I want to take you into my confidence about a MOST IMPORTANT decision I must make for the future of this work, and ask your advice and help.
This may come as a surprise to you, but for some three years I have been thinking of moving our offices and headquarters into the Los Angeles area, specifically in Pasadena. To that end, for close to three years we have been holding Box 111 at the Pasadena post-office.
The work has completely outgrown Eugene.
We are up here in Eugene, Oregon, because this is where God started us in this work. It was back in the summer of 1933 that friends, won over to the Truth thru my preaching there two years before, called for me to come and hold meetings in a little one-room country school house near their farm, eight miles west of Eugene. Several were converted in the meetings, and I found myself with a little flock of 19. So I stayed on to minister to this little group, and continued the evangelistic effort in and around Eugene.
The first Sunday in 1934 I started the "Radio Church of God" on the local 100-watt radio station, the smallest in power in the United States. That month Mrs. Armstrong and I started work on The PLAIN TRUTH. I borrowed a typewriter and the use of a mimeo- graph, and Volume I, Number 1 of The PLAIN TRUTH came out February 1st — a little mimeographed paper produced and mailed (all 250 copies of it!) for a total cost of five dollars!
Surely this work started as small as it could start: the evangelistic work in a small one-room country school-house; the broadcast on ONE small town station as small as the smallest in the country; The PLAIN TRUTH a little mimeographed paper of 250 copies!
God ALWAYS starts things, thru human agencies, very small. The nation Israel started with one man. The coming Kingdom of God, to rule and ultimately to fill, the earth, started with a handful of disciples that momentous day of Pentecost! FAITH, too, starts small in us all, and GROWS GREAT! Yes, if God is in it, it always GROWS GREAT!
And this work, started by God thru us, directed and empowered by God and blessed by Him, has grown and grown from that very humble beginning. And it might now CONTINUE to grow. It has grown now until The WORLD TOMORROW has a cumulative listening audience of FIVE MILLION every week. The printers already have the order, and the paper is on the way, for ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND copies of The PLAIN TRUTH, next issue. It will cost us $3,000.00 to print and mail the May-June number.
It is still printed in Eugene. But it will take the printers ONE SOLID MONTH just to print and deliver to us for mailing, 100,000 copies. In Los Angeles are two large printing establishments with rotary magazine presses — there are only three such presses west of Chicago! On these modern presses they can turn out the entire 100,000 copies in 6 to 8 hours! I have negotiated with the plant which now prints the Coast editions of TIME, and LIFE, and SUNSET magazines. Because of mass-production methods and modern equipment and those giant presses, they can print a 16-page magazine for us in two colors for only about 18% more than we have to pay now for 6 pages in one color of ink.
That's only HALF the reason why we are being forced, now, to move into the Los Angeles area. Hollywood is radio headquarters for the nation. All net-work and private broadcast-lines originate in and flow from Hollywood. If the radio broadcast is to continue to grow, on more and more stations, we must be either near Hollywood, or New York.
In Eugene, I am forced to maintain a very costly private remote-control broadcast line from Eugene all the way to Portland — 123 miles. This costs us around $300 per month. A couple months ago our office rent was raised on us 50% in one jump. We need twice the space we now have, but can't get it in Eugene.
Now there is no office space available in Pasadena, or Hollywood, either. But by moving there we completely eliminate the $300-per-month line-charge; and, that, plus the cost of office-rent which we can also eliminate by building, will retire the capital investment of erecting a new private office building of our own, inside five years. That becomes a very sound investment, indeed! It may surprise you to know that our office staff has grown now to SEVENTEEN — and I expect it to grow at least to 30 in a year!
Of course there is the housing situation, too. There are, as I know only too well, apparently no houses to be rented in Pasadena or near there. So I'll tell you how we purpose solving that problem. As you probably know, Mrs. Armstrong and I sold our home, over two years ago, and put every penny of it into the work. We've always had a happy feeling over the knowledge that we our- selves have made the largest single contribution and sacrifice for this work so far. Of course, we've given our whole LIVES to it, too. But it's all that matters, with us. Well, in December of last year we were evicted from our home (which we had continued renting) as a result of its being re-sold. For a month or more we just moved around from one auto-cabin to another. Then a couple of up-stairs bedrooms opened up for our two boys, my wife and myself. At this writing we're still there. We do not even have cooking privilege, so are forced to eat all meals out. So, you see, we have no home as it is, anyway. Now in Pasadena our plans, God willing, are to add onto the office building a small two-room apartment where we can live until such time as God permits us to build a new home for our own.
