Mrs. Armstrong and I have just returned from a trip around the world, sick at heart—and yet, OVERJOYED! And that is not a contradiction.
I want to explain why.
For this vitally affects you and your immediate future.
But first, before I explain, let me say, as our older subscribers know, it has become tradition, twice a year, for me to offer something VERY SPECIAL, very fine, and very new (absolutely free, of course) as a gift of love and appreciation for your interest, to all our big growing family of readers of The PLAIN TRUTH.
We have come up with something I feel you'll REALLY WANT AND PRIZE. I'm sure you know there is no charge—we have nothing whatever to sell—we only want to GIVE. I know that sounds incredible to new subscribers—but it's true.
But uppermost on my mind right now is the eye-opening CONDITION Mrs. Armstrong and I saw on this trip around the world. There are some things you hear and read about, but can never really understand until you are there—until you experience them. For the first time we were in China—Hong Kong, that is. Americans are not allowed to travel in Red China. Hong Kong is as much CHINA as Shanghai or Foochow, but politically it is a British colony. 99% of its population is Chinese. It is an area of extreme contrasts.
The modern downtown business section looks almost like Fifth Avenue, New York. There is block after block of modern gleaming skyscrapers; streets lined with fashionable shop windows. Yet the giant neon signs, with their exotic Chinese letters, remind one forcibly that this is CHINA. The fashionable stores, shops, and the office buildings are operated by Chinese and, apparently only the tourists in this world-shopping center are Occidentals.
But we wanted to see how the vast majority of Chinese live. Those in the office buildings, the luxury hotels, and the smart shops are well-dressed, educated, modern, westernized-appearing people. But they are the very small minority. So we hired a car and driver, and saw pretty much of Hong Kong Island, as well as the peninsula mainland.
We saw native Chinese living natively as the Chinese masses have for centuries. We saw degenerated wretchedness, squalor, filth, ignorance and poverty beyond description. Words can't fill your nostrils with the smells. We saw hundreds upon hundreds of the rickety wretched sampans—small sailboats—on which whole families live. Many have been born, lived a lifetime and then died on one of these dirty filthy sampans without ever having stepped on land. We saw dingy, dilapidated, old six- and eight-story apartment buildings, without elevators, where large families live in one or two small bare rooms—thousands of dirty, decrepit, decaying shacks.
Leaving Hong Kong, we flew over Vietnam. But we made stops at Bangkok, Thailand (Siam); Bombay, India; and Tehran, Iran (Persia). The pitiful, poverty-stricken, diseased, starving people in these populous areas of the world beggar description. One sees people begging food, starving, dying, right in the streets. Starving mothers trying to nurse emaciated babies which have little chance of living. IT MADE US SICK AT HEART!
What could we do to help these pitiful, miserable people?
Our son, Garner Ted, who now carries most of the broadcasting on The WORLD TOMORROW, has been speaking on the program from Cairo, Suez, and Jerusalem, Jordan. My wife and I had visited all these Arab countries ten years ago. Perhaps you heard the broadcasts describing the wretched and degenerated condition of the masses in those countries.
Of course, in all these countries, there are the upper classes—but they are the small minority. I want to tell you that it was driven forcibly into my consciousness how most of you, here in prosperous America—as well as our readers in Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe—have NO CONCEPTION of how more than HALF of all the people on earth are living—in half-starved and starving squalor, filth, stench, and degenerated ignorance. Did I say living? No, not really living—eking out a miserable, degenerated, and probably disease ridden existence!
WHAT could we do to help them?
Authorities in Hong Kong have a program for improving conditions. The United States is sending wheat, food, clothing, and hundreds of millions of dollars in relief to India and other such countries. Yet this is hardly a drop in a bucket. It isn't going to solve the problem of human degeneration, ignorance and misery. All the nauseating filth and degradation remains.
But honestly—wouldn't you like to help CHANGE all this? I WOULD!
When you are right there—when you are SEEING it with your own eyes—yes, and smelling the stench, it becomes REAL! You are filled with mingled disgust and compassion. You want to DO something about it—but you can't.
And yet WE CAN! And WE WILL! But not in our own power.
