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TO: Trustees of Urantia Foundation
DATE: April 1958
FROM: William S. Sadler, Jr.
SUBJ: Functional Relationship of the Foundation and Brotherhood

    An examination of potential pitfalls and frictions together with recommendations concerning Foundation policies designed to minimize frictions and to take full advantage of the Brotherhood organization.

    This memorandum is prepared on a confidential basis and it is recommended that its contents be restricted to the Trustees.

I. Historical Background:

The sister organizations -- Foundation and Brotherhood -- started out conceptually as one organization. The original draft of the constitution of the Brotherhood (circa 1937) did not differentiate between the two organizations. This combined organization proved to be unwieldy because it attempted to unite two then existing functions which did not mix well as a single unit. These two functions were the following:

  • 1. The custodial and other responsibilities of the contact commissioners.
  • 2. The religio-social functions of the Forum.

Essentially these two functions are wholly dissimilar. From the beginning it was apparent that the Forum must sooner or later become a self-governing body. Any other evolution would run counter to democratic-Protestant mores. On the other hand, the contact commissioners were an appointive body and their custodial responsibilities were imposed upon them; not by any elective process.

It was not until these two functions (commissioners and Forum) were conceptually separated that it became possible to formulate workable constitutions for these two dissimilar bodies. This bifurcation of concept took place with the resultant first drafting of the Trust Agreement of the Foundation and the constitution of the Brotherhood (circa 1939).

II. Differences between Foundation and Brotherhood -- a potential source of antagonism and friction:

Unless the Foundation conducts itself with wisdom it may breed dissention between itself and the Brotherhood. In the opinion of the writer, there is no place in Urantia Foundation for naivete or any exhibition of proprietary feeling toward the Urantia Papers.

Let us examine the potentially antagonistic differential between Foundation and Brotherhood:

  • a. The Foundation: This is an autocratic group. It is non-elective. It derives its authority from the defunct contact commissioners. This former contact commission was an autocratic body, autocratic in the sense that it was accountable to no electorate. 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. The Brotherhood: While the Brotherhood was originated by the Foundation, it is destined increasingly to become a republican institution. It is designed to reflect the purpose and desires of its members. It has all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses of a democratic organization.
  • But the Brotherhood offers its members something 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.

  • c. Potential friction and antagonism: 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 (theoretically the autocrats have the right to expect equal wisdom of cooperation from the democrats, but this may often be a fatuous hope -- an idealistic wish rather than a practical plan), so it is the writer's considered opinion that the problem of avoiding friction with the Brotherhood rests nearly completely on the shoulders of the Trustees of Urantia Foundation.

III. The Ideal Role of the Foundation:

Besides its legal function of safeguarding the copyright, it would appear that the Foundation could sustain much of the same relationship to the Brotherhood and to the general Urantia movement that the reservists sustain to the general course of human events. What is the general function of the reservists? They seldom function. This would appear to be the ideal function of the Foundation -- to be generally passive so long as the Brotherhood functions adequately.

Being an elective body, the Brotherhood is vulnerable. A really clever conspiracy could destroy the Brotherhood or otherwise divert or pervert its mission. Such vulnerability is inherent in a self-governing body. We should accept it as an inevitability.

Now, a careful reading of the Foundation Trust Agreement discloses that the Foundation itself could re-constitute a functional Brotherhood if the original one ever lapsed. May we never have to do this, but we could if it became necessary.

Ideally, the Foundation should remain in the background. It should be passive. It should little appear in the eyes of the public. To the public the Brotherhood is the important organization. To the extent that we can cause the Brotherhood to do the work of the Urantia movement, we have succeeded in holding ourselves in reserve and in so doing we minimize potential friction.

The following general statement of policy is proposed to the Trustees:

"The Foundation will overtly do nothing for the Urantia movement which it can overtly or covertly induce the Brotherhood to do."

The Foundation has no organization for propaganda or for the dissemination of the Book. It could sell the Book directly but has very wisely elected to do so through the Brotherhood Corporation.

IV. In general, it is recommended that the Foundation act covertly in its relationship with the Brotherhood. We should do a good job of "steering" and at almost all costs avoid any aspect of "domination." There are several ways we can do this:

  • 1. Personal relationships: Planting ideas; doing an honest job of selling.
  • 2. Establishing informally formal channels of communication: Recommended channel being the Secretary of the Foundation and the Secretary-General of the Brotherhood.
  • 3. Consultative relationships: It is suggested that the Foundation make an informal proposal to the Executive Committee of the Brotherhood. The purpose of this proposal is to work out a technique for consultation with certain departmental committees. A possible way of doing this is outlined below:
    • a. The Foundation Secretary will direct a request via the Brotherhood Secretary-General to the departmental committee in question requesting study and recommendations concerning a given problem, possibly relating to some phase of the dissemination of the Book.
    • b. The report of this Committee should flow to the Secretary of the Foundation via the Secretary-General of the Brotherhood.
    • c. The Executive Committee should be informed of the action of the departmental committee concerned. This places the Executive Committee in a position to do any one of four things: concur, disagree, modify, ignore.
    • d. These relationships should take place with the tacit approval of the Executive Committee but in no sense are they binding on the Brotherhood without the concurrence of the Executive Committee.

In general, the Foundation should make every effort to create in the Brotherhood a feeling that it is responsible for the effective dissemination of the Urantia Book, for the raising of funds for translations of the Book, for the raising of funds relative to the publicatton of auxillary books and pamphlets. Remember it is the members of the Brotherhood for the most part (not the Trustees) who are going to foot the bill. People who pay want to be consulted.

The Problem of Committees: Much of the inefficiency can be avoided if the Foundation will present a program for criticism by a departmental committee. Alternatively, the Foundation can solicit a program from a departmental committee, with perhaps a prior outlining of acceptable policy.

We have the power to dominate. I do not think we should use it. God has the same power but he doesn't use it.

William S. Sadler, Jr.

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