There are still other housing problems which may be difficult to solve — but God will open the way for them. We do not, of course, plan to move our entire staff to Pasadena. At present my son-in-law, Mr. Vern R. Mattson, is manager of the general office. Our daughter, Dorothy, his wife, is in charge of the mail-opening department. Vern was in the Marines — started at the bottom, came out a lieutenant — and under the G.I. Bill of Rights he and Dorothy can get a loan to build a home of their own. That takes care of them. Then my personal secretary and book- keeper, Miss Evelyn Paeschke, and my correspondence secretary Miss Betty Hutchison, and at least two other girls in the general office will come with us, and we will have to manage rooms for those girls somehow. In the last BULLETIN I wrote you of how my other son-in- law, Jimmy Gott, is no joining our staff in charge of the mailing department. He and Beverly have the two little youngsters, and housing for them will prove the hardest problem of all. But meeting problems and difficulties is nothing new for us — God will open the way.
Now it will take time to select the site, get building permits, have plans drawn up, and complete the construction. How- ever, the way already has opened to us so that we are assured these may proceed fairly smoothly and rapidly. I am in touch with a firm of architects who, busy as they are, have agreed to handle the project and push it right thru. They handle large operations, and happen to have all the necessary contacts and connections to get what they want. The contractors they work with are engaged in large-scale projects generally, and they assure me that for a project as small as we contemplate they will be able to supply all materials. Special permission must be secured from the government, because of the freeze on certain types of construction, but due to the nature of our project my information is that it will be granted. It's marvelous how God opens up the way for His Work!
Now I come to the problem about which I particularly want to ask your advice. This is the selection of the building site.
The two possible sites which impress me best are shown on the accompanying rough map. Site number 1, at the approximate location of the "1" in the heavy circle, is WEST of the Arroyo, toward Eagle-Rock and Glendale, only a block or two inside the city limits of Pasadena. It is virtually on Colorado, just south of it, and south of the Annandale Golf links. It is on Highway 64 leading directly into Arroyo Seco Parkway and downtown Los Angeles. It is on a local city bus line and also on the bus line from Hollywood and Glendale to Pasadena, and might be much handier for our friends in Glendale and Hollywood coming to public services, than the other site over in the very center of Pasadena.
By the way, I see I shall have to interrupt right here and explain something I overlooked. We contemplate, in present plans, to build a church-auditorium for public-services, in connection with the office building to house the radio and publishing work. We may not be financially able to construct it all at once. The church auditorium may have to be delayed six months or a year. This — and whether we undertake to build our own auditorium for public services at all — will depend largely upon YOUR advice and that of our other Co-Workers in the Los Angeles area.
You probably know that two and three years ago I often held public services in the Biltmore theatre. Attendance there usually ran from a thousand to seventeen hundred. Once or twice, when the Biltmore was not available, I spoke in one of the halls down at the Embassy. But each time there the attendance fell away off, and many told me it was because of the location. Anyway, the Biltmore has not been available since. It seems there are no really desirable downtown locations available, and rent is very high when they can be secured. Now of course I realize we could never hope to enjoy crowds of 1,700 such as I have had at the Biltmore, in a location of our own out in Pasadena. In fact, we cannot afford to build an auditorium that will even seat more than a fraction of that number. What I have in mind at present is a modest, but attractive and substantially-built auditorium seating in the neighborhood of 250 or 350 people. Anything larger will cost considerable money — even this will take several thousand dollars. Yet, in selecting the site, I want to be sure to locate in the most accessible, and desirable possible location in Pasadena.
You'll understand, of course, that a central downtown location would be prohibitive in cost. The ground for such a location would cost several times as much as the two general locations I have in mind. For our office there is no need to build in an expensive downtown location. One object in building is to escape having to pay rent in downtown office buildings where space is charged according to LOCATION where most people come, such as required by doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.
So now to get back to the two general sites we are considering at present. Site #1, as I said above, is on the bus line between Pasadena and Glendale and Hollywood. It occurred to me that this location might be MORE convenient for our radio friends in Glendale and Hollywood (and they are MANY), than the other location over in the central part of Pasadena. Those coming by bus from Glendale and Hollywood would have to transfer to a local bus after arriving in downtown Pasadena, to reach site number 2. Also, those driving their own cars would find site number 1 about two or three miles closer from Glendale and Hollywood, while those driving from Los Angeles would find it shorter to cut off the Seco Parkway at Avenue 64 and come to location (1), than to go on in to Pasadena and out to Colorado and Hill.
On the other hand, site number 2 is much more centrally- located for most of our friends in Pasadena — and it must be remembered that when services are held in Pasadena a higher percentage of Pasadena listeners will come than Los Angeles, Glendale and Hollywood listeners.
