|Autobiography of Herbert W Armstrong - Volume I
Uphill All the Way WE HAD come, in the previous chapter, to the spring of 1935. Now I should like to backtrack briefly.
The broadcast had started the first Sunday in January, 1934. The first issue of The Plain Truth, mimeographed, came out February 1, 1934. The third point of the "Three-Point-Campaign" got under way the first of April, with the small-scale evangelistic campaign in downtown Eugene, Oregon.
Old Notation Discovered In an earlier chapter I mentioned that the broadcast was started with pledges for slightly more than half of its $2.50 weekly cost. That $2.50 per half hour on radio station KORE was almost a donation from its owner, Mr. Frank Hill. He probably gave the $2.50 to the announcer as a slight bonus for opening the station 30 minutes earlier. KORE had been going on the air with its Sunday programming at 10:30 a.m. To clear time for my half hour, Mr. Hill simply moved his operating schedule up a half hour earlier.
Now $2.50 per week may seem a little ridiculous today, as the price of a half-hour broadcast. It was not a bit absurd to me, in those days! We were at the very bottom of the depression. I had, only a few months earlier, given up the $3 per week salary I had received. A single dollar was a considerable item to us then.
When I stated, earlier, that almost half of that $2.50 radio charge per week had to be undertaken on sheer faith, I was quoting from memory. The last few chapters were written in England.
Since returning to Pasadena, I have researched in the dusty old files of the years 1933 to around 1940. The papers in filing folders are still intact in the cardboard cartons I obtained without cost at a grocery store. We could not afford the luxury of steel filing cabinets in those days. In those old files, stored in a basement store-room of one of our buildings on the Pasadena campus, I have culled out a number of interesting papers, letters, bulletins, and copies of mimeographed Plain Truths. Among them I found an old yellowed sheet on which I had penciled notations of the pledges for the beginning of the radio program.
Under "Pledges for Radio" are the following: J. J. McGill
Ernest Fisher 1.00 Mrs. C. A. Croffoot 2.00
T. P. Madill
1.00 John Davison & family .50
Edgar W. Smith 1.00 Mrs. J. W. Snyder
It may seem a little strange today that some were able to pledge only 25 cents or 50 cents per month. Perhaps we have been spoiled by today's prosperity. Perhaps we have forgotten those bottom depression days. But at that time 25 cents or 50 cents per month, over and above tithes and regular offerings, as a special pledge, may have meant considerable sacrifice. Anyway, those are the names that made possible the start of the broadcasting work that now covers every inhabited continent that has, today, probably become the most powerful broadcasting work on earth, worldwide!
And today, I say, all honor to those people for that initial sacrifice! It was not so little as it might seem, at first glance, today! God has multiplied that many thousands of times over!
When Almighty God does something Himself, by His own power alone, He does it in a manner so mighty and so vast our minds cannot comprehend it. But when God does a work through human instruments, He always starts it, like the proverbial mustard seed, the smallest. But it grows to the BIGGEST!
And so I honor those eight original Co-Workers. Most, if not all, are now dead, but what they helped to start lives on — in multiplying POWER!
On this same yellowed sheet of paper is the notation of tithes and offerings received of $11.75 — probably an entire month's income for my family's living! Also special offerings for the "Bulletin" I was then issuing, $4.25. But under it appear the notations: "Spent for Bulletin: stencils $1.75; 1 ream paper, $1.35; ink, $1.25; brush, $.15; postage, $1.50; miscellaneous, $1.52; total, $6.02. That was $1.77 more than offerings received for the purpose. I presume the $1.77 was paid out of the $11.75 family income, leaving less than $10 for a month's living.
I have taken this brief "flash-back" because I feel that few readers, adjusted to the prosperity and luxuries of today, would otherwise realize the rough going under which this work of God was forced to start.
Actually, at $2.50 per Sunday broadcast, I did have a little over half of the amount pledged. When there were five Sundays in the month, the broadcasting cost $12.50, and when four Sundays it was $10.00. The average cost was $10.83 per month. The $6.50 pledged was actually 60%. But taking that additional $4.33 per month on sheer faith was a bigger test of faith, in those days, than it is easy to realize today!
I had no idea, then, where that additional $4.33 per month was to come from! But I felt positively assured that GOD had opened this door of radio, and expected me to walk on through it! And I relied implicitly on the PROMISE in Scripture that "my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." And although God has allowed many severe tests of faith, that promise has always been kept!
