RESPONSE TO URANTIA FOUNDATION'S SPECIAL REPORT
TO THE READERS OF THE URANTIA BOOK
AND COMMENTS ON OTHER RELATED SUBJECTS
By Thomas A. and Carolyn B. Kendall
June 21, 1990
Recently, Urantia Foundation published Special Report to the Readers of The Urantia Book. The Report assays to educate the reader of The Urantia Book about the history and prerogatives of the Foundation. It depicts the origin of the Brotherhood and Foundation, and the philosophical basis for why the Foundation has taken certain actions. Some of what appears in the Report agrees with our knowledge of policies and memory of events. A great deal more is simply revisionist history--propaganda directed at those who did not experience at close hand the events of the past 35 years, especially events of the last 10 years that led up to the present conflict. From all indication, no discretion was used in determining who received the Report. It was sent to the entire mailing list, causing confusion and consternation among many readers.
The greatest danger to the safety of the name Urantia, the concentric circles, the copyright and the organizations lies in the inability of the Trustees to recognize their friends. They have, in fact created enemies from among their friends. It has been most distressing to witness the practice of certain of the Trustees of impugning the motives of good people--fellow sons and daughters of God--who have dedicated their lives to revelatory truth. In a time when more workers are needed in the vineyards, even the few we have are often mistrusted and excoriated; the meaning of their words twisted and their work devalued. To characterize people who have fallen out with Martin Myers, and groups that are unacceptable to the Foundation, as "strange isms and queer groups which seek to attach themselves to The Urantia Book'' with their supposed "distracting and distorting" influences" etc., etc., <Report, page 2) is an outrageous interpretation of the revelators' long-ago warning.
(The authors: Thomas A. Kendall (TAK), was a Trustee of Urantia Foundation 1963-1983; its president 1973-1983; General Councilor of Urantia Brotherhood 1960-1979 & 1980-present; chairman, Domestic Extension committee 1962-1979. Carolyn B. Kendall (CBK), was a General Councilor 1967-1985; chairman, Fraternal Relations committee 1975-1982; vice president of Brotherhood 19821985.)
Foundation & Brotherhood--Two Separate Organizations
CBK: I once asked Emma L. Christensen (Christy) why there was no mention of Urantia Brotherhood in the Declaration of Trust and no mention of the Foundation in the Brotherhood Constitution; Christy became agitated and insisted there was never supposed to be a connection between the two organizations. It has been said over the years that it was the intention of the revelators that no human names were to appear in connection with the origin of The Urantia Book. Likewise, it has been suggested that the organization of Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood was to be cloaked in anonymity. In recent years, however, there have been increasing references to the Foundation's so-called creation of the Brotherhood--characterized as a sort of parent-child relationship. In the past, Martin Myers asserted that if ever the Brotherhood fell under the control of "the wrong kind of people," the Foundation could end the association and create a successor Urantia Brotherhood. More and more, his own vision of the future of the movement is the standard against which all activities are to be measured, saying, "We (I) will set the course; those who will may join us; those who won't may go their own way." In his vernacular, it is not goals that unify a group, it is the means and methods that must be uniform.
TAK: I believe the original concept of the Foundation was sound--a Board of five' independent-thinking Trustees, free of the periodic interruption of campaigning for re-election with all of the political ramifications; a Board solely responsible for the integrity of the revelation. It is the only type of entity that can mount a defense against groups or individuals improperly using copyrighted material or the name Urantia and concentric circle symbol. Such a Board has built-in risks, however. When isolated from the thought of the general readership, its members can lose their perspective and become arrogant. The makeup of the Board may become unequal, consisting of one or two strong-willed individuals, abetted by four or three weak or inexperienced members. There would be no purpose to having a Board of five people if only one individual made all the decisions and did all the work The man who tries to carry the entire load is like a rope with a single strand.
The first public linkage of the Trustees and Brotherhood was made in a 1970 letter to the Third Triennial Delegate Assembly: "The Urantia Brotherhood was organized by the Trustees of Urantia Foundation under the direction and guidance of the governing planetary authorities." This was a carefully worded statement ("Trustees," not "Foundation," who organized the Brotherhood).' Its inclusion was an expedient based on a problem which had arisen at the time, and considerable soul-searching went into the decision.
