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The Urantia Book Comes to Oklahoma City
(Courtesy of Helen Butler and the First Urantia Society of Oklahoma Archive)
Article from Oklahoma City Newspaper
Personal Testimonial from B. M. Salyer, Jr.

In April, 1956, when B. M. Salyer, Jr. found the Urantia Book in Chicago, brought it home and read it immediately, he was minister of The Church of Religious Science, meeting at the Y. W. C. A. in Oklahoma City, each Sunday. His enthusiasm for the book was contagious, and the Church ordered several books from the Urantia Society in Chicago, W. E. Grisso, Jr. obtaining the first. Soon the various interested parties obtained books and started reading. On September 9, 1956, Vesper Services were held at 6:30 P.M. in the Y.W.C.A. to discuss the Urantia Papers, and this was the first meeting of the group to study the Book. Paper 86, "Early Evolution of Religion" was discussed, and it was decided at this meeting to start a new church based on the teachings of the Urantia Papers.

The second meeting of the group of Urantia readers was held September 12, 1956, at the Y. W. C. A. Weekly Sunday meetings were held until Christmas holidays at the Y.W.C.A. then resumed on January 9., 1957. This Sunday morning class was continued until May 12th, with Edward E. Jones as Teacher. On January 23, 1957, a Wednesday evening class was started at the home of W. E. Grisso, Jr. A "beginners" class was started by J. B. Lawton on February 14th, at the Y.W.C.A. and continued for four Thursday evenings, then was held in his home on March 14, 1957.

A letter was sent to William S. Sadler, Jr. in Chicago, On October 24, 1956, asking how to start a study group and become a Society. It was learned that at least ten people had to complete the book before application could be made for a charter.

January 21, 1957 the Robert Burtons, from the Chicago group, visited and a meeting was held at the Beacon Club. Attending were the Salyers, Bakers, Grissos, Bordners, Butlers, Lawtons, Goldia Young, Wilma McManus, Mrs. Wilson and Mrs. Archers and the Englishs.

William S. Sadler, Jr. met with the group for the first time at the Lakeview Club on March 9, 1957.

Application to be chartered as a Urantia Society of the Urantia Brotherhood., Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. was mailed on April 17, 1957, with $50.00 enclosed. The original twelve who had completed the Book, consisted of the following: B. M. Salyer, Jr., W. E. Grisso, Jr., L. Howard Thornberry, Edward Jones., Goldie B. Young, Wilma L. McManus, Helen T. Butler, Joe W. English, Fred J. Tosti, J. B. Lawton, Cleve Bordner, and Patsy Alexander.

On Saturday, April 20, 1957, Bill Sadler met with the group the second time at Glen's. then at the Y.W.C.A. on Sunday, April 21st.

The New Age Christian Church, in conjunction with the Urantia Study Groups, had a picnic at Salyer's Barn, August 21, 1957, to celebrate the birthday of Jesus.

Mr. & Mrs. Clyde Bedell visited the regular Wednesday night class on October 8, 1957, at Berkeley Elliott's home. October 30, 1957, Fred and Jim Leverenz visited the Wednesday night class, which meeting place was changed for this occasion to the Tropical Cafeteria, so all might enjoy their company during the dinner hour.

A lot of new thinking, advanced ideas and information on the "meat" of the Urantia Book has been absorbed by the Oklahoma City groups, from the visits of the various members from the Chicago group, and their visits are extremely enjoyed and looked forward to with anticipation.

The Charter Committee from the Urantia Brotherhood in Chicago arrived in Oklahoma City on November 23, 1957 to install the Founders and Charter Members of the "First Urantia Society of Oklahoma". The Chicago group included Mr. & Mrs. Robert Burton and Barney Burton, their son, Mr. & Mrs. William M. Hales. Also present were Mr. & Mrs. Fred Leverenz, formerly from Chicago now from Dallas, Texas. After dinner, the following were installed by Ruth Burton, assisted by Mary Lou Hales, both of the Charter Committee, as Founders: B. M. Salyer., Jr.., W. E. Grisso, Jr., L. Howard Thornberry, Edward Jones, Goldia B. Young, Wilma L. McManus, Helen T. Butler, Joe W. English, Frid J. Tosti and J. B. Lawton. Charter members included the following: Mary Kathryn Grisso, Faye Brown, Sally Sewell, Berkeley Elliott, Clyde C. Goodman, Edna Ecks, Ardythe Shields, Charlene Butler, Mable Wilson, Covie English, W. V. Butler, Helen Canfield and Jennetta Tosti.

