The teachings in The Urantia Book about eugenics and race have been very much misunderstood and unfairly criticized. The teachings on eugenics and race have become a focal point for rejecting the authenticity of The Urantia Book as a revelation, for disparaging the book and its adherents, and for suggesting that Dr. Sadler was the author of The Urantia Book or that he corrupted the revelatory process by interjecting his own ideas. This page presents the efforts people have made in their attempts to explain or reject the teachings on eugenics and race.
Your editor (Halbert Katzen) is probably the person best known in the Urantia community for championing the teachings about eugenics and race . . .
Halbert Katzen, J.D.
“Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book” was published in 2011 (revised 2012, 2014) as an outgrowth of the UBtheNEWS project. Because the most popular UBtheNEWS reports (Adam and Eve, Gobekli Tepe) were leading visitors directly to passages in The Urantia Book on race and genetics, “Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book” was undertaken to help people more directly and comprehensively understand The Urantia Book‘s teachings on this subject. This 115-page review of the topic demonstrates that the teachings are altogether consistent with the best of contemporary moral standards. It explains what The Urantia Book teaches and gives special attention to the most controversial passages. Personal opinions, as well as perspectives on history and current events, are not part of this review.
The topic of subnormals is mentioned but not developed in Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book. See SubTopical Study: “Where the Alpheus twins subnormal?”
See also the UBtheNEWS Adam and Eve Report.
See also the UBtheNEWS Gobekli Tepe Report.
See also the UBtheNEWS Double Dual Origins of Modern Man and pre-Modern Man Research page.
Sioux Oliva, Ph.D.
The Oliva-Lear Connection
“Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” was published in December 2014, two months after Norman Lear published a memoir, Even This I get to Experience. In 2016, PBS released the documentary about Norman Lear, Just Another Version of You, as part of their American Masters series and contemporaneously with a resurgence of his career. There are a number indicators suggesting that the timing of her book in relationship to Norman Lear’s book is not coincidental.
I am of the opinion that, because of a longstanding personal connection with Norman Lear’s wife, Sioux Oliva wanted to publish a book that would characterize The Urantia Book‘s teachings on eugenics and race as inclusions by Dr. Sadler, reflective of well-intentioned but misguided, “racist” thinking that was predominant during the relevant period. I suspect she had reached this conclusion before doing research on the subject.
In a general way, certain aspects of Sioux Oliva’s book in relationship to its timing invite suspicion regarding her motivations. For instance, the amount and types of typographical errors present in the book, along with not including an index, suggest that the book was rushed to print. For a book that is so richly detailed with historical information not readily found in other writings, she did not make it easy for people to use it as a reference text.
I have no opinion about whether Norman and/or Lyn Lear helped finance Sioux Oliva’s book to some degree. I have no opinion about what influence the Lear’s might have had on the formation of Sioux Oliva’s own views. I am of the opinion that Norman Lear does not like and does not agree with Urantia Book teachings on eugenics and race, and I suspect he has some concerns for his reputation around this issue because of his wife’s beliefs about The Urantia Book and her desire to be involved with it publicly to some degree. We are, after all, living in the days of Internet, and search engines make it very easy for people to do research.
Notwithstanding that Norman Lear is still making career moves these days, he is over 90 years old and his wife is 25 years younger. It stands to reason that a person with so much wealth and positive public reputation would have some concerns for his reputation after he passes and that these concerns might be significant regarding his wife’s future involvement with The Urantia Book. See the TheoQuest page, which identifies Lyn Lear, Norman’s wife, as being on the team of a Urantia Book-based project with Sioux (Harvey) Oliva. This project dates back to 2000 and the website has an outreach document with this quote: “If you are still looking for what could fill that spiritual/God-leaning gap in your life, The Urantia Book might just bring a profound change to your life .” ~Norman Lear, Writer-Producer.
In the Acknowledgements section of “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” (p. 207), Lyn Lear is listed at the beginning of a long list of Urantia Book readers who, in various ways, helped her develop the book. Sioux Oliva’s bio on p. 209 states, “Her first project was managing a non-profit website to introduce the teachings of The Urantia Book to a wider audience sponsored by Lyn and Norman Lear.”