CBK: The same letter went on to state: ". . . though Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood work closely together they are two distinct and separate organizations, with different responsibilities, duties, and prerogatives." These different responsibilities were the subject of William S. Sadler, Jr.s Intra-Office memorandum of 1958 which described how, in 1937, 'the Foundation and Brotherhood started out conceptually as one organization. Because there needed to be two dissimilar functions, two separate organizations were then envisioned. The Foundation's Report quoted from Bill's memo, but omitted his warnings about potential hot spots in the relationship' between the two organizations ''Unless the Foundation conducts itself with wisdom it may breed dissension between itself and the Brotherhood. (T)here is no place in Urantia Foundation for naively or any exhibition of proprietary feeling toward the Urantia Papers.
"a. The-Foundation . . . is an autocratic group. It is non-elective. It derives its authority from the defunct contact commissioners (which was) an autocratic body, . . . The old commission was charged with the custodial responsibility of the Urantia Papers. Its secondary body, the Foundation, inherits the continuing responsibility for the integrity and dissemination of the Urantia Book."
"b. While the 'Brotherhood was originated by the Foundation, it is destined increasingly to become a republican institution. It is designed to reflect the purpose ''end ' desires of its members. It-has all the "strengths and weaknesses of a democratic organization. But the Brotherhood 'offers its members "something more which the Foundation can never offer, to wit: the feeling of participation and the feeling of belonging. It also offers its members 'a feeling of responsibility, for in time the official decisions of the Brotherhood will reflect the will, purpose, and intent of its members.
"When an autocratic body functionally cooperates with a democratic body, friction can be avoided to all intents and purposes only if wisdom is exhibited 'by the autocratic body. . . the problem of avoiding friction with the Brotherhood rests nearly completely on the shoulders of the Trustees of URANTIA Foundation." (Incidentally, at the time of writing, his memo was marked confidential because of the Contact Commission> Foundation>Brother hood linkage.- The memo did not remain 'confidential; it was discussed in the Brotherhood Executive Committee ' and General Council.)
TAK: The separation of the Foundation and Brotherhood has gradually eroded. The Foundation has increasingly adopted a proprietary attitude toward not only The Urantia Book, but toward the Brotherhood as well. In the early years, Trustees served on the Executive Committee and General Council, not to supervise the use of the marks, as the Report asserts on page 2, but because there were not enough people to fill all elective positions. It is a little-known fact that the early Trustees were advised to "always watch over the Brotherhood." It was expected the Brotherhood would engage in Urantia Book-related activities and not permit itself to become diverted from that range of function. This benign idea of "watchcare" has been subverted to mean interference in how Brotherhood committees function, how the Constitution is amended, who serves on the General Council, or how Urantia Societies organize, by applying the hammer of marks management.
Background on Marks
TAK: In early 1966 the Trustees began to realize that the Foundation needed to do more to protect the name, Urantia. Christy had recently brought to my attention a message which was given to the contact commissioners in 1942:
You have not done enough to protect the name. You must carefully safeguard the name Urantia. Make it very safe for one generation so that it cannot be pre-empted. In a common-law trust you hold the name. You also do it in the copyright. You must also carefully register it with the division of government which controls trade relations, trademarks. In all ways you must safeguard the name. This is one of your most important duties."
I had been a Trustee for three years, but this was the first I had heard of these instructions. It was explained that prior to the middle 1960s, the Board of Trustees had been advised by counsel that we would gradually acquire broader rights to the word Urantia through an enhanced public knowledge of The Urantia Book and our organizational activities. It was our understanding that rights did not accrue from registrations so much as a consequence of adoption and use.
I began contacting attorneys to see what was necessary to "safeguard" the name Urantia. We undertook the registration of the circles as well as the name, and developed the Confirmatory and Licensing Agreements between the years 1970 and 1982. They were legal agreements; it would have been impossible to devise legally binding "spiritual" documents which might later demonstrate to a Judge that we had taken all necessary steps to protect the name and symbol. Brotherhood and Urantia Society Presidents had full opportunity to study the agreements before signing and I do not believe anyone was coerced. I signed the agreements in behalf of the Foundation in good faith. The worst case scenario--the disenfranchising of the Brotherhood by the Foundation--did not once occur to me as a possibility.
During that period, suits were brought against individuals who persisted in using the name Urantia despite our efforts to persuade them not to. Others discontinued use after we contacted them, explaining the significance of the name and our legal rights to it. I believe it was time and money well spent. These were critical years in the period before The Urantia Book was established, and the danger was real that individuals with non-Urantia Book interests, or unworthy purposes, could pre-empt the name.
