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OUR NEW AND EVERLASTING RELIGION

By Larry Mullins
On behalf of the Urantian Committee for Religious Freedom
Respond to the Author


Page 1467: THEN EXCLAIMED GANID: "Teacher, let's you and I make a new religion, one good enough for India and big enough for Rome, and maybe we can trade it to the Jews for Yahweh." And Jesus replied: "Ganid, religions are not made. The religions of men grow up over long periods of time, while the revelations of God flash upon the earth in the lives of men and women who reveal God to their fellows.". . .

What a scene for the celestial intelligences to behold, this spectacle of the Indian lad proposing to the Creator of a universe that they make a new religion! And though the young man did not know it, they were making a new and everlasting religion right then and there - this new way of salvation, the revelation of God to man through, and in, Jesus.


About 30 years ago, An esteemed Urantian named Clyde Bedell handed me a large blue book. The ambiance of that California afternoon seemed momentous and special. From the window of his mountainside study, the Pacific Ocean stretched into the horizon, softly gilded in the golden Santa Barbara sun. With his deep, wonderful voice Clyde assured me in hushed tones that this was the great revelation for which humanity had so long hungered.

When I began to read the book on my flight back to Maryland, I was very disappointed. I discovered Clyde had given me a book about Jesus.

FOR SEVERAL YEARS I KEPT The Urantia Papers on my bookshelf, and would dip into them now and then. However, I was so prejudiced about Jesus, and so associated him with repressive traditional religions, that I simply could not bear to carefully read them. The Urantia Book was just another book to me until the loss of my 13-year old daughter compelled me to desperately search for an answer to give meaning to her death. As a result, I was driven to read the Urantia Papers from cover to cover, in a very short time. Like many people who have read them, I have never been the same. I became a Urantia believer.

Now - many Urantians will disagree with the statement I have written, that the Urantia Book is a book about Jesus. In fact, some folks - even long-time readers - are uncomfortable when Jesus is even discussed. One very prominent General Councilor (who has long been known for his devotion to Jesus), recently declared to me that the "real" revelation of the Papers is not Jesus after all, it is that of the Supreme. This current sophistry is self-evidently incorrect.

For one thing, the concept of the Supreme is not new. A number of relatively modern theologians, from Tillich on, have long postulated concepts of an evolutionary Deity that are not dissimilar to the Urantian concept of the Supreme. Even Jung came close to this idea in his writings of the collective unconscious. In addition, it can be easily demonstrated that Jesus and his teachings are - beyond question - the central theme of the Urantia Revelation.

The huge book about Jesus

The Urantia Papers are the story of Jesus and his teachings set in a cosmological context. A good biography about Churchill would include material about the history and traditions of the British Empire to place his life in proper context. In a similar manner, the Urantia Papers include hundreds of pages of astonishing information on science, philosophy, cosmology, and history to set the stage of the story of the Life and Teachings of Jesus. Even so, the center-piece theme of the Papers is overwhelmingly the Life and Teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. I write this not because the Papers mention Jesus as early as page 30, and 20 additional times before page 100. Nor do I base this claim on the fact that the Papers take pains to refer to Jesus of Nazareth throughout. Rather, because - based upon space and time allotments - the story of Jesus is clearly the paramount presentation of the Urantia Papers.

Consider that, even if we cannot configure a time-frame about the parts of the Papers that deal with things before the dawn of time, time frames from the time Jesus left Paradise as Michael or Creator Son, are easy to establish. Michael left Paradise 400 billion years ago. The Urantia Papers tell us the history of our Universe began then. We are then made familiar with the history of our planet up to the time of the birth of Jesus. The balance of the Papers tell us about the life and teachings of Jesus, a period of less than thirty-five years. Comfortably, over a third of the Papers are devoted to the final Bestowal Mission of Jesus, and these thirty-five years of mortal life.