On the back cover of “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book,” it says, “Her [Oliva’s] career has consisted of completing historical research projects for individuals and families including, Lyn and Normal Lear . . .” And there is the following testimonial: “A doctor, William Sadler, and his wife, Lena, assert that for decades they heard Celestial Voices speaking to them each evening, instructing them as to how they and the world they knew began and evolved. Sixty years later another doctor and accredited historian, Sioux Oliva, determined to seek the truth behind the Sadlers’ assertions. She did –- and the full story of that investigation is well researched and elegantly rendered here. Do I believe Celestial Voices shared the secrets of the Universe with this couple for decades? If I can accept the miracle of the thumb I am holding up as I write this, I am capable of accepting anything.” ~Norman Lear
From the 2008 publication of Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery by Martin Gardner (p. 405):
“Lyn Davis Lear, the wife of television mogul Norman Lear, is an active member of the Fifth Epochal Fellowship. She serves on its Council with a term lasting until the year 2000. A few years ago when Norman asked her what she most wanted for her birthday (or maybe it was for a wedding anniversary), she is rumored to have said the best present he could give her would be to read the UB. I do not know if Norman has since done this. If so, I cannot imagine him taking the UB as an authentic revelation from celestials.”
Treatment of Eugenics and Race Issues
Interestingly enough, while much of Chapter 4 recounts details about the involvement of William and Lena Sadler in the eugenics movement of their day, the description of Part III does not even acknowledge The Urantia Book‘s depiction of the colored races in terms of primary and secondary (p. 147):
“Colored Races—The Urantia Book describes the evolutionary races of Earth in terms that reflect the thinking of the early twentieth century. It describes many people who lived on Earth until the six Sangik races emerged in one family five hundred thousand years ago. The races are named: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and indigo. The story describes migration of these racial groups migrated [unintended word?] and their characteristics. Although The Urantia Book makes it clear that all people are equal spiritually, it does point out many negatives about the defective and degenerate natures in all the races.”
The following paragraph about Adam and Eve as biologic uplifters makes no connection between their genetics and the white races. At no point is The Urantia Book‘s assertion that “the historic facts . . . will stand on the records of the ages to come mentioned. At no point is there mention of the UBtheNEWS project or similar efforts that demonstrate new discoveries and scientific advances offer post publication support for Urantia Book history. And, of course, no where in her book does Sioux Oliva ever inform her readers about “Eugenics, Race, and The Urantia Book.”
Ironically, Sioux Oliva is dismissive about the information on race and eugenics in The Urantia Book as racist, but denies her readers any meaningful opportunity to understand the more controversial statements made in the text. Instead, she chooses to obscure such information in the passages dedicated to summarizing it.
From Sioux Oliva’s blog March 2015:
“Lastly and briefly, there is the issue of race not being a reality at all. Sheldon Krimsky and Kathleen Sloan report in Race and Genetic Revolution, that in June 2000 during a Rose Garden ceremony, President Bill Clinton, flanked by genome sequencers Francis Collins and Craig Venter, announced the completion of a draft sequence of the human genome, the complete sequence of human DNA. Collins, head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Venter, then President of Celera Genomics, emphasized that their work confirmed that human genetic diversity cannot be captured by the concept of race, and also showed that all humans have genome sequences that are 99.9% identical. At the White House celebration Venter said “the concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis.” A year later, Collins wrote “those who wish to draw precise racial boundaries around certain groups will not be able to use science as a legitimate justification.””
In a day and age where first world people regularly talk in terms of there being “a gene for” this or “a gene for” that, one has to wonder why it is that trained professionals in the field are so willing to use such obviously faulty reasoning. Getting significant differences in genetic expression is the type of percentage game implied above. These days, one does not need a graduate degree in medicine or even to be particularly bright to appreciate this fact. This makes about as much sense as saying a programmer needs to change a significant percentage of the code in order for a program to work differently in a significant way.
The next paragraph from Sioux Oliva’s blog March 2015 reads:
“Dr. Michael Yudell, researcher in the Molecular Laboratories at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where his work focused on genome policy and also a Health Policy Analyst at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, has spent his life studying how biologists and geneticists shaped the concept of race in the 20th century. His conclusion: “It must be stated that the genetic claims of racial difference advocated by eugenicists—from differences in intelligence to disease rates to musicality—have all been shown to be false.””
