I have to tell you that the tight financial squeeze continues —but wonderful opportunities for the future are opening to us.
These are days of stress, with a war of nerves, in the world. President Eisenhower says solemnly that the United States does not dare relax its vigilance a second. In carrying to the entire world the MEANING and true significance of this turmoil in world affairs, GOD'S work, also, must undergo a constant test of trials and crises, with tough problems constantly to be met and solved!
We are now off super-power WLS in Chicago! It is, in my judgement, one of the three most important stations within the United States that we could possibly be on. Yet other major stations are opening to us—so that the GAIN is constantly greater than any losses or temporary set-backs.
I want to take you into my confidence and tell you the Chicago situation. I have just returned from Chicago, Des Moines, and Minneapolis. The station rated as having the greatest metropolitan listening audience in Chicago is CBS-owned station WBBM. The powerful CBS network has three main network—originating centers—New York, Hollywood, and Chicago. In Chicago they have a large building of their own, for both TV and radio. It is, of course, extensively and superbly equipped. The sales manager of this station had actively solicited our business by long distance conversation with me—but there was a significant condition.
With our advertising agent, I was warmly welcomed at WBBM. In fact, we were given a real "red carpet" reception. After a tour of the many TV and radio studios, conducted personally by the sales manager, we were ushered into the private combination conference room and dining room of the Vice President of the Network, in charge of the entire Chicago operation. With preliminary tomato juice, nuts and appetizers served in the conference area, we discussed the World Tomorrow program, and they viewed a large prospectus in original color-photographs of tho Ambassador College campus, the new college in England, our new offices in Australia. Then a tape recording of a recent broadcast was auditioned.
It happened to be the first program of the recent series on the seven laws of success. In that first program of that series no Scripture quotations were used, and even the name of God was used only twice, and that incidentally. It was probably the only program I have ever broadcast that did not contain quotations and expounding of Scripture—but of course its purpose was to arouse the interest of a non-religious audience, and prepare the way for the programs to follow. The sales manager of WBBM had urged me, on the telephone prior to our trip to Chicago, to produce programs which, although getting over Christ's gospel MESSAGE, would speak this message in the language of the world, and without mentioning that it actually came from the Bible. In other words, a program that would appear totally NON-religious. IF I could produce such a program, he said, and IF the College would sponsor it instead of the Radio Church of God, and I would speak as a college president rather than as a Minister of Jesus Christ, he felt that this powerful station might accept the program for broadcast—and not only on WBBM, but all CBS-owned stations—possibly the entire CBS Network. That is why I had selected this particular program for them to hear.
As the program was getting started, the Vice President remarked, "I like the way it starts out—it captures my interest immediately. I never thought of it this way—now I want to hear what these laws are."
As the program progressed, after about 20 minutes, he said to the Sales Manager, "I don't see any objection whatever to this program. I think it would be a fine program on CBS."
As it ended, he said: "Mr. Armstrong, if you can produce programs like that, with no more religious content than this one, I would be prepared to take a few of your tapes to our president and board members in New York, and I feel that we might accept it for CBS."
But—here was the fatal CONDITION! It must not be in any sense a religious or Gospel program. CBS has a firm policy against selling any time for religious programming. They do GIVE free time every Sunday for three half-hour religious programs on the entire Network—one an official Roman Catholic program, one an official program by the national association of Protestant churches, and one an official Jewish program. But that is the extent of religious programming. I might mention here, however, that I am now speaking only of the Network and its Network-OWNED stations. Other stations, privately owned, affiliated with the CBS Network may sell time for religious broadcasting, according to the policy of each station. The WORLD TOMORROW is released by a number of such CBS stations.
Well, dear Co-Workers, there is the story. IF I could manage to deliver Christ's gospel MESSAGE to the world without using any religious language or terminology—without quoting or expounding any Scripture—without mentioning God or Christ, except in an occasional off-hand casual manner just like any educator or scientist or non-religious man might do—then it probably would be acceptable to CBS. Last summer I ran up against the same situation on Radio LUXEMBOURG. They would probably clear the most-listened- to-time of 8:00 P.M. six nights a week for us, reaching all the United Kingdom!
