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Letter from Harold Sherman to Dr. Sadler,
Regarding Proposed Urantia Organizations

August 8, 1942

August 8, 1942

Dr. William S. Sadler
533 Diversey Parkway
Chicago, Illinois

Dear Dr. Sadler:

Thanks to your kindness and fine cooperative spirit, Martha and I, this morning, had opportunity of reading the papers concerned with setting up the Urantia Foundation, Corporation, Brotherhood and subsequent Societies.

A careful study of the documents demonstrates to me more conclusively than anything heretofore that the points raised in my previous letter to you are sound and valid…and that there is IMPERATIVE NEED of basic reconsideration to avoid possibility of a great and irreparable, though obviously well intentioned, mistake.

The TRUTH cannot and must not be owned…and it IS OWNED, by the very nature of these planned bodies, despite every human effort and protestation to the contrary.

I have no doubt that the attorneys who drew up these organization plans are fine men, and that they have patterned the proposed Foundation, Brotherhood, Corporation and Societies after the best of all existing orders in any way similar to the high purposes of the Urantia development. But they are not inspired, neither do they have sufficient background of spiritual comprehension to foresee what this type of set-up will most certainly and inevitably precipitate in the way of discord, misunderstanding and conflict.

You have been so close to this whole evolving enterprise for so long, and you and your little group know what is in your hearts and what you would do in management of the Foundation and Brotherhood…but you are launching such organizations amidst a sea of other humans who will become identified and whose inner spiritual or base motives you cannot divine. You think you have made provision against all possible human contingencies but this cannot be done.

Instead ­ what you have in these proposed organization set-ups can easily tend, under wrong management, toward developing COMMERCIALISM and FANATICISM.

Obviously, your organization set-up is conceived with the thought and belief that all officers, trustees and directors are going to be of the highest spiritual type…yet strict allowance has been made for the removal of those who should not prove to be so qualified.

Your attorneys realize, and so do you, that there may be many embarrassing situations arise, once the organizations are operating, requiring stringent action to protect the very principles upon which your enterprise has been founded.

The VERY FACT that this is EVEN POSSIBLE should cause you to PAUSE and CONSIDER whether the formation of an organization, under such existing circumstances on this planet at this time, would not be the greatest of mistakes and involve you, the Urantia Book and all concerned in a heatless complication of disrupting experiences, defeating FOR THE TIME BEING, much of the long years of devoted work you have all put in.

I see clearly the INTENT but one cannot guard against the HUMAN WEAKNESSES of ENVY, JEALOUSY, GREED, EGOTISM, LUST FOR POWER, and other such traits ­ all of which, by the very structure of your organization set-up, are given full opportunity for expression here.

Under such conditions it, unfortunately, possesses all the potentialities of a HIDEBOUND RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION ­ with members of such Foundation, Brotherhood and Society forced to HUE TO THE LINE of interpretation and conduct under fear and threat of EXPULSION contained in the very by-laws!

Any member, through difference of opinion of interpretation or some act considered hostile or damaging to the Urantia purposes, may be subjected to the stigma and disgrace of removal from office or membership by action of a board or a majority vote…and then, if desirous of petitioning for reinstatement, must be subjected to the further personal humiliation (deserved or underserved, as the case may be) of being tried by a committee of his self-constituted and duly elected “human peers”, either Judicial or Executive in function.

By what God-given right can ANY group of humans presume to pass upon any fellow human’s degree or character of spiritual illumination and interpretation? It is the INALIENABLE RIGHT of every human, of whatever faith or no faith at all, to SEEK TRUTH in his own way…and find and recognize the TRUTH, without compulsion, once it is placed within his reach!

The Urantia BOOK, properly introduced and widely publicized, will place this TRUTH with the reach of all! As long as the Urantia BOOK remains ALONE and BY ITSELF as the ONLY SOURCE OF TRUTH…free of any human organization…it will forever remain IMPREGNABLE as a TRUE and DIRECT REVELATION of God to man.

The TRUTH becomes vulnerable and subject to distortion the INSTANT any “authoritative or official interpretation” is set up concerning it.

Only a member of a Urantia Brotherhood or Society can really impair the TRUTH contained in the Urantia BOOK and this is because of the “vested authority” implied in such an organization and its announced purpose of promoting said book.

Urantia Teachers, so certified, to instruct those interested and non-believers, are as vulnerable in the world at large as followers and leaders of a movement like the Ballards’ “I AM”, and will probably be so classified by unsympathetic, scoffing and opposing observers.