To put it another way, about 65% percent of the Papers cover 400 billion years of earth time, and 35% are devoted to the lifetime of a man who lived less than 35 years. Ponder what this means. The ratio is over 50 million to one.

In other words, 50 million times more space is devoted to the life and teachings of Jesus in the Urantia Papers than the 400 billion years that preceded it. Consider also: 75% of the Papers that are devoted to Jesus cover only the last four years of his life! And about one-third of those pages devoted to his ministry cover only the final few days of his life, his resurrection, and the implications of the immediate aftermath that followed! Clearly then, the Urantia Papers were created to tell the Life and Teachings of Jesus in their full cosmic context. As a long-time believer once said: "The last part of the book tells how someone lives who understands the first part of the book."

The Urantia Papers tell us that, although '...within a few short years many of our statements regarding the physical sciences will stand in need of revision in consequence of additional scientific developments and new discoveries', the restatement of the Life and Teachings of Jesus are definitive and will serve humankind for the next millennium." What, then, is so important - so significant - in these restated teachings that would require a new epochal revelation?

The most important knowledge of all

According to the Urantia Papers, "Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.'" [2090] So important is this, that the most profound and difficult period in that religious life - his final five days on earth - are the focus of the entire revelation. The "clock" of time slows and we are with the Master almost minute by minute.

The religious life of Jesus is not about creeds or hymns, it is the story of his cultivation of the inner life. We are told that "The secret of his unparalleled religious life was this consciousness of the presence of God;" [2089] It is not unreasonable to contend that the New and Everlasting religion that Jesus revealed is indeed a religion predicated upon the inner life of each believer. The results of a wisely-cultivated inner life manifest in an active and balanced outer life - "always and ever religion does something; it is dynamic!" [1121].

We know Jesus prayed and meditated a great deal more than we do. He took in great stores of energy while lesser men were out in the world expending it. [1777] The religious life of Jesus was supremely personal and private. Yet the way he lived it was as a public man of action. In each aspect of his life among humanity Jesus demonstrated the wonders of his religious life by manifesting the fruits of the Spirit.

The apostles had trouble with the ideas of Jesus. Even though they lived with the Master, they were not so profoundly changed until he left as a mortal being and returned as the Spirit of Truth. We are told that in the month that followed the bestowal of the "New Teacher," the Spirit of Truth, the apostles made more progress than they had in all the previous four years of personal association with the Master! [2061]

Why? Because, although the apostles had sacrificed greatly - homes, families, friends, worldly goods, and positions - when the Spirit of Truth descended these men and women, at last, gave themselves to God. Not in emotion, but in intelligent self-surrender and dedication. [2065]

After Pentecost and the Bestowal of the Comforter, the apostles became bold and courageous followers of the living Lord, not of a dead and defeated leader. Jesus lived within their hearts. God was no longer an intellectual doctrine of the mind, he was a living presence in their souls. [2066]

So it was that a new and everlasting religious revelation then "flashed upon the earth" in the lives and deeds of the men and women who were the apostle corps of the Master.

Then, a strange thing happened. With the most sincere of intentions, these men and women developed a kind of social-philosophical club. All the things that the Master taught about himself and his relationship to the individual believer became a relationship between him and the group, or church, instead. This "struck a death-blow" to the personal religion of the inner life that Jesus taught and lived. [1865]

Now, some of our more intellectual Urantian brothers and sisters have argued along these lines: "But, the Spirit of Truth is, after all, a Spirit. It is not Jesus. It is an impersonal Spirit-force much as any other."

The Urantia Papers clearly refute this idea. "Do not make the mistake of expecting to become strongly intellectually conscious of the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth. The spirit never creates a consciousness of himself, only a consciousness of Michael, the Son. From the beginning Jesus taught the spirit would not speak of himself. The proof, therefore, of your fellowship with the Spirit of Truth is not to be found in your consciousness of this spirit but rather in your enhanced fellowship with Michael." [2061]

What is needed now?

