Teaching Mission History


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From Eugenia Bryan

October 07, 1998

 

The Teaching Mission Coming out of The Closet

 

 There have been a few posts of late with queries regarding the history and development of the TM which motivated me to delve into some old files and think about the subject with a long view. To some here, this is old hat stuff but it may not be to some others. The Teaching Mission has been a major influence in the up step of personal spiritual growth for me. I\\\\\\\'d love to tell the story to you about how it came about from my perspective and what it has done for me. And I will trace the history of the Teaching Mission from it\\\\\\\'s beginnings in New Zealand and give emphasis on what happened in the Heart of America. If you are not into a long post on this topic, delete now! I grew up in an Episcopalian home with a rather devout mother who taught me many, many spiritual realities which the UB [Urantia Book] expanded upon for me some 50 years later. She did not emphasize the \\\\\\\"blood of Christ\\\\\\\" stuff or the horrendous \\\\\\\"atonement\\\\\\\" aspects but rather the love of God and His constant presence in our lives. But, as I have stated in other posts here and there, my father\\\\\\\'s influence was very powerful and he taught me that I was just not quite good enough in his efforts to push me to my highest levels of achievement. He was never quite satisfied and I unconsciously transferred this attitude or feeling to my relationship with God as my heavenly Father.

 

The church also influenced me in a more subtle way through its many prayers emphasizing the \\\\\\\"unworthiness\\\\\\\" of his creation in mortal man, being born sinners (Oh Lord, I am not worthy enough to gather up the crumbs under your table) in addition to the loving messages of compassion and forgiveness. The Episcopal Church tends to let people have a personal relationship with God without defining what that relationship should be or is for you. It\\\\\\\'s pretty vague. This is a good thing because we are not subjected to the hellfire and brimstone or guilt aspects that many must endure. I didn\\\\\\\'t have to unlearn things my Catholic and Baptist friends had to leave behind in order to grow spiritually. I\\\\\\\'m grateful for that! When I met and married my sweet husband, a Urantia Book reader of some thirty years, I first encountered its teachings and I was ready to shed the barriers between me and God though I was unaware of this at the time.

 

I knew that something needed to change, however. I had had many signals in dreams and in other ways. Bill introduced me to a group of Kansas City readers led by a marvelous woman, Ila Hall, who has furthered the Father\\\\\\\'s work on Urantia in spades. She, the ultimate Seeker, shared the I AM ABRAHAM written material with us in 1989. It was not very well presented with a lot of confusing information, letters that didn\\\\\\\'t help clarify the material much and so on as well as some questions and answers from people they had contacted or had contacted them in New Zealand. It was really rather crude stuff. These NZ people had been talking to an entity or teacher who called himself Abraham, the Abraham, Father of Israel, beginning in 1984. This small group consisted of two couples who had been gathering together regularly for spiritual discussions and support for some time. One day, Abraham began to speak through one of the women, Ruby Miller. She has a deep resonate voice and speaks very clearly and slowly. The information which they began to collect was rather astonishing. They were also introduced to Machiventa Melchizedek, Abraham\\\\\\\'s teacher. They were told that this was \\\\\\\"the correcting time\\\\\\\" for this planet among other things. They didn\\\\\\\'t know what to think about it either. They collected these transcripts for quite a long time. Eventually a relative of one of these couples provided a Urantia Book to them in 1987 and they were amazed at the similarities between what they had been told and what the book said. They sent much of this material to a university religion researcher in New Zealand (University of Waikato) in their quest for honest and objective understanding about what was happening. I quote Douglas Pratt, Ph.D., Lecturer of Religious Studies in a letter dated August, 1989: \\\\\\\"Mr. Miller, as chief spokesperson for the core-group, had elicited comment and opinion from a variety of people concerning what was happening. Reactions seem to have fallen into two categories-dismissive (as, e.g. Christian judgement that this is \\\\\\\'of the devil\\\\\\\') or inclusive (i.e. as in including the phenomena within the categories used by the person consulted e.g. as in spiritualism per se). \\\\\\\"Meeting with them I formed the opinion that the situation as presented to me appeared to be one of \\\\\\\'medium/oracle\\\\\\\' and related phenomena. The substantive content appeared to be biblical and philosophico-religious. It was also clear that what was being asked for was a non-judgmental response that would accept the \\\\\\\'reality\\\\\\\' of the phenomena as presented and help those involved to find ways of evaluating, checking-out and \\\\\\\'dealing\\\\\\\' with it.............As I see it, this is a complex religious phenomenon....\\\\\\\" Dr. Pratt further states in this \\\\\\\"To Whom It May Concern\\\\\\\" letter the following: \\\\\\\"My role, as a student of religion and a researcher into religious phenomena, is to monitor and investigate the phenomena as presented with \\\\\\\'detached sympathy\\\\\\\'. There is something of significance going on here.

