THE URANTIAL ARCHIVE
Consisting of 10 Parts
From December 14,1992 Through February25, 1994
The UrantiaL was an email discussion list set up by Michael Million in late 1992 for discussions about the Urantia Book. As such, UrantiaL was the first electronic list centered around the fifth epochal revelation to come into being in the modern computer age.
In its short life it generated intense interest, not only in The Urantia Book (UB), but also about the Teaching Mission (TM). Eventually the traffic became so heavy, that it became a burden to the list owner and was taken over by the Urantia Foundation in 1994, which renamed it the UrantiaT List which continues to operate today.
The full archive of UrantiaL is voluminous; however, the ten parts presented in this archive series picks and chooses among all the postings to concentrate on the discussions about the highly controversial subject of the Teaching Mission. All other messages have been deleted, but there remains well over 1,000 pages of intense debate between readers of the Urantia Book and the new program that taught the book through the interaction of celestial teachers and human students.
We are grateful to Michael Million for initiating the email list in the first place, and to Scott Foerster for removing the non-teaching-mission discussions. We also thank the various subscribers to the list for sharing so many views that it gives us an excellent two-year snapshot of what it was like when the teaching mission was young and the sometimes highly contentious debate it inspired from readers of the then 40-year-old revelation
Concomitantly, other issues of the time became known to the outside as never before. There are frequent references and inside looks at what was called the Family of God (FOG) debacle that in some cases destroyed the Urantia organizations as then constituted. FOG is a subplot to the larger story of the materialization of the Teaching Mission, and because FOG was a recent and painful memory to many in the readership, the Teaching Mission suffered by its reliance on transmitting/receiving, something FOG did and then repudiated.
Each section represents about 100 plus pages out of the total available and only light editing was done, so the spelling and the general appearance of the original remains as it was the day it was delivered on line. Someday the UrantiaL archives may be indexed for better ease of locating particular documents within it and for the well written views by specific posters it contains. However, for now the archive remains in a slightly unrefined format for those who would enjoy learning from so many perspectives on the subjects discussed.
Between December 1992 and February 1994 the merits of the Teaching Mission were debated on the Urantia Book Discussion Group on the Internet called “Urantial (Urantial@uafsysb.uark.edu)”.
By February 1994, Urantial”s volume was becoming unmanageable. Too many people were posting too many messages on too many topics. The Urantial list operator suggested that Urantial again focus on just the Urantia Book. This marked the end of the “Teaching Mission” debate. This file contains selected but unedited posts of both sides of the Great Teaching Mission Debate on Urantial.
Author [Scott Foerster]
14 Dec 1992 ??leo elliott ???????????Strange People!
Subject: Strange People!
?The following is excerpted from _Miracles Magazine_, Winter- Spring 1992, pp 22-23; It is circulated entirely for educational purposes amongst those dealing with the issues of relating to others on the path whose ”ways” may seem different. (Author and Publisher, Paul Ferrini)
?In the past, many of us have felt the need to take sides, to support one Miracles teacher or group and to dismiss another teacher or group by saying “that”s fine, but it”s not _A Course in Miracles._” Within our community, we have polarized; we have made judgments about each other. We have tried to be right and make others wrong. I am not pointing the finger at any one. We have all done this at one time or another.
?I”m just saying that the time has come for us to recognize our differences without attacking others or defending ourselves. The time has come to welcome our diversity and see it as a call to dialogue, to see our differences as a strength, not a weakness. Our goal as Course students is not, after all, to agree, but to love and accept each other as we are.
?Indeed, the time has come when our practice of ACIM [A Course In Miracles -Editor] must equal our understanding of it. It is no longer enough for us to “believe in love.” We need to live it in our relationships with one another. What that means concretely is that we are challenged to go beyond our concepts of “right ACIM and wrong ACIM,” and to welcome the brothers and sisters who have views or experiences that differ fro our own.
?I believe this challenge is a healthy one. It is a challenge that we have tried to embrace in Miracles Magazine and Miracles Conferences.
?Just recently, at our Fall ACIM conference at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, our commitment to diversity and inclusion was profoundly tested. Some fifty residents from God”s Country Place, an ACIM community in Wisconsin, attended our conference. They brought us a lovely Course-related play entitled “Which Way is Heaven?” We all enjoyed this play immensely and were impressed with the obvious devotion and radiance of our Wisconsin brothers and sisters.
?Gradually, however, we began to realize that the behavior of the Wisconsin folks was somewhat strange. Many of them lifted their arms up in prayer to God, made unusual sounds, and went into bodily convulsions in which their eyes rolled back in their heads. Was this the charismatic version of ACIM or were these people from a different planet? We honestly didn”t know.
?Other issues pushed our buttons. The group seemed to have a leadership hierarchy, at the top of which was a man they called “master teacher,” who was not at the conference. Most of the “brothers,” as they called themselves, seemed fairly passive in relation to this hierarchy, and it became clear that open discussion was not encouraged in the community. Moreover, those of us who asked questions about the community were told that they could not give us details, because that would just give us a basis for judging them. If we really wanted to know about the community, we would have to go visit there.
?As we interacted with the 50 community members, it became increasingly clear that they felt that their purpose in being at the conference as to “bring the light” to the rest of us. They felt that they had found an experiential approach to the Course which had enabled them to “wake up,” and they were there to offer it to us. While some of us felt that the GCP [God?s Country Place -Editor] purpose was a bit arrogant, we were still willing to let them have their say and scheduled a number of times for public presentations by the GCP teachers.
?As a result of these public teachings, a number of conference members felt intrigued by the GCP approach and wanted more. Other conference participants were obviously completely turned off by the GCP people, viewed them as a cult that violated the spirit of ACIM, and wanted to leave the conference. Everyone, whether they were “for GCP” or “against GCP” had to deal with the fact that major judgments were being made. Polarization was setting in within the conference.
?So here we were being presented with a perfect opportunity to practice forgiveness and live the ideas of ACIM. An you know what happened? Everyone, I mean everyone, turned within and started to look at his or her own judgments. Then we had a public meeting on Saturday where participants were able to share what was coming up for them. Every speaker who rose to the microphone spoke with honesty and courage. Some expressed our deepest fears. Others helped us look at those fears and laugh at them. It was an amazing outpouring of soul energy. Never have I been so proud to be a _Course in Miracles_ student. Never have I been more aware of the beauty within each one of us and the openness and strength within our diversity.
?From that point on, the conference turned around. People still didn”t agree. But they learned to accept and love each other in spite of their disagreement. They looked into each other”s eyes and saw the Christ. They took each other”s hands and danced with Christ. There were small hugs, and middle-sized hugs, and huge hugs (in fact the conference ended with a spontaneous group hug including everyone).
?I am thankful for what happened. Who else but such and incredible group of people could have risen to the occasion? It was a powerful testimony that the time to join has come….
?I thank the Holy Spirit for bringing us these beautiful lessons. And I know that, regardless of what we expect, He will be at the next conference dressed in yet another garb, overturning our expectations and helping us look a little more deeply in the mirror. By now, I guess that we realize that these conferences are his learning devices. Our role is just to show up, to be together, and to look at what comes up.
28 Dec 1992 ??leo elliott ???????????McKenna [-] UB Community
Subject: McKenna [-] UB Community
?In response to Scotto”s query re the relationship between Terrence McKenna”s work/writing/perspectives and that of the UB community, there is no specific connection that I am aware of, such as McKenna even being aware of the UB, tho he may well be.
?As regards the general connection which prompted my earlier postings, they were as follows:
?1) McKenna”s general post-historical vision (that ”history” as we know it is somehow coming to an end, and all the apocalyptic ”cults” that have sprung up in the last few hundred years might be what Fuller viewed as a ”precessional wave” like the wave that goes _in front of_ the bow of a boat as it cruises through the water) seems to have some similarities to events that have been going on amongst various subsets of the UB community, from the more ”radical” end-times vision of Vern Grimsley in 1983, to the work of Joe Pope aka Elijah III around 1990, to more recently, the ”Teaching Mission” involving various ”TR” groups around the country, which at times seem to be hearkening/foretelling a more immanent return appearance by Michael and/or Melchizidek and/or some other celestial personality.
?2) McKenna”s notion of the ”raging universe” just ”one quanta away” seems to be very close to the UB”s presentation of the universe, including our world, being _filled_ with celestial ministering personalities, which we with our gross material senses are incapable of ”seeing”, tho the UB does make ample reference to those who have been able to, and also about how, as has been commented upon in this forum before, our own personal spiritual evolution is keyed to contact with the Thought Adjuster. While McKenna”s personal methodology of using psychedelic substances to access this immediately available ”alternate reality” seems at odds with the UB”s more sedate method of prayer and worship, to this observer there is a strong case made in McKenna”s work for the very existence of this world that UB readers and others of a more formally religious bent might call a ”spiritual world”, _and_ (and this is a key conjunction here) its” _immediate availability_, with practice, which is what the members of the new TR (Transmitter/Receiver) community are saying, basically that _anyone_ can access their Thought Adjuster and “those assigned to their case” by practice of daily meditation and a willingness to be open to the possibility.
?I will be happy to post further from McKenna, with parallel quotes from the UB, if others feel this to be a worthy area of pursuit for this forum.
28 Dec 1992 ??Michael Million ????Channels of Communication
Subject: Channels of Communication
?Greetings… In the vein of communicating with inner spiritual realities, I would like to post this excerpt from the UB from page 1616… it follows just after the telling of Jesus” talk with the Samaritan woman, Nalda. I also remember young Jesus telling his parents that, in addition to his ”routine” prayers of the evening, he wished to ”have a little talk with the Father.” I feel that somewhere here we are beginning to understand the means open to us all of communication with our higher spiritual brothers. Developing a communion…a stillness… a means of quiet worship…that will lead those of us willing to hear and understand the urgings of the Father fragment and/or his appointed personal teachers. This is our challenge — for those who believe in the unbelievable — for those who accept on faith and not solely on empirical evidence. your brother, Michael PS: Leo, I would welcome any further comments about McKenna, but also of great interest, sharing your comments/summaries about the channel- ing activities of the Will and Welmek personalities.
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 1992 18:24:19 EST Reply-To: Discussion of _The_Urantia_Book_ [URANTIAL@UAFSYSB.BITNET] Sender: Discussion of _The_Urantia_Book_ [URANTIAL@UAFSYSB.BITNET] From: leo elliott [76440.1416@COMPUSERVE.COM] Subject: Channels Opening?
?Anyhow, I think these distinctions that Michael has called to our attention relate very much to this basic question that both McKenna and the channeling activities call into question: Just how immediately available is this domain we of the religious bent are wont to call ”spiritual”, and if available, how best accessible, given the common recognition of the soul-restorative powers that seem to accrue to those who are able to engage in such ”little talks with the Father”…
?I get the distinct impression, both from the above from the UB, as well as from my readings of the Will/Welmek transcripts, that this “effortless attention” is something like a state that we can live in/be in/sustain in far more of life”s episodes than those where we have to “go off” to church or to my meditation room or to my philosopher”s hilltop. Though settings may certainly conduce to such states of mind, they are perhaps far more immediately available than we have been led to believe; this also corresponds directly with my reading of the Course in Miracles.
?”…the _assumption_ of refreshing, creative, fraternal, and romantic attitudes by the human soul-spirit…” — not a formal indictment, not the clouds parting and a message appearing in the sky, but the _assumption_ by _my_ soul-spirit… and what fun it is, and how energizing, to feel “in step” with one”s band.
?The TRs seem to be saying that the music is going on all around, all the time, if we could but hear, and one of the ways they recommend to cultivate this ability is the practice of this ”stillness”, perhaps what the UB refers to as Jesus” practice of going off alone for his ”little talks”…
?If the Holy Spirit is a gentle teacher, as the Course in Miracles would put it, then it stands to reason that He will not artificially thrust someone into a reality situation they are unprepared for, nor peremptorily push them into an experience of boundary re-definition the likes of which McKenna speaks of in his work with psychedelics. Yet for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, the Spirit is _ever_ there. This is also much in the transcripts, that God is _always_ there for us, in the form of the Thought Adjuster, to speak in UB terms, if not via other forms/teachers. The Course teaches we need only extend our hand to a brother to shake hands with Jesus!
8 Jan 1993 ????Michael Million ????Truths/Mota/Channeling
?Greetings to All: Thanks once again Leo for keying in that ”good stuff” about USA study groups – I”ve put some of that to use today – and yes, we would be very interested to see the regional and global coordinator listings. I have asked permission from one of the UB study groups, who have been involved in what appears to be a valid channeling contact, to share some of the transcripts from those sessions with this list. The contacts are ongoing; the transcripts I do have involve sessions during July ”92 through November ”92. If I get permission, I will post the valuable instructional material to urantial. From what I have seen so far, there is nothing that conflicts with the UB concepts; in fact, frequent mention of the UB text is made by the teacher/guide, Welmek.
17 Jan 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????Statistical analysis of UB and
Subject: Statistical analysis of UB and “message” texts
?Hello all. I haven”t written much here lately, but I haven”t been idle either. I have message (teaching mission) transcripts in computer readable form from Indiana and Tallahassee. I also have the UB. I wrote a program that breaks up the paragraphs, sentences, and words of these transcripts and does some statistical analysis on these texts. The ideal way to start such an analysis would be to collect all the unique words in the text, classify them, and procede from there. I checked into this and found some 6000 unique words in the whole UB, and some 4000 in the transcripts. Since neither I nor anyone else I know wants to sit and classify that many words, I tried to find another, if less telling, way to do some analysis.
?So I settled on things I could derive from the texts without knowing anything about any but the most common words and other things. For example, I can analyze sentence length, number of clauses (signaled by commas or semi-colons), number of simple adverbs (words ending in ”ly” and yes I know adjectives can end this way too), number of articles (”a”, ”an”, ”the”), conjunctions (”and”, ”or”, ”but”), ”to be” verbs, and the ratio of simple to complex sentences, etc.
?Once I collected this data (and I”m somewhat still in the process), I built a couple of spreadsheet models to hold and display it in graphic form. I have made some preliminary runs and got some interesting results, but don”t know how significant they are. For example, every paper in the UB is remarkably like every other paper at least along those parameters I”ve been able to measure. While there are some differences, they are much smaller then the differences between the UB and any of the message texts (I cut the message texts to eliminate the questions by humans and leave only the text purportedly from the supra-humans). For example, the sentences in the message texts are only half the length of those in the UB. The ratio of adverbs to words is different, as is the use of articles, conjunctions, etc.
?After playing with this for a while, I decided to focus on two personalities, the only two that are explicitly named in both the UB and the transcripts. These are Machiventa Melchizedek who authored paper 56 of the UB, and appears by name in both the Indiana and Florida transcripts. Also Mantutia Melchizedek who penned paper 120 in the UB and appears in the Florida transcripts (albeit briefly).
?The results are interesting. Yes the two Melchizedeks in the UB are different from themselves in the transcripts (I would expect this from my first comparison), but significantly, the two Machiventas in the transcripts differ from one another as well! That is, the Machiventa of Indiana has a different style from the Machiventa of Florida.
?I want to stress that I don”t know how much credence to place in these results (i.e. how much of a difference does it take to be significant?). First I am examining only simple mathematical means in the word distributions. I have written my data gathering program to support provision of data for more sophisticated analysis (like standard deviation from the mean, variance, etc.), but I have not developed this data yet.
?I will report more as I do more. I will also be happy to provide the raw data to any interested party for their own spreadsheet modeling. I would also love to have some help developing other statistics that might be derived from the rules of English (ha ha) *without* having first to classify the words (unless someone wants to do that classification).
?Let me know.
21 Jan 1993 ???Michael Million ????Excerpts from early Welmek ses
Subject: Excerpts from early Welmek session
?Greetings All! I promised to post some material from the Welmek sessions I”ve mentioned several times earlier. This session is the second date in the files I have and, as a beginning point, I thought the following exchanges were appropriate. your brother, Michael
?——————-Excerpt from Welmek files———————– WELMEK – July 29, 1992
?Greetings to everybody in the Indianapolis group. I am your teacher Welmek. I am pleased to be here tonight. I would like to share with you few words about our Father”s love. God”s love is a great factor in the universe. All things persist through His love. Without the Father”s love nothing is. The teachers have come to this world to share a great message, to encourage the humans of this planet to engage in truth seeking, and finding the Father”s will. We know that many will not hear this message. We also know that many will respond. Some people you will be surprised to find that they seek the Father”s will while others do not. Don”t be discouraged when you find those who you hope will find the Father”s will yet turn a deaf ear. The Father”s love pervades all space. It is energy. It is life, it is the supreme gift to all his children. Seek this love daily, and your life will change for ever more. Are there any questions tonight?
?Q: David and I (Karla) welcome you this evening. Our lives have truly been blessed by your presence. We have, however, realized the huge responsibility that accompanies this blessing. We realize that many lives will be affected by these teachings. We ask for your advice in dealing with these feelings. People react differently to your message. Where we know we are not responsible for others” interpretations and reactions we need to learn to deal with our own feelings. Will you advise?
?A: You must try not to allow your feelings to enter these discussions. The purpose of this transmission is to share with those who want to hear truths about spiritual living. It is a fact that some people will misunderstand that some communications will not be clear, but fear not because all mistakes in time will be corrected. As long as your motivation is pure of heart you are not responsible for the outcome of what transpires. You have volunteered to be of service. We are pleased with this and we look forward to many communications in the future. Do not hesitate to bring the message to anyone who wants to hear. Do not worry for you cannot control the response of others.
?Q: What can I do to help David”s confidence level? [MM: David is the member of the group Welmek first contacted; he is acting as the transmitter/receiver (TR)]
?A: We are pleased with the progress so far. What David experiences is a natural phenomenon. We would be suspect if he had no doubt at all. What David needs will come in time. I believe it will be very soon. It is difficult for humans to discern our thoughts from theirs in these transmissions, for a human must allow our words to flow through their minds. The tendency is to stop and think about what is going on which interrupts the flow. It is natural for David to think these are his own thoughts. It is natural for him to be concerned about the clarity and content, but as you can hear already, much progress has been made and he has nothing to worry about.
?My closing comment to the group is to pray for each other, seek the stillness, and ask for guidance. Look for the wisdom in your daily activity. Know that the Father is there in all things that you do. Never give up on Him for He will never give up on you. We understand the demand of material living are great yet if this mission is to be successful we must all find time to give back for what has been given to us. Soon you will know that duty become privilege. As we all look forward to our time of communion with the Father, do not give up. Continue your meditation. Continue your reading of the Urantia Book. You will find many truths that you never knew before. God”s love to you all. ———————————————————————– [Posted by permission of the Painter/Buselli study group].
25 Jan 1993 ???Michael Million ????Welmek Sessions
Subject: Welmek Sessions
?Greetings to All: I have been thinking about the topic I have opened regarding the Welmek sessions. I do realize the ease with which anyone with a word processor can type up ascii files. The notion of authenticity brings to my mind the legal notions of evidence in this rapidly evolving age of digital media. I work in a department of media services and I try to keep up on all the ”latest.” Soon, if not already, courtrooms are going to have to re-assess their guidelines of what determines ”solid evidence.” Pictures can be digitized into a computer file and manipulated by various paint packages and other graphic tools …modified and then re-printed on old familiar Kodak paper. Even audio recordings can be run through digital signal processor onboard a ”pc” – edited at will and re-produced to appear untouched otherwise; in the digital domain, regenerated copies have an imperceptible ”noise floor” – no more tape hiss. The electronic and digital world are vastly complicating our notions of ”proof” while at the same time making electronic storage and transmission of data nearly instantaneous. However, I am not big on ”proof” anyway. I could not prove to anyone that the elevator will really go to the fifth floor when I punch the 5th floor button – it could crash to the basement – but I get in anyway. I could call in the technicians to go over the elevator to test and measure all the motors, cables, pulleys, buttons and circuit boards… but I might be skeptical of their ability or their test instruments or….I just might not believe them! The Welmek transcripts, just like the Urantia text, strikes TRUE to my heart. That is all I can say to represent my opinion about them. Over time, I may find something to change my opinion, but the way it stands now, I believe the Indianapolis study group and David and Karla and Bob and Linda. I talked to Bob Buselli on the phone last Monday and, even without hearing his voice, I believe the man. I do not want to flood ”urantial” with lots of excerpts about the Welmek teachings. I do want to keep this list appraised of the activity of this teacher/guide as it relates to the UB text – and as it pertains to our daily lives and what”s been called the the teaching mission (TM). The UB text lays out the basics about encircuited mind and our link via the Thought Adjuster to the Father and his hosts of celestial sons and daughters. Theoretically, contact with our spiritual elders as teachers/guides is no huge surprise; that it is possible for us as individuals or that it”s happening in a way that we are ”let in” on the activity may be a surprise. But, this list is here to facilitate the very types of communications which makes it possible for us to partici- pate in current efforts. I have not asked, but I suspect that it might be possible to ask Welmek a question or two from our group. When I have received the most recent set of transcripts from Bob and have read over them, I will consider asking if we could forward a question or two to Welmek. Would this notion be of interest to anyone? The Welmek files (WELMEK.ZIP) are available at the FTP site at Washington Univ. at St. Louis in the “/pub/urantia” directory.
?22.214.171.124 (aka) wuarchive.wustl.edu
?Like having a copy of the UB volume itself, having these files on hand locally for yourself would facilitate their discussion. I would very much like to see more, Matthew Rapaport, of your text analysis of these transcripts … and any additional comments you have about them; thanks for your efforts. more soon… your brother, Michael
25 Jan 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport
Subject: More on text analysis and appearances
?Hello Michael and others… I continue to develop my text analysis program, but from the viewpoint of those who “believe” in the TM, its results are moot. It”s one of those cases where I could prove that two different representation”s of (say) Machiventa Melchizedek are in fact the same person (if the results were the same coming out of two different transmitter”s mouths), but I can”t *disprove* that they”re the same if the results are different (which they are) because there is an external “explanation” for that difference (they must use the vocabulary and speech patterns of the individual transmitters, etc.).
?Please remember that my concern here is *not* in the spiritual value of the transmissions (what ever they are). Many parts of the Bible strike “true to my heart”, but that doesn”t mean that any of those passages were inspired (i.e., dictated) by God as Fundamentalists believe. I agree that the *content* of much, but not all, of the transmissions is inspiring, but for me the issue is their source. I am troubled by much of the language used in the transcripts, the colloquialisms that are everywhere in the Florida documents, and other statements that strike me as all to human. In one of the Florida files, Machiventa says something to the effect that (I”m paraphrasing) “It”s a lot of trouble to materialize, but there are compensations… sometimes the smell of the air makes life worth living…” All I can say is I hope the poor guy isn”t assigned to Los Angeles, New York, or Chicago!
?Like the Family of God folks who doomed themselves when they dated the nuclear holocaust, the TM must now live with the burden of promises of appearances in the flesh by some of the teachers… If such appearances are made and witnessed by many, so be it. If they never happen, how long will the TM movement go on, and what will happen to the good parts of this (the spiritual revival) when (if) it all falls apart as a result of these promises?
28 Jan 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????on believers and skeptics
Subject: on believers and skeptics
?So Leo writes…
?>As Matthew has pointed out in the case of the messages coming to all >these groups, allegedly from celestial personalities, for those who >believe, no proof is necessary, and for those who don”t, no proof will >ever be sufficient.
?That may be true technically, but it”s not what I am about! I am quite willing to be convinced that real celestial personalities are really dictating through human subjects who (as time goes on) are presumably becoming better at passing the message through unaltered. But I am also not one of the mystical masses (and both the UB and my personal experience suggest that these still dominate the mortal populations of the earth in every culture) who leap to believe because some one or many assert that “wonderful things are happening to these groups”. The spiritual messages of the Urantia Book may ring true no matter who penned them (and for what motive). But my belief in the *revelatory authenticity* of the UB was only partly a matter of experiencing its content. Its style had a lot to do with my conviction. I may be wrong, but it is a cannon of my faith (so far) that celestial personages do not indulge in corny colloquialisms. Like I said, I could be wrong, but so far I see as much that is ridiculous about the “messages” as I do of that which is truly inspiring.
?>Perhaps they”ll make some _prediction_, and _then_ we”ll catch them, >and show them to the Master for the fools they are…
?The Master already knows, one way or the other. Those who wrap themselves in illusion can not be convinced that it is otherwise except sometimes when faced with incontrovertible evidence that it is so. What disappoints me most, however, is that it takes so little time (after the shattering event) for some to re-assemble their memories in such a way as to once more make reasonable that which was previously vaporized in the light of reality!
29 Jan 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????A kinder gentler matthew…
Subject: A kinder gentler matthew…
?Didn”t mean to jump on anyone either… I”m open to changing my mind. So far, the testimony of some respected friends and acquaintances, while intriguing, hasn”t convinced me. Some of these same friends long believed in the Grimsley messages. I most certainly grant that this phenomenon seems completely different. One of the things each of my witnesses has emphasized is how personal was the impact of the TM, kind of like the way the UB seems to me. This testimony is impressive in itself because it is made in the context of the UB (all of these people are readers). So be it. I will place myself in the swirl of this phenomenon as much as I can arrange to do it. I admit to being very out of practice in the process of quieting, prayer, and worship. I am trying to get back in to it. I”ll be in San Francisco this weekend for a big Bay Area U. Soc. meeting to talk about it all. If it, they, or whom ever wish to impact me in a personal way, I”m trying to be accommodating :-)!
?] Bob Marshall [MARSHALL@MSNVM1.VNET.IBM.COM>
?>I am a VERY NEW reader of the Urantia Book and would like to know some of >the details about how the Urantia Book came into existence.
?Certainly a legitimate question for the list, but a very long story. I know Leo Elliott has some interesting documents on one man”s chronicling of some part of the UB”s genesis. I don”t know how convenient it is for him to get you a copy, but if he doesn”t have them at hand, I can pitch in and run you one.
?There was apparently some kind of “channeling” involved, and other techniques as well. A good deal of excellent scholarship by Matthew Block in Chicago has turned up a number of texts which seem quite clearly to be “launching platforms” for the some of the ideas expressed by the authors of the UB. That is, they “wrote” the UB by starting with this material and using, extending, correcting, it to get their point across. I do not speak here with any real authority. What I believe, I know to be incomplete and perhaps inaccurate in many particulars. Personally (and you”ll get this a lot), its history, while interesting, is insignificant enough compared to what the text did to my life, that I”m mostly content to hear about it later.
?This more recent channeling phenomenon, however, is more here and now. I”m in the middle of it. I can fully understand those who urge us to concentrate on the spiritual aspects of the message. Spiritually, I can adopt their perspective. But I”m also an intellectual and physical creature, and if real celestials are speaking through real humans, the intellectual part of me wants to pin that down. I already accept their spiritual message (intellectually at least, though I am not anywhere near achieving it). As Leo has pointed out though, the reality of a direct interface between the spiritual administration of the Universe and human beings should be verifiable (though as others have said it might be a PERSONAL verification, otherwise unprovable). I have not yet reached that conclusion.
31 Jan 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????Verifying non-personal claims
Subject: Verifying non-personal claims
?Well it was a very interesting meeting I attended in SF yesterday. There were four panelists making presentations in the “formal” part of the meeting. Two were “into” the TM, and outlined what the TM was all about. One of these attempted to take the spiritual high ground and emphasized over and over that we are invited by the teachers to accept that which strikes the Spirit of Truth in us and reject the rest if we are so moved, but this begs the real question.
?The spiritually inspiring parts of the teachings are no different from those of the UB, there is nothing new there, and all of the people into the TM seem to accept and admit this. What *is* new about the TM are a litany of other claims like: “the Lucifer Rebellion is terminated.”, and “The spiritual broadcast circuits are being re-opened”, and in general that there is a new and “unprecedented” *interface* now operating between the celestial administration of Urantia and its mortal inhabitants in the form of the TM! These are *not* personal claims. That is, they are not claims that can (or should) be verifiable *only* by the experiencing personality (like for example the claim that God is our Father).
?A third panelist used this as his launching platform. He is a heavy duty student of theology, philosophy of religion, and history. He spent his time placing the UB in a historical perspective and demonstrated how it (the UB) was meticulously designed to “fit” into the swirl of evolving theological thought of the 20th century. He also pointed out that the TM seemed to have no such characteristic fit. There was more here, but my own thinking took off from this point (though I didn”t think of this until *after* the meeting).
?In my last post I stated that a new interface between the celestial and material worlds should, theoretically, be verifiable. Now, I extend that thinking and ask the following: Should we, as educated people of the 20th century, not have the intellectual, moral, and ethical obligation, to *demand* (and I”m speaking here of an intellectual demand of ourselves) that the progenitors of the TM *demonstrate* their authority to make such claims as they do make regarding the status of Lucifer and other such things? Such a demonstration has at least two aspects:
?1) That they prove they are who they say they are. In itself, this comes down to proving that there really are celestials speaking through humans. Given our technology, and the state of our science and philosophy, I can think of any number of ways to do this.
?2) That they prove that a new interface really exists, and that they substantiate their other claims. To a great degree, the verification of this might follow somewhat from their proper identification of themselves, but there are some differences. For example there is this multi-billion dollar project CETI (I believe) [Communication with ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. Unlike SETI, which is a passive, listening pursuit, CETI attempts to initiate a dialogue with intelligent extraterrestrials. It does this by actively sending out coded signals at specific target stars, star clusters, or galaxies.- Editor] in full swing using radio telescopes to try to find signals from space that have “intelligent origins”. Now I for one don”t believe they have much chance of finding anything because their looking at the physical electromagnetic spectrum, and the universe broadcasts (which are supposed to be opened up) probably take place in some part of a spectrum to which none of our instruments can possibly be sensitive.
?OK, so be it! Why don”t the celestials prove the broadcasts are re-opened by translating (converting, down stepping, whatever) those signals into that part of the spectrum the telescope is covering, and pump it into project CETI! I can”t imagine that the world”s top astronomers, physicists, and mathematicians would take long to determine that (A) the signals are intelligent expressions in various languages (not that we could translate them, but the mathematical cadence (modulation) of the signals will verify their intelligent origins), and (B) that the signals really originate from “out there”, i.e. are not of earthly origin.
?I suggest the following. Establish a committee of people who both know what they are talking about *and* have direct access to any necessary technology specified. Let these people submit to the revelators a set of tests (suggest lots of them, and give these “people” a choice) any one (or two) of which would be sufficient to substantiate the non-personal claims made by the TM. I can think of quite a few such tests right off the top of my head (factor a number larger than that ever factored by human supercomputers, resolve an integral never before resolved, make an appearance (a visualization) witnessed not only by many humans, but by all kinds of modern analytical equipment – cameras with various kinds of film, spectrographic analyzers, etc., pump universe broadcasts into project CETI, duplicate (on a piece of paper) the fingerprints of some deceased person that can be verified etc.) I”m sure the people on this mailing list can come up with lots more (please submit some suggestions) in short order. Note that if they accept any such test, we”d better have access to the technology needed to verify success.
?If the celestials decline *all* of the tests, then ask them to suggest some phenomenon which can be measured by our technology, and which would demonstrate the validity of their claims (and I”m not speaking here of validating this just for me, but something that would satisfy earths top scientists) If they decline to suggest such a measurement, then I submit that we should have no choice but to decline to believe in the legitimacy of the TM (while we might still acknowledge the validity of the personal spiritual prose), and begin to look seriously at other explanations for the phenomenon.
?matthew rapaport Philosopher/Programmer At Large KD6KVH firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
?P.S. Yes James, the foundation and most UB students are almost entirely ignorant of what is going on and is available out here in the “net” They”ve finally gotten around to recognizing what”s going on with late 1970”s technology, I”m sure they would be shocked to be suddenly thrust into the 90”s!
31 Jan 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Non-personal claims…
Subject: Non-personal claims…
?Hello Matthew and all,
?Thank you for such a prompt update on what sounds like a day with a lot of energy in it. I would like to pass on some second-hand comments received today, and ask Matthew to comment on their observations and responses.
?First of all, from Peter Ferguson, musician/taximan of San Fran, via CIS we are told that there was lots of FOOD, and that all could leave at the end of the day feeling some degree of brotherhood.
?Second, from Larry Watkins, ex-IBMmer and my old A.C., via a telephone call this afternoon, (he says his wife Claudia Ayers knows you Matthew, but Larry, being handicapped by his former employ, was understandably lacking in the social graces to go over and introduce himself!), I was told that there were many in the audience of 50 or so from the old FOG (Family of God) organization, which was the group that were involved in the 1983 Vern Grimsley episodes of “channeling;” Larry”s report corresponds very much with yours Matthew, with “the real question,” as you put it, left open.
?My personal reactions are mixed. Insofar as anyone would ask me to believe in any teaching of the heart, I would have to follow the resonance of my heart, the guidance of my Adjuster, which presumably would beckon me to some higher spiritual ground. Insofar as anyone would ask me to believe a claim of a new epoch or a new dispensation, based on some unverifiable authority, I would tend to say, well, that”s nice, I hope it”s true. If there were further claims made, say, to get into my pockets or my pocketbook, as there seem to have been for some of the FOG folk, then I would tend to study that claim a bit more closely, and perhaps seek some of the verification of the type Matthew proposes the tests for.
?Larry recounted as how the majority of ex-FOG [Family of God – followers of Vern Grimsley who received messages about imminent nuclear war and attempted to have the Urantia Foundation move out of Chicago. Its effects were to disrupt both organizations -Editor] folk were still fairly skeptical of the TM claims; having suffered the kind of FOGgy mountain breakdown they did, I can understand why. However, there was at least one ex-FOGger, Bob Slagle, author of the “Family Meeting Handbook” which some of you may be familiar with, who apparently made an eloquent presentation, both orally and in written form, of his own odyssey from disbelief in the phenomena, back into belief. Perhaps he may have been one of the personages Matthew was referring to in his earlier reference to “memory reorganization.” –? Undoubtedly, people do do this, and they do it all over in all domains of human endeavor, in all walks of life. The case of congressman Leo Ryan”s daughter (he and she of Jonestown) who later showed up amongst the Rajneeshis in Oregon, once again comes to mind as a “classic” from recent times. The “When Prophecy Fails” volume also recounts much the same sort of belief-resurrection process going on amongst some of the UFO cultists (whereas the majority were disillusioned beyond repair after the prophesied event failed to take place, some few processed the dis-confirmation differently, re-stated their possibilities, and went on with their lives.
?It occurs to me that, as with the UFOs, communication will take place when A) — “they” want it to, and B) — “we” are ready and open and listening, and short of these two events occurring in close proximity, all sorts of proposed tests for verification, as clever as they may be, would be great if they were accepted, but I tend to doubt they will be. I am also reminded somewhat of McKenna”s attitude, when asked whether he didn”t think that so much of what he was proposing in the form of psychic exploration via mushrooms hadn”t already been explored and mapped pretty thoroughly by the mystics and yogis of various religious traditions, responded by saying that he had indeed traveled around much of Asia conferring with these teachers, and always his question was, “What can you show me?”
?Certainly, if the Teaching Mission organizes its own bbs [Bulletin Board Service – electronic talk boards – Editor] or newsletter and sends out solicitations for funds based on the premise that there will be some catastrophe if they do not get more money to get their message out, I will certainly be asking the same thing as McKenna.
?Short of that, I am left wondering about the presentation by the “heavy duty student” (David Cantor?) of theology, philosophy of religion, and history. I wonder if he had anything to say about the role of modern communication technology as regards this “fitting” of the UB into the “swirl of evolving theological thought of the 20th century.” Off of Dan Massey”s most excellent presentation (in the Fellowship Journal) of Jesus” historical intervention, marshaling temporal forces far transcending his local conditions in time and space, and yet simultaneously marrying his message to this Mithraic cult of the globe-spanning Roman army… I can”t help but speculate that there may be more swirling now than theological thought.
?I am also wondering, and welcome your feedback on this, if, as Jesus deftly managed to create the historical event (his crucifixion and resurrection) that would ensure his message getting picked up by this cult of Mithras, thereby employing a sort of “cultural-historical sling” to gain enough religious momentum to carry his message through the next 19 centuries until the next epochal revelation would occur, so might not all this current turmoil over the copyright and the channeling be another sort of “sling-effect,” designed to help these updated teachings of the religious life of Jesus gain sufficient heterogeneous cultural identity and cultic-identification (with the cult of the electronaphim?) to propel these teachings into the next century as once again, a gospel for all mankind?
?[The “sling-effect” I am thinking of here has to do with the way that satellites, when passing outward through the solar system on their journey to a distant planet, will skirt close to a nearer planet, gathering momentum from the gravity of that nearer planet, before getting slung out further with this gain in momentum.]
?You”ll have to forgive me if I”ve become aphasic here, ladies and gentlemen, I watched the most recent Star Treks this morning, and between the aphasic virus of Deep Space nine and the “miraculous” computer-created evil of Moriarty, my swirl is greater than usual!
?Larry and I concurred that Selectric typewriters [the IBM electric typewriter that used a type ball element before computers were everywhere – Editor] were probably the extent of technological evolution, at either Diversey Parkway _or_ Wrightwood Avenue!
?Leo Elliott — swirling dervish
31 Jan 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????More philosophical ponderings
Subject: More philosophical ponderings
?Leo and others… Your impressions of the meeting as related by others were very accurate. I think you got a pretty good picture of the spirit of the thing if not all the details. Yes, Bob Slagle, one of the two spokespersons *for* the TM was also one of the FOG people in the bomb shelter, perhaps the only one who has embraced the TM.
?Bob Blackstock”s presentation was, IMHO, the least relevant. An interesting examination of how such phenomenon as the TM might emerge from Jungian psychological theory, but it didn”t address this TM specifically.
?Your assertion that you might tend to examine things more closely if they tried to get into your pocketbook is pragmatic, but I don”t think it alters the philosophical issue or obligation if one in fact exists. If one wanted to be conservative *and* kind at the same time, I suppose you could say that you would suspend belief unless and until such time as authentication occurred, leaving the scheduling up to them…
?How you go here might also depend on what if any significance you thought this phenomena held for you and others. My impression was that most of the ex FOG people thought that not only was this “wrong” (invalid, not real, etc.), but that it constitutes a serious *danger* to the health of the individuals involved, their families, marriages, etc. I suppose I do happen to agree with them with respect to the potential harm that might emerge from false claims (if indeed they are false). Right now, though, the danger is but potential as I see it.
?David Kantor (right he was the heavy hitter) said nothing about modern communication technology, but I understood very well where he was coming from. I spent 5 years investigating all aspects of Western theology and Phil. of Rel. from the time of Jesus to the present day. I was perhaps one of those in the audience best suited to understanding what he was trying to say.
?Where did you get this “cultural sling” theory of the crucifixion? I don”t think a fair interpretation of the UB would support you. That is, Jesus may (and probably did) *KNOW* that his particular crucifixion would be a powerful symbol, and have tremendous impact for centuries to come, but I don”t think it is at all fair to say he arranged things that way deliberately! Imagine the further impact he might have had if, say, Pilate had changed his mind, let Jesus go, and simply banished him from Palestine? The man might have lived till he was over a hundred teaching and traveling all over the world!
?I think the Foundation is somewhat ahead of the Selectric, but not by much. Their model of computers still seems to be that of isolated desk-top machines, or perhaps local connections. They obviously have no grasp of what is going on out here on the Internet.
?matthew rapaport Philosopher/Programmer At Large KD6KVH firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
1 Feb 1993 ????leo elliott ???????????TM -> hazardous?
Subject: TM -> hazardous?
?Hello Matthew and all,
?Your subsequent points are well made Matthew. I suppose the key one for me is the estimation by some (ex-FOGgers, or whoever) that participation in such a practice or belief system as the TM borders on the “cultish” in the negative sense of that term in being hazardous to families, marriages, etc. In my own recent (last 9 months) experience of witnessing this TM from afar, I can only say that I seem to have been hearing a lot more folks telling me how hazardous this is or might be, even to calling it demonic as Moyer [Ernest Moyer, a well known critic of the teaching mission and certain practices of the Foundation – Editor] does, than I have heard anyone coming out publicly and promoting it as the “latest in spiritual health.” Obviously, we will each listen to our own inner voices on this issue, at whatever decibel level they may or may not speak.
?For me, the only 100% pure, no-noise signal remains that of my own TA, the Father-fragment within, and I know how much NOISE I carry around, and import into my daily communications with my own family, friends, workmates, such that I can only imagine that degree of stillness required to even begin to “hear” this voice as clearly as I”d like. Not to say that others may not be more practiced at this “stillness” than me, nor that the Inner Sender may not choose to up the volume for certain individuals.
?So for now I”m left in the space of compassionate listening, trying to listen to all speakers who begin to resonate, and tune out those who don?t. I rest in the faith that the Inner Sender will speak when necessary, and that all sources short of this, including the UB itself, will have some noise incorporated into their signal.
?”Religious living is devoted living, and devoted living is creative living, original and spontaneous. New religious insights arise out of conflicts which initiate the choosing of new and better reaction habits in the place of older and inferior reaction patterns. New meanings only emerge amid conflict; and conflict persists only in the face of refusal to espouse the higher values connoted in superior meanings.” (p. 1097)
?Leo Elliott 02/01/93
9 Feb 1993 ????Matthew Rapaport ?????????????Gardner, Vallee and the TM
Subject: Gardner, Vallee and the TM
?I for one attended my first “messages” meeting. My goodness we heard not only from the group”s local teacher (Jarod), but from Machiventa (who it seems couldn”t stop joking around), and Michael himself who just popped in for a quip or two…
?Sorry folks… I just don”t buy it… I held myself as totally open and worshipful as possible for some 45 minutes. I felt wonderful, as I always feel when I take some serious worship time, but I didn”t feel anything *else*, and certainly not the personal presence of Michael! Don”t get me wrong, I don”t want to appear as though I”m asserting my authority as a “spiritual presence test instrument”. If I were it would be like using a tire gauge to detect neutrinos. Never-the-less, I tried it honestly, and it isn”t for me…
?matthew rapaport Philosopher/Programmer At Large KD6KVH firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
10 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Weekend Update
Subject: Weekend Update
?Hello Logondonters, and welcome Byron B!
?An intriguing weekend, confirmation of the new noetic entity that is now forming, of which this net is yet another manifestation.
