This time I'm really disappointed! And yet — also, once again I'm thrilled and overjoyed! Does that sound like a contradiction?
Let me explain.
It has become tradition, twice each year, for me to offer something VERY SPECIAL, very fine, and very NEW (absolutely free of course) as a gift of love to all our big family of readers of The PLAIN TRUTH. Desperately I have been trying to get written the new book on sex and marriage to offer you at this time, with this letter.
Mrs, Armstrong and I had to return to the college in England for the opening of the 1963-64 year — the fourth year of this new college. I was making good progress in writing the book, and then, on a plane returning to London from our new office on Geneva, two weeks ago, I felt a sudden heart-flutter. I felt my pulse. It was irregular, frequently skipping a beat. I was alarmed. I passed up the dinner served on the plane.
All my life my heart has been strong. Never before had I experienced anything of this nature. But the many responsibilities of this large and constantly-growing Work have driven me to a hard pace. I knew I was nearly a year past-due to slow down and recharge the nerve-batteries with rest and a fast.
Arriving back at the college that evening, I decided I must take no more chances — I must STOP right where I was, go on a stringent fast, get myself back into top physical condition, so that I may plunge on ahead in God's Work in high tension once again.
Actually, I have not been on the air, myself, with a new broadcast for several months. I have felt I simply was not in shape to do justice to a program. You may not know it, but when my son Garner Ted or I are on the air, in front of a microphone, we have to put about three times as much life and energy into that mike as you hear coming out of your radio. Otherwise it would be so dull and lifeless we would have few listeners. I feel that I do need to be back on the air, at least part time, even though my son and co-speaker is now so experienced after many years of constant broadcasting, and has grown to such maturity and power spiritually.
I telephoned my son at Pasadena headquarters that I was going to stop everything, right where I was, stay right here, and go on a fast. During this past two weeks of fasting, I have tried to continue writing the book. I know how seriously thousands of you want it — and NEED it. It is, more than you may realize, a tragic need. But, in fasting, one's mind is not operating on full power. Much of what I wrote had to be re-written. And I have simply lacked the strength, without food, to push it on to completion. I am in Chapter Four — it is a good start — but I am now forced, to my great disappointment which I feel deeply, to tell you I shall have to postpone offering you this book until next summer.
Yet, in spite of this, I am overjoyed — once again really THRILLED! I have just received word from our Ambassador College Press, in Pasadena, that they can now produce VOLUME THREE of the much-wanted BIBLE STORY book. We have not published a volume of this in book form, now, for a year and a half. About 150,000 of our readers requested a free copy of Volume Two, eighteen months ago. Thousands have wanted this next volume.
Two and a half years ago, we published the first volume of this BIBLE STORY. It was the first time in 27 1/2 years I have been able to GIVE something so fine to so many thousands of people — and absolutely FREE — even postage paid! It came about, then, as a rather dramatic happening. We had found that by having it printed in LARGE VOLUME — 100,000 copies or more — the cost per book could be reduced low enough that we felt we could offer it as a gift from us.
Then a year later, we offered Volume TWO. These two volumes included the first 30 chapters — or, the first 30 installments as they first appeared in The PLAIN TRUTH. THIS VOLUME THREE, now to be offered, will include the installments beginning with Chapter 31, up to the installments published about May or June, 1962.
But if you have only started reading The PLAIN TRUTH since May 1961, this new book will bring you portions of the story you missed.
Let me tell you, just briefly, about this book — The Bible Story. NEVER has there been a Bible Story book like this. There have been many, many Bible story books — TOO many, of a kind. But they seemed to me to have no mission, except to entertain children. They seemed to try to compete with the exciting fiction of violence which youngsters saw on television, or read in cheap novels or comic books.
These children's Bible story books were a disconnected series of dramatized blood-and-thunder stories of certain Biblical incidents. There was no connection between one and another, or with the Gospel. They were shorn of their real meaning. They seemed to me to degrade the Bible in children's minds to the level of nursery myths like Jack killing the giant by cutting down the beanstalk. Their REAL CONNECTION with the very PURPOSE of life — of God's message to mankind — was ignored.
Yet I knew all these incidents had real and deep MEANING. They teach vital lessons.
Children NEED, as they need life itself, an awareness of the basic TRUTHS of the Bible as they are growing up! If only we could get to them a knowledge of God — of the Creator and His vast creation — of His authority and rulership over all He created — of the basic knowledge of the very PURPOSE of humans being alive — of the vital connection between these Biblical incidents and the meaning of LIFE — that is what children NEED!