 

The recent connection with the Urantia Book and related phenomena may provide a clue and the context to understanding.\\\\\\\" The New Zealand group decided to follow up on Machiventa Melchizedek\\\\\\\'s request that they pass this information on. They also wished to explore the possibility that they were not the only ones receiving this kind of materia. They wrote a letter which eventually was sent to many UB Study Group leaders in the United States including the one Ila Hall led in Kansas City.

 

In this open letter addressed to all Urantia Brotherhood Members, dated July 18, 1989, I quote: \\\\\\\"At that first meeting Abraham told us, \\\\\\\'I shall teach you the Truth\\\\\\\'. After a few years, we believe we arrived at a particular level of understanding and acceptance of the truth of these teachings. .....It must be stressed we did not consider ourselves as religious in the usual context of the word. Knowledge of the Biblical Abraham was minimal and Melchizedek unknown to us. ..... We know Machiventa Melchizedek has made his presence known to us and HAS taken up the position of Vice Regent Planetary Prince. This we know as fact. In, November, 1988, in answer to the question \\\\\\\'Are you the Machiventa Melchizedek mentioned in the Urantia Book?\\\\\\\', we were given the answer, \\\\\\\'Correct. I come from the Father...Am I not here?..the Correcting Time is NOW.\\\\\\\'

 

On March 16, 1989, Machiventa Melchizedek specifically asked that we relay these facts to you, this being his initial contact to confirm his presence.\\\\\\\" Our Kansas City group looked at this material which included the open letter, the letter from Dr. Pratt, some comments from individuals who had responded to them. The news of Machiventa\\\\\\\'s new position was \\\\\\\"interesting\\\\\\\" to say the least. We did not respond to the New Zealanders query. It was a sort of wait and see attitude because we were too lazy to follow up! As I said, the material was somewhat unprofessionally presented and a bit confusing as to who said what as well. Now I can look at it and understand clearly. But Thern Blackburn in Woods Cross, Utah and his group had responded to the New Zealanders query. I think in Spring of 1990, the teacher, Ham, tapped Rebecca (who now lives in Nashville) on the shoulder and told her he wanted to talk to the WC group and so this Teaching Mission as it became known began in the United States. The Woods Cross group began to collect their own tapes and transcripts and persisted in exploring this strange process of receiving and transmitting or TRing. It was not an easy time for them. It was exciting, strange, puzzling and it attracted many people who came and went according to their ability to believe such things as \\\\\\\"celestials talking to mortals\\\\\\\" and to accept what these \\\\\\\"teachers\\\\\\\" were telling them. (Note: I would love to hear from the early WC people about those days from their viewpoint on these lists BTW.) Somewhere along in the summer of 1991, a tape of Abraham speaking through Ruby entitled \\\\\\\"I am Abraham\\\\\\\" was sent to the USA. I believe it was first sent to those who had responded to their query of 1989. It was circulated fairly widely and Ila Hall in KC got a copy from Thern. At the Jesus Birthday celebration camp out our area held that year, Ila gathered everyone who would listen and played this tape.

 

My husband and I went. I was sitting at the back of the group in her trailer and when I heard Ruby speaking Abraham\\\\\\\'s words, my body shuddered deeply and I began to weep. Every word struck a chord within me and my Spirit of Truth seized the opportunity to get my attention and open me up to a new way of experiencing God. Little did I know at that moment what was going to happen and what a ride I was in for but I was OPENED UP to the possibilities of hearing from another realm at that moment in August of 1991! I had never explored channeling or any such wild thing before in my life but I had no preconceived ideas about it, being quite ignorant of \\\\\\\"new age\\\\\\\" ideology and such phenomena. I had never checked out any of this \\\\\\\"nonsense\\\\\\\". I was also a rather new UB reader and still exploring my skepticism. Up until Bill dropped the UB on me (a package deal), my Episcopalian background had been my primary source of spiritual information. I had rejected the major doctrine of atonement among other things but had never discussed these heretical thoughts with anyone until I met Bill in 1988.

