Statement from The Fellowship's Executive Committee on
Publication of The Urantia Book
October 14, 2001
Recently The Urantia Book Fellowship’s president, Avi Dogim, sent a letter announcing The Fellowship’s plans to print a new and improved edition of The Urantia Book. Response to this announcement has been very encouraging; many people have expressed enthusiastic support for this exciting new project. Some have also expressed concerns and asked how and why The Fellowship reached this decision.
The decision to publish a new version of the Uversa Press edition of The Urantia Book was made thoughtfully and openly using The Fellowship’s constitutional processes. In April of 2001 the Society officers were advised via their email list to consider possible issues for the upcoming Triennial Delegate Assembly (TDA), the meeting of elected representatives of Fellowship societies. Among the issues listed was the possibility that copyright litigation could place The Urantia Book into the public domain, and if so, should The Fellowship consider republishing it.
When the TDA reconvened in Santa Cruz prior to the Summer Study Session in August, itdiscussed this and other issues. One society presented a resolution containing the following request: "that
he Fellowship refrain from publishing The Urantia Book in exchange for a cooperative sharing of mailing lists between the [Fellowship and Foundation]." After extensive discussion the TDA defeated this resolution by majority vote. Consequently the resolution was not forwarded to the General Council for further consideration.
Nevertheless, the General Council, meeting in open session (open to spectators), did spend the better part of a day discussing a similar proposal and carefully considered the pros and cons of printing a new Uversa Press edition of The Urantia Book. The vote to print was 26 in favor, 8 opposed, 1 abstention. The following points summarize some of the reasons presented in favor of publishing the book:
1. The new Uversa Press edition, now in design stages, will incorporate the efficient two-column format and universal referencing system of the first Uversa edition, and other valuable features such as a comprehensive index, a newly designed cover, and attractive.
2. The attachment some current readers have to the familiar one-column format of The Urantia Book is understandable; we are all most comfortable with what we are used to. However, this Uversa Press edition of the original Urantia Book text is being designed with new and future readers in mind. The universal reference system based upon paper, section and paragraph is the easiest way to locate and share pertinent quotes. It is a superior reference system and should
replace the current system which is based upon page numbers. The two-column format is easier to read, and also reduces the number of pages in the book, making it less to print and easier to carry. In addition the new comprehensive subject index included at the back of the book meets a long-standing need for serious students and new readers alike.
3. The primary mission of The Urantia Book Fellowship is to help bring the Urantia revelation to this planet. For The Fellowship to accomplish this work, and other useful services, it needs unfettered access to an independent and unrestricted supply of books to sell, donate, and distribute. The Fellowship needs to be able to inform readers of study group and conference activity as well as the availability of secondary works that encourage and facilitate in depth study of The Urantia Book. In addition, putting readers in touch with each other is a critical part of establishing the revelation in our world. After many years of trying without success to solve these problems acceptably, it has become clear that publication of a quality edition of The Urantia Book, which includes contact information for The Fellowship, is the only reliable way to allow new readers to learn of and participate in The Fellowship's social, service, and educational programs. The publication of a Uversa Press edition of The Urantia Book will enable The Fellowship to engage in productive dissemination much more effectively.
With The Urantia Book in the public domain, other individuals or groups may decide to publish editions of the book. The quality and unique features of the new Uversa Press edition will set a high standard to condition all these efforts. Wholesome and reasonable competition generally helps to foster excellence in products and services; it will do so in this case
. The presence of multiple publishers of The Urantia Book will benefit the worldwide mission of the Urantia revelation, and all who are associated with it. Our task is to be about our Master’s business and to do what we can to get the Fifth Epochal Revelation into the hands of those who so desperately need it.
We hope this letter will answer some of the questions voiced about this matter. As always, all opinions and suggestions are welcome. The Fellowship fully supports the free and open discussion of all Urantia Book related matters, and welcomes all readers in fellowship regardless of their organizational opinions and spiritual beliefs. Jesus asked us to strive for unity in diversity. The Urantia Book Fellowship fully embraces that goal and encourages all individuals to serve the revelation as they think best, while fully respecting and honoring the right of others to do the same.
The Executive Committee of The Urantia Book Fellowship