"The PLAIN TRUTH"
a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
BOX 111, Pasadena, Calif. 91109
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG, Editor
March 27, 1970
Dear Family of Co-Workers:
I have a very special ANNOUNCEMENT for you. A month ago, by letter, I gave you in advance a portion of my Personal talk to appear in the March PLAIN TRUTH. Once again I give you now an ADVANCE portion of my Personal page in the coming issue of TOMORROW'S WORLD.
For the next six months both TOMORROW'S WORLD and The PLAIN TRUTH will be issued bi-monthly. Important developments have led to this temporary change.
This change is necessitated largely as a result of the unexpected and overwhelming SUCCESS of the new worldwide circulation drive for The PLAIN TRUTH. This new policy was inaugurated in July, 1968. At that time we changed the editorial format of The PLAIN TRUTH. It became secular in appearance and language. Though it no longer had the appearance or sound of a religious magazine (indeed it never was like any of this world's religious magazines), yet it has continued giving out the wonderful knowledge of the TRUE VALUES, and THE WAY to the better, fuller, richer, more abundant life.
In President Nixon's 1970 "State of the Union" address, he recognized and stressed the NEED of a BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE. But he did not tell the nation HOW to achieve it! For 36 years The PLAIN TRUTH has been telling the people HOW! That is what our message IS -- the way to a better QUALITY of life! And the way to eternal life! We have been pointing out the TRUE VALUES, helping hundreds of thousands turn from pursuing false values.
But WHO ELSE has been giving the people of this unhappy world these precious things? Science hasn't. Religion -- the churches -- haven't. Education hasn't. The world's magazines and newspapers haven't. This precious knowledge can be known ONLY as revealed in the Maker's Instruction Book. But the theologians and the churches, it seems, have glossed over that whole third or more of the Bible which gives out this PRICELESS KNOWLEDGE. The churches and religions have used only small PARTS of the Bible! They have glossed over almost entirely the secrets of the real QUALITY LIFE!
Last month I wrote to you about the CAUSE of the tragedy of Biafra -- the CAUSE of the sickening condition in so many parts of the world, filled with poverty, ignorance, filth and squalor, disease and death. There is a CAUSE for all such UNhappiness. Also there is a CAUSE for the real HAPPINESS, vigorous good health, and QUALITY LIFE we are enjoying on the three campuses of AMBASSADOR COLLEGE -- in Pasadena, in Texas, and in England!
Here we are setting the living example! Last month I said we might call it "OPERATION HAPPINESS." These campuses are like oases of bubbling-over happiness in the desert wilderness of gloom, ugliness, discouragement, frustration, hopelessness and despair.
BUT, I have learned through more than forty years' experience that in general only a small truth-loving minority -- and the religiously interested -- will listen or read, when the message is given in religious-sounding or Biblical language! For the past fifty or sixty years, the anti-God, anti-Bible concept of evolution has permeated all education, from first grade through the universities. Belief in God has all but disappeared from the minds of those who teach our young and our collegians. A deep-seated PREJUDICE has been implanted in most minds against anything emanating from the Bible, or anything associated with Christ or with God.
So, to be able to get THE TRUTH over to the 95% we could never reach using Biblical language, The PLAIN TRUTH now gives out THIS SAME TRUTH in the world's own language. It avoids all appearance of being religious or Biblical. Even so, there is much Biblical teaching that is too spiritually deep for unconverted minds to comprehend. So the necessity arose for a NEW magazine, TOMORROW'S WORLD, for those who do hunger and thirst for these deeper truths.
So, as stated above, beginning July, 1968, we launched a worldwide circulation-expansion drive for The PLAIN TRUTH, and began publication of TOMORROW'S WORLD.
In the United States we purchased full-page advertising space in LIFE magazine several issues, one in LOOK, and we purchased advertising space in many issues of TV GUIDE (largest mass circulation in the United States). Our ads offered trial subscriptions to The PLAIN TRUTH. Also we purchased regular two- page space for the same ads in Reader's Digest in many of their foreign editions around the world -- in several languages -- English, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, etc. In addition we used full pages in the London Sunday Times and other media in England, besides the largest-circulated magazine in Germany, and other countries.
The response was OVERWHELMING -- far in excess of expectations. At the end of the three months' trial subscription, these subscribers were offered a year's already-paid subscription. An astonishingly high percentage renewed for the full year's subscription.
The PLAIN TRUTH is printed on our own huge web-fed magazine presses, full color, at Pasadena, at North Sydney, Australia, and at Radlett, England. But all this overwhelming response did TWO THINGS:
1) It shot The PLAIN TRUTH circulation from a little over a million to more than TWO MILLION COPIES. That was FINE -- GREAT -- GOOD. BUT --
2) This sudden jump in circulation of The PLAIN TRUTH forced us to buy additional huge 4-color web-fed magazine presses - build larger printing plants - increase number of employees in these plants - increase number of personnel on staffs in offices around the world. We had to immediately open new offices in New Zealand, and in Mexico City. In Sydney and in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, we had to move into much larger quarters. We had only recently moved into larger quarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. BUT -- we were not able to build fast enough!
RESULT? We had to build an entirely NEW printing plant in England, and in Pasadena, and also move our presses into larger quarters in North Sydney. But these plants already are outgrown! So in both Pasadena, and at Radlett, England, we are proceeding to DOUBLE the size of these plants. But it will take time to build!
We have to get along meanwhile in our new overcrowded plants. With circulations expanding, we simply cannot handle additional expansion UNTIL the new plants and additional presses and equipment are installed.
THEREFORE we are forced to SLOW DOWN operations in the meantime UNTIL our expanded facilities are ready. WE KNEW we probably would have to build bigger than we did. These NEW EXPANSIONS were planned -- but we did not want to spend the money to build bigger than the need. So we did not build the maximum size at once.