?Melinda and I were visited by Lutz and his American friend Pat. Lutz and I met, quite casually, several months ago, on the CIS Newage forum, chatting, mirabile dictu, about channeling. Lutz said he was coming to the US soon to visit his friend and then go to some sort of a channeling conference/workshop with his friend out in Sedona, AZ or its environs, at a place called the Tibetan Foundation. They arrived Saturday eve, and stayed thru Tuesday am, and we had some wonderful conversations. They were able to visit the Satchidananda LOTUS shrine (Light of Truth Universal Shrine) in nearby Buckingham County, and seemed quite taken with Walter and Lao Russell”s Swannanoa Palace atop Afton Mountain, scene Saturday of a local one-day Course in Miracles workshop.
?Pat happens to be a “professional” channel, from Maine, married to an MD.
?They showed us a Sedona city magazine, which seems to be the channeling – newage capital of the US, from what I can tell… ads for all sorts of counseling, therapy, astrological readings, etc.
?Now, before any of you literalists out there start to send this post to the bit bucket, allow me to say what a pleasure it was to meet folks who were pleasant and open and gentle, and yet rigorous seekers — Lutz has been to India 5 times in his searchings.
?I need not be defensive here… it occurs to me that there may be different generational approaches to integrating the UB with all this panoply of seeming new age nonsense…. Sadler and the early forumites [Forumites were a group who worked with Sadler to review the Urantia Papers as they were written -Editor] seemed especially keen on making a clear dissociation of the UB from all these various other approaches to understanding spirituality. Certainly, there are ample quotes within the UB for those who may wish to distance themselves, intellectually and/or otherwise, from any and all forms of channeling. As stated earlier, this term “channeling” seems the most common current denominator used to describe a wide range of phenomena surrounding alleged contact with non-standard sources of information, yet is one which is quickly distinguished by many of its apparent practitioners, including those within the current UB Teaching Mission.
?All I can say from my weekends conversations is what a joy it was to have some “omni-interaccomodative” discussions with these world-travelers, how rare, compared to many “study groups” I have been to, to have as a constant backdrop the search for synthesis in the others” speech, the search for what I could agree with and expand upon, instead of the perpetual picking of words to pounce on as indicative of less-than-profound (i.e., less-than-my-own) understanding.
?One of the criticisms relayed to me in a conversation with Ernest Moyer, critic-at-large and self-appointed Torquemada of the Urantia movement, was that those who may choose to believe in the “reality” of the Teaching Mission were losing “the ability to discriminate” between good and evil, between fantasy and reality, between fact and fiction. Well, it began to dawn on me, in conversations with Lutz and Pat, how _many_ different ways communication _may_ occur, from one level to another, how many different species of “channeling” exist, now and throughout historic times, as Arthur Hastings has so well pointed out.
?So if anything, the loss of discrimination would seem to come when I begin to lump all the variegated species of interspecies communication together into one lumpen category, and call it “channeling” and then place some convenient label on it like “sordid” or “unreal” or “new age.” It would be the equivalent to someone describing what I do for 8-12 hours a day as saying, “Oh, he works with computers.”
?If anything, the UB itself and the Teaching Mission are both, in their respective ways, challenges to expand our conceptual capacities for “what is real” and “how may spirit communicate,” and even more importantly, if I feel like there is some larger loving reality “out there” endeavoring to communicate to me “in here,” how would I show it if it did? What fruits would I bear?
?I would like to close with a short quote from a letter I got from Byron”s and my old friend Ted Blaney, dated 2/4/93:
?”…This TM phenomena sure has everyone communicating again. I have become a strong TM supporter here in Cincinnati and all my experiences have been highly positive and rewarding so far. I am not sure that there is such a thing as physical proof for spiritual things. Those that require such proof lead me to think that they do not have sufficiently strong faith in their abilities to discern the leadings of the spirit of truth. For me it takes time for the leadings of the spirit of truth to get its” message through sufficiently clear, but if I seek and am patient and have faith that I will receive confirmation of truth, it will be so. Perhaps I have longed for the time when our planets ills could be healed and yet realized that I could not see how we were going to have the wisdom of the inspiration to do it for our selves unless we are willing to be satisfied with the slow but steady march of evolution and take 10,000 years or more. I am not looking for a miracle and have it happen overnight without any effort either. But I do see the possibility that a plan is in place to bring about significant changes in several generations and amazing transformations in a thousand years. I am inspired again and have made much personal progress in the last couple months. And what keeps me inspired is to watch the inspiration and transformations take place in others. Many total strangers two months ago are becoming close friends, kindred spirits… To me the TM is not to teach us many strange things we did not know before. The UB has given as much of a cosmic perspective as we need in this life and some of the morontia lives yet to come. What we need now is to start putting into practice all the things that the UB has taught us. And this is what the TM seems to be all about. It is a very basic course in practicing the teachings of Jesus starting with prayer, worship, love and service. These are repeated many times in many different ways and I find myself starting to incorporating more and more of these things into my daily life. I am learning to cleanse myself of resentments and to forgive even the people who irritate me or show no loyalty to the values that I hold dear. It probably would not be an exaggeration to say that I have communed more with The Father in the last two months than in the previous decade. So if the spiritual growth is accelerated it is not because it is unnatural, or a miracle, or undeserved but rather because I have chosen to participate and the Father responds with His help. And this process of aligning my will with the Father”s and acting is all that is needed to bring all the support from our unseen friends to insure that the act will be successful. I feel that not since Jesus worked this planet or His apostles spread his teachings has there been this kind of opportunity to participate in a mission of this magnitude that will be successful. “We used to have 10 or fifteen people attend our Urantia Meetings and were glad to have so many. Now 40 have been showing up and it continues to grow with every meeting. We have outgrown several meeting places and if it gets past 50 we will have to start renting a hall. Not all will stick with it but it is amazing how many seekers of truth there are who are being led to the Urantia Book via the TM. I enclosed our first two transcripts as well as the ones from Pittsburgh”
?********** By their fruits shall we know them? The above-mentioned transcripts are not in digital form, but I do have some copies for those who would care to send a snailmail addr.
?Leo Elliott Logondonter-at-large
12 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????TM as Info — ?
Subject: TM as Info — ?
?As for my own personal experiences with the TM, I did go up last December to Seabrook, MD to visit with Steve Kaplan one Wednesday evening and had a small group session with a woman who had just come from Idaho, whose teacher was “Aruka”[Iruka -editor], tho brief, was very much in the same vein as the transcripts I have read, very reassuring, loving, compassionate. We spent so much time swapping tales and getting to know each other that there wasn”t a lot of time left over for a long session (it”s a 2.5hr drive for me, and I had work the next day), and then I had a wonderful reunion the next Sunday with that LURKER Byron Belitsos, whom I hadn”t seen in 13 years! The results, I suppose, are part of what is happening now.
12 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Let. from Nancy Johnson
Subject: Let. from Nancy Johnson
?I just received the following letter from Nancy Johnson, a dear sister I met last May at the UB/ACiM conf in Cincy. She writes from Mesquite, TX.
?February 6, 1993 TO: Leo Elliott FROM: Nancy Johnson
?Thanks so much for taking the time to keep me informed about the chatter on Prodigy and elsewhere regarding, mainly, channeling among Urantians. Eventually I hope to join you, but no modem as yet. The diversity of opinion about this matter is amazing, and it compels me to continually reexamine my own opinions. Being a cerebral type, I have to be watchful that I don”t fall into that material-mind avoidance tactic of preoccupying myself with all the things that do not matter. If you don”t mind, I”d like to share some of that process with you and even the other electronaphim, if it would be of any interest. To hopefully set my mind on the right track and avoid mental exhaustion, I begin with the humbling exercise of reminding myself that the UB says my material mind is not competent to understand spiritual matters: “The human mind does not create real values; human experience does not yield universe insight. Concerning insight, the recognition of moral values and the discernment of spiritual meanings, all that the human mind can do is to discover, recognize, interpret, and _choose_ … Unless an evaluator dwelt with man, he could not possibly appraise moral values and recognize spiritual meanings.” (2094) I infer from this that the logic of a computer programmer, an investigating attorney, or a fire-and-brimstone preacher will not yield valid conclusions regarding spiritual realities. Early on (before it became an issue) the channeling was brought to my attention. I was not much impressed…the questions asked seemed more child-ish than child-like. I didn”t think you could get profound answers to childish questions and wasn”t inclined to pursue it further. But time went by. Again the channeling was called to my attention– twice in one week. A friend who doesn”t even study the UB sent me a tape of a Woods Cross session and Ernest Moyer sent me his “Channeling in the Urantia Community.” The tape was quite interesting. The clear focus of the teaching was on personal spiritual growth and putting what has been learned in the UB to work in everyday life; i.e., “It”s time to do more than just talk about it.” That impressed me. The instruction was gentle, and those in attendance seemed sincerely willing to confront their personal shortcomings. They were openly acknowledging the areas where they were having difficulty living up to the UB teachings or not understanding some of the things said in the book. These were real people asking questions about problems that are real to many people. It brought to mind a few things Jesus said: “And I have not come to call the would-be righteous but sinners and all who hunger and thirst for the righteousness of divine perfection.” (1537) “In the kingdom you must _be_ righteous in order to do the work.” (1584) Jesus makes a big deal out of this, so I hesitate to take it lightly. Transforming the world is not an ACTION, it”s an EFFECT–the effect of transforming ourselves. It”s so simple/hard, depending on which mind circuit we”re tuned into at any given time. Ernest”s paper looked grossly out of focus at this point, but I needed more information about the channeling to form a clearer opinion. Soon I began to receive calls and transcripts out of the blue from people I”m not normally in contact with. I hesitated over a few items, but I did that when reading the UB also. In both cases I soon quit asking who was writing this. Overall the messages continued in the same vein: “In the kingdom you must _be_ righteous in order to do the work. We will help you in every way we can to achieve this. There is much work to be done.” And, Leo, I DO crave to do the work. When I read in the UB that high spiritual beings crave assignment where the need is greatest, I thought to myself how fortunate I am to be here where the need is so great. Lowly as I may be, I have the one thing they don”t have: a body that others who are lost or searching can see and hear and respond to, and I asked that mine be used to further the plans of our Creator Son on the world of his bestowal. So I shared the papers and tapes with a few study mates, and they agreed it was time for a new level of commitment and action. Since then we”ve been soliciting additional transcripts and sharing them with others, and the natural flow of increasing interest indicates it”s time for us to unify and actualize our group potential and have our own teacher. I think it will be soon, but we already have much homework that is common to all the groups, so we”re pretty busy already. Half of me craves to intellectually comprehend the teaching of the UB, and it has worked overtime for 17 years to do that. I expect to continue this throughout my universe career. The other half of me craves to live in unity with all my brothers and sisters in the spirit of these teachings, and the focus of these channeling groups draws others with similar longings into close association and a _teamwork_ environment. Between regular study group meetings and the channeling groups I feel doubly fulfilled, so that”s what I, and apparently a growing number of others, are choosing to do, quite unconcerned with anyone else”s opinion about the validity of what”s going on. Perhaps it”s an indication that finally we”re reaching that point of maturity where we”re becoming free and courageous enough to live as we”ve always known we should. My point is this: my material mind and personality must take the initiative to read the information coming through channeling, but it is not competent to judge or comprehend the spiritual content or purpose behind it. My soul self only responds to the truth and spirit content as it may be validated for me by my Thought Adjuster, and my soul self is responding with increasing fervor. Therefore, I proceed with utmost confidence that the love of our Father and Creator Son for each of us is so great that they would leave no stone unturned either to assist us in our search for spiritual fulfillment or to turn us back around should we chance to wander down a dark alley. The universe truly is a friendly place, and I choose to live as if Urantia were already in sync with it. When we all do, it will be. I hope you”ll continue to keep me informed until such time as I can get on line through Prodigy. I”m so grateful for the circumstances that brought our paths to cross, Leo. It assures me the social architects are indeed hard at work ALL the time, and they”re very adept at hooking kindred spirits up with one another. With so much to celebrate, I agree we should switch our preoccupation to all the things that DO matter.
12 Feb 1993 ???Michael Million ????Welcoming Change!
Subject: Welcoming Change!
?- In regards to the teaching mission, please consider the implications which seem clear to my mind about the *detail* of the planning of revelational activities…down to the investigation of any/all of us on a personal level…
?- I feel in my heart that the Bob Slagle article which I just read last night is *bullseye* on target with the TM… I have not shared all of Bob”s experiences but I expected that someone would soon come forward with this type of ”testimony” if the TM activity was/is credible and true. The article is detailed and expresses a compilation of many aspects of initial mortal doubt (paralleled my feelings to a ”tee”) as well as synthesizing excerpts from the transcripts of several teachers and producing logical points and arguments along various lines of inquiry. I personally have reached the point where Bob states that in his efforts with stillness he was barely able to produce a few nanoseconds of quiet; he became frustrated and (briefly) gave up the effort… I will be continuing my efforts inspired by this reading.
?- (IMO) Byron B. is to be congratulated on a similarly well composed article and synthesized presentation of transcript excerpts. Thank you so much Bob and Byron! Glad Byron could join us on urantial! We need to get computer copies of these two articles in circulation and on the WUA FTP site. Any help along these lines is appreciated.
?- Interesting side note about the use of humor/laughter in the B. Slagle article…(see excerpts below). Matthew Rapaport, would you be willing to share with us the type/content/style of humor you heard in your participation in the SF channeling group?
?[I hope my personal acceptance of the TM does not _negatively_ influence anyone else; each person must decide for him/herself… when and if they care to do so…. my ideas here are my opinion. We individually process ”information” — it is my hope that we will also intuit/perceive whatever underlying wisdom may be present.]
?- Let”s get Vallee on line!
?- Thanks Leo E. much for keying in Matthew Block”s work! Leo has allowed me to store a zip file of some of his articles on the WUA ftp site (called: ELLIOTT.ZIP).
?- I want to share two short quotes from channeling transcripts that Bob Slagle included in his article:
?”And now I will leave you with this thought. There is a certain tree which grows in the wind. It is gnarled and bent and small and hearty. On the crag of the cliff, it looks down at the ocean and receives the mist from the tide. It looks up at the sun and receives the warmth of her light. It clings steadily to the rock”s face and is secure in its place there. Having grown amid so much wind, there is not a wind which can bring it down. Shalom.” (Abraham, p.33; 1991 Woods Cross Transcripts). —————- “Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is a healing and curing activity which greatly uplifts the attitude of the mental mind which is beneficial in seeing the full nature of the situation. In worry, we tend to look at our feet, so to speak. In laughter, we tend to throw our heads back and look around us. Worry is inner consuming, laughter is outward releasing. Therefore, I say to you, laugh. Laugh fully and often.” (Ham, Woods Cross Transcripts, 1991, p. 42.)
?you guys and gals keep up the tremendous work! your brother, Michael
14 Feb 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????the point of inquiry?
Subject: the point of inquiry?
?Thanks Michael for the copies…
?Leo, I think the source of all these triads is the divergence of matter and spirit (Paradise and the Son) mediated by Mind. Data and wisdom may well represent matter and spirit, but *information* is *not* the only thing that mediates between them, it is a component of knowledge which itself is but one of the elements (value perception being another I think) that mediates between data and wisdom, etc.
?>…this is just to suggest, to use a very broad metaphoric notion of >”information”, that Divine Love and/or “revelation,” _may_ be viewed, in a >dry technical sense, as species of “information,”…
?I guess my point is that this is not so (IMHO of course). Information is of the mind realm. Divine love is spiritual and transcends information by any conventional definition of the term. If you will its like saying “a horse”s shadow is, in a dry technical sense, a kind of horse”.
?”Mind does not have to be added to pure spirit, for spirit is innately conscious and identifying. Spirit is always intelligent, minded in some way. It may be this mind or that mind, it may be pre-mind or super-mind, even spirit mind, but it does the equivalent of thinking and knowing. The insight of spirit transcends, supervenes, and theoretically antedates the consciousness of mind.” (p102 pgh2)
?”12. It [personality] is one thing which can be added to spirit, thus illustrating the primacy of the Father in relation to the Son. (Mind does not have to be added to spirit.)” (p1226)
?I don”t mind being on the “other side of the aisle” from everyone (as I seem to be here), but I note that the strongest defense of the TM (as illustrated by Bob Slagle”s “Welcome to Change” and your letter from Nancy J. [a nice piece of work I might add]), amounts to a suspense of intellectual inquiry. We are asked to accept the spiritual message, take whatever strikes us from the rest, and abstain from meaningful inquiry into its source. The spiritual component of the TM, however, adds nothing to the UB (by the TM movement”s own admission), so there is no grounds here for verifying the integrity of the source. This being the case, and that it”s adherents do accept it on this basis, what is the point of this philosophizing?
?Michael, I can”t remember exactly what was said (tape was made of course). They (Jared, Michael, Macheventa) did not tell jokes, but the two TR”s insisted that Macheventa specifically, was in a “humorous mood”, etc.
14 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Suspense of Inquiry?
Subject: Suspense of Inquiry?
?Matthew, thanks for pulling those most a propos quotes — I especially find relevant “Spirit is always intelligent, minded in some way.” Your characterization of my “dry technical” comparison of “love” (divine or human?) as a species of “information” as being similar to saying that “a horse”s shadow is, in a dry technical sense, a kind of a horse,” is “spot on” as the English might say. Just the kind of distinction that I was clumsily trying to make, precisely the kind of reductionism that “information” may represent, that it does represent in many popular usages. “Information” in even its most distilled Batesonian sense of a “difference that makes a difference” is still a far cry from force or energy we might call love, which _might_ be put in some sort of apposition by being viewed here as a force which “respects the differences” while at the same time, in some minded way, compels recognition of unity….
?In other words, “information” may be viewed as either something which “arrives” or as something which we “seek out,” but in either case, how it arrives or is found, either in a lovingly presented way or in a more abrupt manner, may be distinguished from its “content” which is something, in Bateson”s sense, which may be said to change us, it in-forms us, it in-forms our ways of thinking, our conceptual patternings, such that we become aware of new ways of speaking about or being with a particular presentation. This is the most restricted sense, for me, of the use of the term “information,” and one which is certainly not the one referred to when we hear of “the information age.”
?So, if I am following your line here Matthew, I find myself in total agreement that “information,” even in its most refined, Batesonian sense, is _still_ but as a shadow to the light and _warmth_ which comes with “love.” I see “information” as being _somewhere_ on a continuum described as having “data” on one end and “wisdom” on the other, and feel that our use of such terms here on this list can come to greatly illuminate the whole group conversation.
?Now, after this brief brotherly hug, let me step over to the other side of the aisle so to begin another round in this wonderful wrestling match over the “reality” of the Teaching Mission.
?Perhaps one day Byron will step in here and tag off (hint-hint!), but for me, I first of all do not see either participation in and/or belief in the possibilities of the TM as implying any sort of “suspense of intellectual inquiry.”
?>”We are asked to accept the spiritual message, take whatever strikes us from the rest, and abstain from meaningful inquiry into its source.”
?First two clauses, yes; but I for one would not interpret any alleged teacher”s declination to divulge details of the communication process or to provide “verifiable” claims to prove to us their authenticity as implying that we are to “abstain from meaningful inquiry into its source.”
?This may beg the question of “what is meaningful (inquiry)” here, and for this I have always used a very simple UB statement as my personal tuning fork for “meaning”: “Experience gives meaning to value.”
?It may be useful to inquire as to “whence cometh values” but as for what humans find meaningful, it seems to me that it is very much a function of their own experience, and speaking for myself alone here, I must say that I have found as much “meaning” from my experience of reading these transcripts and engaging herein in these conversations, as I have had in any study group experience.
?And regardless of the outcome of our inquiry into “whence cometh values” we are told that “Quality, values, are felt.”
?>”The spiritual component of the TM, however, adds nothing to the UB (by the > TM movement”s own admission), so there is no grounds here for verifying > the integrity of the source.”
?If I read the thrust of the Teaching Mission as it presents itself as the “second phase” of the 5th epochal revelation, its purpose is, as you say, precisely _not_ to add anything to the UB, as Ted Blaney pointed out so eloquently in his letter, but rather to, where possible, add something to the lives of readers who may have been languishing in the dry shadowland of intellectualized belief systems, in some cases, as my own, waiting for some “juice” or warmth or “love” to begin to manifest itself, to begin to be “felt” as part of this growing community of UB readers. The TM”s advocacy of the simple practice of daily prayer and meditation, which they speak of as “practicing the stillness” might just be in line with an earlier “TM” group”s contention that if only 1% of a given population group would develop practice of daily meditation, that significant changes would become evident in that community. (I am referring to the Transcendental Meditation folks of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi [name correct?]).
?This may or may not appear as plausible to the more scientifically oriented, perhaps akin to the now-“debunked” “100th Monkey Theorem” supposedly detailing the communicational synergy found by social anthropoligists in groups of isolated island monkeys who supposedly began, rather spontaneously across a wide range of islands, to all use some clever technique of washing off their potatoes in the sea water before eating.
?In any case, “plausibility” is one of the criteria which David Kantor presents from Avery Dulles in his “Models of Revelation” as having “dominated 20th century thinking” on the subject of revelation:
?(from David”s list)
?Dulles” Criteria for evaluating supposed revelatory material:
?1. Continuity — does it stand in continuity with what believers of previous generations have recognized as leading them into a richer experience of God”s presence.
?2. Internal Coherence — it must be capable of being conceptually formulated in an intelligible manner and be free from internal self-contradiction.
?3. Plausibility — it must not run counter to what is generally thought to be true in other areas of life unless it is capable of providing an alternative explanation of the phenomena responsible for the general state of opinion.
?4. Adequacy to experience — it should illuminate the deeper dimensions of secular and religious experience both within and beyond the Christian community.
?5. Practical fruitfulness — if once accepted, it should help its adherents to sustain moral effort, reinforce Christian commitment and enhance the life of the community.
?6. Theoretical fruitfulness — it must satisfy the quest for religious understanding and thus be of assistance to the theological enterprise.
?7. Value for dialogue — it should assist in the exchange of insights with Christians of other schools and traditions, with adherents of other religions, and with adherents of the great secular faiths.
?If I read David”s thesis (correct me here Matthew, you were there!), his contention is that the UB seems to fit these criteria, but the TM not? Please elucidate.
?While we”re at it, David also presented Dulles” five models of revelation, which we can perhaps use as a reference in future conversations:
?Dulles” five models of revelation:
?1. Revelation as Doctrine — the meaning of a text taken as a set of propositional statements, each expressing a divine affirmation which is valid always and everywhere.
?2. Revelation as History — Revelation occurs primarily through deeds, rather than words; revelation is made accessible by studying history and the manner in which God has historically revealed himself.
?3. Revelation as Inner Experience — The self-revealing God is regarded as making himself present to the consciousness of the individual in a way that minimizes the need for mediation through created signs.
?4. Revelation as Dialectical Presence — Revelation occurs in the dialectical process (Hegel) of attempting to understand the nature of God.
?5. Revelation as New Awarenedd — Revelation is an experience of participation in divine life.
?David also presents four criteria used in evaluating the situation described by the following series of questions, as presented by Richard Swinburne, Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at the Univ. of Oxford, in his book “Revelation; From Metaphor to Analogy”. The scenario is set up thus:
?”Given what we know about God do we have reason to suppose that he might intervene and reveal something to us?”
?”What are the ways in which God might communicate with us?”
?”How would we know that a purported revelation was really what it claimed to be?”
?Swinburne”s four criteria to use in evaluating such a situation:
?1. The content must be relevant for the deepest levels of human well-being.
?2. It should include details of life beyond this one, to the end that we be encouraged in our pursuit of the good and to help us in our character formation.
?3. While we may be unable to directly prove the truth of what is given, the content must, as far as we can tell, be incapable of being proven false.
?4. Evidence for or against the truth claims of the revelation must be weighed in the same way as evidence for and against the truth of any other body of claims.
?So, it is my hope that these sets of criteria may be useful to us in framing some of our future conversations on this list, both about the UB itself and its alleged “extension” in the form of the Teaching Mission. Whichever “side of the aisle” we may find ourselves on on these issues, that of the Spirto-crats or the Republish-cans, that of the “true believers” or the “skeptical inquirers,” or somewhere in between, it has been my experience that the quality of the conversations I engage in in all areas of my life has been qualitatively upstepped by the rigorous distinctual disciplining that I am being a part of in these brotherly brawls. Thank you all.
?I have uploaded to Michael a file containing the log of last night”s conf on Compuserve. An enjoyable evening was had by all!
?Leo Elliott 02/14/93
14 Feb 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????The UB tells us when the next
Subject: The UB tells us when the next phase is coming
?OK, here”s the bottom line for the TM, the UB”s affirmation of Dave Kantor”s assertion (in his paper delivered to that SF meeting on Jan. 30) that “now is not the time” for the “next phase”, or a “UB booster shot” which is what the TM basically claims to be. The UB itself tells us when to start looking for a “next step”…
?”Under global government the national groups will be afforded a real opportunity to realize and enjoy the personal liberties of genuine democracy. The fallacy of self-determination will be ended. With global regulation of money and trade will come the new era of world-wide peace. Soon may a global language evolve, and there will be at least some hope of sometime having a global religion–or religions with a global viewpoint.” (p1491 pgh. 6)
?You see, borrowing some speculative latitude from Dan Massey and tapping in to those Salvington revelation planners, the UB is not for us, not for the current Urantia movement (Foundation and all other present splinter groups included), and not for the current generation, political milieu, etc. We who found it and recognize it are lucky and may benefit mightily (personally), while the world benefits incrementally from the little things we may do “as we pass by”. But (borrowing an analogy from Jesus) we are like those shepards and Alexandrians who saw Jesus as a little baby. They were lucky for having made the contact (and recognizing it for what it was), but they were hardly the ones who felt the impact of the life Jesus led, etc.
?No those Salvington planners probably foresaw all the major events of this century (for example the rise and fall of communism), and pretty much figured on the fractional strife that would/has emerged in the last decade of this century. Surely they calculated that a book, thrust into the last half of the 20th century would have impact only on a small cadre of intellectuals (spiritually sensitive intellectuals at that), and lack the forcefulness of a genuine personality bestowal (materialization). They must have figured that the original maintenance group would loose control after a half century or so. They knew that Pentecostal movements (Vern G., the TM) would emerge from out of the believer-pool. None of this mattered, especially since they knew what would probably happen throughout the 21st century as well. Three or four generations of decay, strife, sinking standards of living, a poisonous environment, disease, economic collapse, and in general the slow (and sometimes fast) decimation of vast segments of the human population world wide!
?If they were lucky, the superhuman government could prevent it from going nuclear, but only after some 75 to 100 years would the humans left living at that time begin to take seriously the need for a WORLD GOVERNMENT. Something will happen around then that will facilitate a “re-emergence” of the UB, which may become almost entirely forgotten by that time. Or, one might project that while the world decays, the UB movement in the sense of a total living readership continues slowly to grow. Again when the world is ready to talk WORLD GOVERNMENT, these humans will be ready (with the help of a then 150 year old book) to infuse it with spiritual purpose. The revelators really wanted it to be present as a serious option in the thought stream of humanity by the time there is significant pressure for world government…
?As for the question “why not just introduce it in 2100 AD?”, the answer appears to be “because it has to appear a fully human option.” It may be that the UB per se, in its original form, may not even exist by this time, but the thoughts it imparts to the cultural stream between now and then, and perhaps passages in the form of altered transcripts rightly interpreted by the humans of that time, are intended to provide the fulcrum on which the “next stage” is leveraged. My question is how many readers did they believe to be an adequate “minimum” to keep knowledge of the revelation sufficiently alive for the re-spark?
?TM believers have made the same mistake as believers down through history, that “now is the logical time”, that it will happen “in our lifetimes”. I submit that the UB disagrees, and pretty much tells us it isn”t anytime soon. I hope we will all be together on the mansion worlds having a glass of Satanian Ale while we watch it all happen on the news broadcasts…
14 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????The UB tells us when?
Subject: The UB tells us when?
?(… recoiling from a mighty forearm smash from the Uremia Lectures [spoken of in the Urantia Book and to which Jesus was invited to be part of as a teacher -Editor], delivered with stunning swiftness by the Rap-man, Leo-the-log lurks off to his book-corner, looking eagerly to tag-off in this mighty duel to his absent partner… but wait! … what”s this wrestling fans?… down from the aisle races the mealy-mouthed McKenna, slipping yet another foreign object into the ring of discourse for the lowly logman to use in this epic battle of Bookamania 93!!!… stay tuned!… we”ll be right back after this message from our sponsors… 🙂 )
?In one of my former incarnations as a puzzle-writer, I used to think that if one could ever get just all the _italicized_ words of the UB”s text into some sort of analyzable form, like index cards, and then read through them is a certain order, that surely some secret message would be revealed, for just as surely, the wise revelators of the UB must have been just as clever as Leonardo in writing backwards, and other great minds in skillfully encoding messages into their works, for future decryption and subsequent enlightenment… the coded-puzzle theory of revelation, not mentioned directly in the preceding lists of criteria, but from what I understand, the devout students of the Koran have come up with some supposedly “mathematical proof” involving the numbers 8 and 19, and the initial letters of the various chapters of the Koran, all supposedly “proving” the divine source of their text.
?It also used to irk me some that the major “splinter group” of the Urantia Book, the U Foundation, could so glibly respond to queries about the books origin by saying things like, “It”s all in the book…” as if to say if I was only as clever as they and studied as long as they had, then I too could join the ranks of the cognoscentii and be enlightened as to these minor points of transmissional trivia…
?Perhaps the TM is a bunch of hot air, propounded by a bunch of repressed religionists out to blow up each other”s skirts to get that warm spiritual feeling. My personal feeling is to the contrary. I find myself being more open these days to folks talking to me about what they are getting from their “inner voice” than what the “bottom line” of any given situation is… I do not presume to know what the bottom line is for the TM, or the UB, or the planet”s future course, the next six months, much less the next century.
?It may very well be that we may have to go through some serious ecospasms, wars, upheavals of every sort, before the “next step” of epochal revelation occurs. The shepherds who may have seen Jesus as a baby may also have lived to hear his uplifting message, feel the power of his presence, and even witness a miracle or two, and possibly even have their lives altered by falling in love with him, all in one lifetime.
?I turned 43 last November, a grain of sand by any standards, yet what I have witnessed in even just this grain of sand I call my lifetime is that it ain”t gonna be politics as usual any more, any more than it”s gonna be business as usual or family life as usual or sexuality or technology or much of anything else, as usual any more, except, fortunately, for God”s Fatherly love for each of his children on this planet.
?Unusual things are going on. The UB is unusual. The TM is unusual. This is an unusual planet, if I read the UB “correctly.”
?Now for my foreign objects, from mealy-mouth McKenna, who incidentally will make a “real” appearance, so my channels tell me, this coming Sunday on CIS.
?(from _The Archaic Revival_, p88)
?”I think that all our science and religion and history are patterns thrown across a limited set of dimensions by the hyperdimensional presence of a certain object at the end of history [ Omega Point, or just newagy wishful thinking ??? ] toward which we are moving and toward which we are being drawn. I think that most things about human beings are mysterious and that what is happening to us is mysterious. The sudden explosive development of the neocortex is entirely out of context with what we know about the rates of evolution that occur in other species and previously went on in primates.
?It”s been very fashionable in the past fifty years to think that it”s all very humdrum; yet every ideological system that has been granted the status of being the official view of reality has always proclaimed that it had everything nailed down but the last 5 percent. Their best people were working on that. But I think that we know practically nothing. Though I am not in most senses religious, I think that religious thinking about the transformation of the world is more on the right track than the notion that the laws of physics will always be what they are, the laws of biology will always be what they are, and we”re all just going to go along and things are going to get worse and worse, or better and better, but that there are no surprises. I think we do not see what”s going on.
?One of the reasons I like to make this argument about the mushroom and the extraterrestrial is to show people how one can see things differently. If things can be seen that differently, how many ways can they be seen differently? Try to get people to stop waiting for the president to enlighten them. [or for World Government to arrive]
?Stop waiting for history and the stream of historical events to make itself clear to you. You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding. It doesn”t go you any good to know that somewhere in some computer there are equations that perfectly model or perfectly don”t model something that is going on. We have all tended to give ourselves away to official ideologies and to say, “Well I may not understand, but someone understands.” [“Well, I may not understand, but ”it”s in the book.””]
?The fact of the matter is that only your own understanding is any good to you. Because it”s _you_ that you”re going to live with and it”s _you_ that you”re going to die with. As the song says, the last dance you dance, you dance alone.”
?”Information is loose on planet three. Something unusual is going on here. The world is not made of quarks, electromagnetic wave packets, or the thoughts of God. The world is made up of language. Language is replicating itself in DNA, which, at the evolutionary apex, is creating societies of civilized beings that possess languages and machines that use languages. Earth is a place where language has literally become alive. Language has infested matter; it is replicating and defining and building itself. And it is in us. My voice speaking is a monkey”s mouth making little mouth noises that are carrying agreed-upon meaning, and it is meaning that matters. Without the meaning one has only little mouth noises. Meaning is a crude form of telepathy–as you listen to my voice, my thoughts become your thoughts and we compare them. This is communication, understanding. Reality is a domain of codes, and that is why the UFO [TM] problem is like a grammatical problem–like a dangling participle in the fourth- dimensional language that makes reality. It eludes simple approaches because its nature is somehow embedded in the machinery of epistemic knowing itself.”
?It could be Matthew, that all this conversation represents is monkey-mouth leo making noises to get resolved the dangling participle of Catholicism to monkey-mouth matthew, who makes noises in return to get resolved the dangling participle of the Grimsley affair, either of which would fit well to reduce either of our higher aspirations into some nicely dismissable psychological categories, written into accepted code fit to run on current any of a variety of theoretical platforms. As someone with greater wit than me has recently pointed out, “simple belief” in the UB itself opens one up to the cynics” litany of belief in the ludicrous: eight-foot tall blue people, invisible beings, human transport on giant birds, to name just a few.
?Every individual will draw those boundaries of belief where he or she sees fit. Normally, I will use various sources, including books sacred and profane, to intellectually support my stated beliefs about reality, the nature of deity, life on this planet, etc. If I have been perceived by any of the listers here to be proselytizing or trying to convert anyone to any belief system, I trust that you will make such known. Likewise will it be pointed out, I hope, any inappropriate inference from this great source of wisdom and revelation we have all seen as “informing” our lives to some degree. When it occurs to someone, as it has to Matthew, that I may be making the same mistake as believers down through history, I am comforted that they will feel open enough to share this… for surely, this is somewhat of a novelty, if we can be in history, while speculating about being out of history, sipping on that Satanian Ale on the mansion worlds.
?Until such time, I intend on making as many mistakes as I can, trusting that learning comes as much from finding out what doesn”t work as using what does. Knowing that I have such a community of committed seekers as this makes the present knowledge of my future mistakes a prophecy easy to bear.
?Leo the Log, chopping away (or getting swept down the stream of consciousness, depending on which side of the bank you may be standing on!) 02/14/93
15 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????TM Forum 1/30/93
Subject: TM Forum 1/30/93
?An Open Letter to David Kantor, Bob Slagle, and other TM Forum participants:
?I never was “called” to enter a bomb shelter as part of my belief in the reality of some seemingly-inspired teaching, as many of you were in March of 1985. I followed the events of the Grimsley episode from afar, reading letters and reports, wondering what was going on. Perhaps it was fortunate I had a divorce to experience at that time, so the “end of the world” kept me rather busy trying to survive earthly forecasts, leaving little time for speculation about the other-worldly forecasts of doom and gloom I was reading about. However, as a UB reader since 1973, I had to be curious. I was, at that time, still “waiting to be informed” by Chicago, or the Fellowship, or FOG, or someone, just what it was that “we” were supposed to be doing with the UB in our lives, to make an impact, to bear fruit.
?My local study group was clueless, so all we could do was engage in duelling speculations, and begin looking at our own beliefs in and about the UB, and maybe discover some faith in each other in the process.
?One of the common themes I got from watching the line of questioners offer their opinions to the speakers was, “Watch out!” and “Who are we/they to _presume_ to be having this ”private channel” with all of these various celestial agencies,” as named in the UB. Behind this, I could not help but feel a “burned-outer than thee” ego speaking, a “more bombshelter-disillusioned than thou” endeavoring to warn and enlighten as to the “real” sequence of planetary evolution, as of course revealed in the pages of the UB itself, or as witnessed by the marvelous opportunities for theological interface with theologians who would never turn an ear to the UB precisely because of its “culty” or “occulty” odor, but who might be willing to engage in discourse with the theologically learned, the psychologically sophisticated, and/or the historically aware.
?And of course, we must not mistake these spiritual simpletons who haven”t developed their egos sufficiently to distinquish fact from fiction, for any sort of religious genius… not even _idiote savantes_ … for how many of these low-self-esteem types do we need to witness, acting as psychic sponges of every sort of “channeled message” that comes along, to see that it takes a fair amount of intellectual rigor to be able to discern.
?I was very moved by the three-month UB student who quoted the passage about how the apostles, after their 5-month training period of fishing and personal work, all (save Judas) developed this tremendous friendship for Jesus, and it was this spirit of friendship [ I think of men who have gone through combat together, or men in prison, or people in a lifeboat ] that produced the undying loyalty to Jesus, as if he were their best friend on earth, someone they would die for, and it was this friendship, more so than his noble teachings or his wondrous works, that was what produced this team of unlearned fishermen who went out and turned the world upside down, leaving the theologians and the sociologists to their writing and study.
?As a twenty-year student, I am well aware of this commonly-agreed on standard of evaluation, that of the fruits of the spirit. Perhaps that list could be expanded some to include friendship and teamwork. I can only assume that these existed to some degree amongst the various FOG members, but that the disillusionment occasioned by the disconfirmatory arrival of the forecast date with no nuclear war, such disconfirmation was of sufficient impact to destroy friendships, relationships, and teams.
?Somewhere in the UB (quick, pop up a window with Folio Views!), we are told that we are here to learn teamwork. I played a few team sports in gradeschool, but surely did not get as much of this experience, on athletic fields, as some of my classmates. I usually found it more comfortable to belong to the debate team in high school, or the band. Not quite as good as the football team, or going to combat, but you take what you get.
?I have also had some experience in more recent years with teamwork as a Little League manager and coach, and organizing a Mens” Senior Baseball League for men over 30. Through these baseball team experiences, I feel I have learned much about what it takes to make a team and keep it together when all you are playing for is supposedly the fun of the game. The fun of the game, even at the juvenile level, seems to quickly evaporate in the heat of competition, as egos and being a star/hero and winning very soon replace whatever joy there may be in playing a game well and hard, while at the same time keeping the perspective that it”s all a game, and we”re all just playing, and that there are aesthetics physical and intellectual to be enjoyed, possibly even social, which _may_ obviate the need for scorekeeping and winning and losing.
?In my earlier experience as a child being raised Roman Catholic, I was never called into a bomb-shelter as testament to my faith, but I was called every Saturday for many years into the confessional, which I suppose may be viewed as a shelter of a different sort. I know that I kept score on this count for many years after I quit the church, and having learned to play the guilt-game so well by these master teachers, I was naturally fond of luring unsuspecting Catholics between the foul lines of my intellectual “field of revenge” and totally decimating their churchly egos with my 95 mph fastballs thrown straight out of the pages of the UB.
?Instead of a private channel to divine enlightenment, my weekly visits to the confessional might have been more like an institutional channel to divine forgiveness, and I must admit that there were some Saturdays when I came out feeling “lighter” and “unburdened” just as my mother and all the good Ursulines had told me I would.
?However, no trip to the confessional could ever unburden me of this lurking sense that, because I didn”t have a psychedelic vision when I received First Holy Communion, I wasn”t really good enough to play on the Catholic team as a first-string lineman, so I had to fake it for about the next 15 years by trying to prove my worth as backup intellect.
?I got good training. The Xavierian Brothers and later the Jesuits tutored me well in what to watch out for, all the signs, pro and con, to judge and evaluate my own, and others, religious experiences.
?Then I took some psilocybin and found out that religious experiences could occur outside the church. I also found experiential verification that all frames of reference, short of the Absolute, are indeed “partial, transient, and practically adapted to local conditions in time and space.”
?The team of hippies I hung with for several years seemed an agreeable lot, not too concerned with winning or losing, in fact, not too concerned with much of anything.
?Then in 1973 I found the Urantia Book, and all of a sudden, I found myself concerned with everything, and everybody, and anybody who would listen would quickly get an earful of this concern, except the Catholics, who got shovels full, piled as quickly and as highly as I could stack it.
?Great for the heroic savior period, but still not much on teamwork.
?Somewhere along in there, Bucky Fuller started speaking to me in between the lines of his books, which I was reading in conjunction with the UB, and boy were there some psychological processes taking place! Triangles and tetrahedrons and local universes at the turn of every page, but still not much on teamwork.
?Bucky did speak of crew members, on a boat, on spaceship earth, and not having had much boat experience, this sounded rather sound — that we really are all on the same spaceship, and we”ve reached the point where we can”t afford passengers any more, and everybody”s got to do the work that needs to be done, that nobody else is doing, and not be so concerned with success that we compete over who”s way is better… If a man has a better way to do something, let him show it. The truth of his invention will speak for itself quickly in the taut economy of a ship. Either it will work, and people will use it as a superior, synergistic method/tool for doing some needy task, or it will not work well and be quickly shown up to be so.
?Too bad that our intellectual/conceptual economies do not get run as tautly as those of a ship. Somewhere again (popup window!) the UB tells us how religion, unlike science, does not get quite the same sort of perpetual intellectual/conceptual self-examination so as to insure that the inventory of religious ideas gets kept current so as to dismiss the irrelevant or outdated stock.
?Maybe if we could all have some more boat experience, this elusive teamwork wouldn”t be such a rare commodity. Who knows, we might even take a step or two toward world government. Maybe cliques and egos exist on boats too; I know they do on baseball teams, in companies, in families. I”m probably naive to think so much of this teamwork thing, but that is one of the things that Bucky dared me to dare to be.
?Maybe spaceship earth will have to get further into a lifeboat condition before this sense of crew membership arises, before real teamwork starts to manifest. I guess we shouldn”t feel so bad; even Jesus lineup had a few holes in it, for it seems the apostles began to quickly disagree over the length of the bases and how far we had to go before returning to home.
?Maybe all these experiences of disillusionment and disappointment are there to learn this elusive teamwork from, whether it be the disillusioned FOGgers in 1985 or the disappointed UFO cultists that Festinger writes about, or any of the many groups whose predictions have come and gone in the meantime.
