EDITOR'S NOTE: One of the most common SINS among God's people has always been griping, complaining — called "murmuring" in the Bible. This attitude of criticizing, finding fault, grumbling, is negative, unspiritual, and is a disease that produces unhappiness and loss of faith in the perpetrator, and great annoyance to others who hear it. The cure is to set your mind in the opposite mood — that of GRATITUDE. Perhaps the most common sin in professing Christians is ingratitude — failure to be thankful — to count one's blessings. When the children of Judah, without any weapons, began to march directly toward the onrushing three allied armies, just singing PRAISES TO GOD, the God they were praising began to win the battle for them. I have known many to be healed when they began to thank and praise God for it in advance. Count your blessings — get your mind on them — they are more and greater than you probably realize. This is the recipe for overcoming griping, and for finding happiness. I have received thousands of happy, joyful letters expressing gratitude to God. But I have recently received one, from one of the Elders in God's Church, that was simply bursting with gratitude and joy over blessings piling up one on another. I thought it was a lesson in joy and happiness — and in the ATTITUDE of gratitude and happiness. Mr. Hoops could have found things to criticize and gripe about — had he looked hard enough for them, as many do. I thought this exuberant letter would bring a spiritual inspiration and experience to all of God's people. So we are reproducing it here, in full.
DEAR MR. AND MRS. ARMSTRONG: I don't think we have ever written you a long letter. Well, here is one... if it is too long just send it back and I'll summarize it for you and return it! But, we just cannot resist this. It seems that the blessings are overtaking us, are enveloping us and sometimes we are at a loss as to how to express our joy. Should we cry, laugh or what? We decided to share it with you! The Akron church is simply bubbling over with excitement and gratitude. It seems God has loaded one blessing on top of another. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain emotional control, to prevent explosions of joy! It all started to avalanche about the middle of May when the new DOUBLE ENVOY came and we could see all the progress and growth in the students and others in the Work and the phenomenal growth in the Work itself too. Then on the heels of that blessing came another "blast" of joy...The Bible Story. So well done and in such good taste! We know how the people in the churches really profit from this because it is in language they can understand and is explained by the mind of a converted minister of God whom they can trust. As if that were not enough... The next explosion (and we just about exploded with joy) was the new forty-page PLAIN TRUTH! Not only was it now increased in size but we could see in this issue the growth and advancement of many of the people... the men God Himself has hand-picked to assist in doing His precious Work! We also were glad to know that you were going to write the "Heart-to-Heart Talk With the Editor" again. We were inspired by the way the scoffers and accusers were handled by showing that they, in scoffing against the Work of God, condemn Christ Himself! But, was that all? No! Then you came to Pittsburgh and gave us the marvelous news of the growth in England, the possibility of adding a whole university to the "list" of Ambassador Colleges. I remember several times you said that Ambassador College would eventually fill the whole world! That was a prophecy because we're seeing it fulfilled before our very eyes just as we're seeing the other prophecy being fulfilled all over the world. Your sermon that Sabbath was very good for me. Even though it dealt with basic material, and subjects and points with which many of us had been familiar for years, it is always new and vibrant! I remember that day back in Colorado — it was the Sabbath. I had asked you to explain Galatians. All afternoon you explained it and when you were through I said it dovetails, it fits, it hasn't a hole in it anywhere. You had made the TRUTH so plain. But, this sermon you gave in Pittsburgh was especially good to me because I was able to see how you handle the same problems which I have encountered in making sermons and sermonettes. I find it is one great effort to MAKE THE TRUTH PLAIN! I think this is one of the most important features of your preaching and writing that attracted me in the first instance of contact. Then I came to Ambassador and read in the mail room the same thing expressed by thousands of people. They said, "...Mr. Armstrong, you make the Truth so Plain!..." I find that isn't easy to do with a mind that has habitually been complicated and confused by lying, exaggerating, stretching the truth all out of shape. Now, to tell just the PLAIN TRUTH without any distortion is a real task; it is the process of conversion. I am just beginning to be converted — may God continue to have mercy on me (and all of us) till the process is completed! I know He will! If He sacrificed His own son just for that purpose — and He did — there's still hope! Anyhow, that was a real blessing to see you again and hear you giving us the good news about the Work of God, preach to us about our purpose, relate the plans for the coming Feast of Tabernacles (that was another wonderful blessing too, the solving of a multi-million dollar problem in the acquisition of Squaw Valley!). It was a rare privilege and honor and joy to be invited to join you for dinner at LeMont (I thought Dick would have enjoyed that) and again, thank you very much from our hearts! We considered it a blessing to be able to talk and hear you relate, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. McDowell, some of your valuable experiences the night Mr. Scott was with us. And Mr. Scott...some day that man (if he isn't converted soon) will be so sorry his eyes weren't open — but this brings us to the next blessing. You know how you suggested that we make a report on the radio stations here in the Akron and Cleveland areas so it could be decided which stations would be the best for the World Tomorrow Broadcast? We talked to several people both in and near Akron and Cleveland. Some who live in Cleveland