This is a rare occasion for me because it's the first time that I 'll be speaking since my daughter has become a member of the Church. My daughter Carol, as reported in the WORLDWIDE NEWS was indeed baptized two weeks ago last evening, I guess it was, by Mr. Bob Fahey in my presence and the presence of Mr. Helge. I'll keep my remarks short today. She's a pretty severe critic. She hands out her compliments on people who speak before congregations very, very guardedly, although last week she said that Mr. Cole's sermon was outstanding.
Mr. Armstrong mentioned his trip so I won't have to say anything about it, although I had planned on it. We will be leaving about December 10 or December 11 for a two-week trip to the Middle East. Although we'd hoped to be able to squeeze in Egypt at the same time, it just will not be possible, so we're going to do the entire trip in Israel. We have four members of our television crew who will be there to film everything in 16 mm. film and we'll work that into some of our programming in the future. We expect it to be a very important occasion because it will commemorate the end of ten years of association in one project after another and the beginning of a new decade. It was on December 1, 1968 that Mr. Armstrong first met with the then president of Israel, Dr. Shazar, and agreed that we would commence what has turned out to be a ten-year association. We're now planning to move forward with the time that remains to us, of course, and we'll be digging in the city of David.
I had the chance Wednesday for the first time to "plug", as they say, Mr. Armstrong's book on someone else's television program. I was interviewed by Mr. Michael Jackson on KCET (that's Public Television channel 28 in this area). They'll be giving us an airing date sometime in the next week, but it'll probably be while Mr. Armstrong and I are away, right about the middle of December.
It was interesting because I now see that for the first time, there is much more interest in what we believe and what we are saying and what we are doing about what we believe rather than other things which in the past have made us somewhat, shall we say, victims of circumstance and the controversy that from time to time has surrounded us. In 30 minutes, almost every question was directed to what do we believe. The plug for Mr. Armstrong's book was very natural because Michael Jackson was asking "Just what is man? What is man's purpose? And how do you view that?" I said, "I'm not going to be able to answer that in the little bit of time that we have left, but it just so happens one of those books that I gave you (I had given him a copy of THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL), tells the whole story." Of course I was then able to hold the book up... I never expected to have that question asked in just that way. But I said, "It has the answer to everything that you intended to ask in the question, and even that which perhaps you hadn't thought about."
It is refreshing to have a serious journalist, television journalist like Michael Jackson, spend the entire 30 minutes just asking one way or another for all practical purposes, what do we believe. And how are we going about getting our message to the world. It was only at the very tail end that he asked anything? at all about other things like our concert series and our auditorium.
This morning I took time to speak with Mr. Armstrong at some length because tomorrow morning I'll be leaving for New York for about four or five days to make plans concerning QUEST, and wanted to get his insight as well as some advice and instruction. We're at that point now where we have seven more months remaining to us — less than seven now because we're in the middle of November — seven more months to the end of the fiscal year at which time our commitment to stay with QUEST would, let us say, come to an end, although Mr. Armstrong has said we may not end it at that time if the financial considerations beyond July 1 are things which we feel are within our ability to handle, and if everything about QUEST proves to be more and more consistent with the getting out of the Gospel. I'll be trying to review the history, let's say, or experience of the past five and a half months to see how the financial considerations are comparing with what promises have been made to me and to Mr. Armstrong back in July, and then trying to make some good crystal ball estimates of what would lie beyond June 1979. That is a very difficult thing to do.
But one thing we are considering is going from the present bimonthly format to what would be tantamount to a monthly format, or at the very least, ten issues which would make it identical with that of the PLAIN TRUTH. This would make the magazine more acceptable to newsstand dealers, for example. It would also make it more acceptable perhaps to more people who want to have a magazine every month instead of every other month. There are very few successful magazines which are set up on a bimonthly basis.
So we'll be thinking about all of those things and then I'll be coming back to Tucson a week from now, actually next Friday. Mr. Armstrong will then be briefed with what I have learned and then he'll be making some decisions. As I told him, the easiest thing for us to do would be to dispose of the magazine and on the other hand, sometimes to work with something that is potentially so good requires sometimes great effort. He knows that because he knows the industry very well. As he has reminded me, he was in the publishing business before I was born. So he's right on top of it. I would hope that if all the people that are going to be spending their time this week on the magazine do their beat work in helping me, then Mr. Armstrong will be able to make the right decisions. We still have many people interested in buying it — Litton Industries is very keen. I had another call yesterday from CBS. ABC is still interested. And these are all unsolicited calls that have been corning in. If we should find that for one reason or another it would be in our best interest after July to not have to be further involved with the magazine, then we could step up the efforts to dispose of it between January and June.
This brings you right up to date on that. In the meantime, I discussed last week with Mr. Armstrong an idea that we had for a television show and our television people are now working on a pilot which we hope will be available to show to the ministers at the ministerial conference, which will be sometime in January. That is to take the PLAIN TRUTH, which is our terribly powerful printed message, that which we use so effectively, and have used so effectively for so long to reach people with the printed word, to make the PLAIN TRUTH into a television program as well. How many of you are conversant with things like 20/20, 60 MINUTES, and the like? Well, we've had many offers during the past two years from people in the industry and from people who would like to become involved in it with us to take QUEST to television as well. The reason that we didn't pay much attention to it was we felt that QUEST was in its formative stages and if the television program did not pan out as a commercial venture, it would have some impact on whether or not the magazine would ever be successfully launched. The same considerations would not be involved with something as powerfully entrenched as the PLAIN TRUTH. We think we may be able to come up with a very dynamic program.