With all of man's efforts, this problem can't be solved. Haven't you ever thought—as you sat down to a banquet, or a big family dinner, and almost everyone overate, and still much food was uneaten, and carried out to go to waste: "If only we could give part of that wasted food to the hungry and starving people of India or China!" The FACT is, if all the overfed Americans gave HALF of their food to those pitifully hungry people, their condition would not be improved. Their condition is the result of DEGENERATION. No matter what we try to do for them, in our human strength and wisdom, they are going to remain illiterate, diseased, filthy, indolent, poverty-stricken, degenerate. WE can't change their status, NOW. But it will be changed—and SOON:
The Almighty GOD—and He ONLY—has the solution. He has sent me and those associates who with me are Co-Workers with the living Jesus Christ to proclaim to the whole world the GOOD NEWS that the TIME is just ahead—now, just a VERY FEW years: That GOOD NEWS is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the GOOD NEWS of divine INTERVENTION, of restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD—of the coming again to earth of Jesus Christ, this time in all the SUPREME POWER and the GLORY of the living GOD: He is coming to RULE! He is coming to RESTORE what has been taken away—PEACE, HEALTH, HAPPINESS, UNIVERSAL PROSPERITY:
A famous evangelist was asked if there was any solution to this world's mounting tragic ills. He answered, "Yes! JESUS CHRIST!" But if one interprets that to mean by your "receiving Christ" by merely professing Him as Saviour—well, that is NOT the way the world's wars, crime, diseases, poverty and unhappiness are going to be abolished. It will take more than just your professing Christ, although that might contribute more than you realize.
But the Gospel OF Jesus Christ is not merely man's preaching ABOUT Christ—about the babe in a manger—about a dead Christ hanging on a cross. The Gospel OF Christ is the dynamic Message Christ BROUGHT and TAUGHT His chosen disciples. It is the GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD! And the KINGDOM of God is the GOVERNMENT—the RULE by divine force and power over all the nations of the earth.
And when I saw all that indescribable human wreckage, degeneration, filth and wretchedness—and thought of the present efforts of human governments that are making no noticeable change —I was simultaneously OVERJOYED at the realization that the living Jesus Christ IS very soon going to return in ALMIGHTY POWER and DYNAMICALLY CHANGE this world!
HOW? By a WORLD GOVERNMENT that will rule all nations! World-famous scientists are speaking out, saying that nothing but a super WORLD GOVERNMENT can now save the world. But they see no way to bring about such a government. With men, it is impossible. But by GOD, it soon shall be done!
And HOW? By universal compulsory RIGHT EDUCATION—by banishing illiteracy, and by dissemination of KNOWLEDGE beginning with the FOUNDATION of right knowledge—understanding the PURPOSE of life—the true MEANING of life—knowing the TRUE VALUES as opposed to the false—teaching THE WAY to every desired blessing. That is THE WAY to peace, health, happiness, and abundant well-being. That most essential knowledge is NOT being disseminated in any schools, colleges or universities I know of today, except AMBASSADOR COLLEGE, at its three campuses in California, Texas and England. Today's education has become decadent. The ignorant, illiterate, degenerated masses that compose more than HALF of the world's population have little or no education of any kind. The great minds of the world's leaders are highly "educated" in materialistic knowledge based on a false foundation, approached through false concepts utterly DEVOID of a knowledge of the TRUE values, of the true meaning and PURPOSE of human life on this planet, in total IGNORANCE of THE WAY to peace, health, happiness, abundant well-being.
There is a CAUSE for every effect.
This world, in ignorance of right CAUSES, travels THE WAY to war, strife, violence, sickness and disease, unhappiness, frustrations, emptiness, and death. Then it TREATS WITH THE RESULT, vainly attempting to remove the PENALTIES of inexorable physical and spiritual LAWS.
In THE WORLD TOMORROW, first of all, blinded minds will be OPENED to a KNOWLEDGE of God's PURPOSE in placing human life on this earth. They will be led to REPENT. They will be governed —forced to turn around, and begin pursuing THE WAY into peace, prosperity, health, and the full, abundant, enjoyable, interesting, HAPPY life.
Secondly, by divine power, Jesus Christ will CHANGE human nature! Human nature, blinded to the true values and ways, deceived into following the ways of strife, war, jealousy, envy, greed, hatred—the ways of vanity and self-centeredness—is the root CAUSE of the world's ills.
