Proclaim to the World the GOOD NEWS OF THE WORLD TOMORROW
BOX 111, Pasadena, California
Publishing: The PLAIN TRUTH a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
April 21, 1955
Dear Co-Workers for Christ:
Here is the most important news I have ever been able to send you Co-Workers about the progress of God's Work!
I've been telling you that we have reached the supreme CRISIS — the CROSS-ROADS — and whether the work goes down and DIES, or takes a new road to a nation-wide and world-wide impact of POWER such as we never dreamed of before, depends on what happens right now!
God Almighty has promised He will never forsake the work He has begun! God keeps His promises! He has now opened new doors — launched His great work forward on a new road of accelerated and multiplied power that will astonish us all!
Our GOD keeps His promises! He has not forsaken His work! But first, — in my last letter I told you my heart was heavy as lead. Actually hundreds of YOU CO-WORKERS have been forsaking GOD and HIS WORK! Hundreds of YOU have not been resisting a new temptation that God has allowed in order to try you and to test you.
O LISTEN, dear Co-Workers! Your own very eternal salvation is also AT THE CROSS-ROADS — right now! This is the supreme crisis in many of YOUR lives! God will never forsake YOU — but are YOU now unthinkingly forsaking HIM? Listen! We are being hurled straight into THE END OF THE WORLD! This is the world-crisis at the CLOSE of this age! And, speaking of this very time, God says thru the prophet Daniel: "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried" (Dan. 12:10). Jesus speaks (Rev. 3:10) of the hour of TRIAL, which shall come upon all the world, to TRY them that dwell upon the earth." We are at the beginning of that very trying and testing period. And hundreds of you, already, are unthinkingly yielding yourselves to a new TEMPTATION — the temptation to put a GOOD THING — Television — to an injurious and wrong USE.
God Almighty has allowed Television to come. Like radio, God foresaw, long before we did, that TELEVISION could become the very power to FINISH His work thru His Servants. Just what is sin? Sin is the TRANSGRESSION of God's laws. What is TRANSGRESSION? It's a WRONG ACTION: A Television set is not sin. But yielding yourself to put it to a wrong USE is sin.
HERE'S WHAT I MEAN! Our ministers have been interviewing Co-Workers in several states. Here is a typical comment: "Yes, I listened to The WORLD TOMORROW for years. I sure did like to listen to Brother Armstrong and the TRUTH of the BIBLE. I used to send quite a little money to help carry on the work — tithes, and offerings too. But I just don't have time to listen any more. We have Television, now."
DO YOU REALIZE what that means? It means two things: 1) the explanation of the grave crisis this precious work of God is facing, and 2) such Co-Workers (and former Co-Workers) are saying, without realizing it: "Yes, I sure did like to listen to GOD'S TRUTH, but I just don't have time for CHRIST or His GOSPEL any more. I've put worldly entertainment programs sponsored by the Tobacco, Liquor and Cosmetic interests first in my life now. I serve and devote myself to the pleasing entertainment of the WORLD, now. I'm NEGLECTING Christ's so great salvation, and eternal life, now. I'm letting myself enjoy a few hours of WORLDLY ENTERTAINMENT that the Tobacco, Liquor, and Cosmetic people send INTO MY HOME, now, instead of finding what will REALLY satisfy my hungry soul — and give me a happy, joy-packed, ABUNDANT life for ALL ETERNITY. I'm passing up an ETERNITY of GLORY for a few hours a day of feasting my eyes on the sordid scenes of crime, murder, intrigue, illicit love, and plain silly, empty, worthless fun."
Co-Workers LISTEN! God is showing His servants the solution of this crisis FOR HIS WORK. God's work will not die — for we rely on GOD, for wisdom, for guidance, — for everything — but SOME OF YOU are going to die FOR ETERNITY, unless you can WAKE UP in time, and realize that you are allowing a WRONG USE of a good thing to crowd out the hours you OUGHT to be spending not only in the study of God's Word, but also in YOUR vital part in carrying on HIS WORK, in building the eternal spiritual CHARACTER which is the very PURPOSE for which you were born!
