Another college year is beginning — the 26th here on the Pasadena campus. The new Freshman class is taking entrance exams today and tomorrow.
Things have certainly happened this summer. The new DAILY television programs have been going out on the air. When we first discussed the possibility of DAILY TV two questions loomed: Could Garner Ted Armstrong keep up the ordeal — would it be humanly POSSIBLE — to produce a full half-hour television program SIX TIMES A WEEK? It had never been done before, so far as I know. And, could we induce TV stations to open up a time-slot, Monday through Friday, same time every day? A different time for the Sunday programs would be O.K. — perhaps desirable. But it was necessary that the weekday programs be aired at the same time every day.
But we were able to START OUT with more than TWENTY stations — including some of the very most powerful in large population markets — and more and more TV stations opening daily time as we go along.
And Garner Ted Armstrong already has produced 76 — read it again — SEVENTY-SIX new DAILY television programs! He has produced MORE than six half-hour programs a week, getting a backlog ahead for the annual fall festival, when he will be away, and for the PERSONAL APPEARANCE campaigns, such as the one just concluded at Calgary, Alberta, in Canada.
So, the big super-powered THREE-POINT CAMPAIGN is WELL UNDER WAY!
I had the most profitable round-the-world trip so far this summer, with important meetings with Japan's new Prime Minister, Kakuei Tanaka, the outgoing Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, Prince and Princess Mikasa (he is the brother of Emperor Hirohito), and Dr. and Mrs. Ohama, newly named officially the FIRST PRIVATE CITIZENS of Japan. Dr. Ohama for some time has been the recognized number one educator of Japan. At Hong Kong we arranged for the new custom-loomed carpeting for the new auditorium — (the house for God) on the Pasadena campus. This carpeting will be exquisitely beautiful, in the bright and beautiful colors God Himself chose for His Tabernacle, and for His Temple — gold, and blue and purple and crimson — with onyx stones and fine woods. It will be excitingly BEAUTIFUL — but it is NOT a temple or cathedral. Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem would cost about five BILLION dollars today. This auditorium is very modest and exceedingly low cost by comparison. But it will be breath-takingly beautiful, fitting to honor the Great GOD!
The long awaited meeting with President Suharto finally occurred on this trip — it will be explained in The PLAIN TRUTH.
NINETY Ambassador College students worked on our archaeological project adjoining the Temple Mount in Jerusalem this summer. At a banquet in my honor, hosted by the Hebrew University, with our students present, Professor Mazar presented me with three highly prized artifacts which our students dug up, of the era of Kings David and Solomon, 3,000 years ago — a decanter and two oil lamps.
Today I was going over chapter 34 of my Autobiography, re-editing it for republication in Volume II — originally published in The PLAIN TRUTH, March, 1961. I was intrigued with the following, which I feel may be of interest and inspiration to you. This is as I wrote it in 1961:
"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 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' — 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.
"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.
"By hard work, driving myself, using resourcefulness, personality, persuasion, by fierce determination, I had built, while still only 28 years old, an income equal to $60,000 per year on today's dollar valuation.
"The biggest corporation in the publishing field at that time, the Curtis Publishing Company (Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal) had made a survey among Chicago advertising agencies to find the liveliest, most aggressive and promising young advertising man in the city. I was offered the job — but smugly turned it down! I was bigger, in my own estimation, than any man, anywhere.
"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 there- fore 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!
"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' 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! The 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! 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."
That's from chapter 34 of the Autobiography. I hope the complete Autobiography may be published — in two or three volumes — soon. I am working on it, and will announce it when it is ready.
I felt the above quotation would give you a bit of the back- ground of the development and building of this great WORK OF GOD. It is GOD'S Work. He built it. But my part was not easy. It required willingness to sacrifice, to give up material desires, to suffer opposition and persecution — and above all, CONSTANT PRAYER AND RELIANCE ON GOD!
Co-Workers, I need YOU to be diligent, generous, and faithful in DOING YOUR PART! Above all, I need your earnest PRAYERS! The income needs a bigger INCREASE! GOD is doing HIS part — he is opening doors, guiding His Work, blessing it with the conversion of THOUSANDS of precious human lives this year — preparing a people for Christ's soon coming and His Kingdom. It must BE our lives! It must be put FIRST in our lives!