The Plain Truth - 50 Years of Understanding
Telecast Date: January 16, 1984
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   The World Tomorrow. The Worldwide Church of God presents Herbert W. Armstrong, an internationally recognized ambassador for world peace, visiting prominent leaders around the globe, discussing the cause of world problems, and proclaiming the good news of The World Tomorrow. Ladies and gentlemen, Herbert W. Armstrong.

   I've mentioned before that the doomsday clock has been set up by the atomic scientists from four to only three minutes before midnight. More and more millions of people are becoming seriously alarmed. The unthinkable is now very thinkable and very eminent world leaders are perplexed, and many of them are frankly worried; they have no solutions. They don't know how to stop it. They don't know how to solve the problem, and if nuclear war should be started, even by some small nation, they say it would be impossible to stop it. It will go from one to another, and it could blast all human life on the face of the earth out of existence. That's your life and mind and every human life on the face of the earth. That is what we face. And only the Bible prophecies can tell you what is really going to happen. Only the Bible prophecies can tell you what now lies immediately ahead and to what extent, and millions of people are looking forward every month now to the most important and the most unique magazine on the face of the earth.

   It may be the most important that has ever been published. It is a magazine reporting the meaning of world events and what is prophesied to happen. You've heard me mention it if you listen to this program, as I've mentioned it on most programs, The Plain Truth magazine with a circulation of over six and one-half million copies is produced in connection with this program. And now this program in its 50th year, and also the magazine is on its 50th anniversary, and I have a copy here, the 50th-anniversary number of The Plain Truth magazine. It is now also 50 years, a half-century old.

   Now I want to tell you some amazing facts about this magazine. I have supposed that perhaps some of our viewers have looked on it when I mentioned The Plain Truth at the close of the program as perhaps just some pamphlet or some little thing. They don't realize it's one of the most important mass circulation magazines on the face of the earth today or that has ever been published. In the United States alone, perhaps you haven't realized this. But 5% of all families in the United States are being reached by The Plain Truth. It is getting into now one out of every 20 families in all the United States. That's the size of The Plain Truth circulation. It is not some little pamphlet. It is a beautiful magazine, profusely illustrated. It is explaining world conditions. It is explaining world news and the meaning according to biblical prophecy and what to look for next. It explains the causes of conditions; it explains life and what it's all about, what, what, why we're here, how we came to be on the earth where we are going, and is chalked full of things that every family needs.

   Now, let me tell you a few things about the circulation. It has more circulation than any of the national news magazines in the United States. The circulation of The Plain Truth is not larger than Time or Newsweek or the United States News and World Report. Now it has a larger circulation today than McCall's magazine. It is larger than the Ladies Home Journal, one of the leading and oldest of the ladies' magazines. It has a larger circulation than Good Housekeeping magazine. It has a larger circulation than the Redbook magazine. It has a larger circulation than Cosmopolitan.

   Now, let me tell you something about how The Plain Truth came to be founded. It is published by the Worldwide Church of God, who sponsors this program, but it actually was founded by myself, and I want to explain the conditions and how that all happened. I myself, from the year of 1910 when I was only 18 years of age (and that goes back a little farther than most of you), I realized I was 18 years of age in 1910, and I entered the field of magazines and newspapers at that time. And one way or another, I have been in the field of magazines and newspapers myself ever since.

   At age 18, I was associated with the Des Moines Daily Capital, a daily newspaper which, of course, long ago ceased to exist in Des Moines, Iowa, where I was born and where I was reared. At age 20, I became associated with the largest magazine in the trade field, the largest trade paper in the United States, the Merchants Trade Journal. I was with them for three years writing advertising copy. I was part of that time, I was called the Idea Man. I traveled all over the United States for that magazine, procuring editorial material. And finally, I was writing articles for that magazine, which was the largest in the United States.