LET ME TELL YOU, dear Co-Workers, this knowledge God has been putting in your ears by my voice, and into your minds by The PLAIN TRUTH, and YOUR BIBLE, is DANGEROUS knowledge! It is knowledge God will hold you accountable for! Christ said to the Pharisees: "If ye were blind, we should have no sin: but now ye say, 'We see,' therefore your sin remaineth." Likewise Jesus says to YOU: "If you had never heard or understood, your sin would not be imputed; but since this true SAVING knowledge has entered your heart, therefore it condemns you IF YOU NEGLECT IT." Yes, "how shall we escape, if we neglect so GREAT salvation?" (Heb. 2:3.)
"O, my GOD!" I cry out, "have you made me your instrument for transmitting YOUR MESSAGE to all these people that SOME or them condemn themselves by neglecting what you have sown in their hearts?" Yes, dear Co-Workers, this thudding realization that many of our Co-Workers — so many that the very life of GOD'S WORK has been threatened — have been UNTHINKINGLY allowing themselves to become SO ABSORBED in foolish time-wasting WORLDLY entertainment, that it is crowding out their ZEAL FOR CHRIST, threatening loss of salvation, leaves me just sick at heart!
But God's Work shall NOT die! Shall we condemn Television, because the world puts it to a wrong use? NO! God could have prevented Television. He didn't. God allows us to be tempted to put good things to a WRONG use. It's part of God's Plan that we go thru this trying and testing time, as this world speeds to its END! TIME IS SHORT! Nothing is important, now, but to get God's closing Message to the WORLD!
So here's what God has done — to SPEED UP HIS WORK!
God has OPENED A MIGHTY NEW DOOR! He is putting His work on a NEW ROAD! Radio is dying. Radio now has only a third or a fourth its former listening hours. The American people have turned from RADIO to TELEVISION. Jesus Christ commissions us: "Go ye INTO all the world" with HIS MESSAGE. He says "Go to the world!" We have to go where the people are. Where are the people? They are sitting before Television sets!
In January, this year, according to accurate measuring by meters of hundreds and hundreds of radio and television sets all over the country (Nielson ratings), the AVERAGE American family devoted over 5« hours per day looking at Television. In February, it jumped to almost 6 hours every day!
So, HERE'S OUR BIG NEWS! God has now opened the doors of TELEVISION! We are now going to the people of America where those people are: sitting in front of their TELEVISION sets! We are going to start putting a wonderful invention to a GOOD use!
We are going on TELEVISION full speed ahead! We have already contracted for time, and actually paid in advance for the first several telecasts, on our first TV station-starting in the very first sizeable city where we started on RADIO — TV Station KLOR, Portland, Oregon. Other stations will be added as rapidly as possible.
We hope to come on YOUR TV station, wherever you are, in about three short months!
The production chief of a major TV Network, and his assistant who is a top-flight TV director, have formed a new producing company with our advertising agent for the sole purpose of producing The WORLD TOMORROW on Television. Thus God has brought to us the most expert and experienced direction and production personnel to make this the most effective possible Television program.
These men believe the TV programs we are now planning will take this nation by storm! These seasoned, experienced Hollywood Producers and Directors say it will win a really terrific TV audience all over the country. The other day we were analyzing the situation, planning our program for TV. I mentioned that Bishop Sheen on TV has the solid nation-wide backing of the Catholic Church, and millions of Catholics tuning him in — Billy Graham has the backing of most of the Protestant denominations, with their millions of members tuning in — but WE are just as CHRIST would be, if He were here as He was 1900 years ago — with no backing what-so- ever, except for you Co-Workers. "But we do have GOD'S TRUTH," I said. "and the same, original GOSPEL Christ preached."
"Yes," they replied, "and we know that Bishop Sheen is a great actor, and Billy Graham has a lot of personality — but, Mr. Armstrong, you've got more than they have — your deep earnestness and straightforward sincerity because you BELIEVE so intensely in your Message, will do more to attract listeners and change lives than all the acting ability and personality in the world."