It has been pointed out that no mention was made of the concentric circles in the 1942 message, only the name. The Foundation's Report declares on page 1, under Historic Considerations, that "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 tradename and its trademarks & service marks, the word URANTIA and the Concentric-Circles
Symbol." (Emphasis added) The first two items listed are the only OBJECTS mandated by the Revelatory Commission for inclusion in the Declaration of Trust. The human contact commissioners worked closely with the revelators when the trust document was developed and would certainly have raised the question of whether to include the name and circles.
The Declaration of Trust emphasizes The Urantia Book. its dissemination and its copyright. It can stand at least until the copyright expires in 2030. However, we had learned through legal counsel that while the copyright had a limited life, the marks might go on indefinitely and could be used on goods and services to indicate ownership. This seemed like a good way to guarantee the Foundation's rights to the book well past the year 2030. As the Trustees envision the future of the marks, they are to act as certifiers of the original text and authorized translations of The Urantia Book after the copyright runs out.
CBK: This is a commendable, though illogical, objective. As many as one million copies of the book could be in circulation by 2030 A.D. Future seekers will have little difficulty determining what the revelators intended to include. No translations will ever be complete; all translations will need revision as comprehension increases.
TAK: There must be new thinking concerning management of the marks. The Foundation must relinquish its oppressive overcontrol of the name and symbol. This is a time when they should be broadening use of the marks, not drawing a tighter circle. The Trustees must again recognize Urantia Brotherhood (Fifth Epochal Fellowship), because it represents the preponderant majority of the readership. How can the Trustees believe they are acting consistently with the wishes of the revelators when, to "protect the marks," they seek to destroy the legitimate social fellowship of readers that has evolved over the past 35 years? The contact commissioners and . their successors were instructed to safeguard the name for a limited time-"one generation." The name and symbol should begin to be used by a greater number of Urantia Book readers under more lenient supervision by the Foundation
CBK: The so-called "churchification" charge against the Brotherhood/ Fellowship does not meet the criteria outlined in Bill Sadler's Triennial Report, January 20, 1958: "There are three main differences between the Brotherhood and a typical church: we claim no spiritual sovereignty; we claim no exclusive path to salvation; we claim no ecclesiastical authority. So long as we do not claim any of these things we can hardly become a church." The Foundation was created, among other things, according to the Declaration of Trust, to "foster a religion, ..," The Trustees indicate a lack of knowledge of their own teachings; for some reason, "religion" has become an unacceptable word in their lexicon. They equate "religion" with "church;" where "religion" once appeared, they substitute "spiritual." Throughout the Report, they misquote the long-accepted description of the Brotherhood as "simply a social group which has a religious objective," changing it to "a social and fraternal group with a spiritual objective." Groups are never spiritual: only individuals are spiritual. The Fellowship has established no creed, motto, approved music, standardized rituals or vestments. They maintain a welcoming hand to individuals of all racial and religious backgrounds. And they offer the opportunity for spiritual people to engage in group prayer and worship, which The Urantia Book commends.
The French Problem
CBK: The roots of the present controversy extend at least 10 years back to the French problem. There were crises earlier than that, but those that began to pit traditional allies against one another had their origins in the French situation. Last year's misunderstanding over the Finnish constitution is merely the latest episode in a series of clashes over the Foundation's proprietary attitude toward individuals or groups of readers in other countries who might also be engaged in translations. The French matter illustrates how Foundation management impacted upon the Brotherhood.
TAK: For a period of years, the Foundation was embroiled in the French courts with Jacques Weiss, the translator of The Urantia Book. La Cosmogonie D' Urantia, the French book, was out of print for seven years, pending outcome of the case and appeals. Even after settlement, the Foundation did not immediately decide how French books would be made available again. Interim illegal photocopy editions circulated, resulting in yet another lawsuit. By 1980 French readers were becoming desperate for books. They believed a new translation might take 10-20 years. While they disliked the idea of illegal copies, they were resigned to using them.