Smashing Your Idol I think it well that the reader be given some idea of the financial hardship under which God's present worldwide work got under way. Some persecutors imply that I was in it for the money! Perhaps it is well to set the record straight.
And further because an advanced student here on the Ambassador College campus expressed great surprise, the other day, to learn that I had been forced to labor along for 28 long and lean years in economic hardship. He had heard that I had been "knocked down" by God economically, somewhat as the Apostle Paul was by blindness, and plunged into God's service. But he had supposed that the financial test of faith had consisted of some three or four comparatively short periods of perhaps a few weeks or a few months.
So let me say right here something about conversion I find most people do not understand.
The REPENTANCE required as a condition to being truly converted by receiving God's Holy Spirit is something far different than most people suppose. It is infinitely more than merely "seeing" God's TRUTH, or some of it, and being good enough to embrace and accept it. It is something altogether different from merely agreeing with certain doctrines.
Whoever you are, YOU HAVE, or you have had, an IDOL. You have had another "god" before the true living Almighty God. It might be your hobby or your habitual pastime. It might be your husband, or wife, or child or children. It might be your job. It might be your own VANITY, or the lipstick you paint on, or your business or profession. Very often it is the opinion of your friends, your family, your group or social or business contacts.
But whatever it is, that idol must first be CRUSHED, SMASHED — it must be literally torn out of your mind, even though it hurts more than having all your teeth pulled out and perhaps a jawbone, too! I don't believe that many people experience this painlessly. I don't know of any anesthetic that will render it pleasurable. Usually it seems like something more excruciating than the agony of death by the cruelest torture.
Now I had an idol. My whole mind and heart was set on that idol. I had worked hard, night and day, for that false god. My false objective was the intense desire — the desperate, driving, overpowering ambition — to become "successful" in the eyes of important business men — to be considered by them as outstandingly "IMPORTANT" in the business world — to achieve status. I did not have a love for money as such.
After establishing my publishers' representative business in Chicago, I aspired someday to own, or build, one of the finest and largest homes in the north-shore aristocratic suburb of Winnetka — with large spacious grounds constituting an important-appearing estate. I wanted to be considered important by the important.
Crashing Down to Reality I was so zealously set on that accomplishment that it became the god I worshipped and served.
God could not use me as long as I had another "god" that was more important in my eyes than He. Yet tearing that ambition out of me was like yanking out, root and branch, my very life itself. It was smashing dead everything I felt I lived for, and worked for.
So God first took away my business in Chicago by bankrupting every major client. Twice, later, He again swept businesses that promised multi-million dollar rewards right out from under my feet. He brought me down to poverty and to hunger.
But the bigger they come, the saying is, the harder they fall! And all this swelled-up EGO came crashing down, down, DOWN! I had been so big — so important — in my own sight, there was no room left for GOD! But God whittled self-righteous Job down to size! God drove strutting King Nebuchadnezzar out to eat grass with the beasts! God struck down Saul with blindness, changed his direction, and then his name to Paul. And God was certainly able to knock me down off my imaginary high perch — again, and again, and again! I had to come to realize that all this self-"IMPORTANCE" was pure illusion! I was brought down to earth and reality with a THUD!
Instead of ego, vanity, and self-IMPORTANCE, God fed me, for 28 long years, on the raw and scanty diet of humiliation and poverty!
Had God merely let me suffer financial reverses, even to the point of experiencing real hunger, for short periods of a few weeks, I would have bounded back and quickly set back up my idol to serve again! Had God let me suffer that kind of humiliation and poverty even for a period of a year — or even six or seven years — I probably would have resumed the same sense of ego once back on my financial feet.
But God had in mind, as life-long events have since proved, using me as His instrument in preparing the way for the World Tomorrow — for world peace — for universal happiness, joy and prosperity, for a growing worldwide work involving tremendous expenditures in HIS SERVICE. And He knew that He could never entrust me to handle HIS money, in the administration of HIS work, as long as I set my heart on money or the things money would buy.
Please do not misunderstand. It is not wrong to have or enjoy the good material things of life. What is WRONG, and therefore harmful to our own selves, is setting our hearts on these things, instead of on the TRUE VALUES! The LOVE of material things — the VANITY of wanting to exalt the SELF instead of God — of wanting the worshipful praise of MEN by being considered "IMPORTANT" — these are the wrong things to set our hearts upon. When the heart is set on such false values, the soul shrinks inwardly and dries up! THANK GOD! He saved me from such a fate by that 28 years of poverty and humility!
