|Autobiography of Herbert W Armstrong - Volume II
November 26, 1980 — July 24, 1983
Tucson, November 26, 1980 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
I have very recently returned from another Middle East visit. It was very profitable for the Work that God is doing through us.
En route I stopped off in London, and spoke on the Sabbath, October 25, to the brethren in the London area. There were more than 1,000 present, including a number who came over from the Continent.
On Monday evening, the 27th, I addressed a large banquet in Cairo, Egypt, of people prominent in the Egyptian government and universities, and the Egyptian-American League, hosted by Dr. Mohammed Abdel Kader Hatem, chief personal adviser to President Anwar el-Sadat and former prime minister. Then on to Jerusalem.
Our brief flight to Jerusalem was a "first"! We were given government permission to fly direct from Cairo to Jerusalem airport. Since the hostilities between Egypt and Israel, there were no flights permitted between the nations until the Camp David peace talks, and then flights were permitted only from Cairo to the Ben-Gurion airport at Tel Aviv. But our plane was given government permission to make the first flight direct to Jerusalem airport ....
I spoke at a banquet hosted by Mayor Teddy Kollek. We attended a Sunday afternoon entertainment by the Arab section of the ICCY (International Cultural Center for Youth) in the "old city" Arab section of the city. It was a performance by both Arab and Israeli youth, with a very hilarious "belly dance" by a little nine-year-old Arab girl. This youth center is succeeding well in bringing together the youths, of both Arab and Jewish children and young people, in harmonious peace instead of hostility. We've been participating in this foundation for twelve years. A whole square in front of the main headquarters building in the newer area of Jerusalem is named "The Herbert W. Armstrong Square."
Also we visited again the new downtown city park in Jerusalem, where my name is engraved in a stone marker at one of the park entrances, at the children's playground area ....
Our meeting with President Sadat in Cairo had to be postponed, because President Yitzhak Navon of Israel was in Cairo on a state visit while we were there, and we were planning a full televised private meeting with him ....
We returned Sunday, the 9th, to Cairo. On Tuesday the 11th — the sixty-second anniversary of the end of World War I (and how well I remember the wild and jubilant reveling of that day) — we had our televised meeting with the Egyptian president, Anwar el-Sadat.
Mr. Sadat was speaking at 11 to 12:30 that morning at a teachers' union graduation in a downtown auditorium. We were driven during that time to the auditorium building and taken to a reception room on about the 20th floor of the building. From there we could watch the ending of President Sadat's speech to the nation on television, and the graduation ceremony taking place in the auditorium on the ground floor of the building ....
At the palace, the president entered first, and we were met at the entrance portico by the first lady ... and Dr. Hatem.
Inside, awaiting a brief meeting with Mr. Sadat, was a group of U.S. congressmen. I was told that they stared in amazed disapproval, wondering, "Who are those nonofficial Americans, and what are they doing here?"
The President's wife accompanied us into an elegant reception room where we chatted for some fifteen or twenty minutes. She and I were photographed together.
Then, the American congressmen dismissed, the President entered. The TV lights were flashed on.
It's a coincidence that the last time I met President Sadat, in Alexandria, he also was then about to address the nation on television. It was at a university in Alexandria. At that time ... I was waiting in a reception room off the entrance lobby when the President entered. He had then come in a motorcade with streets lined with people trying to get a glimpse of their President. At that time, Mr. Sadat entered with his wife, followed by his cabinet and other top government officials. The President waited at the rear of the room, while his cabinet and officials lined up on each side facing the middle. Down the middle was a long red carpet. I walked down the red carpet to be formally introduced by Dr. Hatem to the President and the First Lady .... That had been my first meeting with President Sadat, although we were already well acquainted with his close adviser Dr. Hatem.
But in this present meeting, Mr. Sadat and I sat together in the corner of the room where seats had been arranged for telecasting. Both our own TV cameramen and the government TV cameramen were shooting us, until the meeting was under way, and then they left, and we were able to continue without the blazing TV lights ....
There are other things I wanted to say, but this letter is getting overlong, and I will reserve other things until next time or in The Plain Truth ...
Tucson, Arizona - February 8, 1981 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
We are off to a running start in the new year, 1981. Never before has God given us such a leap forward at the very beginning of a new year! ...
I returned a week ago from the last important meetings in Japan and the Philippines. They were the most successful so far in all these years.
In Tokyo I spoke a vigorous message on the soon-coming Kingdom of God at a banquet of some 400 important and leading people of that energetic and upcoming nation. Then I spoke on the Sabbath afternoon to 100 Japanese subscribers to The Plain Truth, mostly college students and professors. Then again about the same number three weeks later on the return from the Philippines.
At Manila, reporters of newspapers and TV news met me at the airport and we had a press conference ....
