Urantia Brotherhood President's Letter
to Urantia Foundation April 3, 1976
URANTIA BROTHERHOOD 533 Diversey Parkway Chicago Illinois 60614
April 3, 1976
Mr. Thomas A. Kendall President URANTIA Foundation 533 Diversey Parkway Chicago, IL 60614
For the past 21 years URANTIA Brotherhood and URANTIA Foundation have worked together in close cooperation as separate organizations joined by a common mission. At no time in these 21 years has the Brotherhood ever attempted to assume the prerogatives of the Foundation or to usurp its authority in any way. However, in the last three years the Foundation has found it necessary to compose a series of legal agreements spelling out in minute detail a comprehensive range of powers and authorities of the Foundation in relation to the Brotherhood.
During this period of time, while serving as president of the Brotherhood, I have cheerfully signed all of the agreements presented to me, notwithstanding that each one was unilateral, patronizing, unloving, and aloof from recognition of the very close nature of our relationship. In signing these agreements I have attempted to express Brotherhood support for the Foundation in every possible way, to show trust and confidence in the Trustees of the Foundation, and to demonstrate that the Brotherhood has no desire for material power or authority, only for the power of the spirit through truth-inspired lives.
It is thus with considerable regret that I must inform you in writing that in recent months the Foundation has embarked upon a course of action which the Brotherhood must actively oppose. I refer specifically to the attempt by the Foundation completely to dominate the forthcoming conference sponsored by the First URANTIA Society of Oklahoma, and to extend this dominance to all future affairs of URANTIA Brotherhood.
The attempt to dominate the Society in the conduct of its activities has taken the following forms:
URANTIA Foundation's insistence that only one tape recording of the conference would be permitted; that this single recording would belong to the Foundation, and that the Foundation would choose the person or persons who would do the taping. After six months of unproductive pressures upon the Society, the nature of which I can only describe as coercive, the Foundation has proposed as an alternative its right to retain final approval of the taping arrangement to be made by the Society.
The preparation by the Foundation of an unprecedented legal agreement setting forth the terms and conditions under which the conference may be held by the Society. (Although the conference begins June 25th, as of this date the contract has not been submitted to the Society.)
The attempt by the Foundation specifically to approve or disapprove of any or all reference materials, study aids, or other materials which might be displayed at the conference, including recommendations to the Society of specific materials for display in the face of the Society's announced decision to the contrary.
The Foundation's insistence that copies of all talks be submitted in advance of the conference, whether or not containing quotes from the URANTIA Book.
The assumption of the right to dictate these and other terms upon no clear basis of authority.
Without attempting to discuss the practicality of these measures, especially when viewed within the framework of the eventual size of the Brotherhood, it is self-evident that the individual and cumulative effect would be injurious to the spirit in which Brotherhood meetings are conducted. If accepted, these measures would sap the vitality of the entire Brotherhood and undermine the URANTIA mission.
In defending these policies and actions in our conversation of March 6th, you stated that the Foundation does not desire to do these things, but is only carrying out instructions from the Foundation's lawyer. You also stated that "in any event the Foundation has always exercised primacy in the affairs of the Brotherhood." So that the record is clear, I will note that this "primacy" has not been in effect during the tenure of my presidency of the Brotherhood, and had it been attempted, could at no time have been acceptable.
On Sunday, March 28th, I received a copy of a four-page document titled "Guidelines for Holding a URANTIA Conference." prepared by the Foundation and setting forth in writing its intention directly to supervise all activities carried out under the URANTIA trademarks.
The Guidelines -- which are written in such a way as to suggest co-sponsorship by the Brotherhood -- begin by referring in the possessive to "URANTIA Foundation and its affiliates, URANTIA Brotherhood and the chartered societies of the Brotherhood." In the same paragraph the Guidelines state that it has been thought best by the Foundation "-- where possible--to give the Brotherhood and each of its societies as much latitude in the conduct of its conference meetings as possible."
On behalf of URANTIA Brotherhood -- its Societies, General Council, Executive Committee, and Members-at-large -- now and in the future, I wish to state to URANTIA Foundation emphatically and unequivocally that:
URANTIA Brotherhood fully supports the objective of preserving the text of the URANTIA Book inviolate, and protecting the integrity of the concentric circles symbol and the trademark form of the word URANTIA.
URANTIA Brotherhood rejects in its entirety the document titled "Guidelines For Holding a URANTIA Conference" because it has been formulated on the erroneous premise that URANTIA Brotherhood is subservient to URANTIA Foundation.
The policies expressed in the Guidelines, if accepted, would have the effect of nullifying the Constitution of URANTIA Brotherhood, an action the Brotherhood cannot allow. In no part of that Constitution, either by direct language or inference, is URANTIA Foundation established as a policy-making, executive authority superior to the duly constituted governmental bodies of the Brotherhood.
In its reference to URANTIA Societies, the Constitution states in Article 3 that Societies are "autonomous in the conduct of their affairs."
Article 5.4 states: "Each URANTIA Society shall be autonomous in all matters of its government and activities ... except as limited by this Constitution or delegated to the General Council, the Executive Committee, or one or more of the Departmental Committees."
Article 8.8 (d) states: "The General Council shall not enact any By-law limiting or restricting the autonomy of the URANTIA Societies over the conduct of their local affairs."
The Guidelines are wholly incompatible with these governing provisions of the Constitution.
URANTIA Brotherhood is dedicated to a strong Foundation and a strong Brotherhood, working together as associate organizations. A superior-subordinate relationship would soon have the effect of weakening both organizations. There is simply no need for us to spend all of this time and energy in internal dispute when the real work of building the kingdom is waiting to be done.
Tom, despite the gravity of these matters, URANTIA Brotherhood even at this moment stands ready to work again in close cooperation with URANTIA Foundation the moment the Foundation's policies and actions become supportable.
And I have full confidence that when the dust has settled on these issues, the two organizations will be fully unified again in the great work we have been given to do.
Paul Snider, President URANTIA Brotherhood
Copies to: Trustees, URANTIA Foundation Executive Committee, URANTIA Brotherhood General Council, URANTIA Brotherhood