HOW THE Urantia PAPERS CAME
By Webster Stafford
Note: This document was retyped from a xerox copy of the original. It had a note paper-clipped to it which reads: "Sent us by Joseph Crossen, Morrestown, N. J. who got it from Rev. Benjamin Adams, San Francisco, at the home of Dr. Earl Douglass, Princeton, N. J." This note is dated 7/5/63 but there is no indication of the date when the history itself was written.
About the year 1924 Dr. “S”, Sr. wrote his son that he felt inasmuch as the family did not have any particular religious or church affiliation, that it would be a desirable program for them to invite in their friends who held the same ideas on religion and ethics and hold an open forum discussion each Sunday from about three to five. This program was carried out and beginning at that time a group of people assembled each Sunday at the home of Dr. “S”, Sr. in Chicago and there was also born the beginning of the society.
This group, without any publicity, met and discussed religion, ethics, and philosophy and similar subjects for a period of six months to one year prior to the beginning of the revelation itself. The story of the revelation is as follows:
One night about two o’clock in the morning, Dr. “S” was called to another apartment in the same building by a young lady whose husband was in a trance. Upon examination, the doctor and his wife, who was also a physician and surgeon, were unable to diagnose the situation or to bring the man out of the trance. Each morning following these experiences the patient was taken to the office of the doctor, who was a psychiatrist, and his wife who was also a physician and thoroughly examined. The result each time was that he appeared to be in perfectly normal physical and mental condition having no memory of any of the details of the so-called trance. This situation continued for approximately one half year. The young wife becoming hysterical, but unfortunately, neither the psychiatrist nor the physician was able to further diagnose it or to do anything to cause a cessation of the trances.
After about six months of this experience the patient in the trances began speaking. The voice was not his voice nor was it his diction or use of language, phrases and ideas. Eventually the voice speaking indicated that he was a “student visitor” to this planet and discussions at that time commenced and extended over a two-year period. During this period there were substantially a series of experiences in which questions were asked of the “student visitor” and answers were given. Because the phenomena was so remarkable the psychiatrist invited in a number of his colleagues to observe the situation. The questions were all then answered and the procedure became quite a common experience between the psychiatrist and his colleagues, and a few of the members of the Sunday forum who observed the phenomena, and the rather remarkable intelligent and accurate answers to the questions, which were propounded. The questions involved all types and kinds, and eventually the “student visitor” stated that he believed that the observers were not taking the matter “seriously enough”, and that he felt that the time had come when they should get together and formulate a list of as many questions as they would like to propose, and he would answer them.
As a result of the situation the forum and colleagues of the psychiatrist grouped together, and made up a total of fifty-two questions, and all of them except four which were ignored, were promptly answered in the most accurate manner. The question of a cure for cancer was proposed, but the answer was, “That if this cure was revealed it would not be to an individual like the psychiatrist or his colleagues, but to some elderly medical man who had spent all of his life in an attempt to ascertain the cure for cancer.” Because of the obvious and natural credulity involved in this phenomena, and the fact that the psychiatrist was a national authority on psychic phenomena, and quite a skeptic on the subject, and known nationally for his skepticism, he decided to put the individual who was subject to these trances, and this unusual voice emanating simultaneously with the trances to a test, which in his experiences over a considerable period of years, always proved the false character of phenomena which otherwise might be considered a true and accurate revelation of some character.
This test was the use of hypnosis. In due course, the man was put in a state of hypnosis, and upon question the psychiatrist found that for the first time in his experience as a doctor, that while in the state of hypnosis the patient could recall accurately every incident right up to the commencement of the trance, but nothing for the period of the trances, and his normal memory was only restored at the end of the trance. The actual period of the trance produced a blank condition of memory. This convinced the psychiatrist definitely that he was dealing with phenomena of which he had no knowledge how to handle.
At this point, the psychiatrist knew that he was dealing with something that absolutely stymied him in taking the position that this was not a true and authentic revelation. However, absolute conviction to this end came only with the pain after more of the material had been presented at a later date.
