The Urantia Book Fellowship

Letter from Clyde Bedell to Martin Myers regarding
long-term problems related to Urantia Foundation censorship

October 16, 1979

120 Camino Alto
Santa Barbara, California 93103

October 16, 1979

Martin W. Myers
Urantia Foundation
533 Diversey Parkway
Chicago, Ill. 60614

Dear Martin:

I have not heard from you since in July of 1977, here in Laguna Hills, you said you would send me specifics of what were the changes my "faceless, unnamed" Chicago Concordex critics wanted made in that book to suit their or headquarters' views. These should of course include Carolyn's criticisms which were circulated at Chicago, but never sent me despite my urgent appeals to you all.

Several times I have been impelled to write you, but could not find satisfactory words in view of the incredible and astonishing about-face Kendall made after joining here (in the views of ALL present, including yourself) on the agreements we had all come to. Included were those you and I earnestly hammered out (with advice and consent of those present) on the last things that divided us - in summarizing which we queried: "OK. Are we all agreed?" That was the day's pattern, you will remember. Kendall took no exception.

I assumed you didn't write me because you were too embarrassed by Kendall's switch - embarrassed I would think, as much as the rest of us here were dismayed when we had news of Kendall's reversal. Some time after the July meeting here, but before hearing Kendall had reneged, I saw Vern at a meeting. I asked him if he thot we had accomplished much at our meeting. He responded: "Yes, a great deal. I think we all came to agreements on every issue discussed, which Tom and Martin were going back to Chicago to recommend for approval." (Words to that effect.)

You will not have forgotten that at conclusion of our long meeting, you embraced me and quietly said in my ear that you were delighted, that Christy sent you two out here to settle our differences and that had been achieved. You repeated that sentiment to me upon our return from the "celebration" dinner, before you took off. Now I understand that when a final vote was taken on this issue in Chicago (so important that the heavy expense in time and money of the two top men in the Movement to come here, was justified). YOU WERE IN CALIFORNIA! You were not present to vote! You were not present to insist (assuming on your courage, independence, and integrity) that both you and Kendall had approved out here and it would be a rank betrayal of all the others in the meeting should Kendall renege and force defeat of the agreements.

Because of Tom Kendall's intransigence and unreliability, I send the separate enclosed letter to you, containing a simple proposal. You did most of the talking and negotiating here. You carried the ball well, we all thot, for 533. You too - were betrayed. The enclosure offers something of an opportunity to redeem headquarters if you believe, as we think you must, that once again I and the Concordex were shockingly, shamefully treated by Tom. By his deception of all of us here, assenting in silence here when he could have objected, then denying assent in Chicago at the crucial time. (Was his thinking straightened out for him by Carolyn on his return?)

The proposal herewith is modest indeed, but is very important to our Movement and to the many thousands of U Bk purchasers from bookstores, who never learn - as they should for the sake of our Movement - that an index aid to the Study of our Great Book is available.

Will you please give this request sufficient precedence so that I may hear from you soon if you favor it and will present it formally? And also when it can be formally presented to the necessary group and voted upon? Martin, some changes MUST come, preferably not forced or fought for in open schism. I am overtired of Kendall's attempts at prior restraint, insisting I submit all I write in the Concordex to anonymous critics in Chicago who will straighten out my thinking and my personal ministry. This smoke screen is objectionable and invalid. There has never been a copyright issue between us. No one will ever more staunchly defend your legally correct copyright positions that I have and will continue to.

I am overtired of reading of the "Many" who dislike the Concordex writing, but whom you high priests never name, number, or quote or substantially support. I am non-plussed that it took you people 6 years to find out you had to attack the Concordex, and deprive some 80 to 90% of U Bk purchasers in bookstores of knowledge an index exists. How come almost every capable man who serves the Movement in close association with 533, soon gets fed up, or departs, in disappointment or in the dog house? (Bill Sadler, Jim Mills, Paul Snyder, Jacques Weiss, Meredith, Henry Begeman, and now me?)

Must everyone knuckle to 533 or else?

Your two responsibilities as Trustees are to "promote" "disseminate", "promote" the supernal teachings, and to protect the integrity of the text, are they not? Do you not believe in unity instead of uniformity? What is happening to our Movement? Do your two great and grave responsibilities (the first of which seems to be forgotten) require that you act like Sanhedrists, who own the Fifth Epochal Revelation? *I write in goodwill, Martin, and sincerity. It is time some consideration was given other ministries than some few people's at headquarters. Are you the only dedicated Urantian?