Here is what Wikipedia has to say on their Intelligence Quotient page regarding the issue of reliability and validity for IQ tests:
“Psychometricians generally regard IQ tests as having high statistical reliability. A high reliability implies that – although test-takers may have varying scores when taking the same test on differing occasions, and although they may have varying scores when taking different IQ tests at the same age – the scores generally agree with one another and across time. Like all statistical quantities, any particular estimate of IQ has an associated standard error that measures uncertainty about the estimate. For modern tests, the standard error of measurement is about three points. Clinical psychologists generally regard IQ scores as having sufficient statistical validity for many clinical purposes. In a survey of 661 randomly sampled psychologists and educational researchers, published in 1988, Mark Snyderman and Stanley Rothman reported a general consensus supporting the validity of IQ testing. “On the whole, scholars with any expertise in the area of intelligence and intelligence testing (defined very broadly) share a common view of the most important components of intelligence, and are convinced that it can be measured with some degree of accuracy.” Almost all respondents picked out abstract reasoning, ability to solve problems and ability to acquire knowledge as the most important elements.“
Here are the opening paragraphs from the Heritability of IQ on Wikipedia:
“Research on heritability of IQ infers, from the similarity of IQ in closely related persons, the proportion of variance of IQ among individuals in a study population that is associated with genetic variation within that population. This provides a maximum estimate of genetic versus environmental influence for phenotypic variation in IQ in that population. “Heritability“, in this sense, “refers to the genetic contribution to variance within a population and in a specific environment”. In other words, heritability is a mathematical estimate that indicates how much of a trait’s variation can be attributed to genes. There has been significant controversy in the academic community about the heritability of IQ since research on the issue began in the late nineteenth century. Intelligence in the normal range is a polygenic trait, meaning that it is influenced by more than one gene.
“The general figure for the heritability of IQ, according to an authoritative American Psychological Association report, is 0.45 for children, and rises to around 0.75 for late teens and adults. In simpler terms, IQ goes from being weakly correlated with genetics, for children, to being strongly correlated with genetics for late teens and adults. The heritability of IQ increases with age and reaches an asymptote at 18–20 years of age and continues at that level well into adulthood. Recent studies suggest that family and parenting characteristics are not significant contributors to variation in IQ scores; however, poor prenatal environment, malnutrition and disease can have deleterious effects.“
The final paragraphs from Sioux Oliva’s blog March 2015 read:
“The problem of race and The Urantia Book can hamper the dissemination of the book if we do not come to understand the larger implications moving forward. We have in The Urantia Book a series of quotes about race that is reflective of the early 20th century thinking of a certain socio-economic class. An ideology that has been proven incorrect. In addition the Sadler’s acceptance of eugenics will be connected to the text of the book through Matthew Block’s source studies and Saskia Raevouri’s compilation of The Sherman Diaries. Their evidence for the sources for The Urantia Book is compelling and demands our attention and study (see Appendix). This may seem a trivial issue or easily explainable, but as Block continues to expand and publish his work it will remain challenging to the book’s future.
“How can we use this meeting to move the conversation about race and The Urantia Book forward? Do we need to harmonize the evolving findings of science and the evolving insights of religion with eternal truth? If so, then we can discuss what that would that look like in relation to this problem. Do the current genomic conceptions of race make the book’s statements appear to be simply outdated ideas from the science of that time?
“If we are to be judged by our fruits wouldn’t it be more powerful to admit that the race arguments in the book are not authoritative—but the artistic triumph of truth of cosmic relationships, universe facts, and spiritual values are transcendent? If we try to argue that what the book states about race is true and it must be seen with spiritual eyes for comprehension, are we resorting to what the book says is “backward thinking philosophy?” Separating facts from cosmic truth allows us to be faith led and accept the possible ambiguity of the text. The fact that the science in The Urantia Book may be updated by current scientific discoveries does not change the spiritual truth it presents. The spiritual value is transcendent as the material facts evolve.”
The “Politically Correct” Foregone Conclusion
From the Introduction of “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” (p. 9):
“These chapters are followed by delving into the history of William Sadler as a writer and how he was led to be the channel for The Urantia Book.”