   Now from ages 23 to 30, I was a publishers' representative representing many bank journals. In fact, all of the leading banking journals in the United States. Now, that was a limited class field. Again, a magazine read in banks by officials, presidents, and vice presidents of banks all over the United States. At that time, I became acquainted with leading bankers of Wall Street in New York and South Lasalle Street, Chicago, and in many other cities attending bankers' conventions and local state conventions.

   And then I had my own advertising service in Portland, Oregon from 1926 or up until 1926 at the age of 34. At that time, at the age of 34, I was seriously challenged in a way I had never been challenged before on two things. I was challenged on the theory of evolution. I had followed evolution, but I'd never gone into it in an in-depth study, but I had followed it. I had followed the famous Scopes trial in Tennessee where Clarence Darrow, the Chicago attorney, tried to prove evolution by making a monkey out of William Jennings Bryan, who would run for president. I think three different times.

   I was also challenged on the Sabbath question. My wife had suddenly seen things that had been pointed out to her in her own Bible, and she came to me and told me that she had seen we've been keeping the wrong day and that she ought to keep Saturday as the Sabbath. And I was shocked, I tried to argue her out of it. I couldn't, I said, besides the Bible says, "thou shalt keep the keep Sunday." She said, "well, show it to me, and I'll go back and keep Sunday." Well, I said, I, I didn't know much about the Bible at that time. My wife and I had read it. She was a faster reader than I was. So, she read it, and I tried to listen to her. I didn't understand it, and we had read it all the way through, but I didn't get any meaning out of it.

   Now, I had to begin to study it in earnest because the book of Genesis started out about our origins and the doctrine of evolution. And now I went into a night and day in-depth study. I would often be at the public library in Portland, Oregon when it opened at nine o'clock in the morning. And I would be there studying until nine o'clock at night when it closed.

   I began then not only reading Darwin and Huxley and Hacel and other promoters of the theory of evolution, but I also had to start studying the Bible. And in looking into the Bible, I came to one passage, Romans chapter six and verse 23 (Romans 6:23), the last verse in that chapter. And there, it shocked me. It said, "The wages of sin is death." Now, wages are what you get paid for what you do. And if what you do is sin, what you get paid, it said, is death. I always supposed that what you got paid for sin was everlasting life in hellfire. I said, "I'm an immortal soul, I'll live forever. But if I sin, I suppose that I have to spend the rest of my life being burned and burned and burned and never burned up in hellfire. So, I said, I can't agree with that."

   And then I read the last half of that same verse, and it said, "But the gift of God is eternal life." What I said, the gift of God, why I don't need a gift of eternal life? I already have it. I'm an immortal soul. And then I began to look into the Bible, and I found twice where it says, "the soul that sins, it shall die." I found where God said that a man is a soul made from the dust of the ground. And that if that soul sinned, it would surely die. And you find that in the very second chapter of the Bible in Genesis.

   I was shocked, and I began to find that what I had been taught in Sunday school from babyhood on up to age 18 when I lost interest and dropped out of church altogether, that what I had been taught in one of the most, well, one of the better-known of the Protestant denominations had been teaching me just the opposite of what I now saw in plain language in the Bible. I was dumbfounded. I was shocked, my head was swimming for a while.

   I went on, I finally proved evolution false. I proved the existence of God, and I proved finally the authority of the Holy Bible as the word of God. I proved that it is God speaking literally. I proved that Jesus Christ is the word of God in person. He's the living personal word of God. But the Bible is that same identical word of God only in writing, the same word, but in writing. Well, it all ended up in finding that I had been wrong in more ways than one. In fact, I found my whole life had been wrong, and my conversion was not just receiving Christ. It went way beyond that. I had to give myself to Him and to God Almighty the Father.

   And, as I studied day and night in the Bible and continued my study for some time, I became literally enthralled with the truths that I found in the Bible just now beginning to leap out of the Bible into my, through my eyes, into my mind. I found truth that I had never known existed. I began to find that the Bible explained why humans are placed on the earth. I began to find that it explains why we have such marvelous production and accomplishment in the world today. And at the same time, we have appalling evils and troubles and evils and problems that human beings are not able to solve. They cannot solve their problems, and they cannot solve this problem of nuclear warfare that can destroy and annihilate all human life from off the face of the earth.