Dying to LIVE I was never converted until I was brought to the place where I realized my own nothingness, and God's all-encompassing GREATNESS — until I felt completely whipped, defeated. When I came to consider myself as a worthless burned-out "hunk of human junk" not even worth throwing on the junk-pile of human derelicts, truly remorseful for having imagined I was a "somebody" — completely and totally and bitterly SORRY for the direction I had traveled and the things I had done — really and truly repentant — I told God that I was now ready to give my SELF and my LIFE over to Him. It was worthless, now, to me. If He could use it, I told Him He could have it! I didn't think, then, it was useable — even in God's hands!
But let me say to the reader, if God could take that completely defeated, worthless, self-confessed failure to which I had been reduced, and use that life to develop and build what He has done, He can take YOUR LIFE, too, and use it in a manner you simply cannot now dream — if you will turn it over to Him without reservation and leave it in His hands! What has happened since gives me no glory — but it magnifies again the POWER OF GOD to take a worthless tool and accomplish HIS WILL through it!
But don't ever suppose it came easy. If a mother suffers birth pangs that her child may be born, most of us have to suffer that WE may be born again of GOD — even in this first begettal stage we call conversion!
And what does all this mean? It means that millions of professing Christians have been deceived into believing in a FALSE CONVERSION! It means, as Jesus said, "whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Or, in another place, "He that loveth his life shall lose it."
It means that the individual must be CHANGED! It is a change in what you ARE! Jesus Christ never pictured the way of salvation as the broad and easy and popular road. Rather, He said, that popular road is the way that leads to destruction — and the MANY are traveling that road. He said that many would desire to enter the Kingdom of God, and should not be able! Why? Because they are not able to give up this world — this world's WAYS — to give up being concerned primarily with "what will my friends — my club — my associates — my relatives say?"
Repentance means GIVING UP your way — the world's way — the world's opinion of you! It means turning to the WAY OF GOD — the way of His law! It means SURRENDER — unconditional surrender — to live by EVERY WORD OF GOD. Since the Bible is the Word of God, it means to live by the BIBLE! It means utter voluntary submission to the AUTHORITY of God, as expressed in HIS WORD!
When you come to fully realize what is the full implication of your rebellion against the AUTHORITY of God — of the Bible — it is not so easy to give up! It is much more than a change of direction. It is a change in what you ARE! That old SELF doesn't want to DIE! This true repentance is excruciatingly painful. It is agony! Jesus said FEW find that way!
It wasn't easy for me. How about you?
The only people of God, going His way, that we knew at that time were at the opposite extreme of human society from the great and the near great I had been proud to associate with. I thought immediately, of course, of what my former friends and business associates would think of me. They would regard me as a fanatic embracing superstition. It was humiliating. I knew it meant giving up all such associations. I knew it meant giving up my life's ambitions. It meant giving up everything I had driven myself so hard to attain. But now I was disillusioned. All that had been pure ego — pure inflation of VANITY. It was a blown-up balloon — and the balloon had been punctured.
When I literally gave my life over to God, I meant it! I did not count it mine any longer. Yet, had God brought me merely to this agonizing experience of conversion, and then restored me to economic ease and prosperity, I probably would have reverted back to the same goals and ways. The old cocky SELF-confidence probably would have returned. I probably would not have endured as a Christian.
So God not only brought me low. He kept me that way for 28 long years!
Yet living without this former "god" was no longer painful, once I gave it up. I had found the true GOD instead. I had found the overflowing JOY of receiving new UNDERSTANDING of God's TRUTH out of the Bible. I now plunged into the study of the Bible with an energetic zeal surpassing any efforts I had expended in the quest of material success. I found a new happiness and joy in the fellowship of those humble and lowly folk that was infinitely greater than any enjoyment experienced before. Mrs. Armstrong and I were now seeking first the KINGDOM OF GOD, and His righteousness. We learned that happiness does not consist of material acquisitions.
When God Opens Doors Among old papers, letters, bulletins in those dusty old files I find a mimeographed letter addressed to co-workers. Our little family of co-workers making possible this work of God was still very small — perhaps a couple dozen or so. The letter is dated December 20th, 1934.