And, speaking of CHANGING PEOPLE'S LIVES. We know, of course, from our scores and scores of thousands of letters, and from meeting many of you personally, that many hundreds of precious lives have been CHANGED into spiritual Christian lives, thru our RADIO broadcasts and The PLAIN TRUTH.
One man, who met my son Dick in Colorado recently, said: "I've been listening to your father since 1943. God used him to change my whole life. And to think, that at last, I get to SEE his son. You don't know how much this means to me. I've always wished I could just SEE the man I've listened to so long!"
Another man, in South Dakota, said: "For years I've heard a VOICE over the radio, pouring into my ears the MESSAGE of God. That precious Message has totally changed my life! My! how I'd like to go to Pasadena, and SEE with my own eyes not only Mr. Armstrong, but the HEADQUARTERS of this great world-wide work, — that beautiful Ambassador College campus I've heard so much about, — and all those associated there. If only I could afford it, I'd certainly travel fifteen hundred miles to just go there and SEE what I've been hearing!"
For years I never could understand why listeners should ever want to see me. There had been actually thousands of requests for my picture — but never would I permit a picture to be published. "It isn't I," I kept saying, "they want to see — it's the GOSPEL MESSAGE — that's all that counts — I'm only an instrument. There's nothing about me anyone ought to see. I don't want people to think of me, but of CHRIST, and His GOSPEL."
For years I refused to let anyone even see my picture. Then one day a listener wrote me an unusual letter. He put it this way: If I attended a church service, and the pastor was afraid to show his face and hid behind the pulpit, wouldn't I become suspicious that he had something to hide? Didn't I always want to actually SEE the face of a speaker, while he was speaking? Didn't that tell me something of how really sincere the man was — wasn't it actually a PART of his Message?
I had never thought of it that way before. Thereafter I permitted my picture to be published. But I do realize, dear Co-Workers, that those who HEAR the Message want to actually SEE the speaker, as he speaks to them — and THEY HAVE A RIGHT to see him, if possible. No speaker ought to HIDE himself.
Well, on Television, I do hope soon to be coming RIGHT INTO YOUR HOME — not only my voice, as it has been on radio — but ALL of me, just as if I were there in the flesh. Not only that, but I hope to bring you, without any expensive trip across the country, right here to the very headquarters of God's work on earth for this time — to actually take you all over our magnificently landscaped Ambassador College campus — to take you into our big mailing room where you can really SEE our many students and employees MAILING OUT YOUR PLAIN TRUTH, or that booklet you wrote in for. I expect soon to bring you, by Television, right into some or our class-rooms here at the college — to show you a class in session — to show you where our students live — my office where I do my work — to show you where the letters from Britain, Europe, Malaya, India, South Africa, are handled and literature sent to them — to show you our Ambassador Chorale singing — and you shall SEE my daughter Beverly as she sings to you on the program right out of her Bible. And soon my son Ted will join her in singing on the program. When I speak on PROPHECY, and world catastrophes fulfilling it, we will frequently SHOW YOU these very turbulent scenes all over the world, by news-reel film, while I talk to you about it — you'll actually SEE what I'm talking about.
Co-Workers, JUST THINK how much more interesting and thrilling a TELECAST can be than a radio broadcast!
Now HERE'S OUR PLAN! We plan to make the quickest possible change-over from the SUNDAY radio broadcast to TELEVISION. We hope, inside of three months, to be on some thirty TV stations in 30 different parts of the country, simultaneously dropping the radio Network and all the Sunday-only radio stations — diverting that money to the Television program, BUT — just one Message a week is not enough. That's all we can possibly afford now ON TV — but we plan to continue the every night radio broadcasting — six week- night programs a week — on WLS, WWVA, XEG, XELO, and XERB, and also in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland. We cannot legally cancel the Radio Network program until about three months from now. We hope, by that time, to have all plans completed — TV stations contracted to start the very next Sunday after we go off the radio Network, in every city where we now have a large radio audience.
Now IF our listeners will continue listening to the RADIO broadcast week-nights, in ADDITION to the Sunday TV programs, then we plan to not only stay on WLS, WWVA, XEG, XELO, and the Pacific Coast DAILY stations, but we hope to ADD to these two or more additional super-power, clear-channel top-flight radio stations for every night broadcasting, so that this DAILY broadcast may be heard with good, clear reception in every part of the country.