From the concluding paragraphs of “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” (p. 190):
“Sadler knew–either consciously or unconsciously from his extensive knowledge of religious history and revelation–not to name himself as author because he knew the kind of scrutiny that would bring. . . . Sadler had an experience, an insight into eternal realities that he could not explain, so he let the story evolve and remain a myth, in order to keep him safe in his work. . . . The book attempts to bring the whole evolution of early twentieth-century Western science, philosophy, and religion together to achieve the goal of expanding cosmic consciousness and enhancing spiritual perceptions. At its best, it weaves numerous texts into a beautiful, coherent, and edifying narrative that is unique in Western literature. At its worst, the science papers reflect racism and bad twentieth-century science. Even taking all this into account, The Urantia Book is a masterpiece. It offers proof that Sadler tapped into the divine panorama of the ages.”
From the Preface of “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” (p. vii):
“I decided to research the origins of The Urantia Book when a friend (also a reader of the book), asked me to research its origin. My friend wanted something that he could hand to his friends and family with a “straight face.” There were recent challenges to the veracity of the origin of the book, and readers had a difficult time explaining it to others. I was a good candidate. I am very familiar with the book, have doctorate in American history, and have professional experience using research methodology. . . . Weigh the evidence I present in this biography about William Sadler. Was he connected with the cosmic mind circuit while writing The Urantia Book or was he a genius? Or are the two connected as one and the same?”
The weight of evidence, in my opinion, leans decidedly towards “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” being a politically motivated project for personal reasons that are connected to Sioux Oliva’s relationship to Norman and Lyn Lear.
(It should also be said, the historical information provided on William and Lena Sadler is worthwhile reading. The book is certainly valuable in this regard.)
The Wrightwood Series Seminars Number 2: Perspectives on Race in The Urantia Book contains essays from the 1990’s by numerous Urantia Book readers. The range in length from around 4 to 25 pages long. The list as they appear in the publication: Saskia Raevouri, David Kantor, Kermit Anderson, Earlene Green, Al Lockett, Charles Lawuence Olivea, Eugene Wesley Smith, Mark Kulieke, Mary Daly, Richard Omura, Linda McNelly, Matthew Block, and Saskia Raevouri (again).
Reviews of Sioux Oliva’s book found on Amazon:
By Larry Mullins:
Reviewing “Dr. Sadler and The Urantia Book” by Sioux Oliva
“This book argues that William S. Sadler was a religious genius, a prophet, and the `contact’ for the Urantia papers. When he acted as the scribe for these papers he transcended his normal functioning of mind and became connected to the cosmic mind circuit of the universe.”
— Sioux Oliva
This shocking premise from Sioux Oliva’s book, as quoted above, is blatantly false. If it were valid, it would necessarily imply that Dr. William Sadler was a liar and a charlatan. Moreover, his wife, Dr. Lena Sadler (whose character Oliva praises early in her book), would have to have been complicit in the deception … as would also have been the case of Bill Sadler, Jr., Emma Christensen, and Wilfred and Anna Kellogg.
Even more disturbing, Sioux Oliva claims that Dr. Sadler corrupted the text that he had made a sacred vow to protect. Again, if that were true, the individuals mentioned above would also have been compelled to agree with altering the text of the Urantia Papers. (Much as in the writings of Matthew Block, Oliva never explains why the revelators did not pull the plug and cease to cooperate with Dr. Sadler, which would have been a natural reaction of theirs if he actually were corrupting the revelation.) Thus Oliva’s book defames the labors and reputations of these dedicated individuals who strove to assist in bringing a revelation to our planet that was completely free from human intrusions.
The late Dr. Meredith Sprunger was a practicing psychologist and an ordained minister who served as the pastor of various congregations affiliated with the United Church of Christ. As a scholar of remarkable depth, he was the President of the Indiana Institute of Technology. Shortly after The Urantia Book: Revealing the Mysteries of God, the Universe, World History, Jesus, and Ourselves was published, Dr. Sprunger investigated their origin with a team of 11 other ministers. Over a 20-year period, Dr. Sprunger had many candid discussions with Dr. Sadler regarding the revelatory process. After Dr. Sadler died, Dr. Sprunger officiated at the memorial service for his friend and colleague, while praising his service and integrity. Dr. Sprunger subsequently wrote an affidavit supporting Dr. Sadler’s contention that not a single deliberate human intrusion had touched the revelation. Nonetheless, Oliva’s book implies that Dr. Sprunger must have been thoroughly deceived.
For my part, I must turn away sadly as I observe an intelligent and presumably well-intended woman who seems blissfully unaware of the potential damage that her baseless and divisive speculations could inflict on the revelation.
