|Autobiography of Herbert W Armstrong - Volume II
July 25, 1978 — December 18, 1979
July 25, 1978 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
Now we are beginning to prepare in earnest for the greatest Feast of Tabernacles ever.
Last Friday night, in addition to the weekly Bible Study in the House of God (Ambassador Auditorium), I recorded on television an opening Festival greeting to be shown by 16mm projector on large screens in every Feast site on the opening night.
Then on the Sabbath I did a full sermon, televised, to be put on 16mm tape to be projected at all Feast sites over the earth on the first Holy Day.
Last year, I was in the early stages of recovery from the heart failure of last August. But the four or five years before that I spoke personally at every Feast site in the United States and in Penticton, B.C., Canada.
This year I decided to speak at all sites worldwide, by having it projected on motion picture screens .....
I am sure you will experience a new uplift and inspirational surge forward at this great Feast of Tabernacles!
I am now turning over to the printers what I believe to be the most important book since the very first century! The printers are setting up a speedy crash program, to give us first delivery of this book by October 1 — in time for the Feast. Never in our time has any book or writing spoken as this new book will! Its title is 'The Incredible Human Potential'. It is the message of the entire Bible — put together as never before — from the prehistoric existence of only God and "The Word," through the creation of angels, the creation of the endless physical universe and the creation of this earth — on through the sinning of the angels, the renewing of the face of the earth for man — the creation of man — why man was put here on earth — why God left Satan here up to now — why the Old Testament congregation of Israel — and why the Church and its mission — on through the World Tomorrow for one thousand years — and then — the incredible potential of man throughout eternity — over all the vast material universe.
Much of this has never before appeared in print. Much of it will be new Bible truth to you! It explains the mind of man, and the actual source of human nature.
This book — full book length — will be available in virtually all bookstores in the United States and the English speaking world. It will reach an entirely new audience with God's message, heretofore unreachable!
Also we are updating, and getting before the world, such books as 'The United States and Britain in Prophecy' — back to full length! Also such booklets as 'Why Were You Born?', 'What Do you Mean — Born Again?', 'Just What Do You Mean — Salvation?', 'What Do You Mean, The Kingdom Of God?', and 'The Seven Laws of Success', and many of those vital booklets that built the Work!
God is rapidly increasing my personal strength, and I am now turning out more work than I have in the past twenty years!
I pray earnestly for you, and I also need your prayers! The Work is now fast picking up!
P.S. God willing I plan to speak in person at the Saint Petersburg, Florida, site the first night and Holy Day, and at the Tuscon site on the final Holy Day.
September 1978 Two of my personal acquaintances and friends, both heads-of-state, died — one yesterday, the other this morning.
Yesterday, August 21, President Nicolaas Diederichs of South Africa died in a Cape Town hospital after a second heart attack in eight days. He was seventy-four. President Diederichs was founder of the Afrikaner nationalist movement.
ago in Cape Town. We spent some little time taking photographs and in friendly conversation.
Then this morning my good friend, Jomo Kenyatta, president of Kenya, died at the State House in Mombasa in his sleep.
I had visited with him ... at his office in the State House in Nairobi and the better part of a whole day at his residence thirty-five miles outside Nairobi. He customarily spent every night in his suburban home, driving the thirty-five miles every morning to his office in Nairobi.
We had luncheon at his home with members of his family. He conducted us on a tour through a suburban self-help hospital, which he had built. He was, as am I, a staunch believer in helping others to help themselves — to help them get on their own feet so they can make their own way, rather than supporting others outright in pure charity while they do nothing to help themselves.
Through the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, we had undertaken to join with President Kenyatta in founding in Kenya a self-help school to help reduce the illiteracy of the country. He was apparently just my age — eighty-six, though he did not know his exact birth date. He was a very close friend — like two close brothers with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.
The emperor was just eight days older than I, and one of his lasts acts before he was taken prisoner by the military coup that overthrew his government was to send me a telegram of congratulations on my eighty-third birthday.