But the sublime and real truths of the Urantia BOOK can never be twisted or perverted so long as they are permitted to remain in the book itself, accessible to all earnest seekers of truth ­ but never garbled through well meant but varying interpretations of Urantia Brotherhood members or teachers who will be drawn into endless arguments, controversies and strife by those both within and without their own organizations.

Any attack made on the Urantia BOOK by members of churches organizations represents only their personal opinions and does not hurt the book nor alter its truth. BUT ­ if their attack can be made on HUMAN UPHOLDERS of this truth in the form of Urantia BROTHERHOOD members, then the Urantia BOOK can lose dignity and caste through the ridicule and belittling of its own supporters!

In any organization set-up, however well conceived, I see the following insurmountable human hazards.

Any human identification with the Urantia BOOK, whether through an individual or an organization of individuals, lays the book open to: 
Highly vulnerable human sources of contact for attack by non-believers and those strongly opposed, who will try to disprove “authenticity” of the Revelation by DISCREDITING of its upholders.

Possibility of varying errors of interpretation on part of Urantia Brotherhood and “certified teachers”. This will cause ever-widening and disturbing controversies and cost the Urantia BOOK great spiritual prestige it would otherwise acquire on its own.

Development of spiritual intolerance and religious feuds on scale never before seen on earth through the resistance of all other churches to what they regard as a new religion in the form of the Urantia Brotherhood.

Despite the fact that the charter invites membership of all faiths without renouncement of present affiliations, it is obvious that many will have to change their beliefs or they will not be interested in joining, and this alone is going to cause many religious leaders to feel that the Urantia Brotherhood has been organized to take members from their churches regardless of protestations to the contrary.

Unwise and prejudicial methods of promoting the Urantia Book are bound to occur under the spiritual zeal of Urantia Brotherhood members and needless opposition will thus be aroused.

Existence of an organization implies possession of “special inside knowledge of interpretation” not possessed by the Urantia BOOK itself and detracts from the book’s own importance and authentic revelatory value. Also discourages many members of other churches who do not care to join the Urantia Brotherhood, from ever seriously considering and accepting the TRUTHS contained in the book itself.

If the above points are well taken as well as the comments made heretofore which have a bearing upon the entire situation ­ then the plans calling for the publication, distribution, translation and publicizing of the Urantia BOOK, in addition to all plans of organization, should be drastically revised.

Briefly, it seems that the steps taken should be these:

The Urantia Foundation should be exceedingly simplified and have to do only with the affairs of the Urantia BOOK’S publication, distribution, and translation.and such moneys as may be forthcoming from all rights vested in such enterprise.

Provision should be made for the receiving of endowments, donations, and contributions of whatever sort but there should be no necessity for the maintenance of an office and staff. It is clear to me now that affiliation with some reputable publishing company, equipped to handle the publicizing, selling and distribution, is not only advisable but a primary essential.

No Urantia Foundation or corporation possesses or can posses the publishing knowledge or facilities to present a book of this tremendous character to the world. The Foundation’s chief function, once a publishing affiliation has been made, should be, through it s board of trustees, to cooperate in every way with this publishing house. All propositions for utilization of any rights inherent in the book will come through the publishing house and will be passed upon by the trustees who have, at all time, the high destiny of this book in mind.

These trustees will render their services without compensation. This is for them a true labor of love, which will forever keep them from being placed in the position of accepting or rejecting a monetary proposal, which might otherwise hold a basis of profit for them and thus prejudice their own judgment.
All moneys earned by the Urantia BOOK are to be sent in further publicizing it or to make free copies available to many who could not otherwise afford possession of it. No money should be expended and no human efforts made by any organization or group with any recognizable or identifiable headquarters, and this publicizing should be done through and with the publisher.

In this manner the BOOK OF Urantia is enabled to expand its influence in and of itself with no possibility of this influence being detracted by organizational effort and the opposition such methods of promotion would be bound to arouse.

The Urantia BOOK, unorganized, is thus FREE for acceptance by every member of every church organization, and every human everywhere.

It is true that every religion which has persisted in the past has had an organization, but thought the organizations themselves kept alive the religions, they LOST THE TRUTH ­ making this PRESENT REVELATION necessary!

It is not for us in this generation, looking toward the future of all evolving souls on Urantia, to pattern the presentation of this REVEALED TRUTH on the precedents of the past. If we do, we commit the same spiritual folly as transpired following the sojourn of Christ Michael on earth ­ and VIOLATE His very admonitions in the BOOK OF Urantia itself.

Devotedly and Sincerely,

Harold M. Sherman