The Founders comprise the individuals who had read the Urantia Book, and the Charter members were those who had been regularly attending the study group meetings, but had not finished the Papers, that were recommended by the Founders. They could be called Charter members because they were taken in on the same evening that the Founders were installed.

The Urantia Society of Oklahoma was the first in Oklahoma, and the fourth chartered group of the Urantia Brotherhood, on Urantia. It is the only one of the first four that is a spontaneous group, not having sprung as a result of any member of the original Chicago group, and is second largest of the four.

The organization meeting of the First Urantia Society of Oklahoma met at the Northeast Cafeteria at 7:30 P.M. on December 9, 1957. Those present were:

W. E. Grisso, Jr., Goldia B. Young, B. M. Salyer, Jr., Wilma L. McManus, Clyde C. Goodman, Berkeley Elliott, Joe W. English, Covie English, Mabel Wilson, Faye Brown, Mary Katherine Grisso, Ardythe Shields, Charlene Butler, Helen Butler, W. V. Butler, L. Howard Thornberry, Helen Canfield and Jeannetti Tosti.

Bill Grisso was elected Chairman by acclamation. The Constitution and By-Laws were discussed and adopted by seventeen "yes" votes. Officers were elected as follows: Secretary - Helen Butler elected by acclamation. President - B. M. Salyer, Jr. elected by acclamation, tendered resignation and Bill Grisso elected by acclamation. Vice President - Joe English elected by acclamation. Treasurer - Goldia Young elected by acclamation.

By-Laws were amended to include in addition to the standing committees, a permanent historian. Berkeley Elliott was elected by acclamation. Formal meetings are to be held annually the second Monday of each December, The following committees were appointed by the President: Membership: Howard Thornberry, Clyde C. Goodman and Edward Jones. Program: J. B. Lawton, W. V. Butler and Mabel Wilson. Mary Katherine Grisso, Wilma McManus and Charlene Butler. Assessments will be made of members only if voluntary contributions are not sufficient. Governing Committee, composed of chairman of committees and officers, will meet at 7:00 P.M. on second Wednesday of each month, monthly for three months and thereafter quarterly. B. M. Salyer, Jr. was made an ex officio permanent member of the Governing Committee, with full voting privileges.

The Oklahoma City Society, in conjunction with the New Age Christian Church, had a Christmas dinner party on Friday evening, December 20, 1957, at the home of Wilma McManus. There were 25 present. Before dinner hymns were sung and after dinner gifts were exchanges. B. M. Salyer, Jr. was. presented with a leather backed Lamsa Bible and W. E. Grisso, Jr. with a gavel.

As of January 1, 1958, Rector's Book Store, who stocked the Urantia Book, had sold 135 copies. 110 Urantia Books had been ordered direct from Chicago by Wilma McManus.


Article from Oklahoma City Newspaper; no publication date found on clipping:

Religious 'Revolution' Brewing? Cityan to Launch New Church

By Ray Shaw

An Oklahoma City oil company president Sunday will launch a new church movement which he envisions as a world-sweeping religious revolution. B. M. Salyer jr., president of the Salyer Refining Co., Inc., and group of about 65 members of a church he pastored for two years will found the New-Age Christian church.

Salyer and the congregation will meet Sundays in the library of the YWCA until a permanent meeting place can be arranged.

Purpose Explained

Salyer formerly pastored the Oklahoma City Church of Religious Science of the New Thought, metaphysical movement. He was associated with the "New Thought' movement about 22 years.

