When I first discovered The Urantia Book, or, as I have come to believe, the book found me, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the absence of rules and restrictions which might have been mandated by The Foundation. In fact, the only "suggestion" apparent was the formation of study groups as a vehicle for discussion.
No dues to pay.
No secret handshakes.
And no mandatory submersion in creek water.
Oh, there was the matter of the copyright and something about the circles, but hey, who wants to get involved in that? Parts of the book were tough enough to read, let alone re-printing or heaven forbid, (as I later found out had been seriously suggested by an early participant) write a paper to be included in the book.
And as for logos, manufacturers had already taken the liberty of stamping their names on too much of my clothing, I didn't need additional wearable art work, particularly something that look very much like a bulls-eye. And after all these years of reading, and as important as the book is to me, I have never had the urge to insist that The Foundation move its' headquarters and records to my basement. Anticipating the skeptics observation that I never really had a basement, I would quickly respond that I include attics and outbuildings in that assertion.
In 1982, I attended my first conference in Atlanta. I freely admit to being anxious about the people I would meet there. Would they talk to God through a dead Indian? Would someone insist that he was Bach reincarnated? Speaking in unknown tongues? Happily, I discovered, that, with the possible exception of one gentleman who vowed that he planned to fuse with his adjuster with witnesses, they were intelligent, warm, outgoing folks. And what a relief it was.
So with those two potentially agitating issues put to rest, I felt very positive about the future. What could possibly go wrong? go wrong. go wrong.
To digress somewhat, one of the most memorable moments at that conference was Meredith Sprungers' humorous account of his enthusiastic reception of The Urantia Book on the day of publication. He bought two boxes of books and distributed them to friends and family only to return a few weeks later to find them unopened.
All of them.
I think his point then, is well taken today, in that while spreading the word is what we are supposed to do, don't be alarmed to discover that there not millions of truth starved seekers out there, hungering for The Urantia Book.
That perception lies somewhere between myth and wishful thinking. We will never move cross country with the speed and style of an Oral Roberts tent show, can we at least agree that this is a good thing?
Well, some time passed, and one day a couple close the Colorado group came here for a brief stay. They spoke openly of their disdain for The Foundation and how "they didn't pay much attention to anything they had to say."
"What did they have to say?" I thought. I know, they have ordered everyone to put on orange robes and harass people in airports as they rushed to make connecting flights. Yeah, that's it, had to be something like that.
As it turned out, that wasn't the issue. It was about control, ownership, and the seditious nullification of the one and only decree that The Foundation had to enforce. But that's history. History that has been eloquently and passionately rewritten by wordsmiths of no small talent.
In retrospect, my chief concern was for the readers who joined us during this contentious time. Forced to take sides, not knowing who to believe, and no doubt expending energy better spent on the contents of the book.
So why have a Foundation?
Because eventually someone will want to add pictures. There is a deplorable lack of actual photographs.
Someone, (like me perhaps) will suggest that we dump paper 105, I've never really understood it completely.
Someone will want to pitch it on TV like a salad shooter commercial.
And one day someone with the concentric circles stamped on his forehead will run out on the field during a Cowboys' game and attempt to heal the blind. That one will be hard to stop.
The Foundation was guilty. They were guilty of not anticipating an attack. They did not prepare for an assault provoked by motives that still beg an explanation.
If nothing else comes of this, it emphasizes the need for vigilant protection, and it underscores the still fragile nature of the text. It clearly calls for strong hands to hold the reins, and above all, it tells us who should hold them.
I'm ready for the verbal abuse that I know is coming from those offended by this affront to freedom fighters everywhere, I only ask that you do not poison my dog.
He is apolitical.
Thanks Curt for your essay . . .
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