?Maybe there are ways to learn teamwork short of the lifeboat. Maybe we can start to learn to forgive and forgive and forgive, and set off a chain reaction of fusion acceptance, such that all those little egos out there on the playing field don”t have to come in crying to the dugout, or the therapy office, when an error gets made. Maybe such a spirit of loving and forgiving teamwork can arise that these little bruised egos can make all the errors they want without hiding themselves away from the rest of their teamsters, wrapped in a sulky intellect or smashing a bat of belief against the cooler of the teams” fledgling faith…
?One thing Bucky talked about was how humans come into this world utterly naked and helpless, unlearned, and how the commonly-played games of “success” tend to reinforce this feeling of human inadequacy, incompetence, and helplessness in the face of the indomitable forces of history, big business, and organized religions. Bucky”s failure to play these games “successfully” led him to pursue a suicidal stroll into Lake Michigan in 1927, whereupon, so his story goes, he “heard a voice” which told him very clearly that “the significance of you will forever remain obscure” and “you do not belong to you,” among other nuggets of “channeled wisdom.”
?So this same new student who quoted the passage on Jesus friendship with the apostles also cited the utter confusion that that forum of UB students would present to a journalist trying to write a story about “them.” David Elders” Executive Committee Letter states a similar “fact” about the UB readership, that there are many strong, beautiful, brilliant folks amongst this group, but so far, “we” have signally failed to develop/promote any sort of “teamwork” amongst our membership that seems to last beyond the next International Conference… As a distant observer, such diversity seems an accurate description. I can testify that my own experience in forming and maintaining study groups has been less than stellar in terms of developing and promoting this spirit of teamwork that we seem to have such a hard time learning on a daily, on-the-field level. [ We can write lots of great essays and business plans for organizing and re-organizing according to the latest psychological model of “quality circles” or whatever, but when the whistle sounds and life begins on life”s factory floor, the circle of God”s children remains broken into all the various ethnic, professional, national groupings which compete still for dominance instead of excellence. ]
?However, some curious things have been happening lately, for me, and from what I hear, for others.
?It seems that communication, electronic and otherwise, had been multiplying almost geometrically in the last year or so, amongst a wide variety of folks doing a variety of spiritual seeking, in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to, those who say they are communicating with some folks up in the Owners” Box.
?Of course, there are others who are saying that the bat boys have been hired by the players union to cross the wires, and instead of talking to the folks in the Owners” Box, they are really talking to the relief pitchers out in the Bull-pen…
?But who knows. Perhaps the lure of the joy of just playing the game will set in once again, and these guys will quit pointing fingers and shaking psycho-bats at these Box-talkers, and we will all find ourselves on the field again, playing the game we love, learning to love those we play with.
?(These alleged messages from the Owners Box, at least the ones I”ve read posted on the dugout walls, don”t seem so oddball to me — play hard, talk to each other, hit it where it”s pitched, keep your eye on the ball, guard the plate, concentrate on every pitch, swing level… you know, fairly standard baseball wisdom. And the guys who are getting these messages, well, they seem like friendly enough folks — in fact, come to think of it, I haven”t seen one pointing a finger or smashing a cooler yet… maybe they really _are_ connecting to the Owners” Box???) ************
?Anyhow, one last thing that Bucky might have said, and that these Boxtalkers seem to manifest, is “have faith in each other.” With all the speculation about whether the Owner will appear on this date or that, it may become easy to forget this.
?With all the finger-pointers going around warning of presumption, ( “How dare they presume to be talking with Jesus!”) and yet oh-so-nobly finding a comfy, psychological niche for these self-deluded Boxtalkers, perhaps the joy of the game, found in realizing that you never know just where the ball is going to go on any one pitch, or in any one lifetime, may be lost.
?Bucky used to have this x-y graph with a horizontal time line showing the speed of human travel/transportation shown on the vertical. Needless to say, it was pretty flat for quite some millennia, with foot speed the maximum, followed by horses, then various boats in the 18th and 19th centuries, to the automobile and airplane in the 20th, when the curve started to actually assume some perspective in the vertical. Then along comes space travel, at 17,500 mph or so, and the curve takes a leap.
?Now, by what right, Bucky asked, do we assume that this curve is suddenly going to just flatten out in our lifetime? By what right, do we assume that we have attained the ultimate in space-time transportation at a speed of 17,500 mph? By what right do we assume that we are the end point of this curve? How can we presume that this curve is not going to go on shooting up and that we may not one day, even in our lifetime, or that of our grandchildren, achieve unheralded breakthroughs in the speed of transportation and leap into “beaming” around the earth at the speed of a radio wave?
?Of course, there are many who will cite many learned texts and many powerful theories as to why this cannot and will not ever occur, or at least not now, or in the lives of our children…. Perhaps they will be proven correct, over time. But in the meantime, given that even eagles don”t soar except on outstretched wings, this ballplayer is stretching for every pitch that”s anywhere”s _near_ the strike zone, and some of the pitches coming from these Boxtalkers may be some real knuckle balls — but there”s been a few high fat curves that are just waiting to fly over the fences of my beliefs.
?In any case, these guys seem to be having the most fun on the ballfield of any group I”ve seen come to this park in 20 years, and while their play may not be as gracious as that described in the lore of the old timers, they _are_ on the field playing, and there”s a good deal more electricity being generated there than over in the scorer”s box.
?So what kind of game these UB teams play remains to be seen. I sure hope it”s better than what I”ve seen in the last 20 years, but who am I to complain… for the first time in a long while, I”m being drawn down to actually play the game instead of sitting in the stands talking about it and reading studies and statistics….
?Maybe all these voices through all the ages have just been asking us one simple question, “do we want to play?” and from time to time, there are those whose response is unequivocal — instead of “well, maybe I”ll play, but first tell me what the rules are” or “but how much will I make?” or “where will I bat in the order” or “is this a winning team?” — from time to time there may be groups, as there are individuals, whose only answer to the call from the Owners Box is: “Put me in coach, I”m ready to play, TODAY!”
17 Feb 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????rev. criteria, teams, etc.
Subject: rev. criteria, teams, etc.
?Hi all, esp. Jeanne, don”t feel like a neophyte, your thoughts come across just like all the rest. Good to have you participating…
?Leo, I think the TM fails the test of “adding to our theological understanding”, and possibly one other as well. Not that I care much what some Ph.D. thinks should be in a “real revelation”, but I think the point is that there isn”t any such thing as a “second phase” or 1/2 step to a revelation…
?This brings up another point. Bill and Kaye Cooper in their article (Circles fall 92 I think) about the TM put a lot of weight on the UB”s assertion that “autorevelation is the work of the adjuster”, while anything promulgated by other agencies is “epochal revelation”. This means they lump all kinds of appearances in the “epochal” category, including such things as Joseph”s dream, etc. I think it is fair to say that there are some interactions between the celestial and material worlds that are *not* revelations at all.
?I”m all for teamwork, but the UB only exhorts (sp?) us to *personal* ministry. This isn”t to say that we shouldn”t leverage our individual ministerial efforts in teams, only that if it doesn”t work out all the time, not to worry about it. Personally, I have never felt a burning need to be a member of a “UB team” what ever that may mean.
?For those who do feel this need, and seem to find it fulfilled in the TM, so be it. I have no personal stake in this one way or the other. I am trying, however, to get people to distinguish between a spiritual revival (which is all to the good) and the mistaken (I believe) belief that this revival is being fostered *directly* by celestial agencies.
?As for “waiting to see what direction world events/history goes”, that”s not my problem either. I think its pretty obvious that things are falling apart all over and it is equally obvious that this is not “the time” when the spark of revelation will kick us into world government (which the Book declares is a prerequisite to world religion). Not that we couldn”t learn the appropriate lessons from what we”ve already seen (and certainly many individuals do understand these lessons), but the world/race as a whole is very stupid, self centered, and nationalistic. It is quite obvious to me that they aren”t going to get the message any time soon.
17 Feb 1993 ???Michael Million ????TM Transcripts
Subject: TM Transcripts
?Hello Everyone! We had a beautiful 12-16″ of snow here in the heart of the Ozarks…made much ”stillness” possible, even inevitable, for most of us. I was out-of-office for Monday and Tuesday; good to be back. Yes, as John Mead mentioned, we had a good exchange of ideas and concepts related to ”Angels and the Lucifer Rebellion” with our friends at the NewAge forum within CompuServe. Many thanks to John Mead and Ernest Ramsey for all their help and coordination. I hope to be able to have the urantial logfiles accumulated on a weekly basis starting soon; the list membership and the mail are both picking up and we are due for a re-structuring of our archives. I hope to see even more growth in the near future; for whatever reasons, the brother/sisterhood is growing. We are getting to know new ”old” friends. I have had the privilege of reading over transcripts stemming from the Will, Welmek, Andrew and Tarkas sessions. I am attempting to get these in ascii form so that they can be placed on WUA FTP and …… so that I will be able to mail discs containing these transcripts. My heart responds gleefully to the messages relayed. In the logical arena, I keep asking myself how humans could have possibly pulled off such a consistent and non-contradictory set of papers. It is my understanding that some of the human UB study groups *knew of* each other, but to say that the transcripts are not of celestial origin is to require that the UB study groups work in close association with each other to produce such tightly congruent messages with the intention of …?… fooling us and claiming it could be done? I just cannot fathom the motive behind such a human escapade; I cannot imagine that some person or group would not have raised their hand by now and said, “Hey, so and so tried to get us to go along with this bit of absurdity – thought you might want to know.” etc. Like the book, I find myself with these transcripts in my hand but without any plausible cause that they are of human origins…much too smart to be the shananagins of humans spread out over large geographical distances and with only the UB and planetary citizenship as ties. I personally have never met a UB reader who tried to fool me about anything remotely connected with the UB material. To have scores of readers suddenly go into a scheme to present false material of false celestial contact is more than I can accept. The transcripts, like the UB, seem to speak most eloquently for themselves. I *AM* so very glad that we can talk, even debate, their source and content on this list in the brotherly manner we have. My deepest respect for all contributors to this discussion! your brother, Michael
17 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Revelatory Teamwork?
Subject: Revelatory Teamwork?
?Recent comments have raised some interesting issues.
?Jeanne, I”m sorry if I am getting too personal here, but you are the first person I have ever met who was in that NYC blackout… and all I can remember are all the wonderful tales of acts of individual teamwork and kindness and leadership arising from ”out of the ranks” as it were, and _also_ that there was a _significant_ rise in the birth rate at NYC hospitals, nine months to the week after this blackout (?)… perhaps you could enlighten us with some tales of the former, for certainly the latter is just some spurious rumor…;)
?Matthew, I agree that the discussion of “models of revelation” can quickly become academic, so whether the Teaching Mission fits one of Dulles” or Swinburne”s models is good for divinity school, but ”on the streets”, is it going to make a difference in the lives of those who choose to participate.
?Perhaps you could offer some perspect here Matthew. It was my impression, again, as a _very_ distant neophyte observer, that the early/mid-70s FOGgers were an impressive lot (I remember being blown away by some video that I believe David Kantor had a hand in that was shown at either Chicago in ”74 or Oklahoma in ”76, thinking to myself, “Now THIS is what we are to do!”) [this was a video on the creation of the universe, the Father”s love, just a magnificently inspirational piece of film making]; yet coupled with this was a sense that they were a slightly inbred lot as well, which may have been some odd permutation of the “California culture” multiplying against the UB teachings to produce this seemingly dynamic, creative team that was to be the “leading edge” of the “Urantia Movement.”
?This leads to the next issue, that of “movements” in general, and the “Urantia movement”, as it used to be called, in particular.
?Something still remains fishy for me that Sadler would have gone to such great pains to so thoroughly _dissociate_ the Urantia Papers from any and all such earlier/other psychic mind-at-mischievings… Such that it almost shows up as though _he_ felt the Urantia Book was not “good enough” to “speak for itself” and/or “stand on its own”; for me, and for most here on this list, I would suspect that the UB does indeed stand in a category by itself in terms of the quality of its teaching, the beauty of its language, its symmetry, internal cohesiveness, how well it “fits” all those models of revelation which David Kantor listed.
?How we might choose to label these categories is where we may start to become academic, with one saying its “epochal,” another saying, “well, yes, it may be in a ”class by itself” so far as quality and cohesiveness go, but it is in the same category as many other allegedly ”revealed” or ”channeled” texts, in terms of its complexity, density, etc.”
?It now begins to occur to me that _maybe_ it is ”part of the plan” that the Urantia Book _not_ remain ”in a category by itself” as any sort of ”object of faith” but rather that it becomes precisely what it seems to be becoming, i.e., a source of ”information” for many, many conversational domains, those of the theologians and academicians and intellectuals, as well as now, perhaps, the seeming-pentecostals, the copyright-libertarians, the grow-your-ownists, as well as the watch-out-for-satanists, the change-the-churchists, the mystic-scientists, and if we here are another example, the electronophimic-exchangers.
?This is all certainly just my surmise here folks, so please take it with a block of salt; but it also occurs to me that maybe, just as Jesus had _his_ “historical tracks” swept clean by having so _many_ teachers, writers, and interpreters come after him, with some subsequent — and considerable — loss of focus of the ”original” message, so, if my contentions about learning ”teamwork” are factored in here, maybe there is some parallel with Jesus leaving no written records and relying on his human team to ”turn the world upside down” — and with the UB now losing its focus as a written work [by having its seeming-structural-integrity as a written work being seemingly ”threatened” with loss of copyright, with apparent ”pollution” from all these ”channeled” sources, with ”misleading mixings” going on with stirring the UB in the the CiM, etc.] — as if to say that it was so presented so as to insure that no institution or church _could_ arise around it, thereby _forcing_ it to become a transformative influence in the conversational domain of person-to-person exchanges.
?Here is where I see a significant distinction between the FOG/Vern Grimsley cultists (cult of the Big Ego), and the current Teaching Mission participants: this “cult” seems far more ”democratic” for want of a better term, more ”decentralized”, more ”outsourced”, more ”dispersed”, more ”multiuser” than the Family of God cultists. Certainly, Vern had his worldwide radio network, but it was still all revolving around him, so quite naturally it came to pass that he began to revolve around himself, and the rest, as they say, is history.
?I can well understand the dilemma that David Kantor phrased at the forum, that after the disconfirmatory event arrived, he was faced with such a shock that he had to decide wheterh to just chuck the whole theistic enterprise, or try to recoup and rebuild somewhere else, which he now seems to be doing quite fruitfully in his conversations with the theological community.
?However, as one who has had a teensy bit of programmer”s constipation, and as one who has sat next to what I consider to be a “master” programmer during more than one “aahhhhhhh….” experience, where the glitch, the bug, the ONE SINGLE CHARACTER in a whole page of code that was “wrong” finally presents itself as the cause of the difficulty, having felt the similar desire to just chuck the whole program because it did not fulfill my expectations, the desire to get into another line of work entirely and apply my skills in a less-seemingly-arbitrary and more ”predictable” domain…. having seen and experienced all this, I can well appreciate the fortitude required to wade back in to the same program, the same subroutine, the same damned algorithm that I _know_ SHOULD WORK but DOESN”T!… and keep looking and looking and looking…
?…. and sometimes, after walking away, and coming back to the same place, and seeing it with new eyes, the crucial distinction I was missing before becomes apparent, and then the aahhhhhh!
?So I can well understand now, with my own experience with Catholicism, how difficult it may be to approach again anything that smells anything close to what I went through before, and how I”d just as soon go to another church entirely, pursue my spiritual growth in an entirely different conversational domain. I do not say that this is what David or any of the other FOGgists are doing. I can only say that I admire greatly their tenacity and persistence in maintaining their loyalty to their own Inner Guide, after the temptation arose to give up on Guides entirely. I admire their flowering into all these other diverse gardens of service. And if they choose to feel any sort of rotten apples over their time with FOG, and/or speak some of those rotten apples at the conceptual frame of the TM, questioning its reality or authenticity or timing or definition, I think that is their privelege. For it will be by the fruitful joy and brotherhood and friendship amongst each other that the “TM Team” will distinguish itself, if it does, from all these earlier ”failed dynasties”…
?It occurred to me the other morning in thinking over someone”s post on P* about how the UB may or may not be “interfaced” with existing religions/churches, etc., that perhaps there is a function served by having one”s head batted against the wall of some suddenly halted cultish vehicle, as if at one time or another we must all gain the experience of serving as some form of evangelical crash dummy, so as to reveal those “dangerous velocities of progress” either in our own lives or those of our chosen cult. It becomes easy to see why one may end up in a position of wanting to eschew any cultic identification at all. I know I was in this space for many years. — Nonetheless, I find it still not good to be alone, and to have something/somewhere/someones to belong with and to, to feel some crewmembership with.
?I thank you all for giving me this privilege.
18 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Where”s the Synergy?
Subject: Where”s the Synergy?
?So what is the synergy here?
?Remembering Bucky F”s def of synergy as “the behavior of whole systems unpredicted by observation/analysis of component subsystems.”
?People have heard voices before, talked to burning bushes, had teleconferences with spacepeople, and made a multitude of failed prophecies.
?Let”s assume, for the sake of the conversation, that the alleged “prophecy” of some sort of “appearance” by the “Big Mach” on Mar/Apr 24 in Chicago will come and go as a bust, a no show. If something does occur and it makes the headlines, great. If it doesn”t, what do we have? Another failed cult? Another group of mystic wannabes, this time using the Urantia Book as their platform?
?Surely there will be some who will claim to have felt “a presence” that for them was “undeniably real.” And for perhaps the majority, there will be nothing to report but yet another spiritual user-interface that didn”t connect as promised. “Told you so”s” abounding.
?Is there anything that remains as new, unpredicted, synergistic?
?Well, in last night”s conversation with Bob Buselli of the Welmek group in Indianapolis, who now describes himself as a “DT” (doubting Thomas) who remains open to an appearance, open to the possibility that this is all real, but also now openly doubting some of what he has been experiencing, he gave me a clue as to what the synergy might be.
?Last July, he says, his meditation was far from daily, and his conversations with fellow study group members far from regular. This will not change for him, regardless of what happens on April 24. Echoing these sentiments, I have to say that last July, I had not met all the _scores_ of wonderful fellow seekers whom I have now met and conversed with out there at the other end of my fingertips; my Urantia/spiritual conversations were sporadic at best, and my conceptual database had not received much new input/information/wisdom in months, if not years.
?The amount or quality of such input/stimulation occasioned for me personally by my rapid involvement here in netland I do not wish to posit as anything more than anecdotal evidence of what synergy has been occurring — I had had a computer system in my home since 1984, and had conversed on bbses before, and had had UB conversations for 20 years.
?What I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen of the planetary networld, as “objective” evidence of synergy is the “simple” existence of this networld in the first place, which did _not_, to near the degree it now does, even exist 10 years ago, or at least not in the readily accessible format it does now. I expect that some will disagree that this seemingly new networld is simply a difference of degree but not of kind, to which I would reply that a difference of sufficient degree _becomes_ a difference of kind. The number of PC”s extant, with modems, etc. then and now I would submit as “factual proof” of the synergy I have felt occurring in my own personal ways, as if feeling drawn to play on some larger field. This feeling for me personally was triggered 20 years ago when I first began to read the UB, and now that I”ve stepped inside the virtual stadium for a few innings, I can”t go home to bi-weekly bookish study groups again.
?So whatever happens as regards the appearance or non-appearance of Machiventa M. or whoever whenever, what the Teaching Mission has made very vivid for me in the last year of my growing awareness of it, is the possibility of a type of spiritual interface that is as user-definable and as readily available as a PC, and as world-opening as these nets are.
?The TM (“Pentecostal” if you will) type of spiritual interface will certainly not be to everyone”s taste, any more than everyone will prefer to use a word processor instead of a typewriter. Indeed, there will be many who will be just as comfortable to remain totally devoid of personal use of computers and microprocessor-driven technology in their lives, as there are those for whom “the Truth” will remain forever bound within the pages of the Bible, or the Koran, or the Urantia Book.
?But for those who may wish to play a “new game” the planetary networld opens a whole new domain of possibility that did not exist a decade ago and was not predictable from observation of prior telecommunicational evolution.
?So, do I hear a precessional chorus of ” ]]]]] NOT!!! [[[[[ ” coming from certain quarters? OK, lay it on me, I”m just a naive techno-homeboy, who don”t know nets from nuts! (g)…
?Whatever the “net” result of the Teaching Mission may be on/in the “Urantia Movement,” whether there is created a sustainable network/team of reader- believers who practice channeling (oops, sorry, T/R-ing) as part of their local group rituals, or whether they become discredited by one or a series of failed predictions, the key “fruit factor” which I will keep a keen nose out for is whether “they” continue to charge themselves, and the rest of the Urantia readership, with the simple but effective task of seeking daily conversation with those Higher Forces, whose conversations and wisdom they may or may not choose to transmit to their fellows as they receive it via whatever interface feels/seems most appropriate to the enduser community.
18 Feb 1993 ???Michael Million ????Truth and its Seekers
Subject: Truth and its Seekers
?Greetings All! I would like to post a short excerpt from the ”Tarkas” transcripts which were indited by a Cincinnati, Ohio UB study group. It is pertinent to our recent conversations and gives a hint of the tone and quality of the Tarkas ”communications.” yours, Michael PS: I would be glad to send hardcopies (all I have so far) of these and any other trancripts to those interested enough to request them. ———————————————————————– Transcript of 12/18/92 TARKAS Transmission from Tarkas is in Italics [MM: Since ascii cannot support italics, all quotes from Tarkas will be placed within asterisks *…text…*]
?————first few paragraphs deleted——————————- Many of us, Tarkas, have been studying The URANTIA Book, and also The Course in Miracles, and we find that many of the points that you listed in your introduction, we wish to obtain and gain in spiritual growth, are contained in these books also. Do you have anything in particular that you would like to tell us this evening about either one of these two revelations?
?TARKAS: *What is important is that you are a seeker of truth. I will say that the text of The URANTIA Book is the most advanced teaching that you have on this planet and is the most complete teaching, but yet, how could the truth be all contained in one book? There is truth in The Course. There is truth in many books. There is truth in many people. Everyday is an opportunity to seek a greater understanding of truth. There is little value in worrying about the source or what particular avenue the truth comes from, whether it is from The URANTIA Book or The Course, or the Bible, or whatever source. What is impor- tant is that you seek to understand what is true. What is also important is that you do not limit yourselves in your opportunities to seek truth. If someone were to think that all truth were contained in The URANTIA Book, they would be very limited in their understanding, and so it is with The Course, and so it is with any book or any person. You may meet a stranger tomorrow, and if you engage in conversation, you might find that person says something that rings very true to your heart and your soul. My point is; never put any boundaries or any limitations, open yourself always to truth, no matter where it might come from. If you find some differences in some of the ideas, put them on a shelf in your mind, and do not let them become barriers, for you will find that the truth, the real truth, will be the same, no matter what source you find it.*
19 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Intellectual Heartegrity
Subject: Intellectual Heartegrity
?I have been thinking of a statement or two that David Kantor and others made at the TM forum, something about how we bear a responsibility for the ideas we introduce into a conversation, presumably also the words we use to convey those ideas, and, even more, the types of expectations those ideas or words may engender in the receivers.
?I am wondering if it is a fair comparison to say that this is similar to a theory of communication that would place responsibility with the sender of a signal for the “successful” reception of a signal by the listener?
?(I have often wrestled with this “burden of successful communication” conundrum — with whom does the “burden” lie for this “successful reception”, the sender, the receiver, or whoever may be in charge of minimizing the “noise” in the sending media? — Depending on how one answers this type of question, one can come up with a lot of different theories of morality as well as theories of effective communication.)
?So, if I “got” David”s drift, he was saying that all of us, but especially in this case those in the TM “cult”, bore specific responsibility for whatever ideas or associations that “they”, the senders of these ideas, were introducing into their specific study/reader-group communities, as well as into the larger community of UB readers.
?What seemed so galling/presumptuous to David, and perhaps he will join us soon as I have forwarded some of our recent postings to him snailmail, was not the messages of spiritual upliftment, the messages to communicate daily with the Father fragment within, support one another, be of service, etc., but the specific association of “Big Name” Urantia personalities as the senders/sources of these messages, which association, David and others have perhaps felt, may be dangerously misleading to some whose ability to believe-without-seeing or believe-without-hearing might be at some fragile stage of development, much as a child to whom one might make false promises that one cannot/does not later fulfill (as I once did to a child whose mother I was “seriously dating” but whom I did not, as once foreseen, later marry.)
?These desires to protect and nourish I see as sincere expressions of love and concern, especially when they come, as they seem to be coming, from folks who seem to have been through experiences which seem very similar in origin and nature, as the FOG folk seem to have been. Whether these experiences of one or more individuals claiming to “speak” for one or more celestial personalities of UB designation to a group of UB students, whether these experiences prove similar in destiny remain to be seen. But I think it is well to recognize the space from which these “watch out” messages are coming, which I now see as coming from much more of a space of caring concern, lest others fall into the same traps, than from some state of ontological superiority, as if these ex-FOGgers were somehow “better” determiners of “what is real” for having gone through their disillusionment with Vern, than were the rest of the sincerely-seeking readers who may now, in their estimation, be deluding themselves by believing in the “reality” of the Teaching Mission as being fostered, literally, by Machiventa Melchizedek and other celestial personalities.
?And we are told, somewhere, (again — quick! — pop up a query window!) that the key to cosmic progress, to our growth as spirit-seeking material-origin beings, is sincerity, sincerity, and more sincerity.
?I have no doubts, upon further reflection, as to the sincerity of either “side” in this issue of the “reality” of the Teaching Mission. One side sincerely believes that they are experiencing communication on a self- selected basis, the plan for which communication is Michael-generated and Melchizedek-operated for the more rapid spiritual upliftment of our benighted planet as the circuits of spiritual and other communication are reopened following the adjudication of the Lucifer rebellion. — The other side just as sincerely believes that the followers of the Teaching Mission are sincerely-deluded by the desires of their own mind, their own ego, to finally, after long years of waiting, be participating in a plan which, tho couched in Urantia Book terminology, is totally contradicted by the teachings and statements and perspectives provided in the UB itself, as they (the skeptics) sincerely interpret them.
?As I endeavored to elaborate from my conversation with Bob Buselli, the question of “what is real” is ultimately answered individually, tested socially, and revealed divinely. These are positively the most exciting of times I could think to be alive on this planet, for precisely the drama unfolding in these conversations.
?How we love each other, whatever our “reasons” or “inspiration” for doing so, will ultimately, imo, determine whether we “turn the world upside down” with the infectious inflections of our deft deflections of dreary and humdrum fear-driven and historically-conditioned ways of being, into somethin “new and different” that the planet has not seen before on such a scale, that of individuals consciously choosing to have faith in each other as being fellow crewmembers on the same spaceship, regardless of religious practice or intellectual belief about the nature of Deity, and how/when/and where that Deity may or may not choose to communicate through all the noise of human fear and forgetfulness.
?My special feel of being drawn to communicate in this system is a function of my perception of it as being something absolutely new on the face of this planet, at least on the “material”/speed-of-light level, and that is as a totally new, “instantaneous”, and globe-spanning conversational ballpark. It has been built, and we/they are coming, out of the cornfields and offices of everywhere from Iowa to Iona; from Paris, Kentucky to Paris, France, folks are informing each other of “levels of reality” that is at least providing some basis for, imo, a type of group/team wisdom-synergy to develop, and this _is_ a circuit that has not been before.
?Whether these other alleged celestial circuits are “in fact” being re-opened, may we each in our own way find ways of bearing all the fruitful communication we are capable of, using even this “verifiable” channel, regardless of whatever other more questionable channels with which we may choose to associate.
?It remains a humbling privelege to be able to participate in such a rigorous examination of reality as these events, and this forum, are providing.
?Leo (really here!) Elliott 02/19/93
19 Feb 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????just a few observations
Subject: just a few observations
?Well the prose is lovely I admit (though not all of it), but I”ve seen inspired prose from people before, people who couldn”t write but suddenly became poets thanks to some profound emotional or intellectual change. It also gets better (mostly) as each set of transcripts proceeds from beginning to end, something that attests to the sincerity of the believers, but not necessarily to the veracity of their belief.
?I am also now suspicious of the editing involved in converting the tapes to printed transcripts. The TM session I heard was full of broken and incomplete sentences. Take this material and do a little editing (not for content, just syntax), and it suddenly becomes profound prose.
?I”ve gotten into a book Leo sent me (When Prophecy Fails), but I”m not sure its lesson applies well to the TM. I think the TM advocates could always fall back on their “TM mechanism” and say that these are not dictations, but interpretations of communications on the part of the teachers by the TRs. This being the case, a prediction that M. M. will appear in Chicago on Apr. 28 (I believe) might just be some human dross added to the communication stream. One might ask why such “bad interpretations” aren”t immediately corrected? Are we to believe that we will be allowed to take the dross with the pearls and just leave it at that? A promised appearance of Gabriel never happened, and was “explained away” in the Tallahassee transcripts “He was busy…” So?? He couldn”t send a representative?
?As for the “synergy”, more worship and prayer are all to the good, more social and spiritual activity on the part of believers also is good of course… Perhaps this explains what is happening… One person (in NZ or Utah) slips over the edge just a bit and becomes the first TR. Those waiting for something like this, something to grab hold of and believe in (besides the cold, intellectual realities of the UB), begin themselves to worship and pray more (nothing wrong with that). But for every 500 or so who begin to work harder at their spiritual development (internally anyway) 1 more slips just over the edge and becomes another TR.
?I also wonder about the link between the TM and CIM… There have always been a growing number of individuals who have tried to reconcile both (by the way Leo, the UB tells us that it is “inevitable” that the truths of a new revelation will become admixed and adjusted to the cultural/religious stream of their time. I”ll find you a quote). I have read only a part of the CIM, but it seemed to me obviously incompatible with the UB (not in its fundamental spiritual message, but in all its details). How many of the believers (and especially the TRs) are into the CIM? Perhaps this grasp for “celestial deliverance” was triggered by the largly “magical” nature of the CIM?
?Finally, I sent a FAX to Jacques Vallee (called Eurolink Intl. in San Bruno and confirmed that this was indeed his office, then got a fax number). That was one week ago today. I have not heard from him…
20 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Teamwork & Leadership
Subject: Teamwork & Leadership Matthew, your points about the editing of the transcripts makes me think about some of the things McKenna said about humans as vehicles for language, as if the speaking of the language (of God) was what we were about, and the syntactical expressing of meaning, learning how to express meaning into our various conversational domains, how this may be another way of “doing good as we pass by” which may at times be viewed as “doing the Lord”s will..” (?)
?Also Matthew, my impressions of the “When Prophecy Fails” story of the UFO cultists was that they might possibly be more closely compared to the FOGgers than the TMmers — fair or not???
?I would hope we would hear from Dr. Vallee, as I hope we may be joined by David Kantor and/or Dan Massey. In the meantime, I am happy to announce that Blue Ranger Jim McNelly, whose work some of you may have seen via the BOML or elsewhere, may soon be joining us via an Internet address at firstname.lastname@example.org
?I think you will see in the following post from today”s Prodigy board that Jim”s fragrance is as alluring as his wisdom is sound.
?Matthew, your hypothesis of the 500 harder workers to the one “slipping over the edge” reminds me of the (now debunked?) “100th Monkey” hypothesis.
?I am not sure how many of the TRs nationwide, or as groups, are studying both the UB and the CIM… apparently a fair number in Cincinnati, according to my own visits there and in conversations with Ted Blaney, and also in Texas, according to conversations with Nancy Johnson. I would suspect a much larger “admixture” since I recall seeing the CIM mentioned in the registration form for the Montreal conference as one possibility for a “specialty group” for special-interest workshops to be presented. I remember Nancy telling me when she gave her first paper on the CIM/UB relation (at Snowmass in ”90?) that she thought there might be a few and when they gave her a room for 70 she thought that was overkill… turns out the folks were sitting in the aisles! — Certainly, it seems a different “voice” speaking in the CIM, and the presentation being extremely psycho-spiritual is definitely much more psychologically-oriented than the more expository prose of the UB, viewing them here just as literary works. And their respective metaphysical suppositions may at first seem drastically different, but I find that the Jesus I feel coming across in the CIM is just the type of loving “elder brother” I have read about in the UB, only now in the CIM instead of reading about Jesus and hearing the “restatements” updated for the 1934-35 linguistic era, I read Jesus speaking directly to me in rather sophisticated psychological frames, and being “relentlessly gentle” in his call to the daily and perpetual practice of forgiveness as an earth-changing activity.
?I am not sure that an agnostic or atheistic, or let”s just say “impartial” first-time reader, say a literary critic or a ”literary archaeologist”, upon reading both works and investigating their alleged origination, would find one work any more or less “magical” than the other; but perhaps you refer to the more gnostic metaphysics contained in the Course?
?Enjoying the teamwork,
20 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????McNelly on Melchizidek
Subject: McNelly on Melchizidek
?The following is uploaded from the Religion/Other/Urantia Book section of Prodigy (r) Interactive Personal Service (02/19/93)
?FROM: MARTIN PATTON (CHRB25A) TO: ALL
?My name is Martin and I attended my first URANTIA meeting last week. I”ve ordered the book, but it will take three weeks to get here. I”m interested in a number of things; How was URANTIA introduced to you? Does the apparition forcasted for April 24 have meaning and how do we verify the accuracy of the different channels? Discernment of Spirit has always been important to me, because of the real possibility that individuals will and they can be exploited by a dark side? These questions are to help me understand Christ Jesus/Michael”s part in this. For the last four years the term “You are a priest forever by the Order of Milchizadec!” has been in my meditations daily and I”ve seem to have found the source. If any would care to share I”d be most open…
?FROM: JIM MCNELLY (HFBB22A) TO; MARTIN PATTON (CHRB25A)
?Hi Martin, and welcome to the “Monitor Study Group”. There are numerous ways to reply to your inquiry; if you will, let me wear three hats; one representing what I would consider the “official” position of the Urantia organizations. The second is the position of the “teaching mission” followers, and the third is my own interpretations of the internalization of these issues. First, the party line as it MIGHT be presented by the “old guard”. They would suggest that you read and study the Urantia Book without distraction or undue outside influence. The Book stands on its own and answers questions as you read it. There is no affiliation of Urantia Book readers with any “interpretation” church, belief, or cult. Each individual is encouraged to come to their own conclusions. There is no additional baggage that must be accepted that is “attached” to the Urantia Book.
?Secondly, the teaching mission would suggest that each person seek in their own heart the truth of the “phenomenonanonanon” associated with the various manifestations of individual pronouncements. The teachings of one group are largely for that particular group, but hopefully anyone can benefit from listening or reading the messages of other groups. If you seek for guidance on any matter of the spirit, you need only ask. There is a vast host of spiritual beings and agencies ready to assist anyone who sincerely seeks for enlightenment and guidance. Did not the Master himself say, Seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened? The kingdom of heaven is neither bread or water, here nor there. The Kingdom is within.
?As far as my personal observations, I am indifferent to the appearance of nonappearance of spirit beings. I am about the work of doing the Father”s will as best I can and there is great work ahead of us helping to bring the world to understand more of Love and Truth. If spirit beings are here to help, then great. But I will continue with my work without the need for signs miracles. If cosmic helpers offer their help, fine. We need all the help we can get. If they give advice, I wlll take it under advisement as I would any good counsel. No man or being commands my spiritual loyalty due to their supposed status. My loyalty is focused on Jesus and I worship only the Father who is in heaven. For myself, I have volunteered to be of service in the “order of Melchizedek” whatever that may mean. But this level of commitment to be a disciple, rather than a believer or an apostle, is a choice I make for myself and do not think it should have any significant bearing on other believers. If Melchizedek should actually appear in a physical form as many believe, then fine. I hope that it has an effect other than interesting theater. As far as I am concerned, I am looking forward to more dedicated earth workers, and if a physical manifestation may get some people off their spiritual duffs, and if such a manifestation is not out of harmony with the Father”s will, then I hope it is true. If there is no manifestation on a particular day, it will not phase me one bit.
20 Feb 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????teamwork and 100 monkeys
Subject: teamwork and 100 monkeys
?>…let”s just say “impartial” first-time reader… upon reading both >works and investigating their alleged origination, would find one work >any more or less “magical” than the other; but perhaps you refer to the >more gnostic metaphysics contained in the Course?
?Sorry, I was more adept at these distinctions 10 & 15 years ago… When I said ”details” I meant its general viewpoint, and Gnosticism says it very nicely. Actually, CIM might be viewed as a nice attempt to harmonize Gnosticism and mysticism in personal experience, where the UB harmonizes physics and spirit. The UB does, specifically reject both Gnosticism and mysticism. I believe that is the root of my feeling of incompatibility between the UB and the CIM.
?>Also Matthew, my impressions of the “When Prophecy Fails” story of the >UFO cultists was that they might possibly be more closely compared to >the FOGgers than the TMmers — fair or not???
?Yes, except the FOGers are a counter example to the primary thesis of the book. In their case, the occurence of the disconfirmation caused an immediate collapse of the organization… The book Leo mentions (for the others here) posits (and observes) that cults become “more zealos” in their proselytism, at least for a while, following the failure of a significant “prediction” upon which the cult was founded. In the case of Vern, this condition (a specific prediction) is met. In the case of the TM, the phenomenon really isn”t formed around specific predictions. These seem to be peripheral to the thrust of the whole.
?>One of the most important lessons to be learned during your mortal >career is teamwork.
?Good quotes (this and others you select), and makes its point. But I want to point out that none of the three quotes you select, nor the testimony of your own experience suggests that this teamwork we learn and practice (the more the better of course) must necessarily involve our spiritual lives. Not that this isn”t desirable, but that it isn”t something we are impelled to seek out to the same degree that we are asked repeatedly to practice our personal ministry “as we pass by” so to speak… Of course the desire to practice teamwork in the spiritual facets of our lives is a natural one, but not, I think at the expense of our intellectual integrity (I realize the TM people don”t see it quite that way :-)).
?>Matthew, your hypothesis of the 500 harder workers to the one “slipping >over the edge” reminds me of the (now debunked?) “100th Monkey” >hypothesis.
?OK, That”s the second time I”ve seen a reference to the “100th monkey hypothesis”, can you give me a capsule summary?
21 Feb 1993 ???Byron Belitsos ?????Online union of souls
Subject: Online union of souls
?Dear brothers (and how ”bout some sisters):
?Long have I contemplated coming on line more actively. Yes, I have been “lurking”, as Leo implied, waiting for the right opening. Some of the memes you have implanted here have replicated in my thought processes, inevitably appearing elsewhere and in other media and not sourced to you, my fellow online Droogs. But the plain ole telephone and the eye-ball to eye-ball meeting (I travel a lot on business) remain my preference by far (at least until now). My situation is a good case study as to why the online movement has not become more pervasive. I have been involved in the telecom business for almost 10 years, mainly as a journalist and consultant, and as Matthew knows, I have even published articles on computer conferencing, “groupware”, and e-mail plus a book chapter covering the subject. I used e-mail in many business situations where it had undeniable usefulness. But I have participated little myself in the public online movement. The reasons are many and mainly have to do with personal preferences, mixed with inertia and lazyness, mixed with the limited usefulness of the contents of many forums I have seen. (Let”s add a case of information overload to boot.) Further, the rewards of information exchange, in an impersonal context in which mere text is exchanged, have not always outweighed the costs in money and time, at least in my limited forays, and given my personal preference for older media. As an information junky like many of you, I have done well without it, may I say. But as I look over the accumulated text in this forum, the scales have become tipped. I see an alive and dynamic online community evolving, although it needs more balance in terms of the demographics of the participants (something aside from white, middle-class, middle-aged, computer-fluent American men), less lengthy postings, and less emphasis on philosophic analysis, in my humble view, my beloved onliners. Let me be blunt: I see a tremendous opportunity here to coordinate with those involved with the Teaching Mission, and, as a secondary goal, to test out ideas of my own about the TM and many related and unrelated subjects of interest to the Urantia community. I also see service possibilities, for myself and my new business, that are outside this Urantial forum — but more on this later. In any case, I have taken the time in the last week, and have learned to my delight that the user interface for CompuServe (Information Manager for Mac users) is brilliantly conceived and a delight to use, now that I have really scoured the user manual. If this can be true for me, it can be true for others in the far-flung Urantia community who are not yet participating, but who have the necessary hardware/software to join us. I hope to see an expansion in our ranks of electronaphim; I see many possibilities; I see screaming memes replicating out of control; I see a medium that permits unmatched freedom of ASCII expression and “assembly” in cyberspace, but yet requires, to use a Clinton/Gore term, “personal responsibility”, or better, accountability (your messages are archived and are retrievable by any participants, and are of record for the community); I see oppressive information hierarchies made obsolete; I may even have a reduced phone bill, which would be a real change of lifestyle. Perhaps the online movement is rather like the Urantia movement: there is a self-appointed elite that has cornered its many-splendored resources, has become rather in-grown and myopic, and does not yet understand how to include the rest of the befuddled masses who might just crowd out the special insiders if they were let in on the “secret”. Perhaps the online medium needs its own “teaching mission”. BB
21 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Soul Teamwork?
Subject: Soul Teamwork?
?Hello Matthew, Byron, all…
?Three inches of snow here, and a pause for some stillness…
?Mathew, the Hundredth Monkey phenomenon refers in a nutshell to the accumulation of a “critical mass of consciousness” within a given species, in this case isolated island monkeys of the Pacific, such that, when a certain “learning” has occurred amongst a given number of a population, then at that point, this “learned behavior” will somehow be transmitted to other populations, where said behavior will begin to _suddenly_ appear. A good ref is No. 52, the Fall 1986 issue of the Whole Earth Review, which I will make some copies of for you and whoever else may be interested.
?The “learned behavior” in this case refers to the washing of potatoes, left by the anthropologists, to remove the sand. At first only one did this, but it apparenly caught on rather quickly (mimicry?) and then supposedly this behavior began to appear on other islands as well. It was originally propounded by Lyall Watson, who gets debunked and rebuts in this article.
?It at least raises a similar question to that which the Transcendental Meditation people used to raise, that if a given percentage (1%) of the population of a given area began to medidtate, that you would then see such things as a reduction in the crime rate, etc. Perhaps there are some OLD-VERSION TM-mers out there who would be better able to comment?