said they would rather listen to Akron station WADC. We ourselves conducted a little survey to see which station would be the most desirable and found that WADC is somewhat of a prestige station here in Akron. It has a power of 20,000 watts and is called Akron's Big Station. It can be heard easily in all of Cleveland, a city of over a million population. Akron is a city of 300,000, an up-and-coming city. We were told by a prominent Jew in Cincinnati that Akron is one of the most progressive cities in the whole nation. We were about to compile all this information and much more to send to you or to Mr. Scott as soon as we would get the list and information Mr. Scott was going to send to us. Before we could do this the program started at a perfect time, across the board, on the very, station we had selected as the one we would choose as number one! All this just 23 days after we had talked about the possibility! We about exploded! Seriously, I join the grateful, happy people of God's Church in Akron, Ohio in expressing deep thanks and profound gratitude. We know it will make this church grow both numerically and spiritually as a part of the WHOLE Church. But, was that all? No, indeed! Like a dark cloud always overshadowing our joy during the many weeks prior even to your visit in Pittsburgh there was the serious condition of Mrs. Warrington, the woman who had had a miscarriage. She lost literally quarts of blood and we didn't know whether she would live or die. There was nothing to be done except trust completely in. God! We were totally helpless. The family got wind of it and rose up in wrath...neighbors and welfare department became indignant it seemed, were against her but God... and this is exactly the lesson God wanted and determined He was going to give us all! They were about to take her forcibly to the hospital for "treatment"... they had gone to the Judge of the Probate Court... the Judge forced the welfare officer to file a complaint resulting in Mrs. Warrington's being called to court to face incompetency charges on Monday morning, May 29...less than three days following the serving of summons. We went to court and received a continuance on the grounds that less than three days had elapsed since the serving of the summons but the judge didn't like it at all! He turned a cherry red... shouted threatening statements at Mr. Warrington to the effect that if anything happens to Mrs. Warrington by the next Wednesday morning at 9 he himself would demand a conviction on manslaughter charges against Mr. Warrington. This had happened before, as you pointed out, in the 4th Chapter of Acts and you even mentioned it specifically in Pittsburgh. It seemed almost identical. Jesus told us we'd be called before rulers. Here we saw it and lived it. Mr. Warrington and I went into action trying our best to find an attorney to represent them. Really contacted four of them, also tried to get a doctor to examine her to determine the exact condition of her health (because by now we knew God had healed her). Every door seemed to be closed! The first attorney was sympathetic because his own wife spent six months in the condition of Mrs. Warrington. We talked to him for a long time till he understood the whole picture but at the end of the interview I asked if he wanted to take the case. He would not unless we could get a medical report of satisfactory condition from a doctor in the county. If we had this we wouldn't need an attorney! We must have shown a great deal of determination through this talk because he was on our side and seemed to understand but still would not take the case because he was a local lawyer (offices right across the alley from the court) and had to face this judge every day or so. He wasn't going to stick his neck out and oppose the judge who faced him nearly every day... especially since it was obvious that the judge himself had prejudged. Another thing, they were close friends. We then went to the two doctors of Mr. Warrington's acquaintance. Both turned him down flat, sympathized but refused. We left and went to Akron where I contacted three other attorneys. All three were not willing to touch the case with a ten-foot pole. All were among the finest attorneys in Akron and recommended to me by a very prominent and well known man. (The interior decorator, Mr. Abramson, who helped us to furnish Mr. McDowell's home in Pittsburgh, is a Jew and has taken a strange liking to us, perhaps because he sees through us the qualities of God's Holy Spirit. He doesn't particularly like it but it intrigues him. He has just fallen over trying to be nice to us and serve us in any way he can... and he's very wealthy too. He has shown some interest in The Truth... who knows?) After every door slammed shut in our faces (apparent doors, that is) one last card was left. This idea kept coming to me several times through this whole ordeal and each time I would reject it as fantastic, not worthy to be even considered; but now, with every way we had tried having resulted in failure, I called Mr. Warrington and said to call up all the relatives who were at the hearing (there were eleven of them) and ask them to come to the Warrington home that night — the welfare officer too. This was a holiday of the world and the next day at 9 A.M. was the hearing. Then we prayed again that God would just heal Mrs. Warrington completely. He had already started. She had dried up, she felt better and was in good spirits... better than any of the relatives. There we were, the eve of Wednesday which would bring the hearing, in Mr. and Mrs. Warrington's home... in the very room with the sick woman. A dozen or so of the long-faced and sad relatives filtered in and sat down as we all tried to cheer them up and make them feel better. After a while they were all (or most of them) laughing and joking because we were very happy — Mrs. Warrington included. She was really feeling better. Mr. Warrington opened his Bible and explained why they (he and his wife) had chosen the course of action which they now followed and then he asked if I wanted to say a few words. I did. I could see how their faces turned stony hard against him (and against God). I said, "We don't want to change your religion. God is not going to force you to change your religion. You have a right to believe what you wish to