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On another part of the forum, the idea of Urantia Book readers being a cult was brought up. I think it behooves all of us, regardless of our religious or faith practices or what religious texts we read, to be aware of what an actual destructive cult (in the current meaning of the word, not the UB context of this word) looks like.

There have been cults formed around the Urantia Book. The Book itself, and those who read it, are not a cult, but this is what a cult looks like:

From a Tucson based newspaper, in 2007

Quote:
...
Some critics, including a California parent, Janet Helminiak, say the group wants its members together in a remote location to avoid scrutiny.

Helminiak says she hasn't spoken to her 36-year-old son or her 11-year-old granddaughter — both community members — in more than two years and she blames the community for turning both of them against her. She says she reluctantly dropped a lawsuit to try to gain custody of her granddaughter after spending tens of thousands of dollars and more than two years in the courts.

Among her concerns — denied by the group — are that her granddaughter is being educated only in group doctrine and will never be able to leave because of a lack of opportunities.

John Thurstin, 79, a former group member, says Gabriel [the singular, dominant leader] believes he is the reincarnation of Moses, St. Francis of Assisi, George Washington, Alexander the Great and Mozart, among other people — and some of those are claims Gabriel made on "Dateline."

Thurstin left the group in 2005 after living there 13 years.

He says Gabriel uses the title of "Planetary Prince," and says members are told that, if they do not obey Gabriel, they will die. Though Thurstin denies it, group members say he is angry and making false claims because he wanted to lead the group.


The items bolded in the article excerpt above are some of the classic indications of harmful cult. If you encounter this in your Urantia Book activities, Bible activities, or any other belief system, be aware that it is most likely not going to go well for you. The key characteristic is a singular, dominant leader who persuades people and eventually exploits them for his/her own gain, be it power, wealth, or social standing.


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Agon D. Onter wrote:
On another part of the forum, the idea of Urantia Book readers being a cult was brought up. I think it behooves all of us, regardless of our religious or faith practices or what religious texts we read, to be aware of what an actual destructive cult (in the current meaning of the word, not the UB context of this word) looks like.

There have been cults formed around the Urantia Book. The Book itself, and those who read it, are not a cult, but this is what a cult looks like:

From a Tucson based newspaper, in 2007

Quote:
...
Some critics, including a California parent, Janet Helminiak, say the group wants its members together in a remote location to avoid scrutiny.

Helminiak says she hasn't spoken to her 36-year-old son or her 11-year-old granddaughter — both community members — in more than two years and she blames the community for turning both of them against her. She says she reluctantly dropped a lawsuit to try to gain custody of her granddaughter after spending tens of thousands of dollars and more than two years in the courts.

Among her concerns — denied by the group — are that her granddaughter is being educated only in group doctrine and will never be able to leave because of a lack of opportunities.

John Thurstin, 79, a former group member, says Gabriel [the singular, dominant leader] believes he is the reincarnation of Moses, St. Francis of Assisi, George Washington, Alexander the Great and Mozart, among other people — and some of those are claims Gabriel made on "Dateline."

Thurstin left the group in 2005 after living there 13 years.

He says Gabriel uses the title of "Planetary Prince," and says members are told that, if they do not obey Gabriel, they will die. Though Thurstin denies it, group members say he is angry and making false claims because he wanted to lead the group.


The items bolded in the article excerpt above are some of the classic indications of harmful cult. If you encounter this in your Urantia Book activities, Bible activities, or any other belief system, be aware that it is most likely not going to go well for you. The key characteristic is a singular, dominant leader who persuades people and eventually exploits them for his/her own gain, be it power, wealth, or social standing.


I knew Thurstin personally. He was Bruce before he became John and there were other pseudonym prior to John.
The man was brilliant but easy to see through.
He left behind a small study group in Arizona and the folks there continue to carry out his instructions.
Scary.


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Thurstin isn't the leader. As the article says, Thurstin left the group in 2005 after living there 13 years. The leader who still leads the group calls himself Gabriel.

But let's not dwell on this particular group (I don't want to bring additional attention to them or enhance visibility of them). Rather, we could discuss how religious truths, be it from the UB, the Bible, or auto-revelation, can become distorted and harmful if an individual who craves power and/or material wealth uses the religious teaching to manipulate and exploit people.