If I believed you were utterly obdurate and fixed in crystallized positions, I would not thus be writing you. With Florence gone, my life patterns will change. I will probably respond to the many requests I am getting from all quarters: "Come see us. Come speak to us. I do not want to jell plans until I know whether my simple proposal herewith, will be honored.

With all good wishes.

** PAX Urantia


This is not written as a barb or in derision. I want to seriously call attention to the fact that you Trustees and what you do must be appraised, not from your viewpoints alone, but from the viewpoints of many people who believe (as the Book itself says) that the U Bk's Gospel, hence the Revelation itself, belongs to them and to all the believers on the world. How long has it been since you Trustees have attempted to be guided by the sacred text itself? How long since you as a group have read and pondered so significant a page to you as 2044, and considered Jesus' sharp instructions and warning to Rodan and 80 believers? You may contend that as temporary custodians of the text (only to protect its integrity) you are different from Rodan and Jesus' contemporary faithful. Hardly so.

Your FIRST of TWO CONCORDANT OBJECTS has to do with "promotion, improvement, and expansion among the peoples of the world of the comprehension and understanding of Cosmology.and of the true teachings of Jesus Christ. You are in the position precisely of Rodan and those prominent believers. (That is, if you are guided by the Declaration of Trust. And if not by that, by what are you guided?) As officially and unofficially you take positions adverse to or against the Concordex and deprived readers, you are also depriving me.

You are not permitting me the latitude all Urantians should have, must have. Rather, you are assuming the role of owners of the Revelation and the New Gospel, who will not tolerate its presentation except in your light, which possibly may be an ingrown centripetal light within a small island peopled by a small and determined group of heirarchial authoritarians. Too, I would call your attention to the statement of "Our missing earmarks of formalized religion, by Joyce Lapham, approved by the Executive Committee, 1977."

Perhaps some Urantia doubts led to her statement, no doubt to reassure Urantis. Her first "earmark" reads: ! There is no ecclesiastical hierarchy. You have no doubt heard enough murmers to know that a good many Urantians believe one is developing, if it is not already crystallized. How else, unless you ARE an ecclesiastical hierarchy, can you tell me I must write with my Urantian ministry and beliefs, as some of you (anonymously) dictate? Especially when I unmistakably take full responsibility in print for my writing and my views? Item number 2 reads: There are no official interpretations of the message of The Urantia Book

If that is true, and your demands are not to make my writing concur with "Official interpretations", then you are attempting - as I have all along suspected - to make me conform to the unofficial views and prejudices of the "Carolyn Kendalls" in our Movement who may have a dislike for the character of my personal ministry, which I believe is consistent with the Revelation. Should they be permitted to tell me how I must interpret the message? Should they have their viewpoints enforced by an ecclesiastical hierarchy? Are theirs to be "official" interpretations of The Urantia Book" which Trustees are not entitled to have and enforce?

Martin, I believe you are, as a group, treading on grounds that threaten our Movement with schism and great danger. History suggests that self-perpetuating power in the hands of any "religious group" that cannot be reached by the people they are intended to serve becomes tyranny. You shudder at the word - "Not us", you say.

But every hierarchial authoritarianism stood once where you stand, asserting "the good of the movement". A hierarchy is a hierarchy under whatever high-sounding name it is labeled. I could enlarge on this subject.

As one note, item 4 in the 'SPEAKERS' BUREAU OUTLINE" By frank Sgaraglino. What is headquarters policy? It is something everyone can understand? Does it embrace censorship of individual ministries? Toward me and the Concordex is it one thing? Does Larry Mullins' avowal of personal responsibility for his writing in "JESUS; God and Man" accord with hierarchial authority, and mine, in front of current Concordex, fail to accord? May I see a statement of the policy that accept this avowal and not mine? Is the Concordex a derivative book? Is his NOT a derivative book? I would like to see the written policy that clarifies the distinction.

Is headquarters policy one thing toward Bill Sadler and his writings, for Larry Mullins, for Jacques Vallee, and others? A different thing for me? Whose wisdom draws the line, and who can clarify this for me? It is vital, as an index is vital for the proper study and use of The Urantia Book. You are a trained lawyer. Your mind should work more incisively, comprehendingly in these matters than those of people in some less exacting occupations, with less well-disciplined and disciplining educations.

