my brothers and sisters giving in to such efforts, but I  sorrow for the difficulties which can result.

Being Sophistry-Proof, Wise, and Good

Students and philosophers of organizational behavior have postulated that organizations, businesses, churches, schools, and families have psychological makeups analogous to that of individuals. A person who is troubled may visit a psychologist to present his problem. The physician will do a work up and history. Commonly, in therapy, a trauma from earlier times will be identified that the physician may want to investigate in order to assess how it is affecting his patient’s emotional state. For example, a thirty-five-year-old person may have had a trauma at age seven that holds a part of his psyche in a childish stage.

The patient could later talk with his friends and they may say, “That happened to you a long time ago. Just get over it and move on.” That might work for some in some cases. Others will feel a need to continue with professional help to truly understand themselves (and others), and heal.

Dr. Sadler is considered by some historians to be the father of American psychiatry. [7]  He traveled to Vienna in the early 1900s and studied with Sigmund Freud, along with Dr. Alfred Adler of Austria, and Dr. Carl Jung of Switzerland. These three—Sadler, Adler, and Jung— were called Freud’s “fair-haired boys.” [8]  I wonder sometimes . . . if we could have Dr. Sadler here today, what would his analysis of our group psychology be? I, for one, own up to my part in our movement’s collective emotional health, and I hope I’m not presumptuous in encouraging everyone to do likewise.

If this article can help any of us to lovingly and better understand ourselves as part of a movement that has a great calling and most interesting history, then it has done its job. The wonderful thing about mercy is that any individual can exercise it, and freely. The sobering thing about justice is that it always takes place eventually, when and where as needed . . . but by the group. If enough members of the group forswear long-standing prejudices, become freed of collective amnesia long enough to remember, and have the requisite cosmic insight to correctly interpret their past, then more of God’s goodness can shine forth into our present and future.

Did Herod’s Sword swing again at the outset of the Urantia Revelation, as it did in Palestine about 2,000 years ago? I feel it did. Jesus called King Herod Antipas, son of King Herod the Idumean “that fox.” Also remember that Serapatatia did not realize he was being deceived, used as a tool of the evil one. Could Caligastia have  agents in the Urantia movement . . . his own “reserve corps?” I think so.

Caligastia, Daligastia, Satan, Van, Amadon, Adam, Eve, those who heard Melchizedek’s message, the apostles, and the early members of the Urantia movement all had opportunities arise for them to withstand sophistry and deception. We are called, in our own time, to do likewise.

Endnotes

1. The Urantia Book, 122:10.4.

2. Urantia Book Historical Society, ubhistory.org, “Stories and People.”

3. Larry Mullins, A History of the Urantia Papers, ch. 10, section titled “A shift to authoritarian leadership” (Boulder, CO, 2000).

4. Ibid., epilogue, section titled “There are no secret documents.”

5. Ibid., epilogue, section titled “The end of proprietorship.”

6. Ibid., ch. 10, section titled “The Grimsley WW III ‘channeling’ episode” (letter from Dr. Paul D. Knott to undisclosed readers, November 20, 1983).

7. Ibid., ch. 1.

8. Ibid., ch. 2, endnote #1.

About the author: Joshua Wilson is an educator and holds a degree in Business Administration, specializing in Computer Information Systems and Human Behavior in Organizations, and a certificate in Not-for-Profit Management from ASU. He co-founded the predecessor organization to the Grand Canyon Society of Readers of the Urantia Book.