1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1967, 1973, 1974, 1986
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG 1892-1986
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 20 ..... The
CHAPTER 21 ..... The Million Dollar Clay Business
CHAPTER 22 ..... Astounding Answers to Prayer
CHAPTER 23 ..... Prelude to Ministry
CHAPTER 24 ..... Ordained to Christ's Ministry
CHAPTER 25 ..... Evangelistic Campaigns in Full Swing
CHAPTER 26 ..... Caught in Newspaper Business Trap
The First Sermon
THIS chapter of the Autobiography is being written in Rome. It dawns in my mind that there is intriguing significance in the fact that I should be here at the very time when this chapter must be written.
The Apostle Paul wrote some of the books of the Bible here in Rome. It was then the seat of the ancient pagan Roman Empire. It was world headquarters of the pagan religion.
Today it is world headquarters for the largest and most powerful professing Christian church.
We come now to the time, in recounting my life experiences, where I had been sadly disillusioned about organized traditional Christianity. As earlier chapters have explained, my wife, in early fall of 1926, had begun to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. To me that was the most disgraceful fanaticism she could have embraced. But six months' intensive and determined night-and-day study of the Bible had failed to find the authority for Sunday observance I had felt confident it contained.
All these churches can't be wrong, I had contended. I felt certain that all their teachings whether Catholic or Protestant, had come directly from the Bible. I did not then realize that the Roman Catholic Church makes no such claim, but claims that church itself is the sole official and infallible authority. The various denominations, I supposed -- just as millions still suppose -- were just so many different parts of the one true Christian church.
Disillusioned -- Perplexed
I have already told you repeatedly how rudely I was disillusioned. I had seen, with my own eyes, that the plain teachings of Christ -- of Paul -- of the Bible -- were not the teachings of the traditional Christianity of our time. Nothing had ever been more shocking to discover. Incredible as it seemed, the beliefs and practices of the churches today, I found, were far astray from the teachings and customs of the TRUE Church as Christ organized it. In fact, in most essentials, the very antithesis!
This emphatically was not what I wanted to believe. It had left my head swimming. I was stunned, perplexed! I began to ask, WHERE, then, is the real true Church which CHRIST founded?
The True GOSPEL
My shocking, dis appointing, eye-opening discovery, upon looking into the Bible for myself, had revealed in stark plainness that the teachings of traditional Christianity were, in most basic points, the very opposite of the teachings of Christ, of Paul, and of the original true Church!
Could the original and only true Church have disintegrated and dis appeared? Could it have ceased to exist? No, for I read where Jesus said the gates of the grave would never prevail against it. Also He had said to His disciples who formed His Church, Lo, I am with you always.
Then I saw that the very PURPOSE of the Church was to preach Christ's GOSPEL! It is HIS BODY -- His instrument by which HE carries on GOD'S WORK!
I looked carefully at that Gospel as Christ Himself preached it, and taught it to His first ministers. It is recorded in the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. At almost every point of teaching that Jesus enunciated, the teachings of traditional Christian bodies today are just the opposite.
THEY WERE NOT PREACHING THE SAME GOSPEL AT ALL, BUT A TOTALLY OPPOSITE MESSAGE! This was shocking -- incredible -- unbelievable! Yet I was compelled to see it was true!
Jesus began the work of preaching the very Gospel which GOD the Father had sent to mankind through Him. He commissioned His disciples -- His Church -- to carry this same Gospel to all the world. And He had said He would never drop the Work He had begun! But WHERE was it going on today?
Seeking an Obedient Church
I knew now that when I found the one and only true Church, I would find a Church obedient to God -- keeping His commandments -- having the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the TRUTH of the Scriptures.
I had been much impressed by a description of the true Church, as it is to be found in our time -- just before the second coming of Christ. It is found in Revelation 12. It is the time when Satan is filled with wrath against God's Church, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Rev. 12:12). Satan is making war with the remnant of her seed. The remnant means the very last generation in this age. The Church is definitely described. It is those which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev. 12:17)
My intensive study had revealed one thing plainly: the commandments of God mean Sabbath keeping to most traditional denominations. They say, The commandments are done away! They reject the commandments of God.
