Response from Claudia Ayers to Foundation's Open Letter
November 9, 1999


To Those Who Have Signed the Open Letter to Harry McMullan (and for whom I have Email addresses),

I have comments that represent a completely different point of view:

>An Open Letter to Harry McMullan III and to Readers of The Urantia Book:
>It is with sadness that we write this letter.
> We, the undersigned, are united in our grave concern over the recent
>actions of Harry McMullan III, who published Part IV of The Urantia Book
>(except for the first paper, Paper 120) under the title "Jesus-A New
> Many of Harry's friends and associates from Urantia Foundation, the
>Fellowship, the International Urantia Association, and the general
>readership have tried privately, patiently, and lovingly to dissuade Harry
>from his plan, both before and after he published Part IV, but to no avail.

To no avail because he has every right to do what he is in his rights to
do. The law is not crystal clear here, and if UF Trustees disagree that he
is within his legal rights (which he has clearly delineated to UF already),
and wish to make a legal issue of his ministry, then they are correct in
assuming that they will have to go back through the courts to get clarity.
Or..... creativity could still be applied in working around the secular laws.

This is what stumps me: if Harry feels this is his ministry, dictated by
his religious convictions, who is anyone, no matter how many titles or
positions of authority, to say that it isn't?

> In compliance with Jesus' grievance procedure, many have spoken with Harry
>one-on-one and in small groups. By this letter, we take the third step of
>the Jesus grievance procedure and go "to the congregation." (1763:0)
> We, as leaders, former leaders, and members of the community of readers,
>seek to bring peace and good will to our movement regarding this
>controversial issue. We did not initiate this disagreement and seek no
>unnecessary confrontation. Both our time and energy, and Harry's time and
>energy, would be far better spent on dissemination, not litigation.

In deep hindsight, his confrontation was actually initiated when a falsely
applied for renewal of copyright was made. Most recently it was initiated
by those who have no creativity in accommodating diverse teaching methods.
Harry is not petitioning the UF to do anything at all, he initiated an
action in his ministry, not a confrontation. What would Jesus think?

> On page 1570 Jesus says, "Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be
>called the sons of God." We desire to make peace-but not peace at any
>price-not at the price of standing by, while the copyright is broken and
>the book fragmented. Recall that the Master admonished his apostles and
>disciples to "proclaim the whole truth of the good news, not just a part of
>the saving gospel." (2052:4)

Perfect, I agree: so, what can the UF leaders do to be peacemakers? They
can let this go; just as they have in some other copyright situations! They
could say, "Nice job, Harry, we will not get in your way," or more likely,
"We totally disagree with your outreach, but since JANR is a true rendering
and unambiguous in its relation to the FER, we will step aside." The UF
wants Harry to bend over backward, why are they themselves so unwilling to
bend, just a little?

> Harry's publication violates copyright law.

Or so you believe.

>It violates the processes of
>duly constituted group wisdom. It violates the unity of The Urantia Book.
>It violates the spirit of the unity movement afoot within our community.

It is this letter and the intentions behind it which violates unity within
the movement. The Urantia Book has not been violated by anything done by
the Michael Foundation.

>And it violates the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its
>parts, and that readers need the whole book to understand the parts. In
>short, it violates the wisdom with which this fifth epochal revelation was
>delivered to the peoples of this planet.

Merely opinions, not statements of fact.

> Although the Trustees of Urantia Foundation have the fiduciary duty to
>preserve the integrity of the text of The Urantia Book for future
>generations of readers and for accurate translations into other languages,
>they do so, not simply because their trust requires it of them. They also
>discharge these responsibilities out of the deep, personal conviction that
>we are all human stewards of this revelation, entrusted with the
>responsibility to preserve the integrity of the text as expressive of our
>certainty that its transforming power resides in its inviolate wholeness.

The only reason JANR goes against the fiduciary duties of the UF is because
the UF appears no idea how to accommodate differences of methodology and
opinion. The UF fiduciary responsibilities will be just about null and void
when a new court judges that UF indeed has no right to a copyright.

> As one of the few tools at the Trustees' disposal to do this, the
>copyright must be maintained to ensure that translations are as true as
>possible to the original text. This is not a simple matter of choosing
>between competing groups of equally qualified translators, who may have
>different styles of translating. If the copyright in the English text is
>lost, enforceable copyrights could be obtained on translations of poor
>quality and on translations which amend, abridge, embellish, or
>purposefully distort the text. Once obtained, such a copyright could be
>enforced against all other translations, even against a translation of the
>original text. Only by maintaining and enforcing the copyright can we
>ensure that the inviolate text will reach as many of the world's peoples as

People have a remarkable ability to cut right through bogus material and
choose a quality product. They will have no trouble, in any language,
finding the most appropriate translation among two or more choices.
Information technology tremendously helps to assure that this is so. If
anything remains of the UF after another idiotic round of lawsuits, they
could continue with their worthy translation projects and expect people to
appreciate their good and true efforts while ignoring counterfeits.