The book is clear. The world needs a restatement and revival of the actual teachings of Jesus so as to undo the early work of his followers and their social-political cult. [1866] The Angels of Revelation have provided us this restatement of the Master's teachings in the Urantia Papers. The actual revival of those teachings is up to Urantians.

But revival tents with impassioned preachers will not suffice to revive those teachings and set the New and Everlasting Religion into motion. The world needs Jesus, not a rehashed Christianity. "It is futile to talk about a revival of primitive Christianity, you must go forward from where you find yourselves." [2084]

This is not to say that those who wish to interface with Christianity, or believe we should use the original gospels along with the Urantia Papers, are wrong. It is rather to assert that those who see the New and Everlasting Religion as a different paradigm are not wrong. This new paradigm draws a circle wide enough to include all sincere ideas of all honest believers. Within the general guidelines of simple common sense, believers of the New and Everlasting Religion honor the inner guidance - the fragment of God - of each individual. It is by their fruits, not their knowledge nor their "station," that we shall know each of our brothers and sisters.

The cascading premises

The logical process we have been going through here is a philosophical method. We began with the reasonably acceptable premise that the Urantia Papers are the story of the Life and Teachings of Jesus set within an appropriate cosmic setting. There followed a series of cascading assumptions based upon the teachings of the Papers:

-Of all human knowledge, that which has the greatest value is the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it. [2090] -The secret of the unparalleled religious life of Jesus was his consciousness of the presence of God. [2089] -Jesus attained the consciousness through intelligent prayer and sincere worship - unbroken communion with God - not by leadings visions, voices or by extraordinary religious practices. [2089] -Although Jesus manifested his inner religious life with energetic action and balanced grace, he spent long periods of time meditating and praying, taking in energy. [1777] -In less than thirty days after the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth, the apostles made more spiritual progress than they had in the nearly four years of personal association with Jesus. [2061] -After Pentecost the apostles surrendered themselves to Jesus as a living Lord - God was no longer an intellectual concept in the mind, but became a living presence in their souls. [2066] -After the death of Jesus, his well-intended contemporaries formed a kind of social-philosophical club about Jesus. They attributed all the spiritual implications regarding Jesus and the individual believer to the group of believers, the church. This struck a death blow to Jesus' idea of the divine kingdom within the heart of every believer. [1865] -What is needed now is a revival and restatement of the actual teachings of Jesus, as they are found within the Urantia Papers, and which will undo the errors of the Master's contemporaries, who went about creating a social-philosophical system of belief. [1866] -As believers we are to develop a relationship with the living presence of Michael, by means of the Spirit of Truth. [2061] If we follow the methods of Jesus in his inner spiritual life, we will manifest the fruits of the spirit. And then the world will see Jesus living once again in spirit-born men and women. [2084] -Then, indeed will the Urantia Revelation, the New and Everlasting Religion of Jesus, "flash upon the earth in the lives of men and women who reveal God to their fellows." [1467]

This is a religion to be feared

No wonder so many Urantians are frightened of this new and everlasting religion! No wonder Jesus makes people so uncomfortable! He is not simply an interesting character in history, Jesus is a living presence, the mightiest force on our planet. People see the Master coming and they know he will not simply rearrange the intellectual "furniture" of their spiritual lives, he will tear out all of the old and rotten timbers of the house and build a completely new spiritual edifice. Jesus will change them so much that old friends will hardly know them:

"Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them--and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man. Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man." [2083]

"Freely have you received; therefore freely should you give of the truth of heaven, and in the giving will this truth multiply and show forth the increasing light of saving grace, even as you minister it." (Page 1918)

Where are we now?

This is a most critical period. In my judgment we are in much the same position as the apostles were in the period between the crucifixion and Pentecost, when the Spirit of Truth was bestowed. Even the miracle of a risen Jesus did not impact the lives of the apostles so much as did the Spirit of Truth. In a similar way, for many of us, it is not the miracle of this revelation that will change lives, it is the Spirit of Truth and the living religion of Jesus - the New and Everlasting Religion - that will transform the world.

