had the experience of
finding the Urantia Book. That
distinction belongs to my grandmother,
Elizabeth James, and to my parents,
William and Mary James. Because of their
efforts the UB has always been a part of
In the late
1920s my grandmother began searching for
answers to religious questions that
troubled and intrigued her. The answers
her Bible and church background provided
lacked consistency as far as she was
concerned. There were even questions she
was told should not be asked, because
they showed a lack of faith. She studied
the philosophies and attended the
meetings of a number of cults and isms
that were popular in Chicago in those
days, from the Swedenborgians and
Rosicrucians to the Silver Shirts of a
At one of
these meetings my grandmother mentioned
to some people her growing concern that
none of the groups she had found thus
far had the answers she was looking for.
These people—Mrs. Jessie Hill and Fred
and Alice Leverenz—suggested she might
be interested in a group they belonged
to that met on Sundays at 533 Diversey
Parkway in Chicago.
Dr. Sadler and learning about the
purpose of the Forum, my grandmother
signed the pledge and became a member.
Years later as one of the Seventy she
was often praised for her prodigious
memory and ability to quote verbatim
from the unpublished papers which later
became the Urantia Book.
The change in
my grandmother after she joined the
Forum so intrigued my parents that my
mother wrote Dr. Sadler asking if they
too could become Forum members. In
response, Dr. Sadler asked my
grandmother if she wouldn’t like to have
her entire family in the Forum, and so
my mother, father, and uncle, Wesley
John James, became members.
As our family
grew, my parents weren’t able to attend
Forum meetings regularly. My grandmother
almost always came for Sunday dinner
after the meeting and would share with
us what had been discussed. My oldest
brother and I were very young, at most
in first or second grade, and it was
assumed we wouldn’t understand, but I
can still dimly recall parts of what was
said. I can definitely remember the
strange looks and laughs my brother and
I got when we told the neighbors’ kids
that there had once been blue, green and
Early in her
association with the Forum my mother
asked Dr. Lena Sadler if they should
teach their children the advanced UB
ideas before the book was published. Dr.
Lena replied that if they didn’t, both
they and the children would miss the
chance of a lifetime. So, although we
went to regular Sunday school and
church, at home religious questions
always received UB-oriented answers.
When I was 15
my grandmother asked me if I would like
to become a Forum member.
Coincidentally, the Sunday I signed the
membership pledge and went to my first
meeting, Alfred Leverenz, the son of
Fred and Alice, was also attending his
first meeting as a new member. While I
completed reading all the papers on my
own, I can’t say I understood a great
deal of what I’d read. Even after my
grandmother had me memorize the various
orders of angels, the names and capitals
of the superuniverse divisions, and the
difference between “triata” and
“ultimata,” the teachings still didn’t
always strike me as true. I was a “UB
burn-out” at a very early age!
It was after
the book was published and I started
attending a study group founded by Al
Leverenz, that I began to acquire a
fuller understanding of the teachings.
It was now possible to read the book as
slowly as I wished, and to talk to
others in various stages of reading and
understanding, and to listen to their
stories of how they’d found the book.
This is when I more fully began to
appreciate the UB myself—not the facts,
but the truths of the book.
truths has been an ongoing process.
Truth expands as one’s ability to
comprehend expands, until in eternity we
find the Source of Truth.
Wesley James at the 1949 Forum picnic
Edith Cook, Elizabeth James,
Leone Sadler, Helen Thurman, Eva Vincent
Bill Sadler, Leone, Edith Cook,