President Kenyatta defeated the British in the fight for Kenyan independence in 1963. He ruled one of the most stable governments in Africa. After spending several hours with him, I rated him publicly with the evaluation of greatness — one of the few such persons I have known in a life of acquaintance with hundreds of the great and near-great.
God rates people according to how well they do according to what they have to do with. Jomo Kenyatta started out with very little — as an African tribesman. He was a self-educated and self-made man whom I felt had reached the status, in this world, of true greatness.
January 18, 1979 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
This may be the most important letter I have ever written. The very life of God's Church and His Work hangs in the balance. This letter may have to be long. I want you to know all the facts about this master-blow of Satan to destroy the Church of God through the civil power of the State, in flagrant violation of the Constitution of the United States!
I thought on January 7, when I wrote you, that God had then given us the victory in this decisive life-and-death assault against Almighty God, Jesus Christ and God's Church. It was reported to me then that the judge in the hearing of that day had said he found no evidence of any wrongdoing. And that was true — and no evidence of any wrongdoing or justification for this monstrous outrage against God's Work has been found against us. Nor will they find any in our records — for few, if any, corporations have kept as accurate and clean-cut records as God's Church ....
Let me illustrate to you brethren, just how this great Work of God started. To start the Work, I needed to broadcast over radio. That required physical facilities for which I had to pay (at that time, $2.50 a week). To print and send out The Plain Truth, I had to have a typewriter, a secondhand one I bought for $10, and an old secondhand ancestor of the Mimeograph, a hand-cranked Neostyle, which I procured also for $10.
This Work always has required physical facilities to operate. Now the receiver is locking up our executive and other office facilities. This Work started with a little inside office room with no ventilation — no outside window or door — just a transom over the one door leading to a corridor and another transom over a covered window leading into a large room used for labor union meetings. Tobacco smoke rolled in. We could work in the office only one or two hours at a time, then had to stay out two or more hours until the air cleared — and the office rent was $7 per month.
These physical facilities are part of the operation of a Church. God commanded His apostles to go into all the world with His gospel message. Satan suppressed that message from going to the world for 1,900 years. And now he is trying to destroy the Church of God in order to stop that message from going out to all the world ....
Brethren, anyone can sue anyone for anything at any time. That's the kind of justice system in Satan's world. This present outrageous civil action by the State of California was brought by false charges and no proof by only five or six malcontent former members. It's a tremendous travesty of justice that such a thing can be done.
The very purpose of the Church, first of all, is to stand back of and support the carrying of Christ's gospel message out to all the world as a witness to all nations. The second purpose is to prepare those God has called into His Church in holy righteous character so that they may enter — at the time of the resurrection — into the Kingdom of God as a king and/or priest under Christ when He comes to rule the world! But the first mentioned purpose, standing behind the proclaiming of the gospel around the world, is the means God has given us of developing all in God's Church into that holy and righteous character of God.
God's Church cannot carry out either prime purpose without facilities!
But, my dear brethren, let us stop and realize that Christ, the Head of our Church, has allowed this unprecedented monstrous attack by state government and state courts of law to come upon us. God will give us the victory in the end.
But meanwhile we as God's called and chosen people need to ask ourselves, why has God allowed it? He tells us all things work together for good to those who love and obey Him. In what way, then, has this very traumatic, monstrous injustice been allowed by our God? Not that He wanted to punish us. Not that he wanted to bring suffering upon us. But because we were drifting into a careless, lukewarm, spiritual condition! God has allowed Satan to bring this upon us. First, to wake us up spiritually and to bring us back closer to God, and second, to draw us closer together and third, to sift out from our midst some of the chaff from the wheat.
Brethren, this terrible ordeal is accomplishing those three things! It is a sifting time. Some "liberals" who wanted to water down God's truth are being sifted out.
It is also the time of Daniel 12:10: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried ...." It is speaking of this very time shortly before Christ's Second Coming!