?And if I get your implication Matthew, that the teamwork we are here to learn and practice, need not “necessarily” involve our spiritual lives… I suppose we are at liberty to keep our spiritual practice private, but it is hard for me to imagine how I would do so, except for these aforementioned practices of prayer, meditation, and worship…. I have always tended to view prayer and meditation as “by definition” more private/solo experiences, for me, recognizing that there are many traditions (such as Zen) for which group meditation is quite common (?), and have tended to view worship as more of a group experience of giving thanks… these are just my personal views here folks, which bear some relation to information received from the UB and a lot of relation to the practices of same I was raised with in Roman Catholicism of the 1950s.
?I don”t wish to spoil the ending for anyone, but if I recall correctly, there were at least one or two of the disconfirmed UFO cult who basically went on/carried on with their lives still “transformed” by the experience, (the dominant male, if I recall) feeling that their lifework was still to involve the spread of some messages from spacepeople, but that he would in the future just have to be more careful with predictions and prophecy. -? It would be interesting to see what transpired for this man in the subsequent decades. There were many who threw the baby out with the bath, apparently, saying they felt duped by their own desire, and would have no more to do with such groups, and retreated into the woodwork. And a few, who steered some middle course. It would seem to me that, as useful and illuminating as such a study might be, that the most revealing aspect of such studies has yet to be written, and this has to do with the after-effects of such disillusionment in the lives of the individual believer(s). There are individual tales written by individual “survivors”, one of which I remember referencing from a last-winter issue of New Age Journal by a woman who had been with the Rajneeshis, but as far as I know, no large scale social study of same, unless of course we wish to consider the accumulated history of Christianity!
?Byron, my fellow Droog, I sympathize with info overload, and yet I would submit that, depending on the listening and speaking going on in a particular forum, that there is a possibility for far more than an “impersonal context in which mere text is exchanged”… at least, so I have felt here, on more than one occasion. I cannot apologize for being a white, middle-aged, computer-fluent, American male, for this is wherefrom I speak.
?And might I suggest that there may even be a “higher purpose” involved in the ideological commerce surrounding these infoases than even the coordination of the Teaching Mission? Perhaps the propagation of these “screamimg memes” you mention — could you give us a few more examples, for methinks that the above-mentioned “Hundredth Monkey” theory may qualify?
?Totally seconded is you notion of “unmatched freedom of ASCII expression” and “cyberspace assembly”; yet I suspect that while “oppressive” information hierarchies may tend to “become invisible” to the user of average fluency, that there will remain an info-elite, such as those who set up and maintain these marvelous nets where “the rest of us” simply stop to water our camels… the key distinction, as I see it Byron, Matthew, Michael, and John, and all the rest whose acronymic acrobatic skills in navigating from Internet to USENET to BITNET to Econet to Peacenet to … UBnet ? … is that those who know-how and have the willingness will indeed become to first to avail themselves of these “many-splendored resources” — yet, and here is the key, without becoming myopic or exclusionary about their use.
?In other words, it does seem to me that there _is_ a critical mass of “information” out there/here and available to growing numbers whose hunger for higher quality info will lead them to/through any one of these gateways to eventually, perhaps, read some of these old logs. How this info may be composted into wisdom, to bear fruit for all who may pass by, this seems to me to be a valid measure of our utility to our fellows.
21 Feb 1993 ???Matthew Rapaport ?????????????teams and the religious life
Subject: teams and the religious life
?>Mathew, the Hundredth Monkey phenomenon refers in a nutshell to the >accumulation of a “critical mass of consciousness” within a given species,
?Thanks for the summary, but I was referring more to something like a well known statistical principle, for every X people engaged in some practice some sub-set Y will exhibit behavioral variations outside the normal range for group X. As group X becomes larger, the number of individuals exhibiting the variations present in Y will also grow.
?>And if I get your implication Matthew, that the teamwork we are here to >learn and practice, need not “necessarily” involve our spiritual lives…
?Well let me clarify. If I understand the UB, then everything we do that enhances our character on earth (our teamwork, individual acts of kindness, etc.) contributes to our soul growth and spiritual mettle. So in that sense, our whole life is infused by our “spiritual side”, I did not mean to suggest that they were entirely separate. What I meant was that while the UB suggests that religious community (and presumably explicit spiritual teamwork) is a natural and inevitable consequence of the individual discovery of relationship with the Father, it does not DEMAND of us that we participate in such community, or that we should seek artificially to assemble such just because it is in general desirable.
?What is desirable is that such a community emerge out of real spiritual activity on the part of individuals who then assemble to share and reinforce (leverage) the experiences of the individuals in the process of group communion. The TM satisfies a part of this requirement, that is that it has arisen spontaneously around a significant core of genuine spiritual teaching (the UB). Like Christianity, however, one part of its foundation is false (or may be false, that is the issue here with the TM right now), and this will, perforce, result in a distorted growth. We see this now in the constant emphasis on the teachers, a concerted effort to establish (without any corroboration) their authority, and the individual obsession with getting help with personal problems, and their own “spiritual names”. Don”t get me wrong, I”m not suggesting the whole TM is focused on becoming a celestial Ann Landers column, or a new kind of Name Server, only pointing out that these seemingly incessant demands upon it signify the distortion imposed on what is otherwise supposed to be a spiritual mission to the world…
?Nice to hear from you finaly Byron… I point out that there is quite a long history and value to philosophic discourse through correspondence. This medium advances the speed and distribution of such a discourse, but not the basic purpose and value. If this becomes predominantly a device for TM advocacy by dint of peer pressure so be it (though I won”t stay a part in it). But if we by fiat declare it to have such a spiritual/political purpose, then I will be gone immediately!
22 Feb 1993 ???David H. Larsen ???The UB, sychronicity and femin
Subject: The UB, sychronicity and feminism
?I”ve been listening with pleasure to the chatter over the URANTIAL network for the past few days. Hearing so many searching souls wondering about the medium, but very clear about the message; that our destiny, ie., humanity”s destiny, tied as it is to God”s plan for settlement in light, life and beyond, is about to take a giant leap into the uncertain future. And this certain inner voice speaks with smooth authority, “fear not, all will be well.”
?When I think about the discussions we”ve followed over the past few weeks, concerning the TM, and recalling the worisome experiences of some; ie, the FOG folks, and those others who have had some sort of phrophecy failure, (mine came at age ten, in 1956, when a new kid in the neighborhood convinced me he was the Crown Prince of Hungary – imagine my disappointment), I think about the departings Christ”s description of that future time, for which we”ve been waiting ever since. He spoke of a time when many voices would claim to speak for God. And this we have in abundance. The UB, the TM, CIM, something called Oahaspe, sort of a flying saucer bible, not to mention the charismatic revolution, the televangelists, and so on. Whatever all the cacaphony tells us, it tells us clearly that we have arrived in interesting times. That the UB is an accurate description of all the worlds beyond this one, is something which I have come to accept on faith. Like some, I am frightened by the news of the TM movement, when my fear of another failed phrophecy looms. But then I hear of crop circles in England, so enormous, and so carefully done that hoax is ruled out, and I am left with – what? Another phantom to fear. Something else to believe, something else to lose, when the next convincing government scientist says, sorry, it was only swamp gas.
?And yet, why fear anything? Wasn”t this the message of the death on the cross, in this world of the cross? That death is easily overcome, so give up fear of death, and all the aspiritualism and materialism and scientificism it inspires, and instead focus on ethical living in the present.
?So I propose to lose my fear of revelation, whatever form it takes, and to acknowledge, that if God can cause a book to be written, s/he can cause a pictograph to form in a ryefield, and much in between. If I can feel the energy of the circuits, and I know that they have been turned on, then my only task remaining is to turn from study to action, to identify the work in the world which I can and must perform, and get on with my mission to perform my work according to God”s will.
?This leads to some thoughts on synchronicity and feminism. The women”s movement began with drives against slavery and for temperance in the nineteenth century, and evolved into the sufferage movement and the (19th?) amendment in the twenties, giving women the vote. Followed in the forties and fifties by the right to work movement, the right to lead movement and the right to personal and sexual freedom in the seventies, eighties and nineties.
?Most importantly, by the right to live without violence; which is where I came in. In 1980 I began my apprenticeship in the clinical treatment of domestically violent men, and have continued in this trade since. This experience has compelled me to think at great length, about the irony of human violence which seeks to imprison others, but which is destined to truly imprison only the perpetrator. In treatment, allowing those we love to choose freely rather than compelling choice through threat and intimidation, brings freedom and spiritual growth. When men in treatment realize the truth about basing their lives on violence, and begin to realize the potential improvement likely to result from choosing to live without violence, they remove the barrier to spiritual development placed upon themselves and on those family members victimized.
?The clinical treatment of family violence was motivated historically by the women”s movement, and it has achieved a great deal; a movement to treat family violence is now well-developed. The women”s movement itself, as it evolves, seems to add features which allow it to adapt to an empowered existence. A number of feminists have become increasingly involved in spiritual movements, including native americanism, witchcraft, etc. Recently, the movement is experiencing the rebirth of goddessism, which seems to be a very powerful expression of feminist self-esteem. That this era of feminist spiritual development coincides with the 1934-55 era of the UB, is obviously no coincidence. But I can”t help but notice that the tradition of male dominance which controls the Christian church, also influences certain aspects of the UB “church” including both the Urantia Foundation, through the literature it produces, which is heavily laden with a male-pronoun message, and our less formal electrophim movement here on the Internet, which while always welcoming to the new reader, has not done enough, including yers truely, to take responsibility for removal of any taint of Paulism, and to welcome women as the essential components to the process that they are.
?The few times I have noticed a posting from a woman, the difference in style has been striking. A more pronounced focus on action in the world, less on theology. This quality has the potential to enrich the discussion on the board, and to facilitate the creation of the team, that some of us have discussed, through the introduction of positive energy bound to the needs of all people on the planet who are suffering.
?With this as the hoped-for outcome, I speak of my concern for the continued alienation of many women from the spiritual experience to be found through a study of Christ Michael”s life in the flesh, which has been caused by the influence of Paul on the history of the Church. As I understand it from the UB, Paul adapted the teachings of Jesus to the times, to make them more acceptable to the patriarchs of old, and that in the process, Paul did considerable damage to the teachings of Jesus regarding the status of women. As careful readers know, the UB speaks clearly of the status of feminine spiritual power in the universe. We see that a feminine power which is subordinate to Michael only by choice, is essential to the formation of certain beings in the local universe. The co-equal role of Adam and Eve during the sojurn in the garden, and the status of women in the entourage of Christ Michael during the life in the flesh, all attest to the clear message for women. That the patricharical entitlement which has enjoyed such authority in the heirarchy of the church throughout history, and continues to frustrate the efforts of women to worship God on a co-equal standing with men, was a mistake of history. The message of the UB, that no planet ever evolved into light and life without first abandoning the barbaric subjugation of one gender by the other, is one which careful readers have noticed as one of the many features which simply by revealing the truth about our own past history, makes our most cherished religious traditions more completely available to us, by removing the blemishes created by human ignorance.
?The essential spiritual problem it seems to me, to which we need to devote significant effort, is the removal of the barrier between the spiritual growth of women and the power of the UB, which has been placed there by the Pauline tradition of intolerence for the rights of women.
?I”d appreciate some feedback from you”all. I”ve learned a great deal about the UB, and about the presence of spiritual energy in the world, from the people on this list, and I”d like to hear from you on this.
?Pray for Peace; Work for Non-Violence…
22 Feb 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Spiritual Balancing
Subject: Spiritual Balancing
?Hello David and Matthew, and fellow Urantials,
?David, thank you so much for opening a very rich vein. I have in my own life wrestled with some of these issues, on a very personal basis. My first wife was/is a very strong feminist, and through her I was exposed to much of the more strident political rhetoric, which I at first endorsed (to be a good hubby!) then questioned and rejected, and now more recently have begun to accept on a much deeper, even mythological level of understanding — I would refer any/all to the works of Jean Shinoda Bolen (“Gods/Goddesses in Every Man/Woman”) which I found most useful in terms of acquainting myself, again, with a set of psycho-spiritual archetypes which has been most helpful in my efforts to understand how we, as men and women, endeavor to make sense of our spiritual questings in this material plane.
?The issue of apparent sexism in the language of the UB is one that I have seen addressed in but a very few articles within the UB scholar-community. (Is this surprising, given that the “scholar-community” of most religiously oriented groups has been usually predominantly male?) I will see what I can pull up — I know there was a pretty good article which appeared in one of the old “Brotherhood” journals of a few years back.
?Interestingly, and coincidentally, it is my understanding, mainly from comments from Byron and Bob Slagle, that _most_ of the individuals acting as T/Rs within the Teaching Mission do happen to be female — ?
?[… and before I forget, your comments on “why fear anything” really cut to the crux, imo, of much of the issues we”ve been discussing here. As Jesus said, not only “Fear Not!” but also “What should it bother a kingdom believer if _all_ things earthly perish?”… this issue of “nothing real can be threatened, and nothing unreal exists” also keys directly into the CIM, which, it has been my observation, seems much more attended by women than men…]
?It would seem that there may be some residual market for fear, fear of new revelations, new forms of spirituality, etc., which goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a protectionist system (usually male) based on some premise of, “well, my dear, I know you”re well-intentioned, but you must realize that you simply don”t realize what it is like ”out there” in the ”real” world, so you must therefore *let me protect you* by first of all informing you of who the false prophets are, etc…”
?I have had UB students endeavor to “justify” the “subservient” position of females based on some interpretation of the relation between Jesus and the Universe Mother Spirit, but this apparent “theological justification” never was as vivid for me as the sight of Adam and Eve working side-by-side in the garden.
?While I do believe, again confirmed in my own experience, that we (males and females) are for many purposes of analysis, “separate species”, the possibility for synergy seems all the more intense because of this. I have often wondered, tho, about a passage from page 938: “Civilization never can obliterate the behavior gulf between the sexes. From age to age the mores change, but instinct never. Innate maternal affection will never permit emancipated woman to become man”s serious rival in industry. Forever each sex will remain supreme in its own domain, domains determined by biologic differentiation and by mental dissimilarity.”
?As I am keying this, it occurs to me that perhaps the problem has not been so much that there have been evolved these “separate domains”, but rather that concomitantly have there been erected walls or barriers within these domains, such that they may then become viewed as everything from separate enclaves to prisons, with very little appreciation for how we function, as males and females, within these domains. Hopefully, these barriers have become much more permeable, thanks in part to enlightening discourse and the reduction of fear.
?Now, as a parting query, I am still left wondering about this particular domain of the new networld — I have read statistics which claim that the computer industry in general has been stellar in its gender-neutral policies across the board, yet it has also been my experience that more males than females tend to hang out here? Jeanne, where are you?
?tilling in the garden,
24 Feb 1993 ???Byron Belitsos ?????Meme memo, and more
Subject: Meme memo, and more
?Finally, I do feel it important to respond to Matthew”s characterizations of the TM, and will. I pray that we all can handle this sensitive area with tolerance and tact. I have almost completed the first issue of a newsletter on the TM, and will upload this when ready; this is in some sense a response. There is more to come. Be well brothers.
8 Mar 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????April 24
Subject: April 24
?To break the suspense, Jeanne, April 24 is supposedly the date given to some Teaching Mission folk(s) as being the date when some celestial personality is supposedly going to make an appearance to some group in Chicago??? I”m sure that if we all do our jobs we can be sure that there will be plenty of live action cams around so that events of this date won”t be as lost as those of March 25, 1985, for which we will have to rely only on oral testimony from some of our west-coast brethren who were there… (David, Richard, Matthew, here”s your cue (g))…
?March 25, 1985 (is this correct guys) was the day of “When Prophecy Fails” for the Family of God members who had begun to “hear voices” as early as 1983 (?) instructing them in all manner of guidance, including information that there was to be a nuclear war on or about the date mentioned. I would not choose to comment further here, out of respect for the tale not being mine to tell, and also in the hope that those who could tell it better will see fit to do so.
?It was my impression from the voices I heard at the TM Forum of 1/30/93 that there were still many wounds which had not healed from this experience, which has left some very strong impressions and beliefs about the current alleged contacts going on in more than a few UB groups.
?It occurs to me now, witnessing the David Koresh cultdrama play itself out, that cults such as this one in Waco could not evolve except in some kind of informational isolation, some kind of religious hothouse, where the fresh air of open criticism and query does not blow — I mean, how many here ever heard of David Koresh or the “Branch Davidians” before eight days ago?
?As a 20-yr UB student who had, for a variety of reasons, never been part of any sort of active or sustained study group of more than 2 or 3 or 4, until I got online here, I used to get the various newsletters from the various Urantia Societies and must say that those on the west coast did impress me as the most dynamic and spiritually alive. When I saw some of the video and multimedia work that they were doing at the 76 Oklahoma conference, I was even more impressed that here, at last, were some folks who were DOING SOMETHING with this revelation, rather than just meeting every Sunday and reading and reading and talking amongst themselves…
?I heard Vern in person a few times at various conferences, and he was definitely, imo, as dynamic a speaker as there was, and easy to see how he could be building his radio outreach ministry, overstated as it may have been. I never got to know Vern as a person tho, and only in some of the expose reports which came out afterwards did I begin to behold how the man put on his boots one at a time like the rest of us, and often had to clean them off as well…
?Somehow, somewhere, ego or Caligastia or take your pick started to grow in this FOGgy hothouse, and here is where I must leave the story, for all I can describe are the shards and remnants of the implosion which occurred on the date mentioned above… somehow, it seems to me that the hearing of the voices was the effect more than the cause of the events which led to this implosion. I know that in October of 1983 Vern chose to make his voices public, mailed in a letter of warning to the UB ”leadership”, which mailing led directly to his excommunication, defrocking, etc., as high-priest of the U Movement.
?So back to April 24. My impression, again as a lone electronic observer, is that the voices being heard by/in the various TM groups do not seem particularly keen on making predictions, and when they have, they have gotten as badly burned as any other psychic or alleged prophet. For those who may choose to use this (predictions) as a criterion, I am sure that this will score as a big goose egg for the TM cause, and I begin to wonder if/when and as they may decide the time has come, in the face of such cynicism and hostility, to “go underground” with their “pentecostal” practices…
?While I am individually and intellectually experiencing growing excitement over the literary archeology occasioned by Matthew Block”s entry onto the stage of UB scholarship, I continue to view the possibilities presented to me by the Teaching Mission as an invitation to get involved in playing the game as I have never done before… surely these teams of theo-trysters must seem awkward and ungainly in their speaking, especially as compared to the refined source book they reference, but referencing 20 years of visiting groups and watching spiritual fads come and go, I can only say that this is the first I”ve felt like following in a long time. I am finding some of the material I am reading in Sabatier”s work to be extremely supportive of “the religion of the spirit” which the Jesus of the UB promotes, even to the extent of speaking of having ”direct access” to the spirit…
?Perhaps it may only be the ”form” that so many object to, that these TM folks, besides just engaging in touchy-feely religious practices, are somehow “jeopardizing” the much-vaunted “integrity” of the UB by their association of UB personalities with their ”sordid” practices… I can only hear a great deal of ego behind such claims, the same sort of ego that got institutionalized in the U Foundation”s policies of “protecting inviolate” the text of the UB….
?To those who caution, “Watch Out, You”re Playing with Fire!” I can only respond, “thanks for the caring, but for me, I”ve been watching out most of my life, and methinks the time has come for a little more practice in ”Fear Not!”
?I personally have not heard much hoopla being made over this April 24 date, but I am sure between now and then the presses will be rolling.
?Matthew, St. Silicon is a “real” book — I wish I could claim it! I concur about the difficulty of mapping duality into trinity, but at the same time feel it wouldn”t hurt to have a de-sexed translation, just to see what it would look/sound like… again, I come at this as if the UB is a brand new, albeit gigantic and mind-bending scaffolding on which to climb and explore the conceptual configurations thereon, but it ain”t the building. And more important than any scaffolding are the workers thereon, and if I can make it a little easier for someone to get a grip on some new concept by “bootlegging” it into de-sexed language, I will have no shame in doing so, nor will I consider it an “abuse of the scaffold.” I”ll leave that determination to the scaffold police, of which there seem to be a growing number.
?Leo Elliott 03/08/93
8 Mar 1993 ???Michael Million ????Practicing the ”stillness”
Subject: Practicing the ”stillness”
?Greetings All! Beautiful spring weather here in NW Arkansas…birds, bees, bugs, flowers…all industriously getting to their buzz-ness. The weekend provided a time for me to establish more contacts with the TM groups. A woman named Patije is coordinating a mailing list from Sarasota FL; I hear Byron Belitsos has visited her and the other folks there so he would rightly have much more to say about these matters. Perhaps he will add to and/or amend what I have to say about my conver- sation with them (Patije and another woman named Elaine)… The Sarasota group is a ”teaching team.” That is, they assist other humans in establishing contact with the celestial teacher/guides appointed to them. They are able to confirm contact through their spiritual assistants and therefore help a mortal ”tune-in” or recog- nize the ”otherness” coming through in their mental activity. I will copy the entry in the mailing list for Patije”s group and then repeat the suggestions which she offered to us: ———————————————————————— 5. Sarasota, FL (3 groups with “teaching team”) Contact: Patije 1340 Rhodes Ave, Sarasota, FL 34239-2732 (813) 957-0293 Sarasota “teaching team” of Aflana, fused female Technical Advisor works w/ many (UB p.279) LorEl, a fused female – “sister” of Aflana VanEssa, a Secondary Midwayer assigned to SW FL area, named after Van VanEl, (named after Van); researches and works on electronic and computer glitches; aligns and attunes mortals with Aflana; substitutes for teachers occassionally, not permanently assigned with any group. 3 groups: Thursday – Celestial Impressions LorEl & Aflana Monday – Celestial Discoveries LorEl & Aflana (JaEl, JoEl, & JuEl – personal teachers of new TR”s) Wednesday – anonymous VanEssa and ?? ———————————————————————— I talked with Patije and Elaine for about 20 minutes or so…they both wanted to express their regards to our group and were glad that we made contact with them. They want you all to know that you are welcome to get in touch with them directly anytime you wish to do so. I offered our services as an electronic distribution site, especially for trans- cripts on discs or over the nets in smaller sizes. Other groups will be encouraged to send discs/files to us for redistribution to any and all who desire to obtain copies of them. Hardcopy versions will be welcome and typed or scanned into ascii, if digitized versions are not available yet. I understand that the Woods Cross Utah group is a center for hard- copy redistribution; I hope to get in touch with them this week.
?Patije gave me some helpful advice about practicing the stillness which I want to pass along. First, I want to re-affirm the notions in the transcripts which state that 1) seeking the stillness with the Father is our true ”task” which is not to be supplanted by striving for contact with a teacher/guide, 2) each of us must ask for a teacher, if we want one and 3) efforts to contact a teacher/guide are strictly voluntary and will have no bearing on our spiritual status as ascending mortals. Now with that said, Patije told me the following: In your quiet space, as you are comfortable, turn in your heart/mind to the Father with words of thanksgiving and love. Tell Him of your desire to be of service and for establishing a connection to His teacher/guide assigned to you. Ask if there are any messages for you. At this point, trust the process and strive for quietness in your mind. Maintain this mode of quiet for 15-20 minutes during your early sessions, but try to do this 2-3 times a day if possible. After some practice over a few days/weeks, you may want to extend the sessions for 30 minutes or more. Then, after your ”session” of quietness has ended, go to a mode of recording your every thought. That is, either by tape recorder, keyboard/PC, typewriter or pen and paper, record every thought in stream-of-consciousness mode. Take no break and record for a period roughly equivalent to your period of quietness. Record *every* thought no matter how seemingly disjointed or broken up. If a picture comes to mind, describe it, if apparent babbling enters your mental field, record it. Record every thought. Usually, according to Patije, the first few minutes of thoughts will included “ribbons” of contact expressing the teacher/guide”s appreciation for your efforts, a ”don”t worry about the process,” and ”welcome” type of greetings. Then, if you continue to record your thoughts, more and more specific expressions will come through in answer to your individual situation and requests. The longer you can go with this process, the more specific and more clear will the “ribbons” of contact become. As you read over or listen to your recordings later, you will start to notice more and more clearly, thoughts which you will recognize as not your own. It takes practice to do this process, working at it everyday. In time the contact will become more clear and flow more easily. Patije offered for us each to send her a copy of our ”transcripts” and she could have the ribbons of contact verified and pointed out to each of us individually. If there are some thoughts which you prefer to keep private, simply tell her that section which you wish to be “for her eyes only.” Their group does share in this training and learning process.
?That is all I remember for now; perhaps Byron will have some corrections and additions to my budding understanding of this process. Peace and Stillness to you ALL! your brother, Michael
8 Mar 1993 ???David Kantor ?????TM Forum Talk/file 1 of 3
Subject: TM Forum Talk/file 1 of 3
?Revlatn1.asc File 1 of 3
?THE REVELATORY PROCESS; PERSPECTIVE AND CONTEXT
David Kantor January 30, 1993
?THE REVELATORY PROCESS; PERSPECTIVE AND CONTEXT
?1. Our Relationship to The Urantia Book
?Revelation; Context and Paradigm
?Revelation; External Referents
?2. Revelation in our Lives
?Revelation in our History
?The Early Church
?The Middle Ages
?19th & 20th Century Developments
?Revelation in Contemporary Theology
?The Urantia Book as Revelation
?Revelation in our Communities
(C) Copyright 1993, David A. Kantor Permission to reproduce complete copies of this document for distribution free of any charge is hereby given.
?THE REVELATORY PROCESS; PERSPECTIVE AND CONTEXT
?”Fanaticism: Intense, uncritical devotion.” …Webster”s 9th New Collegiate Dictionary
Following is the text for a talk delivered to a forum convened by The Golden Gate Circle of Students of The Urantia Book in San Francisco on January 30, 1993. The purpose of the forum was to discuss issues related to on-going revelation in reader communities. This is an ASCII version of the original Word Perfect text. The conversion process stripped out all the footnotes which provided extensive references and additional comments. If this is of value to you, please contact me and I will send you a printed copy. Please send $5.00 to cover copying and shipping. It is approximately 30 single-spaced pages of text including bibliography. I can be reached at: David Kantor Virtual Access Technologies 3702 Mt. Diablo Blvd. Suite 200 Lafayette, CA 94549 (510) 283-4815 (voice) (510) 283-4816 (fax) 76546,1365 (CIS)
?It is suggested that the serious student of these matters review Paper 103 in The Urantia Book, “The Reality of Religious Experience”, in conjunction with the following material on the revelatory process.
?Much of the material in the following text on the historical development of the idea of revelation is taken from Avery Dulles” book, Models of Revelation, and George Marsden”s book, Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism.
?The last time I addressed a group of readers of The Urantia Book was the occassion of a dinner which The Family of God Foundation put on to celebrate 25 years of radio broadcasting. My objective on that occassion was the articulation of arguments which would convince the listeners that we at The Family of God Foundation were working with the Planetary Spiritual Government and were involved in a special project which was a critical component of the fifth epochal revelation — the protection of the revelation during a period of global chaos and the training of teachers to be involved in the subsequent rebuilding of the world.
?In the course of pursuing those delusions an estimated $3,000,000 in resources was consumed. In addition, we destroyed a twenty-five year effort to create a service organization which was beginning to establish international operations. Numerous individuals experienced substantial personal suffering in the destruction of ideals, hopes, marriages, careers and life savings.
?An even greater loss was the destruction of Urantia Brotherhood by Urantia Foundation and the millions of dollars consumed by the latter organization on legal matters of dubious value.
?We must wake up and recognize that at the source of each of these tragedies lies the claim that someone is acting as a special agent of the source of the fifth epochal revelation.
?Until we come to terms with this reality, we will continue to flounder as a movement and will continue to consume the resources of the group dealing with the repercussions of failing to wisely manage ourselves.
?Today I hope to share some thoughts which have developed as I have tried to understand and assimilate the implications of this phenomena. I have been intimately involved with this issue over the past twenty-five years and feel qualified to at least attempt an articulation of the nature of the problem.
?My primary objective is to expand the context in which we view the fifth epochal revelation. My hope is that this will help us evaluate our situation and discover some of the reasons why we continue to experience these disruptive episodes in our attempts to develop a cohesive community of readers.
?I will approach this objective by briefly discussing the importance of understanding the context in which the fifth epochal revelation appears. I will then review four major periods in the development of Christianity, looking to illuminate our present situation. I will conclude by giving a brief overview of contemporary theological thinking on the topic of revelation and addressing some of the issues related to on-going revelation in our communities of readers.
?I am by no means offering a final position on these topics; rather is it my hope that an informed on-going dialog will develop within the readership so that we may all more fully understand the processes in which we are involved.
?Let”s begin with a quote from “The Meaning of Revelation”, by H. Richard Niebuhr:
?”We climb the mountain of revelation that we may gain a view of the shadowed valley in which we dwell and from the valley we look up again to the mountain. Each arduous journey brings new understanding, but also new wonder and surprise. This mountain is not one we climbed once upon a time; it is a well-known peak we never wholly know, which must be climbed again in every generation, on every new day. There is no time or place in human history, there is no moment in the church”s past, nor is there any set of doctrines, any philosophy or theology of which we might say, “Here the knowledge possible through revelation…is fully set forth.” Revelation is not only progressive, but it requires of those to whom it has come that they begin the never-ending pilgrim”s progress of the reasoning Christian heart.”
?OUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE URANTIA BOOK
?Context and Paradigm
?Let”s look more closely at the nature of the context in which a religious system is embedded.
?One of the primary purposes of all existing religions is to provide a context in which their adherents may apprehend the presence of God. Each religious system defines certain conceptual boundaries, goals and methods.
?As a community of students of The Urantia Book we do not have a formally articulated context or paradigm within which our studies and interpretations of our spiritual experience take place. Consider some of the paradigms which we have seen emerge over the years.
?The Forum functioned successfully for many years based on a paradigm of participation in the celestial transmission of an epochal revelation.
?Urantia Foundation attempted to create a secular/political paradigm for the readership based on the power relationships established in the earlier Forum.
?Vern Grimsley initially attempted to shape the readership with an evangelical paradigm.
?The concept of a teacher mission provides a paradigm, a set of conceptual boundaries and assumptions within which the meaning of ideas derived from a study of The Urantia Book may be interpreted.
?I maintain that none of the paradigms which have so far emerged in the readership have been adequately informed. Each one has been based on factors emerging from within the readership itself, rather than on the factors of planetary religious and intellectual life which The Urantia Book is destined to transform.
?The cultural context in which each of the previous epochal revelations appeared constituted a major part of the revelation itself. Later on, we will see how The Urantia Book appears to be masterfully designed to exist in relationship with planetary religious culture rather than as a separate cosmological model.
?There exists a large body of knowledge pertaining to the issues which confront us as a developing community. We have almost two thousand years of records of spiritually committed men and women who have dedicated their lives to the work of the fourth epochal revelation.
?Imagine how instructive it would be to go back and read the records of the Melchizedek missionaries, or the records of progress maintained by the Prince”s staff. That”s precisely what we can do with the fourth epochal revelation when we study the accumulated literature of Christianity.
?We also have accumulated centuries of serious study in such fields as psychology, social anthropology and the psychology of religion. Can we really presume to be about the business of this revelation while failing to critically evaluate our assumptions and activities with this wealth of knowledge? Even the revelators of the book utilized the best available human concepts whenever possible.
?Let me give you a good example of the limitations encountered when one refuses to use outside referents to interpret the meaning of a text. In the Bible, the opening verse in John”s gospel says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. While the English Bible uses the term “word”, in John”s original Greek the term “logos” was used. Most of you are probably well aware that this term “logos”, in addition to being the Greek term for “word”, represented a philosophical concept which had been developing in Greek thought for over 200 years. To simply see the term as a semantic object is to seriously delimit one”s understanding of the text. Only by going outside of the Bible and studying Greek philosophy can an adequate understanding of what John is trying to tell us about Jesus be gained.
?I believe the same situation exists with much of The Urantia Book — there is a valuable depth of meaning and insight which can be gained only by going outside the book and making the effort to link meanings derived from the book with the vast external body of knowledge available in our world today.
?At The Family of God Foundation I felt that our situation was so new, novel and unprecedented that no outside information could possibly provide greater understanding of what we were experiencing. Everything we believed about our special mission could be easily justified by reference to the appropriate quotes in The Urantia Book. Our special knowledge and insight was so unique that it was utterly beyond any critical assessment by anyone other than ourselves.
?Compare this attitude with the statement on page 69 of The Urantia Book which says, “…no matter how valid (real) religious experience is, it must be willing to subject itself to intelligent criticism and reasonable philosophic interpretation; it must not seek to be a thing apart in the totality of human experience.”
?We made some terrible mistakes out in Clayton, and I continue to be suprised to find that the lessons to be learned from this fiasco have not been more fully assimilated by The Urantia Book readership.
?Let me add that never in my life had I felt more spiritually committed to any undertaking. My prayer and worship life was very rich and the subjective quality of my inner spiritual life was better than I had ever before experienced. But such attitudes and feelings of the heart do not compensate for a failure of the intellect to verify meanings, for a failure to critically assess the full implications of ones ideas and actions in the world, and for the redefinition of one”s community to include only those individuals who share the same viewpoint. Such failures will always lead to isolation, disaster and disillusionment. When such errors are made by an entire social group, the essential work of the kingdom is set back yet again.
?It is very important to understand that I am not questioning the validity of anyone”s experience. We are not making up these things or fraudulently manipulating people. Neither are we very likely to often encounter individuals who are actually hallucinating. The experiences in general are real.
?What I am bringing into question are the meanings that are subsequently assigned to the experience in order to make it accessible to mind and to share it with the community. What are the criteria by which you evaluate and interpret experiential phenomena? Your answer to this question is your personal philosophy of religion. The care and integrity with which we approach the development of our personal philosophy of religion has profound implications for our community of readers.
?The mechanism by which we assign meanings to our experience is heavily dependent on many factors and is profoundly conditioned by the psychological environment in which the meanings are being assigned. This is a critical personal issue confronting all of us — what are the criteria by which we assign meanings to our experiences? Are we striving to be conscious of the psychological environment in which we do our thinking? Are we exposing our minds to a wide variety of ideas so that we have a rich conceptual vocabulary with which to associate our experiences?
REVELATION IN OUR LIVES
?Insights from our History
?I”m now going to consider four major periods in the development of Christianity. I will review some of the reactions of individuals and communities to events in these periods and show how they relate to our present day concerns. We will consider the early church, the middle ages, the Reformation and developments of the past two centuries.
?The Early Church
?The Christian paradigm which has encapsulated the life and teachings of Jesus for 2,000 years bears careful study. How did it develop? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What are its major unresolved issues? How has it facilitated or impeded the assimilation of the fourth epochal revelation by humanity? These are questions which we all should be endeavoring to answer because they are very relevant to the fifth epochal revelation.
?It is instructive to note that a significant part of this encapsulation occurred as a result of the community of believers attempting to define itself amidst a confusing collection of secondary writings of questionable origin, radically shifting beliefs within communities of believers, and the ever-present expectation of Jesus” immediate return to establish his Kingdom.
?We can see this process occurring in New Testament writings. In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes to the church at Corinth. In addition to the serious moral problems in this community, individuals are seeing angels, getting messages, having visions, speaking in tongues, and attempting to perform miracles. Paul attempts to restore order and to relate their experiences and situation to a foundation in his understanding of Jesus” teachings.
?We have no record of the response of the church at Corinth to Paul”s letter, but a reading of his second letter to the church suggests that they told him to flake off. His response in his second letter is to articulate the basis for his authority to impose order on their community, a letter which has been used for 2,000 years to validate Paul”s views.
?History repeatedly shows us that non-rational actions and beliefs always appear when strong spiritual ideals activate a community in which there is an inadequate intellectual pool of symbols from which meanings may be derived for assignment to the ideals and values experienced in the spiritual life of its members.
?By focusing on the miraculous events of Jesus” life, the early church lost sight of his human life and his teachings, and were caught in a tide of collective emotional reactions to the profound events which had so recently occurred. Today, many readers of The Urantia Book are far more interested in identifying with the personalities behind the revelation than in doing the work necessary to really comprehend the revelation itself, and are caught in a similar tide of feelings for which they have no adequate means of integration.
?One of the lessons to be learned from the situations we will review today is the importance of balanced intellectual and spiritual growth. Such balanced growth is the only means of sure progress in the presence of revelation.
?Let”s briefly look at the early Christian views of what knowledge and revelation meant. Christian faith and theology, for nearly two thousand years, have been predicated on the conviction that God gave a permanently valid revelation concerning himself in Biblical times. For 1,500 years, Christian theology has been committed to this revelation and has sought to propagate it, defend it, and explain its implications. Because revelation was taken for granted, little effort was made to even define the concept.
?In the 4th century, Augustine articulated an intellectual foundation which supported 1,000 years of Christian inquiry. The Hebrew Bible and certain writings of the apostles and documents of the early church were taken as the foundation from which the meaning of all observations and experiences could be inferred. In Augustine, the foundation of knowledge is based on an assent to a body of doctrines supposedly revealed by God.
?What is the primary problem with this view that specific knowledge provides the foundation from which spiritual experience emerges? The Urantia Book is quite clear in showing that the experience of the presence of God happens first; we then attempt to use the devices of human language to understand, describe and explain the experience. I believe it was St. Anselm who coined the phrase “faith seeking understanding” which has adequately described the theological enterprise for many centuries.
?Clearly anyone who says that a spiritual experience will result from believing certain things to be true, is wrong. Reality, according to The Urantia Book, doesn”t work that way. Belief is a repercussion of spiritual experience; spiritual experience does not occur as a result of belief. Spiritual experience does not follow upon acceptance of a set of underlying principles — it is a gift freely and graciously given by God. Assent to belief results in nothing more than a shift of psychological perspective.
8 Mar 1993 ???David Kantor ?????TM Forum Talk/file 2 of 3
Subject: TM Forum Talk/file 2 of 3
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??The Middle Ages
?Let”s take a look at some developments which occurred during the middle ages, particularly the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
?The period of the crusades was drawing to a close. A period of scholastic effort was about to begin. Guttenburg”s printing press was still 250 years away and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation 300 years in the future. But Europe was beginning to rediscover knowledge itself, as well as its heritage from Greece and Rome.
?Christian, Islamic and Jewish scholars were struggling to understand the nature of belief and knowledge. They attempted to resolve questions such as, What is knowlege? How do we “know”? How do we acquire personal knowledge and validate it as being representative enough of reality for us to consider it “real”? What is the difference between belief and knowledge? What is the relationship between knowledge of facts, feeling sure of facts, or believing certain facts are true? What are the means by which we justify our claims to “know” something as “true”?
?Thomas Aquinas, born about 1224, made a major effort to address these issues and to bring a sense of intellectual integrity to religious knowledge. He focused on the interrelationship of both reason and revelation. He is perhaps best known for his use of Aristotelian philosophy to provide a framework within which to articulate Christian ideas.
?This same time period also saw the development of Christian monastic mysticism, perhaps best characterized by the thought of Meister Eckhart who maintained that we can enjoy a direct experience of God in this life and do not have to be content with the knowledge about God attained from reason and revelation.
?If we accept the idea that our inner experience consists of perceptions of both material and spiritual realities, we can see that each of these two views developing within Christianity represented by Aquinas and Eckhart, no matter how far they developed, could provide only a partial resolution to the problem of fully apprehending reality.
?To human perception, material and spiritual reality appear to be two distinct domains. In the spiritual domain, we progress by an apprehension of values. In the material domain, we progress by a rational association of facts. The rational logic of material reality is useless in understanding spiritual reality. Likewise, the faith techniques used to apprehend the spiritual are unable to yield rational knowledge of causal material relationships.
?A clear perception of reality is found only in the mind integration of these two domains and methodologies. The Urantia Book indicates that in the mortal life it is revelation which accomplishes this task. In the morontia life it is a function of the mota component of morontia personality. This is the domain of truth, and we are told on Page 1109 that “truth is always a revelation”.
?It is important to appreciate what a living reality truth is. It comes into experiential existence as mind coordinates and links the material with the spiritual — it is directly perceivable by the soul only when this dynamic process is taking place. It cannot be codified or stored for future use. Neither can it be transmitted from one universe location to another. It must be reflectively recognized by mind in the moment in which it is apprehended. It is a repercussion of a spiritual life process — it is living.
?On page 888 we read that “Truth is relative and expanding; it lives always in the present, achieving new expression in each…human life.”
?And on page 1138 we find the following: “Revelation originates neither a science nor a religion; its function is to co-ordinate both science and religion with the truth of reality…”.
?Perhaps we can more fully appreciate the nature of balanced development by considering the production of music. A good musician, while working in the domain of emotion and feeling, is dependent upon an intellectual foundation, a knowledge of scales and intervals as well as arduously acquired neurological skills necessary to manage the instrument. The expression of the musician”s feelings will be limited by any lack of technical skills and musical knowledge.
?Likewise, a musician who has developed a great deal of technical skill but who lacks depth in his emotional experience is not very likely to produce beautiful music. In a sublime expression of music, the musician is in the flow of expression — fusing the intellectual and emotional elements into an integrated whole.
?Is it any different in our personal lives? Intellectual mastery in an individual who lacks spiritual depth results in the production of relatively valueless ideas. So it is with an individual who has a profound experience with God but has not developed the intellectual or philosophical tools which would yield an adequate expression of his or her experience.
?In Paper 110 on page 1209 we read that, “When the development of the intellectual nature proceeds faster than that of the spiritual, such a situation renders communication with the Thought Adjuster both difficult and dangerous. Likewise, overspiritual development tends to produce a fanatical and perverted interpretation of the spirit leadings of the divine indweller.”
?What do I mean by the term “balanced growth”? I should add the term “balanced consciousness”, or “balanced mindal functioning” to this consideration. My reading of The Urantia Book leads me to conclude that the objective of mental functioning is an integration and balancing of the functioning of the first six adjutant mind spirits co-ordinated by the Spirit of Wisdom.
?Note that the task here is not to let the Spirit of Worship override the other adjutants, but to bring them all into coordination with the Spirit of Wisdom.
?I appreciate the manner in which The Urantia Book calls us to balanced growth and balanced consciousness — it is the only way in which our development can be meaningful to us as individuals or be of value to other selves in our communities.