I was guest of honor, and spoke a full message in power at a huge banquet of 750 members of the very important Philippine Constitution Association, a power in the Philippines. I was guest of honor and speaker at a luncheon of combined Rotary Clubs. I spoke to a packed auditorium a full message of the Kingdom of God at the very prestigious Adamson University ....
Then there were the two main public meetings in the city's leading auditorium, seating 4,500, on successive Saturday and Sunday nights, virtually packed houses. I believe these were possibly the most effective speeches proclaiming Christ's gospel message of my life. God was with me, and did inspire me ....
I returned home Sunday morning just as the very first of our new TV series was coming on. I was really thrilled at the way our TV staff had tailored that program, with exciting film clips illustrating my sermon all the way through. When I spoke of a meeting with Mrs. Golda Meir, the late prime minister of Israel, a picture of me talking with her was flashed on the screen. When I spoke of the oratory at the San Francisco Conference, which I attended in 1945, there appeared a film clip of President Harry Truman speaking at the conference — and so on. The new TV series, I feel, is the most effective of all our TV programs, so far.
I plan to record two more TV programs and two radio half hours next Tuesday and the same amount on Wednesday, when the whole TV crew will be in Tucson. I plan to keep this up until we have six months or more of programs ahead on tape — and possibly we then may start daily TV and radio broadcasting in major cities in the U.S. and Canada.
It is now Sunday as I write. Today's TV program was a half hour devoted to our China visit as guests of the People's Republic government. It showed a certain amount of several of my speeches there. What I am doing now, as televised, is, I feel, vastly improved and more effective than I was doing a year ago. I may be a year older, but I appear younger, smooth-speaking, more vigorous and effective. God is invigorating and inspiring me. I need your prayers that He will surcharge me with His Spirit and power for still greater effectiveness as we plunge on to finish His great Work before Christ's coming.
But of course His coming will be preceded by the Great Tribulation, the Day of the Lord (initiatory phase, with terrifying signs in the skies).
Just a few months ago God gave me a new idea for turning the hearts of the children to their parents and of the parents to their children — the new magazine "Youth 81". The first two issues are out, and I honestly feel it is far superior to any youths' publications ever published. When I was young there was a prominent magazine called Youth's Home Companion. But I feel that Youth 81 is far superior, and I'm sure our young people will be much profited.
Now God has given me a new idea for our youth! I have set a ceiling of a total of 500 students in Ambassador College. If we go beyond that we would be unable to maintain the high morale of God's college. That means we can accept only 150 new freshmen each year. But we have between 300 and 400 acceptable applications — young people — almost altogether your children — those of our Church members — and at present we can accept only about one in three of them.
We are besieged with letters from high school seniors asking us what can they do if we can't accept them? Can they go to some other college or junior college? Our experience is, candidly, that if they go to some other school they will be indoctrinated in the materialistic evolutionary approach to all knowledge, and in too many cases, ruined so far as God's teaching and way of life are concerned ....
God gives me this solution: For some reason God has blocked the sale of our Big Sandy campus. We still have it on our hands. So I now have in mind, as I believe God leads me, that we immediately start a junior college at Big Sandy. We would accept one-hundred new freshmen for Big Sandy for this coming fall. We would transfer seventy-five out of this year's freshman class at Pasadena, who will then be sophomores, to Big Sandy, to implant there the Ambassador character and atmosphere. That means that, in addition to the one-hundred additional new students we can accept for Big Sandy this fall, we can accept an additional seventy-five freshmen at Pasadena ....
The new junior college at Big Sandy will thereafter accept up to 150 or more per year. After two years at Big Sandy, some who qualify would transfer to Pasadena for the third and fourth years, and graduate at Pasadena.
I have to consider this budget-wise, of course. But, with tuitions helping, study of the budget situation indicates we can squeeze this new junior college in. Plans are already well under way for providing faculty.
God is blessing His Church and its Work!
We are now all set to plunge forward in the Work as never before! New time availabilities are opening up on both radio and TV. God is generating in me increased power and energy, and better programs are coming ....
Pasadena - January 20, 1983 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
I have to tell you now that the outlook for the United States and the entire world is bleak and foreboding indeed! Based on world news, observation and personal contacts with world leaders — based on Bible prophecy and a long life of experience, I have to tell you now that the entire world economy is in a drastic nose dive. Civilization itself is stricken with spiritual, moral and economic sickness unto its death — the end of this world!
But there is also good news! There is good news for the Work of God — the best ever! And the big good news (the word gospel means "good news") is the new civilization — the World Tomorrow — the Kingdom of God — is soon to follow! God's Church — the living and the dead in Christ — will then emerge into a new world of peace, happiness, abundance, with eternal life.
Bible prophecy shows what soon shall occur — why the world is now sick on its deathbed — why the rising unemployment, the sick economy, the immorality, crime, violence and world evils.
I have seen much of this in ninety years of event-packed experience.
