I would like to announce something that gives me great pleasure. I had a choice of announcing it at the end of my talk or at the beginning, but it is the kind of thing that I don't want to postpone announcing even that much. My daughter Carol, whom Mr. Armstrong married last June at our home in Beverly Hills, has told Mr. Armstrong and me that she wants to be baptized. She is here today with her husband Mr. Little and my wife and they are seated on my left. Immediately upon our return to the Pasadena area, she will be baptized by one of the ministers. This gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction, because although I really haven't tried to teach her about these things which I feel are so personal, between man and God, I have tried to set the right example. I have tried to inculcate in that way those values which have become important to you and those values which, of course, have become so important to me. All of my family, my children in particular, I would say, have very much been influenced by Mr. Armstrong, just by what he does in their presence, what he says in their presence, and what they have generally observed, and they are leading the kind of lives which are indicative that much of what Mr. Armstrong stands for, and what the Church stands for has indeed rubbed off.
Now five years ago at the Feast of Tabernacles I spoke about the fact that the Work of God was unique, and I'm sure by now all of you understand that. As Mr. Armstrong's closest advisor, then as now, I could see many, many changes that would actually lie ahead for the Work. Changes that would be beneficial for the Work. Changes that I felt would be a sign that the Great Commission was in fact being fulfilled, and some of those changes, I believed, were very foreseeable in the aftermath of the events of 1971 and 1972 — events that I felt would ultimately compel the brethren of this Church to come to grips with the only reality — the reality that this was, and is, and will be the true Church and a Work of the Living God and not a Work of mere men.
Just a few days ago I was again interviewed by a television journalist for a program devoted to the Work, its past, its present and its future. Once again I proved, I believe, to the journalist that the Work of the Living God does not exist to make a particular radio program, with a particular frequency of airing, in particular places and of particular times. The same for television. The Work does not exist to produce a television program with a particular format for airing at particular times and places. It doesn't even exist for the purpose of producing and distributing a magazine or any number of magazines with a particular format and frequency of publication. It doesn't exist to maintain one or two or three collegiate grade academic institutions. In one or more places around the world. It does exist, however, for one and only one purpose and that is, of course, to propagate the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the Coming Kingdom of God and to propagate that Message, that Announcement for a witness unto all nations. It is this purpose, this immutable purpose that we hope is best being served at any one time by the various techniques or activities of the Work that Mr. Armstrong, as Christ's Apostle, feels will help best to fulfill that Great Commission. We know that our doctrines, as well as the basic purpose of the Church, are immutable also and we know, or should know, that we can reach an understanding of what those doctrines are, as well as the resolution of all of our problems, by looking to one place primarily — for a source of great strength, and also the source of knowledge — the written word of the Living God, the Bible. We don't have to go to management textbooks to learn how to govern God's Work. We don't have to go to graduate schools of business and finance to learn how to govern God's Work. We don't have to go to academic and scholarly treatises of a theological nature to understand the message in the written word of the Living God and we know that we can rely on the faith that has been given to us, and with hope and with love for God and our neighbor we will be able to overcome any and all problems, as and when they may arise.
Changes have indeed taken place over the past five years, and many changes have taken place during the last five months. I am certain that you all realize, however, how necessary these changes have been. I am certain that you are as grateful as I, that we are back on the right track, that God is on His throne, that Christ is heading this Work and Mr. Armstrong, as Christ's Apostle in this end time, is being lead as always by God the Father and Christ the Son.
God truly does work, however, in mysterious ways. He gives us faith, and we pray and we hope for the miracle which will save us from our most dreaded fears, from our worst afflictions. He has answered our prayers this time, a miracle has occurred. He has intervened to restore life and vigor to Christ's Apostle. But I would like to share a little bit of my own experience of witnessing the miracle that unfolded before my eyes. I would like to share a little bit of the drama, a little bit of the story that now can and should be told.
Little did Mr. Armstrong or I suspect that congestive heart failure would strike him down so suddenly fourteen months ago, when we returned after a worldwide journey, from the middle of the African continent. Little did we know that more than one time in a three-week period he would be on the threshold of death. Little did we know that during this three-week period he would in fact die as he has written to you, and will probably tell you some more about today, and that he would have to be revived by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and by manual heart massage. Little did we know that many in high places within the Work, would write him off as dead, would write him off as buried, would write him off as never to return. And little did we know that many in high places, seemingly free to abandon God's Way and God's Laws would be so willing to do so.
Yes, the first few weeks of Mr. Armstrong's illness were very critical indeed. Yes Mr. Armstrong did die — yet he was revived. But the Living God in His mysterious ways saw fit to let some remain blinded to Mr. Armstrong's recovery, even while he caused Mr. Armstrong to give evidence of his recovery and to give everyone the opportunity to realize that the miracle had indeed occurred. But just as the Jews in Christ's time refused to recognize the Messiah so long awaited, so too those in high places refused to believe Mr. Armstrong was alive and well.
Mr. Armstrong finally returned to Pasadena, immediately following New Year's Day and on January 3, 1978 he chaired a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Church. He announced to the member s of the Board that he had indeed recovered, that he had indeed been restored to life by the gift of the Living God. Then, point by point, by the spoken word and in writing, he outlined what must be done to save the Work of the Living God. What must be done to get the Work moving again. What must be done to get God the Father and Christ the Son back into God's Work. Some of these Board Members were astounded — not only by Mr. Armstrong's recovery, but by the insight that he had as to what was needed in God's Work. But though astounded, they were happily astounded. Some might have been a bit incredulous, unbelieving but also happily so. One person was resentful. That one person shocked the others by his open and naked hostility and his unveiled and all too revealing disrespect. But Christ's Apostle was equal to the occasion. He calmly reemphasized his points, gave overall directions to the others to carry out the policies that he had enunciated and to keep in touch with him over the ensuing months.
