The Urantia Book Fellowship

Letter from Harold Sherman to Elsie Baumgartner
February 4th, 1951

February 4th, 1951

Dear Elsie:

Martha and I have read with great interest and appreciation Mr. Guessefeld's letter to you with comments on "YOU LIVE AFTER DEATH". From his remarks, we judge there must have been considerable discussion of this book among Forum members...and that many who were not well read outside the Urantia papers, thought I had taken material from this work - which, or course, is not true...and which Mr. Guessefeld substantiates - by saying that there are many sources for such information.

I am glad that you and Rachel have been so open-minded and so devoted to enlarging your own mental horizons that you have read widely other books containing various aspects of the same great Truth. This is the only way one can attain and retain a balanced point of view on these subjects. And Mr. Guessefeld summed it all up when he said: "There is enough material on the market for anyone to gather and compile books on immortality. No one has a monopoly; not even the spirit beings."

Elsie - did you feel you had to get Mr. Guessefeld's permission to send his letter on to us? Would it be in order for me to make his acquaintance through writing to him and commenting on his letter, which you were so good as to send us? I am very much impressed with his sound background of knowledge, with respect to occult subjects and hope, some day, we may meet him personally.

You know how Martha and I have felt about the Urantia material. When we first came to the Forum, there was no talk of making a religion out of the Urantia book - it was to be presented on an impersonal basis, so that people of all faiths and no faiths at all might consider its contents. BUT - after the Urantia book had come through - then the "Jesus papers" began to appear...and the tie in, on a religious basis, began to be apparent. And, when I read the Charter, this was a "revelation" to me that there was every intention to make a religion out of the Urantia book (at the proper time!!) and also a "closed corporation"...and when I called this to the attention of the Forumites - and asked for discussion, this led to the blow-up, because "those in power" did not want to have their program and plan challenged.

The Forumites should have had their "eyes opened" at that time - that no "freedom of expression" was permitted...that people could be condemned and blacklisted without any chance to defend themselves...that the Forumites themselves had no voice whatsoever in proceedings or developments and were only useful as they could supply the money for the "private enterprise". Under such conditions, how could any real spirituality be manifested? Why wasn't it apparent to all that much of the material was now being created by man...revised and edited...since NO RECORDS were being kept of the original material received through the supposed ONE SOURCE? (Swedenborg's writings, for instance, have all been preserved and photographed...and if you want to see a copy of his original writings, go to the Swedenborg center. You will see words crossed out in Swedenborg's own handwriting...and you can check the printed copies of his books and read exactly the SAME wording.

You don't have to accept Swedenborg's writing as gospel BUT, you can be SURE that what he wrote has come to you UNCHANGED.) However, the powers-that-be in the Urantia set-up, have arranged it so that any changes they desire can be made...and the reader has no way of determining what originally came through the ONE SOURCE and that did not. It is my personal conviction that the "Jesus story" came through no higher source whatsoever. Its addition and interpolation with the Urantia book itself is a great MISSERVICE to the real work...and a deliberate attempt to tie in, on a human basis, with the existing Christian religion...and win converts therefrom...on an organization basis.

Judged from a literary standpoint, aside from anything else, the "Jesus story is poorly written and much of its material vapid. It requires people with "outside philosophic knowledge and perspective" to judge this material in its proper light...individuals like Mr. Guessefeld. Those who are uninitiated are "profoundly impressed", of course, and resent any criticism, however justified. They have also been intimidated by autocratic suggestions or direct threats that they would be cut off from "salvation" if they didn't "go along".

I am writing frankly and confidentially to you, in a letter, which may be shared with Rachel. Martha and I will never forget your friendship and faith as expressed in us through these difficult years. It is never easy to stand, almost alone...but you will live to see a substantiation of much that I have stated herein...the published pamphlet is another evidence of the "closed corporation" nature of the whole set-up...the lack of tolerance which exists.


Harold Sherman