Affidavit of Dr. Meredith Justin Sprunger
MEREDITH J. SPRUNGER
4109 PLAZA DR
FORT WAYNE, IN 46806
Oct. 24, 1998
I declare, under penalty of perjury, that the following are my recollections about the authorship, and the issues surrounding the authorship, of The Urantia Book.
Following my discovery of The Urantia Book in December of 1955, and after introducing it to a number of clerical colleagues and friends, I spent years researching with them the historical aspects of the book. We quickly discovered the Urantia Papers were received by a small group of people in Chicago. Their leader was Dr. William S. Sadler. Dr. Sadler was a highly respected psychiatrist and college teacher in the graduate school of medicine at the University of Chicago. For almost thirty years Dr. Sadler was also a lecturer in Pastoral Counseling at McCormick Theological Seminary.
On May 7, 1958, our group of ministers had an appointment with Dr. Sadler to discuss the phenomena associated with the origin of the Urantia Papers. My personal association with Dr. Sadler continued until his death in 1969. In the course of this friendship, we had many candid conversations about the materialization of the Foreword and the 196 Papers that were eventually published as the text of The Urantia Book. It is important to point out that in this regard Dr. Sadler was a professional researcher of unquestioned integrity.
Dr. Sadler categorically declared that there was no known psychic phenomena attached to the origin of the Urantia Papers. The final text of the Urantia Papers was materialized in written form, but it was not channeled or spoken, nor was it the product of automatic writing. Dr. Sadler stated that although the Thought Adjuster (a fragment of God that indwells all normal human minds) of the "contact personality" was somehow engaged in the materialization process by spiritual beings, the contact person was totally unaware of this activity. Neither this contact person, nor any other human, wrote any of the text nor authored or originated any material used in the revelatory text of the Urantia Papers, which consist of the Foreword and the 196 Papers.
Although Dr. Sadler was emphatic that no known psychic phenomena were associated in any way with the authorship of the Urantia Papers, he admitted that he was baffled as to precisely how the text of the Urantia Papers was materialized into the English language. He was very clear in his conviction that no human being edited, selected, or had any creative input whatever into the authorship of the Urantia Papers, nor in the arrangement of the text of The Urantia Book, which consists of the Foreword and Papers one through 196. Dr. Sadler was crystal clear that the members of the contact commission had no editorial authority whatever, and their responsibility was confined to spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Members of the forum were not even permitted to see the original materialized documents, and they had no input in their authorship. Dr. Sadler was convinced that the Urantia Papers are exactly what they purport themselves to be, an epochal revelation authored solely by celestial beings.
I have studied The Urantia Book in depth for over forty years, and I am likewise convinced that the authorship of the text was superhuman, and that it was materialized by unprecedented means that are not fully understood. In my best professional and personal opinion, I am absolutely convinced there was no human authorship or creative input, and there were no human editorial decisions involved with the materialization of the Urantia Papers. I believe the truth of what Dr. Sadler wrote -- and personally disclosed to me numerous times: the Urantia Papers were published just as received, and the contact commission had no editorial authority whatever, and its role was confined solely to the clerical tasks of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Neither did the forum members contribute to the creative contents of the Urantia Papers. The forum was similar to a modem focus group in that they were used by the celestial authors solely as a gauge to measure human understanding.
Dr. Sadler was also absolutely clear about two related things: (1). Absolutely no human name or names should ever be attached to the authorship or materialization of the Urantia Papers and the publication of The Urantia Book. Even the printer, R. R. Donnelley and Sons, was not permitted to place an indicia in the first edition which stated their identity. (2.) No human being knows, or ever knew, the exact method by which the Urantia Papers were materialized. We can only be categorically certain that there was no human authorship, no human editorial involvement, nor any human activity in creating, selecting and/or arranging the Urantia Papers, which consist of the Foreword and Papers one through 196 inclusive, and which constitute the text of The Urantia Book.
