"The PLAIN TRUTH"
a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
BOX 111, Pasadena, Calif. 91109
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, Editor
November 21, 1966
Dear Friend and PLAIN TRUTH Subscriber:
I want personally to welcome our many NEW subscribers -- and to THANK all subscribers, old and new, for your interest in this world-news magazine, and The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast! Once again, I am grateful to be able to say I have something NEW -- and I believe exciting and tremendously important for you -- no cost, of course. I'll explain later.
First, I have been SHOCKED to learn that some of the beautiful color pictures in The PLAIN TRUTH may have been giving many of our readers a very wrong impression. I hasten to correct this. Also, in this semiannual letter I want to answer again some of the questions hundreds are asking: "WHY don't you charge a subscription price for The PLAIN TRUTH?" "WHY do you NEVER solicit the public for contributions?" "WHO'S BACK OF YOUR WORK? HOW is it financed? WHAT makes it tick?"
Hundreds of thousands of readers have been astonished at the beautiful color pictures of the three Ambassador College campuses. But I hope they have not given you the impression that we are just rolling in wealth, because nothing could be farther from the truth!
Some seem to have thought, since we never charge for anything, never ask for contributions over the air, in The PLAIN TRUTH, or in any of our literature -- NEVER solicit the public for contributions in any way, that we must be rich and in need of nothing! THAT IS NOT TRUE!
But what IS true seems so absolutely incredible -- almost unbelievable -- yes, stranger than fiction -- because it has been brought about by the hand of God! These beautiful, cultural campuses of tone and character have come to us in a most miraculous manner. I know this strange, providential chain of circumstances will be so interesting to you, I am going to take whatever space is necessary to give you the thrilling step-by-step account.
First, let me say: THIS you KNOW! -- you never knew of anything else like this Work! -- you know that YOU, (unless you have voluntarily, without any request from us, become one of our Co-Workers) have never been asked for any subscription price, or for any contributions -- and if you sent money to PAY FOR your PLAIN TRUTH or any literature from us, your money was promptly returned! You KNOW you never heard of anything else like it!
When Garner Ted Armstrong or I say, over the air, that there is no subscription price to The PLAIN TRUTH -- no charge for any booklets offered, and NO FOLLOW-UP with anything to sell, or any request for contributions -- well, most listeners, we know, are skeptical. THEY JUST CAN'T BELIEVE IT!
Well, YOU, too, did request free literature -- and YOU FOUND IT WAS FREE, didn't you? There was no solicitation of contributions. Thousands of you have renewed your subscription to The PLAIN TRUTH for two, three, five or more years. And NO SUCH SOLICITATION FOR MONEY HAS EVER COME!
Was there ever such a program, purely and unselfishly in the interest of the listening public, with no axe to grind, no sponsor or wealthy philanthropist or Foundation back of it -- starting out with NO MONEY -- never begging for funds over the air or in literature offered free -- ABSOLUTELY NO VISIBLE SOURCE OR ASSURANCE OF FINANCIAL BACKING, yet growing constantly for 33 years until it becomes the MOST POWERFUL PROGRAM ON RADIO -- WORLD-WIDE?
Sounds incredible. UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE! Yet it has happened!
HOW? WHY? You have a right to know -- and I want to tell you!
There is something that makes it tick! And that is the FAITH and the POWER of GOD! These very FACTS about this utterly different program offer PROOF that this is the VERY WORK OF GOD -- thundering His GOOD NEWS of THE WORLD TOMORROW over all five continents of the earth -- using 37 MILLION WATTS of radio power weekly.
If you know your Bible, you know that when the Eternal GOD starts anything through human instruments it starts the very smallest, like the proverbial grain of mustard seed -- but it grows -- and GROWS -- and GROWS, until it becomes the GREATEST!
This work started in Eugene, Oregon, January, 1934, WITHOUT MONEY, on faith, on one little radio station of the very smallest power -- 100 watts, in a comparatively small community. Its growth has been gradual and steady. Today thirty-seven MILLION watts of radio power shout Christ's Gospel to the whole world -- to more than forty-five million people every week!
But HOW did it start?