A Hodgepodge of Deception
Some readers apparently admire the enormous amount of research that seems to have contributed to this book. Certain new facts about the background of the contact commission do emerge from her work. Yet careful study of this unindexed mishmash leads one to be reminded that, in the words of Shakespeare, “… oftentimes, to win us to our harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence” [Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3].
Is the word “betray” too harsh? Decide for yourself. Here are examples of how Oliva took liberties with her sources in ways that were disingenuous, so as to buttress her false premise that Dr. Sadler wrote The Urantia Book.
1. Oliva discusses the Sherman Diaries and uses them among her primary sources. Early in her book, Oliva uses the first part of Harold Sherman’s narrative concerning how Dr. Sadler described the first materialization of the Urantia Papers [pp. 4-7], but interrupts the story prematurely. Oliva omits the next segment telling how Dr. Sadler and Lena were summoned in the middle of the night to the apartment where the sleeping subject and his wife lived. There they were astonished to find 472 pages of handwritten material — the first materialization of the Urantia Papers! The subject and his wife reported that the manuscript had appeared overnight when they were sleeping. It is only logical to conclude Oliva omitted this critical part of the story because it demolishes her house of cards. For “the rest of the story,” see pages 65 through 68 of A History of the Urantia Papers
2. Oliva tells us that Sherman believed that Dr. Sadler adulterated the Urantia Papers by adding his own ideas. She does not disclose that Sherman was a determined believer in psychic phenomena, such as reincarnation, channeling, and communication with the dead. Sherman could not accept the fact that the authors of The Urantia Book reject such forms of psychic phenomena. To resolve his dilemma, Sherman theorized that Dr. Sadler must have altered the Urantia Papers.
3. Oliva claims that hers is the sole work on the revelation “done by a research historian utilizing primary source material.” [vii] This is a half-truth. A History of the Urantia Papers uses a great deal of primary source material and is fully documented. Further, it is indexed and accessible, whereas Oliva’s book is not. Dr. Meredith Sprunger and I wrote A History of the Urantia Papers; every word was peer-reviewed by 13 longtime Urantia Book readers before our book was published. If the peer review demonstrated that two points of view could not be reconciled, both were presented and clearly identified. The late Helena Sprague, a former trustee of Urantia Foundation, commended A History of the Urantia Papers as follows: “Thank You! I am glad I lived to see this work published!”
4. Oliva identifies Carolyn Kendall as “a Forum member.” She even implies that Carolyn’s “unpublished history” is a primary source. On pp. 127-8, when discussing events that occurred in the original Forum in 1924, Oliva gives the impression that “Carolyn Kendall, a Forum member” recorded them. In 1924, however, Carolyn had not yet been born, and she was never a member of the Forum. The last meeting of the Forum as such took place on May 31, 1942, after which the text was frozen and there was an announcement that no further questions would be entertained. The Forum thereby became defunct, surviving only as a study group. Carolyn was a young woman of 19 when she joined that study group in 1951, nearly a decade later.
5. Oliva used Carolyn Kendall’s “unpublished history” as one of her sources. If such a history exists, it is not available for examination and therefore is not a valid source in a scholarly work.
6. Oliva claims Dr. Sadler “received messages” until his death at age 93, but provides no valid documentation for this statement. According to Clyde Bedell and Meredith Sprunger, Dr. Sadler said that in 1955, shortly after The Urantia Book was published, a final message from the revelators was received: “You are now on your own.” Thus after a period of fifty years, the connection that had linked mortals on our planet with celestial beings was severed. Dr. Sadler added: “They didn’t even say goodbye.”
7. Oliva lists The Invention of Sacred Traditionas a reference; this book is published by Cambridge University and consists of contributions by a range of different authors. Professor Sarah Lewis wrote the chapter entitled, “The peculiar sleep: receiving The Urantia Book.” Once more it is instructive to consider what Oliva omits. For example, she does not tell us that Lewis began her chapter with a long quotation from A History of the Urantia Papers, nor that she cites it numerous times in the course of the chapter. Lewis also cites the statistical study by Ken Glasziou that concluded as follows: “The evidence is consistent with many different authors having been heavily involved in the writing of the Urantia Papers, probably far more than the minimum of about nine suggested by this investigation. Neither is the hypothesis of very extensive editing by Dr. Sadler and others consistent with these findings.”