CBK: After the 1980 Summer Workshops, Henry Begemann, the Brotherhood's Field Representative in Europe, stayed at our home. At our suggestion, Henry called Martin at work in an effort to re-establish relations with him. They had been estranged because of Henry's unauthorized efforts to mediate an agreement between the Foundation and Jacques Weiss. Less than one minute into the conversation, we overheard Martin shouting at Henry, charging that he had let them down and would never be given another chance. During a vacation in Europe that Fall we visited the group of readers near Paris. They were distressed because of Martin's behavior on his and Tom's previous trip, describing it as "overbearing." They were becoming disillusioned with the Brotherhood, citing Trustees who also served as Councilors. They did not wish to become a Urantia Society and be subject to indirect Trustee control. The Begemanns saw Jacques Weiss while we were in Paris. Mr. Weiss told them he was desirous of coming to an accord with the Foundation. He proposed that in return for the Foundation's permission to publish his Concordex, he would give the Foundation his blessings to republish La Cosmogonie in America.
TAK: Although we had been disappointed many times by Mr. Weiss not fulfilling contracts or promises, Henry felt there was sufficient self-interest, that this time it would be different. I thought there might be a chance an arrangement could be worked out, so when I returned, I campaigned for a favorable response to Mr. Weiss. Before the Board could discuss the matter objectively, two events occurred that short-circuited the process.
CBK: Tom received an urgent call from Christy imploring him to come to 533 to have a talk with Martin; she could not deal with his "tirades" any longer. Christy agreed I should come, too, since I knew Martin's temper was becoming known among readers in France and in the US On Election Day, in November 1980, we went to 533. Tom began by complimenting his work with the Foundation. At the mention of "Foundation," Martin began screaming for me get out; he would not discuss "Foundation business" in my presence. We had come to talk about his behavior, not Foundation business, but Martin perceived anything even remotely related to the Foundation as outside the purview of all but Trustees. Nothing of positive value came of our visit.
TAK: After the Board of Trustees meeting the next Saturday, Christy had Martin read a message to me which had allegedly come to her earlier in the week. It said, "Do not become involved in long, drawn-out negotiations with Mr. Weiss. Read page 840." I interpreted the message, as did administrative assistants, Scott Forsythe and Michael Painter, to mean that we were not to get bogged down in lengthy negotiations. It may be concluded that the other Trustees interpreted the message to mean we should not get involved in any negotiations. Page 840 had to do with Caligastia's Plot. The meaning of this reference is also open to interpretation.
CBK: The French readers took up the cause when Weiss's and Henry's proposals to the Foundation went unanswered. For the next year they solicited Brotherhood leaders to plead their case. In the Spring, the Executive Committee sent John Hales, then President of the Brotherhood, and Duane Faw, chairman of Judicial Committee, to Paris to meet and listen to readers' concerns. They visited Hr. and Mrs. Weiss and came away with the view that the Trustees should respond to him regardless of past disappointments. It would demonstrate that the Foundation had gone the extra mile. Mr. Weiss never received an answer. The 1981 General Conference at Snowmass was marked by a five hour late night meeting of leaders who met to talk about the worsening French situation and the unresponsiveness of the Foundation to the Brotherhood's concerns. Reportedly, Duane Faw, was delegated by the group to go to Martin, who was perceived as the impediment, to talk with him about the problem and to pray with him.
In October 1981, Mark Kulieke, husband of Executive Committee member, Barbara, learned through his place of employment, a printing house, that Urantia Foundation was arranging to have La Cosmogonie printed in Chicago. The Executive Committee was notified by the Kuliekes. Considerable outrage was expressed because Mr. Weiss had not been consulted. While the Foundation had the legal right to reprint, Committee members felt there had been an ethical lapse. When French books became available in April 1982, the Foundation had merely planned to notify French and Canadian readers in writing of their availability. The Executive Committee felt that animosities might be mitigated if personal notification occurred. The simultaneous visits of Lynne Kulieke and David Elders to Montreal, and John Hales and me to Paris, proved to be worthwhile. The Canadians and French were ecstatic to have books at last. In Paris, we visited Mr. and Mrs. Weiss and gave them a copy of the new printing, renamed Le Livre D' Urantia. Our wish was that relations could be re-established, perhaps exchanging referrals, or meeting readers with whom Mr. Weiss was acquainted. We learned that in one sense it had come too late; the week before, someone acting in Mr. Weiss's behalf had published his Concordex. Mr. Weiss died several years later without sharing his mailing list of French readers with the Brotherhood, or bestowing his moral right upon the Foundation which would have permitted the Foundation to revise the translation as needed.