I have explained in these semiannual letters before, the facts about how I was challenged and angered into the first real study of the Bible, in the fall of 1926. I had been reared as a child in a respected denomination -- brought up to assume what most fundamentalist denominations believe, in general -- though like most church members I never did really know much about the doctrines of the church.
But I was shocked to learn, in this first real study of the Bible, that it did not say what I had been taught as "Christianity" in many basic points of popular belief! But when I saw, with my own eyes IN THE BIBLE, the REAL TRUTH as "once delivered" -- I had to face squarely the question, what would I do with it? It would mean giving up former business associates, many of whom were important men in the world. It would mean giving up my life's ambition to become "SUCCESSFUL" in the world -- giving up everything I had set my heart on, that I had worked and studied so hard to get a start in achieving. Although at the time circumstances beyond my control had brought financial reverses, I thought I could still go to the top in business. It meant accepting what I had previously regarded as HUMILIATING. It meant poverty -- and I did have to go through 28 years of it!
Real conversion does not come easily! But, with God's help, I did make the decision, and gave what I now considered a worthless no-good life in SURRENDER to God. I was baptized, and receiving God's Holy Spirit, came to a totally new outlook.
Then everything changed! In financial poverty, I found real peace, happiness, and a burning, driving zeal to UNDERSTAND God's revelation to mankind -- the Holy BIBLE! I had been made willing to be corrected by the Bible -- willing to learn TRUTH new to me. I continued studying the Bible almost night and day -- much of the time on my knees. I have explained before how, 3 1/2 years later, I was literally thrust into Christ's ministry.
And so, as I have written before, as the Apostle Paul wrote, so now also I certify to you, that the Gospel which is preached by me -- by Garner Ted Armstrong -- by our Co-Workers in Christ's Work -- is NOT AFTER MAN, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it BUT BY THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, as He revealed it IN HIS WRITTEN WORD! Then when it pleased God, who called me by His GRACE, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him to the world, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood (men), neither went I to any sect or denomination or human theologian, but I went directly to the WORD OF GOD, on my knees, surrendered, willing to be taught, corrected, reproved and instructed in God's righteousness and TRUTH. (Compare Galatians 1:11-18.)
My first preaching to the public was three and a half years after conversion -- and after three and a half years of intensive study of God's Word and close spiritual contact with Jesus Christ. Nine months later, June, 1931, I was ordained, and entered the full-time ministry on a small salary. But by August, 1933, I had learned that, if I was to receive even the smallest salary from MEN I would have to serve MEN in man's way instead of serving GOD. The salary was rejected.
At that point, Mrs. Armstrong and I solemnly dedicated our lives to look only to the GOD whom we served for financial needs. Jesus Christ had said the laborer is worthy of his hire. We were then paying $7 per month house rent -- with no visible source for receiving even that next $7. We had no money ahead whatsoever. It was a real test of faith to begin trusting God completely. But Jesus Christ had said, take no anxious thought -- have no worry -- over economic need. Our heavenly Father knows we need these things! SEEK FIRST the KINGDOM OF GOD, and His righteousness, said Christ, and these material needs shall be added!
Six months later, God started us in the very mission Jesus foretold in Matthew 24:14. As soon as this Gospel of Christ's coming Kingdom has gone to ALL NATIONS, the END of this world -- this MAN-made civilization -- this present age -- shall come!
God did not start us in this, HIS Work, until we had cut loose from all obligation to MEN -- UNTIL I was FREE from being MUZZLED by any man, group, denomination or organization. NEVER, since going on the air, have we been muzzled or controlled in any way, except by the living Christ!
In that manner, GOD started this work. He started it the very smallest. We were living, then, in Eugene, Oregon. A station of the very smallest power, KORE, then 100 watts, offered me time, for only $2.50 per broadcast.
When the door of radio opened before me, I knew God would not have me beg for money from the public over the air. But also I knew that God had led Moses to ask for contributions from God's own People, Israel. I knew the Apostle Paul had asked converted Christians to GIVE of their means for the support of God's Work (I Cor. 9; II Cor. 9:5-13; I Cor. 16:1-3; Rom. 15:25-28; etc.). But NEVER did a prophet, apostle, or true minister of God solicit contributions from the public -- from any but God's own people.