That automatically ruled out all churches observing Sunday. So far as I could learn, it reduced the search to three small groups -- the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Seventh-Day Baptists, and a little, almost unheard-of church called the Church of God, which maintained a small publishing-house headquarters at Stanberry, Missouri.
So I examined Seventh-Day Adventist teachings -- just as I did those of many other denominations. I obtained their magazines, their booklets and pamphlets, their large book of Bible readings, or Bible home instructor.
The true Church is the one which lives by EVERY WORD OF GOD -- the words of the BIBLE!
Never an Adventist
It seems necessary to add here that I have never been a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination. False statements have appeared in various church or religious magazines, pamphlets or tracts that I am a former Seventh-Day Adventist. I did obtain much of their literature, to compare with the Bible. I did examine and study it with an open mind, and without prejudice. I was happy to find that, like most denominations, they do have certain points of truth. None is 100% in error.
But my familiarity with Adventist doctrines has come entirely through their published literature. I have never attended a regular Sabbath church service of that denomination!
Next, I looked into the teaching of the Seventh-Day Baptists. I found it to be virtually identical, except for observing a different day of the week, with other Protestant denominations -- especially the Baptists.
But of these three churches to which the search had been narrowed, only one had the right NAME for the true Church. This was the small, little-heard-of Church of God whose headquarters were at Stanberry, Missouri.
The True NAME
Twelve times in the New Testament, I found the NAME of the Church which Christ established plainly stated as The CHURCH OF GOD.
I looked into this word church. It is the English word translated from the Greek word ekklesia. It merely means a congregation, an assembly, or group or crowd of people. I found that the word, by itself, had no divine or spiritual connotation whatever. For example, the name Lutheran Church or, as it might be otherwise stated Church of Luther, means simply, Luther's congregation, or assembly of people. A name like Wesleyan Church, means, simply, Wesley's group or congregation, without any religious or spiritual or holy implication whatever.
In Acts 19:23-41 is an account of an angry and hostile uprising against the Apostle Paul instigated by Gentile pagans who profited in business from the sale of silver shrines to the goddess Diana. Three times in this passage the original inspired Greek language called this angry crowd of citizens an ekklesia. It is here translated into the English word assembly. In verse 39 it actually refers to a legal assembly (Moffatt translation) in a courtroom. It certainly was not a Christian CHURCH assembled for worship -- nor was it holy.
The only thing that adds sacredness to the word church is the true name Church of GOD. That is not any man's church -- but GOD'S congregation -- those owned, and governed by GOD whom they worship and follow.
In Ephesians 3:15, speaking of the FATHER of our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 14), we read: ... of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, but it is named after God the Father. Although Jesus is Head of the Church, the head of Christ is GOD (I Cor. 11:3).
In His last prayer for His Church, before being seized to be crucified, Jesus prayed: I have manifested THY NAME unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word ... Holy Father, keep through THINE OWN NAME those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are ... While I was with them in the world, I kept them in THY NAME (John 17:6-12).
Those in the true Church are begotten children of God. They become the affianced Bride of Christ. Christ is the Son of God. It is a FAMILY. The family, is, properly, named after its Father. The 12 passages, aside from these Scriptures here quoted, which plainly call the true Church The Church of God, or, collectively as local congregations, The Churches of God, establish the true NAME.
Could GOD'S Church Be Fruitless?
The only Church I had so far found which kept the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and at the same time bore the NAME of the original true Church, was this almost unknown little Church of God with its small publishing house in Stanberry, Missouri.
But this left me quite confused. For this was a little Church, especially compared to the Roman Catholic, the Methodist, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, the Lutheran, or other large churches numbering millions of members. Then I saw where Jesus called His Church the little flock.