But HOW could I, or any minister of Jesus Christ, proclaim the Good News of God's coming KINGDOM, without mentioning Jesus Christ and His Second Coming to set up and rule that Kingdom as KING of kings? HOW can I obey the Scriptural COMMAND: "Preach the WORD" if I never read or quote the WORD?
Remember, dear Co-Workers, this is no criticism of CBS. Their policy is the one which, from their viewpoint, is right, fair to religion and in the public interest.
There may be some satisfaction in knowing that The WORLD TOMORROW is rated by top executives of CBS as the caliber of program that is acceptable and desirable for broadcast on that leading Network—provided only that we make it non-religious. However, our only mission and purpose is to proclaim the advance GOOD NEWS (Gospel) of the soon-coming KINGDOM OF GOD!
We are left, for the present, without a super-strong VOICE in the Chicago area. But this is THE WORK OF GOD. Jesus Christ came to earth to start this work over 1900 years ago. He is ALIVE today, and very active as the HEAD of this great work, directing it from high heaven, opening doors, working out circumstances. It is only a matter of time until Christ either opens another super-power station in Chicago—or else re-opens WLS. Don't think it impossible. ALL THINGS are possible with God!
Just recently 50,000-watt stations have opened to us in Seattle, Houston, Atlanta, and Miami, and another in Dallas, Texas, where a 10,000-watt station is to increase its power to 50,000 in September—and we are adding it to WFAA.
As a whole, God's work is simply LEAPING ahead!
Last fall the door opened for broadcasting on many stations, coast to coast in Australia, EVERY NIGHT, six nights a week. A month later we opened offices in Sydney, Australia, leaving two men there. About six weeks later we had to send a third man from Pasadena. Soon our manager there was forced to employ about four local people for the office. Then came an SOS telegram for more trained help from Pasadena. Immediately we sent a young man and wife—both Ambassador College students. On the heels of this, they were forced to double the office space in Sydney. And now we are having to send, from Pasadena, a newly-ordained minister who just graduated from Ambassador College.
In addition to the Radio broadcasts six nights a week, we are SHOUTING God's Message to all Australia in two full pages of advertising space every issue in Readers Digest—in both the Australian and New Zealand editions. This is sending a tremendous IMPACT over all Australia.
This very impact of power has raised pressure groups against Christ's Message. Very POWERFUL pressure has been exerted to force us off the station we are using in Sydney. This very opposition resulted in opening up time for us on a still higher-rated station —the station with the largest listening audience in Sydney! All this opposition was based on a false report from America, and it now appears it has been cleared up, and we feel the opposition probably will die down.
So the net result of this persecution, and organized effort to stop God's Work, has been, as always, to PLUNGE THE WORK AHEAD WITH DOUBLE THE POWER in Sydney!
I am leaving for England right after sending you this letter to make final preparations for starting the new college this fall. I wonder if our Co-Workers realize how providentially our Leader, Jesus Christ, is leading us in His glorious work.
As an example: in all England, so far as we can determine, there is only the ONE place that meets all the requirements needed for the new college—with classroom building, assembly hall, studios, dormitory buildings (needing only slight alterations), office buildings for the expanding work in England—and all of it already built. Another thing, these buildings were constructed in 1925 and after—virtually NEW by British standards. There are other country estates with one large mansion, but none has the additional buildings and grounds we require, and all others we know of are from 150 to 300 or more years old. And, best of all, we were able to purchase this entire 30-acre campus and buildings for a very small sum—only a fraction of what they cost.
Let me give you a further example of how Christ has guided us in astonishing economy in conducting His work. When the college started in Pasadena 13 years ago, we were not required to make even a down payment on the original block of property. We first occupied it on a lease and option basis. After 25 months the rental was considered the down payment, and it then became a purchase, the payments continuing to be the same amount as the monthly rental. This gave us the library building, then used as class-room, library, assembly and all-purpose building, beside a two-story office building, and the garden theatre with its Tempietto as a stage for an outdoor auditorium. But these rental payments and purchase payments were LESS than we had been paying for office rent in Eugene, Oregon, and charges for recording the radio program. We set up our own radio studio in the Library building, eliminating all these expenses. Actually, it REDUCED our fixed monthly operating expenses by some $200 per month.