But really, we can have a positive discussion about how the UB actually proscribes against the lifestyle of harmful cults by legitimizing the ability of every individual to have a personal relationship with God in their own right, without an intermediary of a priest or shaman or cult leader. The book further suggests that institutionalized religions are all beneficial and also flawed in their own way and therefore, is not advocating for a religion but rather advocates for the Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Man.


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I was an incumbent participant at the "Twelve Tribes of Israel" group at Ithaca New York philosophy tuesday night sessions. This is very typical in the sense that member "given original Hebrew names", and I never got to meet who is the leader of that cult with its $10million rotted-hull yacht. But the price of join is typical for evangels, and I did investigate long enough to know whether I would have to forfeit my copy of Urantia Book. But there was a sincerity of the congregants to this cult. I did admire them choosing against technology but then later pity them because of the amalgamation protocol of the internet giants, the selection software, which they would use. I pity them because sociologically such activity promotes predominance of attitude ofer the core values of culture, which they out to have retained if they remains in the cult (They put wi-fi and put facebook laptop on the bar where I would drink Tea and Coffee, which worried me about the erosion of their core values.)

They had a little sandwich shop that I frequented while I lived there, and once I hear the "wrap artist" boldly declare, when challenged by an Elder "I am a vessel of the Holy Spirit." I said "Whoa! What a strong conviction and it is very reasonable!" But there is so much about the fascism of cults, and would I be able to trust its leader, you know the same way Nathanial asked "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Admission of all freudian warning signs, have at it if you want to deduce my own 'partial' interpretation of URantia Papers.

The reemphasis of "danger of cult" is one thing but then what about Corporate Cultures, and the similar protocols of loyalty for employees. What about culture per se and its core values, which lend to certain leadership. Sometimes the leadership of a culture wanes, and there is only one or a handful of leaders who "seek to preserve original identity", or progress et cetera. I think of persons like Martin Myers in the U. Foundation, trying to preserve the solvency of organisation but depopularized by those in that group who attempt to circumvent progress. In my opinion all URantia Book cults have been very unsuccessful historically and I am baffled by this. It means that person can great a computer programme faux profile to write prose in the Urantia Book Forum of truth book, while controversial opinion quickly dismissed. Or infiltrate via sowing of tares, similar things.

I will have to exonorate myself from ever pursuing the establishment of another congregation, which would be seen as a cult, since I do have delusions of grandeur, even once thinking that Adam (the original Adam rather than the ascending Urantia Adam) spoke to me, and I still cannot escape my delusion that one day I will seat on council of twenty four with John. haha! But at least I can admit how ridiculous it sounds even to my own rationale.

People who seek new congregation, often come out of dysfunctional family units and I would not disparage their honest attempts to find somethign better in their lifetimes.

Also, let me posit into consideration the confusion of cultural competition in the world today. It is easy to warrant suspicion against 'religious' cults, but there are many similar organisations, hierarchial loyalty structures, the "Cultures who constitute actual cults", remain unnoticed and continue our world's "value sacking" according to Chartres or as you say leadership. I would say, fine that you indeed pity the congregants of Gabriel' "Prince of Estate" cult. The Urantia Book posits several pointoids for the "advantages of dictatorship", after all. It is easy to dismiss Timothy McVeigh's argument for "taking matters into his own hands", since he in fact killed innocent persons, but not so with H. Feivel Grunspan who assassinated cult member before the "Crystal Night".

IF you are truly a faith son, then I would also consider that you are as "a member of a cult": the cult of cosmic citizenry however you want to call this. The cult of being led by "the spirit of the inner man", or the like (Adjuster). So there is a pattern which is not necessarily wrong, even perhaps a righteous organisation to certain cults. After all, the State of America presents the death of Waco Cult members as "caused by its leader Davida", rather than admitting that its own military had influence in "trying to kidnap" its congregants. The Urantia Papers continually defends the sancrosanctity of the nuclear family from the eventual world-state. I do not know exactly the intervening layers that Pastor has, in the administration servitude unto the families of His/Her Congregation. However a Church is like a family and a cult is like a family, and you are admonished not to "rip off the suture before a wound is healed" "to go slowly in the seraphic planetary government votive of progress." And for a military not to starve its own citizenry formation of barricade, which happened before the Waco cult was burnt. Or at least that was Timothy McVeigh's point, which arguably led him to become the domestic terrorist.

What you say about the "warning signs" of delusional maniac is the subjective behavioural analysis of a cult leader, post facto, whereas these traits might be identified as "Charisma", to those who are actually the cult's follower. At least there are several admonition found in Urantia Papers to warrant some type of humility or intellectual concessions here.