God supplied the man for this important undertaking. Basil Wolverton is a nationally-known artist in the United States. His work has appeared in more than 50 national magazines. He is a student of the Bible.
So, The Bible Story started, serially, in the November, 1958, issue of The PLAIN TRUTH. It is definitely NOT a series of disconnected stories of violence. It is just what it's title implies — the STORY OF THE BIBLE, starting with Genesis 1:1 the account of the CREATION.
Actually, it is NOT for children only. We like to say it is written for children from 5 to 105. In language understandable by children from 8 or 9 to 12 — plain and simple language — yet language adults will enjoy reading too — it begins at the beginning, and tells, interestingly, the story told in the Bible itself.
Did you know a continuous story thread runs through the whole Bible? Mr. Wolverton, with the expertness of a professional writer and artist, puts this plain, simple, but THRILLING story in plain and simple words. Parents can read this to a four or five- year-old, and with a little explaining, make it interesting, absorbing, and perfectly UNDERSTANDABLE.
Mr. Wolverton has stuck tenaciously to the literal Biblical account. Nowhere is the real true meaning altered or changed. Where it has been felt necessary, he has taken author's license to portray certain sequences in conversational style, or to add a few natural and obvious little incidentals for clarity and realism — but without "adding to or detracting from" the real meaning of the Scriptures.
And so I am truly PLEASED to be able, now, to offer you, FREE, your copy of VOLUME THREE.
I am writing this letter from my office in the college in England. I will telegraph the Pasadena office to order this HUGE PRINTING of 150,000 or more copies of this book — to run in the neighborhood of 150 pages — immediately. I will post this letter to the Pasadena office today by air mail. For those of you in the United States it will take a week or ten days for them to reprint this letter and mail to all of you. But I hope your copy of the book will be ready as soon as you let us know that you would like to have it.
For our readers in Britain, Europe, and Africa, I will leave a copy of this letter at our mailing office here, to be copied and sent to you immediately. A third copy of this letter will go to Sydney, to be recopied and posted to all our readers in Australasia, south-east Asia, and the Philippines.
In the past, in those semi-annual letters, I have tried to answer the questions of so many NEW radio listeners and readers of The PLAIN TRUTH, who ask WHO WE ARE, whether we belong to any denomination, who sponsors this Work? HOW can we conduct the WORLD'S LARGEST RADIO BROADCAST, beaming out 22 MILLION WATTS of radio power weekly — reaching 22 MILLION LISTENERS — on every continent on earth — and NEVER request contributions or financial support over the air, or in any of our free literature?
HOW can we publish a fine magazine like The PLAIN TRUTH, read by more than a million people every month, without any subscription price?
This time I shall not need to answer those questions in this letter, for we have, just off the press, a NEW BOOKLET, 60-page profusely-illustrated booklet, "The Inside Story of The WORLD TOMORROW Broadcast." This free booklet answers all these questions. It tells you who and what we are, how the Work began, how it is operated today — how the broadcast is put on the air. It's FILLED with pictures. There are pictures of Ambassador College, and of those of us in top key positions in this great and growing world-wide organization. You'll see pictures of the men who write the articles for The PLAIN TRUTH. This booklet TELLS ALL! Don't you want a copy?
Now REMEMBER! I don't want to force this newest volume of The Bible Story on anyone who doesn't want it. It makes the Bible simply come alive! I feel so sure you'll WANT IT, that I am going right ahead and ordering YOUR COPY printed for you. I hope you won't let it go to waste, but will let me know BY RETURN MAIL that you will welcome it!
Once again, I MUST impose a few precautionary restrictions. We can send only one copy to a family. We cannot send copies to others at your request — only to those who request it for themselves. And we cannot send bulk copies for you to distribute.
But again I am delighted, and so grateful that God has made it possible to print and send you your copy, absolutely free, including postage paid. The enclosed self-addressed envelope is our way of knowing that we have YOUR copy on reserve, ready to send you. So please USE IT, the first thing you do!
THANK YOU sincerely from the heart, for your interest in God's TRUTH, and for allowing me to have this great pleasure of presenting this Bible Story book to you, WHETHER YOU HAVE CHILDREN OR NOT. You'll want to read it, yourself!