Purpose of the new church -based on the teachings of the Bible and the "Urantia" book-is to "foster an understanding among men of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man," Salyer said, "and to make man aware of his origin and his destiny."

His movement can do this, Salyer believes, because "it will enhance his social, cultural and economic well being as an individual, and as a member of society, through fostering a religion, a philosophy and a cosmology commensurate with man's intellectual development."

He's 'Truth Seeker'

"I am a truth seeker," Salyer, said. "The Bible, as great is' poses questions but man;stlimes does not answer them. We can't find its relation to the universe except through Revelations." "I am convinced," Salyer said, "that through the Urantia papers we can find the first major revelation since Jesus was here, and I feel it is the greatest event that has happened to the human race since He came.

Sayler said the Urantia works are "the answer to the neurotic conditions of modern society."

Urantia Book Available

Urantia - earth in the cosmic scheme to adherers of the movement-gives a history of the planet since "this nebula was thrown into space. it gives detailed teachings of the life and works of Jesus. "Jesus did no writings in his life, and this book tells of Him from His point of view." The Urantia book, available locally in book stores, was. compiled, according to Salyer, by a group of intellectuals from 185 Urantia papers dealing with "every subject interesting man along philosophical lines."

Long Study Made

The papers, he said, were Studied for 20 years by this group of men-most of them college professors, businessmen, lawyers and teachers - before they were put into book form in 1955. This is the first church founded based upon the teachings of the Urantia book, Salyer said. "I see it as the beginning of a world movement as revealed by the Urantia papers," he said. "It is not in the line of the metaphysical stupor. It's practical. The teachings take nothing away from anybody but gives them poise and balance."

Former Preacher

Salyer was a licensed Methodist preacher before turning to the New Thought metaphysical movement in 1934. Ninety percent of the members of the Oklahoma City Church of Religious Science will help Salyer found the new New-Age Christian church, he said. "This is a seed we are sewing. When I find young men who wish to teach the truth and not be bound by tradition, I will license them to spread this message," Salyer said. With the Urantia book as a helper, Salyer said the Bible can be understood.

"There's not an honest man on this planet who can say he can understand the book of Revelations. It takes the knowledge of how this planet fits into the universe," he said. "With this information in hand, with the Urantia book, one can understand both Revelations and Genesis -- both impossible to understand otherwise. The Urantia teachings, he said are quite "orthodox" on their views toward salvation. "They certainly don't promulgate reincarnation" he said. "The book and movement should be easy to accept by anyone scholarly and open-minded."

The people responsible for compiling the Urantia papers and publishing the book remain anonymous," Salyer said.


Personal Testimony from B. M. Salyer

I spent thirty years searching for answers to the riddle of life and death, through all the religions on this planet. In April, 1956, 1 attended an Oil Refiners convention in Chicago, at which time I had just completed a two year home study course in Metaphysical Religious Science. It was not the answer and I felt all my books were obsolete. I was staying at the Palmer House., which is across the street from the Crochs-Brentanos book Store. During the noon hour I went across to the store, to the religious and philosophical section, looking for new books, but failed to find any new ones,

That afternoon a refiner from Canada joined the convention. He told me he had come by way of Mayo's in Rochester, seeking relief from bleeding stomach ulcers. I took him to the book store to find him.some books that would give him peace of mind and help his physical condition. While discussing the various books in the religious section with him, a bystander overheard our conversation, introduced herself, and asked my opinion about a large blue book, called the Urantia Book, and placed it in my hand. I told her that I had never heard of the book nor seen it before, but on casual observation, I purchased a copy. I later found out I purchased the last of the first six copies that were placed on sale for Copyright purposes, a pre-copyright edition.

After three weeks of perusal - night and day - I knew I was at the end of my search, I had found what I had been seeking all of my life. After having lived with the book for the past eighteen months, I feel equally as much convinced that it is the complete answer to the longings of any mortal soul that will apply himself to its pages. After I had the Book about three months, I founded the New Age Christian Church, based on the Urantia Revelations. I believe this revelation is the complete answer to the neurotic conditions of the time.

B. M. Salyer, Jr.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma January 29, 1958

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