?Let”s take a moment to review some of the circumstances surrounding the Protestant reformation.
?In the early 16th century, Martin Luther ruthlessly attacked the authority of the church. In 1520 he invited the German Princes to take the reform of the church into their own hands, to abolish the tributes to Rome, the celibacy of the clergy, Masses for the dead, pilgrimages, religious orders, and other Catholic practices and institutions.
?He then made an appeal to the clergy in a volume titled, “On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church” wherein he set forth a new theology of the New Testament and rejected the sacrifice of the Mass. He was excommunicated and imprisoned in 1521.
?In his absence, the community in Wittenberg came apart. Individuals were attempting to get control of the reformation movement as were competing groups of Catholics, Humanists and exponents of a socially radical gospel. Luther”s insistence that individuals had the ability to fully interpret the scriptures for themselves opened the floodgates of mystical extravagence; individuals were hearing divine voices and getting special revelations. Once again the belief that Jesus was about to return immediately and establish his kingdom was widespread. It took Luther”s personal intervention and work to bring some semblance of stability back into university and church life.
?Here we have a situation wherein the means by which people assimilated and understood their spiritual experience was suddenly and radically altered. New foundations had no time to develop in the collective life of the community. The forces of religious fanaticism and intolerance unleashed by the Protestant reformation and the subsequent Catholic counter-reformation were so great that Europe was plunged into a series of bloody civil wars which lasted for over a hundred years. It was only the emergence of a secular state which was able to stop the bloodshed by providing a political structure which transcended religious differences.
?What we can observe during the Reformation are individuals whose spiritual natures are activated by social and political forces in an environment which is lacking an appropriate symbolic frame of reference in which they might assimilate those experiences.
?In his book “Models of Revelation”, Avery Dulles articulates the way in which we use the symbols of culture and linguistics to apprehend the presence of God. When the depth of spiritual experience sufficiently exceeds the capacity of the available symbols, the psyche of the individual will begin to generate its own set of symbols as a means of mediating strong spiritual drives and preventing psychological disruption.
?We have an analogous situation in many of our reader communities today. Many readers have declared their freedom from established religious systems but in so doing have destroyed their connections with religious traditions, knowledge and symbols, as well as communally held values which serve to stabilize strong religious impulses. Many of them have little or no experience with philosophy, theology or any form of disciplined critical thought — they have removed themselves from all criteria for critical assessment and evaluation of their ideas. At the same time these readers are activating the deep recesses of their psyches by exposing themselves to the powerful archetypal ideas and images presented in The Urantia Book. It is very understandable that such communities and individuals would begin generating their own symbolic contexts within which to mediate their experiences.
?Self-generated symbolic contexts can spread rapidly — when similar internal tensions exist in multiple communities, a resolution which develops in one community is readily applicable in other similar communities-in-tension. The resulting mutual reinforcement fuels further spread of the new belief system. A study of the revivalist movements of the late 19th century in England and North America in response to the over- intellectualization of Christianity is instructive. Eric Hoffer gives this issue extensive treatment.
?Let”s consider another repercussion of the Reformation.
?The Council of Trent convened by the Roman church in response to the heresy of Luther produced a statement of the Church”s threefold role with regard to revealed truth:
?1) She must safeguard and faithfully preserve the deposit of truth which has been entrusted to her care inviolate, free from all contamination and innovation.
?2) She must explain it, according to its true sense and infallibly teach the revealed doctrine.
?3) She must proscribe all errors which threaten this truth.
?These are the arguments which have been used for 2,000 years to justify the existence of a massive system of power and control over the 4th epocal revelation. Lets look at these factors again and let”s keep them in mind because we”re likely to hear them used with the 5th epocal revelation:
?1) “Trust us; we”re going to preserve the text inviolate.”
?2) “Trust us; we”ll provide teachers to tell you what it really means.”
?3) “Trust us; we”ll provide an authority to protect you from anything which might threaten your understanding of this revelation.”
?We must ever keep in mind the advice given on page 1089 of The Urantia Book; “Religion can be kept free from unholy secular alliances only by:
?1. A critically corrective philosophy.
?2. Freedom from all social, economic, and political alliances.
?3. Creative, comforting, and love-expanding fellowships.
?4. Progressive enhancement of spiritual insight and the appreciation of cosmic values.
?5. Prevention of fanaticism by the compensations of the scientific mental attitude”.
?I think it is important to get a sense of the spectrum of human religious responses. At one end we have rigid authoritarian control of the community which essentially views any development or growth as a threat to the established view of reality. At the other extreme we have unrestrained religious “enthusiasm” of individuals who have no controlling mechanisms at all for mediating their spiritual experiences in meaningful ways.
?We must strive to find a home in the center of this spectrum in which individual exploration, discovery, growth and development is encouraged in a context which provides safety, stability and continuity for the community.
?19th and 20th Century Developments
?Let”s now consider some of the developments of the last two centuries and how they affect our present religious environment.
?By the 16th century, the scholastic theologians had begun to use the term “revelation” not to designate a specific action on the part of God, but rather an objective body of truth which Christians accepted as simply given by God to the Church.
?Treatises on revelation did not begin to be written until the 17th and 18th centuries. But since that time, theologians have recognized that an implicit doctrine of revelation underlies every major theological undertaking. The controversies that have raged in our own century about the divinity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Bible, the infallibility of the Church, secular and political theology, and the value of other religions would be unintelligible apart from the varying convictions about revelation.
?By the late 19th century, individuals such as Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud were bringing into question the validity of ideas which had been foundational to Christianity for centuries. At the same time, Biblical scholarship utilizing new techniques in historical, linguistic and textual analysis was providing knowledge about the origins and nature of the Biblical texts that quickly transformed claims of divine inspiration and inerrancy into cultural artifacts.
?It is interesting to observe the interplay between the rational and non-rational elements in our intellectual history. Almost as if in response to this intellectualization and rationalization of theology, waves of revivalism swept across England and North America. Large numbers of individuals found meaning in the Pentecostal and Holiness movements which provided an experience of the heart in a religious world which was becoming increasingly secular and rational; fundamentalism spread rapidly as a reaction to both Biblical criticism and the implications of Darwinism.
?But these same pressures forced serious theologians to reconsider the significance and reality of the supposed revelatory origins of Christianity. What followed was a century of expansive development of a theology of revelation which I believe will prove to have been preparatory to the opening up of Christianity to the reception of The Urantia Book.
?By the middle of the 20th century, so many new views of the nature of revelation had emerged that the Roman church issued, as part of Vatican II, a dogmatic constitution on Divine Revelation in which the claim was formally made that the final authority is neither scripture nor tradition but the teaching office of the church: “The task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ”.
?But aside from this apparent hardening of position by the Roman church, the 20th century saw the concept of revelation developing in some new and exciting ways. Leading theologians felt unable to go back to the older orthodoxies which would have identified revelation with fixed doctrines or with a miraculous history. Liberal theologians were well aware of the obscurities in biblical history and the variations in biblical doctrine. They therefore sought a theology of revelation that could honestly accept the results of critical scholarship without falling into the spiritual dullness of secularism.
?Perhaps this shift in thinking is best characterized by Auguste Sabatier who maintained that religious doctrines are a kind of sedimentation that occurs when revelation is made the object of human reflection.
?There was such a proliferation of new ideas that the theologians who specialized in revelation began to separate into different schools having radically different conceptions of revelation.
?Revelation in Contemporary Theology
?Today the issue of revelation has become so significant that there is hardly a recognized theologian of the past century who has not devoted at least a chapter to the topic. Many complete books on the topic of revelation alone have been written and considerable thought and study have been devoted to understanding what revelation is and how it might be recognized and validated.
?All I can hope to give you today is a sense of the amount of behind-the-scenes work which appears to have been done to prepare Christianity for the appearance of a new revelation. The last 200 years alone have seen the thinking move from the rigid position of the Roman church to radically new views which could be used verbatim to describe The Urantia Book. I do not think this is merely co-incidental.
?Michael Buckley discusses the process of discovering new meaning in a theological tradition. From him we get the following ideas:
?There is only an apparent conflict between revelation and tradition. Revelation can only illuminate what is hidden within the given. Revelation is the grasp of new meaning; tradition is its mediator, providing the elements which make possible new disclosures. Revelation and tradition are not opposed; they are coordinated. They constitute the rhythm and the unity of inquiry. Revelation seizes upon a newness of meaning or a retrieval of significance, but the actual material upon which the revelatory process works is tradition. Tradition provides the present with a depth that nothing less settled can match.
?Buckley maintains that the richness and depth of any theological reflection depends upon one”s awareness of the context of tradition in which the reflection is being done.
?Let me share some other ideas from contemporary theologians:
?H. Richard Niebuhr who was Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics at Yale University Divinity School prior to his death deals primarily with issues of personal revelation; his criteria have more to do with personal apprehension of revelatory material and its integration into a community of believers.
?”Revelation is that which illuminates our history and makes it intelligible. Revelation is the discovery of rational pattern in the factors of our existence and our history.” (pg 68)
?”Revelation proves itself to be revelation of reality by its ability to guide us to many other truths.” (pg 102)
?”A revelation which furnishes us with a starting point for the interpretation of past, present and future history is inherently subject to progressive validation.” (page 97)
?”Revelation is not the communication of supernatural knowledge and not the stimulation of numinous feelings; rather is revelation the peculiar activity of God, his giving of himself to us in communion.” (pg 112 quoting W. Herrmann)
?”Christian life consists in becoming a person through association with Jesus rather than in the acceptance of creeds and laws. For many early Christians their certainty was simply this; they had met a person who made persons of them.” (pg 108).
?Let me share a brief passage from his book so that you can get a sense of the spiritual quality of his writing:
?”Revelation means the self-disclosing of the eternal Knower. It is the self-disclosure of light in our darkness. Revelation means that we find ourselves to be valued rather than valuing. When the great riches of God reduce our wealth to poverty, that is revelation. When we find out that we are no longer thinking him, but that he first thought us, that is revelation. Revelation is the emergence of the person upon whose external garments we had looked as objects of curiosity. Revelation means that in our common history the fate which lowers over us as persons in our communities reveals itself to be a person in community with us. Revelation so infuses us with a sense of communion with the Revealer that our only valid response is a prayer saying, “Our Father”.” (condensed from pgs 111 & 112)
?Avery Dulles is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Fordham University and former President of The Catholic Theological Society of America. He organizes the primary ideas about revelation which have dominated 20th century thinking into five types. He also considers criteria by which supposed revelatory material should be evaluated.
?Here are Dulles” Criteria for evaluating supposed revelatory material:
?1. Continuity — Does it stand in continuity with what believers of previous generations have recognized as leading them into a richer experience of God”s presence?
?2. Internal Coherence — Is it capable of being conceptually formulated in an intelligible manner free from internal self- contradiction?
?3. Plausibility — Does it run counter to what is generally thought to be true in other areas of life? If so, is it capable of providing an alternative explanation of the phenomena responsible for the general state of opinion?
?4. Adequacy to experience — Does it illuminate the deeper dimensions of secular and religious experience both within and beyond the Christian community?
?5. Practical fruitfulness — If once accepted, will it help its adherents to sustain moral effort, reinforce Christian commitment and enhance the life of the community?
?6. Theoretical fruitfulness — Will it satisfy the quest for religious understanding and thus be of assistance to the theological enterprise?
?7. Value for dialogue — Will it assist in the exchange of insights with Christians of other schools and traditions, with adherents of other religions, and with adherents of the great secular faiths?
?In addition to these criteria for evaluating revelatory material, Dulles organizes the primary ideas about revelation which have dominated 20th century thinking into five types.
?1. Revelation as Doctrine — the meaning of a text taken as a set of propositional statements, each expressing a divine affirmation which is valid always and everywhere.
?2. Revelation as History — Revelation occurs primarily through deeds, rather than words; revelation is made accessible by studying history and the manner in which God has historically revealed himself.
?3. Revelation as Inner Experience — The self-revealing God is regarded as making himself present to the consciousness of the individual in a way that minimizes the need for mediation through created signs.
?4. Revelation as Dialectical Presence — Revelation occurs in the dialectical process as we attempt to understand the nature of God.
?5. Revelation as New Awareness — Revelation is an experience of participation in divine life.
?Dulles devotes a chapter to the articulation of each of these five models, tracing their historical origins. He then uses these models as the basis for setting forth a theory of symbolic mediation as a primary mode of revelatory activity.
?Richard Swinburne, Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at the University of Oxford has just published a book in which he explores the need for a revelation and the means by which we would go about verifying that we had indeed received a revelation. The primary concept of revelation with which he deals in his book is what we would consider to be epochal revelation. He asks such questions as, “Given what we know about God do we have reason to suppose that he might intervene and reveal something to us?” “What are the ways in which God might communicate with us?” “How would we know that a purported revelation was really what it claimed to be?” Swinburne also lists criteria to use in evaluating such a situation.
?Here are some of Swinburne”s criteria for evaluating the validity of any supposed revelatory material:
?1. The content must be relevant for the deepest levels of human well-being.
?2. It should include details of life beyond this one, to the end that we be encouraged in our pursuit of the good and to help us in our character formation.
?3. While we may be unable to directly prove the truth of what is given, the content must, as far as we can tell, be incapable of being proven false.
?4. Evidence for or against the truth claims of the revelation must be weighed in the same way as evidence for and against the truth of any other body of claims.
?This is just a small sampling of the richness of some of the contemporary thinking on the topic of revelation.
?I urge you to spend some time exploring the ideas of some of these thinkers. Every serious student of the topic of revelation should read Niebuhrs” book. This is exciting work; the advances in the field of theology over the past century have been no less significant and revolutionary than those in science and technology. We truly are in the midst of the most significant revolution in thought this planet has ever seen.
?If we are going to content ourselves with naive mystical indulgences, we”re going to wake up one day and find that those spiritual men and women we”re told about on page 2082 who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings have shown up and done so, and have siezed the unprecedented opportunities which we are failing to grasp.
8 Mar 1993 ???David Kantor ?????TM Forum Talk/file 3 of 3
Subject: TM Forum Talk/file 3 of 3
?revlatn3.asc File 3 of 3
?The Urantia Book as Revelation
?The Urantia Book is in many ways a profoundly human document. Page 17 indicates that more than one thousand human concepts were used. Page 16 refers to the task of co-ordinating essential knowledge and giving preference to the highest relevant existing human concepts. Page 1343 says that the section on the teachings of Jesus alone is composed from over two thousand human concepts of Jesus.
?Matthew Block has done some significant work in beginning to catalog the human sources of the material in the book. I know that Carolyn Kendall and others have worked on this task over the years as well. Let”s take a moment to consider the significance of the fact that human sources were used for the expression of the ideas whenever possible. Why was this done this way? Was it because of linguistic difficulties? Is human symbolic communication really so unique that celestial personalities would have difficulty accurately manipulating our symbols?
?I think there is more to it than simply achieving a clarity of expression. By drawing upon so many different human sources, The Urantia Book becomes firmly rooted in the intellectual foundations of 20th century thought. The revelators were thus able to control which elements of the existing intellectual culture would become linked to the revelatory material. In addition, they were thus able to reinforce specific developing threads of thought and eliminate others from further significant development.
?Rather than limiting us to internal referents, the revelators provide us with hundreds of pointers linking us to external materials for enhanced interpretation and understanding of the book. What an elegant way in which to introduce revelatory material into such a volatile environment!
?An extremely important repercussion of this technique is that it allows the life and teachings of Jesus to be effectively restated in the context of 20th century thought, creating a situation wherein the transformative power of the Master”s bestowal might be further liberated in a world which so desperately needs it.
?The cosmology thus created in The Urantia Book as a composition of all these human expressions, enhanced by revelation where necessary, is a profound synthesis of all the major dialectical components of Christian thought from the past 2,000 years. An example is the synthesis provided by the integration of trinitarian theology with process theology in the articulation of the relationship between the evolving Supreme and the Paradise Trinity. This one aspect of the book alone provides a potent new thesis from which an understanding of God”s integrated transcendence and immanence may be explored.
?In the first years following publication, the basis on which Urantia Foundation attempted to control the development of the readership was their supposed access to secondary information and traditions which were associated with the work of the contact commission and the Forum. The revelators seem to have been quite clear in their expression of their desire that none of this secondary material should even survive the actual task of producing the book.
?But most importantly, these kitchen table stories and traditions have neither the psychological, cultural nor spiritual depth to provide a context with sufficient conceptual scope to adequately frame The Urantia Book.
?In addition to what we have reviewed here already in terms of cultural preparation for its appearance and a theory of its conceptual design, this revelation reactivates the foundational mythology of Christian religious civilization. Such powerful images as Adam and Eve, The Garden of Eden, Moses, Melchizedek, Jesus, the crucifixion and resurrection as well as our views of life beyond death are being revitalized with powerful new meanings. Do we fully appreciate the psychological force and spiritual power of this revelation?
?The only context substantial enough to support the assimilation of this text and the development of its potentials lies in the 2,000 year history of the unfolding of the 4th epochal revelation — the accumulated history of individuals, communities and evolving thought which is represented in contemporary Christianity.
?We are still less than half-way through the first post- publication century. The task of integrating the revelation with the developing fronts of contemporary thought has barely begun; more doors are open for us than we have the ability to enter.
?With so many years of apparent preparation in place for what seems to be a well-managed effort of planetary spiritual uplift, with the unprecedented wealth of knowledge freely available to us at any library or bookstore, with the well-documented psycho/social instabilities which accompany any sudden advance in spiritual contact, the probability of the reality of the supposed teacher mission is, in my mind, virtually non-existent. It is simply irrelevant to the revelational processes which we can easily observe at work in our cultural environment.
?Revelation in our Communities
?In conclusion, I would like to say just a few words about on-going revelation in our communities of readers.
?The Urantia Book is quite clear in its presentation of personal revelation as an on-going, continuous process within the experience of each individual.
?On page 1109 we read that “Truth is always a revelation…”.
?On page 1122 is the statement that “The pursuit of knowledge constitutes science; the search for wisdom is philosophy; the love for God is religion; the hunger for truth is a revelation”.
?And on page 1203 we find that “…Indirectly and unrecognized the Adjuster is constantly communicating with the human subject…”
?We each benefit daily, moment by moment, from the support and assistance of numerous influences, from the adjutant mind spirits to the ministering spirits of the Trinity. In addition, I believe that we each have a great deal of potential for experiencing and expressing spiritual realities.
?This relationship which we each have with the process of revelation presents us with some difficult problems. These problems are compounded by the fact that we do not have a well-developed cultural tradition which helps us to apprehend and express our individual experience with revelation in productive ways. In our culture, revelation has been traditionally seen as an experience of the few, made available to the masses of humanity only through the mediation of a class of teacher/priests.
?These teacher/priest castes emerge when individuals begin to view themselves as agents representing the source of revelation. The problem is compounded when these individuals then begin to create a social identity for themselves in their communities based on this mistaken view of their identity. Jesus made great efforts to free humanity from the bondage of priests, a bondage under which much of humanity still languishes. The idea that a teacher/priest caste would be re-introduced as part of the fifth epochal revelation simply has no place in my understanding of the forward progression of epochal revelation on this planet.
?There are two factors which foster the continuation of priesthoods. Just as there are individuals willing to present themselves as agents of the source of revelation, there are those who are all too willing to look to human sources for assurance and guidance. One of our greatest challenges is to learn how to live in an environment of on-going personal revelation. We must learn how to apprehend revelation as individual persons, and to discover its meaning as members of communities in informed dialog.
?I remain to this day deeply affected by the knowledge that other people were significantly influenced by the position I took in the Clayton episode. I have come to more fully appreciate the serious moral issues involved whenever we bring ideas into our community. We must assume full responsibility for who we are, what we do and the thoughts and ideas we express. If we have the attitude that we are “just getting out of the way so that God can speak through us”, we are in reality abdicating moral responsibility for our own behavior.
?Richard Niebuhr maintains that anyone who intends to bring revelatory material into their community has a moral responsibility to study both history and psychology. I think this is the very least which we should expect from each other.
?Avery Dulles goes so far as to suggest that the community itself is the real recipient of revelation; “The community, rather than its individual members, is the prime recipient of revelation. In community, humanity exists and acts socially — that is to say, as a network of people in relationships. Revelation is administered as sacrament, so that individuals can achieve together, in their interrelatedness, new levels of life and meaning that they could not achieve in isolation. Only in connection with the community of believers, does the individual have access to the full revelation of God in Jesus.”
?We seem to appreciate the fact that the unrestrained indulgence of our sexual natures can destroy relationships, damage our families and bring chaos to our communities. What we don”t seem to appreciate is that the same type of moral and cultural restraint with which we manage our sexuality should be applied to our spiritual natures as well. My experience is that spirituality has its own driving passions which can easily consume the psyche if allowed to do so.
?I have attempted to cover a lot of material in this presentation. Let me summarize the two main points which I hope I have been able to make:
?1. In order to more deeply comprehend The Urantia Book, in order to more fully understand the reactions that individuals and communities are having to this book and in order to more wisely manage our development as a community, it is essential that we study the context of historical and religious culture in which this revelation appears. 2. We must strive for a balanced state of consciousness — the balanced functioning of the first six adjutants co-ordinated by the Spirit of Wisdom — in order to avoid the extremes of unrestrained religious delusion and rigid authoritarian control.
?It is my hope that you will be stimulated to pursue an exploration of these issues on your own. We truly have only begun to comprehend the magnitude of the events of which we are a part.
?In conclusion I would like to thank you for allowing me to share these thoughts with you today and to direct your attention to 2 Timothy 2:15 which says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman which needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”
??Barbour, Ian G., Myths, Models and Paradigms, New York: HarperCollins, 1974.
?Block, Matthew, “A Bibliographic Essay on Some Human Books Used in The Urantia Book”, privately published, 1992.
?Buckley, Michael S. J., At the Origins of Modern Atheism, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1987.
?Dulles, Avery, Models of Revelation, Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1992.
?* Dulles” articulation of five models of revelation is very informative as are his insights into the history of revelatory thought.
?Hastings, Arthur, With the Tongues of Men and Angels, Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1991.
?* A review of channeling phenomena from a new-age perspective. This expository overview provides more food for thought than clear conclusions.
?Hoffer, Eric, The True Believer, New York: Harper & Row, 1951.
?Koester, Helmut, Introduction to the New Testament; History, Culture and Religion of the Hellenistic Age, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982.
?* In two volumes, a very readable account of the context in which early Christianity took form.
?Kuhn, Thomas S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
?* This is a classic text on the role of paradigm in the shaping of communities of inquiry.
?Latourelle, Rene, Theology of Revelation, Staten Island: Alba House, 1966
?* The conservative Roman viewpoint of the revelatory process with a review of revelatory issues covered in Vatican II.
?Marsden, George M., Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1991
?* Excellent background for understanding the role of these groups in twentieth century American religious life.
?McFague, Sallie, Metaphorical Theology, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982.
?Niebuhr, H. Richard, The Meaning of Revelation, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1941.
?* This book should be in the library of every serious student of The Urantia Book. The first chapter may seem somewhat dry to the reader unaccustomed to reading such essays. Chapters 3 and 4 are absolutely masterful and provide a wonderful context for considering The Urantia Book. Don”t miss this outstanding example of some of the best of 20th century theological thinking. This book is very readable and contains excellent criteria for evaluating the claim of any material to be revelatory.
?Otto, Rudolf, The Idea of the Holy, London: Oxford University Press, 1950.
?* This book is considered a classic inquiry into the non- rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational.
?Rahner, Karl, Theological Investigations, Volume XVI, New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1983
?* Interesting commentary in chapter 12 on the Vatican II position on Revelation. Also, the first few sections of chapter 9 constitute an essay which articulates the need of theology for the perspective offered by The Urantia Book and describes the reasons why it would be impossible for a group of human beings to put together such a work.
?Reist, Benjamin, Processive Revelation, Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992.
?* While not easily readable, this book is an interesting exploration of mechanisms of revelation in the context of the evolving Supreme.
?Roberts, J. Deotis, A Philosophical Introduction to Theology, Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1991.
?Russell, D. S., Divine Disclosure, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.
?* Fascinating review of revelatory/apocalyptic literature from the inter-testamental period.
?Sadler, William S. Jr., A Study of the Master Universe, Chicago: Second Society Foundation, 1968. Also appendices to the above published in a separate volume.
?Spong, John Shelby, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
?Swinburne, Richard, Revelation; from Metaphor to Analogy, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.
?* Serious academic treatment of the topic of Revelation as it relates to Christian claims of a revelatory origin of their religion. Swinburne deals primarily with what we would refer to as epochal revelation in contrast to Niebuhr who deals with the more personal aspects of revelation. Swinburne also sets forth criteria for evaluating whether or not a set of ideas contains revealed truth.
?Tillich, Paul, Perspectives on 19th and 20th Century Protestant Theology, New York, Evanston and London: Harper & Row, 1967.
?* A very readable introduction to this topic. These are transcripts of lectures rather than a highly structured and developed theological exposition.
?Tuchman, Barbara, Bible and Sword; England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour, New York: Ballantine Books, 1956.
?* An amazing story of the impact of the Bible on the development of British national life and the subsequent Protestant religious culture in North America. Her accounts of the crusades alone are worth the time taken to read this book.
?Whiston, William, (trans.), Josephus, Complete Works, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1981.
?Williams, G. A., (trans.), Eusebius, The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine, USA: Dorset Press, 1983.
_______________, The Urantia Book, Chicago: Urantia Foundation, 1955.
8 Mar 1993 ???David Kantor ?????Fog reflections in TM twilight
Subject: Fog reflections in TM twilight
?It”s a pleasure to participate in this exchange and I again thank Michael Million for making this possible. Leo (where do you get time to write all that stuff?) and others have been prodding me for a story about the FOG affair and I find it very difficult to even know where to begin. While I cannot claim to have any particular purchase on objective reality, I can make some comments about how the process of functioning as a conscious entity in this strange enchanted world appears to me; my comments here are strictly subjective observations. There is a problem with adequately describing my experience. This is not due to any repressed emotional reactions to the topic, but rather to the nature of the experience and the virtual impossibility of adequately describing it. This problem stems from the fact that symbolic communication presupposes a description of a logical sequence of events or facts, or an analogy in which the known is compared with the unknown so that its nature may be communicated. Because our experience became increasingly non- rational as time went on, it does not lend itself well to communication with symbols which require a rationally structured linguistic foundation as a presupposition to their use. My experience at FOG (and I have to restrict myself to my own experience — there are as many stories as people involved) was such that with receiving messages and changing our lives so that we were increasingly living relative to their content, we gradually, almost unconsciously, over a period of many months, slowly left the domain of rational access to our thoughts and actions. There seems to be a holistic quality to consciousness in that patterns of cognition and responses to stimuli which occur under certain circumstances begin to affect one”s cognition and responses in all circumstances. There cannot (in a healthy mind) be radically different modes of conscious response from one set of stimuli to another. The primary task of the ego is to maintain integration within the psyche. Rationality is a human artifact brought to the system — the ego could care less about it. So when we make a conscious choice to suspend rational judgement in one domain of our conscious functioning, and that particular domain comes to have a powerful attraction for us, the ego will slowly begin to take these new patterns of associative activity and apply them to other domains of our conscious activity. The reception of our messages required the complete suspension of critical judgement and evaluation. In order to receive them, it was necessary to enter into a stillness and let them enter, uninhibited by any humanly-created factors in our consciousness. This was difficult at first, but became easier with practice. It was made easier by the emotional rush of thinking that we were actually in contact with the planetary administration, and by the social closeness which was felt with other individuals who were experiencing the same thing. What had formerly been critical consciousness wherein ideas and experiences were evaluated by more normative criteria of rationality and relatedness to other known phenomena gave way to a hyper-critical consciousness which evaluated every experience and idea for confirmatory reinforcement that what we believed to be happening was actually so. This is somewhat akin to putting out to sea in a sailboat and then deciding that the mast and sail are blocking the view and proceeding to destroy them. This makes for a great unobstructed view and one has some time to enjoy the uncluttered view of the horizon and the full dome of stars at night. But sooner or later, a storm is going to come up. Good Luck. I hope you enjoyed your unobstructed view because now the only thing of any concern is going to be survival. You no longer have any means of negotiating the sea because of your impulsive foolishness. The elements are unleashing a fury unlike anything you ever imagined. If you survive the storm, you will be fortunate. Once the storm is over you will still have the problem of getting back to land to repair your ship and make it seaworthy once more. And if you were foolish enough to take all your friends with you in your boat, there won”t even be anyone back on shore to help you make your way back in. In a situation such as prevailed at FOG, we had been into it for so long that all our closest friends were involved. When the moment of truth came and reality shattered, we could no longer turn to each other for advice and support because we realized how we had all led each other into this blind alley — no one could be trusted to render a clear picture of our situation. It was very lonely and psychologically scary — we had the unpleasant experience of peering into the abyss of total insanity and comprehending its nature. I cannot overstate the danger, neither do I have confidence in my ability to communicate the nature of this danger. It is beyond rational articulation. At any rate, we slowly, willingly abdicated rationality to the point that when things started getting really strange, we were unable to evaluate or act in any way other than trying to get more messages to clarify our situation. The stranger things got, the stranger the messages became as we found ourselves in an undocumented region of collective consciousness which resembled a multi-dimensional hall of mirrors. Our whole orientation to reality had become conditioned by our messages and our personal identities had become wholly tied up in being persons who received such messages. I think the situation is made even more difficult at the present time because of the contemporary influence of traditional eastern mysticism on Christian religious culture. The problem lies in the divergent objectives of the two. Eastern mysticism concerns itself with providing the disciple with the means of attaining a specific state of consciousness — with using techniques of consciousness to bring about a particular neurological state which can then be experienced by that consciousness. Christian culture is far more concerned with gaining access to information and with the processes by which that information can be used to bring about a spiritual transformation of human culture. Christianity is a communal religion. I think it is a particularly illusive undertaking which attempts to utilize the techniques originating in eastern mysticism to attempt to achievement of the purposes embodied in Christian culture. Consider the issues of the Lucifer Rebellion. The primary issue was that Lucifer felt the culture which the Creator Sons brought to the planets in their local universes was imported for purposes of political control and maintained by conspiratorial consensus amongst the Creator Sons and their staffs. Lucifer proclaimed the doctrine of individual liberty and rejected the conceptual foundations which our Creator Son was attempting to utilize as a basis for evolving spiritual life from biological antecedents in these domains which we now inhabit. These issues need to be more fully understood by our community of readers. I would be foolish to say that contact with superhuman intelligences was impossible or should be completely ruled out. Our problem here is one of epistemology and predates our old testament heritage. This problem of “discerning of spirits” has a long history and has posed serious difficulties for the best spiritual minds on this planet for over 2,000 years. The Urantia Book simply gives a more detailed conceptual foundation upon which the same issues are being recast. For me, this heritage of Christian thought is a gold mine of diaries and journals of fellow travelers. I find much succor here. It”s as if I lived in the mid 19th century on the east coast of the US and wanted to load up my stuff in a wagon and head out west. Would I be wise to trust my rugged independence and personal judgement, and simply point my team and wagon towards the sunset? It might be fine as I made my way across Iowa and Kansas but when I hit the canyonlands of southern Utah or the Rocky Mountains, I might begin to wish I had spent a little time in the saloons in St. Louis, talking with people who had made the journey before and knew the way through what would otherwise be insurmountable obstacles. But then this is an adventure, right? A quest on the part of each individual, and each one of us must chart our courses and be loyal to whatever we most deeply believe to be the truth. We are all lost in a labyrinth and can only follow the Master”s advice about knowing the truth and the truth making us free. Wherever we happen to exist in that labyrinth, we can be certain that the honest pursuit of truth will get us out. We will take odd routes, get stuck in cul-de-sacs, take long detours when we could have taken a shortcut, but it”s important that we are on our journey, that we are actively involved in it and that we are sincerely pursuing truth and utilizing all available resources in that pursuit. Take care, friends; I greet you through the soft hail of electrons upon which this message is modulated…..
9 Mar 1993 ???leo elliott ???????????Sailing Spirit Seas
Subject: Sailing Spirit Seas
?David, thank you for your sharing — your wisdom is a beacon in an age of rough seas, and your willingness to recount some scary voyages will help us all to become better sailors on these spiritual seas.
?Your paper, in conjunction with some of Sabatier”s thoughts, has gotten me thinking of paradigm shifts in religions, religious philosophy, and personal spiritual experience.
?While I must agree with much that my rational faculties have presented me, acting as a frame for my experience, I suppose a paradigm shift might be likened to the adoption or incorporation of a new “larger” frame… another comparison might be that my rationality acts as a sieve for “sifting through the errors of evolution,” and a paradigm shift here might be likened to changing the caliber of this sieve, such that I begin to pick up finer and finer nuggets of wisdom as my daily experiences pour through.
?The Urantia Book definitely represented such a shift for me, “on the natch”, as Terrence McKenna might say, seeing as how it seemed to shift my consciousness, alter my linguistic-conceptual frame of reference, even while I was “in my rational mind.”
?I don”t suppose though, that I would have been as open to the UB when it was presented to me in 1973 had not previously the numerator of my personal experiences, beliefs and ideas, begun to outweigh the ability of the denominator of Catholic tradition and dogma and authority to come up with any sort of a “rational number.” In fact, as I”ve mulled more over my own experience growing up in this religion of authority in the 1950s in Our Mother of Sorrows Parish learning Latin and the nature of sin, it has seemed more and more like a the first decade or so of my life was indeed spent in a bomb shelter — those inside were OK, the good guys, and one always had to be ready to retreat into the safety of the sanctuary in the face of the overwhelming evil which might be lurking on the outside, waiting to implant impure thoughts or lustful desires.
?Fortunately, should one happen to get caught on the outside and suffer a dose of venial or even mortal radiation, there was always the direct channel of the confessional with which to shower oneself in divine grace, and then “go in peace and sin no more.”
?And in case one became unsettled within the safe confines of this shelter, wondering what might be going on on the outside as all these hip-swivelling rock-and-rollers started to gyrate, in seeming oblivion to the danger that their mortal soul faced in giving embodiment to such carnal ambition, one could always tune into the nearest PBS station, to see what Papal Broadcasts were available to Systemically sort out and rationally classify whichever of the various sinful scenes one happened to be witnessing, either in the streets, at school, or on the newly glowing tv sets — for surely Lucifer was ever present and ever ready to snare the wayward soul caught loitering around these commons.
?I must say that I tuned in pretty well to these Papal Broadcasts, the only other thing coming across the airwaves that seemed permeable at the time being the baseball games down in the basement with my dad. Fish-on-Friday was _de rigeur_ in my household, and fasting before Holy Communion, and the whole calender of life, from the 6 am Mass bells to the Noon angelus, to the seasons of the year, all this was rationally controlled, regulated, and provided by these infallible channels, whose messages were so direct and authoritative that life, inside this safe harbor, was safe, protected, and ultimately so stagnant and stifling that when the time of collapse came, around 1963, when, Lo!, it was not any longer so sinful, even sinful at all, to eat meat on Friday –> on penalty of MORTAL SIN, losing one”s mortal soul! [–, (talk about staring down the brink of insanity! try that one out for a meditation on your next cheeseburger, that I actually _believed_, along with quite a few others who were so taught to believe, that God (through his channels in the Church) so cared about enforcing his spiritual-dietary regime that violation of it would result in eternal damnation; no mere nuclear disaster this!)…
?Well, by the time this happened, I may have already been engaging in sailing some trial balloons or dinghies out to sea beyond the safe harbor of harmonious belief, but once this happened, the decision was made, even though I could not act on it until years later, to leave this rational system, despite its” safety and succor, to sail the seas of “adventures in uncertainty.”
?So whether this prolonged spiritual and psychic compression compares to the seemingly more sudden “eventuation” of what occurred with the Grimsley cultists, I can only say that there seem to be some parallels in terms of a group of people so isolating themselves from the larger spiritual currents, so focusing on a single bandwidth of seemingly authoritative information, that when the information coming from that source no longer proved reliable in the face of individual or group experience, the psychological disorientation, suffering, anger, bitterness occasioned by the “sudden” realization that the source of one”s transmissions was in fact fallible, the anger and resentment to such institutionally imposed authority I am still unpacking.
?(David, you allude to the isolation creeping in over a period of months as the FOGgers became more and more obsessed with, their identities entwined around, their status as celestial liasons, but I still sense some isolation to have set in amongst the FOG crew before the ship ever left port on those spurious instructions? This is the process that, to me, seems so subtle as to require almost frame-by-frame analysis to begin to behold the ego-listening overcoming the spirit-listening, the listening to the leader (and later the voices) becoming so invested that to back out when it got stranger and stranger, as you say, became impossible; at this point one might speak of “rationalizations” taking the place of reason, as with the UFO cultists who kept getting stranger and stranger messages, and inventing ever more bizarre reasons as to why the prophecied encounters kept failing to occur, or why every small bird(dropping) was an omen… the case you make seems once again for teamwork, such that no crew again goes to sea again with hailing frequencies as closed as you describe. The Christian enterprise does indeed seem to be a communal one, for the information secured by/through individual exploration to be conversationally mapped into/onto the pre-existing territorial descriptions… perhaps this whole enterprise, besides being at bottom an epistemological one as you point out, is one of learning to adjust our maps based on the information secured by man and provided by God, revelation verified by experience, and socialized for the spiritual enfranchisement of all.)
?I feel tremendously nurtured, not only to have the diaries, journals, and pensees of centuries of Christian thinkers, from Augustine and Aquinas to Meister Eckhart to Thomas Merton, who have endeavored to provide some form of paradigm(s) for effectively assimilating the Fourth Epochal Revelation, but even more to have chanced upon the notes and notions of those here who are going about the business of trying to find some ways, personal, social, professional, to assimilate the Fifth.
?In this vein, I must agree again David that the ego”s primary job seems to be to simply maintain the integrity of the personality system, according to its own devices, and that rationality, along with paradigms, comes much afterwards, such that when I decided I must leave home port these many years ago, it was not so much with the thought of going out in search of a new paradigm, as much as that there were some seas to be sailed, a much larger world out there than the one I had been previously informed of, and that while there were certainly hazards for all ships, it was possible to navigate with a trustworthy Pilot.
?Now I must also confess to having spent more than a few nights in the saloons of St. Louis, mostly around Grand and Laclede, prior to setting out in my catamaran, although the hidden shoals and stellar navigation techniques, so I recall, were seldom discussed in favor of what pleasures might await in the next port… perhaps this is the way with most young sailors. In any case, when I found the Urantia Book floating in the flotsam of the psychedelic seas I was sailing in those years, I beheld its maps as simultaneously being of territory I thought only I had been aware of, as well as of areas of the universe awaiting exploration that I thought only were spoken of in myths and fairy tales. So when I took it on board and dried out enough to really begin to see the implications of the voyage of discovery it beckoned me to, I indeed began to question the viability of my small, isolated craft — even if my Pilot was sure, I would surely need to make this journey as part of a crew on some larger vessel.
?An old salt named Buckminster Fuller appeared about this time to provide some valuable instruction on crew membership, but trying to hook up with a seaworthy group in my home port seemed to continue to be problematic. The paradigm I was presented was that crews were to develop by word-of- mouth, person-to-person contact, much as that mysterious sailor had presented the Urantia Maps to me years before. Being an eager sort, however, I sought out some of the more populated Urantia saloons and salons, and journeyed around for several years trying to observe what it took to catch on with a seaworthy crew, and what sort of vessels they sailed in.
?When family life arrived and it began to appear that I might be a landlubber for a while, I still maintained my subscriptions to all these journals of high-seas adventures, living vicariously through the tales of these seafaring Societies, which would surely be bringing about this New World Order, or at least laying the foundation for a whole new spiritual economy as they plied the new spiritual spice routes, bringing heady tastes of Fifth Epochal cinnamon and myrrhth to backwater ports across the planet…
?Then of course, the reports of the scandals started to come in, the tales of the copyright pirates out to loot the Crown, and then the sad tales of delusion and anarchy in the Royal Colony by the Bay, complete with evidence of dementia on the part of Crown Prince Vern, followed shortly thereafter by the madness of King Martin.
?Enough to make a lonely sailor look to the consort of TMermaids?
?It does seem of note, in retrospect, that these seemingly mastless TMmers were about the first crew whose reputation came to me, as the old paradigm would have it, by word-of-mouth, person-to-person; my old Area Coordinator first spoke of some strange folk downunder who were claiming “contact” of some sort with Melchizedek, which folk had apparently never even heard of the Urantia Maps… then thread by thread, the story was woven as such lore accumulates, until by the summer of 92 it had reached such apparently critical mass as to occasion the warnings of immanent core meltdown, caused by the traitorous Caligastia, still intent on sinking the good ship Urantia as part of his flailing efforts at a false freedom…
?This crew must be quite something, it occurred to me, to have prompted such a prophetic warning from those so seemingly well-versed in the more recent charts of the ship of Urantia, so naturally I took deep heed of these warnings of the devil lurking, once again, around every idle thought and fanciful religious practice. Surely I would watch out for these loose canons, for they might just jeopardize the whole ship…
?But then it got even more curious, for I thought I would take just a small hit of their forbidden fruit, just to be able to say that I wasn”t being a total prude and condemning solely on the basis of hearsay heresy… I would read some of these transcripts, talk to some of the people who were actually engaged in these nefarious practices, taking care never to actually _inhale_ lest I fall under the spell of these devilish TMermaids.
?Well, so far, I haven”t received any requests to sell my house, sacrifice my firstborn, or in any other way chop down my masts of rationality for the sake of some sordid spirituality… this is not to say that there may not arise mast-choppers of whatever persuasion, but so far it seems that the most intoxicating message I”ve gotten, all while reading these transcripts in my most rational and mundane of mentalities, is to trust my Pilot, which is where I started years ago when I came out of the first bomb shelter — occasionally the prose becomes more than prosaic, and if I am able to slightly lower the deflector shields of rationality, as I did when I first began to entertain the notion that maybe the Urantia Book was for real, then I have felt, on occasion, a slight inspiration, a slight gust of spiritual wind in my sails, to carry me whence, at this point, I am at a loss to say, except to say that I retain utter confidence in my Pilot, and in the collective wisdom of my newfound electronic crewmembers here to keep my canons tied down, and help in the deck swabbing as we explore, together, the adventure of a lifetime.