 

I rather slowly came around to the Urantia Book\\\\\\\'s wilder aspects like the purple [the violet race referring to their genetics] Adam and Eve and two Gardens of Eden! I was a true innocent in these matters regarding revelation and radical religious concepts. I had literally shelved all such discussions about spiritual questions as they occurred through out my life, thinking that I would take the time to explore such things when I had the time-like after my children were raised! My brief explorations didn\\\\\\\'t lead me to much more than gobbledy gook including that from the Bible. So I, being a very busy woman with a career and family, had decided to shelve it all. I went to church, took from there what helped and didn\\\\\\\'t trouble myself too much about the incongruities in Christian theology. I loved the worship service, the music, the rituals (and I did feel close to God in ritual), the fellowship. My church was a very comfortable and loving place to be even if it didn\\\\\\\'t nurture a high degree of spiritual yearning. I was a very proper traditionalist with many private questions but no great feelings of being \\\\\\\"unsaved\\\\\\\" or awareness of being \\\\\\\"unloved\\\\\\\" by God.

 

Back to the Teaching Mission story. Meanwhile, in January of 1992, the Woods Cross group went public at the FER meeting in California and, as the word spread that they had tapes and transcripts they were willing to share, Ila of course got wind of it and immediately got some to share with our KC reading group. As my husband said, \\\\\\\"I\\\\\\\'ve been waiting all my life to hear from Heaven and I\\\\\\\'m not passing up this opportunity to hear what they might say!\\\\\\\" So I went along to hear them too. I began to listen to the Ham tapes not only with the group but alone. I read the transcripts avidly. The level of love Ham talked about was unbelievable to me and I had a difficult time accepting that I was loved by God to this degree. It was beyond my comprehension or previous experience of feeling love in any spiritual sense. At this point, I began to slip into deep depression because I could not accept that I could be loved this much by a God who didn\\\\\\\'t seem to be much in my life. I had accepted many of the good things that I had as a \\\\\\\"gift from Him\\\\\\\", had never seriously questioned his existence (I KNEW He existed rock solid), and believed that the bad things were of my own making through ignorance and not being \\\\\\\"good enough\\\\\\\" or perfect enough in my efforts (God helps those who help themselves). Hey, we\\\\\\\'re all imperfect, aren\\\\\\\'t we? Other people around me were thrilled with this corroboration that God loved them so much. Me, I was dying inside because I couldn\\\\\\\'t feel what they and Ham were talking about. I was becoming miserable with my feelings of profound \\\\\\\"unworthiness\\\\\\\", something I had never known about myself before. But I continued to listen to the tapes and it was so logical, so sensible, so well, \\\\\\\"real\\\\\\\" that I couldn\\\\\\\'t reject it. There was a lesson for me in every tape about love and all the questions I had ever piled on my mind\\\\\\\'s shelf tumbled out of the closet and overwhelmed me! My Spirit of Truth was working overtime!

 

In May of 1992, my husband and I went to Woods Cross to see this phenomenon for ourselves. We had private sessions with Ham through Roland in his home and listened to Ham through Rebecca at their weekly meeting on Monday. I asked a question that night that blew my mind away when I heard the answer. I knew Ham had hit on something I needed desperately to know! I can\\\\\\\'t remember what it was now but it is on tape! In our private session with Ham, he told me many things that I needed to do to \\\\\\\"heal\\\\\\\" or \\\\\\\"correct\\\\\\\" myself and my indwelling monitor told me that this was absolutely correct. I didn\\\\\\\'t do all of them right away but eventually, I trusted enough to do some of them and they worked. He told my husband things he needed to hear as well.

 

We left Woods Cross believers in this \\\\\\\"Teaching Mission\\\\\\\" sent by Michael and I have never looked back with any long lasting skepticism since. It was real to Bill and I! And it was to quite a few of our friends back home in Kansas and Kansas City but not all by any means. The skeptics crawled away in disbelief. The open ones wrestled with their own call for personal correction just as I was. It was a most extraordinary time for our group and our UB friends. It was a time of great expectation and some rather unrealistic ones at that, I might add. We were excited yet humbled all at the same time. These ideas and possibilities were in some cases just too advanced for us in terms of our concepts of what the world was and was to come. We recognized that we needed a lot of adjustments in our thinking to accept some of these possibilities, however idealistic some of them seemed.