But still I was not completely satisfied. I was deeply concerned. I prayed a great deal over it. For here was a church, which, compared to the large-scale activities of the Catholic and big Protestant bodies, was ineffective. I could see that it was imperfect. It wielded no great power. Jesus had said: ALL POWER is given unto me, in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18). I read how Jesus Christ was to be IN His Church! He guides it! He directs it! He EMPOWERS it! He said His Church was to RECEIVE POWER (Acts 1:8).
No person is even a member of the true Church unless he has received, and is filled and led by, the Holy Spirit -- and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of POWER! This little church seemed to be powerless -- comparatively impotent! I failed to see where it was bearing much if any fruit! Could a fruitless church be the ONE AND ONLY true Church of GOD on earth?
I was deeply perplexed. Here was a little church, with scattered members probably numbering less than 2,000 -- mostly in rural areas. Apparently, as nearly as I could learn, it had only a very limited number of local churches, none as large as 100 members. As I began to come in contact with some of its leaders, they seemed to be men of little education -- no college degrees -- its ministry could hardly be described as an educated ministry. Their preaching had a certain fire, yet seemed totally to lack the POWER that attracts sizable audiences, that moves people, stirs hearts, and changes lives. I could see no visible results.
Could this be God's one and only true Church on earth? The very question seemed preposterous!
And yet --
Yes, and yet, small, powerless, resultless, impotent though it appeared to be, here was a church with the right name, keeping the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and closer, in its doctrines and teachings, to what God had been opening my eyes to see plainly in His Word than any other church of which I knew! Small and impotent though it appeared, it had more Bible TRUTH than any church I could find!
At this time, God was opening my understanding to some Biblical TRUTHS which this church did not accept; and also to some errors, even though minor, which it did embrace. Plainly, it was not perfect. It merely appeared to be more nearly so, and less imperfect, in its beliefs and practice, than any other.
COULD such a church -- imperfect, fruitless, feeble, lacking in any sizable accomplishment, be the TRUE Church of God? Could this be Christ's INSTRUMENT through whom He worked, in carrying on GOD'S WORK on earth? Jesus said, By their fruits ye shall know them. Its fruits were not evil -- it simply did not seem to produce fruit!
I was bewildered. I was unable to come to the answer then -- or until many years later. The real answer to this perplexing question will come out in this Autobiography later, at the account of the time when I myself found the true answer. I will state here, however, that I did learn later that it was merely the remnant of a church that had been more alive many years before.
Meanwhile, what was I to do? I was not at all convinced this was the one and only true Church. Yet, if it was not, which one was? This one came closer to the Bible qualifications than any I knew.
Therefore, I began to fellowship with their scattered and few members in Oregon, while at the same time refraining from acknowledging membership.
We were living in Portland, Oregon, at the time. I knew of no members of this church in Portland, but there was a sprinkling of them through the Willamette Valley between Salem and Eugene, in Oregon -- mostly farmers or truck gardeners. They welcomed the fellowship of myself and Mrs. Armstrong.
We found them to be simple, plain and humble people, hard working and industrious, and loving the Bible TRUTH -- as much as they had -- willing to suffer persecution for it.
And so it was, in this detached fellowship, that Mrs. Armstrong and I continued the first three and a half years of my ceaseless night-and-day STUDY of the Bible -- of history, especially as connected with Biblical history and prophecy -- and of pertinent allied subjects. These, too, were years of much and earnest prayer. Much of the Bible study done at home was done on my knees, combining study with prayer. Much time was spent during these years, as it had been that first six months, at the public library. I delved into intensive research in the commentaries, Bible encyclopedias, Bible dictionaries, comparing various translations of the Bible, examining Greek and Hebrew texts of doubtful or questionable passages, checking with lexicons and Robertson's Grammar of the Greek New Testament. I made an intensive study of ancient history in connection with Biblical history and prophecy.