So you see, instead of extravagant expenses in starting the college, we REDUCED expenses—in fact, were PAID $200 per month to accept this property and use it!
Some two years later we were able to purchase the adjoining property with its 28-room fine residence named "Mayfair." This became a student residence, and the rentals collected from students PAID FOR THE BUILDING. It is an income-producing property. Actually, it cost US NOTHING.
The same is true of the several other buildings turned into student residences. Later, after nine years, the most fabulous building in Pasadena, adjoining our other properties, was purchased at public auction for LESS money than it would cost to buy and set up the iron fence and gates around the west half of this property. And yet it cost the original owner over a million dollars to build this fine structure in 1905, and would cost probably 3 million today if it could be built at all—for the fine imported woods in it could not be bought at any price today. This was purchased for us by men who expected to simply donate it to the college. Most of the donation money failed to come through—but $35,000 of it did, and we managed, four years ago, to raise the remainder of the down payment, which was half of the entire purchase price.
And so it is that these fabulous properties, with the magnificent campus grounds, have come to us for less money than it would ordinarily cost to build a small, unattractive, poorly constructed "cheap" college.
I have felt that our Co-Workers ought to KNOW these facts—and to KNOW that a mighty small portion of the income for this great work goes on property and buildings—but, instead, releases the main portion of income for PREACHING CHRIST'S GOSPEL IN GREAT POWER AND MAGNITUDE OVER EVERY CONTINENT ON EARTH TODAY.
Without the college this work could not be carried on. The college provides opportunity for students to work their own way through—and employs them in important phases of this work while they are being trained for larger responsibilities. It is a MARVELOUS program. We thank our living HEAD, Jesus Christ, for it all!
Right now, however, the work—always growing at the rate of 30% each year over the year before—is in a most serious financial bind. Additional properties unexpectedly put on the market, within our planned campus zone in Pasadena, recently had to be purchased or our whole campus RUINED, with factories being built on ground jutting right into the midst of our college grounds.
I have had to ask Co-Workers who were able to GIVE large sums at this time, and all others to give as much EXTRA as they were able. I have also had to ask for any who could, to put money they might need later into the work on a loan basis, so that in the meantime that money could be WORKING for God. Some have responded generously—and to you who have, I do thank you from the bottom of my heart!
But it has not yet been enough to meet the large NEED. Some few, who have had money either in a savings account, or in stocks or bonds or other investments, have made this money available, so it can be working in God's work—and on a basis so that, where they have needed the income to live on, the same or larger amount may still be received while the money is working in God's work. We have found various ways to work this out, according to circumstances in each case. So I do ask each one who may have such savings or investments, to contact us personally, and we can then see whether an arrangement can be made without injury or loss to the lender or donor.
REMEMBER—whatever is given to this Gospel work as a donation is deductible on your income tax return. This work is incorporated under the name "Radio Church of God," and is officially recognized by the Internal Revenue Bureau as a non-profit corporation. Ambassador College is likewise incorporated, and officially recognized. If you give more than 20% of your net taxable income to this work, I would suggest having all over that amount receipted by the college. You are entitled to take a deduction up to 30% of your net taxable income each year. We do maintain a careful and accurate record, so that on request we will send you a receipt for the exact amount after the end of each year.
Co-Workers, we can't stop the Work of God from GROWING. I know it is going to take the rest of this year to work out of our present financial bind. IT IS MOST SERIOUS!
I have to ask each of you to PUT GOD AND HIS WORK FIRST, even at sacrifice of other things. I am personally sacrificing the remodelling and enlargement of my office. I need it very seriously —but I am postponing it until after this year at least. I have managed to make other major reductions in expenses up to about 12% of the entire operating expenses. But it still does not balance our budget. We MUST sacrifice to INCREASE THE INCOME beside.
That is YOUR PART in this great work of God.
THANK YOU! and God bless you richly for what you have done, and what I know you will do! The need is especially serious in this month of June. Make it the MOST you are able—whether that is only an extra dollar (the widows' mites are very necessary, too) or fifty thousand dollars or more—let each of us be generous according to ability.
It is SO URGENT, I hope you can send it AIR MAIL!