Two years was consumed in questions and replies before the basic material started to come through. By this time, a number of unusual phenomena – such – that some of the answers or papers on the questions, which were answered in this two-year period, appeared in mysterious locations. For instance, sometimes the questions would be locked in a vault and the questions would mysteriously be removed during the night, and a few days later the answers to these questions appeared on the reverse or blank side of Western Union Telegraph blanks. However, it was interesting to note that the writing appeared right up to the point of the binding holding the sheets together in the pad to such an extent that it would be an impossibility for the human hand to write on a reverse side of a blank in a pad without removing the pad from the binding. Then, after considerable discussion between the “student visitor” and the observers or questioners seated during the periods of discussion, the matter reached a climax in which the “student visitor” told the listeners that he had been instructed to tell them that he had received permission to give to them over a period of time, a number of treatises, or papers, dealing with various subjects, and that they would commence immediately delivering them such that they would be of benefit to all mankind.
For the next 15 years or through to approximately 1941, these papers appeared totaling approximately 200 of them, and involving 2,200 pages. The authorities were varied in number and all of them being deities of various kinds and types of authority and responsibility. The words used were English of a very fine and high grade so far as diction was concerned. There followed, then, for a period of from two to four years, a period of revision, in which some of the papers or chapters were withdrawn. Many corrections were made, and many of the chapters were rewritten. The material was announced as being for all races and all religions. The general outline covered the following seven subjects:
It is interesting to know the character of the individual, which was used as the source for the voice of first the “student visitor” and later, the other deities. He was a man who had graduated from high school; a self-made individual. At the beginning his wife was quite hysterical, and not very cooperative. The occupation of the individual was that of a broker. His education, previous associations, and knowledge could never have covered any of the phases of the material, which was produced in the revelation. At the end of each so-called trance, he had no knowledge of the activity, which had been produced on that particular occasion. The diction was not his diction. The language and content were definitely not his. Some of the material originally came through some deities whose use of the English language was that which had been out of custom and use for thousands of years. It was the type of English, which had long since passed out of usage.
In reading and examining many revelations, it frequently became apparent that their lack of success in attaining the goal for which it was originally planned, that the failure was due to a matter of faith, or the full acceptance of the authenticity of either the material of the sources or the sources of the material. This had been true in not only automatic writing, but also from forms of other revelations. It is interesting, therefore, to note that in this particular instance, that there were a number of things that had transpired both to produce a coordinated plan, and also, one which was interspersed with phenomena which could not only prove the authenticity of the revelation, but also lend a terrific amount of faith. They were as follows:
The fifth phenomena occurred during the period of the fifteen years in which the material was being produced. In this case, a small number of the individuals involved in the work, were told that if they would appear at a specific location on the shore of Lake Michigan, at a particular time, that they would be permitted to see a seraphic departure. This they did, and they saw passing through the sky a cigar shaped conveyance, lighted, in which a number of deities were supposed to be, and were being transposed to another planet or universe.
It is quite obvious that all of those phenomena were produced to sustain the faith in the authenticity of these papers; it apparently was very well planned, and very well executed in order to void the previous attempts at revelation, where, due to the lack of faith, the event was unsuccessful.
It was quite a large group of individuals who were involved in the original production of those papers. They either were involved in discussions in the producing of the questions to be asked, or they were involved in observing the phenomena because of its very unusual character. They were composed of friends, medical men, both physicians, as well as psychiatrists – all of them were individuals of good minds, and frequently, a high position in their field. During the production of the papers by the various Deities, it was interesting to note that there was a definite voice, definite diction, so that it was very easy to see that a very large number of individuals collaborated in the effort. In one instance, one of the papers was announced as being a few days late because the deity which was appointed to produce the material could not use English, and it took him a matter of a few days, or less, in order to acquire a sufficient knowledge of the English language, so that the material could be written. It was interesting to observe that when the material came through, the English was just about as perfect as it could possibly be. All the way through, the language is one of the most perfect character in existence throughout the English-speaking world today. The words are remarkable, the choice of English outstanding, and I doubt whether any authority on the English language would disagree with the statement, that it represents the finest piece of English literature today.
The material involved many revelations covering the subjects of astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry, and electronics. All of the materials of this nature were submitted to renowned scientists who verified, so far as they were able, each idea for its authenticity. In some instances, it is true that it “went right over their heads”, but where they could rationalize it, they found it to be absolutely correct, plausible, or probable.
A Service of
The Urantia Book Fellowship