So now I want to ask you to DO SOMETHING FOR ME — to help us plan God's work. There are TEN BIG RADIO STATIONS we are considering. From these ten, we must choose one, two, or three, that will give good reception in some sections where you don't get it so good over these present stations. I want YOU to tune in, several nights, AFTER 8 o'clock, on whichever of these stations are NEAREST you, and let me know if any of them come in clear and strong, BETTER than one of our present stations.
Here are the ten radio stations: KOA, Denver, 850 on your dial; WCCO, Minneapolis, 830 on the dial; WHAS, Louisville, 840 on dial; WBZ, Boston, 1030 on dial; WCAU, Philadelphia, 1210 on dial; WRVA, Richmond, 1140 on dial; WSM, Nashville, 650 on dial; KWKH, Shreveport, 1130 on dial; WOAI, San Antonio, 1200 on dial; and KFI, Los Angeles, 640 on dial.
We hope soon to have the doors of KFI, Los Angeles opened to us, and if so, we will drop XERB and all our other Los Angeles stations, but not those in Pacific Northwest. In Portland, we may switch over to KEX every night (50,000 watts), dropping KPDQ and KXL. We will continue KVI, Seattle. Now if you do NOT get any of our present stations — that is, WLS, WWVA, XELO, XEG, with good reception. then try the ones listed in the paragraph above nearest you, and if any of these is better, PLEASE WRITE AND TELL ME. We will drop XERB in order to go on TV.
WHAT WE HOPE will work out is this. We are now starting to make a complete change-over from the Sunday RADIO broadcasts to a once-a-week TELEVISION program, to expand as soon as possible to cover the entire United States; — supplemented with the daily RADIO broadcasts. Our hope is that those who see and hear the TV program once a week will also listen to the radio program six nights a week. We shall try that plan first. If we find that people quit listening to radio altogether, and look at Television ONLY then we shall have to begin, two or three stations at first, adding more and more as we can, going on TV at least five times a week, — eliminating radio altogether. But we HOPE that the combination of one Sunday TV program a week and six radio broadcasts a week will work out.
ANOTHER ADVANTAGE OF TV over radio is this: On radio we were forced mostly to go on fourth or fifth-rate stations, except for the super-power Mexican stations, and to take a bad time when few were listening. In Portland Oregon, for example, about 95% of all radio listeners were tuned to the four Network stations. The two or three independent stations had only about 5% of the listeners divided between them. We had to take a poor time on an independent station — perhaps getting 1% of the listeners. Now, today, MORE people tune in TV than tuned in radio then. Where there are 10 radio stations serving Portland, there are only TWO regular-channel TV stations. You can figure what a MULTIPLIED audience TV will give us compared to radio.
NOW WE FIND THIS: Television has changed the habits of the American people. They go to bed from one to two hours later than formerly. We can now reach MANY more people on TV at 11 PM than we formerly could on radio at a 8 PM. The peak hour, when MOST people are viewing TV, is not 8 or 8:30, but from 9 to 10. Between 11 and 11:30 PM more than a third as many are still looking at TV as during the peak hour. At 11 PM the cost of a Telecast goes down to about one-third of the earlier hours. Therefore we are going to try to get the half-hour between 11 and 11:30, wherever possible, — especially in the big cities, where the time-costs are enormously high at earlier hours. At these less costly hours, we can go on TV Coast to Coast, at a cost not much more than we now pay for radio.
Again, we do not want to give people GOD'S Message at 7 or 8 in the evening on TV, knowing that after our program ends they would continue watching worldly entertainment TV shows, or movies, another two to four hours, which would knock all the precious TRUTH out of their minds, so that by bed-time they would have FORGOTTEN God's Message. No, we want to be the very last program people listen to before turning off TV and going to bed — if possible! We want people to go to bed THINKING about the vital, all-important Message we have just given them. If they go to bed thinking about it, they will wake up thinking about it next day. Then again, at the hours before 11, in many cases, we would have to compete with the top entertainment shows such as "I Love Lucy," "Dragnet," "Toast of the TOWN," "Groucho Marx," or "What's My Line?" Most listeners, at these hours, would tune to a competing station for one of those programs. We would pay the enormous cost, but would not get the listeners. These are reasons why we are going after LATER hours on Television instead of costlier earlier hours. Yes, dear Co-Workers, GOD IS GUIDING US, giving us wisdom, leading the way — OPENING MIGHTY DOORS!