God has allowed it exactly as He allowed Satan to take away everything from Job, and then afflicted Job with boils from head to foot — Job was self-righteous ....
But just as once Job came to realize his sin of self-righteousness and repent of it, God restored to him twice as much as he had before, even so, my brethren — my own children in the Lord — God will restore to us and His Work double, or much more than double, once His purpose, as I stated above, has been accomplished.
My children in the Lord, we need to go to our knees! We need to fast and pray! True, I need you to stand back of me now as never before in special generous offerings to fight this monstrous miscarriage of justice — but even more — you need to draw closer to our wonderful and great God.
Don't ever worry about God or Christ forsaking us or His Work! He won't! We need to be concerned about whether we have begun to veer away to some extent from Him — have we unknowingly begun partly to forsake Him? ...
I call now a special day of fasting and prayer — not only for the Work and the Church but also for our own selves that we may be brought closer to God — on Sabbath, January 27, worldwide! We under Christ shall prevail!
I thank you with all my heart, and I love you all as never before.
Tucson, Arizona - January 28, 1979 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
Thank you! Thank you for your great response and coming to the aid of God's Work in this most monstrous and outrageous travesty of justice ever heard of by any state government! ...
We have never objected to any government authority checking our books and records. They contain proof we have done nothing of which we are falsely accused. They started rumors we had secreted away some of the books. On the contrary, we stood guard that no one could destroy or remove our records and books! ...
Now we need all the brethren to continue to rally behind Christ's Apostle until a higher court releases the Work from its virtual captivity. If arrested, our brethren would not have resisted. At all times they behaved like God's people, orderly, neat, polite. Many people outside our membership have noticed this and commented on it.
Brethren, remember what I wrote in my last letter. This is drawing all our brethren closer together than ever before — but it must also draw us closer to God! I called a day of fasting and prayer for last Sabbath. If any did not receive that letter in time, then fast and pray on the very next Sabbath — both that we shall all be drawn closer to God, and that God will release this grip of the State over God's Church ....
We now begin to notice a little change in attitude in the press. At first news reports were slanted, practically condemning us as guilty without evidence or proof Now they are more objective. The attorney general's office has changed its language from using the terms "siphoning off," and "pilfering," to "possible mismanagement," at least in the last newspaper notice.
Some of our enemies have tried to construe my work of personally walking through opened doors to carry Christ's gospel message into nations around the world as "mismanagement," and "siphoning off" money so spent for our own personal use! That is simply a lie! Before my marriage nearly two years ago now, I took my elder daughter Beverly Gott with me as hostess — for there were many banquets, receptions, luncheons and dinners at which I was privileged to speak to people high up in various nations, and even royalty. This required additional and better clothes, and some jewelry that was not mere "costume jewelry." But every such item was paid for by my own personal money on which both federal and state income tax had been paid. Later I had to purchase the same sort of things for Ramona my wife — out of my own money — not a cent from corporate funds or expense money. While I think this should have been a legitimate expense, I did not so construe it, and all such purchases, were paid out of my personal funds ....
They have tried to treat as "extravagance" such things as the purchase of Steuben crystal — which is about the only type of art object made in this country fitting for presenting to a king, president, or prime minister. Look into your Bible, Matthew 2:11, and see that the wise men presented gifts to Christ as an infant. This was not a birthday present, for it was many days after His birth. But since long before Christ it has been custom to present a gift when visiting a king or head of government. It would indeed look strange if we did not present an acceptable gift when visiting a monarch.
There has been no mismanagement! Just the opposite! I have written you at times through the years how we have made a dollar go further than any other operation of which I know. Read Revelation 10:11. This shows that after we thought we had completed the Work, or were to complete it by January, 1972, how God says, "Thou shalt prophesy [preach] again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings"! Most of the doors to kings and heads of governments have opened since January, 1972.