> We urge Harry to retract this illegal printing of copyrighted material and
>to agree in writing not to print or distribute any more volumes of "Jesus-A
>New Revelation" or any other materials infringing Urantia Foundation's
>copyrights and registered marks, with unsold copies to be turned over to
>Urantia Foundation.

Is there a legal justification for this request?

> If Harry fails to comply with this request, the Trustees of Urantia
>Foundation will have no choice but to exercise their fiduciary
>responsibility and their legal obligations under the Declaration of Trust.

The leaders at UF still has plenty of better choices to make, and are blind
to not realize as much. It does surprise me that some of you have lost your
lost your vision of personal religious freedom.

> While we prefer to have this matter resolved privately, if Harry fails to
>comply with this request, the Trustees of Urantia Foundation will-in order
>to defend, protect, and preserve the Foundation's copyright in The Urantia
>Book-exercise their legal option and request that the courts resolve this
>matter. The legal process, while unpleasant, is used throughout the
>imperfect and evolving universes to resolve conflicts between beings. Such
>proceedings can and should be conducted in a dignified and gracious manner
>that reflects positively on how the revelation transforms human behavior.

While this is true, and I trust that the UF and Michael Foundation will
operate professionally and with dignity in a court of law, many of the torn
and confused believers in this revelation will feel deceived by the
Foundation by some of the exhibits, which surely will be presented when a
full-on trial is underway (unlike the rather limited exposure of evidence
in the hearings related to other recent legal actions). Outrage is not
typically conducive to dignified and gracious manners. Of course, I hope I
am making incorrect assumptions and that we can indeed expect exemplary
behavior during the course of the proposed trial.
> Therefore, in the larger interest of the revelation, we respectfully ask
>that Harry cease the distribution of "Jesus-a New Revelation" and cancel
>any plans for its translation or future printing.

In the larger interest of the revelation: let Michael Foundation minister
to those who are interested in this novel ministry, let go, let God, fear
not, turn the other cheek, and move on.

How many thousands of more pressing spiritual problems are there to address?

The UF's job is to get quality information to the peoples of the world, not
to judge the quality of the publications of other religionists. Only
someone with an IQ Iess than 60 will have difficulty distinguishing how
JANR relates to the FER, and they won't be confused because they won't be
reading material like this. You have far better things to do than to get
worked up over this publication.

Virtually all the people I work with everyday in my high school are people
of color, or people from other-than-American cultures. For these people,
JANR is a far, far better spiritual reality learning tool than the FER, at
this time. I am so grateful to have copies of JANR on my shelf when
students look for literature for Silent Sustained Reading, twice a week.
Once they whet their appetites for truth by gaining a better understanding
of the Fourth Epochal Revelation, then they will be more ready for the more
complete perspective and seek out the source of the JANR volume. Do not
deny people who would benefit from JANR just because you didn't need it in
your truth quest!

Lately, I have been noticing how many kids are wearing crosses: black
students, brown students, and Russian speaking immigrants are
over-whelmingly Christian and interested in religion. Hmong students with
little conventional religious understanding will need a refresher course in
revelation. JANR speaks to these youth; it speaks to Christians who know
there is more to the Jesus story, and it speaks equally well to the poorly
informed. TUB, at this time, may be inaccessible for many truth seekers.
How dare you seek to deny this ministry. What spiritual right do you have
to deny it?

While I wish you peace, you seem to seek otherwise.

Most sincerely,

Claudia Ayers

>Tom Burns
>Past Member of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Hoite Caston
>Past Member of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Kwan Choi
> Secretary and Member of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>David Elders
> Past President of the former Urantia Brotherhood and the Fellowship
>John Hales
>Past President of the former Urantia Brotherhood,
>Executive Director of the Fellowship
>Mary Lou Hales
> Forum Member, wife of former Trustee of Urantia Foundation
>and the oldest known living Urantia Book reader
>Gard Jameson
> Treasurer and Member of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Richard Keeler
>President of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Carolyn Kendall
> Forum Member, President of the First Society for Readers of The Urantia Book
>(the Fellowship)
>Tom Kendall
>Past President of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Georges Michelson-Dupont
> Vice-President of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Patricia Mundelius
>Past President of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Mo Siegel
>Member of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation
>Paul Snider
>Past President of the former Urantia Brotherhood
>Neal Waldrop
>Past Member of the Board of Trustees, Urantia Foundation