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The Sherman Diaries Volume Five Paperback – April 15, 2008
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The author does a fabulous job of sorting, deciphering hand written journals and letters, and presenting the material in such a way that the reader has no idea what the author thinks! At some point it can get tedious reading who said what, when. There was no Internet or social media. There wasn't even a printed Urantia Book during this time so interested people had to tow-the-line. There was a lot of drama as a result.
The Shermans were "good" people from what I read and Harold could have changed the course of the UB had he been allowed to make a Urantian movie. Mr. Sherman wrote many books, had exceptional radio shows and produced many fine movies. It was so interesting to see the Book of Urantia and those involved during those days through the perspective of the Shermans.
Volume five was a bit of a let-down because I wanted to know what the Shermans thought about the published Urantia Book but once it was available it seems like they moved on to work on others projects.
For example (from pages 136-137 in Volume Five, about Urantia Paper 153):
"The paper had its usual number of clichés, such as 'run of the mill.' It is obviously no inspired document and contributes nothing to alleviate the already bitter feeling against the Jewish race. Instead it paints Jesus more and more in the role of a small-time tyrannical reformer whose purpose seemed to be to attack the Jewish religion, employing strategies and maneuvers through his own actions and the deploying of his apostles. We get little or no feeling of the Master's majestic spirit, love and mercy or even human concern for his own creation."
When I read that last sentence I wondered if Harold was talking about the same Urantia Book, loved today by thousands of readers who are inspired by the "Master's majestic spirit, love and mercy" as detailed in many of the Papers.
So, then I was motivated to review Paper 153 and quickly realized that this criticism seems unrelated to the momentous events narrated as "The Crisis at Capernaum":
"Not in months had they seen the Master so preoccupied and uncommunicative." (153:0.2)
"Jesus comprehended that he faced the immediate declaration of avowed and open warfare by his increasing enemies, and he elected boldly to assume the offensive. At the feeding of the five thousand he had challenged their ideas of the material Messiah; now he chose again openly to attack their concept of the Jewish deliverer. This crisis, which began with the feeding of the five thousand, and which terminated with this Sabbath afternoon sermon, was the outward turning of the tide of popular fame and acclaim. Henceforth, the work of the kingdom was to be increasingly concerned with the more important task of winning lasting spiritual converts for the truly religious brotherhood of mankind. This sermon marks the crisis in the transition from the period of discussion, controversy, and decision to that of open warfare and final acceptance or final rejection." (153:1.2)
It's unfair to suggest that one obvious error in the criticism ("run of the mill" is not a cliché found anywhere in all of the Papers) is indicative of many other errors in these Sherman Diaries, but it should caution readers to remember that Sherman's timely notes and later recollections are not necessarily consistent with the experiences and beliefs of many other participants in this Revelation's early history.
Sherman's criticisms seem to correlate with today's readers of the Urantia Papers who sometimes obtain differing opinions about their context, purpose and authenticity. That we should differ is not a problem - that we would allow such differences to limit our united cooperation and mutual support as the children ("brotherhood") of one heavenly Father is the unfortunate possibility.