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How I Found the Urantia Book—
Katharine "Ticky" Jones Harries (circa mid-1940s)

I come from a background of Church of England, or Episcopal Church, members and clergy. As a child I was baptized, schooled and confirmed, and later I was married in the Church. I had no difficulty with my very solid belief in God, the Trinity, Jesus, angels, and life after death, and I did not believe in hell.

I wasn’t an original member of the Forum, which began in the early ’20s, nor were my parents, Lee Miller Jones and Katharine Lea Yarnall Jones. A number of people had already been there and dropped out before we started.

I was quite young when I began to notice that every Sunday after church, after the “funnies” and Sunday dinner, Daddy would disappear for the afternoon. Daddy had been introduced to Dr. Sadler by Fred Leverenz and had joined the early Forum in 1932. It took him a while, but Daddy finally talked Mother into going with him.

For many years thereafter she could not get rid of the feeling that “this is all so wonderful, and I believe it, but how could anything so wonderful possibly be true?” Then one day she realized that she didn’t feel that way anymore—she knew it was true.

They started taking me with them to 533 Diversey Parkway when I was 11 or 12. Since I was much too young to attend the meetings I would visit downstairs with Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg and read or play games. Many times their daughter Ruth would spend the time with me. What a wonderful person she was! Dr. Sadler had his offices on the first floor and Ruth would take me in to see the lead-lined room which was used for X-rays and show me the specimens in the bottles of formaldehyde. On very warm days (there was no air conditioning then) we would go up to the roof and sit in the sun. Ruth was quite deaf from a childhood illness, but she could lip-read and we never had any trouble talking with one another.

A number of partial papers had been received and typed by the time I started going to the Sunday meetings when I was about 13. They were not complete as they are now in the Urantia Book, but were completed as more and more questions were asked. I remember my father spending many hours typing questions to submit to the contact personalities so that they could give us new information that would be especially meaningful to human beings.

I was not allowed to “join” the Forum until I was 16 (later the joining age was raised to 18). Joining consisted in having a private chat with Dr. Sadler so that he was sure you were truly committed to being a part of the group, studying the papers and attending the meetings every Sunday. There were only three valid reasons for being absent: your health, your family, or your job. And one was never to discuss what was going on or any of the teachings in the Papers with non-members.

Life was very different then from what it is now. On Sundays one went to church in the morning, went home for a big Sunday dinner around noon and then went to Forum still dressed in Sunday Best. That meant silk stockings and dress shoes for the ladies (we didn’t have nylon stockings until after WW II), a dress or suit, and for some of them, a hat. The men wore a suit, white shirt and tie.

A paper was read aloud the first hour by Dr. Sadler or his son Bill, followed by a 15-minute break. Refreshments were not provided, so those who wanted to could go across the street for an ice cream or a Coke. The second hour was devoted to questions and discussion.

The room used for meetings was at the front of the building on the second floor, and was originally the living room of the apartment where Bill and Leone Sadler lived with their three children. Dr. Sadler and his wife, Dr. Lena, lived on the third floor. They had an elevator installed which was accessed from the foyer on each floor.

My father, mother and I went to the meetings year after year and during that time my maternal grandmother, Henrietta Lea “Dearie” Yarnall, who was widowed and came to live with us, started going to meetings too. Our group included males and females of all ages and educational levels and different church backgrounds.

While the Forum continued its Sunday meetings, another group was formed of the most committed members, which started meeting every Wednesday evening at 533. It was thought that these people would be the teachers once the book was printed. Attendance was mandatory and it was necessary to sign in each Wednesday. When all of us who wanted to join were counted, it was found that there were exactly seventy names—thus the name of the group, The Seventy.

In the last years of the Forum we would every so often be read a message from “The Boys Upstairs.” This is true—it happened! You can imagine the excitement, the butterflies in the tummy—and then the messages stopped.

In the early ’50s the plates for printing were ready, the money had been raised, and for a year or more before publication Forumites were asked to “subscribe” to buying and pre-paying for any number of books they would like. After a short period, when no more messages had been received, it was decided to go ahead, and R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. was given the order to print. On the Sunday after the books were received, they were distributed. Can you imagine what tremendous excitement there was as the people carried them out by the box full on that day in 1955?

My father, along with many others, wrote letters of introduction for the Urantia Book and spent days and weeks wrapping and mailing them to senators, congressmen, members of the clergy and others in places of importance all over the country. We had such great expectations of the wonderful things this book was going to achieve. A few books were returned, unread, and the rest? We heard absolutely nothing!

Work was started by the Brotherhood to set up Urantia Societies, and on June 17, 1956, we met at 533 to sign the charter for First Urantia Society. Mary Lou Hales was chairman of the charter committee, my mother was secretary, and my father, mother, maternal grandmother and I were charter members.

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Winnifred Bucklin, Fred Leverenz, "Ticky" (Jones) Harries at the 1947 Forum picnic

At the same picnic, Ticky is second from right