It started out: "I am overjoyed to be able to make a most wonderful and important announcement. The Lord has very graciously blessed the work .... And now He has opened the way for far greater influence during 1935 .... A wonderful opportunity has come for The RADIO CHURCH to go on the air IN PORTLAND! This may be done by a hook-up between our present station, KORE in Eugene, and KXL in Portland."
A few other excerpts from this letter should prove interesting.
Here is one — and how true this is, still today! "But there is one fact I want you to realize. It has been said that if a minister would DARE to stand before his congregation and preach the PLAIN TRUTH OF THE BIBLE, he would not have a dozen members left. That is about true, for God's Word is profitable for REPROOF, for CORRECTION (II Tim. 3:16), and the minister who will use it to reprove and rebuke (II Tim. 4:2) as God commands, will find the time has come when people have adopted FABLES! We have DARED to preach the TRUTH! We have not minced words, nor toned down the Word of God. And but FEW will support such preaching.
"Yet," continuing the letter, "we have found a peculiar paradox. We have learned that people WILL LISTEN, over the radio, to the straight truth that would cause them to get up and walk out if their own ministers preached it in their own churches! They will LISTEN, over the radio, but they WILL NOT SUPPORT SUCH PREACHING! We cut ourselves off totally from their financial support — yet they LISTEN! And do you know, there are MILLIONS over the United States who will never listen to the last Gospel warning in any way EXCEPT OVER THE RADIO? They can be reached BY RADIO — and by radio ALONE!"
How true that has been! That is one reason GOD ALMIGHTY opened the door of mass evangelism by radio and, later, by television. Today, scores of millions listen every week — yet the numbers who support this great worldwide work, even today, are only a few hundred thousand worldwide, and many of them in the lower income brackets!
Yet, even from those early days in 1934, we have made financial needs known only to those FEW who had voluntarily, without solicitation, become active co-workers! We have never begged for financial support over the air. We have never taken up collections in evangelistic campaigns. We have never put a price on any Gospel literature! People must send in offerings or tithes, voluntarily and without solicitation — or else tell us they wish to become co-workers — before we consider them as such, or acquaint them with the financial needs of the work!
That financing policy was in effect from the very first broadcasting year — 1934! Every co-worker who helps support this work of God is individually responsible for reaching THOUSANDS with Christ's Gospel — because only one in thousands is a co-worker!
But the point I wish to make is that, by the end of our first year on the air, CHRIST opened another door! He opened the door for us to go on station KXL, Portland, then only 100 watts.
But at that time I was afraid to walk through that door — until after co-workers had PLEDGED enough money to pay for it. This very letter quoted above went on to ask co-workers for those pledges — totalling only $50 per month, for the year 1935. A coupon form of pledge was mimeographed at the bottom of the second page of the letter.
Our co-workers failed to pledge the needed $50 per month. As I remember, they pledged only about half that amount. And I failed to walk through the door Christ had opened. We had to wait almost two more years before God gave us another opportunity for His work to expand into Portland! Later other doors were opened, when I wanted definite pledges before walking through those doors. But definite pledges was not FAITH.
We had to learn, by experience, that when God opens doors for CHRIST'S GOSPEL, He expects us to start walking on through, IN FAITH, trusting HIM to supply our every NEED!
Whenever we have done this, God has always supplied the need — though He has given us severe tests of faith. Whenever we have refused to follow where Christ leads until the money is on hand, the money has never come!
And so the entire year 1935 went by and we were still on only the one little 100-watt station in Eugene, Oregon!
My First Car During the year 1935, we continued grinding out a hand-made Plain Truth on the antiquated Neostyle. The mailing list had started with 106 names. But through 1934 and 1935 it continued to grow as a result of the radio program.
Evangelistic meetings continued, Sunday nights, through most of 1935 at our "Little Church at the End of West Eighth Avenue." I had taken out time for a short six-nights-a-week campaign of perhaps two weeks at the Clear Lake schoolhouse between Eugene and Alvadore. Also I had conducted a two- or three-week campaign at a schoolhouse near Globe, Oregon, some 40 miles north of Eugene.
A Bulletin dated March, 1935, announced the addition of 200 copies to the Plain Truth circulation, and a radio listening audience estimated, by the mail response, at 8,000 every Sunday.
By August, 1935, the radio audience was estimated at 10,000.
I find a letter dated September 19,1935, sent out by three members of the Eugene church, telling members and co-workers of our dire need of an automobile. I had not owned a car since leaving Salem for Astoria in December, 1931. For all these meetings I had held 8 miles, 12 miles, and 15 miles west of Eugene, I had been forced to hitch-hike a ride or be taken by someone attending who had a car.