But, as mentioned before, all this study and research had to be approached a single doctrine at a time. I was to be some years in getting to the very TRUNK of the tree of the very PURPOSE of which mankind was placed on earth, and getting clearly straightened out with a right understanding of God's PLAN.
Nevertheless, as I've mentioned, having been a trained magazine and advertising copywriter, the results of these studies were written up, purely for my own benefit, in article form. My wife began showing these articles to some women members of this Church of God who lived in Salem. Soon they began to urge me to preach before them. But becoming a preacher was the very last thing I had ever wanted to do. I felt an instinctive aversion to the idea.
Meanwhile, on their urging, a few of these articles had been mailed in to The Bible Advocate in Stanberry, Missouri. These articles began appearing on the front page.
The Dual Test
Early in this three-and-a-half-year period, between 1927 and 1930, I decided to try a dual test to help settle the question of whether this was, in actual fact, the true Church of God.
The Church is merely the sum total of its members. By the one Spirit of God we are each baptized, or put into, the true Church (I Cor. 12:13). Jesus promised that when we receive the Holy Spirit, His Spirit shall guide us into ALL TRUTH -- not merely part of it (John 16:13).
But no person can receive ALL truth instantaneously. The human mind receives knowledge gradually. The child of God must GROW in the knowledge of our Lord (II Peter 3:18). Also he must have the spirit of REPENTANCE, always ready and willing to acknowledge error and to turn from it. The Scriptures are profitable for REPROOF and CORRECTION, as well as INSTRUCTION in knowledge new to us. And God CORRECTS every son He loves (Heb. 12:6).
Now it was a simple truism that if each individual member of the Church must be GROWING in the knowledge of God, constantly OVERCOMING, being corrected, and eliminating error, then all the members together, which form the CHURCH, must also be constantly willing to confess error and eliminate it, and to accept that which is new light from God's Word to the Church.
I knew of no church or sect or denomination that had ever publicly confessed error or embraced new truth. Yet, plainly, this would be a test of the true Church.
So, as the first step in this test, I wrote up an exposition of some 16 typewritten pages proving clearly, plainly, and beyond contradiction that a certain minor point of doctrine proclaimed by this church, based on an erroneous interpretation of a certain verse of Scripture, was in error. This was mailed to the Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters to see whether their leaders would confess error and change.
The answer came back from their head man, editor of their paper and president of their General Conference. He was forced to admit, in plain words, that their teaching on this point was false and in error. But, he explained, he feared that if any attempt was made to correct this false doctrine and publicly confess the truth, many of their members, especially those of older standing and heavy tithe payers, would be unable to accept it. He feared they would lose confidence in the Church if they found it had been in error on any point. He said he feared many would withdraw their financial support, and it might divide the Church. And therefore he felt the Church could do nothing but continue to teach and preach this doctrine which he admitted in writing to be false.
Naturally, this shook my confidence considerably. This church leader, if not the church itself, was looking to people as the SOURCE of belief, instead of to God! Yet, here was the only Church holding to the one greatest basic truth of the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, kept in the NAME of God, and in spite of this and a few other erroneous teachings, nevertheless being closer to the whole truth than any church I had found.
If this was not the true Church of God, then where was it? The Second Test
A little later I tried the second test. After exhaustive study and research, I had found it PROVED that the so-called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel had migrated to western Europe, the British Isles, and later the United States -- that the British were the descendants of Ephraim, younger son of Joseph, and the United States modern-day Manasseh, elder son of Joseph -- and that we possessed the national wealth and resources of the Birthright which God had promised to Abraham through Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.
This truth was written in a lengthy manuscript of close to 300 typed pages, and mailed to this editor and leader of this church. I explained that although this new truth seemed to be proved beyond doubt, yet I was still comparatively new in Christ and Scriptural knowledge, and wished the judgment of one more mature and experienced in things Biblical.
I think it was some six months before the reply came. It was written on a train late at night. This church leader stated in his letter (which I still have) that I was most certainly right -- that this was a wonderful new truth revealed by God, and that God surely had a special reason for revealing this new truth to me. However, he stated he did not know what use, if any, he could make of it at that time, but was sure I would hear more of it later.