?I would like to think it”s possible to peel spuds in the crows” nest, but if you think this an unreasonable demand, I will accede to the group process. In the meantime, if any TMermaids should appear, I know someone will give a shout.
?David, thank you again for unrolling your charts as you have. I feel priveleged to hear the tales of your voyages.
9 Mar 1993 ???Byron Belitsos ?????LORE newsletter
Subject: LORE newsletter
?Here finally is the first edition of LORE. You are its first recipients. Before I send it out widely, I would love your input and critique. It truly is an experiment. Note, Dave Kantor, references to you. I would like your comments in particular about this section. Some may not want to receive this online. Please let me know and I”ll take you off of the LORE distribution list. Otherwise, dear logondonters, enjoy this stripped-down ASCII version of something that looks much better with my Macintosh graphics.
?On the prairie TM beat,
?LORE of the Teaching Mission Byron Belitsos, Lorist and Reporter
?”Which way you serve your God will never get one word of argument or condemnation out of me.” Will Rogers _______________________________________________________________________
?Welcome to an experiment in light journalism. Lore is informal and pure grassroots. It reports on the Teaching Mission as seen from Oklahoma, land of the master lorist, Will Rogers. Lore is one among many efforts to unite those involved in (or curious about) the Teaching Mission. I welcome and will print your letters, especially if they include lore, especially humor and stories. This will help balance our more serious reporting, for controversial times indeed lay ahead.
?LATEST LORE. Where to begin? Suprising news is continually arriving. For example, was delighted to find this story in a posting on Internet. Along with Prodigy and Compuserve, Internet is one of the computer networks where increasing numbers of UBers are “meeting” electronically — often to discuss the TM:
?”….To me the Teaching Mission is not to teach us many strange things we did not know before…What we need now is to start putting into practice all the things that the UB has taught us. And this is what the TM seems to be all about. It is a very basic course in practicing the teachings of Jesus starting with prayer, worship, love and service. These are repeated many times in many different ways and I find myself starting to incorporate more and more of these things into my daily life…It probably would not be an exaggeration to say that I have communed more with the Father in the last two months than in the previous decade…We used to have 10 or fifteen people attend our Urantia Meetings and were glad to have so many. Now 40 have been showing up and it continues to grow with every meeting. We have outgrown several meeting places and if it gets past 50 we will have to start renting a hall. Not all will stick with it but it is amazing how many seekers of truth there are who are being led to the Urantia Book via the TM.”
?This is an excerpt from a recent letter by Ted Blaney, long-time convener of the Cincinnati, Ohio study group. It was posted on Internet by Leo Elliott of Charlotte, NC. Ted and Leo and I are old friends. We first met and were part of the core group of the study group in Cincinnati back in 1976. But we had lost track of one another since the early 80”s!
?NEW FRIENDS, SEEN AND UNSEEN. Meanwhile, I”m relishing the new friends I”m making in the Teaching Mission, even as I sit way out here on the prairie. I”ve also met new friends, visible and invisible, from attending live transmissions in Sarasota, Tulsa, and an attempted transmission in Washington, DC, (channeling red tape). One case I have witnessed is still underground, not even yet disseminating its samizdat transcripts. One of my new (human, two-brained type) friends is Bob Slagle of Santa Rosa, CA, who introduced me to the TM. I traveled to watch and support Bob as he presented, along with Gennie MacKinnon, their experiences with the TM, at the “Forum on Channeling”. This five-hour event was sponsored by the Golden Gate Urantia Society of Northern California and held on January 30.
?THE PANEL also included Dave Kantor and Bob Blackstock, both formerly of the Family of God Foundation (FOG). Kantor”s scholarly paper, presented with convincing flair, is perhaps the first notable work of research by those opposed to the TM. The paper presents an overview of modern revelation theory, and the place of revelation in the history of religion. One need not accept his conclusions; but his conceptual framework should prove to be a useful aid for all of us.
?But this marathon Forum had perhaps a higher significance. It was the first time key members of the disbanded FOG organization appeared in public to discuss their experiences in the 1983-5 “WWIII messages” incident. If nothing else, this was a healing experience for FOG members and the SF community.
?YARNS OF WAR LORE. Ex-Foggers aside from Vern himself believe that the messages received by Vern, and by Dave Kantor and Sara Blackstock (whose transmissions in early 1985 further embellished Vern”s original WWIII messages ), were of origin in their own subconscious — yarns of the mind at mischief. It would be a true service to the community if the actual content of these messages, and the inside story of the FOG experience, were fully disclosed. Eight years is enough time for healing and reflection. This event profoundly affected us all; therefore, it now belongs to the whole community. These ”channeled” texts belong to the public domain. It is part of our lore, yarns or not. I for one call upon Sara and Dave — and even Vern — to disclose the details of their contacts. Does anyone out there join me? The two made a good start at this disclosure during the Forum.
?By the way, you might want to avail yourself of the superb essay Bob Slagle has written on his experiences in the Teaching Mission that he distributed at the Forum. It”s entitled “Welcome To Change — A Personal View of the Teaching Mission “. Get in touch and I”ll mail you a copy. When I read it, I was inspard (“inspired” in Okie).
?TM ON THE HIGH PRAIRIE. Throughout the TM transcripts we are told that all of us can have a Teacher — if we so desire. So I have made this known in prayer. I was amazed to get a letter from Patije Mills of Sarasota, with an excerpt from a session with RondEL, an active Teacher, in which he said: “Contact Byron and tell him I”m trying very hard to contact him. Please ask him to go into the stillness and make time for me. He is so busy procrastinating that he hardly offers me an opportunity!” _______________________________________________________________________
?”….if you people believe this stuff, you must be out to lunch!” Terry Kruger told me over lunch when I was last in Boulder. Said I: “I am out to lunch, Terry….” ________________________________________________________________________
?MEANWHILE, I have produced a paper entitled “The Teaching Mission — Second Phase of the Fifth Epochal Revelation”, which is a labor of love that takes excerpts from the transcripts of Welmek (Indianapolis), Will (Tallahassee), Aflana and LorEL (Sarasota), and Daniel (Pocatella, Idaho), and groups them under headings such as “General Statements on the Teaching Mission” , “On the Technique of the Transmission”, “On the Role of the Melchizedeks”, “On the Return of Michael”, etc. This is something you may get in touch for. I”m at P.O. Box 6274, Norman, OK 73070; 405/364-7337(h), fax: 364-9699.
?NOW, A REAL TM NEWSLETTER. To get an in-depth newsletter on the Teaching Mission that”s a true labor of love, contact Allene Vick, 1877 Sunny Drive, G-31, Bradenton, FLA 34207. For those who don”t know, Sarasota is a primary site of the transmissions. Actually, any place and any person can be a primary site; I just mean they”ve been doin” it longer. Allene was led to develop this form of communication between TM groups, so, friends, let her know if you”re interested — or even just a little curious.
?BIG MAC APPEARS. You may have heard that the Tallahasse group, whose teacher is Will (not to be confused with Will Rogers), came up with an affectionate phrase for Machiventa Melchizedek, CEO of the Teaching Mission, who often makes surprise visits to TM groups during transmission sessions with their designated Teachers. They call it a “Big Mac attack”. Slightly corny, but I am sympathetic to their desire to lighten things, given the heady atmosphere of most transmission sessions. Meanwhile, the notion has been spread abroad that our brother Machiventa will materialize in Chicago on April 24. I for one consider this to be a possible case of Mac-itis — a manifestation of the understandable (but unconscious) desire for material confirmation of what is known by faith. My reason? Very few Teachers have corroborated this story. There is much more to report on this major issue, but dear readers of Lore, please send in your comments and lore on this newest version of the Big Mac attack; I”ll publish results of our collective research in the next issue.
10 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Ongoing threads — FOG & TM ex
Subject: Ongoing threads — FOG & TM experiences
?Michael, thanks for your help with the files and for answering my questions about use of the system, file formats, etc. I will let you know when I have been able to type in some of the other material which I have. Leo, thanks for your thoughts. You are very perceptive in your comments about isolation having set in with the FOG crew prior to any messages. Not only this, but the beginnings of suspension of rational judgement had also set in long before the messages. When I first visited FOG, I was really turned off by their approach to dealing with the 5th and I thought that Vern was a bit marginal. The only reason I went over there was because in the late 60”s, I had spent several days in Chicago visiting with Emma (Christy) Christensen discussing the possibilities open to a young person fairly committed to same 5th. She had spoken highly of Vern”s work and suggested that I consider working with him. So when I visited Berkeley and observed my reactions, I chided myself for being so judgmental and critical — after all, weren”t they getting the teachings of Jesus out over the airwaves? (airwaves — now there”s an interesting term!) So I thought I needed to suspend my own prejudices in order to participate in a group effort, x and I think I was correct in my assumption that I could accomplish far more as part of a group than as an individual. I”m not rationalizing here, simply recounting the beginnings. I really got into it and appreciated the opportunity to produce and publish the multi-media programs which were performed over the years. I felt some really good work got done. Incidentally, this issue remains a problem — doesn”t one always have to sacrifice some personal freedom and independence in order to participate in a group effort? And where does one cross the line separating social accommodation from a loss of personal integrity? So I made my compromises with my ideals (having read in the UB that one”s highest ideals are not necessarily synonymous with the will of God) and proceeded on my path. This turns out to have been the experience of many of us with FOG, so you can see the developing nature of the self-selected sample which later crashed and burned when these compromises continued to develop to their logical conclusion. I appreciated your articulation of your experience growing up in the church. I am by no means advocating a retreat to the security of the established church as insurance against an overly zealous response to my religious impulses. It has fascinated me to consider that during the middle ages, when Averroes, Maimonides, Albert, Aquinas et al, were working through the great ecumenic issues of their age, the uneducated masses of Christians, Moslems and Jews were engaged in bloody confrontation. There is a curious gap of substantial proportions between the thought of the theologians and philosophers of the various religions and the practices of the people in the churches, mosques and synagogues of the world which I don”t fully understand. But it is this accumulated thought and the symbols passed on by the tradition which I think warrant some attention. There is something humanly sacred about these ancient symbols — they are an integral part of the human experience; they bring me the same sense of being human that comes from baking bread, or growing vegetables, or having children — it?s a wonderful immersion in the human drama. I have recently heard articulated from more than one source, a sequence of religious events which occur over the course of a human life if a person is a serious religious seeker. It is a transition from a “first naivete”, in which the symbols are seen as actually representative of reality, through a period of “critical deconstruction” where the symbols are deconstructed out of existence, to a period of “post-critical reconstruction” in which the individual reconstructs the traditional symbols and makes them representative gateways to his or her own genuine encounter with the Divine. We were discussing this in our Adult Study Class at our Church a couple of weeks ago and the teacher pointed out that once an individual starts out on the path of critical deconstruction, there is no turning back. He stated it very meaningfully in Biblical terms by saying that, “you must go through the valley of the shadow of death if you expect to sit at the table and have your head anointed with oil.” Your comments on the TM phenomena are well taken. There certainly is much here which an interested person could explore — much about spirituality and psychology which we do not know. I remember back in the mid-60”s when I was considering finding a spiritual teacher I heard a talk by Tim Leary in which he put down the idea of finding an external teacher; he maintained that each individual had an inner teacher and guide and that our task was to learn how to utilize this mechanism. I thought it sounded right and have fully enjoyed the ongoing courtship of my “pilot” as you put it. For me, if any material has spiritual content, I try to assimilate that content separate from the cultural context in which it happens to appear. I think that many individuals fall into a religious system because they have an encounter with the divine and then unconsciously associate the cultural context in which that encounter happened to take place with the encounter itself. They then end up spending the rest of their lives trying to recreate the cultural context so that they can again have another experience with the divine. If we accept the description of reality given in the UB, and it”s by far the best model I”ve encountered, we are surrounded by spiritual forces and personalities. I think they try to get our attention and guide us by every means possible short of abrogating our free will. There are two items which I think should be considered vis-a-vis the TMers: 1.) The nature of symbolic communication. Are thought and language two different things? (I think yes). What are the mechanisms existent at the locus of the transformation of thought into linguistic symbols? It”s curious that the UB says that there exists no specific mechanism for adjuster communication and that they don”t consider us to have really learned anything until we can teach it to someone else. What does this tell us about symbolic communication? I think that everything from the symbol on out is a human artifact. We impose the symbolic constraints on thought in order to bring it into our communities. (Isn”t the classic fundamentalist position — in all religions — that the linguistic symbols themselves are of divine origin? Even my experience with the UB indicates that the real revelation is a process which occurs as I intellectually apprehend the metaphoric constructs of the text.) My experience with our messages at FOG is that the human mind is not to be underestimated in terms of its ability to generate some pretty good material, particularly if you can get the ego out of the way. Now I think there is a long stretch between recognizing information contained in the TM transcripts as being of spiritual value, to buying the entire cultural packaging of this information as being a “teacher mission” or a completion of the 5th. Again, I feel strongly that all of the symbolic encoding of thought occurs on the human side of the fence. The idea that a celestial personality would utilize a conscious human mind to generate a sequence of linguistic symbols which were of origin outside that human mind sounds absolutely brutal — somewhat like surgery without an anesthetic — I can”t imagine that any caring celestial personality would do such a thing to a human being. Such an intervention in the inner life of a human would undermine the integrity of the interpreting ego and seriously distort its social relationships and identity within the human community. If such a communication occurred, it would either have to originate as an outside intervention in the associative thought processes of the individual which would then have to be symbolically encoded by the human subject in accordance with the operative psychological factors of the particular individual, or, to be really clear, the celestial personality would have to actually take over the human nervous system and operate the neuro- muscular mechanism in order to communicate. Certainly if the latter were happening the human subject would know it. This latter technique more closely approximates my understanding of the activity involved in the transmittal of the Urantia Papers, and the subject was asleep during all such interventions in neurobiological processes. 2.) Frankly, the overall quality of the TM material strikes me as quite mediocre. For starters, why not compare it with Bill Sadler Jr.”s “Study of The Master Universe”? Now there is some quality work! — and he certainly makes no divine claims for it. Have the people who are so taken with these transcripts read very much in the way of other spiritual or theological texts? Compare the quality of H. Richard Neibuhr”s “The Meaning of Revelation”, or how about Paramahansa Yogananda”s “Metaphysical Meditations”, or Rabindranath Tagore”s (gorgeous) “Gitanjali”? I wonder if these folks, if they went into a library and found these transcripts in a book on the shelf with all the other religious and spiritual texts, if they would select them over any of the other books on the same shelf on the basis of their spiritual relevance and quality. Would these folks be interested in this same material if it were not connected with all the cultural hoopla and subjective gloss of getting messages from divine personalities and being amongst the chosen? Well, I”ve been wrong before and I”ll be wrong again, but this is how I view it from here, today. By the way, did you know that the summit of Mt. Everest is
10 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Response to LORE
Subject: Response to LORE
?Good Day, Logondonters…..
?Byron….Thanks for the copy of the newsletter. I appreciate your call for more information about our experience at FOG. I think there are important lessons there for all of us to learn, but I am not sure how to access or present the relevant information. My talk at the forum was a start. I have been critical of the failure of the readership to assimilate these lessons but I have been unable to contribute information which might facilitate this process and remain uncertain about how to do so. I am leaning toward the opinion that such disclosure can only be relevant when it is a part of an interaction with other individuals, which is why I am participating in this electronic forum — perhaps a way will be made clear.
?I was somewhat surprised by your statement that “eight years is enough time for healing and reflection”. Upon what do you base this? How do you come up with a time period after which an individual should have “recovered” from an experience whose nature, by your own statements, you do not understand? We didn”t fall down and scrape a knee.
?In many ways your call for us to disclose our experiences is a request to do something which is humanly impossible. This is due to the unique nature of the experience and not to any residual feelings about it. I feel a sense of responsibility to try to share our experiences more broadly, particularly in light of the present enchantment with the TM, but I remain mystified as to how to adequately do so. Any factual description of our experience would fall far short of communicating its essence. Your call is similar to a request to publicly describe my experience of the death of my child after a long illness. Such a description would be humanly impossible to render — not because of its emotional nature but because its depth far exceeds the conceptual capacity of linguistic symbols. (I have not had such an experience but use it as an example). Such experiences can at best be communicated through metaphor or poetry but certainly not in a factual disclosure. If you aggressively try to probe into these matters I can guarantee you that you will destroy a process which has taken eight years to begin. There are many individuals who were involved who will probably not recover during the course of their mortal lives.
?The best I can offer at this point is to try to be in sincere dialog regarding the issues. I am willing to share my ideas but have no interest in attempting to dissuade anyone from pursuing whatever experiences they wish to pursue. Neither do I have any interest in mounting a defense of my position. While I feel that my position is well-grounded and based on the best I know as well as being under continuous scrutiny and processing, I could well be wrong — it”s happened before. In addition, I have a great deal of personal respect for the privacy of my fellows who shared in the experience.
?No amount of factual disclosure could reveal truth. A collection of facts would only provide a basis for individuals who did not share the experience to project their own meanings on the facts and I think the present situation with the TMers indicates massive, uncontrolled psychological projective processes are in full operation within the readership. The meanings of facts cannot be ascertained apart from the values of the individual attempting to assimilate the facts.
?The real bottom line is that I am not really very interested in the topic — I am involved in a number of things at the present time which I find to be far more stimulating, productive and relevant.
?It”s been a matter of interest to me to see that those individuals who experienced the FOG episode who are involved today with the TM scene, are almost without exception, individuals who telephoned me within a few weeks of the FOG collapse to tell me that they didn”t think we made a mistake, that somehow the situation had changed and that it was the external situation and not our messages that was the problem. I couldn”t believe my ears when I heard this happening and I see these same people today, eagerly embracing the TM movement. They appear to me as individuals who were unable to assimilate essential lessons the first time around and I suspect they will have to repeat the class until they do.
?You have called for me to disclose details of my contacts but I have repeatedly stated that there were no contacts. In addition, I have attempted to articulate some of the factors which I think led us to believe that we had contacts. If you have questions about the FOG situation which are relevant to your own on-going quest for truth please contact me here, publicly or privately. If you seek information for any other purpose, please look elsewhere. I don”t believe that anyone”s personal experience, under any circumstances, is public property.
?I encourage you to utilize your critical consciousness which I have seen you effectively bring to bear on many situations in the past
10 Mar 1993 ??Ron Darby ??????Diverse Views are Key
Subject: Diverse Views are Key
?I would like to express to David my sincere appreciation for his sharing of an experience, the likes of which I would prefer to avoid. I further appreciate the views and understandings, both pro and con, expressed here by all participants.
?As I have expressed to some extent before, I like to think of these electronic groups as a form of “team” or “community” or “study group”. The primary attraction to me of any such group is that by participation therein, I can “be” and “serve” more than just myself.
?I find David”s input to the discussion of the TM to be of particular value because to a large extent I am “buying into” the TM concept. I have experienced personal growth as a direct result of reading TM transcripts. I have put forth more effort to commune with my Adjuster and prayed more frequently and earnestly since the transcripts came into my life than the sum total of my life before the transcripts. I am starting to feel love for my neighbor whereas prior to the transcripts this kind of love was only a foggy intellectual notion. I practice the stillness daily. I have sincerely prayed for a personal teacher.
?I have also prayed just as earnestly and with the same faith that God will prevent me from “falling off the edge”. As I e-mailed to someone just yesterday, I feel like I have embarked on An Adventure of the Bizarre. I am naturally very conservative and for me to begin looking into such things as channeled transcripts, UFOs, Angel books, and even more down to earth books on philosophy and theology, has no precedent other than the UB itself over 20 years ago.
?I can”t say that I am fearful, now that I have started on this quest, because I do have faith that my prayer for safety will be honored. I do, however, have my “eyes pealed” for God”s guiding hand reaching to keep me from falling.
?I pray that this electronic community will remain diverse and questioning. I pray for group tolerance while at the same time we be honest and forthright with one another. While a certain amount of positive reinforcement for any idea or position is valuable, for me, the red flag of warning will be if there is nothing but positive reinforcement.
?God bless you all.
?Ron Darby email@example.com
10 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Language [-?-] Spirituality
Subject: Language [-?-] Spirituality
?David, your comments are prompting no small degree of synergy as I begin to feel like one of those Dead Sea scholars with a bunch of $2.50-per-square- centimeter chips of parchment, scanning them into some gnostic database and hoping the computer can piece them together and tell me what I”m seeing…
?Your points about “going along to get along” ring all too common, but as you say, this fine art of tact and compromise that the Master was so adept at is something the novice, who wants to belong, doesn”t always appreciate until he/she realizes that they have gone down a path with too many compromises… the influence of the ”cultural frame” cannot be understated. As my experience with Catholicism confirms for me, it was only years later, after I had ceased participating liturgically, that some of the wisdom contained in various of the mystic and other scholarly Catholic writers began to be present for me, apart from Friday night novenas and bingos and selling chances door-to-door. (They _were_ great fundraisers!)
?I of course cannot recall my first experience inside of a church, but of the first conscious ones which I can, they seem to be shaded with grimness and solemnity; of course, once I got to be a participant in that solemn process, lighting the charcoal and swinging the censor or carrying the cross around the novenal procession, it began to be more fun. But it was a secret shame I felt for some time that I never “got off” on Holy Communion like I thought I should have… but then, who was I to complain to, the priest in the confessional?
?Your points about the theologic enterprise of the various religious traditions being often quite distinct and quite removed from the daily practice, over the centuries, raise, for me, some of the crucial issues we of the UB community are wrestling with as efforts are made to make sense out of these “new Pentecostals” as Matthew Rapaport might call them…
?I think that it is precisely the cultural “packaging” or “framing” of the Teaching Mission (as being occasioned by the end of the rebellion, as being an extension of the 5th Epochal Revelation, as being ”directed” or ”prompted” by various UB personalities) which has been the rod which has drawn the most static out of the conversational air; had groups of UB students chosen to engage in transmitting/receiving, channeling, or voodoo, had they ”stayed in the closet” then I don”t think the conference of 1/30/93 would have occurred and we would not be having this conversation now.
?However, it seems the nature of the spiritual experience to want to be expressed, to be spoken, and this leads to the next, and main distinction your most recent post has prompted for me David.
?In your discussion of the nature of symbolic communication, you say that you think that thought and language are two different things. I would have to step sideways from that and say that I think that thinking and speaking are two different activities engaged in by humans, for I consider myself to be ”using language” even when I am ”talking to myself”…
?Therefore, for me, language becomes a tool for communication, and symbolic language (is there any other kind?) can get then further subdivided into verbal/non-verbal, pictographic, ideographic, mathematical, iconographic, et al… [as an aside, I view this last category with much curiosity, professionally, as I have spent the last 10 years working almost exclusively with character-based systems, and only as of last summer did I begin to play with a mouse, windows, and begin to get a feel for icons… this may or may not be referenceable to humans who are more of the literalist-type interpreter/ thinker of the various sacred books, as distinguished from those whose thinking/speaking-interface with these scriptures, or with the phenomena of spirituality in general, may be more GUI-oriented… I used to bewail the fact that my 12-yr old stepson was such a poor speller, until I began to see that spelling appears to be a vanishing skill in most school curricula… I rationalized my lack of rigor in enforcing the strict standards by which I was raised by telling myself that perhaps he is indeed being raised to be ”The Last Starfighter” whose paramount survival skills will not be those of character-based literacy as much as electronic-gamy/videographic-tactile fluency… recall the quote posted earlier about the Garden schools, where hands-on (manual) training was given precedence over other forms of training]…
?However, to return to language as a tool for communicating…
?If this is so, then perhaps there are no “mechanisms existent at the locus of the transformation of thought into linguistic symbols”… and our searching for them is like looking for the missing link. I would love to find such, like I would love to see a Yeti, or a UFO, or even hear the voice of Jesus himself… yet, as often as not, it seems that words just spring full-blown into my mental arena, and my choice comes in whether or not I choose to speak it, or write it, or look it up in the dictionary of my experience (always being recompiled by the way), or forget it, or dismiss it as incomprehensible, or play with it and juggle it and massage it and see what shape the letters might take or what sounds might get evoked….
?In the same way as we may become swayed, fascinated, absorbed with the cultural/social trappings or ”frame” of a religious group, so may we fall prey to becoming fascinated and/or obsessed with the language/speaking-frame of this group, and/or with the ”mechanisms” employed as part of their religious/spiritual practices. It is easy for me to become very absorbed in trying to imagine how the ”transmission” of the Urantia Papers could have occurred to/through the original ”contact personality” just as it becomes quite fascinating to imagine what sort of conversational process went on between Bill Sadler Sr. and Mr. X, between Bill and Bill Jr., amongst the early Forumites, and on and on… my personal ”unsolved mystery” would be to hear some of the conversations between Bill Sr. and Leona (his wife, nee Leona Kellogg).
?I suppose it is for each of us to decide how much of any picture we choose to view, and what sort of frame we choose to enclose/communicate it. The UB tells us how primitive humans vacillated between the desire to get something for nothing, and the fear of getting nothing for something. I find this especially relevant to our use of language, as well as our use of computers. If I just read some fine words, adopt them into my vocabulary, I will effect the trappings of erudition, and surely gain tenure… NOT! Where is it we are told that development of vocabulary does not equal development of character? And yet we go on seeking the ”magic words”… those macro commands that will somehow make our task at hand so much easier… and yet how fearful we remain over saying the wrong word, committing that faux pas which will so embarrass me that I will never get that promotion…
?So for now maybe I”m finding myself in the “reconstruction phase” of my UB studies; it certainly seems like it could be a bit easier on all parties concerned if it were possible to view this process of integration of the 5th Epochal Revelation into the dictionary of human experience a bit more like the process of language acquisition in children…. is it not true that children learn languages almost by assimilation up to about age 7 or 8, and that if exposed to two or more languages in a bi-lingual household, a child will learn two just as easily as one language? And how much more difficult it becomes to learn a foreign language as an adult? Why is this? Do we seek to learn by study of vocabulary and syntax and rules of grammar, instead of by speaking? Do we become too concerned, as adults, to look and act like adults, such that we forget what Bucky Fuller dared us, to be naive, to make mistakes, to fumble and look silly or stupid with words, to play with them, maybe even have fun with them, maybe even ”reveal” some new meaning, as Niebuhr would describe the process?
?I think this distinction between thought and language, or between thinking and speaking, is a critical one for us to pursue David. For it seems at the core of the whole process of revelation… in the beginning was the word. And then the history of man becomes how we interpret that word, or that silence, and then choose to communicate it to others.
?As a child of about four or five I can recall playing down at the corner of Harrison and Ellsworth avenues, shinnying up the STOP sign with some other kids, taking turns, and all of a sudden, on one trip up or down, looking up at the sign and being struck with the ”revelation” that the word on the sign could be spelled backward to give me a new word POTS, and furthermore, as the letters began to dance in my brain, all sorts of new words, OPTS, TOPS, SPOT, POST…
?Now, whether someone would choose to frame this as one of the adjutant mind spirits at work, or perhaps the mental stimulation of the kundalini rising, or simply an overactive intellect, this is a choice of interpretation. I recall being so struck that I was momentarily speechless. Perhaps this was a form of poetic inspiration for my later career as a crossword-puzzle writer. I will tell the story and let the reader attach whatever significance they choose. The lesson I choose to draw from this is one that the UB presents about how it takes the consciousness of the poet to perceive the beauty of language in everyday prose, to hear the wisdom in plain speaking. I would posit that we suffer not from a lack of poetry in books, but from a lack of the consciousness of the poet in our everyday conversations.
?I cannot speak to the mechanics of how God, as I have chosen to be informed by/about him through my reading of the UB, might choose to accomplish his speaking into the hearts of mortal men, only that He does so, and that there are many frames of possibility presented in the UB for conceiving of such. Having been personally present at only one ”semi-formal” TM session, my database of experience is limited, but what I witnessed did not seem brutal in any way; the speaking was rather plain, the atmosphere not particularly ”charged” in any noticeable way… I was not inspired to give away my life savings to Mother Theresa, nor to go out and pick up litter for the rest of my life, by what I heard coming from the ”teacher.”
?I was inspired by the conversation, preceding and subsequent to this session, with the fellow humans in that room, seekers all, sharing maps of near and far, telling tales of struggle and triumph. That”s about as close as I can get to pointing out a mechanism. I guess the only disagreement would come over when the spiritual breezes began to fill my sails — for me, they began the moment two gathered together, in His name.
?Byron, my man, I appreciate the plug; please understand that I have nothing against the Tar Heel state, I have good friends there, including our online brother John Mead. However, I do NOT live in Charlotte, NC. That”s Charlottesville, in VA. I fear that if this is the type of reportage that goes unreported amongst the TM community, that folks will perhaps lose their appetite for Big Mac Attacks in favor of Whoppers.
?Of course, it is purely coincidence, once again, that you have chosen to leadoff with Will Rogers, who just happens to be my own personal patron saint, and with whom I am quite proud to share November 4 as a birthday, along with Walter Cronkite and Art Carney. Now, how”s that for the four stooges!
10 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Response to Ron D.
Subject: Response to Ron D.
?Thank you Ron, for your eloquent statement of your experience and situation. One of my favorite writers, H. Richard Neibuhr makes the following remark:
?”We can imagine that early preachers were often asked to explain what they meant with their talk about God, salvation and revelation, and when they were hard pressed, when all their parables or references to the unknown God and to the Logos had succeeded only in confusing their hearers, they turned at last to the story of their life, saying, “What we mean is this event which happened among us and to us.”
?And so it is with us. Our final statement can only be confessional as we declare, “This is what has happened to my in my community.”
?I can only encourage you to continue on the course you have chosen, critically and carefully, and see where it leads. To me, the ideal study group or religious community is one made up of individuals with a diversity of experience and backgrounds who are willing to bring those elements into the communal dialog and share them, free from any political or other motivations. I hope that this is what this electronic dialog can be. I don”t see this as a debate where the objective is a resolution of individual differences which will then be called “the truth”. I believe strongly that one must pursue truth fully. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” is one of the greatest pronouncements I have ever heard. It implies that we can start anywhere in this vast cosmos and with truth as our criteria can proceed safely to the shores of Paradise.
?My warnings voiced on this forum are not intended to make anyone fearful of their pursuit of their spiritual vision. Rather is it intended to provide a note of caution and an exhortation to critical thinking. I think it is very important to carefully construct the conceptual foundations upon which one attempts to build the edifice of knowledge so that many years hence, the foundation will still be sufficient to support the enlarging and maturing structure which has been so long in process. It is a real drag to spend many years in this construction process and then find that one must start over at square one and reconstruct one”s conceptual frame of reference from scratch.
?But what is the purpose of this conceptual structure? From the universe perspective it is a temporary, relative, subjective scaffolding which probably will not even survive mortal death. It seems that we need a conceptual frame of reference which will help us to get to know God and which will help us to learn how to live with one another more graciously. It would be nice if this conceptual frame of reference helped us to make a contribution to the betterment of this world we are so quickly passing through. I have functioned in several different conceptual contexts during my nearly 50 years on this planet. I was raised in a strict Christian fundamentalist context. In my early 20”s I was deeply involved in eastern mysticism and had an opportunity to study with a Zen master for a short period of time. This was followed with a discovery of the UB and my 15 years of work with FOG. Each time, the underlying conceptual foundations upon which I was basing my thinking had to be radically reconstructed and ground which had been gained had to be slowly retaken.
?My task at present is attempting to discover the structural foundations for soul growth upon which I can reliably build for my remaining decades here on this planet. There are intellectual and spiritual heights which I can see just ahead, and I”m no longer willing to invest my lifeblood in the construction of another tower of Babel in an attempt to reach them. This time the foundation must be secure and each component must be critically examined and carefully be put in place. It”s similar to what life would be like if you moved every 6 months or so. You would never have a chance to really settle down and discover what it is like to live in an on-going community.
?Only your continued pursuit of truth will confirm or disconfirm for all of us the validity of the underlying assumptions upon which you are proceeding. I look forward to participating in this dialog as we each continue on our journey. Thanks again for you comments.
10 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Response to Leo
Subject: Response to Leo
?Good Evening, Logondonters;
?The traffic on this network is most stimulating — I”ve got to start getting some work done! It is so tempting, as I sit at my workstation hacking code, to check this study group for activity. Then I am stimulated to respond! Leo, you must have a lot of experience writing. I find your ideas very stimulating and I hope you won”t take offense if I am unable to respond to all of them with the degree of thought which they deserve. I was particularly appreciative of your comment re: the lack of the consciousness of the poet in everyday conversations.
?I want to give some more thought to the distinction between word and thought because I think it is an important one and as you point out, it is at the core of the process of revelation. My reading of the UB leads me to the understanding that the spiritual guidance of each individual is identical — precisely identical and uniform — and constitutes the basis for our unity as a species. It is in the kaleidoscopic array of individual interpretations of that guidance, the varied manner in which we each symbolize it, that our diversity is constituted. Is anyone aware of a UB statement which contradicts this?
?I”ll try to review some of the external literature on this issue so that I can enter into this dialog in a more informed manner. Sally McFague”s “Metaphorical Theology” as well as her “Models of God” come to mind as does Ian Barbour”s “Myth, Model and Metaphor” and “Metaphoric Process” by Mary Gerhardt and Allen Russell. Avery Dulles and H.R. Neibuhr both discuss it in their books on revelation. Let”s not lose this thread.
?By the way, the top of Mt. Everest is marine limestone!
10 Mar 1993 ??James S. Straub ????Invisble computers and there u
Subject: Invisble computers and there users!
?Dear Brothers and Sisters:
?Before I begin, I must say something to *Leo*, Michael, and others… HOW IN GODS NAME DO YOU WRITE THAT MUCH??? I use to think that NO human could write the UB. Well, no more!
?Anyhow, I”m one of the quiet ones on the list, but recently something has been bothering me…
?About a month ago, I FTPed a copy of the Welmek papers. I”m not a complete believer in the TM movement (I want my own teacher first!!). Even though, I find the Welmek papers to be worth the read. One of the responses on August 12thfrom Welmek bugged me:
?Welmek: “I personally have found at times it”s very beneficial, when these thoughts do come through to my consciousness, to write them down. Even though I have missed the opportune moment ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ in that conversation, it still will have significant impact on the individuals if you call them or write them and let them know your additional thoughts.”
?What bugged me about this paragraph is that Welmek WRITES things down to remember them! This doesn”t sound right to me. Why should a being that has (most likely) a perfect body (and brain?) need to write things down to remember? Although I have no clue as to the conditions on the “other side”, I find it strange that these advanced beings FORGET things and have to physically write things down! One would figure that they can chunk a lot more info into their brains then we can. Miller says that we can store 7 plus or minus two chunks of data into short term memory. These creatures should do better then that! After all, we”re probably real stupid compared to what we would have been if Adam and Eve had succeeded!
?In Michael”s post on “Practicing the ”stillness””, the section describing Patije”s group made me a little uneasy…
?”VanEl, (named after Van); researches andworks on electronic and computer glitches; alignsand attunes mortals with Aflana; ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ substitutes for teachers occasionally, not permanently assigned with any group.”
?Is it me, or does anyone else have a hard time believing that a Midwayer uses a computer! It sounds like VanEl”s a hacker! Boy, could I use him as a teacher! Hey, maybe he can hook me up with a job after I graduate! 🙂
?I really want to believe in the TM movement but things like this make me wonder! Anyone have any opinions?
?PS: What a pain to think about nothing! Every time I get myself to be “still”, I fall asleep! I can see it now: Teacher: “Jim, wake up, wake up!” Thought adjuster: “See what I have to put up with!”
11 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Age of Anomalies
Subject: Age of Anomalies
?– Is the desire for a ”materialization” of Melchizedek by the TMmers any so much different than the desire for an ”appearance” by the followers of Maitreya, or the UFO cultists, or the Jews of Jesus” time? And on and on… as we forge our faith between the ”anvil of necessity and the hammer of desire.” I too _want_ to believe in the reality of the Teaching Mission, yet I am also unwilling to surrender _all_ my rational sieves for filtering fact from fiction — so far, I do not see this as a request by any of the alleged ”Teachers” nor by any of the proponents… and so I find myself able to benefit as I can from picking up whatever inspiration may come, if any, from reading the transcripts or conversing with participants, or ”practicing the stillness;”… and so also am I left with the ”reality,” based on the considerations listed above, that _none_ of the sieves my intellect might conceive would be sufficient to convince me of the ”reality” of some anomalous phenomena, be it the ”hearing of voices” or the production of crop circles. I am left to draw the conclusion that the more I may focus on the details of the mechanics of operation of these various phenomena, the less I may behold the message that ”reality” is much larger than _any_ conceptual frame my intellect, or any (human) intellect has yet devised, and yet this ”truth” — of the heart or of the spirit — remains as undeniably real to billions of humans today, as much as the ”truth” — of the mind or of the intellect — remains undeniably and alluringly appealing to the billions of ”enquiring minds” around the globe who ”want to know” (are we not told that curiosity, the love of adventure, was not ”put there” just to frustrate and annoy us?)…
?To frame and reframe, to build and rebuild, to construct and deconstruct, somewhere along the way perhaps gaining a glimmer of insight into the larger edifice of Universe Service that find ourselves on the scaffold of…. perhaps somewhere along the way finding out that maybe our salvation lies in the joy we share with our fellow workers, sincerely serving a plan we cannot yet describe, a blueprint whose scale is beyond our conceptioning, relying as children on their Parents, in the beauty and symmetry and integrity of the Master Architects, that despite all the apparent debris littering our chaotic little sector of local universe construction, this _is_ our home planet, creatures whose origin may be obscured in the pages of a confusing history, whose nature may seem so tribal as to preclude hope, yet whose destiny even now is being beckoned by phenomena the nature of which seems unprecedented.
?So while I _want_ to believe that the rebellion has been ended, that the galactic circuits are indeed being re-established, that possibly even in my little lifetime I may be witness to events as momentous as those of the times of the Fourth Epochal Revelation, I must also recognize that, just as during those times, there were scores of thousands who actually saw Jesus, and knew not who they saw, who actually heard him preach, and knew not what they heard…. but it would seem, from all the literature I have read, that those who actually felt his presence, did have some inkling that this was no ordinary event in their lives.
?So while I can easily become fascinated, nay obsessed, with the work of preparing for the next life, entertaining all sorts of theories about what the events of these times may mean in some larger frame, I cannot let this detract from the work of the status sphere on which I am now: the healing that I have experienced by being able to share my stories, and hear yours, and realize that, in retrospect, I wasn”t nearly as alone as I thought I was at the time, the caring I have felt as we have batted around our ideas here, the love we express for each other, lest we be led astray…
?So now it”s time once again to “wake up and go to sleep”… the momentarily quiescent printers are about to leap into noisy activity, the report requests, the fix-thisses and fix-thats, and all the daily details that make this time at the oasis so special.
?This afternoon I get to watch 8-year olds try out for Little League… talk about ”anomalous experiences!”
11 Mar 1993 ??Michael Million ????New Connections, Earthly and D
Subject: New Connections, Earthly and Divine As to the TM flowering, I am very appreciative of the new information, opinions, experience-sharing and diplomacy ongoing in this forum… it is a wonderful thing that we can discuss with grace our varied ideas related to this so personal and intimate portion of our existence. The spiritual, inner realities of each individual are so private…I know sharing these feelings is a clear sign of our faith in, not only the Father, but in ourselves and our brothers and sisters. I thank David Kantor and Byron Belitsos in particular for their efforts in assisting the rest of us in understanding this amazing activity (whether of ”only” human manufacture or part of the divine/mortal interconnect; I thought the work by Kantor was very masterful and certainly speaks from direct experience…and Bryon, keep us on your mailing list (ascii please 😉 for the Lore Newsletter from the Prairie! And as has become his hall- mark, many thanks to Leo for his superlative streams of thought he shares with us…of his ever expanding vistas sailing these very seas. Indeed, I salute you all for weathering storms and gentle breezes alike!
?I did receive the first TM newsletter from the Sarasota group of Patije and Allene (not Elaine as I thought I heard); it is called the “T/R News Network” (Vol. 1, No. 1) March, 1993. Interested individuals should write: T/R NN Allene Vick 1877 Sunny Drive G-31 Bradenton, FL 34207 I have and will send out copies upon request by snail mail; and I hope to be able to post or sendfile this newsletter out to this mailing group as soon as I have an ascii version…(either I will type it up or Allene and Patije have sent to me in the mail, the electronic version.) In regard the TM activity, briefly I have a few short comments: – mind and spirit are encircuited; mind is ”borrowed” for our life – we are told that the partition of consciousness is an illusion – I see no danger, much less ”brutality” in communication with our elder spiritual brothers and sisters, when such capability is part and parcel of the expanding spiritual awareness of an ascending mortal — and particularly when it is *requested* (an act of human volition/free will); it is still necessary for us to make many decisions… – Have the teacher/guides not stated that they have much hesitation and caution when ”foretelling” events which are in large part determined by human decision; they communicate to us as best as they can see/foretell at any given time (my obvious bias being that celestials *are* involved and that this phenomena is not just a projection of collective human consciousness). – I heard that there was a good expose on the KAL 007 event in the news recently revealing how close we were to international disaster and that the US was actually in a form of limited warfare with the USSR at the very time…any one see this documentary which I only heard about? …this ”brush” with disaster occurring about the time of the Grimsley contacts, correct? – Patije told me that contact with Aflana could make one feel a distinct sense of giddiness, whether the individual was ”conscious” of the ”otherness” or not; this Technical Advisor is apparently at least partly responsible for aiding new T/R (transmitters/ receivers) in making conscious contact. – The only way I can think of to describe my internal changes over the last very few weeks/months of my efforts of ”stillness” is that besides feeling very giddy everday, and watching what pre- viously would be considered problems become welcomed challenges, I feel as though about 10-15% of my molecules have been rearranged! …and all of the change feels incredibly good! – and perhaps most important, we should not forget that the UB says the intellect will not be able to understand in any complete sense what the individual can *know* by direct spiritual exper- ience. The anvil of that experience tempers for all time.