We are MORE THAN DELIGHTED at this overwhelming GROWTH and SUCCESS. We are SORRY we have to ask you, our readers, to receive The PLAIN TRUTH only every two months temporarily, instead of monthly.
Also, the savings in cost of production will ease the load of paying for the new expanded facilities. To this end, further, we will, until October, reduce the broadcasting of The WORLD TOMORROW on many stations to once a week. However, on most of the larger, more powerful stations, the program will continue through the summer daily.
We started a new magazine -- TOMORROW'S WORLD -- with the June, 1969, number, with a circulation of 125,000. This current issue has grown to almost a HALF MILLION copies in ten short months -- actually 475,000 copies!!!
REMEMBER -- our temporary bi-monthly plan does not shut off receiving NEW SUBSCRIBERS. It merely reduces the frequency of issue until new facilities and increased revenues make monthly issues once again possible.
But I must take you into my confidence one step further.
These cutbacks in publishing and broadcasting alone do not solve the situation, however.
Our operations have grown large, worldwide. With our publications, radio and TV broadcasting, and purchase of advertising space in the world's mass-circulation magazines and newspapers, we now serve 150,000,000 people. That is one out of every 24 persons alive on this earth! That involves the handling and expenditure of large sums. To remain successful in this ever-GROWING service in the public interest, we must maintain a wise and sound financial policy. We cannot be careless in the handling of funds.
Hundreds of commercial operations, including giant corporations and a very large number of small businesses, have been for a year or more seriously affected by an economic recession and the tight money situation. Cutbacks in the United States government's space program and the Vietnam war are forcing many firms, large and small, into serious financial trouble and in many cases failure. This general condition naturally affects us.
This great Work is financed by the contributions of 125,000 Co-Workers who BELIEVE in this vital program leading hundreds of thousands into a BETTER QUALITY LIFE! Although we DO NOT SOLICIT NEW CONTRIBUTORS -- all have become contributors VOLUNTARILY and without solicitation or urging by us -- nevertheless, it IS necessary to EXPLAIN that there is need, under present circumstances, to increase revenues.
The very GROWTH and SUCCESS of our circulation-expansion program has increased operational expenditures. Therefore it is incumbent on me to make a frank and candid STATEMENT to our readers of the ENTIRE circumstances that have led to the temporary bimonthly policy for The PLAIN TRUTH. This is not a request -- we want new Co-Workers to become contributors voluntarily -- unsolicited. But when additional ones do wish to have part in this great Work, in whatever amount, they are welcomed gratefully. (Incidentally, there is nothing to join, never any obligation.)
The new TOMORROW'S WORLD magazine was designed originally, when started last June, to serve the 125,000 regular contributors who were supplying the financial needs of this Work. But after issuance of the first number we felt that many others -- readers of The PLAIN TRUTH, and listeners to the worldwide broadcast, The WORLD TOMORROW, would also want to receive this sparkling new magazine of Biblical Understanding, edited by the Graduate School of Theology of Ambassador College. We offered it. The circulation skyrocketed. In these few months it has grown from the initial 125,000 copies to nearly half a million -- 475,000 copies the last issue -- 325,000 new readers besides contributors. So that expansion, too, becomes part of the circumstances leading to the bimonthly temporary policy.
So I felt personally that this complete and frank statement was due our entire readership. The expansion program has been an overwhelming success. It has also brought problems. They will be solved. This worldwide service toward a BETTER, MORE ABUNDANT LIFE is a most vital NEED in this unhappy world.
We know the world is HUNGRY for what we have to GIVE. Never was it so vitally needed. I repeat -- the overwhelming success of our circulation drive DEMONSTRATES that public hunger and that need. But we have to slow down temporarily, for we can only GIVE as we receive, and as facilities make possible. This temporary slowdown is like the cocking of the trigger of a gun. The Work will shoot on ahead faster than ever. It always has, after other temporary slowdowns during the past THIRTY-FIVE YEARS.
Co-Workers, these very conditions -- and our very SUCCESS -- has resulted in putting the great worldwide Work of God in a temporary tight squeeze. There are very encouraging signs that the financial recession the country has been in for more than a year is about over. An UPTURN has already begun. Just day before yesterday the nation's major banks reduced the prime interest rates of loans. This caused an immediate soaring of the stock market. It has raised hopes in financial circles of a soon-coming END of the tight credit squeeze.
Meanwhile, we must TAKE THIS SITUATION, AND THE ABSOLUTE PRIORITY OF THE WORK OF GOD OVER EVERYTHING ELSE IN OUR LIVES, VERY SERIOUSLY! We have to SACRIFICE personally, and willingly for the sake of the MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON EARTH.
All of our chief executives in this Work here at Headquarters, and in our offices around the world, have voluntarily and HAPPILY agreed to salary cuts -- of 20% for the top fifteen or so, of 15% for the next 30 or so, and slightly smaller cuts for another 40 or 50. This is temporary. In spite of the tight money market, insurance companies have given us large loan commitments for additional construction for our printing plants and data processing center and such dire NEEDS for carrying on the Work. BUT we are, ourselves, postponing the acceptance of these loans and this needed construction UNTIL the general financial condition of the Work has built up to normal. But it is indeed encouraging to realize that major banks and insurance companies on both the west coast and the east coast have that kind of CONFIDENCE in this Work and its management.
Now let's all PUT OUR SHOULDERS TO THE WHEEL, make what sacrifices we are able, GIVE what each is able, LOAN what we have that we are unable to GIVE outright, and soon that "cocked gun" will SHOOT the Work forward again as never before, until we shall have accomplished completely the GREAT COMMISSION to which the Eternal has called us!
Sincerely, in Christ's name,
Herbert W. Armstrong