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45th Anniversary Issue - A Personal Message From The Plain Truth's Founder and Editor
Plain Truth Magazine
February 1979
Volume: Vol XLIV, No.2
Issue: ISSN 0032-0420
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45th Anniversary Issue - A Personal Message From The Plain Truth's Founder and Editor
Herbert W Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Ordained: 1931
Office: Apostle

Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.

Personal from Herbert W Armstrong

   Forty-five years—and still ahead of our time! Seven years ago I wrote on this "Personal" page: "Suppose you had the urge and the ambition to start a new, mass-circulation magazine—but you had no money, no facilities or resources of any kind to get it published, no means of gaining subscribers.
   "But further, suppose you had the conviction, because it was going to make the truth (God's Word) plain, that neither advertising should be sold, nor subscription price put on it. Further, suppose you had the conviction that it should be a magazine with exceptionally fine quality—not only in its reading content, but in its physical appearance."
   I think that if you told this urge to the publisher of a national magazine, he would shake his head in derision, perhaps call you a fool, and say, "IT CAN'T BE DONE!"
   Well, fifty-two years ago, I had precisely that "Mission Impossible" urge. It was the spring of 1927. In sheer faith that it would be accomplished, I spent what must have been most of all the money I had to have a professional letter artist design a front cover—with the name in clear, bold letters across the top: "THE PLAIN TRUTH."
   I had been on the advertising and editorial staffs of newspapers and magazines since 1911—16 years. And though I didn't know it then, I was to spend another year and two months as advertising manager and editorial writer for a daily newspaper—and still my dream magazine was yet to appear.
   Seven years went by. The Great Depression started in 1929. How was I ever to start this magazine without money? How would I get subscribers—even without a subscription price—because I definitely had principles against giving it to any who did not subscribe of their own volition? The Depression plunged the nation deeper and deeper into what seemed a hopeless economic condition.
   If a man lost his job, he could not find another. People who were buying their homes had to give them up; instead of inflation, we had unbelievable DEFLATION—and the value of real estate tumbled until a home being bought on payments was not worth anywhere near as much as the homeowner still owed.
   Yes, indeed it was "Mission Impossible." But I never gave up the dream. It came to 1933—the year President Franklin Delano Roosevelt closed the banks because the nation had HIT BOTTOM in the economic plunge. Meanwhile I had been ordained a minister of Jesus Christ.
   I was speaking six nights a week in a one-room country schoolhouse seating 36. It was eight miles west of Eugene, Oregon. Attendance averaged about 38 or 39—with a few having to stand for the service most evenings. I hitchhiked nightly to the schoolhouse, for I had no car.
   In October 1933 I learned that the one local minimum-wattage radio station in Eugene, Oregon, where I was staying, had a morning devotional program, 7:45 to 8:00 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. And I learned the station had difficulty getting local ministers to get up early enough for a 7:45 morning broadcast, even if no charge was made to their churches.
   I inquired at the station. A woman secretary said, "Why, yes, Mr. Armstrong, we'd be glad to put you on. What week would you like?"
   "Next week," I answered promptly.
   And the next Monday morning I had my first experience with "mike fright," but after five seconds or so I was breathing normally, and for the first time Jesus Christ's true gospel message was ON THE AIR!
   When Thursday morning of that week arrived, the announcer told me that the station owner, Frank Hill, wanted to see me. He had a handful of letters.
   "We've never received any mail from this morning devotional program before," he said. He had listened to me that morning, said I had a good radio voice and a voice personality, and he suggested I go on the air with a regular Sunday morning half-hour program. He even contributed to the cost by cutting the charge to $2.50 per program.
   But where was I going to find the $2.50 per week? I sent a letter to a small number, mostly converted and baptized from my preaching. It was the BOTTOM of the Great Depression. They were going to try to contribute half of the $2.50 per week. I went ahead, trusting God on faith, to supply the other half.
   That program started the first Sunday in January 1934. One of the most important things about the broadcast was that it gave me the chance, at long last, to acquire subscribers for my dream magazine. Incidentally, The World Tomorrow program has not missed a broadcast in all these years. But I still had no money to publish my dream magazine.
   Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. I went to the Eugene office of the A. B. Dick Company, which sold mimeograph equipment. I bought stencils and asked if they would let me use their mimeograph. I had to use the most inexpensive paper. At a cost of less than $5.00, I "printed" on the borrowed mimeograph machine volume 1, number 1 of The Plain Truth. Circulation was less than 350 copies.
   I offered it, gratis, to radio listeners. The first issue came out by February 1. Before another month went by, the salesman at the A. B. Dick office had come up with an old antiquated ancestor of the mimeograph, which I could buy for $10. Somehow that amount of money came in. That machine was an old Neostyle, but an even older model than the one pictured on this month's front cover.
   The words printed in that first issue of my "magazine" are still those that go to the world of 1979—only more so. It stated: "We live today in the most tenuous hours of earth's history. Today we stand on the very threshold of colossal events that will stagger the mind of mortal man." We did! We still do! Only, the worst is yet to come—to be followed by the WONDERFUL WORLD TOMORROW—A WORLD OF PEACE, universal prosperity and eternal life offered to all!
   I'm not sure I could have said "MISSION IMPOSSIBLE" accomplished—as yet. It was a real struggle, and a test of FAITH, to keep both the radio broadcast and The Plain Truth going.
   But faith plus determined effort was rewarded. We have never in these many years failed to stay on the air. Rather, by 1942, we started daily radio broadcasting.
   We did have to miss a few months, along the way, in publishing The Plain Truth.
   Meanwhile, tremendous changes have occurred in world events. In the past three or four years the thrones of nations have been overturned on the average of one a month. This was definitely foretold in biblical prophecy. God said, in Haggai 2:21-22: "Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen. ..." That is happening NOW!
   And from here on—WHAT? You will find it foretold in biblical prophecy, explained and expounded in The Plain Truth. Some of the world events we forewarned of back in 1934 are finally shaping up NOW.
   In all these years there has been no magazine like The Plain Truth. None today!

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Plain Truth MagazineFebruary 1979Vol XLIV, No.2ISSN 0032-0420
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