A few excerpts from this letter may throw additional light on the circumstances of the time. Here are a few:
"Dear Friend: We want to bring to your attention a few facts that have not been known, about the work, ministry, and circumstances of your radio pastor and editor .... He started this work of Bible evangelism without any money or income of his own. He has received no salary or income from any organization, but solely on sheer faith in the Lord to supply his needs and those of his family .... To do this, Brother Armstrong and his family have sacrificed in a way you little dream of .... Most of the time Brother Armstrong has been preaching six to nine times a week. He and his wife do all the work of printing, folding, addressing, stamping and mailing out The Plain Truth, themselves, to save expenses .... We are three of the many who have been converted by his preaching during the past year. Now this work is expanding .... He has urgent call to open evangelistic meetings at once near Salem. The way is opening for him to go on the air in Portland .... But Brother Armstrong is severely handicapped, and may be prevented from expanding this great work, because he has no car. The time has come when he must take quick trips back and forth between Portland, Salem, and Eugene. He must also have a way to get around to visit more of his radio audience, especially the sick and afflicted who call upon him for prayer. So we, the undersigned, have taken it upon ourselves as a committee of three, to try with the Lord's help and blessing, to provide a car for this great purpose .... We have in mind not even the lowest priced new car, but a used car, the lowest priced car that will serve the purpose and cover the mileage he now will have to cover. One of the undersigned is an experienced mechanic and automobile man, and will select the right car for the purpose. We three are starting this fund, at a sacrifice to ourselves."
As a result of their letter, a fund of $50 was raised. We purchased a used 1929-model Graham-Paige, in Portland. The price was $85. We signed papers for paying the additional $35, with the understanding I was to have ten days to pay it in cash and save the carrying charges of a year's payment contract. I borrowed the $35 and paid for the car. Afterward the man from whom I borrowed it — and I believe it was Ernest Fisher — figured that he owed that amount of tithe money, and cancelled the note.
Back in the proud old Chicago days, it would have been a very painful blow to pride to have accepted a car in that manner.
Along in those early years, 1934 to 1936, I sometimes laughingly boasted that "I have a suit of clothes for every day in the week — and this is it!" But that one suit finally became threadbare. It became a handicap to the work. Mr. Elmer Fisher decided I had to have a new one, and took me to the Montgomery-Ward store and bought me a new $19.89 suit. It may have been a year and a half or two years later when that one was looking equally unpresentable. At that time Milas Helms, near Jefferson, formed two committees, one headed by him at Jefferson, and the other at the Eugene church, to solicit contributions from members for another new suit. They raised $35.
Through these years my wife wore used clothes her sister sent her, and how we shifted to keep our children clothed I do not remember — except that one woman at Alvadore stopped tithing by saying:
"Well, I'm not going to let any of my tithes go to buy silk stockings for those Armstrong girls." She said cotton stockings were good enough for them. Yet ALL other girls in high school wore silk stockings! This was before the days of nylons. Had our girls worn cotton stockings, they would have been ridiculed and laughed at by the other girls. Mrs. Armstrong did not want this to happen. She prevented it by accepting worn silk stockings from others, with runs in them, and sewing up the runs — for both her daughters, and herself.
It was incidents like this that soured and prejudiced our children against God's truth. Through those years most of the members of the church in Eugene lived better, economically, than we.
I have a letter written November 13, 1935, showing that at that time, after almost two years on the air with the radio program, the income of the work was running around $40 to $45 per month.
It was sometime during 1935 that opportunity came to purchase a small house of our own on West Sixth Avenue in Eugene. Certain of the church members raised the down payment. On this I have to trust memory. No figures are at hand, as I write. But I believe the price was $1,900, with 10%, or $190 down and 1% of the $1,710 balance, or $17.10 per month payments. The church members agreed that if I were able to keep up the payments, the property, when paid out, should be deeded to me. It was deeded to the three officers of the church and myself, as trustees for the Church, which made it church ownership.
More Persecution There had come a request for me to hold evangelistic meetings of about three weeks in the Eldreage schoolhouse on a country road 12 miles north of Salem, Oregon.
In previous chapters I have had a great deal to say about Mr. and Mrs. O. J. Runcorn. We had come to regard them as our "spiritual" parents. They lived in Salem during these years. Their son, Fern Runcorn, and his family lived in this community close to the Eldreage school, and Mr. Fern Runcorn was a member of the school board. It was through him that permission was obtained by the board to hold the meetings. I was invited to be his guest while they were being held.