Did this Church accept and proclaim this vital new truth -- the KEY that unlocks the doors to all PROPHECY? Here was the KEY to understanding of one third of the whole Bible. But this Church refused then to accept it or preach it or publish it though their leader frankly confessed it was TRUTH and a revelation from GOD!
Yet here was the Church which appeared to have more truth, and less error than any other. It did profess the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. It did have the true NAME of the Church Christ built. Its members did love what truth they had and sacrificed for it! In spite of the fact this Church did not appear to be dynamically alive spiritually -- in spite of its little or no accomplishment -- still it came closer to the Biblical characteristics of Christ's true Church than any I knew!
Truly, this was bewildering! My earnest and prayerful study continued. After some time, I made a discovery in the 31st chapter of Exodus. At least I had found nothing in the published literature of this Church of God or of the Seventh-Day Adventists about it. It became very plain that in Exodus 31:12-18 was the account of a completely different and distinctive COVENANT God made with His people on earth. This covenant established God's Sabbath as binding FOREVER! It was entirely separate and apart from the Old Covenant made with Israel at Mt. Sinai.
My First Sermon
This was new light which I felt impelled to present before these church brethren we had come to know and love down in the Willamette Valley. Repeatedly they had urged me to preach for them. But preaching was the last thing I felt I wanted to do. I had continually refused.
Now, however, I was overcome with an urge to get this new knowledge before them. I was unable to refuse any longer to speak. It was arranged for me to speak, I believe, on the following Sabbath.
The meeting was held in a country store building, but we drove first, for lunch, to the farm home of one of the members south of Salem, near Jefferson. We were taken down by the Runcorns of Salem, who we now had begun to look upon as sort of second parents. It was Mrs. Runcorn who had opened my wife's eyes to the truth of the Sabbath. I remember they drove a large Studebaker President.
In the car, en route from Salem to the place of meeting, consternation suddenly seized me. We were to arrive by noon, and all were to have lunch outdoors under a large tree. The preaching service was to be held in the afternoon. Suddenly the terrifying realization dawned in my mind that I might be called upon to give thanks over the food at the luncheon. I realized it would be customary to call on a visiting guest. I had never prayed aloud before others. The thought of doing so frightened me!
But by this time I had gone far enough in my Christian experience and study of the Bible to know what to do. I began praying silently, as we rode along, that, if called upon, God would put the words into my mouth and give me the help that I needed. The fear loosened its grip. I had been learning the lesson of faith. I knew that Christ would be with me and not forsake me, and all embarrassment over the anticipation left.
Sure enough, I was called on to ask the blessing over the food. I did have the help I needed. I don't believe that any there, except Mrs. Armstrong, knew that this was my first audible prayer in the presence of others -- until I told some of them afterward.
The meeting was held in a vacant country store building, nearby. It was known as the old Dever Store. This meeting, I believe, was in the summer of 1928.
If that talk I gave, explaining this Sabbath covenant, could be called a sermon, it was my first. Mrs. Armstrong assured me it was far from being a powerful sermon. Yet it was enthusiastically received. I did have a message, and a sincere, earnest urge to present it.
I remember that one towering member, six feet four inches tall, who had moved to this Oregon Valley from Texas, and was somewhat of a leader among the members, rose to his feet after I concluded and said, Brethren, I just want to say that I have heard nearly all of the leading ministers in the Church of God, but I have heard this afternoon the best sermon I ever heard in my life. This didn't quite coincide with my wife's evaluation, who said that the delivery was extremely amateurish and inexperienced -- but, I suppose, the fact that the message was new to them, and that I was enthusiastic and in earnest about this new discovery of truth, caused it to be so well received.
I was asked to speak before them again.
It has been related in previous chapters how my wife had been miraculously and astonishingly healed in the summer of 1927. Following this, I had plunged into a thorough study of the subject of healing in the Bible.