In November, 1919, I was a member of the Chicago Association of Commerce. At a regular weekly membership luncheon, the noted Boston statistician and economist, Roger Babson, was guest speaker. He astonished major bank officials and industrial leaders saying that in one year we would experience the most drastic depression our generation had known. Economic executives ridiculed. We were then in an upward trend of prosperity.
A year later Roger Babson again was our guest speaker. He said, "The year has passed, and I am back and depression is here with me." There was no ridicule or laughter. Mr. Babson told us why he knew, and why business and financial executives did not.
"When I want to know what the temperature in this room is going to be an hour or two from now I don't consult the thermometer on the wall. I go to the boiler room and see what is going on down there. I go to the factor that causes the future temperature. You men were looking at bank clearings, retail sales, wholesale indexes, stock car loadings and trends — the thermometers on the wall." But Mr. Babson said he had learned that when fifty-one percent or more of the people were righteous in their dealings with another, prosperity was just ahead. But when fifty-one percent or more of the people were unrighteous in their dealings, economic depression was coming.
Was Roger Babson right?
In January, 1914, I was in the editorial department of a national magazine — the nation's largest trade journal. I was assigned to cover the story of the very beginning of the conveyer-belt assembly-line mass-production system at the Ford Motor Company plant in Detroit. Ford initiated this system of mass machine production. At that time only the U.S. provided a mass market for such mass production.
Soon other auto companies followed suit, and then virtually all American production in other lines. This swelled profits enormously for capital and management. But labor unionism immediately engaged in a crusade of strikes to raise wages. Also labor leaders adopted the false philosophy of "get" instead of cooperation and sharing. Labor union wars ensued, like the Herrin, Illinois, coal mine massacre, in which more than twenty were murdered and many injured. Labor turned to the attitude that the employer was the enemy — slow down your work, give as little as you can get away with, then fight with the weapon of the strike to increase wages and lower hours of work.
Result? The quality of industrial production diminished.
Meanwhile a burgeoning affluent middle class — also motivated by the way of "get" — developed in the United States. Before World War II the United States had mounted to a position of wealth and power such as no nation ever possessed.
God had blessed us with the natural resources. Selfishness and greed on the part of both management and labor temporarily increased our prosperity. But those very evils are now bringing this country down!
As late as 1969, the American wage was three times that of England and four times that of Japan.
Meanwhile, the Common Market (EEC) in Europe gave that continent a mass market for mass machine production — at low-cost labor. Even with machine production, labor had to direct the machines and remained the largest item of cost in production. Development of modern transportation gave Japan a mass market — in fact, a world market. Now Europe and Japan compete with mass production and low-cost labor against the U.S. with its high-cost labor. Not only that, but both in Japan and West Germany, labor is patriotic, regarding conscientious work as a duty to their country. Result, Japan and West Germany export to the U.S., underselling U.S. competition with better quality merchandise.
In 1970 Prime Minister Sato of Japan told me he foresaw and feared a real trade war with the U.S., and hoped it would not happen. It is here! Japan has figuratively bombed and almost destroyed Detroit. I am leaving Monday on a Far East trip, and expect to discuss this situation with Prime Minister Nakasone in Tokyo. He just departed from talks with President Reagan in Washington yesterday — apparently with no good results for the U.S.
Again, was Roger Babson right?
What does your Bible say? What does God say?
Actually applying to our nation, God says, Deuteronomy 28:1, " ... If thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments ... the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth." In Deuteronomy 4:40: "Thou shalt keep therefore ... his commandments ... that it may go well with thee ...."
In many scriptures God tells us he prospers those whose ways please him. But our people as a nation have not obeyed God. The whole world has been founded and built on the philosophies and ways of life of Satan, not of God. This has been Satan's world — not God's. But the Church of God is God's world in embryo — begotten but not yet born. We are called — drafted — to be trained to be teachers and rulers in the world to come.
When this Work pleases Him, He prospers it. He has been getting us back on the track. We have just closed a record-breaking year.
The world has not lived God's way. Now the final result of the selfish way of living is converging on the whole world in its final climax at the end of this world.
But God is blessing His Church. We suffer because of the sins of the world among which we must live. But unemployment is not as high among our members — God does bless the commandment keeper and tithe payer.
1982 was the most successful year by far in the history of this Work. The Plain Truth circulation took a big leap ahead — now well over five million copies a month. There was a big increase in number of TV stations. A big increase in people asking for counsel about baptism.
Pray for continued success in the Work. Remember, whatsoever we ask, we receive from God because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Pray for me, even as I do for you. Pray for the continued economic stability and financial needs for God's Work.
Pasadena - July 24, 1983 Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ:
A staggering turn in world events may occur suddenly at any day from now on. God has been holding back these world-shaking events. But now they may strike suddenly while the world least expects it.