This school was one of the newer two-room schools. The rooms were divided by folding or sliding doors. These could be opened so that the two rooms became one larger auditorium room.
While it was a country community, we had an attendance running from 50 to 70 each night. Among them were some 15 teenagers, including a few husky 16-year-old overgrown boys. They did not come because they hungered and thirsted for God's Truth. They came for mischief. They sat in the rear seats, making loud cat-calls and weird noises, trying to disrupt the preaching.
Mr. Runcorn had warned me about them in advance. He said that if I attempted to quiet them or discipline them in any way, I would find all the adults resenting it, and attendance would stop. I could not understand why, but he warned me that the people there were accustomed to this noisy confusion, and would resent any effort of mine to stop it.
Consequently, when the nuisance started, I stopped my preaching long enough to say that I had been warned against trying to stop it.
"Now," I said, "if that's the way you people want it, that's the way you may have it. These boys are sitting at the rear. They are closer to you people than they are to me. If you can stand it, I can. But if and when you get tired of it, and want it stopped, I shall STOP IT!"
When these young rowdies saw they could not break up my meetings that way, after a few nights they broke into the school one night after midnight, breaking a window, and stealing a number of books.
Next evening Mr. Runcorn said the chairman of the school board had called a board meeting, and he and the third member had voted to refuse permission for the meetings to continue, on the ground that my presence there was endangering school property. But I learned also that the chairman of the school board was a member of a certain church, of which about half of all the residents of the neighborhood were members, and that he, himself, had deliberately instructed these boys to break into the school building, in order to give him the opportunity to deny the use of the building to me.
That rather aroused my indignation. I was to be allowed this one more service that same night. At this service, I announced to the congregation what had happened. I told them I did not want to be a party to a religious war in this religiously divided community, but I believed God would give me wisdom to handle the situation. I felt confident the board decision would be reversed before the following night, and advised all to come.
Next morning I drove to the Sheriff's office in Salem. I asked him if his office was willing to uphold the Constitution of the United States which guarantees the right of peaceful assembly.
"Mr. Armstrong," he said, "if there is anything this office will stand firmly behind, it is the right of peaceful assembly. What's your trouble, and what can we do for you?"
I explained what had happened. I asked for two deputy sheriffs to be present each night, beginning at the time of the meetings, until about two hours after midnight, to prevent further breaking in or destruction of school property. He assured me his men would be glad to put down the disturbance of these young ruffians by arresting them and taking them to jail if they disturbed the meetings further, provided I would prefer charges. It was agreed. The deputy sheriffs were to remain in the school play-shed just outside the school.
Next, I went immediately, with two witnesses, to the home of the chairman of the school board.
"Now, Mr. X," I said when he came to the door, "I understand that your only objection to my meetings is your fear of destruction to the school property, and your desire to have the property protected. Is that correct?"
"Oh, yes, of course," he replied.
"And of course," I pursued, "there is no religious persecution or bigotry in your action, is there? You are not trying to start a religious war in this community where half are of your religion and half of the other kind of Christianity?"
"Oh, no, of course not," he said, his face turning red.
"Well, then, since you are not doing this as a matter of religious bigotry and intolerance, but only to protect school property, I'm sure you'll change your vote on this, for there will be no further danger to the school property. I have seen to that. The sheriff's office is sending two armed deputy-sheriffs out every night from here on. They are going to guard the school property until long after midnight — as long as there is any danger. So you have no other objection, now, have you?"
"Well," he stammered, "I - I g-guess n-not!"
"Thank you," I said. "These men are my witnesses that we now have your permission to continue the meetings."
We left, and drove to the home of the third board member. I told him what had happened.
"You might as well make it unanimous," I said, "since the other two board members have given permission, anyway."
He was glad to do so.
That night we had a good crowd.
"At the outset tonight," I said, "I want to say that I am sure, after this breaking into the school building and the robbery, that you people will be with me in demanding the constitutional right of peaceful assembly. There are two sheriff's deputies just outside this door. The first one of you young bullies that makes a single disturbing sound is going to be yanked right out of your seat, and thrown in jail for the night, and I will appear against you and demand the severest penalty of the law!"
At the end of three weeks, the interest had increased, and the meetings were continued for six weeks.