   Well, as I found the truth in the Bible, I found it the most interesting thing I had ever seen in my life. And naturally, having been in the magazine profession so long, immediately, the thought of producing a magazine came to me. I had found the truth, which I never knew before. And it began to clear up in my mind, and God had given me his spirit so that I could comprehend and understand, and it became plain to me, and I wanted to make it plain to others. And so, the name of a magazine came to me at that time. And I think it was my inspiration: The Plain Truth. God's word is truth. I wanted to make it plain.

   But how would I start a magazine? I didn't have the money. I didn't know how to get circulation. I thought, how would I get advertising? But then I thought, no, for a religious magazine and preaching God's truth, I couldn't have advertising. I thought of a magazine that wouldn't have any advertising. Another thing I found out that the Bible says to buy the truth, but you can't sell it. Don't sell God's truth. I couldn't put a subscription price on it. How in the world was I to start a magazine?

   Now, at that time and at the time of my conversion, I had come among the true church of God, a small persecuted remnant of the true church of God up in the Willamette Valley in the state of Oregon. They were a sincere people, mostly vegetable farmers, but they were a real sincere people who loved God and loved the truth, but they didn't have all of the truth. Their national, they had a national magazine from their headquarters, which at that time were back in the state of Missouri. And I began to write articles that were published on the first page of their magazine. It began with an article on the front page, and they used a good many of my articles.

   I was urged by those brethren, those members of this original true church who is still in existence up there in Oregon to speak before them. And so, I began to speak occasionally before them. My study had been continuing all of this time. Now I had read also in the book of Galatians how the True Gospel had been sabotaged and had been restrained and was not being preached. In the book of Galatians, chapter one, verse six (Galatians 1:6), this is what the Apostle Paul wrote in 53 A.D. to the churches up in Galatia: "I am marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of God onto another gospel." They had gone to a different gospel, which is not another, but there would be some that would trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ.

   God began to open my eyes to truths that had been lost. I had had to admit that I was wrong. I had come to the place I was willing to accept truth I had not known before, and I find that's quite a rare commodity. Very few people will accept any new truth they never knew before. What is the most rare of all is to admit you've been wrong. And I had had to come to the place where I admitted how wrong I had been. Not only how wrong I had been but how wrong I had been doing, how wrong I had been living. And I had to change my whole way of life. Repentance is not only being sorry for the past, it's changing the future from that time on; that is what repentance means.

   And so, God began to restore a great deal of truth to me. And now I had an experience somewhat like the Apostle Paul. God had struck him down blind. Well, he struck me down in a different way. But I want to read to you what Paul says because I had a similar experience. Now in the same first chapter of Galatians, in verse 10 (Galatians 1:10-16), he says, "Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after men," men were preaching the gospel about Christ and not the gospel of Christ, which is the same gospel Jesus preached, then he continued. "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb" caused him to be born, "who called me into his grace to reveal his son in me that I might preach him and his message that is among the heathen immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."

   Now, he later stated that he had been with Christ, and he had been in Damascus for about three years. And undoubtedly, that is where Christ had met him and taught him in person just as Jesus before his crucifixion and resurrection had taught the other Apostles. He was taught by Christ, brethren in the same way was I taught. I didn't go to a theological seminary. I didn't learn from the writings of other men and what they were preaching, but I went straight to the word of God and let the same Christ, by his written word, teach me just as he taught the original Apostles.

   And so much truth was beginning to be restored. I was ordained by the church of God in June of 1931. Now, that was precisely 100 time cycles. A time cycle is 19 years after the original Apostles had been ordained when they received the Holy Spirit in June of 31 A.D. But in June of 1931, I was ordained.