8. Oliva calls the science of The Urantia Book “bad.” Yet, Mark A. S. McMenamin (a paleontologist and professor of geology at Mount Holyoke College) praised The Urantia Book for the fact that its authors had embraced continental drift in1955, long before the theory was generally accepted. See his book, The Garden of Ediacara (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), 173-7, for a scientific evaluation of how the topic of continental drift is presented in The Urantia Book. Further, the authors of The Urantia Book proposed a two-brain theory long before Dr. Sperry’s experiments were accepted, and I doubt that Oliva can explain this.
Regarding eugenics, Oliva does not refer to the conclusion stated in Paper 68 of The Urantia Book: “The normal man should be fostered; he is the backbone of civilization and the source of the mutant geniuses of the race” [770:8 / 68:6.11].
The authors of The Urantia Book tell us that the greatest mass of the universe is hidden behind enormous dark gravity belts. This could well be where science will find the “missing matter” that it has been looking for. This concept was presented in The Urantia Book before science knew that matter was “missing.”
Additionally, the authors of The Urantia Book propose a solution to the mystery in quantum physics concerning the apparent ex nihilo emergence of matter (matter apparently appearing from nothing). To the contrary, we are told in The Urantia Book that matter materializes from an immense, undetected reservoir containing unactualized potential that can be transformed so as to become part of the material universe, pursuant to the overcontrol of the Unqualified Absolute. This source of matter was postulated before science knew of the underlying problem.
Conclusions that are Grievously Flawed
Oliva concludes that Dr. William Sadler channeled The Urantia Book by drawing on her fictionalized version of the “cosmic mind,” after which he supposedly despoiled the text by inserting his own ideas and opinions. In fact, however, he did not perpetrate either of these abuses. As previously stated, Dr. Meredith Sprunger wrote an affidavit for our history in which he strongly affirmed the integrity of Dr. Sadler in protecting and preserving the text of the revelation.
Those who embrace channeling activities and the notion that spiritual beings and cosmic forces can infringe upon the sanctity of human minds should read The Urantia Book carefully. “… Adjusters [the spirit of the Father within] are quite alone in their sphere of activity in the mortal mind … the Father has certainly reserved to himself the unchallengeable right to be present in the minds and souls of his evolving creatures …” [1190:2 / 108:4.1].
One of the authors of the Urantia Papers describes the activities of angelic beings called “midwayers”: “Midwayers are the guardians, the sentinels, of the worlds of space … it should be made clear that the midway creatures are not involved in the sordid performances taking place under the general designation of `spiritualism.’ The midwayers at present on Urantia, all of whom are of honorable standing, are not connected with the phenomena of so-called “mediumship …” [864:8 / 77:8.7 and 865:6 / 77:8.13].
The Threat from Within
Dr. Sprunger wrote about a note of caution that the revelators apparently communicated to the contact commission. Dr. Sadler had informed him of this, and Bill Sadler, Jr. and Emma Christensen had also talked about it. The revelators cautioned that any serious threats to the survival of the revelation would be likely to come from within, from persons broadly associated with the movement that The Urantia Book inspires, not from external forces. When Emma Christensen was serving as the President of Urantia Brotherhood, she paraphrased the caution in a letter to leaders: “Many strange `-isms’ and queer groups will seek to attach themselves to The Urantia Book and its far-flung influence. Our most trying experiences may well be with such groups who will so loudly proclaim their belief in the teachings of the Book and who persistently seek to attach themselves to the movement.” Today these words seem prophetic.
Those who hold to the truth that the pioneers of the movement associated with The Urantia Book were honest and forthright people who served with integrity should not be silent. For far too long, a spirit of “anything goes” and “it really doesn’t matter” has appeared to prevail among committed readers of The Urantia Book. If a spiritual movement aspires to be taken seriously, it cannot endorse or authenticate fundamental doubts about its origin and destiny. No matter how long the debate takes, it must continue until a substantial corps of committed readers resolve to carry the torch of truth forward in the spirit of the pioneers who presented The Urantia Book to the people of our planet with complete confidence and conviction.
As Jesus proclaimed: “There cannot be peace between light and darkness, between life and death, between truth and error.” [The Urantia Book, page 1905, par.4]
Joan and I would like to thank Neal Waldrop for his many editorial suggestions that helped us improve the text.