Chrlsty died in May 1982. The day before her memorial service happened to be Martin's last Executive Committee meeting; his chairmanship of Inter national Fellowship Committee was ending. A discussion over whether the Bulletin should announce the French reprint heated up. It was a trivial issue, but it brought forth his pent-up hostility toward all who had "interfered" with his prerogatives. In the final moments of the meeting, Martin began verbally attacking several members of the committee predicting they would all bring down the Brotherhood. When David Elders and I tried to intervene, Martin began shouting at me, "You're not a Trustee! We don't have to tell you anything; none of it's your business! (After each of four trips to France, I had shared my impressions with the Executive Committee, despite Martin's displeasure.) This outburst convinced me that further efforts to improve Brotherhood/Foundation relations were a charade so long as Martin continued to try to impede the flow of information.
The Vern Grimsley Affair
CBK: The so-called Vern Grimsley affair has been forgotten by most people peripherally involved. Not so those who had a role in it and who experienced the ramifications of that unusual episode. The Trustees have not forgotten it. The Grimsley event still looms large in their consciousness. Nearly all of the appointees to the Board since then took strong positions against Vern's war messages. Hoite Caston, in his August 22, 1989 letter to David Elders calls belief or disbelief in Vern "the litmus test of leadership" meaning, presumably, that anyone who believed Vern's messages is unfit for leadership in the Foundation or Brotherhood/Fellowship. The Vern Grimsley episode has reportedly been likened to a rebellion by some of the Trustees. In the Foundation and Fellowship Joint appearance at San Francisco Bay Area Urantia Society recently, Martin was asked why two Sigma Chi fraternity brothers (Hoite Caston and Richard Keeler) had been appointed to the Board. He responded that they were "rebellion-tested." In Chicago, his answer was that they were "loyal to me in the Vern Grimsley affair."
Hoite alleges in his letter (which is included in the Report) that Martin Myers is the only leader who "had the perception and courage at the beginning to openly declare his opposition to Vern's voices . . . " At the beginning? Perhaps we should review the chronological events of the Grimsley affair.
TAK: In January 1983 - Vern Grimsley called Carolyn and me and Martin Myers to report that he had begun receiving messages December 16, 1982. He claimed he had been instructed to purchase property in Clayton, California. Martin immediately flew to Clayton to inspect it. His comment when he returned was: "How about that! It's really something!" Absolutely no disbelief in the messages was expressed. Diane Elder <now Martin's wife), the Castons and the Keelers also toured the property that weekend.
In February - Vern called us and Martin to report he had received a message which said, "The time has not arrived to publicize the book." Martin expressed no disbelief.
CBK: Feb 24 - 26, 1983 - Vern was invited to come to Chicago to conduct Trustee, Arthur Born's memorial service, and to stay with Martin. On Friday morning I learned that Martin was leaving for Kansas to be with his father who had been taken to the hospital. I called him to find out how serious Dr. Myers' condition was. Before we hung up, Martin expressed the view that Vern should attend the Executive Committee meeting that evening, "They'll really take a strong stand against publicity after they hear about Vern' 6 experiences!" In May, Vern was invited to co-conduct Dr. Myers' memorial service in Kansas.
Sept 4, 1983 - Eight months after he first heard about Vern's messages, Martin's speech at the Media Conference in Los Angeles included a glowing tribute to Vern and the Family of God Foundation on page 10. (After the World War III message was received, and Martin changed his mind about Vern's messages, this passage was expunged from latter copies of the speech.)
"In addition to recognizing the efforts of URANTIA Foundation and URANTIA Brotherhood, at this time it is appropriate to make special mention of another group well known to many of us, The Family of God Foundation. Under the tireless, indefatigable leadership of Vern Bennom Grimsley and with the help of his wife Nancy and other dedicated coworkers and volunteers, the Family of God Foundation has defined new levels of effective planetary service. Indeed, the Family of God Foundation and its related organizations are one of the best modern day examples of how one may productively follow the example of David Zebedee in rendering invaluable service to the advancing Kingdom of Heaven on this planet. Their unflinching loyalty to the purposes and goals of URANTIA Foundation and URANTIA Brotherhood has materially aided in the inauguration of a new age on Urantia.
"Few will fully understand or know the sacrifices that the dedication of Vern and Nancy and of the co-workers and volunteers has led each of them to make, but many now do and will appreciate their dedication and service in the years to come, notwithstanding they have already done a great amount of important work and accomplished much. One can readily anticipate from the signs on the horizon that their real work is only now Just beginning."
TAK: Sept 19, 1983 - Vern received the "don't-split-up-the-book" message. Martin expressed no disbelief to me when we talked about it.