Christ has called and chosen His Apostle for this end-time job of the Great Commission! We have been getting that job done! Often there are as many as twelve to fourteen of us travelling — especially on such trips as when I twice took eight top-ranking Japanese Congressmen on trips to the Middle East oil countries, and to South America. On such trips I have introduced them, and arranged receptions for them, in countries where I already know the heads of government. And, in turn, they opened the door to me on an official basis in other countries where I had not been before! Often there were banquets, receptions, and such occasions, Yes, that cost some money.
But, of all the departments of God's Work, that cost the least, and was the most important!
Today, Monday, I believe this case is to go before the California Supreme Court. Then we will take it into the federal courts, and if necessary to the Supreme Court in Washington. As I wrote you before, we are making this fight not only to protect God's Church from State encroachment, but all churches and even the freedom of the press and right of free assembly ....
I thank you all for your wonderful response in sending God's tithes and your liberal freewill offerings to me, personally, here at Tucson, Arizona. A Tucson newspaper has reported that the receiver at Pasadena will try to induce the State of Arizona to shut off my personal mail. If so, we will get word to you quickly, through your local ministers, where to send it — even if need be, to your Area Coordinator, and we will find a way to pick it up from there. I have already signed legal papers making me personally custodian for the Church's funds. Remember money sent to Pasadena will go to the receiver.
God is still on His throne, with Jesus fully alive there beside Him interceding for us! Let us realize God has allowed this to draw us closer to Him as well as each other. Keep praying — fasting and praying. God will win!
Tokyo, Japan - May 15, 1979 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ,
For some twenty months, due to total heart failure in August, 1977, I was prevented from proclaiming Christ's gospel in person in the far-flung nations around the world.
But God has been with me. There has been no diminishing of the vital faculties, especially of the mind. And while I was having, for the time, to defer the ordeal of physically demanding worldwide travel, I have been able to write almost faster than you brethren can read, and to continue full leadership of God's Work here on earth ....There must have been 250 or 300 or more at the banquet last night. It was held in a large banquet room of the Imperial Hotel. This is a large hotel with several private dining rooms. Many of the eight Congressmen who call themselves my Japanese sons were there. They are Members of the Diet — the Japanese Congress or Parliament. The speakers' table seated at least a dozen. Some of them spoke briefly, and stood, one at a time, to be introduced. All others, including wives, were seated at many round tables — ten or twelve seated at each table. All who spoke were saying complimentary things about me. During the evening a few other Members of the Japanese Diet said they wanted to be counted as one of my "Japanese sons," all of whom are important Diet Members — the number of my "Japanese sons" in the Diet is now twelve ...
I had said earlier that I was not going to plan ahead what to say, or speak from any notes. I knew the living Christ would put into my mind what I should say — and He did!
There were at least a half dozen ambassadors representing other nations present (with their wives). So, I knew that a number of different religions was represented.
Suppose you were to be asked to stand up and speak to some 300 highly distinguished people ....You knew that Jesus Christ wanted you to proclaim to them the good news about the Kingdom of God, and you had to get this gospel message over to these important people. Just how would you go about it? If you had two or three days beforehand to think and plan what to say, what would you say?
I think all of you ought to know a little about how Jesus Christ leads His chosen Apostle to do it.
I knew the living Christ would guide me. Like you, I am only human, but I trusted the living Jesus. He did put in my mind what to say ....
I then said I had read an editorial in one of the world's leading news magazines, which said our "world problems and evils are now so great it would seem that the world's only hope lies in the intervention of a great unseen hand from someplace." In this manner, I brought to the attention of these many government officials of different religions the supreme God — and then explained that this great "Unseen Hand" was the unseen Creator, who made of one blood all of the nations represented in this banquet.
I did not know until I stood up before the microphone that I would say that. But you see, Jesus Christ put words in my mouth that showed them I was speaking of the Supreme Creator, regardless of their religion. Jesus gave me the words to show God's power, without offense to any because of his religious belief.