Consequently when, about a month later, I spoke again at a meeting of these people, at this same vacant Dever Store, my message was about God's power and promises to HEAL.
Apparently the ministers of this church had heard of my previous speaking to these people, and of their request for this second appearance before them. So this time one of the older ministers of the church in Idaho had been sent to Oregon to be on hand to counteract any influence I might have.
I had spoken first. When he followed, he devoted a good portion of his sermon to an effort to refute everything I had said. He warned the brethren that if they relied on God for healing, Christ would say to them, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity -- I never knew you.
That was the beginning of years of continuous opposition from ministers. This also brings me to a stage in this history of events and experiences in my life which I have long dreaded to write.
It is simply the fact that from this point on -- from the very second sermon -- if those early talks could be called that -- opposition from other ministers, both within this church and without, was met at every turn continually.
I Shall Not Hide the FACTS!
So I say candidly that I shall relate these events. I shall try to record truthfully what happened, without feeling of rancor -- and I certainly harbor no resentment or bitterness against these ministers, whatever their intentions. I believe that, as these incidents and happenings are related in the coming several chapters, they will truly open the eyes of many who never knew the full truth about my contacts with, and efforts to work with and cooperate with, the ministers of that church.
For some little time, now, my articles had been appearing on the front page of The Bible Advocate, published by this Church of God in Stanberry, Missouri.
Up until this time, now 1928, there had been no minister of this church in Oregon, except for occasional visits by the minister from Idaho, and the one from Texas of whom I had inquired about water baptism during his visit to Oregon in 1927. But there were at that time perhaps 50 or 60 members of the church in Oregon, from Salem to Eugene.
And, with the beginning of my speaking before these people in Oregon -- and with my articles being featured in their church paper -- no time was lost in sending a minister to Oregon to take charge. He was a young man -- I believe about 28 or younger -- who, I believe, had come from Arkansas or Missouri. He came to see me in Portland. His attitude appeared cordial and friendly. But very soon after his arrival publication of my articles in the Bible Advocate was stopped.
Soon I learned the reason. Probably the most influential member in the state at the time was elderly G. A. Hobbs, of Oregon City. He was past 80 years of age, but very alert, aggressive and active. He had received a letter from the editor in Stanberry, Missouri, explaining that my articles were being discontinued at the request of the young minister newly arrived in Oregon. The grounds were that I was not a member of the Church and it was dangerous to give me this much standing and prestige before the brethren there. I might gain influence and become their leader and lead them astray.
This had aroused the fiery indignation of Mr. Hobbs. Immediately he sent a scorching letter back to Stanberry, a copy of which he let me read. It resulted in reinstating my articles for publication.
First Regular Preaching
As soon as I had heard of this Mr. Hobbs, and the little group at Oregon City, I had visited him a few days after my first sermon. I found a very small group of brethren who met together in a little church building at the top of the hill, on the Molalla road, in Oregon City.
There were only around 8 to 12 of them, but they habitually met on Sabbath afternoons to study the Sabbath-school lesson, using the quarterlies from the Stanberry publishing house.
On discovering this little group, I began going to Oregon City to meet with them regularly. Almost immediately they asked me to be their leader in the study of the lesson. And soon I was delivering them a sermon every Sabbath.
These were days of extreme financial hardship in our home. We often went hungry. Several times there was not enough carfare for my wife and family to accompany me to Oregon City -- in fact it was seldom that they were able to go. At least three times, during the next couple of years or so, I had barely enough for carfare to Oregon City on the electric line -- with no carfare to return home. I even lacked bus fare from downtown Oregon City out to the little church house at the top of the hill on the outskirts of town. It was probably two or three miles up a steep hill all the way, but I walked it, carrying my briefcase with Bibles, concordance, etc.
But in every instance when I had come without carfare to return home, someone would happen to hand me a dollar or two of tithe money. And, strangely, no one ever handed me any money on those Sabbaths when I had enough to get back to Portland. And, of course, I never made the need known. But God always had a way of supplying every NEED!