The URantia Papers favours "the Apostle" Paul over Abner. Do you disagree? Paul was a cult leader as well, together with his self-congratulatory declarations that he is a slave of Christ and the like. At least he helped to preserve the traditions of Jesus even though he distorts the edicts and could not possible have dealt with the spiritual concerns of his Christian congregants as Michael Creator Son.

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Last edited by SEla_Kelly on Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:38 am +0000, edited 5 times in total.

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Agon D. Onter wrote:
Thurstin isn't the leader. As the article says, Thurstin left the group in 2005 after living there 13 years. The leader who still leads the group calls himself Gabriel.

But let's not dwell on this particular group (I don't want to bring additional attention to them or enhance visibility of them). Rather, we could discuss how religious truths, be it from the UB, the Bible, or auto-revelation, can become distorted and harmful if an individual who craves power and/or material wealth uses the religious teaching to manipulate and exploit people.

But really, we can have a positive discussion about how the UB actually proscribes against the lifestyle of harmful cults by legitimizing the ability of every individual to have a personal relationship with God in their own right, without an intermediary of a priest or shaman or cult leader. The book further suggests that institutionalized religions are all beneficial and also flawed in their own way and therefore, is not advocating for a religion but rather advocates for the Fatherhood of God and the Sonship of Man.


I don’t know anything about Gabriel. Have not seen Bruce since the 70’s when he lived here on the left coast.
It’s not the cult leader that’s dangerous, it’s the followers, cool aide drinkers. There seems to be an abundance.
The fifth revelation is designed to upgrade the children of God from the 4th revelation to adults of God.
TUB will be around for centuries and we can expect many distortions and perversions before coolaide drinkers learn to ignore power hungry individuals.


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A cult is not a bad thing....same root word as culture....people who gather and group due to similar and shared beliefs or activities.

Dangerous cults are those that are personality centered and cults based on fear and or hate. Personality cults. And has been pointed out, those who drink the kool ade are the real scary folk. The central figure is often a charlatan or a deluded self worshiper. But who denies their own sovereignty and gives over control of their being to another mortal...or their children or spouse or all their money and property? Nut jobs, that's who!!


And old Gabe in the dessert promoted himself to Gabriel and then to Michael. A very sorry case who has stripped many of wealth and dignity and is no friend of the Revelation or the community.


And yes...such charlatans will always plague us! Those simple minded fools who follow these people are not likely to actually read a 2000 page book. There are those who readily embrace any priesthood to make salvation easy and remove the burden of choice and decision and commitment, etc. I have zero sympathy!!


:wink:


Last edited by fanofVan on Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:43 am +0000, edited 1 time in total.

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fanofVan states A Personality Cult is a dangerous cult.
I do not know what you mean by Personality Cult
a) cult that is peredicated on the maturation of the human personality?
b) A Cult who believes that man's highest concept of God is the transcendent personality?

Or might it be the way you imply "A cult who engaged in false worship of another human being, as in the Amadonites' worship of Adam and Eve"?

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Charismatic personality cults. Think Jim Jones and David Koresh.

Now that I think about it though, there was also a cult formed around Jesus. There was a mighty cult of Van once.

So it is inaccurate of me to claim all such as dangerous. Indeed, cults are often the seeds, levers, and fulcrums of social progress.

:idea: 8)


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Having drunk the Kool-Aid, I watched a cult go from primitive Christianity to a mindless cult of the personality in a few short years, unquestioning obedience and total dedication the order of the day. I was happy as a clam for 25 years believing I was in the center of God's will. Leaving was traumatic and the unlearning was a lengthy and difficult. I was fortunate enough to find the Urantia Book which helped reconcile my personal relationship with Jesus with my questioning of dogma vs. scientific discoveries, God's judgement and "chastisement" vs. freedom from guilt, doctrinal elitism vs. the brotherhood of man, etc. the list of contradictions is nearly endless.

However, I don't regret the experience, it was a very good vehicle for getting from point A (discovering a personal relationship with Jesus) to point B (discovering that I no longer needed the vehicle), good training in spiritual priorities and trust in God's care, etc.

However, the "system" itself is a cult, as are some political organizations, corporate structures, unions, the military, fan clubs, sports organizations and other social groups sustained by a powerful and charismatic personality or leadership nucleus. So I am wary of anyone who touts personal interpretations as the will of God for all and is intolerant of others' personal interpretations. That kinds of set off all sorts of warning bells and flashing red lights.