Must you submerge your native and acquired intelligence and education to march to a drumbeat of another, or others, that you know cannot be morally or legally or ethically enforced?

** As I reread this letter before signing it, it occurred to me that the last paragraph might sound to you as though I am saying I am going to talk unfavorably about the Foundation unless you accept my enclosed proposal. It does not mean that. One modest gesture on 533's part, of accommodation to many 1000s of U Bk purchasers in future, cannot erase past history. (That gesture would give me something constructive to say, however.) The reason for the paragraph is simple. Were I to make the proposal to Study Groups and Societies, expecting them to aid me, some of you would doubtless say: "He should have made the proposal to us: he should have asked us first, to agree to send out such a notice with invoices."

To be completely frank I feel it necessary to try to work the matter out between us, here and now. I am going to be subjected to much questioning - open questioning, about the Concordex and how it is doing, about early days of the Forum, and so on. I feel you have the right to know that I am not forever going to keep licking my wounds almost privately. Those among you whose motives are negative and unfriendly may put whatever interpretation on that paragraph and on this entire letter they wish.

With God reading my heart, I can honestly say to you that it is written in a conciliatory spirit of brotherly love. I do not say I could write in such spirit to each of all the other Trustees. I cannot forget your apparent satisfaction that you had been able to carry out Christy's instruction, here in July 1978. Had Kendall not turn-tailed, we would now be working in harmony for the good and grace of God. And our beloved Christy would have some, I think, of the heavy load on her heart, lightened. I cannot and will not forget that I believe you negotiated in good faith and honorable intentions, whether Tom did or not.

I would much prefer to be working in unity with you people, instead of in an embittered separateness. But, Martin, you may be certain that whether it be in unity with you people or not, I am going to be working with all my energy and resources for the Master and his Gospel, and for the good of the Urantia Movement. Please forgive the imperfect typing. I type fast, but far from professionally. I have no secretarial help available to whom I wish to reveal my details as above.

A pro secretary, and a good Urantian has volunteered to do any important typing I want done. I am willing to have even such a one, at this time, know of these crucial divisions between us. They are shameful, unnecessary and the product of UNTHINKING minds. A PROPOSAL ON BEHALF of the GREAT MAJORITY OF Urantia BOOK PURCHASERS in BOOKSTORES, WHO ARE PRESENTLY DEPRIVED of the ESSENTIAL AID OF AN INDEX - NECESSARY to the EFFECTIVE, SUCCESSFUL STUDY, MASTERY, AND USE, of any GREAT WORK, VOLUMINOUS TEXT, or MANUAL of any kind WHATEVER in ANY FIELD WHATEVER.

Currently you are in mail touch with every bookstore to which you sell many or just a few, Urantia Books. You mail to them invoices, statements, bills - something, first class, and you do this routinely. I propose that you mail to every such bookstore, with every such invoice or statement, an 8 x 11 sheet which forthrightly and fairly informs them of the availability of an index to The Urantia Book - the Concordex. The enclosure would have to be fair to you and to me and to the bookstores and their customers.

Fair to you in that the reader would be clearly informed the Concordex is not an official publication, that it is a privately created and published volume whose views expressed may be at variance with the views of the Foundation.

Fair to me in that a group of 8 or 10 prominent Urantians would agree it presents an honest and adequate statement as to the character and value of the Concordex. Fair to stores in that it would suggest how many persisting readers of the U Bk want and use such a book. Fair to readers in its statements as to its uses and value. Such an enclosure would require no additional postage. Its cost would be nominal and we would determine between us how it would be born.

We all know many Urantians are lost to our Movement, when - without an index aid - they find the Book too esoteric and difficult, and soon stop reading. The deprivation of readers, deprives our Movement of much growth and strength. Some 85,000 to 95,000 U Bk purchasers have never learned an index aid to the Great Book's study and pleasurable reading is available. In considering this proposal I believe you should all remember that the current Concordex in all places makes clear to readers that it is a privately created volume and is the responsibility solely of its publisher.

I hope the practicality, fairness, and importance of this proposal will be grasped immediately by 533'd decision makers, and that I may be informed of a favorable decision with dispatch. This is a-wasting and many readers are being handicapped and lost. Approval of this proposal for so minimal and modest an effort on your part to serve U Bk purchasers could mark the beginning of a new and more gratifying period of growth and of recognition of our responsibilities to the world and to U Bk purchasers especially. Presently, the Urantia Book is the only voluminous text on earth that is expected by its publishers to succeed without an index.