The Urantia movement has developed a kind of social and philosophical nucleus that has sincere reverence for the Urantia Papers at its core. Generally, we have shared a belief system about a book. Our small movement has long been inbred and, in some ways, unhealthily so. A tiny, self-appointed central group of five has dominated and controlled the revelation for over forty years. These humans believe they are entitled to unquestioned authority on matters of the Urantia Papers, and their dominance over "readers" has resulted in a cult which is complete with mysteries, secrets, sacred places, high priests, saints, and most of all: a doctrine of fear. Among other things, the "R" word has been forbidden.

Something important was missing. A void developed among Urantians, a vacuum wherein the New and Everlasting Religion of Jesus was to have naturally unfolded and flourished. Into this emptiness has rushed a series of very strange characters - some of whom have created untold havoc. But, although religions are not made, they do develop over time. And that is what is happening to Urantians.

Slowly, in rich and exquisite variety, something very healthy and remarkable is now emerging from the genius of the people.

Meredith Sprunger has stood virtually alone for four decades in his advocacy of his ideas about a New and Everlasting Religion of Jesus. He was scorned, ridiculed, and virtually driven from the ranks of the "official" leadership. Now, from all over the movement, religious advocates are developing forms of group worship for the Urantian religion as they see it. A revolving team of three develops regular religious worship services in a small western city, where anyone is welcome to offer a talk, sing, or present ideas. Children's programs are springing up. In a West Coast city, quiet and tactful evangelists are going forth to help inner city children. Some Urantians also attend private meetings wherein the inner religious life is discussed, and they can strive to do better at living the teachings of the Master. The Urantian Religion is here, and it is manifesting in many ways. For decades we have seen the symbol of the new and everlasting religion of Jesus developing. We see the sacred emblem of Michael, the three concentric circles, in many forms of religious expression for: "Although every new revelation of truth has given rise to a new cult, even a restatement of the religion of Jesus must develop new and appropriate symbolism." [966]

The Urantia Book declares that our planet is "quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs." Those words were materialized in 1936. We have been quivering away for sixty years now, and a last we can see authentic movement toward taking the plunge.

What more can we Urantians do? Though some thinking people eschew the formalization of various forms of the New and Everlasting Religion of Jesus, events have made this necessary to some extent. The selective religious repression of Urantia Foundation has included using secular laws, such as copyright and trademark. At least some of our new breed of religious leaders should register their various Urantia religious organizations with the government so that it will become clear to judges that significant numbers of Urantians are organizing as religionists, and we are not all simply "readers" of the Urantia Papers. Many, many of us are Urantian Believers, and for an important number of us our religion is the New and Everlasting Religion of Jesus.

Teachers and leaders were to be trained to teach the revelation. The fact is, great numbers of Urantians who are reading these words are qualified now to be the spirit-dominated teachers and leaders that the planet needs. We are stale as a movement because we are inbred. Too often we have chosen the easier, softer way. If we preach at all, we preach to the choir. We do not attract new believers because we have generally postured as boring and, at times, pedantic social-philosophical clubs. Our study groups are generally intellectual, male-dominated, controlled, and impersonal. When we evolve more fully into the New and Everlasting Religion of Urantian Believers, - when our fresh new leaders and teachers begin to more fearlessly spread their wings, then the electricity will truly begin to flow.

Are the teachings of the Urantia Papers so "far-out" that we will attract negative reactions? Without a doubt. Just as the apostles taught a "far out" religion about a risen Christ, and attracted violent reactions. For those who have no taste for this, there is much else that needs to be done.

The non-evangelists

Evangelism is not everyone's forte. There are many important tasks to do that are critical, and require specialized talents.