The next morning Mr. Armstrong's son sent his wife and an assistant to Mr. Armstrong's home and they pleaded that Mr. Armstrong make no mention of the open rebellion that had occurred the day before and to make no mention of the momentous decisions that Mr. Armstrong had made, when he, Mr. Armstrong, was scheduled to speak within the hour at the opening of the ministerial conference in Pasadena, California. A few moments later Mr. Armstrong's son pleaded with his father on his own behalf to make no announcements about the decisions that had been made and to make no mention before the ministers of the rebellion. Mr. Armstrong decided once again at that point to give his son one more chance. One more opportunity was thus given his son to do the right thing in God's eyes.
Mr. Armstrong consented and said nothing about the rebellion and said nothing about the decisions. Mr. Armstrong was assured that he need not remain for the conference because he was further assured that doctrines of this Church would not be discussed and would not in any way be involved at the ministerial conference. Mr. Armstrong and I returned to Tucson after we each addressed the ministers. Mr. Armstrong related much of what I have now told you about his miraculous recovery and I spoke on the need for unity, love, harmony and cooperation in God's Work.
Since January, 1978, Mr. Armstrong has point by point reported all subsequent events to you in personal letters, in articles in the Good News and in sermons in Pasadena, Tucson, Phoenix and Big Sandy. He has literally poured his heart out to you. He has revealed much of what he hoped would never have to be made known to many. He has been literally heartbroken over the loss of a physical son in whom he had placed so much hope and from whom he has suffered so much — so much pain and so much anguish. Don't think for one moment that it was easy for him, don't think for one moment that he has not suffered, don't think for one moment that he has not been sorely grieved and disappointed. I know better, I've lived with him everyday for all practical purposes as he just said a few moments ago for the past ten years. And I myself have never worked so hard and so futilely, so unsuccessfully to bring about a contrary result.
What has not been told in my opinion is that there were two miracles as I view the events of the past fourteen months. The first miracle of course was as I already stated — Mr. Armstrong was restored to life and to vigor, restored with his faculties so necessary to carry on the work of the Living God, faculties which were bestowed upon him by the Living God, undiminished, and Mr. Armstrong has been given the opportunity to continue as Christ's Apostle in this end time. But the second miracle was one that we did not foresee and we did not envision. God struck down Mr. Armstrong in such a way as to permit him after being restored to life to see firsthand what the Work would be like if he were no longer here, if, in fact, he were dead, if, in fact he were not to move to correct the mistakes that he had made in the past in order to protect his son. In other words, God gave Mr. Armstrong another chance, another chance to render to him that accounting that Mr. Armstrong always knew he would have to render, because he has always said he is accountable to God. He gave him another chance to render that accounting after making all of the corrections that were necessary before the accounting would have to be ultimately submitted and he gave Mr. Armstrong an opportunity to take all the steps necessary to ensure that God's work would be done, that God's ways would be preserved, even if God should decide in his wisdom and mercy that Mr. Armstrong will not be able to complete it in his lifetime.
Mr. Armstrong has told people that he could very well outlive all of us and I believe that very, very strongly, and we all hope that Mr. Armstrong will be able to complete the Work, if that is what God's overall plan has provided for Mr. Armstrong, but, if not, Mr. Armstrong's timely action, as a result of the two miracles as I have seen them, his timely measures, his timely actions will ensure that the Work will be done.
So brethren there were two miracles that the Living God performed for the direct benefit of His Work this time. Miracles performed before our eyes, if we were simply of the mind to see them. Is there any wonder that my faith has been enhanced a thousand-fold. Should there be any doubt that there is a Living God in the minds of any of you. Is there any doubt in your mind now that this is the True Church, the only Church and a Work of the Living God and not a work of mere men.
I have a lot more that I could share with you, but I don't want to take the time now, I know that you're waiting as I have for so long to hear Mr. Armstrong speak here again in Tucson. I shall write more to you in the future in the pages of the Good News and from time to time maybe some of my comments given in forums or else reach you by cassette or video tape. I cannot thank you enough for your letters of encouragement, of support and your prayers for me, for my wife, my children, for Mr. Armstrong and Mrs. Armstrong. Please let me continue to hear from you. I would like to share one letter that I received just before I left Pasadena, 10 days ago. From a woman signed Nettie. She says in this letter:
"Hello Stanley Rader. After listening to the tape of your forum, I was moved to express appreciation for you and all you have done for the Work. Many years ago, before you were baptized Mr. Armstrong often told us about your great service on behalf of the Church. We thank God for you and ask Him to bless you mightily. Word carne that you were baptized and I was jubilant, happy, thankful, for I knew your work would be more effective than ever.
Since the traumatic events of the last few months, my heart went out to you almost as much as to Mr. Armstrong. I prayed for you, felt for you and always felt very thankful for you.
The trials have been a bit severe, but they have caused just about everyone to know for sure whether they had built their house on sand or the rock.
Thank you, Dear Sir, for all you have done, are doing and will continue to do for Mr. Armstrong, the Work, and for me. Sincerely, Nettie."
I tell you with great candor and in all humility that this kind of letter tells me, that although I have not done as much in the past twenty some odd years as I would have liked to have done for the Work, that I haven't done as poorly as I sometimes think I have. Thank you.