Addenda to How the Urantia Foundation Lost Their Copyright

Addenda to How the Urantia Foundation Lost Their Copyright:

The non-profit Foundation's primary purpose was to preseve the text inviolate, entirely understandable for a supposed divine revelation, right? There is an apocryphal story that the revelators told the people preparing to publish the book, that the first fifty years were the most dangerous period in which the book might be corrupted and its message distorted. The lawsuit was settled, and the copyright voided, just under fifty years after the original publication. Today, the Foundation's version, while not exclusively theirs, can be seen to be the original, basically unaltered text.

Back in the pre-Internet days, I visited the Foundation and talked with the fellow who was in charge of preparing the official digital version. He pointed out instances where, in print, a compound word might be divided across lines, and decisions had to be made whether it would be hyphenated or not in the flow of digital text. Interesting process, trying to stick to the original text but dealing with nuances of formatting.

Note that there is no going back to the original papers on anything - after the first printing, the "handwritten" originals were all burned, presumably to avoid their becoming objects of veneration.

There were many changes made to the text by the Foundation in various printings. These were mostly very minor, punctuation or typos corrected, with just a very few that altered meaning. The typo "hestitate" persisted into the eleventh printing. The phrase "in the manger" - regarding the magi visiting Jesus - was removed and later returned.

At first, the Foundation just made the changes on the sly. As the readers discovered and objected, they eventually tipped in a page noting changes made, without explanation. By the time the copyright was lost and the Foundation had their own digital copy of the book online (, all of these changes had been set by a committee tasked with "final" decisions. Hyperlink footnotes at each change lead to notes on the history of the changes, and why they were made, which seems reasonable and honest.

Oh yeah. The era of internal dispute has ended, and while some bitter feelings remain, mostly the factions have been reconciled. I think. I haven't kept up with the "movement" since the lawsuit was settled.