We must preserve the original 1955 text of the Urantia Papers. The only completely accurate versions of the original text are the very scarce original 1955 editions (some of which have sold for $1,000 or more) and the recent Pathways Edition of 5,000 that duplicated the 1955 edition exactly. All other editions of the papers, those by the Foundation and the Fellowship, unfortunately contain various degrees of change without the normal academic courtesy of footnotes to delineate alterations in another's creative work. [Of course, the celestial authors who created the Urantia Papers are unable to protest this treatment.] Truth is living, and there are many ideas for correcting the human errors that were made after the materialization of the Papers. There are good ideas for modernizing and improving the text of the Urantia Papers. We are told it would be a "sorry sight" if we say to Jesus, regarding our "stewardship of divine truth", that we have done nothing with it but preserve its original form. [1917-18] Yet, in future generations, original editions will become very rare - and there will be no easily available inviolate editions of the Papers to refer to when there is a question or a doubt. Any thinking person can see where changing the text without appropriate notations will lead, especially without inviolate, inexpensive editions of the Papers easily available to scholars.

We need Urantian children's programs. Great progress has been made in this area, but more is needed. We need people to bring the book to libraries and offer it to bookstores. We need study aids and translations. Some great work is being done independently by Urantians who interface with other countries. There is much more to do, but most of all we need Urantians - men and women who will stand up and say they are Urantian Believers. I have defined a version of the New and Everlasting Religion, and we need other definitions by Urantians.

We need many new leaders. The New and Everlasting Religion of Jesus encompasses all of our brothers and sisters across the planet. It includes Urantia Foundation and the Fellowship. This is not to say we shall all agree, for within the wondrous scope of our religion we will struggle constantly to define truth. Though we teach loving tolerance, we also know the Master said, "There cannot be peace between light and darkness, between life and death, between truth and error."

Because we Urantians have had no healthy, wholesome and wholehearted religious outlet, we have had World War III scares, trance prophets, "celestial" beings incarnate (one of whom is "completing the Urantia Papers,") and much more. We have seen blatant plagiarism go unpunished and innocent religious ministry savagely attacked by secular means.

Sometimes the wise and privileged never get the message. The time has come for the new leaders to step up and claim their revelation. These new leaders are the ordinary folks who may have never walked the hallowed halls of 533 Diversey nor conversed with the "entitled" keepers of the inner circle. The new leaders include many of the "ordinary" folks who are reading this message. It is the genius of the people that will free this magnificent revelation.

Freedom of Religion

There follows a personal suggestion, based upon the committee's own prejudices and our love for a Urantian brother and sister and their family, Kristen Maaherra and Eric Schaveland.

For six years now this unfortunate family has been hammered by Urantian Foundation litigation. Their "crimes"? [1]. They passed out free computer disks, indexes they had developed as study aids for Urantians. [2]. They used the banner of Michael, the three concentric circles, to attract readers to a free Urantian informational web site. Kristen and Eric received nothing for these services, and actually incurred debt to pay for them. Though the "offenses" have long-since been stopped and the family is now $30,000 in personal debt due to the litigation, Urantia Foundation's relentless team of lawyers continues to seek yet another "pound of flesh."

Do Eric & Kristen Deserve a Trial?

Eric and Kristen can no longer afford an attorney. They have never been allowed to present their witnesses nor their evidence to the court, including thousands of signatures of Urantians who declare that the Urantia Papers are the basis of their religious beliefs. If the Federal Judge in Denver is not convinced that there are Urantian believers out there, he may decide this fall not to allow Eric and Kristen a fair trial. Now, denial of a fair trial in the United States of America is the most radical of all court expediencies. So clever and ruthless are Urantia Foundation attorneys, that they could win the banner of Michael without a shred of evidence being presented!