believe. Men have died in many wars to preserve that right for you and now you are trying to force your own sister to give up that very right! All Mrs. Warrington wants of you is to be left alone. The pressure and misery you have put this poor woman through is enough to put the healthiest person in bed if not in the insane asylum... and now... she is happier than any of you. Look at her! Does she look like an incompetent? A crazy person who is unable to take proper care of herself? Call her children and see if they have been neglected (one of the women in the church, Mrs. Judy, a very capable woman, had been helping her very efficiently, washing, cooking, cleaning, nursing, etc). Ask the children if they would like their mother to go to the hospital. Ask them! She has given them the greatest lesson in courage and character that a child can aspire to. Ask them if they disrespect her or disagree with their father. Go ahead and ask them." They didn't dare. "Now, I know that some of you are responsible for this and it is your responsibility to call the whole thing off as a big mistake. (The welfare officer admitted to the attorney that the brother-in-law had been the one to report it. The welfare officer didn't want anything to do with it so he sent the whole lot of them to the judge) If you thought you picked up a mouse by the tail you have another think coming! Mrs. Warrington has made an iron-clad decision and she is going to stick to it! What is more, her real friends are going to stand behind her one hundred percent. This is a matter of life and death to us and to her because God considers a man's word and obedience more important than physical life. You have not picked up a little mouse by the tail. You have picked up the tail of a lion... and you will all wish you had never been a part of this conspiracy by the time it is all over! Mrs. Warrington is not going to give in and you can expect us to stand one hundred percent behind her! "Now, the thing to do is for all of you to sign a petition to the judge that you wish it all to be called off. You have seen her tonight and she is in good health. She is healed and if she is left alone she will regain her strength normally and naturally..." Only one or two of them would have anything to do with the idea... still the stony faced stare. They got up and filed out of the house. We were discouraged. The last resort seemed to have failed. I then called the attorney (the first one we contacted) and asked him what he suggested. He said he had talked to the judge, met him for lunch, was able to explain things in a way that it could never have been done in the courtroom, and without cost. Said the judge seemed to understand. Then I was glad we had made a favorable impression on that attorney. Next morning Mr. McDowell had come up from Pittsburgh and we three went to the courthouse and waited in the hall till about a half hour after the time for the hearing. Someone stuck his head out of the courtroom door and called Mr. Warrington only. He came out ten minutes later with a smile all over his face: from ear to ear and from forehead to chin. His brother-in-law came to the court early and asked that it all be dropped, that she was feeling better and there was no reason for all the upset. The judge suspended the affair indefinitely. Mrs. Warrington has been up since and steadily improving, was in church last Sabbath and came to a Spokesman Club meeting last Thursday. Her body is clean and undamaged. She and her husband are happier than ever, the children are deeply impressed with their parents. The friends, relatives, doctors, lawyers, neighbors, judge, etc... people in whom the world place their trust... had proven themselves unworthy of trust. The Warringtons will never forget the trial, the church at Akron grew closer together in a bond of Love. All things worked together for good to those who loved and trusted in God and He glorified Himself in it all. But, is that all? Did the avalanche stop there? Absolutely not. As soon as the dust settled little David, their son, got a high temperature of 104.8 from an earache. They were advised to bathe his wrists and to sponge him. They also followed your advice in the article on "Fasting for Health"... the use of grapefruit. He was prayed for before. We prayed again and the fever started to subside and for the next seven hours his temperature went down and leveled off at normal... the boy is only 7 but he has learned a great principle: he said "I guess God is doing this so I'll build character." That's not all either... Mrs. McDowell was delivered of a handsome little boy 8 pounds 9 ounces. Then a girl whose parents burned her PLAIN TRUTH, Correspondence Course, etc. beat her, knocked her down, choked her in an effort to make her join the Amish Church, ran away from home and persecution (she's only 17). Juvenile court made her a ward of the court so she can pursue her own religion and education. She may be a future student of Ambassador. She is very sweet and brilliant. God heard and glorified himself here too. That is not all either! A man in this church who faced financial ruin was given another golden chance when we went to talk with the persons involved. Mr. Armstrong, I'm surprised how many times I use the knowledge and wisdom from your experiences... they work! Is that all? No! Yesterday a couple in the church gave my wife Dorothy a beautiful Wurlitzer Grand Piano (a short baby grand), just because, as the woman said, "she plays so well." Dorothy really doesn't believe she does but she is really working on her music. She is taking lessons from a very good teacher now. He is a perfectionist and a real technician and that is what she needed. She is really growing. The avalanche hasn't stopped and it never will! We're so grateful that you and Mrs. Armstrong yielded to God way back there... that you were instrumental in our call and start toward conversion... that you have given us such wonderful examples (in the flesh) to follow... WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH! Your children, Robert W. and Dorothy Hoops P. S. Give our love to Dickie, his mommie and new daddie — and to all the called and chosen there in England whom we love in the Truth though we haven't talked to them. P. S., jr. Say hello to the Woodies in case we don't get to write very soon.