In a word, the living Christ will cure the CONDITION by dealing with the CAUSE, instead of foolishly and vainly striving to prevent the natural and spiritual LAWS from inflicting their inexorable penalties.
The very knowledge that this is coming very soon is the greatest GOOD NEWS in the world today!
And so, in the midst of the degradation, stench and human wretchedness, I was simply OVERJOYED by the absolute ASSURANCE that this pitiful state of affairs will not last much longer—a VERY FEW years at most!
And I was DOUBLY overjoyed at the realization that my Co-Workers and I have been DRAFTED to become Co-Workers with the living CHRIST who is the DIRECTING HEAD of the very Work of God, in which we are privileged to be His human instruments!
This world's tragic and supposedly unsolvable problems WILL BE solved—and SOON! Not by man—but in spite of man's rebellion! There IS hope—hope that is a CERTAINTY! The living God IS working out HIS PURPOSE here below! There IS design—so tremendous that the actual potentiality of man is transcendentally beyond anything the natural mind can comprehend! Soon blinded minds will be opened to that REALITY!
This very soon-coming WORLD TOMORROW is going to drastically affect YOUR life! And very happily so!
Who are we—who proclaim the BIG NEWS of the WORLD TOMORROW on the most powerful radio program on earth, worldwide? Who are we who publish The PLAIN TRUTH, read by two and a half million all around the world? Who are we that operate the three beautiful, cultural campuses of AMBASSADOR COLLEGE in California, Texas and England—where students scintillate, radiate happiness, enjoy a foretaste of the World Tomorrow? We are a voice in the wilderness of ignorance, deception, frustrations and lost hopes, preparing the way for the coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God. We are a light in the darkness, realizing fully that men, as in Jesus' day, still love darkness rather than the light—but proclaiming the TRUTH as a witness, none-the-less, in spite of opposition, persecution and false accusation.
WHAT A PRIVILEGE! Yes, we are painfully aware of the pitiful conditions of so much of suffering humanity—we are heartsick and moved with sorrow and deep compassion. Yet we are PRIVILEGED to herald, in the power of the living GOD, the GOOD NEWS of the deliverance and healing of these wretched peoples, thus helping SPEED that day—helping in the only way humans may help, now. And so we REJOICE and are OVERJOYED also!
Many times, in these Semi-Annual letters, I have answered the questions we are always being asked: WHO is back of us?—WHO sponsors us?—What denomination are we?—"What's the catch?"—etc., etc. There is no "catch." We are not denominational, even as Jesus Christ was not. This great worldwide Work of God is sponsored only by the LIVING GOD, who some mixed-up, deceived and ignorant people seem to think is dead. It is conducted HIS WAY. There is nothing else on earth like it—and that's why we do have some persecutors—but we never persecute in return!
We have been blessed with TRUTH and UNDERSTANDING that is bringing undreamed-of happiness and well-being to uncounted thousands. We want to SHARE the blessed TRUTH and all these blessings from God with as many as desire it. We rely solely on the living GOD for guidance, direction and support. We never solicit the public for financial help. We have nothing to sell. Incredible? Yes, but that's the way it is!
Meanwhile, we are, once again, privileged to offer you something very SPECIAL, very valuable, without any cost—even for the postage—if you would like to have it.
Let me tell you about it. This all began almost eight years ago. It came to be one of the most exciting, most thrilling, most gratifying events of my life.
For years—since the beginning of The WORLD TOMORROW and The PLAIN TRUTH, at the beginning of 1934—we had been offering, FREE, booklets, pamphlets, and reprinted articles. But we began to realize that the time was coming when we needed to begin publishing COMPLETE BOOKS.
But HOW? We have never put a price on anything we offered the public. To produce a fine hard-cover book of the QUALITY I would like to offer would cost from $7 to $10 per copy!
WHAT A DILEMMA! We couldn't afford to GIVE anything so valuable to all who would request it. We were not WILLING to put a price on a book and SELL it.
The first need seemed to be an utterly NEW and DIFFERENT kind of Bible Story book. Not like all the Bible storybooks I had seen for sale in the stores. NOT a series of totally disconnected blood-and-thunder stories of dramatized violence. All such books had missed entirely GOD'S MEANING in the incidents they dramatized, or overdramatized. Yet all these INCIDENTS recorded in the Bible DO have serious MEANING, and important connection to GOD'S PURPOSE and THE GOSPEL.