11 Mar 1993 ??Matthew Rapaport ?????????????Some more comments on the TM
Subject: Some more comments on the TM
?Hello all, and welcome David K. Despite our differences, David and I find ourselves on the same side respecting the TM Interestingly, Leo sent me a book some time ago which I have now about finished (When Prophecy Fails – Festinger, Riecken, Schachter, Harper & Row 1956). I assume that Leo has read this, and I find it interesting that he places himself in the pro-TM camp dispite this reading. There isn”t much in common between the study revealed in this book and the TM except for one interesting thing. In the book, a woman claimed to be receiving messages from Jesus. During the course of her cult”s development, another member also began receiving messages (from the Creator himself). What is interesting about this is that like the TM, the two messengers seemed (mostly) to reinforce each other”s teachings without any overt evidence of collusion between them before the fact.
?Now the TM is more spread out (these two people lived in the same town and knew each other), but we have also a more sophisticated communications network. In our case, people who have never met are reinforcing each other”s “teachings” (again mostly). My point though is that such cases of multiple independent revelations that appear to be consistent, yet never-the-less bogus, are not unknown.
?James, interesting point. I think there is another part of the same (WELMEK) transcripts where Melchizedek himself askes a questioner to “remind him” of a context in which a previous (and to the questioner confusing) answer was given. I”ve already pointed this one out some time ago. These little “glitches” are my red flags, and they are present in all the transcripts I”ve read. Byron himself suggests (as have many others) that much of what we see in the transcripts (for example the predicted appearance of M.M. on 4/24) are but human impositions arising out of our human need for this kind of verification.
?This supposition has, however, a serious consequence… If we are to assume that some of the TM material is purely human, and at the same time the teachers themselves refuse to submit to any material/intellectual test of their reality, then what do we have left? All parts of the TM which are but re-statements of the UB and its teachings are OK, while everything else (including the end of the Lucifer Rebellion, the opening of the celestial circuts, the present availability of a mechanism to support this TM, and the assertion that this is UB Phase II) is ALL therefore SUSPECT!
?Far too much emphasis is being placed on the quality of a subset of the transcripts (the UB re-hash material). Much is made of the fact that some of this “UB-like” material is emerging from people who have not read the UB. This is not verification! As David has pointed out, many individuals down through the centuries have produced lovely spiritual prose and insights. Some of these were “professional” theologians, and others not. That their material also “parallels” the UB”s *spiritual* context is not suprising. All these people do, after all, have adjusters that originate in the same God. That much of the material is lovely is a testament to the transmitter”s sincerity and genuine striving for that which is higher, but it is *not* verification of the reality of the TM. That many individuals have done more praying and worshiping in the last year then in the ten years before is also a testament to their sincerity and desire. This activity is all to the good, but surely none of you can believe that this is evidence of the reality of the TM itself. If I claim that Richard Alpert”s (Baba Ram Das) BE HERE NOW inspired me to pray/worship more would that mean that Alpert was channeling celestial beings?
?David I liked your presentation in SF very much, and I”m glad your paper has made its way here… I am curious about one thing… Given the various “criterion of revelation” you”ve posted, what is the attitude of your professional theological peers towards the UB? That is, is the UB revelation in their eyes? if not, why not?
12 Mar 1993 ??Byron Belitsos ?????Omni-response missive
Subject: Omni-response missive
?Hello Logodonters All,
?Agree with Michael about the stellar nature of the postings and activity we have seen lately. Much appreciated also, Dave, are your well-considered comments in response to my “call for disclosure”, as well has your open-handed essays about the FOG experience. Thank you Michael for the efficiency and passion you bring to your activities with Urantial. And ofcourse, there is Leo the Prolific. I expect Leo that you are saving these essays for a forthcoming book. You are the Isaac Asimov of Urantial, ever churning out quality thoughts on the fly on myriads of subjects. As for you Matthew, you shall be nominated for the 1993 DT (Doubting Thomas) Award from LORE. Qualifications include:
?1. Must have read substantial quantities of transcripts 2. Must have attended a “live” TM session 3. Must ask to see material proof (May possibly add: “Must see material proof and still not accept”)
?I should add that how valuable it is to have a voice like Matthew”s, one that continually questions and probes for the truth behind the appearances.
?As for me, I have gone through a maturing of sorts in my understanding of the TM, about which more to come as I determine just how to communicate my changing views….You saw some of this in my comments about the April 24 event in LORE.
?I must say that I have a tough time keeping up with y”all, since I spend about 12 hours a day nowawdays, putting in place the marketing and financial mechanisms for a start-up telecommunications company.
?Here are some random thoughts as I shuffle through my electronic inbox:
?1. GENDER issues….I will be posting thoughts on this later, as I am developing a paper on “Gender in the Urantia Book” for the Fellowship”s so-called “Wrightwood Seminar Series”. Theme of my paper is on the contribution of the “Men”s Movement” to the discussion of gender and sexuality issues. Are any of you out there conversant with or interested in this subject? In this connection, I am also currently captivated by the work of the post-feminist, Camille Paglia.
?2. STILLNESS…It was most delightful Michael to read your inspiring report on the “internal changes” you are experiencing. THIS kind of experience is the real heart and soul of the TM teachings. It illustrates, for those of us (including me) who sometimes miss the point of the TM, that the real business at hand (the Father”s business) is closer alignment with our TA. The Teachers are little more than a means to that end. They function like any teacher who says, “…read your textbook, do the exercises in it, and let”s discuss the results in our next class…” They don”t come to re-write the textbook, only to highlight the important points and move us along in a way we can”t do alone. When you look at the abominable state of the Urantia movement before the TM began — I mean it was just a shipwreck — you can see the necessity of attending such classes. Of course, not everyone is required to attend, yet, in it may be a required course in the sense that the Course in Miracles is required.
?3. NEW THREAD…Am I the only one out there who thinks that “Ground Hog Day”, yes, the silly movie now playing at your local theatre, is one of the most spiritual movies that”s come along in a long time.
?4. DAVID…It is amazing to hear that almost a decade is not enough time for “healing and reflection” or “recovery” from the experiences of 1983-5. When I hear this statement, and think for example of Emmanuelle Desirvire, an old friend and ex-Fogger who is still most embittered and who dropped his belief in the UB as a result of the incident, I certainly have to yield and acknowledge the continuing vulnerability of those once involved. That is all the comment I have for now. Your interest in a continuing “sincere dialogue” is courageous and most appreciated. Finally, I ask your permission to quote (with rights to prior review offered to you) from your postings here in my next issue of LORE.
?5. SARASOTA….The group our there, which I visited in November, is the most prolific of the TMers. Perhaps Leo should move there (just teasing). Patije is indeed the “Shakespeare” of TRs, or better, the Jack Kerouac. She has generated an astounding corpus of channeled writings. No TM library is complete without it. But, I have an important caution regarding a statement buried in Patije”s instructions on stillness. To quote: “Patije offered for us each to send her a copy of our ”transcripts” & she could have the ribbons of contact verified and pointed out to each of us individually….” I have to question this procedure. The only valid authority in interpretation of such texts are the recipient, or at best, those in the same TM group. As Jesus said often, the only true authority, in all things spiritual, is the inner guide and teacher, the TA. I can”t support the idea that anyone else, even someone as experienced as she, would interpose herself in this way — it subtly defeats the purpose of the TM as I see it, which is to increase self-reliance and deepen the inner knowing of God”s presence based on faith. Let no one in the TM act as a final authority or even act with the appearance of it, simply because they may have a clear channel to their own Teachers. You are the co-author of your received text, along with the Teacher (your “ghost writer”). It is best to see the transmission as a human/divine blend — rather like the morontia material of the soul is a hybrid product — made possible by your faith and openness…. Nor, in the final analysis, should the Teachers themselves, become interposed between us and the Father fragment (and other high spiritual influences), nor do they seek to. Exercising critical judgment is just as important for a participant in the TM as for a participant in any complex process. The only authority in the “religion of the spirit” (thanks Leo) is within. All else is a means to that end….
12 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????PossUBility
?Matthew, my beloved DT, I would simply put it that if I were a sociologist of religion, I would tend to view the phenomena of the ”Teaching Mission” as pumping more energy into a desiccated cult than any prior subflow in the cults” 50-80 year history, making no claims as to the TM”s status as ”real” or ”not real”, whether as judged from within a UB perspective, or from without on standards of ”psychological health.” Perhaps there are many other ”forces”, UB-celestial or other, which can account for this seemingly ”sudden” upsurge in communication, inner-seeking, etc. David has pointed out elsewhere that psycho-spiritual religious revivalisms are not uncommon in our planetary or US history, and these ”movements” could certainly be enhanced by modern communications, such that instead of a hundred monkeys being needed to start the spread of some new technique, it may take far less… I recall somewhere a UB passage about how cities (and associated enhanced comm technology) can greatly enhance their residents” ability for good or evil…
?Yet, withal, I do not sense as much “possibility” (in the EST/Forum sense of that word) anywhere else that I look within this now rather completely fragmented ”movement”… possibility that the teachings of the Fifth Epochal Revelation could indeed begin to reach all peoples of all races on all continents, possibility that the religion of the spirit could be reborn, possibility of ”interface” with all the ”religious markets” in the current marketplace of theological/psychological belief-systems… I would not wish to give the impression, to those who may feel as tho the TM is a ”pollution” or ”corruption” of ”their” revelation, that I would mean to say that _only_ by such ”marketing techniques” as ”Pentecostal-TMmism” are the teachings of the UB going to ”penetrate the markets” of the existing theological/psychological belief-systems, rather that, in studying the evolution of this ”UB cult” for the last 20 years, and reviewing its history, this ”Teaching Mission” seems to have been the hottest item to come along in decades…
?[ … unless, perhaps, one wishes to view the electronaphim as a cult, with all the concomitant ”possibilities” for ego-enrapture, group encircuitment, and good/evil-multiplication, just like cities… ]
?One may rightly ask, at this juncture, what makes for a cult? The UB offers some insight, which we must map onto our current experience. Dan Massey has shown in what for me was previously unrelated detail, how the Jesus cult became as ”successful” as it was, at least in terms of becoming an institutional religion. Our age is littered with the sagas of stillborn cults (the Quakers? — not much in the way of outreach there?), Eastern-guru cults (Muktananda, Rajneeshis, et al.), Eastern-to-Western-guru-transplant cults (Meher Baba, Swami Satchidiananda, the Transcendental Meditation Swami, the Hare Krishna Swami, et al.???), lots of Bible-guru cults (Falwell, Swaggart, Bakker, et al.), and now, of late, various book cults, of which the Urantia Bookists are but one, the other major one seeming to be the Course in Miracles. Marianne Williamson, Ken Wapnick, Jerry Jampolsky, et al. come to mind as ”CiM guru-interpreters” as much as Bill Sadler, Jr., or Vern might come to mind as ”UB guru-interpreters”…. and of course, since we live in the age of legal-fictions as well, where corporations are accorded the same legal status as individuals, we should perhaps not fail to include in our list the ”Foundational guru-interpreters” (our own befuddled U Foundation, the CiM”s Foundation for Inner Peace, and perhaps, if they follow the path correctly, even the fledgling Fellowship could attain to this status).
?What makes one cult capable of going out and turning the world upside down, and another simply upside-downs the lives of the current generation? What enables one cult to become the beginning of a branch of entirely new socio-cultural development, and another to simply leave its followers out on a limb? What is the difference between Christianity and Islam and the Branch-Davidians (or the Branch-Vernians?)… I perhaps should not present either of these two culturally-dominating religions in such a fashion as to make them appear to be some sort of pure-line descendant from some originally divine source — rather, as Dan Massey has shown us so well with the history of Christianity as augmented by the Urantia revelation, what we see in modern Christianity is indeed a lake which has drained many a pagan morass as well as the pure waters descending from the Galilean highlands.
?Fuel for future discussions…
?By the way, I may not have made this explicitly clear before, but I have tended to view the events related in “When Prophecy Fails” as being far closer to the picture I have of what happened with FOG than to what is going on now amongst the TMmers, mainly, I suppose, because of the dating of some major event which failed to occur. After I got the initial letter from Vern in October of 1983, and a flurry of speculation and correspondence shortly thereafter, I kind of fell out of the loop, and was unaware until much later of all the folks who had made so many life-changing moves to accommodate this prophecy… I do recall, aside from Vern”s letter, as Michael has pointed out, that I was rather agitated about the probability for a nuclear exchange due to the KAL-007 shootdown, the bombing of the marine barracks in Beirut, Ronald Ray-gun being at the helm, etc…
?Byron, I appreciate being put in the same category as Isaac A, but I have no plans to publish — this is all for public consumption, public domain, as it happens, live from Charlottesville!
?Lisa, thank you for your kind words. As far as I am concerned, anything I post here is public domain.
12 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Response to Byron, Leo and Mat
Subject: Response to Byron, Leo and Matthew
?Noting that “Leo the Prolific” (thanks, Matthew) considers his weekend to have begun in the wee hours of Friday morning, I suppose I should brace myself for another 50k of insight and revelation before noon. Leo, the comments on Sakaiya text which you sent yesterday were very stimulating. I assume the others on the net here received it in February when you published it. I will get a copy of the book and perhaps discuss it further with you later. It greatly expands a developing thread in my own thought, namely the medievalization of the planet in the late 20th century. I am concerned that the proliferation of information technologies which was supposed to create the ”global village” is instead creating a global feudal system where the nodes of power are information-based castles surrounded by masses of third-world peasants and serfs. The (as Ross Perot would say) giant sucking sound of wealth being drained from the middle classes (in the industrialized west) and becoming increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer individuals is not a good trend. This combined with the economic repercussions of depletion of natural resources (the _only_ source of material wealth on the planet) and the explosive growth of world population with its concomittant demand on the remaining resources is an unstoppable engine for radical social and economic change.
?While I think Sakaiya”s insights are very penetrating, I do not think that they are portentious of good things for the planet. I think that the revolution in information technologies and its effect on the global economic engine is leading to a serious economic/genetic stratification of the entire planet, a stratification which will continue as the leadership of the new world order continues to develop on the foundation of information and economic power. I think Sakaiya does a good job of delineating the nature of this information/economic convergence. Thanks again for the excellent writing.
?BUT, LEO — I CAN”T LET THIS ONE SLIP BY: In your discussion of your conversation with Ms. Maaherra you said the following: “We agreed that, based on our reading of these turn of the century texts, that Christianity as a religion has definitely been “in retrograde” since these writers were providing the conceptual frames for the UB…” What is this? What criteria did you use to evaluate the writing of the early 20th century with that of today? Did you read current theologians who are of the same stature today as these writers were in theirs? I could not disagree with you more on this issue. The last half of the 20th century, in my view, has seen a tremendous vitality in Christianity. The development of Feminist Theology as well as that of Liberation Theology are two examples of Christianity adapting and providing viable insights and answers to dilemmas in contemporary times. The current work being done by many theologians to mine the essential truth from the fourth epochal revelation and make it relevant in the emerging post-modern context is remarkable and very insightful. The last half-century has seen Jesus emerging in Christian theology as the essence of the revelatory origin of Christianity rather than the Bible itself — these are revolutionary changes and are not indicative of a tradition “in retrograde”. A remarkable example of the best in late 20th century Christian thought can be encountered in Ian Barbour”s insightful book, “Ethics in an Age of Technology”. This is excellent stuff and should not be ignored. Even in Christian art there is profound vitality. I refer you to Olivier Messiaen”s “Meditations on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity” or even more profound in it”s spiritual beauty — “The Book of the Holy Sacrament”. This later work is two hours in length and comprises a cycle of 12 pieces expressing different aspects of the Christian experience of the Eucharist. It is the most spiritually stimulating music I have ever heard. Messiaen transcends Bach in his grasp and expression of the infinite and the eternal in human art. It has been less than a year since this master of 20th century music left for the mansion worlds.
?Matthew, I appreciated your comments and your closing question has stimulated more than a little thought. Let me first of all say that I do not consider professional theologians to be my peers. I am very much the student here and attempting to be a responsible, informed and contributing member of a community of theological inquiry. Your question also is quite general, i.e., “…what is the attitude of your professional theological peers towards the UB? That is, is the UB revelation in their eyes? If not, why not?”
?Theologians with whom I have been in contact (both personally as well as at conferences, symposia, etc.) are a varied lot and it seems that the more specialized one becomes the more individualistic one becomes at the same time. Making a generalized statement about “theologians” is the same as trying to make a generalized statement about “scientists”. What I am attempting to do is to become a participant and contributing member of the social contexts in which these individuals come together for the purposes of entering into dialog about the developments and discoveries in their various disciplines. I cannot approach this community as an outside agent, inform it of the 5th, and leave. This is a long- term commitment to presence and dialog and, believe me, I am gaining far more from them than I think I could possibly contribute in a lifetime.
?Recently, Rebecca and I attended a week long symposium on problems existing at the interface between theology and the natural sciences. We invited a group of attendees, who were practicing clergy from the U.S. and Canada, to our home for dinner. The conversation was absolutely remarkable as we sat listening to these people recount tales of healing, programs for troubled adolescents which they were developing in their churches, outreach programs for single-parent families, the way that prayer unites their communities, their personal experiences with the presence of Jesus during difficult times — we have much to learn from these people. They are daily out on the front lines dealing with the real-world tragedies and challenges which dominate our world.
?What is the real task before us? What is the real purpose of the 5th? Is it not the transformation of human culture? Is it not the spread of Jesus” gospel of the kingdom? These people are doing it in a very real way. They are learning to do it effectively and at the limits of human ability. In such circumstances, whether they are working from the conceptual basis of the 4th or 5th becomes an irrelevant issue. When I see the Urantia Book readership being swept off its feet by something like this TM phenomena, it makes me think that the Urantia movement needs the 4th far more than Christians need the 5th.
?To more specifically address your question I must say that The Urantia Book is not the central issue here. The issue is the reinforcement of the underlying Christian values. It is known that I am a committed student of the book and I am in dialog with several individuals about it. It is a slow process but one which is proceeding well and which has already resulted in the placement of UBs in some significant places. This is not unlike the process in which individuals such as Bettina Gray, Scott Forsythe and Peter Laurence are engaged vis-a-vis their participation in various interfaith and ecumenical councils. I believe strongly that we must strive to embody the changes we wish to make in the world rather than act as agents.
?As for your post of this morning, I”m not sure what the word ”disingenuous” means — it is not in my dictionary. You state that we had “the rest of the UB movement to turn to…” which from an external view would seem true, but from my viewpoint was not possible because I had destroyed my connection with that larger community. The fact that that larger community may have been available was of no help until I could change enough to reach out for it. You are absolutely right that we “REFUSED deliberately and knowingly to turn outwards for critical evaluation” and that “many opportunities were given…” I can remember Vern consigning letters which had been written by concerned UB students to the trash without even reading them. I did not want to even hear from anyone who didn”t believe our messages because my own hold on them was so tenuous and I relied on that hold for my entire social identity and psychological well-being. I know this must sound stupid and incredulous, but I must report my best recollection of the experience for better or for worse — this is not a forum for my articulation of my good judgement. And, while I must assume responsibility for my own attitudes and participation, I will say that Vern fostered a sense of superiority in the group which we all bought into. He (as well as Christy, when she was alive) would constantly tell us about our special mission, how we were chosen to bring a special message to a benighted world, how we each had very experienced thought adjusters, how we had all been brought together by divine guidance, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. — And I and others bought into it. Because our entire sense of self was thus built up over a long period of time, many of us were ready to defend this source of reality-definition to the death because we had become it and it had become who we thought we were. This is precisely the type of closed, subjective isolation of self which I see beginning to develop in the TM movement. The danger of the illusion is that it creates within the individual the perception that he/she is becoming more in contact with the universal while in reality he/she is becoming increasingly isolated in a subjectivity which is increasingly reinforced by other individuals experiencing the same thing. As events continued at FOG and got worse and worse, the psychological stress was such that we simply could not entertain the cognitive dissonance which would result from a serious consideration of an alternative viewpoint. Rather than honestly confront the critical assessments of our actions, we chose to categorize the individuals who were providing the criticism as ignorant of the true reality of what we were about; therefore their criticism was seen as irrelevant and ill-informed.
?I suspect that Vern purposely isolated his organization from you folks on the other side of the bay because he recognized that your critical assessment of his activities would reveal him to be like the wizard of oz, hiding behind his screen manipulating the images of himself which were seen by the public. I sincerely apologize for my participation in this unfair and un-Christlike isolation of one group of believers from another.
?Byron, please feel free to quote any of my postings here as you see fit. If I think you are mis-representing my position you may hear some squeaks, but other than that I wish you well — I trust your sense of fairness and journalistic integrity. It”s tough trying to make a material living and still have time for these activities which we deem to be of much higher value and I applaud your commitment and efforts. And if I don”t close down this word processor and call some clients I won”t be able to pay my Compu- Serve charges next month….
12 Mar 1993 ??Ron Darby ??????More Personal Religion
Subject: More Personal Religion In David Kantor”s post “Response to Ron D.” on 4/10/93 he states: “I think it is very important to carefully construct the conceptual foundations upon which one attempts to build the edifice of knowledge so that many years hence, the foundation will still be sufficient to support the enlarging and maturing structure which has been so long in process. It is a real drag to spend many years in this construction process and then find that one must start over at square one and reconstruct one”s conceptual frame of reference from scratch.” And then later on: “My task at present is attempting to discover the structural foundations for soul growth upon which I can reliably build for my remaining decades here on this planet. There are intellectual and spiritual heights which I can see just ahead, and I”m no longer willing to invest my lifeblood in the construction of another tower of Babel in an attempt to reach them. This time the foundation must be secure and each component must be critically examined and carefully be put in place.”
?Perhaps I am simply misreading this; but my interpretation of this viewpoint reminds me of the southern fundamentalist Christian religion in which I grew up. It is a viewpoint based upon intellect. Intellect looks for logic and authority.
?If my personal religion were so based, I would still clam to be an atheist. My personal experience has demonstrated over and over again that my intellect is not competent to discern Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. The very best efforts of my intellect have failed me miserably. For me to take the position that my “faith” must be based upon an unassailable intellectual foundation would be to doom my “faith” to literal non-existence.
?It occurs to me that one of the key things that allowed me to consider acceptance of the Urantia Book when I first read it was the dual reality that so much of what I was reading reached out and _grabbed_ my heart while at the same time there was _so_ much that I couldn”t even begin to comprehend that I simply and consciously let it “slip by”. After twenty years of reading – not necessarily study – the same is true. Many, many times I re- discover something that has previously “slipped by” and it “clicks”. But, there are still things in the Urantia Book that have not found a home in my personal religion.
?My fundamentalist heritage would accuse me of “believing what I want to believe” – “now, isn”t that convent?” The truth is, yes I do, and yes it is! The difference between my accuser”s and my viewpoint is the meaning of the word “want”. From my viewpoint “want” translates to “perceive to be the tug of truth”; my accuser translates “want” to “selfishly choose”.
?The acknowledgment that my “heart” plays an important role in determining my perception of reality does not at all imply that my intellect has silently abdicated the throne of my Being. Quite the contrary, my intellect is by far the busier of the two. It didn”t miss “computer glitch midwayer”.
?Said “glitch-master” serves as a good example of the relationship between intellect and heart in my personal religious experience. Because my religion is not based upon authority, such challenges to its physical source have little influence. Because “glitch” didn”t register any spiritual significance in the first place, nothing was threatened. That the transcripts might be mostly human in origin has no bearing when the words ring true and my life bears spirit fruit.
?For me, the Teaching Mission may or may not be “real”. The state of the adjudication of Lucifer, while interesting, has no bearing on my spiritual well being. The re-establishment of the “circuits” may or may not be affecting me. “Truth”, as I perceive it – having something to do with a “tug at my heart”, can, and does, come from all directions and sources – Bible, Urantia Book, TM transcripts, ACIM, and even Salada tea tag lines.
?But, my intellect is still there. It has no intention of going away. It is ever on the lookout for an opportunity to say “I told you so!” And, as I recently expressed, it appreciates all the help it can get from other intellect.
?What has actually surprised me, at least so far, has been the absence of conflict between that which has “tugged at my heart” and that which has caught the notice of my intellect.
?Thanks for the loan or your ear (eye?).
12 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????TARKAS rumbles across the land
Subject: TARKAS rumbles across the landscape…
?I will resist the temptation to spend a lot of time commenting on the TARKAS transcript, but ———— there are a couple of things which I simply can”t let pass. ( I must admit, that as I read the transcript, I had the music from the old Emerson, Lake and Palmer TARKUS album going through my head complete with images of a giant armadillo-track vehicle like the one on the album cover rumbling across the landscape.)
?”Tarkas” obviously has a very different concept of what truth is than that which Jesus taught and which is presented in The Urantia Book. Compare the “Tarkas” statements about truth being *in* books and *in* people, as if truth were a commodity, with the statement of Jesus on page 1459 which says, “Truth cannot be defined with words, only by living. Truth is always more than knowledge. Knwoledge pertains to things observed, but truth transcends such purely material levels in that it consorts with wisdom and embraces such imponderables as human experience, even spiritual and living realities. Knowledge originates in science; wisdom, in true philosophy; truth, in the religious experience of spiritual living. Knowledge deals with facts; wisdom, with relationships; truth with reality values.”
?While the above criticism might be seen by some as a subtle distinction of meaning, such is not the case when “Tarkas” attempts to explain the Lucifer rebellion and totally misstates the facts. “Tarkas” states that, “There are many types of spiritual beings that do exist in this universe. There were some who lost their faith in our Father, and to promote their own individual ends, they created what your Bible refers to as the war in heaven.” This totally misses the point that faith is a temporary technique used only by mortals to compensate for their lack of spirit status. In the morontial regime, faith is replaced by truth. Other spirit beings do not utilize faith as part of their participation in spiritual life. Neither Vorondadeks nor Lanonandeks utilize faith, nor do other “types of spiritual beings”. Page 1111 in the UB states that, “Increasingly throughout the morontia progression the assurance of truth replaces the assurance of faith. When you are finally mustered into the actual spirit world, then will the assurances of pure spirit insight operate in the place of faith and truth, or rather, in conjunction with, and superimposed upon, these former techniques of personality assurance.” Lucifer and his associates did not “lose faith” because faith is not something which these beings use; rather did they engage, according to the UB, in “open and persistent defiance of recognized reality” (pg 754).
?Theologian Karl Rahner, in his “Foundations of Christian Faith”, makes the comment that religionists, and theologians in particular, tend to fill in the blanks in their knowledge with devotional material, and I certainly see this in the TM transcripts.
?Where are Emerson, Lake and Palmer when we need them?
12 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Back to Ron Darby
Subject: Back to Ron Darby
?Hello again, Logondonters;
?This is in response to Ron”s post, “More Personal Religion”. Ron, your comments re: my earlier post show me that I was vague in what I was trying to communicate. I am certainly not looking for authority as a basis for religious experience neither do I require a logical foundation. What I meant by my comments was more related to a final reference point — what is it in my inner experience to which all other things are referenced and by which all other things are given their relative meaning and value. Now, it might seem that the answer is obviously “God”, but understanding what that means and implementing it is another problem. When I was at FOG, I truly thought that God was the referent, but in retrospect I realize that I had substituted my ideals for God. In the process of attempting to then reach those ideals, much was compromised in the way of morals and integrity. My concern is to clearly lay hold on God as the ultimate reference point and make sure that all other relationships and ideas relate to this referent at the highest levels of morality and intellectual integrity. This is not a quick and simple process as it involves growth and development over time. (see the UB section titled “A Personal Philosophy of Religion”).
?The other matter is one of establishing criteria for evaluating experience and phenomena encountered by mind which are relevant to this process of attempting to bring unity and integrity to the entire inner experience. What are the criteria by which we evaluate our experiences? What are the criteria by which we deem something to be “true”? One of the things which bothers me about the TM phenomena is that the adherents seem to be able to only offer subjective critera for evaluating their experiences, e.g., “It makes me feel good,” “It enhances my inner life,” etc. While these are good reasons in and of themselves, I question their value as criteria for a radical reorientation of ones viewpoint and belief system. During the medieval period, such subjectivity was the sole criteria for determining truth. Scholars and religionists were dominated by religious questions. But these folk also succumbed to plague because they hadn”t developed the rational side of their beings to the point where they could manufacture antibiotics, neither were they able to manufacture the machinery which would free them from agricultural enslavement so that greater leisure could be enjoyed by more people.
?It is interesting to note in the Galilleo affair that his contention that the earth was not at the center of the universe was only one of many issues. A major issue was whether or not a mechanical device, in this case a metal tube with a couple of pieces of glass in it, could be used as a means of acquiring knowledge which would not otherwise be available. Up until this point, the subjective human self interpreting scriptures was the sole judge of what was real or true. This situation seems to have reversed itself with enlightenment science and I see our task today as that of aligning these two domains, the subjective and the objective, into an integrated, holistic way of thinking and living. How to effectively do this is the challenge I see in front of us.
?It”s great meeting you here on the net; I, like you, am at my workstation all day. I reward myself for each completed section of code with a look for mail on list urantial.
12 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Msg from Jim McNelly
Subject: Msg from Jim McNelly
?Good evening logondonters,
?[ The following message was recieved here locally from Blue Ranger Jim McNelly, but was intended as Jim”s first contribution to the list from his connection via HAL 9000. (It seems those of us with Catholic in our heritage seem compelled to go through circuitous paths to reach what to others may be a more direct connection… 😉 ]
13 Mar 1993 ??PETER J FERGUSON ??????50 yard line
Subject: 50 yard line
?Hello doggonelogondonters, Just checking to see if I”m connected to this gidiron of literary passitude! If anyone in the S.F. Bay area is interested ( Dave/Matt?) there will be a visitor from the woodscross group visiting various study groups in this area. Rob avecedo will be discussing the the TM and revealing some audio of new sessions. Ham is back for the 2nd part of his teaching program. If anyone is interested I will post a schedule when it becomes available. Peter F.
14 Mar 1993 ??James S. Straub ????Compu-Midwayers && (sizeof(Mai
Subject: Compu-Midwayers && (sizeof(Mailbox) == sizeof(UB))
?Michael of Nebadon! My mail for this week reached 200K! How am I going to finish my programs at this rate! :-\\
?Ron… Try FTPing to ftp.cica.indiana.edu [126.96.36.199] for the Windows app your looking for. Also, download inform1a.zip. (this one I wrote) 🙂
?Anyhow, earlier this week I posted a message regarding my probems that I had with Midwayers using computers! I pursued this a little more by calling Patije the other day. She”s very friendly and was enjoyable to talk with. I wanted to ask her about how to be “still” and about VanEl (The one who fixes computer glitches!). Well, as it turns out, it is not clear what VanEl is. I would think a Midwayer (based on the name). Further more, Patije was the one who originally mentioned that VanEl fixes computer glitches. She said that when things break (appliances and such) she calls on VanEl and all of a sudden, they are in operation! The “computer glitches” thing is just her way of saying VanEl”s a HIGH tech type of dude.
?For those with a knowledge of programming:
?Reply-To: Discussion of _The_Urantia_Book_ [URANTIAL@UAFSYSB.BITNET] Sender: Discussion of _The_Urantia_Book_ [URANTIAL@UAFSYSB.BITNET] From: leo elliott [76440.1416@COMPUSERVE.COM] Subject: Hillman on Writing
?If I see any hazard at all in what has been presented to me as that set of allegedly divine-human communicational patternings described by its practitioners as the Teaching Mission, it may be in this area, the notion of having a direct, dialup-line to Deity, to be able to call at any hour for “objective verification” of what may ultimately be a very private form of individualized, Adjuster-human guidance… not to say that the musings of the inner life are totally private, but rather that, as with the Secrets of Sonarington, (the mysteries surrounding the “how” of Michael”s physical incarnation as Jesus), there may be technicalities of communication which need not concern me, and which may, were I to become inordinately fascinated or even obsessed with them, might even detract from my felt connection to the message sent. My intellectual fascination with the mechanisms of communication, be they human or silicon, has many times enabled me to cleverly avoid “taking a message to heart” as I have instead been able to hold it at arm”s length in some intellectual buffer. My intellect is very good at buffering, and I would suspect that the intellectual egos of the TMmers may be just as susceptible to getting caught up in the fascinating process involved as were the FOGgers or the UFO cultists, regardless of whether the content of the messages received is viewed as similar or different.
?This may relate to James” earlier snag on the “computer glitch” item in one of the Welmek transcripts; it would seem that if, as Thompson posits, some astral or mental “noise” attaches itself to messages coming through, it may behoove disseminators of TM transcripts to reference the “tape-type-transmit” process with the more patiently pursued process of the Urantia Papers” “editorial conversation” which extended over two decades.
?Certainly, this long, drawn-out processing may be felt to be totally inappropriate to those proponents who may wish to “share the wisdom” more immediately. However, as far as writing goes, David”s points about having the “flow” of reading interrupted by awkward punctuation or odd constructions, these points need to be addressed. I think it will be important for the TMmers to realize, as Hillman points out above, that the “flow” of reading a text is far different from the “flow” of listening to a tape, and each of these still different from the live drama coming from being actually in the theater during a performance.
?Evidently, some wisdom went into the preparation of the Urantia Papers, however long the process took; it does seem to have been a conversational process, that is, a book which came about as a result of a conversational give-and-take between/among the Chicago Forumites, the Sadlers, the “sleeping subject,” and the celestial revelators. So do the transcripts I have read seem to be the result of some conversational process amongst the various local groups.
?Of the non-theological criticisms of the TM transcripts I have thus far heard, more seem to be on stylistic grounds than on the grounds of any false or misleading “practical” messages. Some may object to the theological assumptions asserted (end-of-rebellion, nature of personalities allegedly acting as teachers, et al), and some may object to the corny colloquialisms and other seemingly less-than-celestial usages of language, but so far I have not heard any criticism (other than “this is nothing new”) about the basic things these alleged teachers are urging the listeners/readers to do: seek daily quiet time with God, communicate with and support one another, pay attention to the small opportunites for service as they pass by in life.
?Short of a physical manifestation, I don”t think the theological reservations will ever be overcome. And if the teachers are of the same school of thought as the revelators of the Urantia Papers, I doubt they would object to a little literary polishing in the editorial process. I have been impressed, personally, that I have not read more loose grammar or sloppy constructions, given the general state of language in this country today. An old editor of mine once planted a Yiddish proverb which has stuck with me over the years, “A narr vas minit kein halbe arbeit” or “Never show a fool half-finished work.” (Please pardon my narr-ish Yiddish!).
15 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Jesus the Jester?
Subject: Jesus the Jester?
?In answer to the query “What makes one cult capable of going out and turning the world upside down, and another simply upside-downs the lives of the current generation?”, Matthew answered, “This must depend upon a mixture of things including content, timing, personality, the social/political milieu, etc. I read an interesting comment somewhere to the effect that if Jesus had come to this generation we would not have crucified him, but merely laughed at him.” Very likely.
?Whether or not it may be convenient for the TM crowd, to think as Thompson posits, that any such modern revelation as may have already occurred is not going to be found in the churches or the labs or the libraries, but in homes and hovels, is there any argument as to which wing of this “revelatory movement” of UB folk is likely to gain the most laughter and derision in the weeks and months ahead? I mean, they have already gotten branded as being in league with Caligastia, as being psychologically deluded, spiritual simpletons, and, at best, “sincerely misled” by their own repressed Urantian egos…
?[ Perhaps some would place the wing of the U Foundation as a candidate for the jesters crown, but for me they have gone beyond the comic to the tragic. I am sure that this is where many see the TMmers headed, with their channeled spirits flying high at the moment, only to be let down in some (sure to come) stormy weather that awaits… ]
?I begin to wonder, publicly now, if perhaps the circulation of the transcripts on more than a word-of-mouth level may be doing a disservice to what may be a fundamentally localized group-experience: (p. 965): “But a religious cult cannot be manufactured; [even with printing presses, fax and xerox machines, and electronic file transfers] it must grow. And those of no two groups will be identical unless their rituals are arbitrarily standardized by authority.”
?I am beginning to wonder if the animists of Basse Casamance didn”t have something with their sacred spots in the forests, each unique, that we may have lost in the west with our standardized liturgies, scriptures, music… I think this may have something to do with the resurrection of the “religion of place” replacing the “religions of time” that have come to dominate, and, imo, strangle our spirituality…
?Are we not told in the UB that the Red men were the most advanced, spiritually, of the Sangik races? (cf. “God is Red” by Vine DeLoria for a good presentation of the Red race”s spatial-orientation to spirituality)… I begin to wonder if the locus of the tabernacle in the Church, the spatial definition that the Church itself gave (as much as the bells gave temporal definition) may not be part of the “empty space” that I have tried to fill for these last 20 years of seemingly fruitless UB-group building.
?And I begin to get a clue as to why, as seems agreed on by all, this “Urantia Movement” seems such an apparent “failure” in terms of generating any sort of “adequate symbolism” or “cult of mutual support” on any kind of national level. Regardless of how laughable they may become or how ridiculous they may appear even now to some, the TMmers do, from the transcripts I have been reviewing, seem to be generating, on a local level, these “cults of mutual support” by engaging in precisely those types of mutually supportive conversations that seemed so verboten in the more formally organized “read only” groups, which, if my minuscule experience is any indication, seemed to have a lot of group ego attached to maintaining some sort of boundary between the “socializing” and the “studying” — please help here, those of you with more group experience… this is leading back into the beginnings of FOG, the beginnings of even the original Forum… the notions of “recruitment” (by a leader?) and of “self-selection” (by word-of-mouth) come to mind here…
?So all of a sudden all the conversations about “slow-growth” and “person-to-person” spread get revisited, this time by the TMmers… Is it inevitable that any cult which chooses to “go public” is destined for ridicule, if not persecution?
?Whatever the source of the rising ridicule, it seems that the issue of channelers in the UB community will be every bit as controversial as that of gays in the military, or perhaps, from an earlier time, negroes in public schools… Some core sentiments are being touched here, aside from any abstract definitions of “what is real” or “what time is it in the local universe of Nebadon?” I suspect that it will be the conversations we have over these core sentiments, moreso than our intellectual debates over reality or our theological refinements of the Lucifer rebellion which will define us as a community, mutually-supportive or feudally-fractured.
?Debating societies and religious factions are quite common, and at times quite deadly. If any listers have any ideas or ideals to express regarding the evolution or growth of cults of mutual support, or stories to tell of any such group as you may have experienced in your lives, I would love to hear them. The TMmers may be ridiculous, but they seem to be doing something right. This is not just one isolated group in Chicago or San Francisco; if this is a species of revivalism of pentecostalism, I would welcome a succinct delineation of the parallels — information please!
17 Mar 1993 ??Matthew Rapaport ?????????????much to comment upon
Subject: much to comment upon
?Byron >If I must be networked in order to be, then on my own I am out of the >loop, out of communication, null and void, nowhere.
?Lets not jump to extremes here… You live in a physical community do you not? This electronic connectedness is only *one* of your routes to the world with which you interact. Perhaps you spend too many hours in front of your CRT composing all these massive missives.
?But you are quite correct about the difference in quality between spontaneous oral communications and debate vs. the more thoughtful process of writing. Both have been going on concurrently for a long time. What is different is that the audience for both has now expanded (potentially) to encompass people in all parts of the [developed] world. You have no doubt noticed that this medium has elements of both the oral quick response *and* the more thoughtful written word.
?Call me “communications addicted”, I confess and I love it. I have call waiting, and with the amount of time my wife spends on the phone, wouldn”t want to live without it. If the phone system goes down, I live without these connections and get along just fine thank you, but while it is up, I”m going to use it to its full potential…
?>If I see any hazard at all… it may be in this area, the notion of >having a direct, dialup-line to Deity…
?Does sort of take the personal effort and thought out of it doesn”t it… In fact, this was one of my earliest criticisms of the TM. Not a rejection of authority [of the Foundation] as Jim McNealy suggested, but rather a reversion to new, distributed, authority in the form of the teachers.
?>but so far I have not heard any criticism (other than “this is nothing >new”) about the basic things these alleged teachers are urging the >listeners/readers to do…
?The nature of the beast… If there were obvious things to criticize about the basic message, the phenomena would be over already…
?>I can”t offer an argument or rationalization which you couldn”t easily >shred.
?That is not my purpose. What you are doing is fun. I did it (MA in Philosophy after reading the UB), but I didn”t have any illusions about remaking the world through philosophy. We have not reached that stage of our history where philosophers are among the most valued members of society…
?I also recognize that you must work incrementally with your professors and colleagues, like Jesus, introducing only that which will push forward their thought without inviting rejection by being “too much” for them to adapt to in a short time. But you can let your hair down here no?
?Leo again… >(p. 965): “But a religious cult cannot be manufactured; [even with >printing presses, fax and xerox machines, and electronic file transfers] >it must grow.
?What constitutes a natural “growth” is conditioned from age to age by the availability of communications technology… That is, in ancient times cults were limited to small geographic areas (perhaps tied to a physical totem) because people never met outsiders. Given the printing press, the technology supports expansion over a wider area albeit at a relatively slow pace. So now we have instant world wide communications and what constitutes a “natural pace of growth” has changed again.
?> the TMmers do, from the transcripts I have been reviewing, seem to be >generating, on a local level, these “cults of mutual support” by >engaging in precisely those types of mutually supportive conversations >that seemed so verboten in the more formally organized “read only” >groups…
?In the first place, the Foundation stole the most powerful single symbol that should have been available to anyone from the beginning (the circles). Secondly, If you were stuck in a “read only” UB study group, why didn”t you try to start something more satisfying? If no one wanted to join you that is another matter. My study group did much more then read, as did the FOGers, etc. My point here is that there was nothing in the Foundations historical policies or in the notion of a study group that ever prevented anyone from doing more, going further, etc. The bottom line is that most people didn”t want to make the effort (unless so led and directed by “outside forces” like the TM).