   Now, in October of 1933, an opportunity to speak on the radio in Eugene, Oregon had opened up to me—a 15-minute program week mornings that was given to various ministers at the time that they could fill in. There was no charge for it. I was called into the office of the manager and owner of the station. He said he was receiving mail from my broadcasting. He never received mail from that kind of a program before. He suggested that I start a regular Sunday program. And that is how the World Tomorrow Program was actually born at the suggestion of the manager of the radio station up in Eugene, Oregon. At that time, back in, this happened in the autumn of 1933. And the World Tomorrow Program went on the air the first Sunday in 1934.

   Now came my opportunity at last to start the magazine that I had dreamed about, that I had wanted to start for the first time. It was seven years after the idea had come into my mind. And so, volume one and number one of the Plain Truth, printed on a borrowed mimeograph, came out about 250 copies with about 250 circulation, February the 1st, 1934. Mrs. Armstrong and I were able to carry the entire circulation of that first issue of the magazine on our own arms over to the post office after they had been wrapped and addressed for mailing.

   Today, it takes many, many trucks and truckloads to carry The Plain Truth from the printing establishments to the Post Office. Continuing the Plain Truth was a struggle, but it was continued. We didn't give up, and it did grow, and it grew, and it grew until today, it's one of the largest circulated magazines on the face of the earth today.

   Now, finally, let me show you this 50th-anniversary issue of The Plain Truth. Naturally, I receive a great deal of gratitude to God that He is prosperous as this long after the long struggle. And here is the 50th-anniversary issue. There's no advertising, as I've said time and again. There's never been a subscription price, never a subscription price. It's profusely illustrated. My editorial upfront, and it is "The Only Real Value of a Human Life". Do you know what? It is the only real value.

   Then another article which I wrote: "A World Held Captive." That is the first chapter of a forthcoming book that I hope to be able to write and complete. Here's another one: "Where We Have Been" the Last 50 Years. What has happened in the world, and what a changed world we're in today over what we were 50 years ago. Many statistics are given here, and here is a map of the world as it was 50 years ago, all in beautiful color, other charts here explaining it.

   Then an article: "A Crucial Half Century of Religion." Another article: "Over 50 Years of the New Morality." What has happened? Well, I won't take time, but it's profusely illustrated, beautiful color. The most, I believe the most beautiful magazine published. It is the most interesting magazine published. It is the most needed magazine published. There is a map of the world showing the places where The Plain Truth is circulated all over the world, every continent and island that is populated on the face of the earth.

   Here's an article about this program with a picture of this studio where I'm sitting now. Here are some of the heads of government that I have met at various times around, and how I am meeting the heads of many governments all over the world. Other illustrations as you can see. And I won't take time to tell you about it. Then "Where We Are Going" from now is another big article here. There's still several more articles in this issue.

   Now, there's no subscription price to The Plain Truth, and those of you who have not been on the mailing list, I have not been receiving it. I want to give you a full year's subscription, no subscription price, and you're not going to be asked for contributions, not unless you yourself voluntarily start it and show that you want it, and no one is going to call on you unless you invite that. And if you do invite a personal call and counsel, we have ministers all over the world in any part of the world that can call on you in person, but that will be at your request. We will not come to you. You must come to us. Now, for The Plain Truth and all the other literature that I've announced from time to time.

   You just send your request to me, Herbert W Armstrong Pasadena, California, Herbert W Armstrong Pasadena California. The Zip Code is 91123 or go immediately to a telephone and call. The toll-free call is no charge, toll-free dial 800 then 423-4444, that is 800-423-4444. So, until next time, one week from now, Herbert W Armstrong, goodbye. Friends.

   For the free literature offered on this program, write Herbert W Armstrong Pasadena, California 91123 in Canada Box 44, Vancouver BC or in the continental United States including California. You may call this toll-free number 800-423-4444 in Alaska and Hawaii call, collect 818-304-6111. If the lines are busy, please try again. The preceding program and all literature were produced and sponsored by the Worldwide Church of God.

Please Note: The FREE literature offered on this program are no longer available through the Address and Phone Number given, please visit for all FREE literature offered on this program.

Telecast Date: January 16, 1984
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