We were associated with just the right man to produce the new and different story of the Bible—nationally known artist and writer, Basil Wolverton. Three times LIFE magazine had devoted multiple-page sections to his unique style of art work. TIME had commented on his work repeatedly. His highly expressive sketches had appeared in 58 national magazines.
We found a TEMPORARY solution to the dilemma. Mr. Wolverton started writing the book. We would get THE STORY OF THE BIBLE before ALL our readers by first publishing it, serially, a chapter each issue, in The PLAIN TRUTH. This remarkable series was started with the November, 1958, number.
Instead of disconnected stories, this is THE STORY OF THE BIBLE, from beginning to end. It begins at the beginning—Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1. It was WRITTEN AS MUCH FOR ADULTS AS FOR CHILDREN! Mr. Wolverton has that rare knack of writing in a style that, while plain and simple, UNDERSTANDABLE to children of eight to ten years old—and even to younger ones if read and explained by parents—yet is good literary style, INTERESTING for all adults.
But WHAT ABOUT THE BOOK?
The time came to publish the first volume early in 1960. But, SAME PROBLEM! We couldn't afford to give away a book costing $7 to $10. WE WERE STILL UNWILLING TO CHARGE FOR IT! A whole year went by. I felt guilty. PEOPLE NEEDED THIS BOOK!
Then, at last, born of NECESSITY, the answer came. The publishers who then printed The PLAIN TRUTH suggested that IF we could go into MASS production—really BIG-QUANTITY production up to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND COPIES—using a handsome cover design on high- grade light cardboard cover instead of cloth board covers—the cost could be greatly reduced, per copy.
Well, we were THRILLED! At this greatly reduced price per copy, we figured we could afford to offer the book as a FREE GIFT. WE DID! And a hundred fifty thousand requested these free copies!
But that was FIVE YEARS AGO!
We have since offered Volumes II, III, and IV — 66 chapters in all.
Earlier volumes soon became completely exhausted. Now, MORE THAN HALF—probably two thirds—of PLAIN TRUTH subscribers have started receiving the magazine since Volume I was offered. They have missed the most exciting part of the Bible Story—beginning with the Creation, in the first chapter of Genesis.
So HERE IS ANOTHER REASON I AM NOW OVERJOYED!
Since the vast enlargement of our own printing plant in Pasadena, now one of the very largest printing plants on the West Coast, we have greatly reduced printing costs. We have had to figure closely—but we feel that we now at last can make an entire REPRINT of VOLUME I, and make this available to you IN ADDITION TO an entirely NEW volume—VOLUME V.
I think I am as thrilled over this as when we were first able to offer our first real BOOK—Volume I of this Bible Story, back in 1961!
So many people say: "I just can't understand the Bible." One reason is that the Authorized version is in the English of the year 1611. Our language has changed a great deal since then. But EVERYBODY can understand the plain, clear, interesting style of Mr. Wolverton's writing. These books are a faithful writing, in today's language, of the STORY-FLOW of the Bible. It becomes ABSORBING—INTERESTING! Mr. Wolverton makes the Bible COME ALIVE! For accuracy, he has carefully collaborated with the Ambassador College Graduate School of Theology.
Of course, this is NOT a new translation. It merely tells the STORY of the Bible, omitting, of course, genealogies and such things.
So I'm OVERJOYED to be able to offer you—COMPLETELY FREE—these TWO books—Volume I and Volume V of The Bible Story, profusely illustrated.
These will be a gift for the WHOLE FAMILY. Adults are SURPRISED to find the Bible so INTERESTING—so MEANINGFUL—making plain the real meaning of LIFE. The children become ABSORBED in reading them. And you can give your little children—of three to five years—the Bible teaching you never knew HOW to give them, by reading this, and explaining it a little more in your own words.
I must add—we found it necessary in offering previous volumes, to impose a few restrictions. Only one copy can be sent to a family or household. We cannot send copies to others, at your request. Only to those who request it for themselves. We cannot send copies in bulk for you to distribute.
We are grateful for your interest. Truly it is, as Jesus said, more blessed to GIVE than to receive. And so I hope you will give our voluntary Co-Workers and me the PLEASURE and the BLESSING of GIVING YOU these two books. It's a real JOY to serve you. I'm enclosing a self-addressed reply envelope for your request.