Dr. Sadler made it plain to me that the revelators, held total authority over the process by which the Urantia Papers were materialized. The revelators suggested the submission of questions, and, at one point after the contact commission and forum had read some of the papers, requested that more significant questions be developed and asked by the contact commission. Dr. Sadler said that in a particular session a celestial personality who claimed to be a student visitor to our planet stated to the commission: "If you people realized what a high spiritual source you are now associating with you would stop making these puerile investigations to detect fraud and would ask some significant questions about the nature and reality of the universe." It was at this point the forum was engaged by Dr. Sadler to help him formulate appropriate questions in answer to the challenge of the revelators. The forum had originally been assembled by the Sadler family as an group of lay persons who gathered together in Dr. Sadler's home for tea and an hour or two of informal discussion and social exchange. The revelators soon answered the questions the forum had asked, and these answers were presented to the forum by the contact commission. Shortly after this the revelators directed Dr. Sadler and the contact commission to make the forum a closed group, and required each member to take a vow of secrecy about their knowledge of what the contact commission was doing and what information the revelators had disclosed to the forum through the contact commission "The forum, as it were, was taken away from us" wrote Dr. Sadler. He was indicating that the general discussions in the forum ceased, and the revelators henceforth directed the agenda of the group through the contact commission, and used the forum essentially as a focus group for the Urantia Papers.
Dr. Sadler said no forum member except members of the contact commission, was ever present during any of the contacts with the revelators. He also said that only one "sleeping subject," or person was involved throughout the entire process of materializing the text of the Urantia Papers.
Dr. Sadler told me that at one point he and his son Bill wrote a draft for an introduction to the Urantia Papers, and submitted it to the revelators. At a contact session with the revelators they were told that although they meant well, such submissions were not acceptable, and the revelators made the comment, referring to the introduction written by Dr. Sadler and Bill Sadler, Jr.: "A candle cannot light the sun." At the proper time, the humans were assured, an introduction to the book would be materialized. When the revelators produced the Foreword to the Urantia Papers, Dr. Sadler stated that he and his son realized the inadequacy of their own attempt to write an introduction.
Dr. Sadler and his son were, however, given permission to compose a Table of Contents for The Urantia Book. Bill Sadler compiled the titles as they appeared in the Papers, and the section headings from the Papers, and he briefly outlined some of the material that was originated in the Urantia Papers, and incorporated it into a Table of Contents for The Urantia Book. Dr. Sadler and other members of the contact commission assured me that no human wrote, edited, or arranged any of the text of the Urantia Papers, which consist of the Foreword and all of the Papers from Paper one through Paper 196 inclusive. Dr. Sadler told me that one individual, not a member of the contact commission but rather a member of the forum, who made suggestions to "improve" the Urantia Papers was vigorously informed by the revelators (through the contact commission) that no human additions to the Urantia Papers would be allowed. Dr. Sadler said that every possible precaution was taken to see that the text of the Urantia Papers was presented just as the revelators had authored and materialized it.
It should be emphasized that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a human authority on the content or the origin of the Urantia Papers. However, Christy often requested that I reply to many of the letters Urantia Foundation received from readers requesting information on the origin of the Urantia Papers. As these requests increased, I produced a paper on the essentials of the origin of the Urantia Papers, which constitute the text of The Urantia Book. This paper was approved by Urantia Foundation, printed, and freely distributed for several years by both Urantia Foundation and Urantia Brotherhood.
In regard to outreach efforts by Urantians, the following statement was written by Dr. Sadler under the heading, Distribution of The Urantia Book: "However, one thing should be made clear: While it is the policy of the Brotherhood to work slowly in the distribution of the book, nothing is done to interfere with the energetic and enthusiastic efforts of any individual to introduce The Urantia Book to his friends and associates."
Meredith Justin Sprunger
ADDENDA TO AFFIDAVIT:
MEREDITH JUSTIN SPRUNGER is a minister in the United Church of Christ and a college professor, now retired from pastoral and teaching responsibilities. For many years Dr. Sprunger was active as a counselor and psychological consultant, holding a Private Practice Certificate in Psychology in the State of Indiana. He has served congregations in the Midwest and taught at Elmherst College and Indiana Institute of Technology, functioning as the head of the Department of Psychology, chairman of the division of Liberal Arts, and as President.
Dr. Sprunger has served as a Field Representative, Chairman of the Educational and Fraternal Relations Committees, and President of the Urantia Brotherhood. He is founder and Executive Director of The Christian Fellowship for Students of The Urantia Book, and Executive Editor of The Spiritual Fellowship Journal. Dr. Sprunger is the only living professional educational colleague of Dr. William S. Sadler associated with The Urantia Book.