The very first issue of the Plain Truth magazine appeared February, 1934 — just fifty years ago lacking about 6 months. The article starting on the cover page warned of a coming sudden appearance of a resurrected "Holy Roman Empire" in Europe — a union of ten nations in Europe under one government, with one united military force. For fifty years I have been crying out to the world the Bible prophecies of this coming "United States of Europe" — a new united superpower perhaps more powerful than either the Soviet Union or the United States!
No one believed me then. But since then the European Common Market has appeared, with ten nations cooperating commercially in a tariff-free common market.
Also there have arisen in Europe two outstanding political leaders, both writing and speaking out and writing books, saying "Europe must unite politically." One of those was called the "Strong Man of Europe," Dr. Franz Josef Strauss. Some twelve years ago I entertained him at dinner in my home in Pasadena, and he spoke to the faculty and students of Ambassador College. I have maintained contact with him. He wrote the book The Grand Design.
The other arrived two weeks ago from Munich, West Germany, to have a meeting with me. He is Dr. Otto von Habsburg, head of the 700-year-old House of Habsburg, which ruled the Holy Roman Empire in the dynasty prior to Napoleon, and one of the most prestigious royal families in Europe. Dr. Habsburg was born the Archduke of Austria. His family was exiled during World War II, and he rejected Nazism and sided with the Allies during the war. He has since renounced his title. He very probably has a more clear grasp of international affairs than any man today. He is author of the famous book The Social Order of Tomorrow, giving a design for reunification of Europe startlingly close to the biblical description of this prophesied resurrected Europe to occur just prior to the Second Coming of Christ.
I had long wanted to meet Otto von Habsburg personally. I missed meeting him in Athens, Greece, last November, returning from my visit to our churches in South Africa and in Nairobi. However, Ellis La Ravia, vice president of the Ambassador Foundation, had arrived in Athens a couple days ahead of me from Pasadena. He attended a meeting there of the European Parliament, of which a leading member is Dr. Habsburg, who expressed regret at missing a meeting with me. He said then he would be so occupied with the then coming West German elections and sessions of the European Parliament, the very first date he could be free would be July 10 of this year. He said that on that day he would fly to Pasadena for a meeting with me. He kept his word and arrived on schedule in Pasadena two weeks ago this afternoon.
Dr. Habsburg addressed students and campus employees on Monday at 11 a.m. Mr. La Ravia and I took him on a brief visit through the Auditorium and then to luncheon in the faculty dining room. That evening he was guest at a formal dinner in my home with other Church officials and their wives. I also had a private meeting with him, as did Mr. Gene H. Hogberg, chief of our world news staff. While here he stayed in a guest apartment on campus. Tuesday night he addressed the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in Beverly Hills.
Wednesday morning he flew with me and some of our staff in our G-II jet to Washington, D.C. There he addressed the John Davis Lodge Center for International Studies at the University club.
In my private meeting with him, Dr. Habsburg expressed disappointment that progress on the European reunification had moved so slowly. I expressed the conviction that some totally unexpected world-shocking event could occur suddenly at any time that would high pressure European nations to go together overnight, adopting the constitution already prepared by the European Parliament. This Parliament, although without substantial power, is composed of leaders who are framing the constitution in advance. He mentioned that there are madmen such as Kadafi and Khomeini who could pull off some startlingly unexpected international act that would press the panic button in Europe.
Incidentally, Drs. Habsburg and Strauss are close friends, and for some reason I do not understand — but may be of God's designing — both are very friendly to me and to Ambassador College.
Now let me tell you why I know God has held back end-time world events — and why He will cause things to snap together suddenly when least expected and bring this world suddenly to its end, and the coming of Christ in supreme power and glory to rule all nations, ushering in the Kingdom of God and the World Tomorrow! ...
In Matthew 24:32-35 Jesus said that when we see world events now occurring, we are to know that this end is very near — within this generation. Yet of the day and hour (verse 36) we cannot know. Yet when it strikes it will strike suddenly, unexpectedly, like a trap that springs shut on a hapless rat without warning. If one knew at what hour a thief would come in the night to burglarize his house, he would have watched and been ready to resist him.
We have been seeing these end-time world events coming for several years now. God has delayed — held up world events. Yet He will suddenly cut his Work short, and end things, as unexpectedly and suddenly as when the trap springs on a rat before he can move.
When Europe suddenly unites, our work, which Christ is doing with and through us, will quickly be over, and Christ's coming very soon thereafter.
Brethren, thank you for the generous response to my last month's request for special funds for needed construction at the Orr, Minnesota, camp for the Summer Educational Program (SEP), for youths between ages twelve and eighteen. These camps are so very important. These youths will be leaders in the World Tomorrow! We must all pray all the more as we see end events coming to pass. Pray for one another. And, please, also for me. I do need your prayers. The Work needs our support.