Location number 2 is in a general neighborhood of Colorado, Hill, and Holliston. There are a number of possible sites, 65-foot, 85, and 100-foot frontage, and all about 210 feet deep, both on Hill and on Holliston — from a distance of about a half-block to a block and a half north of Colorado. (It is about three ordinary blocks to the next street north of Colorado at this point.) All these locations are close to Pasadena Junior College. All are very centrally-located sites, in the very heart of the Pasadena residence section, all commercially-zoned, or zoned for building a church and office building.
My preference of these at location number 2 is a large lot 100 x 210 feet with large and beautiful trees, another old structure already on it to be torn down, but which would provide considerable lumber. Now this lot would give us almost twice the ground of the lot at location number 1. If we select the number 1 site, we will be a little crowded, yet apparently there is sufficient space there for all our immediate needs or anything I can contemplate within the next two years, with one possible exception, which I will mention below. One advantage, however, of site number 1 is that it will cost only half as much as number 2. The number 1 lot is on a prettier street — very nice homes across from it, beautiful trees over the street, but none on the lot itself. Yet, I am just a little fearful lest we might find our- selves cramped for space two or three years later. There is an adjoining lot we could add to this, but the price is too high, although the total price would still be lower than location number 2, and with this adjoining lot would give us almost the same number of square feet.
And now, since this is a long letter anyway, I want to take you into my confidence further and reveal, for the first time, another important step planned for the future.
We are laying plans now to establish a BIBLE COLLEGE. It is just as tho God has revealed to me recently, — it is so vividly impressed upon me, — that one of the next things to come in the progress of this great and true work of God is to be a BIBLE COLLEGE. A college utterly unlike any that now exists!
In no sense will it be a typical sectarian or denominational Bible school. In no sense will it be a "theological seminary." It will not in any sense be a "ministerial college," or school for training preachers — since only GOD can call one to Christ's true ministry. When a young man decides he would like to become a minister or an evangelist, and decides to go to a theological seminary or ministerial college or typical Bible college, the call usually comes from SELF preference and SELF interest, not from God. That's why there are so many preachers who are not called of God. We cannot go out and choose for ourselves those God would have, and call, for His ministry.
But this great God has raised up thru our efforts together never can reap the full harvest of souls, or accomplish the full good that is possible on a national and world-wide scale, UNLESS it is followed up by personal contact by personal workers, for which we are not, as yet, prepared. These workers should be thoroughly trained for their tasks. They should be competent. They should be CALLED OF GOD, filled by His Spirit. And out of this college of which God has given us the vision, will come SOME whom we shall later recognize God has called — who will be trained, fit, prepared in every way.
As a matter of fact what is contemplated is a GENERAL COLLEGE — the kind of college God would organize and conduct. It will be quite different from the ordinary WORLDLY college. We live in a "babylonish" paganized society, tho most of us hardly realize it. One of the most babylonish influences in the world today is the system of education — particularly higher education.
Mrs. Armstrong and I did not send our daughters to college. I'll tell you why. It is not that we do not believe in education, for we most assuredly DO! But universally today colleges and universities base their entire teaching on the God- denying, soul-destroying theory of EVOLUTION. Surveys have shown that 95% of freshmen, entering college, at least BELIEVE IN GOD — that is, in the fact and existence of a CREATOR. But 95% of graduating seniors are full-fledged atheists, who firmly have been convinced there is NO GOD! I would rather my children were ignorant, than to have a trained mind stuffed with soul-damning lies and MIS-education.
What God is leading us now to formulate is a college that will give a general SOUND education. No man is educated who is ignorant of the greatest text-book of all — THE BIBLE. No man is educated who is still ignorant of God's revelation to man. The Bible ought to form the very BASIS of all sound education. It is a revelation of things man would not otherwise know and could never find out for himself. But there are MATERIAL sciences which are EXACT sciences — containing the organized knowledge of material FACTS man has been able to OBSERVE, and MEASURE, and KNOW, for him- self. Among them are physics, chemistry, mathematics, etc. The so-called sciences of biology and geology as now generally taught are so intermingled with the REASON of atheistic minds drugged by evolution that they EXPLAIN things observed about the fauna and flora in a manner that all will someday come to recognize as ridiculous. All known FACTS of geology and biology only PROVE the CREATOR and the revelation of the Bible. This college will teach TRUTH, not fables dressed up in the guise of "higher learning," "rationalism," etc. We will teach foreign languages, so that those whose "fruits" prove them to be called of God to His ministry may be equipped to follow the commission "Go ye into ALL THE WORLD, and teach ALL NATIONS."