By Chuck Thurston:
Sioux Oliva’s book gives us a wealth of interesting details in her portrait of William and Lena Sadler, along with a good window into the issues and concerns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
It’s unfortunate that she is so blindly determined to push her pet theory concerning the origin of the Urantia Book, a theory that is built on foundations of questionable veracity and the avoidance of established understanding. It’s hard to know what to make of her insistence that Dr. Sadler “channeled” the Urantia Book.
Nowhere in any of the existing histories of the Urantia Book is there any mention of “scribing.” Her use of this term (in the preface) as a descriptor of Dr. Sadler’s role not only begs the question by assuming what she is trying to prove, it also suggests a revealing bias in her perspective. “Scribing” is the same unusual term that is used to describe the “channeling” of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), a work that is spiritually and philosophically incompatible with the Urantia Book, in spite of its claim that it was authored by “Jesus.”
Also in the preface, she essentially dismisses most of the existing works of Urantia Book history, especially ones that she says were “authored by believers who sought to support the oral history about the book’s origin.” This creates the misleading impression that there are no reliable accounts of the revelatory process by responsible individuals who were directly involved.
Apart from a vague, passing mention of “written contact” on p. 87, she completely ignores the generally accepted account of how both the interim drafts and the completed Urantia papers were produced. Mark Kulieke, Emma Christensen, Meredith Sprunger, the Sadlers, and others who were close to the inner circle are all in agreement that the final papers were delivered (“materialized”) as reams of handwritten pages, but in an unrecognized handwriting style.
According to these reports, the first three sections of the Urantia Book, and later on the Jesus papers, were presented as completed works, with NO human participation in the creation of the final manuscript. The laborious task of transcribing the text into typewritten pages was a substantial undertaking. Once a transcription was complete, the original handwritten pages would invariably “dematerialize” (disappear).
As strange as this process may sound, these time-consuming efforts would have been well known to those who were close to the project, and this is clearly reflected in the general consistency of the accounts.
The idea that William Sadler could have physically produced many hundreds of pages of handwritten text in a single night, in someone else’s handwriting, is obviously impossible. And this doesn’t even begin to address the cosmic orchestration of meaning that was found within these suddenly appearing volumes of pages.
On p. 183 Sioux Oliva says: “The Urantia community has always maintained that the book was not a channeled work for the simple reason that Sadler, who maintained the Seventh Day Adventist’s narrow definition of channeling throughout his life, denied it.”
If she has read Larry Mullins, A History of the Urantia Papers, (p. 119), Mark Kulieke’s Birth of a Revelation (p. 8), and Ernest Moyer, The Birth of a Divine Revelation, (p. 7), as one might gather from the last paragraph of her preface, she should know that the original text was conceived and directly materialized through NON-channeled superhuman means and methods, at least according to everyone who was closely involved, and that THIS is why the book is never described as a channeled work.
Her refusal to consider — or even acknowledge — the possibility that direct celestial authorship may have been the means of origin of the Urantia text is a tremendous disservice to her readers. It reveals either a profound lack of understanding or a deliberate attempt to minimize and discredit the statements that have been made by the members of the Contact Commission.
Of the four histories that she mentions in the preface, Sioux gives greatest favor to Martin Gardner’s Urantia, The Great Cult Mystery, a largely spurious and ill-informed attack on the Urantia Book. She devotes half a paragraph to a summary of Gardner’s baseless opinions.
Even if she refuses to believe (or cannot believe) the recollections and reports of those who were closely involved, she should at least give us the reasons for her disbelief before offering a competing theory, especially one that is so completely at variance with the overall nature and purpose of the project, and, if anything, is even more far-fetched!
Sioux reveals her bias, I think, on p. 186, with her endorsement of Michael Shermer’s questionable atheistic theories, and, in general, in her strident misrepresentations of the Urantia Book’s concept of eugenics. Eugenics, as described in the Urantia Book, is about personal and societal responsibility for the genetic health of future generations of ALL races, including all the various race mixtures.
Sioux Oliva undermines the stature and significance of the Urantia Book by arguing that it is a channeled work, which would place it in the same genre with the many “esoteric” channeled works from the spiritualist era. At the same time, however, she also refers to it as a “masterpiece.” These mixed messages elevate the legitimacy of “channeling,” while diminishing the unique importance of the Urantia Book.
The Urantia Book is completely unlike any other published work. It is truly in a category by itself.