CBK: Oct. 6, 1983-- Vern received the message: "Prepare for the Third World War." At an informal meeting a few days later in Martin's apartment, consisting of Tom, Martin and Edith Cook (then president, vice president and Trustee, respectively, of the Foundation; John Hales, me, Marian Rowley and David Elders, (then president, vice president, secretary-general and Charter Committee chairman, respectively, of the Brotherhood), we discussed what, if anything the Brotherhood and Foundation should do. A list of questions was devised to be telephoned to Vern the next day requesting clarification. Martin only said, when asked his opinion about the situation, "I don't want this movement to become known as a doomsday group and that it's being led by some guy who's claiming to get messages." We agreed with that concern, but felt it was important to determine whether this was a genuine contact, especially in view of the danger implied in the latest message. The two earlier messages had confirmed what were already accepted policies.
TAK: When the "answers" to the questions were received by Vern two days later, it was suggested we go to Clayton to hear them first hand. I called each of the active Trustees to get their views. None of the them asked me not to $o; if they had, I would not have gone. One suggested I make it clear I was not representing the Foundation, which is what I did. Later, when the Trustees sought to remove me from the Board, one of the charges leveled against me was that I had gone to Clayton "willfully ...in disregard of the benefit of guidance from" the other Trustees. This is absolutely not true; I have never acted unilaterally while serving on the Board.
CBK: John, Marian, David, Tom and I went to Clayton to hear more about the "war messages." Richard Keeler and Mo Siegel were also present to hear Vern relate to us, and to the members of FOG, his latest information. A number of plans were discussed, including one put forth by Richard and Mo to purchase property in Clayton for Urantia Rook readers. Almost immediately, after returning home, David Elders called to say he didn't believe the messages. Mo Siegel built a fallout shelter at his home, but soon, he too, decided he didn't believe the messages. Richard Keeler also built a shelter, but he ceased believing Vern's messages. It should be noted that all of these people seemingly believed Vern was receiving messages until shortly after the war message.
TAK: From October 1983 Martin swung completely around, taking action against Vern with the acquiescence of the other Trustees. Hoite Caston (who was not then a Trustee) wrote a 238 page attack upon Vern's character and work, Richard Keeler "verified the facts," and Martin approved thousands of words of quoted material from The Urantia Book for the purpose of destroying the reputation of their long-time friend, and a member of the Brotherhood. Vern was a man who had stood loyally with the Foundation on many issues, traveling all over the country on Foundation assignments to dissuade mark and copyright infringers, never asking for reimbursement of expenses. He was an outstanding proclaimer on radio of the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man--one of the main messages of The Urantia Book. Another of the charges against me in the removal process was that I had refused to sign the letter dismissing Vern as Special Representative. I would not sign because Vern was given no hearing, nor were the Trustees interested in meeting with him. I also refused to sign the Foundation letter to the readership denouncing Vern, because its spirit and tone clashed with the Brotherhood's letter.
I had begun to realize that Martin believed he, not I, should be president of the Board of Trustees. From things said in the heat of confrontation in November 1980, and other indications after Christy died, I suspected he was waiting for a plausible excuse to have himself installed as president. The Vern Grimsley controversy presented the opportunity. I was served notice December 31, 1983 that I was no longer president and that steps to remove me from the Board had begun.
Among the Trustees' charges was that I was "subject to the influence of psychic phenomena," and that such phenomena "were in degradation of the teaching of The URANTIA Book insofar as the Book urges the function of evolutionary wisdom and rational judgment as amplified by one's own spiritual experience in solving the problems and challenges confronting one." My response was that I had reviewed the literature on the subject of psychic phenomena and found that I did not believe in any of the phenomena listed under that category. I further stated that "for the Trustees to discount all spirit contacts as 'psychic phenomena' in view of messages alleged to have come to close associates in the past, was inconsistent. To deny the possibility of contacts by Adjusters, midwayers or seraphim is to repudiate our own teachings." I reminded them that the matter of how to deal with the French situation was solved through credence given to a message of November 1980.
TAK & CBK: We were accepting of Vern's messages because in 1977 Christy had told me (Tom) unequivocally that Vern was a reservist. She also told others. Christy was the last living contact commissioner and we took her word on such matters seriously. Martin at first accepted and even promoted Vern's messages. When an individual such as Vern received a warning about war, we felt it ought to be given serious attention. Dr. Sadler had once expressed the view that if ever our country were about to be attacked, he believed we would receive a warning.