 

In our area, most of all, the teachers have concentrated on personal correction with lots and lots of personal sessions as I look back on the sessions we have had. But at first in our Lawrence group, we were given group lessons. I was supposedly being prepared to be a TR. It scared the pea-wadding out of me and I did not believe that I could or should do that. And yet, I was having some very strange experiences all during May through July of that year. I had absolutely no faith in myself or my ability to do this and I was terrified of being misleading to my friends. I did decide that if that was what God wanted me to do, I should at least try to cooperate. I did not want this responsibility and, furthermore, had difficulty accepting that my attempts were really not me speaking. I did almost all my \\\\\\\"practicing\\\\\\\" very privately. Physically, I felt power flowing through my body that summer especially at night when I was trying to sleep. I was often awakened after one or two hours of sleep. I was told that that was when I was most receptive and relaxed to their energy. The teacher who was working with me (and a midwayer as well) was James who had been assigned to our group. Several times, I felt a sharp pain in my ankle whenever this \\\\\\\"surge\\\\\\\" of energy came to me-it seemed to enter my body at the ankle and swept upwards from there.

 

Today, I rarely have any sense of this power surge unless it is someone like a Melchizedek. But if I do, I stop whatever I am doing and listen. Back to the chronology of my story. In June, a woman called me and said she wanted to start reading the UB with a group. I hesitated to tell her what we were doing, i. e. listening to celestial teachers! But something told me to break the news to her. She amazed me by saying, \\\\\\\"Oh, how exciting! My daughter is doing this and she is working on a project for Michael with another person.\\\\\\\" Within one week, she was TRing James for our group with ease. It was incredible and we all felt that James was wonderful and quite congruent with the Ham lessons. This woman worked with me privately to help me work through my fears and allow James to speak through me. She also began to do some private sessions with people and even began to do the TRing for the teacher, Thomas, [Tomas] who had been assigned to Kansas City. She told us all along that this was a temporary assignment for her and that she was there to help us learn how to do it ourselves. Another woman came \\\\\\\"on line\\\\\\\" within our group about then as I did. In September 1992, Bill and I went to Czechoslovakia to visit my daughter.

 

During the time we were gone, several things happened that led the group to break apart. I never have found out exactly what but it was similar to some of the problems that most groups were struggling with at the time. Things like being told to do something and something would happen and it didn\\\\\\\'t and so on. Skepticism set in. And there were good reasons for it. It was an entirely new process of learning for all of us. We made lots of mistakes, built up our expectations and had them dashed, just like it was for the apostles of Jesus! They would hope for something and Jesus would dash those hopes, time and time again. All the while, the messages have the truth within that the heart knows it needs to hear and integrate for a possibility that cannot be imagined, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! This was happening to us. It was our experience. Some could not take the radical shaking up that was happening and decided to give it up. But some of us just knew in our deepest beings that we were learning things we needed to integrate into our lives and so we persisted in our efforts. It lead us to a place where we could actually chronicle our experiences and see the fruits of the spirit in our own lives and that of our friends. This is what has and is happening over time for those of us who have persisted with \\\\\\\"The Teaching Mission\\\\\\\".

 

Personal growth and correction of the individual rather than a group experience has remained our focus although stronger groups have gone on to additional projects on behalf of the TM. Our local TM groups in Lawrence and Kansas City are non-existent now although we meet to read the book together. Many of those involved at the start have scattered. Some are still believers and do their own work with the teachers, or have joined TM groups somewhere else or have dropped it altogether for lack of contact or personal effort to keep it alive. A few are still around and we get together rarely but it is not easy due to the distances we live apart and the pressure from those who just don\\\\\\\'t want to hear about it any more in our groups. So it is kind of an underground thing here. Most UB people in our area know who we Teaching Mission people are but never talk to us about it. It\\\\\\\'s a \\\\\\\"don\\\\\\\'t ask, don\\\\\\\'t tell\\\\\\\" level of comfort among us.

 

We Kansas City area TMers are content to just work with our guides and the teachers in whatever means we feel most comfortable. We go to the regional gatherings wherever we can. We seem to be open to whatever evolves with the Teaching Mission within our ranks but have no specific projects or outreach activities going on at this time. So that is the bare bones of a much longer story. My personal spiritual journey has only been cursorily mentioned here and mostly in relation to the growth of the Teaching Mission. The Urantia Book says that some people grow very gradually and gently but others have a radical experience or so to wake them up. I fit the latter category. The TM was a profound initiator in my \\\\\\\"wake up\\\\\\\" call to rebirth in the spirit. It happened and I know what the fruits of the spirit are in my life. That is the topic of a message I recently shared on this list. And so, if you will bear with me, I will again share what the fruits of the spirit are for me which began when Abraham talked through Ruby in New Zealand over ten years ago. Peace, Eugenia