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD, we can still reach people by radio. TV is not so far developed. But the WORLD-WIDE work must be financed by United States Co-Workers! We believe this CHANGE- OVER from Sunday Radio to Sunday Television will greatly MULTIPLY the number of Co-Workers who will join us in this world-wide Gospel crusade.
BIG NEWS! I'm overjoyed to announce a NEW radio station has opened to us — the one great station in SOUTH AFRICA — one of the British Commonwealth nations. We have waited over two years for this opportunity. The WORLD TOMORROW is now broadcast locally in South Africa! GOD HAS NOT DESERTED HIS WORK — have YOU?
FINALLY, and most important of all!
LISTEN CAREFULLY! This is, indeed the very CRISIS HOUR of the entire life of the work. Television production is not like radio at all. The production of a TV program is a BIG UNDERTAKING. The big worldly entertainment shows cost as much for production as for putting the show, or the film, on the air after produced. While our Hollywood producers have collaborated with me to work out an EXTREME ECONOMY way of production, whereby we can produce our program at less than one-thirtieth the production cost of big entertainment shows, nevertheless it will require, almost IMMEDIATELY, an investment of several thousand dollars to get started, and produce the first of six programs. We must have at least the first six programs on film BEFORE the first program goes on the air.
WE DARE NOT cancel our Network radio broadcasting until we have the TV program actually on the air in a few cities, and some 30 other stations under contract to start the very next Sunday after we go off the radio Network. We would never be able to even get on the TV stations we want, otherwise. The Network gives us the PRESTIGE to get on the desired stations. It is only because we are on the ABC Network that we were able to get the time on the Portland TV station. That means that for some three months WE HAVE TO FINANCE THE ADDED COST OF STARTING TV PRODUCTION, while continuing RADIO! Then, after three months, we can cancel out enough RADIO expense to pay TV costs.
THAT'S the crisis bottle-neck we face. THE VERY LIFE of the work of GOD depends on it! THAT'S the mountain we have to hurdle! It's going to require several thousand dollars EXTRA, immediately, — and for some months to come — to make this CHANGE- OVER from Radio to TV!
CO-WORKERS, WE HAVE TO RALLY TO THIS SUPREME EMERGENCY! If we should fail in this, God's precious work — the most important activity on this earth — would go down, and down, — and DIE! NOTHING, now, but SUPERHUMAN EFFORT on YOUR part as well as mine can save the work! It's going to take MORE than the very largest offerings you can possibly send in, even at great sacrifice. It's going to take EARNEST PRAYER — yes, FASTING and prayer — more in earnest than ever before, that God will move powerfully on the hearts of those who are able to put into God's work at this crisis hour large SPECIAL offerings of from one to five or more THOUSAND dollars! SOME are able! PRAY for them, dear Co-Workers, that God will make them WILLING!
And IF EVER we needed a complete DELUGE of widows' mites, that time is RIGHT NOW! THIS IS OUR SUPREME TEST! God has not failed us — we must not fail HIM! Put your WHOLE HEART into this. It's our SUPREME OPPORTUNITY, as well as our supreme TEST!
With ALL THE ENTHUSIASM AND ZEAL in our being, let's now press on to our GREATEST VICTORY since God started His last work for this Age thru us! God bless you, dear Co-Workers! — somehow, by faith, I KNOW you're going to respond as NEVER BEFORE, and God's work will now BURST AHEAD on this NEW ROAD God has opened to a world-wide POWER and IMPACT such as we never dreamed would be possible! Please RUSH your most liberal possible offerings, AIR MAIL — now, and as often as possible. THANK YOU, and GOD BLESS YOU!
Your fellow-servant in Jesus' name, Herbert W. Armstrong