Consequently, I wrote a letter to a couple score of believers with whom I had enjoyed Christian fellowship for financial help in raising the necessary $2.50 per week broadcasting cost. But there was no appeal for financial support over the air or in The PLAIN TRUTH then, or through the years! Such support has been asked only of those we recognized as God's people. God has always supplied the need -- often in most unexpected ways!
After three years the Work doubled in size and power -- we were then on TWO 100-watt stations weekly. After six years it had redoubled; and in three more -- 1942 -- that had doubled -- then with a scattered NATIONAL audience!
By 1946 we were outgrowing facilities available in Eugene, Oregon. It was becoming imperative that the Work be moved accessible to Hollywood -- radio headquarters for the nation. At the same time, we began to realize that future expansion of the Work demanded a college for the training of expanding personnel. There were many reasons why we selected Pasadena as our future site. Many times during 1946 I searched one end of Pasadena to the other for a location. One obstacle seemed insurmountable -- lack of money!
Then, in early November of that year, the first unit of the present Ambassador College campus opened in a manner positively providential. There were no funds even for a down payment. This property included a four-car garage we could convert into an Administration office building, and a former residential mansion, built of institutional rather than residential design, a tennis court, and beautiful grounds with a lower garden ideal for outdoor classes, and Commencement exercises.
What happened sounds incredible, I know. It was providential. This fine property came to us, without any down payment, but on monthly payments actually $100 per month LESS THAN we had been paying in Eugene, Oregon, for office rent and recording of the broadcasts! The newly converted Administration Building provided much enlarged office space, and we set up our own recording studio in the building we now called "the College."
In other words, THIS FIRST COLLEGE PROPERTY CAME TO US IN A MANNER THAT AMOUNTED TO BEING PAID $100 PER MONTH to accept possession and the deed to the property!
The college opened its doors October 8, 1947. There were only 4 pioneer students. The next year, the adjoining property, "Mayfair," was offered on a very small down payment, which, providentially, we were by that time able to pay, and low monthly payments. It was then being operated as a high class rooming house, with tenants of professional status. The rentals paid the payments. We were glad to have them stay on the first year or two. This was an income-producing property, and thus it expanded our campus at virtually NO COST to us!
Later, the most fabulous property in Pasadena, the second estate beyond "Mayfair," estate of the late Hulett C. Merritt, principal stockholder of U.S. Steel Corporation, wealthiest man in Pasadena, was offered to us. This superb property came to us at the unbelievably ridiculous low cost of less than the ornamental iron fence around the front would cost! Later, the other two of the five mansions along Terrace Drive -- backing up to South Orange Grove Boulevard -- came to us at similar exceeding low cost.
These had all been proud multimillionaire mansions. Of course some were overgrown with weeds -- but hard work took care of that! These properties were all of a quality that necessarily set the standard of the Ambassador College campus. When God put Adam in the Garden in Eden, He told him to "dress it and keep it," -- NOT let it run down and deteriorate. We have diligently MAINTAINED these fine properties. Of course, these buildings are all 50 or 60 years old -- but they were superbly constructed and under diligent care and maintenance, they are as fine and beautiful as new.
We have published beautiful pictures in full color, also, of the campus in England. Stately Memorial Hall, principal classroom building, was built in 1925 by one of Britain's wealthiest multimillionaires. It equals in character and fine quality the fabulous Ambassador Hall (former Merritt estate) on the Pasadena campus. This proud and stately building, with the ornate formal garden in front, with large decorative urns, and an aviary; the beautiful large Rose Garden (finest I have ever seen) the exotic and breath-taking Japanese Garden with its winding little stream; the outstanding large informal English Sunken Garden; the expanse of gently sloping and contoured lawns with the very rare and stately Cedars of Lebanon -- all this, as our first unit of the English campus came to us -- believe it or not -- for eight thousand pounds ($22,400) -- less than the cost of a modern 2- or 3-bedroom home!
There were also superb horse stables, a cow barn, and an outmoded electric plant, beside surrounding fields, acquired at low cost. The horse stables and cow barns and electric-plant buildings have all been converted into dormitories, administration offices, dining hall, etc.
