A reader of this magazine challenged the Editor, demanding an answer. "I want it answered where all the subscribers of The PLAIN TRUTH can see the answer," he demanded.
A SUBSCRIBER DEMANDS an answer regarding the source of the financial stability of The PLAIN TRUTH magazine and of AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, its publisher. "I don't want any personal replies," he says. "I would like to see you donate a spot in the next PLAIN TRUTH for this letter and the answers to the questions asked in it." You are now reading in the spot donated. I have answered these questions many times. Still, many of our millions of readers may not have read the answers to some of his specific questions. We have nothing to hide certainly — still I have felt a little reluctant about giving this answer too often or too fully, simply because I do not want to violate our policy never to request contributions from the public — never to ask or urge anyone to become a Co-Worker supporting our operations financially. But this particular challenge, unanswered, would invite suspicion, and therefore I am giving a frank and straightforward answer.
The "Handful of Co-Workers"
The writer of the letter certainly cannot object to having his name and address appear. It is James A. Sutton, Route One, Uniontown, Kentucky. First he writes: "I received your personal letter to the subscribers of The PLAIN TRUTH today and I still can't realize how you can run an organization like you do (especially considering the size of it) financially from a handful of Co-Workers — they must be rolling in dough." I will quote and answer his letter a point at a time. This entire Work, sponsored by Ambassador College — including The WORLD TOMORROW program on both radio worldwide and television in the United States and Canada — is NOT sponsored or backed by any large commercial corporations, foundations, or individual multimillionaires. It is supported financially solely by the contributions of a group of Co-Workers, as Mr. Sutton already knew. But these Co-Workers emphatically are NOT "rolling in dough." I have only very limited information, of course, as to the economic status of our Co-Workers, but what I do have indicates that their average income level is probably slightly BELOW the average income level in the United States and Canada. Of course some people do seem to get peculiar ideas about the source of our financial support. One woman told my secretary that she was "absolutely sure" that all of our financial backing came from multimillionaire H.L. Hunt. My secretary assured her none of it did. But she stuck to her conviction. She was SURE — without any evidence, of course. Just out of curiosity, I stopped writing a few seconds at that juncture to ask our computer system. Our contribution records go back three years on the computer. It has no record of any contribution from Mr. Hunt in that period — and I feel sure he would not have prior to that. He supports a large public service work of his own, which is quite well known. Now about this "handful of Co-Workers." The whole story of the financial support of this Work is explained in the free booklet which was offered all our subscribers in my letter: "This is AMBASSADOR COLLEGE." I explained how a small handful in Oregon who had heard my lectures there volunteered to become Co-Workers to help disseminate this "Missing Dimension" education. That started the radio program and The PLAIN TRUTH. I explained how others, hearing the lectures on radio, voluntarily joined them as contributors.
It has been, all along, our policy never to ask the public for contributions — and never to solicit, urge, suggest or invite any to become Co-Workers — that is, regular contributors. Once people do, voluntarily on their own initiative, become Co-Workers with us, we keep them informed, monthly, of the progress and future plans of this worldwide Work, and of its financial situation and needs. As explained in the booklet mentioned, as others voluntarily became regular contributors, additional radio stations were added to those releasing our program, The WORLD TOMORROW. The radio program and The PLAIN TRUTH began 35½ years ago. Ambassador College was founded 22 years ago. There has been steady and continuous growth, under the same financial policy. We believe in GIVING, not selling. We have nothing to sell. We give, as those who have become Co-Workers with us, give. We BELIEVE in what we are giving. The "handful" of Co-Workers believe in what they HELP us give. Teaching, worldwide, on all inhabited continents, the meaning and PURPOSE of life, the TRUE VALUES as distinguished from the false, and the CAUSES of right results in life — in other words, teaching HOW TO LIVE — has changed and enriched uncounted thousands of lives. Yes, we certainly BELIEVE in what we are doing! If you want to see or experience it for yourself all you have to do is visit any of the three campuses of Ambassador College. You'll see the RESULTS reflected in the students. The family of voluntary Co-Workers, starting with the little original handful of perhaps a dozen of below-average income, has grown and multiplied through the years. That family of volunteer Co-Workers is the sole and only source of financial income for Ambassador College, The PLAIN TRUTH, The WORLD TOMORROW, and this entire worldwide operation. The only possible exception is, of course, the tuitions and fees received from students, and below-cost charges for food and room. Sound incredible? Probably. You have never heard of any operation like it. But it has been done for 35½ years — and is being done today! But some, through misunderstanding, have the impression we REFUSE to accept contributions. That false impression seems to arise from the fact we do not REQUEST contributions from the public. And further that we have nothing to sell. We are NONCOMMERCIAL, and NONPROFIT. We say "you cannot pay for your own subscription — it is ALREADY PAID." We even return hundreds of dollars because people send money to pay for our magazines or literature. But WE DO NOT REFUSE CONTRIBUTIONS voluntarily sent, to help us pay for SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR OTHERS! Yes we do, gladly, gratefully, accept contributions to help us in this great Work of GIVING, and SERVING OTHER PEOPLE! But we do not request, solicit, nor ask for such contributions — or for people to BECOME Co-Workers and regular contributors. And I do not say this here as a request, hint, or urging, but simply because a subscriber CHALLENGED ME, and I feel a frank and straightforward explanation, to clear up misunderstandings, is due our readers. Next, Mr. Sutton asks: "Who are these Co-Workers anyway? What do they eat, drink, wear, live in, drive, etc.? Simply, where do they get their money to live on, plus pay for the machinery and publication of all these magazines etc. that you people send out?" I answer, simply, I do not know many of these Co-Workers personally, but I do know they are mighty fine people who are making a real sacrifice to GIVE regularly, so we do not have to SELL on a commercial basis what we give freely. Some, I do happen to know, are contributing much more now than they did a few years ago, because they learned that tithing their income really PAYS — and beside contributing more, through tithing, they are living better — gradually able to increase their own living standards due to increased incomes. They learned one of the CAUSES for the effect of increasing incomes! As to what these people eat, wear, drive, etc., I know little. They all VOLUNTEERED to become contributors. And, of course, the number of them has increased steadily and gradually from that original dozen or so.
What Is a Co-Worker?
Mr. Sutton continues: "If you people work for yourselves and don't sell your product (magazines and information), and don't take donations, where does the money come from to keep an organization like that ticking?" I reply — well now, Mr. Sutton, perhaps I begin to understand your perplexity. Perhaps you supposed our "handful of Co-Workers" were the people here at Pasadena who work in our printing plant, our offices, or teach in our classrooms. No, most if not all of them are Co-Workers, too, in the sense that they, along with myself and the leading executives in this great Work, are contributors financially. But by the term "Co-Worker" in our own terminology we mean those who have voluntarily become regular contributors financially, rather than those we employ. I can understand, now, why Mr. Sutton wrote, next, "Even if you and all these Co-Workers were millionaires you would finally go broke spending money with no return on it." Then he says: "Come on, tell the whole story like it is." Well, Mr. Sutton, I think I have done that. And I hope that, now, you and ALL our millions of readers will UNDERSTAND — and that I have corrected the misunderstanding under which I see you were laboring — and perhaps thousands of others misunderstood the same point. Mr. Sutton concludes: "I'm not knocking the kind of work that you are doing..." and then his request for the reply, quoted earlier.