The faculty of this school will be composed of those who are thoroughly competent, and measure up to highest standards — those whose educational qualifications are fully adequate — those who are natural-born TEACHERS, not misfits — those who are living according to Christian standards, clean, moral, of highest character. I already have the principal in mind — a man thoroughly qualified, experienced in the field of education.
I expect to give most of the Bible instruction myself personally. Plans already have been formulated so that I can do this without undue strain on myself or over-burdening myself with too many duties.
Now I mention this to you — and it has never been mentioned to any before, except just those on our own staff here in Eugene — because this college will have a vital connection with the building program, and possibly the selection of the site.
The church building, to be connected with, and part of, the office building, will be so designed that the auditorium will serve as the college chapel, with classrooms in connection. Thus it will serve the double purpose of housing the school, and providing the auditorium for public services and a place of worship.
At present we plan to start the school not later than a year from this coming September. If we had the building and equipment, I could tell our listeners of this college on my radio program over the most powerful radio stations on the continent, and put an article about it in The PLAIN TRUTH, and we would have applications from all over the United States for two or three times as many students as we could take, the first year.
Since God started all things thru human agencies SMALL, and causes them to grow great, I plan to start this on a small scale — around 30 to 50 students the first year, with a faculty of two, beside myself. Now I believe that either site proposed would provide ample space for the school also, for the first two or three years, at least — since the one building will house it all. Frankly, knowing how God causes everything in which HE is working to grow greater and greater, I expect the college to outgrow the facilities now planned inside two or three years. But if and when it does — if and when it comes to need additional buildings, a campus, etc., then we can remove the college from the structure now planned, find ground for a campus perhaps farther out, in another location, and build new buildings. We can cross that bridge when we come to it. Either site now being considered, however, is ample for all that is being now contemplated.
Now, dear friends and Co-Workers in Southern California, this is a most important step we are contemplating. It is no small and light matter to move a work that has developed as large as this, more than a thousand miles. But, in order that The PLAIN TRUTH may at last be published EVERY MONTH, not less than 16 pages and more attractively than now — in order that the radio broad- casting may now grow as a great national and international power — it seems that the move is imperative.
It will strain the financial resources of this work to the limit just to build the office structure to house the radio and publishing work. We plan now to build into the new building our own printing department, with a modern new press for doing all our own printing except The PLAIN TRUTH, which is now too large for any but a major-size magazine rotary press — and that will be substantial — of concrete fire-proof construction — along plain, simple, clean and neat architectural lines — one that will be a credit to God and His work, as well as to Pasadena and Southern California.
It seems to me that, if possible, we should also build the church auditorium as a part of the same building, and at the same time. But frankly, without local help, we cannot now under- take to finance so much. All I know to do is put the proposition up frankly and candidly to all our Co-Worker family in Southern California. Do YOU want us to have a place where I can conduct regular public services — part of the time EVERY-NIGHT services — and at least SUNDAY NIGHTS the rest of the time? Will YOU make a real sacrifice to HELP build it, and make, either a sizable contribution to this special building fund, or pledge, conditioned on continued ability of course, a series of MONTHLY special offerings for this special fund?
Right now we need God's wisdom and guidance. I am asking Him for it, and I know He will give it and make His will clear and plain. But in multitude of counsel there is safety, and so I ask all our Southern California Co-Workers for their counsel and advice. Will YOU, therefore, PRAY EARNESTLY over this very important decision I must make — as to whether to move to Southern California — as to WHICH site we should select — as to whether we shall be able to include a church auditorium of our very own in this project? My, what a wonderful opportunity this seems to be for the future of the work! It means more and harder work for me personally — but it means greatly expanded opportunity for service — a work that ultimately will reach and influence fifty million or more people in the United States alone — a work that will carry the last warning Gospel Message to the uttermost parts of the world, quickly, powerfully! And a work that will ultimately have that intensive, personal-contact influence in all parts of the country! It is a vision of truly great magnitude, the greatest opportunity for service in God's hands ever to come to ANY people, at ANY time in world history! Can you grasp the truly great and marvelous vision? TIME IS SHORT, and WE HAVE A GREAT MISSION TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE IT IS EVERLASTINGLY TOO LATE!
PRAY OVER IT! Then please fill out the enclosed questionnaire, giving me your counsel and advice, and mail as soon as possible in the enclosed self-addressed reply envelope. Thank you, and God bless you for your interest and co-operation. I hope it may be God's will for us soon to have a closer and more personal co-operation together in this great work.