I don't believe the UB is a cult, but I certainly believe there are plenty of wannabe leaders seeking recognition and followers, who use the UB for their basic foundation of teaching, and have the potential to found and lead a "dangerous" cult.

If there is anything I have learned it is the fact that our relationship with Michael and the Supreme Father is individual and personal. Control of others' beliefs is the cornerstone of a cult's foundation and the desire to control others' beliefs is one of the traits of a manipulative personality.


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pethuel wrote:
Having drunk the Kool-Aid, I watched a cult go from primitive Christianity to a mindless cult of the personality in a few short years, unquestioning obedience and total dedication the order of the day. I was happy as a clam for 25 years believing I was in the center of God's will. Leaving was traumatic and the unlearning was a lengthy and difficult. I was fortunate enough to find the Urantia Book which helped reconcile my personal relationship with Jesus with my questioning of dogma vs. scientific discoveries, God's judgement and "chastisement" vs. freedom from guilt, doctrinal elitism vs. the brotherhood of man, etc. the list of contradictions is nearly endless.

However, I don't regret the experience, it was a very good vehicle for getting from point A (discovering a personal relationship with Jesus) to point B (discovering that I no longer needed the vehicle), good training in spiritual priorities and trust in God's care, etc.

However, the "system" itself is a cult, as are some political organizations, corporate structures, unions, the military, fan clubs, sports organizations and other social groups sustained by a powerful and charismatic personality or leadership nucleus. So I am wary of anyone who touts personal interpretations as the will of God for all and is intolerant of others' personal interpretations. That kinds of set off all sorts of warning bells and flashing red lights.

I don't believe the UB is a cult, but I certainly believe there are plenty of wannabe leaders seeking recognition and followers, who use the UB for their basic foundation of teaching, and have the potential to found and lead a "dangerous" cult.

If there is anything I have learned it is the fact that our relationship with Michael and the Supreme Father is individual and personal. Control of others' beliefs is the cornerstone of a cult's foundation and the desire to control others' beliefs is one of the traits of a manipulative personality.


Thx for sharing


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Just to help anyone reading along who is not familiar with the world "cult" as regards its highest and most positive vibe, here's the section in The Urantia Book that elevates and ennobles the concept into something really exciting and hopeful. It is called "The Nature of Cultism":

https://truthbook.com/urantia-book/paper-87-the-ghost-cults#U87_7_0


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great quote maryjo, thanks for posting!


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I thought this comment will fit the thread topic so here it is:

If evangelical Christians or any Bible based religious individuals try to convert/recruit you, should you counter their offer with telling them about the Urantia Book? Especially if the group they belong to is a destructive group (Meaning their membership is harmful to their well being. Looking at you JWs). Should you try to help them by just proving their beliefs are untrue and showing them that non-members can be very kind and loving people? Or in addition, should you offer them something better to believe in (Which in my opinion is the UB)?


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When the Mormons or Babtists come knocking at my door I am always cordial and respectful but I don’t like it. They are trying to save my soul in good faith but I still don’t like it.
Before countering similar efforts with the Urantia teachings I’d read through the book at least twice in order to gain some wisdom.
There has got to be a thread around here somewhere about evangelizing.
Changing someone’s belief system is beyond my abilities in discussions. These discussions always degenerate.


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William S. wrote:
I thought this comment will fit the thread topic so here it is:

If evangelical Christians or any Bible based religious individuals try to convert/recruit you, should you counter their offer with telling them about the Urantia Book? Especially if the group they belong to is a destructive group (Meaning their membership is harmful to their well being. Looking at you JWs). Should you try to help them by just proving their beliefs are untrue and showing them that non-members can be very kind and loving people? Or in addition, should you offer them something better to believe in (Which in my opinion is the UB)?


I cannot find the quote right now, but the UB does have some teaching on this question. I believe it is in part 4, and gives an example of Jesus in which he would always build upon the truths of whatever belief system the person has. So, never to tear down or critique someone else's beliefs, but to draw out, like a thread, any bits of truth from whatever religion they are, and build upon those truths to a more wholistic truth.

The UB gives us a headstart on this in the papers dealing with religion (paper 100 and others in that proximity), where it specifically mentions some common religions and provides where they are on track and where they fail with regard to truths or overall spiritual value.


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