I then said that many consider me an ambassador without portfolio (that is, no official political authority), but in fact, I told them, I was an official ambassador of the Great God who created us all. I brought to them, from Him, good news — news of the world's only hope — that we are now in the very last days of this present man-made civilization, with more problems and evils than mankind can solve — and that soon now — in our generation — God will intervene, and set up the world ruling Kingdom of God and that we shall then have world peace, happiness, joy and economic abundance for all in all nations.
I said, "I don't ask you to believe what I say. We humans won't bring this about — it will be done to us — and in spite of us — whether we believe it or not — whether we want it or not. I have just announced it to you, and it definitely shall happen!"
Thus, in few words, and, even waiting at every sentence for the interpreter to repeat it in the Japanese language, Jesus Christ, through me, delivered the gospel of the Kingdom to some 300 of the leaders of Japan and several other nations!
I might mention, this is what the attorney general's office in California is trying to call "siphoning off millions of dollars every year for my own use." In the past two years, we have not spent one tenth of one million dollars on this important Work of carrying the gospel into nations worldwide. For the past ten years, this part of the Work has cost less than one million dollars a year — whereas our budget calls for several million dollars per year for salaries to ministers and the staff at headquarters plus several million for radio, TV and printing.
I must break off now and hurry into a business suit — for I to have a meeting in less that two hours with Prime Minister Ohira. I have met and visited with every Japanese Prime Minister in the past ten years — Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, Prime Minister Tanaka, Prime Minister Miki, and now Prime Minister Ohira. I have been highly honored in Japan. There's a saying that a prophet is without honor in his own country. That's where the persecution comes from. But here, I am honored above any unofficial non-Japanese. And though the persecution comes in many forms at home, I am deeply grateful that you Brethren and Co-Workers of God's Church have deep love for me, and you have certainly proved that. I love and pray for you continually.
Later: In flight back home, April 29.
I have now had private personal meetings with the last four Prime Ministers of Japan.
Perhaps the most important news that I can give you of this trip is that definite plans are now under way for me to make an official visit to China — officially the People's Republic of China — in company with two or three of the highest Members of the Japanese Diet. Two of the high-ranking Members of Japan's law-making Diet are definitely working on arrangements. The trip will be made in our own G-II jet, and probably in August. Private meetings are being set up with the Communist Party Chairman and Prime Minister Hua Guofeng, and the Deputy Prime Minister Ding Xiaoping.
As you know, I have been waiting a long time for the Head of our Church, Jesus Christ, to open doors — if He wanted His Apostle to go to the leaders of China and the Soviet Union. Of course, I can't know yet what Christ may have in mind, but He is able to open doors wherever He wants me to go as His ambassador and Apostle.
Plans are now being made for a visit with the government heads and many other leaders in a country I have never yet visited — Tunisia, on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, east of Egypt. (I already had a personal meeting with President Sadat of Egypt.)
Before leaving Japan on this present trip, I had further meetings with a few other Japanese leaders. This has certainly been a very succesful trip. We are now on the descent for a refueling at Cold Bay, Alaska — the furthermost western tip of Alaska, where the Aleutian Islands virtually join up with Alaska at its farthest western tip.
I close asking you to continue your earnest and fervent prayers for me and the Work.
Returning from China - December 18, 1979 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
I am back from probably the most important and successful single trip overseas. I was honored to be ... invited as a guest speaker and for personal conferences with leaders of the Communist People's Republic of China. There I spoke with leaders who shape the minds and thinking and beliefs of one fourth of all the people on earth! ...
Government limousines drove up to our aircraft as we landed. A welcoming delegation had come to the airport, including the president and vice-president of the educational system, which includes the national library ....
We arrived on Sunday evening, December 2. On Monday evening I spoke for about a half hour at a banquet in my honor, attended by prominent members of the government and their wives. Tuesday evening I spoke again before the Diplomatic Corps, including ambassadors — many with wives — representing seventy-six other nations from all parts of the world, beside a number of high-ranking Chinese.