This gives you an idea of HOW these superb, beautiful, magnificently landscaped campuses, with their fine and stately buildings, came to us. They came, NOT through any "wealth" which we did not have, but through the providential BLESSINGS of the Eternal GOD, whose Work this is!
But they did set the standard of quality, culture and character, which we know is GOD'S WAY, and which we diligently work to maintain! But the PRINCIPAL beauty on these campuses is the fine spiritual and moral CHARACTER being built into these fine young men and women students, preparing for lives of service in this great Work! That is a rarity, these days!
HOW HAS THIS WORK BEEN FINANCED? WHAT DENOMINATION?
Just as Jesus Christ joined NONE of the sects or religious denominations more than 1939 years ago, so this, HIS WORK today, is NON-denominational. It is, simply, the WORK OF GOD, carrying out CHRIST'S COMMISSION, preaching HIS Gospel straight from the shoulder, without fear or favor, not to please men but to please GOD -- not by the will of men or by the sponsorship of any organization, but in THE POWER OF GOD!
We have looked to God for financial needs. GOD'S WORK is conducted GOD'S WAY. Therefore we cannot beg or solicit the public for money. We cannot put a price on the Gospel, or any Gospel literature. God's Word says: "Buy the Truth and sell it NOT." (Prov. 24:6.) But, according to Biblical example, we do remind those who voluntarily become Co-Workers with Christ, and with us in this Work, of the financial need and of the obligation Christ places on them in regard to tithes and offerings for His Work, even as Moses did, and as Paul did.
At first, this request went out only to the little handful of brethren in Oregon whom we knew personally to be children of God. But as the Work grew, we found that a small portion of those who requested The PLAIN TRUTH or other free literature did voluntarily begin to send in contributions, unsolicited.
HOW, from then on, could I know who, of those on our mailing list, were God's people? Jesus Christ said that where one's treasure is, there will his heart be also. Therefore I was safe in assuming that when one had voluntarily, without solicitation, put contributions into the Work of God at least twice within six months, that person's heart was in the Work of Christ's GOSPEL.
Therefore I began to send to such people a letter explaining this, and telling them that I was placing their names on a special mailing list of Co-Workers, to receive a special monthly letter from me, telling them of the progress of the Work in which they now were interested Co-Workers -- and, when funds were needed, ASKING THEM for financial help.
NO ONE is ever asked to become a Co-Worker. NO ONE is ever solicited for contributions -- unless or until he or she has voluntarily become a Co-Worker by putting money into this Work twice within six months. Of the vast family who read The PLAIN TRUTH, only about one out of 32 has ever sent, or been asked to send any money for the support of this world-wide Work of God. And, of course, NONE of the many other MILLIONS who listen to The WORLD TOMORROW every week, has ever sent us, or been asked to send, a single penny for the support of this Work. HOW can SO MUCH be accomplished -- be GIVEN -- on so little? The living CHRIST heads and directs this Work -- has given us, His instruments, the "KNOW-HOW" to make every dollar go the farthest. And I know of no operation of any kind where every single dollar accomplishes so much good!
Through the years, our faith has been severely tried! God has supplied our NEEDS -- but He never supplies human "wants" -- only the bare needs! Right now we are again coming to that time of year when our faith is specially tried -- when even many Co-Workers seem to forget CHRIST and the need of His Work -- spending all their money EXCHANGING GIFTS with friends, relatives, etc. Of course, they have supposed they are following example of the wise men who gave gifts to the Christ-child. Perhaps few realize that they did not give those gifts on His birth-day, but a considerable time later -- and NOT as a "birthday present" -- but because it was Eastern custom to present a gift when visiting an important personage. And they gave their gifts to CHRIST -- not to each other!
But what I REALLY want to offer you is a brand-new booklet just now going to press -- "THE WONDERFUL WORLD TOMORROW -- What It Will Be Like." Actually, it is the very PICTURE of the Gospel itself -- the Good News of the KINGDOM OF GOD ruling ALL NATIONS. It shows vividly, strikingly, accurately according to prophecy, WHAT this earth will be like WHEN Christ returns to actually set up the Kingdom of God.