The first thing Mr. Armstrong said when I mentioned it was, "Well, do you think you can get Mike Wallace and all those people from CBS?" Well, maybe we can make a stab at it. But most of those people have long-term contracts. But we can come up with people, I think, who can make it just as exciting and it's a big challenge, of course, to our television people here in Pasadena. But I'm sure we have the creative talent and drive to come up with a program of that sort, and it would blend very nicely with what Mr. Armstrong just produced today and help us to get the message out with greater and greater impact, helping it register everywhere. If such a program could in fact be produced and be produced well, I think you can all see how it would integrate our entire media effort. We already have a million copies of the PLAIN TRUTH going out on newsstands. We're going to be increasing that. And of course we have already passed the three million mark in overall circulation for the PLAIN TRUTH. If the television audience, which is immense, were to really begin to recognize the name, the PLAIN TRUTH, it would immediately increase the acceptability of the magazine. The magazine in turn would create new listeners or viewers for the TV people.
So we are hard at work at that.
I'm reading here from the PASTOR'S REPORT. I understand that Mr. Cole did speak last week on rumoring. By coincidence, Mr. Fahey has written a very strong article in the PASTOR'S REPORT. I think it's so good that I'm going to recommend that it appear also in the GOOD NEWS. He covers it perhaps from a different approach, maybe a more positive one even. He says here at the beginning, "Talk about rumor is usually too simplistic. Communication people know that rumor can be a good sign in that it shows interest. Somebody cares about the person being discussed. His actions are important and significant. People talk about what is of interest to them. We have given our lives to this Work. We are concerned about every facet of its operations. We care about the triumphs and the troubles. We discuss-them both. We want to know particularly about the leadership, what they are doing, thinking, planning, or even dreading because those activities will affect the Work and us. So we are concerned. We want to know. That is good. We do not discuss what is of no interest to us. A few years ago, you could not get away from news about Jackie Kennedy. She complained about her lack of privacy. And if you saw photos (I did), with good reason. Now she has the privacy she wanted. But she may not be happy with that either. The public is saying in effect, we don't care about how rich she is, her marriage and divorce plans, nor where she is and how she sunbathes. We have largely lost interest in Jackie.
"If our hearts and treasures are in the Work, we will surely talk about it, and so we should. The problem of course is how we talk about it. As Mr. Armstrong has said about everything from shotguns to sex, it is not the thing, but the misuse of the thing that is wrong."
Then he continued with much more that is very good and it's much in line with what we've been trying to do here in the Pasadena area and through the pages of the GOOD NEWS. We're trying to be certain that there is the proper kind of interaction between department heads here, between employees and department heads, or you might say, between employees and administration. It's also very important to have interaction between the student body and the faculty, between the faculty and the administration, the administration and the student body. That interaction brings about dialogue, and dialogue brings about better communication, and better communication prevents or helps to prevent, at any rate, misunderstanding. There can always be differences of opinion, but there need not be so many things to misunderstand. Hence we have found it to be reasonably successful on two occasions to answer questions from people in the forums that we've had. Mr. LaRavia and I are responsible here in headquarters for quite a few people in our respective departments, so we have gathered them together twice now over the last three months and have given them an opportunity to ask any question that they might have.
As a consequence of Mr. Fahey's article, which I saw before it was published, I thought it was so good and so much to the point that I added a short comment here for the PASTOR'S REPORT: We should "do everything we can to clear up any rumors or gossip that involve our areas of responsibility, but your help and cooperation is needed. All of you that receive the PASTOR'S REPORT should feel free to write, asking for comments on any rumor you may have heard. I will write a reply to each letter. It needs to be emphasized that any question, any subject is welcomed. The questioner will not be presumed to believe the rumor or the gossip that he's asking about unless he states that he does. Rather, it will be assumed that he is trying to help stop rumors and the harmful effects they produce in the church."
I have found, and it's been Mr. Armstrong's unfortunate observation as well over the past several years, that when people have something on their mind, they'11 almost always ask anyone but the person :more than likely to have the answer. I don't know why that is true, but if it's a question in a particular area or about a particular matter, it would seem that it would be very, very easy for each person who had something on his mind concerning that particular matter to just simply go directly to the person more than likely to have the answer and have the right answer. But almost invariably, that isn't what happens. It is discussed with almost every other person, including those who would have little likelihood to know what really is involved or to be able to contribute much other than confusion.
So we'll see that maybe this gets into the GOOD NEWS and give our brethren at large the opportunity to ask what they might have on their minds about subjects which are, as Mr. Fahey pointed out, so very important to them because, as he said, we do have our heart and our treasure in the Work, and we are interested in it. It's just a question of how we use that which God has given us, which is the ability to speak, and of course we know it's the wise man who says perhaps a little bit less than others might under the same circumstances.
So I will hopefully be able to accomplish some good this week and then Mr. Armstrong and I will report to you fully as to what his decisions and his conclusions are either here in Pasadena, or in the pages of the GOOD NEWS or the WORLDWIDE NEWS.