?>Whatever the source of the rising ridicule, it seems that the issue of >channelers in the UB community will be every bit as controversial as >that of gays in the military, or perhaps, from an earlier time, negroes >in public schools…
?With this I must take strong issue… There is a radical difference between being black (a fact of birth) or Gay (birth/conditioning perhaps) and the question of the truth/fact of the channeling! The question of whether a Gay or Black is otherwise a “normal, useful human being”, and whether or not the channeling is “happening at all” are two very different kinds of issues…
?There is so much more to respond to in this list, but I haven”t the time, and I apologize to the others who are beginning to participate more frequently. I don”t mean to ignore anyone…
17 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Let. from Nancy Johnson
Subject: Let. from Nancy Johnson
?DATE: March 5, 1993 TO: Leo Elliott FROM: Nancy Johnson You just amaze me. What a service for you to mail me all these files you”ve collected from the bulletin board! At least every other day you”ve sent me enough reading material to ponder until the next mail arrives, and I”m already up to my ears in transcripts I”m anxious to read. I say, “Oh, no, not another one,” but tear it open just to peek at the contents. Well, so much for dinner and other such nonessentials. (My daughter says she can”t decide whether to divorce me on the grounds of neglect and alienation of affection or start her program of parent abuse before I”m confined to the rocking chair.) By this time there”s so much to respond to, it”s hard to know where to begin. There”s bound to be some good and useful purpose for all this exchange of opinions regarding the teaching mission, but I wonder if it will just go on and on merely as an end in itself. When I first read the UB, it didn”t occur to me to run to all the so-called “authorities” to see if it was okay for me to seek truth from this source. It was obvious this was new stuff…how could they advise me if they hadn”t read it themselves? Seems to me that”s an avoidance tactic used by people who want an excuse to HIDE from truth. Did some people read the UB as a sort of protest against the religions of authority? I suspect so, but they seem to have brought their co-dependence on authority/protest with them, because they keep trying to recreate it within the Urantia movement. Shades of Caligastia “…we find only one outstanding feature of his conduct that might have challenged attention; he was ultraindividualistic. He was inclined to take sides with almost every party of protest, and he was usually sympathetic with those who gave mild expression to implied criticism.” (752:2) He also resented authority figures, but he wanted to BE one. Know what I mean, Vern? And I”m tempted to suspect that protesting is a subtle avoidance tactic used by people who want an excuse to escape LIVING the truth. But the subtlest avoidance tactic of all was revealed in the story of Jesus” encounter with Nalda at the well…”By this time Nalda was sobered, and her better self was awakened…And she was just about to seek direct and personal help from the Master when she did what so many have done before and since — dodged the issue of personal salvation by turning to the discussion of theology and philosophy. She quickly turned the conversation from her own needs to a theological controversy….” (1613:3) How could they say it clearer? Small wonder the revelators were surprised the UB hadn”t changed our lives more! Perhaps we should insert a slip sheet that says something like, “This book weighs four pounds. If all other attempts to understand it fail, try tapping yourself gently on the head.” Since I”ve been involved in the movement (mid ”70s) there have been countless attempts to come up with a brilliant outreach program. Seventeen years later we”re still trying to come up with outreach programs that will catch on and REALLY WORK. So up crops this rather unorthodox program called the teaching mission that”s catching on and really seems to be working for those who are involved, and what happens? (1) Do the UB authorities approve? No? Better wait then. (2) Protest. Remember the Grimsley affair. (3) Turn to the discussion of theology and philosophy; turn it into a theological controversy. Gee, folks, I”m just a kid at heart, so I like their way of getting a point across, like: (1) Talk, talk, talk. When do we eat!, or (2) Let the air out of the tires. Why all this protest against the teaching mission? And what, pray tell, does the Grimsley affair have to do with it? If I were to label some reactions mindless, this would be one of them. We”re talking apples and oranges here. When the protests (there”s that word again) started pouring out through the mail, I read as much as I could stomach and knew I wouldn”t touch that one with a ten-foot pole. But those folks who were directly involved have suffered enough–that probably includes Vern, too. After all, he may have done what he did to protect the investment of those who believed in him as much as for himself. I”ve only recently been made aware of how deep those emotional scars went for some of them. It”s definitely time for a healing. Maybe all of us who swelled with pride for them when they picked up the broken pieces and mustered the courage to show up at the Green Lakes conference should have been as verbal as the protestors. But to compare the teaching mission with that ordeal? No way! I can be as picky as the next guy when it comes to noticing probable flaws in the transmissions. The assigned teachers were the first to say errors are inevitable. We”re laying “new” track here. It”s so simple we have a hard time getting the hang of it. I thought the UB put it rather well when it said the world has never seriously tried to live the religion of Jesus. That”s all they”re asking and, yes, they DO promise a much better civilization if we”re willing to do this. Transforming the world is not an ACTION, you know; it”s an EFFECT–the effect of transforming ourselves and daring to let that light shine brightly “as we pass by” our brothers and sisters, really loving them as he loved us. We can”t guarantee that the authors of the Urantia Papers are exactly who they say they are, but we”re assured we can know them by their fruits (on Biblical authority even). I can”t say from my own experience that the TRs are really receiving these messages from celestial beings and transmitting them to us, but THEY can, and I”m content they know what they”re talking about. However, I CAN say from experience that the transcripts have served as a mighty motivator in our group. Thanks to all those who participated in other groups before us, we have much to draw on and we”re getting the hang of it real quick. We just got started with two teachers assigned, but they”re sort of letting us go with what we”ve already learned from other groups to see where it leads. It”s almost funny how simple it is and how well it works. All we ever needed to do was just take what we ALREADY KNOW and go out and actually DO it. One thing I might add though: Remember the quote about how a social group of human beings in co-ordinated working harmony stands for a force far greater than the simple sum of its parts? It”s true. Thanks for sharing so much with me, Leo. The dialogue is mostly interesting, but I do hope it”s being carried on with some purpose in mind. To begin with, is everyone clear about why they”re participating in the discussions? Is it to try to understand so an intelligent choice can be made? Any other reason seems unworthy. Is it too much to ask that a time limit be set? After all, there”s a lot of good work to be done, and we shouldn”t have to take years and years to finally commit to doing it. Remember, a good salesman always pushes for closure.
17 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Some clarifications…
Subject: Some clarifications…
?Lest we misunderstand…
?Matthew, a few refinements that seem to have gone by in our most recent exchange:
?– firstly, I quoted the letter from James Hillman (not MY letter) to Michael Ventura about “communications addiction” to illustrate the potential for humans to substitute one “substance” for another; (I wonder if given the number of times a day I check my mail, if I may not be guilty of some addiction as well.) — I believe you will see that Hillman also prefers to see this (“our”) form of written exchange, electronic letter-writing, if you will, as being of a distinct order, “out of the loop” of addiction –> call-waiting was an indicator to me, not mentioned specifically by Hillman, of semi-addiction, of not being able to “miss a call”… [ I didn”t want anyone to think I had started to T/R for “Michael” or “Jim” [g]! ]
?– I also intended to use the notion of “communication addiction” as a mark of personal evaluation for someone who may wish to present themselves to me as a channel or medium or guru or spiritual advisor of any type, TM-affiliated or not — if someone feels that they cannot go to the grocery store without consulting their “pipeline” or “oracle” or “teacher,” then such would indicate to me a bit of dependence. I don”t know how reliant the FOG folk may have become on this process of “celestial verification” for mundane affairs — David”s earlier posts seem to indicate that there was some of this going on, at least over some more “major” types of decisions (where to locate/buy land?, how to allocate resources?), if not over which grocery store to patronize. The seeking of omens before making any decision is an indicator to me of a rather haphazardly-installed operating system. None of the transcripts I have read so far indicate any such dependence.
?– My reference was to the controversies which have arisen in our national culture over the admission of gay people into the military, and/or black people into our public school system; it was not meant as any sort of comparison to the ontological status of gays/blacks/TMmers.
?>>> The fact that this statement was misconstrued as representing such ontological evaluation is an indicator of the point I was trying to make, which is that the denial of “facticity” or “factuality” of their group process of “mutual support” is being used to denigrate if not deny completely the “reality” of the value of this process, which amounts to one human being feeling constrained to tell another that he is a fool, or that what he is doing is foolish. I wish not to quibble further about words and semantics and definitions, as if to say that what the TMmers are doing in their seemingly rapidly growing groups “isn”t really” prayer, or worship, or communion, or mutual support.
?I realize that an argument can be made about when the allegedly foolish behavior becomes so foolish that outside intervention becomes required (as is now unfolding in Waco) — I would personally intervene if any of my children decided to start taking up with snake-handlers… but again, from my reading of the transcripts and conversations I have had with TMmers, these people seem to be the first in the line of UB “study groups” I”ve encountered that are courageous enough and open enough to allow taping of their sessions, be they always grammatically transcribed or not… I do not view the TMmers efforts at sharing their enthusiasm or their transcripts, amongst those who may be curious, as anything less than candid and healthy. I have lived enough years as a self- appointed critic of religious movements. In the decades I have left, I prefer to seek out opportunities to be moved by the spirit, daily, personally, as I pass by, in groups, at work, with my family, with fellow UBbers… I have been more moved by the openness and personal sharing I have picked up reading some of these transcripts than by most of the study groups I have attended.
?– The issue of “growth” and its” relative speed or “naturalness” seems to be at the core of most of our recent conversations, whether about the Teaching Mission, the revision of language, or how to map the newly revealed conceptual territories of the UB onto existing charts.
?– I don”t think the Foundation “stole” anything — UB readers/students simply were not networked enough and aware of the power inherent in their own speaking to prevent this costly legal fiasco from occurring, (and continuing to occur…). Who knows what might have been the outcome in the early 80s for CUBS and others if a net such as this had been in place and _utilized_ the way it is coming to be used now? Who can say what would have been the outcome for Vern and the FOGgers if some one or a few of their group had been posting files or messages on a net such as this in 1984 or 1985, and receiving some immediate and thoughtful feedback in return?
?(If you really feel, Matthew, that there was “nothing in the Foundation”s historical policies” that ever caused a novice UB enthusiast to feel criticized instead of supported for his outreach efforts, I will be happy to send you copies I have in my files from Mark Kulieke, acting secretary for the U. Foundation, dated 1974, informing me of the possible harm I MIGHT be doing new readers by spelling the word URANTIA in all caps… how horrible if someone should be misled by my unprofessional posting on the university bulletin boards… and then of course you would read how I was advised to screen new readers so as to weed out the idly curious and make sure that I had only “serious” and “committed” students for a Free U class I proposed…)
?– Without wishing to sound like a devotee of Werner Erhard (I am not an OLD EST-ie, only a relatively new Forumite; and had I known two years ago what I know now about Werner, I don”t know if I would have taken all the Landmark Ed classes I did, but that”s another story…), but it really all does seem to be about “enrollment”… Jesus was, imo, the Master Enroller of all time, getting these twelve ordinary men of Galilee and thereabouts to “turn the world upside down”.. The Urantia Foundation was a signal failure to enroll people, tho perhaps less so in the early days. The lack of “possibility” in their program of studious study groups became evident, to me, on the local level as the social outreach I felt always seem to run smack into another reader”s need to become “the authority” whenever new readers (especially new female readers) might wander in. The Brotherhood/ FEF seems to have fared little better. From neither of these organizations” programs for social and/or religious “outreach” or “enrollment” have I sensed much possibility. In the Teaching Mission I do, but only for those who feel drawn by “inner forces.”
?In trying to follow the “outreach” or “interface” formats as I picked up on them from these two groups (even the words grate), I ended up 20 yrs out with my book and a lot of literature, but not much in the way of any “religious cult”, much less one of “mutual support” that I felt drawn to belong to. Finally, when I decided I needed/wanted other men to talk with and got involved with a men”s group, did all my baseball stuff, the Forum, the CiM group, it eventually led me right back to here, with the UB as my main source, only this time with the realization there really are no roadmaps to enrollment, to the formation of study groups or TM groups or electro-groups, beyond the open and sincere sharing of one”s inner life and spiritual aspirations in a group of supportive listeners. Life as a conversation.
18 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Getting Things Done
Subject: Getting Things Done
?While I find the UB to be psychologically realistic in its recognition of male and female as being near to “two separate species,” and of each “species” as having its own “domain,” it is also quite clear in pointing out the synergy which comes only from a male and a female working together, which synergy does not normally come from two men or two women working together. I for one would love to see some compassionate scholarship presented on this issue of “domains,” for my suspicion is that it may hold the keys to our unlocking the chains of (paterno-authoritarian) nationalism which have so retarded our progress toward light and life.
?And lastly, I recall Bob Slagle”s comment at the TM Forum about how most of the people who are acting as human modems for these allegedly celestial communications happen to be female.
?I can attest from my own decade of experience at work watching a company grow around an unrecognized and taken-for-granted corps of mostly female customer service/data entry personnel, that it is these people who will make or break a company, the ones who will either make sure that the hi-falukin marketing schemes and management directives get carried out effectively, in the details which somehow never seem to get addressed by the memo-writers.
?This morning going into my local convenience store to get my morning paper, I caught the beer-deliveryman calling out the current inventory in the store to the store manager, prompting him for tiny decision after tiny decision after tiny decision… This is where I had last seen these two together last Thursday, so I said “You guys still counting all those numbers?”… and only later, as I was driving away, did it occur to me that it is this type of painstaking, detailed decisionmaking that is the basis for successful growth, as it has been in my own company.
?It is this type of minutiae which the programmer has to deal with after the grand design specs have been promulgated. It is this type of minutiae, and how well the programmer allows for it, that determines whether the grand design is even approached, much less fulfilled.
?As a last, final, politically-incendiary statement which I humbly offer for group consideration, I am drawn to the speculation that it is this type of spiritual and religious minutiae that is being at least addressed in the TM groups, in a way that people are finding was not addressed in read-the-bible churches or read-the-book study groups.
?And might this account for how these TM groups, at least in terms of sharing/spreading awareness of the UB and its teachings, are “getting things done” that, to prior “movements,” have only been echoes in the auditorium?
?Echoing into the electrolist,
18 Mar 1993 ??David Kantor ?????Responses and Ruminations
Subject: Responses and Ruminations
?”…people doomed to the shallow present of an electronic-media society as a substitute for a historical consciousness…” makes me think of our TM friends. I do not mean to rag excessively on this situation (Nancy) but these thoughts from Thompson are so relevant. I cannot take issue with anyone who says they have discovered a procedure or a technique or a set of beliefs which brings them closer to God and makes them feel more spiritual. I am willing to agree that this is a matter which is between the individual and God, and I am certainly in no position to judge the validy or even the value of such an experience to the individual who claims it. HOWEVER…as I have said before, once you begin to make claims about the meaning of that experience and use cultural images and symbols to describe it, e.g., the rebellion has been adjudicated, a teaching mission is happening, Melchizedek is materializing — once you begin to make such claims you are stepping across a threshold from personal spiritual experience to historic cultural experience. My issue is that it is extremely naive to make claims about events occuring relative to cultural/historic levels of reality without first developing a substantial historical consciousness within which to understand the nature of the claims one is making.
?Nancy, I think it is just as foolish to turn to spiritual issues as a means of avoiding confronting a lack of theological and philosophical integrity in one”s thinking as it is to turn to theology and philosophy as a technique of avoiding the issue of personal salvation. The Urantia Book is quite clear in calling us to the responsibilities of parallel and complementary intellectual and spiritual development.
?Nancy, you say, “…is everyone clear about why they”re participating in the discussions? Is it to try to understand so an intelligent choice can be made? Any other reason seems unworthy…”. Well, I for one am participating in this discussion because I encounter a depth of interaction and insight here with the Logondonters in the presence of the Electronaphim that I have never encountered in a study group, and I find it to be quite stimulating as well as pleasurable. As Matthew pointed out, we have the opportunity to be spontaneous as well as to prepare more carefully thought out ideas for uploading. I find it enjoyable and enlightening to find out why people hold the positions they hold. If I wail on someone”s position, it”s not necessarily because I want them to change it, I just want them to more fully clarify why they have taken that particular position. (I am not “protesting” against the TM, I simply haven”t heard any rationale for the idea from anywhere outside someone”s subjective experience — I have repeatedly pointed out, here as well as elsewhere, reasons why the whole idea is utterly lacking in any integrity at all, but no one has been able to respond with anything other than more subjective assertions and opinions.) I also believe that additional truth emerges when we participate in dialog — I do not see it as a technique for resolving divergent points of view but rather a means by which a broader perspective can be gained by considering reality from multiple reference points. As a matter of fact, I am not sure that a person can really participate in a dialog unless they do actually have a position from which to speak. In addition, I am personally aware of some of the problems of my own subjectivity; while I use my eyes for seeing, I can”t see my eyes unless I look in a mirror, and then the image is reversed. My consciousness seems to be like this also — it can”t see itself without distortion. I appreciate being in contact with people who will call me on something that doesn”t quite make sense to them — it will force me to either clarify it or recognize it as erroneous. This does not seem unworthy to me.
?By the way, while I disagreed with your conclusions, I liked the quotes you used and the manner in which you drew parallels from them to your position.
?Byron, do you know the percentage of TMers who have actually read the UB through, cover to cover, at least once? Of those, how many have studied at least one other formal cosmology so that they have some context for evaluation? Realize that once claims are made about the TM experience and that threshold is crossed (as per above), a formal system is being constructed. The fact that no one is considering this or taking it seriously (other than leaning on a few selected quotes from the UB for conceptual support — a book which most of them have never even read all the way through) makes the whole affair appear to be extremely superficial. I am reminded of the comment which Origen made about the book of Revelation in the Bible; he noted that even individuals who did not take the time to understand what was hidden in it recognized that there *was* something important hidden in it, relating to it almost in superstitious awe of the nature of its contents rather than systematically exploring those contents to discern their meaning.
19 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????The Book of Oz
Subject: The Book of Oz
?I know you would not want your argument to be misrepresented as being some sort of _ad hominem_ or _ad groupem_ argument against the TMmers, or any group who might choose to wrap their rituals around some or any of the teachings found in the UB, as if to say that someone has to have read all of the book to be able to speak about it or endeavor to speak its teachings into their daily environments. If I got your message right, this was not your point, but rather that for someone to make some statement of the “fact” variety (e.g. the rebellion is over) as justification for their beliefs, especially someone who may not even be very, if at all, conversant with the relevant variables presented in the UB as regards this “rebellion”, that this may simply be a bit presumptuous, or a lot presumptuous.
?I agree with your assessment of the UB”s strong statements on the need for balanced growth — that intellectual growth far exceeding spiritual depth tends to promote pomposity, and spiritual development absent intellectual rigor leads to fanaticism. So far, even though you might disagree from your experience with Vern, I don”t think that this amalgam of personalities sometimes referred to as the “Urantia Movement” has produced any real fanatics, say, of the caliber of Mr. Koresh down in Waco, or of the Jim Jones variety. You may wish to inform us as to how close you think Vern or the FOGgers were to such camps, if you so choose; I would have to say that in my experience, I have run into far more pompous intellects than I have hosanna-shakers or cool-aid drinkers… I suspect this summer in Montreal will be a most interesting gathering.
?Now in relation to this balanced-growth issue, we can go round and round about how or whether this “Movement” has been biased one way or another from its inception, who the guilty parties are, etc. etc. One party feels we have been too intellectual, another feels we are going too far the other way now with the “Pentecostals” of the Teaching Mission (I am still waiting for some refs on this Matthew, s.v.p.!). Perhaps it would help our discussion if we could take a step back, for a moment, and agree to just leave the earth flat for a few moments, and simply view ourselves as those geeky sociologists who did not do what the apostles did; if we can do this, then maybe we can just talk about the TMmers as “just another cult” in some dry academic fashion, and not feel compelled to either justify them as the saviours of the “Movement” nor condemn them as the devils” henchmen. I am trying to decide if I would put the TMmers of the Urantia Movement, so-called, in the experiential model or the consciousness model. I suppose, given my prior affinity with Teilhard de Chardin, whose work was a conceptual steppingstone for me into the Urantia teachings, I would at first have seen both my own personal theological model, before ever hearing of the Teaching Mission, as well as the model I have constructed of the TM “belief system” since, as being in the consciousness model. On p. 256 of his work, Dulles cites Christopher Mooney on Teilhard:
?”What Teilhard was searching for always was an approach to the mystery of man which would enable him to dispense with looking at the human person alternately from a scientific, philosophic and theological point of view. He wanted to be able to pass in a single movement from one mode of knowledge to another, from the data of reason on its various levels to the data of Christian revelation, and to do so with ease and without confusion.”
?If Mooney were writing about the computer biz, he may have described Teilhard as a proponent of “Open Systems.” Dulles then goes on to characterize the consciousness model of revelation:
?”Contemporary representatives of the fifth model… look on revelation not as a static content but as a dynamic and continuing process. The human mind, animated by the self-gift of the Absolute, acquires a new horizon from which it constantly reinterprets its own religious past, assesses the signs of the times, and moves into the future to which the Spirit is calling it. When confronted by problems of credibility, these theologians [and TMmers?] feel free to reinterpret the doctrinal patrimony [UB] in ways that correspond to the ”legitimate demands” of the reigning secular mentality.”
?I want to get back to Sabatier, whom Dulles cites as in support of the third or experiential model, but the next paragraph gives a pretty good summation of his schema:
?”To summarize the five models, we may say that the dialectical theologians and some partisans of salvation history are wary of harmonizations between faith and reason. The dialectical theologians, at times, gloried in speaking of revelation as the ”absurd” and ”absolute paradox.” In other models, revelation is viewed as consonant with reason or at least with the highest exercise of reason. Reason, however, is understood in different ways. In the first model, it is viewed as a power to draw necessary conclusions from evident premises — in other words, as syllogistic or deductive reason. In the second model… reason is understood as a power to recover the facts of history and to construct a coherent, forward-looking, universal vision. For the experientialists, reason is an intuitive faculty which apprehends the data of immediate experience. Finally, for the ”new consciousness” theologians, revelation addresses itself to an ”ecstatic” or self-transcending reason and thereby overcomes the myopia of ordinary discursive thought. The contents of revelation are subject to continual reinterpretation.” (pp. 256-257).
19 Mar 1993 ??Jim Mcnelly ??????Truth, Context and ”Facts”
Subject: Truth, Context and ”Facts”
20 Mar 1993 ??PETER J FERGUSON ??????Woodscross Rep.
Subject: Woodscross Rep.
?Hello from S.F. CA., All week long we”ve had a visitor from the Woodscross group, Rob Avacedo, visiting various Bay area study groups. Rob put a lot of foot work in for the time that he spent here. I was immediately impressed with the amount of dedication this guy had. Mainly, the purpose he had in mind, was to inform everyone of the chronological order of events. I was suprised to hear how different the story began, then what I had learned through so much hearsay. He admitted that the TM had not been a bed of roses since its onset.There have been a lot of ups and downs, and tests of faith. But through it all there have been no major power plays, or apocalyptic chatter. For him only good has come from it all. At the beggining he had set some major ground rules for himself as far as assuring validity of the TM. He spoke of the kind, sincere, loving answers that Ham gave to his and others critical sometimes harsh questions. There have been some things said that warrant criticism, but many times they are mistakes in transmission or misinterpretations. Ham has even admitted making mistakes himself. Most of the difficulty arises in the fact that these teachers must use the vocabulary and thought processes of the individual transmitter. Due to their advanced complex language, The content must be stepped down several times, which imo could cause numerous translation problems. I requested of Ron, to ask Ham if there would be a possibility of an online realtime conference. We could then all ask questions and there would be someone there with a terminal as go between. I would suggest through compuserve since we mainly all have some access to it. I think the important thing right now is to get all these different groups on line asap. This should lessen misinterpretation and speed up communications. I think before the Montreal shindig, we should have a highly organised widespread communications system with individual clearing houses online, Maybe a presentation at the conference. It seems to me that”s where this is all heading. Any thoughts?? Well thats all for now. This has been your UB correspondent live from SF. PJF
20 Mar 1993 ??leo elliott ???????????Hillman on Recovery
Subject: Hillman on Recovery
?Abstaining from these prickly questions of “reality,” would it be possible, from a psychological or sociological perspective, to view the TM groups as some form of “recovery groups for the institutionally abused?” — I am raising this question after a good heavy dose of James Hillman again, in his “Hundred Years of Psychotherapy — and the World”s Getting Worse.”
?I begin to see why Hillman”s views have made him Mr. Stinko amongst his own psychotherapeutic community; he is to psychotherapy (along with Thomas Szasz) what Ralph Nader is to business, what Ross Perot has been to politics, what Martin Luther was to religion.
?In his letter (!) to Michael Ventura on “Recovery” (pp. 132-140) he raises many of the same issues we have been dealing with here in our discussions of forms of religious/spiritual practice in our own UB community. He leads into his discussion of the vagaries of subjective definitions of reality by citing the difficulties now coming out in conversations, (legal and otherwise) over what constitutes abuse, sexual or otherwise. (Anita Hill and Rodney King cases come to mind here.):
?[ editorial comments in brackets ]
?>>>>> “I am accusing therapy of this new puritanism… because the issue turns on _feelings_ of injury rather than on acts, witnesses, testimony — and it is settled by recovery, separately, rather than between the parties together.” [ UF and FEF, are you listening? ] “My personal feelings determine the definition, yet my personal feelings are subject to the ideational influence of the therapists [ T/Rs? ]… They have theory, influence, authority. Frankly, I see little difference in the long run between this creeping therapeutic invasion of private relations and the statist propaganda that persuaded children to denounce their parents and lovers to denounce each other in Europe in the thirties. When my personal feelings, which are subject to collective TV morality, mass hysteria, and therapeutic intervention, determine the definition of an event to the neglect of actions — their motivation, the circumstances, the past history, the tone of verbal exchanges, the moods of the persons — then we have a simplified legal formula: if I _feel_ raped, then I was raped. We are no longer in the realm of real human life; we have entered the wacky world of therapy…”
?>>>>>> “… when I say that therapeutic puritanism has substituted the rule of law for the rule of eros, I don”t mean that all these ugly social miseries aren”t real. Child molesting, incest, overeating, domestic violence, and all the true addictions to drink, drugs, and sex of course need attention. So too date rape. But the spirit informing these diagnoses, and therefore the treatment of these conditions, has the effect of repressing eros in favor of bureaucratic institutions like crisis centers and legalistic solutions. [ Foundations, Brotherhoods, and copyright lawsuits??? ] Logos [ UF? ] represses eros [ UB/FEF/TM??? ], Apollo represses Dionysius, yet all these phenomena — [ including TMming ] — are strongly, passionately, if not basically erotic Dionysian…
?>>>>>> “Where does eros go if repressed by logos solutions? I think it appears in recovery programs, in that deef affection for and blind defense of the group for the good it”s doing. That”s why recovery works, it”s erotic, as far as it goes.”
?[ So, in the Thompsonian venue in which the next good gets previewed as the coming evil, which becomes the accepted good, eventually to become outmoded in the face of the new evil, so the original Sadlerian Forum may have represented an erotic release for its participants, repressed for so long by the religions of authority; yet, as the cycle would have it, this model of Sadlerian Studygroupism becomes the Logos solution, repressing along the way the next generation(s) of erotic spiritual revelers, now called TMmers, previewed to some degree by the FOGgers and others. ]
?[ In this connection, is it true that Pattije Mills, the archivist/organizer of the Teaching Mission, is the daughter of Jim Mills, the patriarch/scholar of the Urantia Foundation? Sorry for the _ad hominem_ here folks, but the irony seems worth note. ]
?>>>>>> “Item: Letter to the _Dallas Observer_. ”As a survivor of Delta 1141 plane crash, I entered therapy the day after the crash to help with my fear of flying… I am still in therapy for one simple reason: it has changed my life — so much that I am starting a master”s program to become a psychotherapist myself. Most of my friends are now in therapy, and I prefer to date men who have had at least some counseling or are willing to go … I love mental health and hope that more people can discover that therapy is where inner peace begins.”
?”Is this the language of insight or conversion, of psyche or spirit, of therapy or religion? Does ”recovery” know a difference? Notice the moralism, the exclusivity in her dating preferences. Eros trapped in the new church. Let”s move this in time warp back to Rome, the year 300 or 400: Most of my friends are in the new sect of Christians, and I prefer to be with men who are in the community or at least willing to attend our meetings. I am studying to be a minister of souls myself.
?”I am not unfair in this comparison with religion; besides, why shouldn”t therapy release the soul”s native religious concerns: It does and should, only it ought to bring insight into shadow as well, so as not to move simply from one style of unconsciousness to another, one that happens to feel better.”
?>>>>>> “…Still, I always tried to keep in touch with soul using words of feelings, figures, and images rather than a specialist language that separates and alienates. Why can”t therapist and patient speak the same tongue, not only in the consulting room, _but about it_?
?”This is, as you implied, more than a difference in rhetorical styles, the poetic versus the theoretical. It reflects the very reason why therapy can”t make it over into the world. It talks to itself, a self-isolating, abstracting language much like minimalist nonfigurative painting. Shall we call it, to use that language, iatrogenic narcissism or grandiosity, a narcissism that begins not in the patient but in therapy”s grandiosity, to which the patient must adhere and within which the patient shall conform? Patients [ UB “students” or “readers” ? ] are patients and not citizens, first because they are trapped in transference, then because they are trapped in doctrinal compliance that reduces them to childhood, and not least, because they are trapped in therapeutic language. [ we return again to the topic of language! ] >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
?”Their speaking about themselves has replaced their speaking from themselves.”
?[ So, beware the grandiosity offered by whatever form of Urantian therapy one chooses here, be it UFish or FEFish or FOGgish or TMmish, for surely along will come the imprisonment of the therapeutic language, the diversion of “speaking about” obscuring the “speaking from.” ]
?>>>>>>>> “Meanwhile, where are the small political meetings, the ward heelers of yesteryear? [ The pastors of the “golden age of liberal theology” — ? ] Where are the Irish, the Italian, the Polish groups — the little ethnic and neighborhood groups — who met about city power (yes, graft and nepotism too), but who came together to push politics? There was a common cause as well as self-advancement and protection (support).”
?[ Perhaps I should write Mr. Hillman to let him know that the neighborhoods have now become electronic, some of them, and that perhaps there are some small political meetings occurring… Our own Blue Ranger Jim McNelly can tell us of many such down-to-earthy projects for “acting locally” with our global Urantially-informed thinking. I am reminded of Jay Newbern”s comment in the line of commentors at the SF TM Forum about how the real issues of “outreach” might have more to deal with the copyright liberation currently being championed by St. Kristen of Maaherra, than with all these spiritual-therapy groups who may or may not be conversing with angels. ]
?>>>>>> “Before I go on, I must say why recovery groups have been, and still are, necessary. Someone, somewhere must pick up the pieces. The world is getting worse; ask the animals, ask the trees, ask the wind — but also ask the citizens declared mentally ill….
?”But it”s not all bad. Recovery groups do lift men and women out of their sofas and away from the tube [ or the terminal! ] to meet regularly, faithfully, with deep emotions. In today”s language, bonding is going on. And, nomadic as we are (20 percent of the populace moves each year; in five years every statistical citizen has changed address, all 250 million of us), recovery groups will take us to heart wherever we go in this land.
?”There”s plenty for a recovery group to give their love to besides one another; there is the world… With a little spin and a little shove, all the 500,000 recovery meetings going on each week all across the U.S.A. could turn from individualism to the body politic, recovering some of the political concern for the plight of the nation that necessitated recovery groups in the first place. As I see it, we cannot recover alone or even in support groups. We need communal recovery, recovery of communal feeling, and each group provides the nucleus of that feeling.
?” ”Communal feeling” … is what Alfred Adler … regarded as the final goal of all therapy. Today, communal feeling is arising from the common sense of victimization. [ by Caligastia, by the UF, by FOG, by the TM, by the Owners Association (g!)… ] The groups gather because they feel individually disempowered, abused, victimized. [ … and here I sit, empowered by my technology… hmmmm? ] Yes, we group according to our symptoms, but we group as well around shared compassion [ TM groups seem to score high here ] …. We have come to feel ourselves as survivors, [ of FOG, of the divorce of UF/UB, of Catholicism ] which means that behind the support group, at its root and soul, is death. In the group is a subliminal recognition of a dying civilizaiton. We are each marginal, liminal, being carried along by what we do not comprehend, and a kind of group love is being born at the fringes, among the victims of an abusive system. We gather (huddle0 in the boxcar, hoping for empowerment, taking one day at a time, because we smell the gas ovens if we think too far ahead. But where are the guards, who are they?
?[ Yes, where are the guards here guys? Where are the guards beating the true bluebook believers? Where are the guards keeping the TMmers in their pens, or the guards sniping at the slowgrowthers? The only guard I can see looks to be the one at Stalag 533, and the Sgt. Schultz/Captain Klink commanders they have there do not seem like they have much fight left in them…. maybe I”m wrong..? ]
?”…. Would we not do better to look outward at what is railroading us rather than at one another for comfort and courage if the train”s destination, despite what we do and say, is death?
?”Only this apocalyptic vision gives justification for the ubiquitous use of the words _victim_ and _survivor_ in recovery groups. Otherwise, to use these terms is a travesty of the Holocaust and the victims and survivors of the political genocide destructions, the death camps, massacres, and species extinctions that have marked our century.
?”We huddle because we still believe we die alone and ask for protection from the group to keep this basic belief of our culture from coming too close…
?”Ours is a religion of individual death. Maybe individualism begins in our idea of death, an ego”s idea of death, which is also to say that the separated ego and the idea of an individual self are representatives of death and therefore destructive. [ Shades of that devil-book, the _Course in Miracles_! (g) ] Perhaps for this reason people in recovery so often attest to the group having saved their lives from death. — They have been saved by communal feeling from individuality. —
?”That we die alone is an idea of the individualistic self, is part of its dread and part also of an individuality that believes its life is its own and so too must be its death. A person owns it all and death will take it all away. As Jesus said, you can”t die rich and famous. But we do die rich if we shift the images to a Mediterranean village funeral procession… or an Irish wake. These are the ultimate recovery groups flamboyantly demonstrating that we do not die alone, that the passed away are passing over and through the communal body.
?”We do not die alone. We join ancestors and all the little people, the multiple souls who inhabit our night world of dreams, the complexes we speak with, the invisible guests who pass through our lives, bringing us the gifts of urges and terrors, tender sighs, sudden ideas. They are with us all along, those angels, those demons. Evenings when I go to sleep, fourteen angels guard my keep. The freak companions — they are indestructible.
?”Once individualism dissolves its notion of self, and self relaxes into a communal feeling beyond bonding (tying, tightening, gluing, adhering, obligating), you can”t possibly die alone, because there is no alone. We are simply a repository of ”communal feeling.” Not compassion, or altruism or empathy, and not the Other, for these are all constructs and commandments of the I, that first person singular. Rather and simply, _existence is multiple_ and does not cease with your cessation. The chord, the flow, the herd, the hive dances on. By this I do not mean a New Age unity of all things. No, I mean that support is always there because the very ground is everywhere else. I am never only myself, always out of myself, out of control. And I can never recover.”
?(Excerpts, again, are from James Hillman writing to Michael Ventura, in their 1992 book, “We”ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy — and the World”s Getting Worse.” pp. 132-140)
?[ These passages are uploaded here in the hope they may promote supportive, insightful, and enlightening conversation amongst our little electronic support group here on the list, and perhaps help to generate some of this “communal feeling” amongst this diverse group of folks all over who have felt their lives to have been enriched, ennobled, and alerted by contact with the wit and wisdom found in the Urantia Papers. ]
20 Mar 1993 ??Matthew Rapaport ?????????????a call for clarification perha
Subject: a call for clarification perhaps?
?>Now in relation to this balanced-growth issue… now with the >”Pentecostals” of the Teaching Mission (I am still waiting for some refs >on this Matthew, s.v.p.!).
?I have no refs to provide. The term is one I”ve heard used when referring to cults (usually Christian) who are constantly predicting things (the end of the world being most common of course).
?>Ahlstrom cites this period of turn-of-the-century liberalism as “the >last major impulse in American intellectual history in which the >pastor-theologian played an extensive role.”
?Well not coincidentally I”m sure this period also wittnessed the birth of several Christian derivitaves (their feet planted both in the spirit and in the then spreading new-gospel of psychotherapy) like The Science of Mind Church, Christian Science, and Unity Church, which have shown some staying power. Of course the UB itself emerges out of this period as well (just a wee bit later perhaps).
?>I find it hard… not to be drawn, myself, to both these “experiential” >and “new consciousness” models…
?Aren”t these what the UB lumps together as “personal revelation”? The former via adjuster contact (of what ever quality), and the latter a product of that contact combined with experience gained from choices made as a result of the contact.
?On the matter of “100 Years of Psychotherapy”, I”m not sure all of your analogizing between the UF, UBro., TM, FEF, etc. would hold up. Institutions arising out of personal need to cope with life (perhaps disasters personal or otherwise) and those arising out of a desire to promulgate, preserve, or do what ever with a teaching, philosophy, or religion are very different things.
?The very process of recording and passing around the transcripts (whether in writing or on tape) is contributing towards the development of some shared experience on which to float a dynamic cult – a necessary adjunct to the growth of a dynamic religion. These serve not only to generate some shared values, but also as a check and balance against fanaticism. As purely subjective as TM justifications have been (and David this is a key part of my criticism as well), there is a valuable verification process going on in our ability to inform one another about the content of many separate messages being received – otherwise – independently.
?I would like to point out, however, that a claim to “fruits of the spirit” while sufficient to demonstrate spiritual sincerity and genuine striving on the part of individuals involved (with corresponding down reach by God and his agents), is NOT sufficient evidence of the TM”s claim respecting the mechanisms of the new revelation. The UB “proves” this claim of itself by adding substantially to our understanding of ourselves in many contexts (spiritual, cosmological, historical, psychological, anthropological, etc.). So far, the TM has nothing comparable to cite that I have encountered. If some of you think there has been such analogous “evidence” from the TM, let”s talk about it in this context…
?>Jerry… >I hope this discussion group is more than mere word symbols.
?Well I don”t know what you mean by “mere word symbols”, but we have little else to use in our efforts with/in this medium.
?>Why must our relationship with the varieties of religious experience be >one of distancing rather than inclusion? Is there really a “true” >teaching that is “right”?
?Not a “true teaching”, but the extinction of Lucifer and the reopening of “the circuts” either is or is not a fact. The TM makes rather broad claims that have potent theological implications, and offers no credentials (spiritual, intellectual, or otherwise) in support of its assertions. None of this has anything what-so-ever to do with the politics of the U movement over its lifetime (not for me at least).
?>But why such stridency and emotion. What are people afraid of?
?Well those ex FOGers (gee wasn”t my word ”Vernim” so much easier to roll of the tongue?) who spoke at the SF meeting told us what *they* were afraid of. Given what they experienced, perhaps I don”t blame them. Personally I am not afraid of any of this, and I”m not particulary emotional about it unless people start blurring too many distinctions… Then I get hot under the philosophic collar!
?Leo… >I requested of Ron, to ask Ham if there would be a possibility of >an online realtime conference.
?I am never available for a real time conference. Silly mode anyway, where your typing speed puts you at advantage/disadvantage having nothing to do with the quality of your thought [technical note: real-time conferencing is best employed in emergency/disaster mitigation situations, otherwise it is best left alone]. Why not just ask questions through Email? There is no need to have a cooperating T/R in any one place…
?>I think the important thing right now is to get all these different >groups on line asap.
?Well the more the better I always say. As for Montreal, perhaps some of those who are here in cyberspace and there (at the conference) could do something of a feed (e.g. take notes at a seminar with your laptop, and modem them to the list that night, etc.).
21 Mar 1993 ??Ron Darby ??????Reply to Matthew
Subject: Reply to Matthew
?-=] Quoting Matthew Rapaport [mjr@NETCOM.COM] [=-
?************** I would like to point out, however, that a claim to “fruits of the spirit” while sufficient to demonstrate spiritual sincerity and genuine striving on the part of individuals involved (with corresponding down reach by God and his agents), is NOT sufficient evidence of the TM”s claim respecting the mechanisms of the new revelation. The UB “proves” this claim of itself by adding substantially to our understanding of ourselves in many contexts (spiritual, cosmological, historical, psychological, anthropological, etc.). So far, the TM has nothing comparable to cite that I have encountered. If some of you think there has been such analogous “evidence” from the TM, let”s talk about it in this context… **************
?Actually, I don”t see any difference at all between the TM transcripts chararacterestics of “self proof” and the Urantia Book “self proof”. The UB provides better understanding only to the extent that I accept what it says. I gotta tell you, I still don”t quite understand-accept the relationship between calcium and the sun. As a matter of fact, there is one heck of a lot that I don”t understand-thus-really-accept that the UB has to say. I also gotta tell you that if the circumstances of how-the- words-got-on-paper is gonna make any difference, then the UB looses too. As far as I am concerned, if channeling means fraud; then the UB is fraud!
?There was a post on Prodigy this week by a dear sister, raised in a home with weekly UB study meetings, talking about folks that showed up at these meetings. She divided these folks into the “regulars” and the “saucer-people”.
?It is all relative.
?We also have a sister who was an inspiration for the new movie “Fire in the Sky” who couldn”t mention her relationship with the Urantia movement in a UFO/abduction interview because Urantia was “much too fringe”.
?The bottom line is that we _choose_, for what ever reasons, what we accept as belief. The “rub” comes when we have to reinforce the validity of our choice by contrasting it to someone elses choice.
?There seems to be so much pre-occupation with some of the TM “cosmology” – end of rebellion, opening of circuits, new dispensation, etc. No one is really objecting to what the TM proponents keep talking about – Gods love, brotherhood of man, etc. I see an exact parallel between the TM and the UB in this regard in that the same could be said of the UB! The history of .2 the earth”s geology really doesn”t directly affect my spiritual status. Whether calcium wanders or not really doesn”t affect the growth of my soul. Yet the UB saw fit to talk about these things. Perhaps the teachers have similar designs.
?************* I am never available for a real time conference. Silly mode anyway, where your typing speed puts you at advantage/disadvantage having nothing to do with the quality of your thought [technical note: real-time conferencing is best employed in emergency/disaster mitigation situations, otherwise it is best left alone]. Why not just ask questions through Email? There is no need to have a cooperating T/R in any one place… **************
?Here, I must agree whole-heartedly! What I will have no part of, however, is any attempt to “test” the teacher or T/R. We do not need a group of our own to determine that the “transmissions” are flawed. Ham told us that they were and demonstrated it from the beginning. It is so clear that the “transmissions” are profoundly circumscribed by the mental status quo of the receiver. This is _exactly_ parallel to the situation with the indictment of the UB itself. The main difference that I see is that we are seeing the raw data almost immediately whereas the UB that we see and love is the result of 20 years of polishing.
?I would love to participate in a dialogue with a “teacher” by means of this medium. The criteria by which I would accept or reject what is said would be exactly the same criteria by which I accept or reject (live or ignore) the words of the UB itself. What more could one ask?
?Now, if big Mac does materialize, establish a fortified residence in Texas, steal my girl friend, and decree that I practice manning a 50 cal machine gun – well, I probably will have to re- evaluate my interpretation of all this.