Not all agree that there should be a trial. I have seen a Urantian hold up a Fellowship edition of the Urantia Papers and declare: "I am not political. All I care about is my Urantia Book." Yet the low priced book he held up would not exist but for the struggle of Kristen and Eric. Another gentleman, a counselor for the Fellowship, recently declared that: "What do I care about Kristen and Eric? They don't affect my life." Perhaps this is true - at this time. Yet, many Germans said similar things while Jews were being dragged off to concentration camps and their belongings confiscated. Religious freedom is precious to us all. Loss of religious freedom to one Urantian affects us all.

If Urantia Foundation wins this case without a trial, they will have secured a legal precedent. This is like a secular hammer that will permit the crushing of anyone they may select to persecute and punish - without a trial - for using the sacred symbol of Michael, or the words Urantia or Urantian in religious expression.

But the Foundation cannot prevail if Urantians stand up and be counted. Recently we posted a suggested affidavit on the Internet, and the response has been amazing from all over the Americas and across the Atlantic. One Urantian in Spain signed it with a comment: "I beg your pardon, but please if it's possible, tell me if I can help Kristen in some way."

Long time believers will understand the meaning of the affidavit. It is not a statement of creed, but rather statement of facts. The affidavit belies the Foundation attorneys who claim the Forum wrote the Urantia Papers, and that they are not a religious work. The affidavit refutes the claim of Urantia Foundation that they coined the word "Urantian," and they do not know any other "agencies" using it. Through this deception Urantia Foundation changes the sacred banner of Michael and the material emblem of the Paradise Trinity into secular trademarks, which they have declared they will own on Urantia "in perpetuity."

If Foundation attorneys succeed in blocking a fair trial, Urantia Foundation can continue to enjoy all the benefits of a tax-exempt organization while profitably selling a religious revelation on one hand, and on the other hand continue to use secular, for-profit copyright and trademark laws to selectively persecute those Urantian religionists who dare to believe that this revelation was a gift to all the people of the world - and that if one Urantian has a right to use the sacred circles, then all Urantians do. Urantia Foundation can, on one hand, continue to ignore a popular foreign writer who has plagiarized the Urantia Papers for over a decade and grown wealthy doing so, and on the other - without a warning - continue to devastate the lives of an impoverished family for giving out free study aids.

There are Urantian brothers and sister who do not agree with these ideas, and others who choose to stand aside and wait to see what happens. There are arguments to support other views.

But if you do perceive the truth and justice of what we are trying to express here, and if you are a Believer in these teachings, the hour has come.

If you can help us in any way, please do so. You can edit or reword the affidavit as suits you. You can write your own and/or attach exhibits such as photos and examples. If you can afford to send financial help, please send it. See the addresses below.

In Urantian love to all.

The URF Committee
URANTIANS for RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
PO BOX 11227, BOULDER, CO. 80301

PLEASE CONTINUE TO FAX AFFIDAVITS TO: 303-516-1412

Please send donations to:

Kristen Maaherra and Eric Schaveland 152 California Gulch Jamestown, CO 80455

*********

AFFIDAVIT

I am a Urantian believer. I believe the Urantia Papers were authored entirely by celestial beings, and are a divine gift to all the people of our planet. The Urantia Papers are the basis of my personal religious beliefs. The three concentric azure blue circles on a white background have special religious significance to me. It is my belief that these circles are the emblem of Michael of Nebadon, our Creator Son who lived on our planet Urantia as Jesus of Nazareth. The three concentric azure blue circles on a white background are also the material symbol of the Paradise Trinity of all creation, and was used by Melchizedek when he was on Urantia. I have often seen Urantians use the three concentric azure blue circles on a white background as an expression of religious beliefs.

Signed: _____________________________________

Date: ________________________

Print Name: ___________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________

City, State and Zip: _____________________________________

Add Additional Comments, if desired. You may attach additional sheets and/or exhibits. Edit the copy above if you wish. Please tell us if you would be willing to appear as a witness.

"Freely have you received; therefore freely should you give of the truth of heaven, and in the giving will this truth multiply and show forth the increasing light of saving grace, even as you minister it." (Page 1918)