Name: Urantia Brotherhood (pronounced: you-ran’-sha)
Founder: Dr. William S. Sadler
Date of Birth: 1875 (died 1969)
Place of Birth: Chicago
Year(s) Founded: 1950-1955
Sacred or Revered Texts: The Urantia Book is the sacred text. The Urantia Foundation claims the book is used as a spiritual guide by many different religions. It has over 2,000 pages and is divided into 200 individual essays with information on God, other supernatural beings, the history of the earth and the rest of the universe, the development of mankind, and the purpose, history, and message of Jesus Christ. It is divided into four sections: Part I: Central and Superuniverses; Part II: The Local Universe; Part III: The History of Urantia; Part IV: The Life and Teachings of Jesus.
Size of Group: There is no record of an exact number, but a total of 250,000 Urantia Books have been published. Urantia is based completely on The Urantia Book which does not require readers to join a certain church or adhere to certain standards. The Urantia Book is a guide available to all religions, so the size of the group reading the book could be quite large. Many services are available on-line for those interested in Urantia.
Sadler taught at the Post-Graduate School of Medicine at Chicago University, and for thirty years he was a lecturer in Pastoral Counseling at the McCormick Theological Seminary. He was also the author of numerous books. During the ’20’s and ’30’s, he became interested in one of his unusual cases. This patient came to see him after his wife informed him that he had been talking in his sleep and seemed to have been talking for various super-mortal personalities called revelators. The contact personality was entirely asleep during the transmission and had little or no interest in the process when he was awake. From these sessions emerged The Urantia Book. Sadler organized a group to discuss the material collected from this patient and others in 1934-1935. The group was called the Forum. The Urantia Foundation, headed by a five member board, was formed as a non-profit educational group in the year 1950.
The Urantia Book is the basis of beliefs of the Urantia Foundation. The book describes Urantia to be an ancient name for the planet Earth. There are five epochal events in the history of mankind; the fourth is the life of Christ and the fifth epochal revelation is the Urantia Book. The book does not present a complete religion. Urantia does not have a clergy or a creed one is required to believe in, nor does it have a code of behavior. There are many teachings of the Urantia Book.
Part I consists of 31 papers and describes the nature of Deity, the reality of Paradise, the organization and workings of the central and superuniverses, the personalities of the grand universe, and the high density of evolutionary models. These books were formulated by 24 spiritual administrators acting with a mandate issued by high deity authorities, otherwise known as the “Ancients of Days,” directing that they do this on planet Urantia in the year 1934 AD.
Part II , comprised of 25 papers, describes the Local Universe, which is the work of the Creator Son of the Paradise Order of Michael. It is comprised of 100 systems of constellations, each with 100 systems of inhabited worlds. Each system will eventually contain about 1,000 inhabited spheres. Urantia (Earth) belongs to the local universe. Michael, the Son of God and the Son of Man (otherwise known as Jesus of Nazareth), is the sovereign of Urantia’s local universe. In the central universe, the Universal Father (God) is a personally present figure. The Father is represented in sovereign universes by sovereign sons. However, he is still present in the minds of his mortal children through his “indwelling spirit,” or “Thought Adjusters.”
In Part III, the 63 papers describe the history of Urantia. Around 1,000,000,000 years ago, Urantia reached its present size. This part describes the history of the planet, its geologic development, the establishment of life, the evolution and history of man, evolving civilizations, human institutions and governments. It also discusses the Trinity concept, the evolution of religion, the indwelling spirit of God, personality survival, and the bestowals of Christ Michael.
Book IV , the final book, consists of 77 papers which describe the life and teachings of Jesus. It describes the Son of Man’s childhood, youth, early travels, personal and public ministry, the twelve disciples, and his trial, death, and resurrection.
Remarks: Many concepts in The Urantia Book are directly traceable to earlier works including writings of Seventh-Day Adventists. Urantia has been involved in several law suits. In 1991, the Urantia Foundation sued Kristin Maaherra for copyright infringement, and in 1996, they sued the Fellowship Uversa Press, and the Jesusonian Foundation for trademark infringement. Urantia has trademarked and registered the name Urantia and the Concentric-Circles symbol (a large blue circle with two smaller circles inside of it.) The Concentric-Circles symbol is on the Banner of Michael.
The International Urantia Association (IUA), organized by the Urantia Foundation, is a reader membership organization. It is a task-oriented, social and service organization formed to foster a closer study of The Urantia Book and the orderly dissemination of its teachings. IUA’s activities are intended to spread teachings of the Book mainly by word of mouth, personally, in a quiet manner like that of Jesus. IUA also refers readers to study groups, responds to reader inquiries, sponsors meetings, seminars, conferences, and develops teaching and leadership skills. The Urantia Foundation publishes the Urantian News twice yearly.
In April of 1996, the Urantia Foundation held its first ever Translators’ Conference in Paris, France. They focused on the development of a dictionary of terms unique to the Urantia Book, the standardization of computers, software, formatting, establishment of e-mail communications, translation of the most difficult concepts in the book, and the importance and dynamics of having a translation team. The Urantia Book has been translated into ten languages, including the following: French, Finnish, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Korean, Swedish, Estonian, German, and Italian. French, Spanish, and Finnish are available in print for the public, and the other seven languages have been drafted. Urantia makes services readily available online. Many of these services are offered on the pages listed below, such as getting involved in study groups and study aids.
Gardner, Martin. 1995. Urantia: The Great Cult Mystery. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
The Urantia Foundation. 1955. The Urantia Book. Chicago.
Prepared by Michelle Sheble
New Religious Movements
Fall Term, 1996
University of Virginia
Last modified 07/25/01