This booklet is accurately based on God's own prophecies, showing JUST WHAT TOMORROW'S WORLD WILL BE LIKE. The deserts becoming rich, tillable soil. Abundant food for ALL -- even the populous nations where millions now are starving! A world filled with great wealth -- gold, silver, diamonds! Sickness and disease being replaced by robust, vigorous HEALTH! NO MORE WARS! The POPULATION EXPLOSION solved! Crime wiped out! Ignorance and illiteracy over much of today's world replaced by RIGHT EDUCATION! Everyone filled with HOPE, ambition, enthusiasm! The whole world speaking ONE LANGUAGE! You'll see described and pictured the new monetary system, the new world government, the new system of education. Only ONE TRUE RELIGION. with Jesus Christ here IN PERSON, in all the splendor, the POWER, and the GLORY of the Creator GOD! Abraham, Moses, King David -- Elijah, Daniel, Samuel -- Peter and the original apostles -- and the Apostle Paul -- yes, they'll be there, ALIVE, resurrected, immortal! You'll read of what they will be DOING!
Today we read nothing but BAD NEWS, it seems, in our newspapers. Along with this startling NEW booklet -- NEVER BEFORE OFFERED -- we will include an actual NEWSPAPER -- printed by us, of course -- dated some 20 years from now, showing according to the SURE WORD OF PROPHECY, what kind of NEWS you will be reading, then! THINK OF IT! ALL GOOD NEWS! The world at PEACE, at last! The Kingdom of God, with the returned, glorified, ALL-POWERFUL CHRIST as the KING of kings and LORD of lords -- ruling all nations! Happiness, prosperity, vigorous good health beginning to grip the earth. But I mustn't tell you more, now. I want you to READ IT! It is EXCITING -- Thrilling -- and it is ABSOLUTELY TRUE, and SURE! I'm sure there has never been any book like it.
It's not a big, hard cover, expensive book, of course -- we can't afford that -- but it is a reasonably large, well-illustrated, attractively printed booklet. It's FREE. NO PRICE on it! Nor is this explanation of HOW God's Work started, grew, and is financed, to be construed in any way as a request for money or contributions! IT IS NOT, please believe me! But we receive SO MANY letters asking HOW this Work is financed, I feel our readers are entitled to the frank, straight-forward and truthful ANSWER. Let me close by saying candidly and sincerely, I want NO ONE to feel "obligated," or that anything is "expected" from those who listen to The WORLD TOMORROW broadcast, or receive no-cost literature from us. When we say "FREE" -- we MEAN "FREE"! Christ said it is more blessed to GIVE than to receive! WE BELIEVE CHRIST! We have learned the joy of GIVING and we are happy to GIVE these good things to you! That isn't this world's way, I know!
Before closing this letter, I must answer another very important question. Many have noticed recently that The PLAIN TRUTH is published by, and The WORLD TOMORROW is sponsored by, Ambassador College, while formerly it was the Radio Church of God. This is done IN THE INTERESTS OF GOD'S WORK. First, the Gospel CHRIST commissioned us to preach is, in fact, an EDUCATIONAL Message. Second, most high-prestige, super-power radio stations refuse to accept religious programs from church sponsorship. Third, we reach perhaps TEN TIMES more listeners with The WORLD TOMORROW with CHRIST'S OWN MESSAGE delivered, however, in modern language as an educational program than we could if we followed the pattern of religious broadcasts. So, the RADIO CHURCH OF GOD had delegated the broadcasting and publishing phases of God's great Work to Ambassador College in the interests of more efficiency, and far bigger results. Actually, the RADIO CHURCH OF GOD is still back of it, because it is back of the colleges. God has shown us how to make every dollar in His Work ACCOMPLISH THE MOST!
So I close hoping you'll give me the JOY of sending you the FREE copy of this booklet I have reserved FOR YOU. And again THANKING YOU sincerely, with gratitude, for your interest in the good things of God! For your convenience in ordering your free booklet, an order card and self-addressed return envelope is enclosed.
Sincerely, in Jesus' name,
Herbert W. Armstrong