Both of these speeches were taped, and will be heard in most of the local churches of the Worldwide Church of God around the world ....
We were taken on a virtual all-day visit to the Great Wall of China — undoubtedly one of the seven man-built wonders of the world — on Tuesday. Wednesday was a very full day. In the morning we visited the national library, the "Forbidden City" — a walled city within the city of Peking — former palaces and buildings of the emperors. Then a noon luncheon, and at 4 p.m. the real highlight of the visit — the private meeting at the Great Hall of the People (government headquarters) with the Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress — one of the three top men in the government, Mr. Tan Zhen-lin ....
Wednesday evening we attended a special program sponsored by the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation at a Peking theater. The theater was crowded and there was vigorous standing applause as our party entered. It was a semiballet program and was excellent. We were guided up on the stage at the end of the show, as audience applause continued, and we shook hands with the whole cast. The AICF will endeavor to arrange for this show to be staged at the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, and also in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco and other major cities.
Thursday noon we left for the airport. There, to see us off and bid us good-bye was a delegation, again including the president and vice-president of the government's educational system.
We were royally received and entertained by the government people. They could not have been more friendly. And we were enthusiastically invited to come again.
On Saturday night there was a banquet in Tokyo at which, among many toasts, I was privileged to speak again. Then Sunday the long trip home to Tucson, with one fuel stop at Cold Bay, Alaska.
God was with us. He gave us great favor in the eyes of our Chinese hosts.
I had been invited to visit China some five or six years ago, by the Chinese Ambassador in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At that time the government at Peking refused to admit me, saying I had written articles against communism. However, they said, they had noted that it had been many years ago, and I had not written things against communism in recent years, so they said then they might invite me later. And this they did.
It is true that I did write anticommunist articles, because they are atheist and anti-God, rather than because of their political persuasion. However, I hope I have grown in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as Peter instructs in II Peter 3:18. It has been impressed on me in more recent years what I only partly realized some thirty to fifty years ago, how, when our first parents rejected God's teaching, God's government over them, and God's salvation, that God, in driving them out of the Garden of Eden, barring entrance to the "tree of life," said, in effect: "You have rejected my government, my teaching, and me as Savior. Therefore, I sentence you and your children which shall populate and form the world, for 6,000 years, to being cut off from me and my Holy Spirit. Therefore, go, and create your own religions, form your own kinds of governments, devise your own knowledge and educational systems, and your own types of society. Yet I will call a very few who are predestinated to be called for use in preparing for the final Kingdom of God."
It actually was God who cut mankind off — except for those specially called — rather than man having turned from God (except for Adam and Eve, of course).
God simply has not called most of the millions in China and Russia and India. He will, either in the coming millennium, or in the Great White Throne Judgment, when Satan will no longer be here to deceive.
So I no longer write articles condemning Communism, or their governments. Instead I go to them with the message of hope — the Kingdom of God, when God will open all minds, and bring them to salvation.
Jesus did not come on a soul-saving mission! The gospel is good news, which God has called me to proclaim.
On this basis, not judging or condemning them, but bringing to the leaders of the most populous nation on earth Christ's message of hope, I was enthusiastically welcomed. The most universally believed lie and false doctrine with which Satan has deceived the whole world of "Christianity" is that all not now "saved" are lost. That is not true. They are neither saved nor lost — they are not yet judged.
Jesus said plainly, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). Unless the Father draws them, atheists and communists cannot come to Jesus. He said so in plain language! ...
We are closing a great year for God's Work in spite of the massive assault by the attorney-general's office of the State of California. We have gotten through this year without having to borrow from the bank, as in former years. Income has been up — and it is up to you and me to keep it that way. Meanwhile God's Church has been getting back on God's track after a several-years' conspiracy to secularize and liberalize it. We are now really getting closer to Jesus Christ and God our Father through more prayer and Bible study. Keep up the good work.