My First Son!
I believe I have recounted in earlier chapters that, following the birth of our second daughter, three doctors -- one an eminent obstetrician of international reputation -- had warned Mrs. Armstrong and me that she could never bear another child. They had said a pregnancy would mean the certain death of both mother and unborn child.
It is natural for every man to desire a son. Before the birth of our first child, neither Mrs. Armstrong nor I had cared whether it was a boy or a girl. Our second child was another daughter. When I was told we could never have another, I was terribly dis appointed!
And now seven years had gone by -- by 1927 -- without expectations of ever having a son.
But when, in the summer of 1927, Mrs. Armstrong had been miraculously healed of several things at once -- and when we remembered that the man who had anointed and prayed for her had asked God to heal her completely of everything from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet, we had faith that whatever had made another childbirth impossible had also been healed. We planned, consequently, to have a son. And I had faith that God would at last give me a son.
And GOD DID!! Our first son, named Richard David, was born October 13th, 1928. That day, I said then and for years afterward, was the happiest day of my life. I was simply filled to overflowing with gratitude to a merciful, loving God who so richly LAVISHES on us His grace and blessings completely beyond all we can anticipate or hope for -- IF we yield our lives to Him and do those things that are pleasing in His sight -- IF we seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness!
We dedicated that son to God for His service. During his college career, here at Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, which God was later to use me in founding in 1947, our son Dick, as we called him, was converted -- his life changed -- and he, himself, gave his life to God.
From that time it was used in God's service, with continually growing usefulness and accomplishment, until his sudden death in an auto accident in 1958. Dick worked hard on his own self, overcoming faults and weaknesses and habits which he freely confessed, repented of, and strove to overcome. He reached the high point of his spiritual growth and development, of overcoming and usefulness -- having established the branch office of God's Work in London and becoming Director of all overseas operations.
God later gave us still another son, Garner Ted, only a year and four months younger than his brother Dick.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR A LARGER VIEW
Miss Loma Dillon Armstrong, about 27, and the new three weeks-old baby, Beverly, outside the store at Motor, Iowa, late May 1918. She was on a visit to the family in her home town.
Loma Armstrong with first daughter, Beverly, in the apartment area where the armstrongs lived
Herbert Armstrong holding Beverly, and Loma Armstrong on a visit to the countrty in 1918
Mr. Armstrong with Beverly, the age of nine months, in February 1919, Jackson Park, Chicago
Mrs. Armstrong with Beverly in November 1919
HWA with mother in Chicago during 1920
Russell armstrong with Beverly, age two, in Chicago
Herbert armstrong at time of visit of his brother Russell to Chicago in 1920
Walter Dillon, Mr. armstrong's brother-in-law, during ovatory contest
HWA with his mother in Maywood shortly before second daughter was born
Mrs. armstrong about November 1920, now the proud mother of two daughters- Dorothy Jane, age four months, and Beverly Lucile
The Armstrongs with their two daughters in an informal pose
Walter Dillon with Herbert and daughters. Mr. armstrong played tennis until he was past 55
Herbert with the Walter Dillons
Jessie Hole at 94 (he died at 98), brother of Elon Hole Armstrong, the grandmother of Herbert Armstrong
Loma Armstrong with daughter Beverly
En route west from Iowa to Oregon in a Model T Ford. Luggage loaded down the car between Iowa and Oregon
Roads were seldom paved and tire trouble was frequent
Another view of the Model T
Encamped at the ocean resort, Seaside Oregon. The other car was Mr. Richard Talboy's 1924 Maxwell
After the arrival en route for a weekend at Seaside, leading Oregon resort. Mr. Dillon is at the wheel, Mrs. armstrong in rear seat
Early twenties laundry ads by HWA. The brochure A Frank Comparison put in print the results of Mr. Armstrong's laundry survey
An advertisement is reduced to almost one-third the original size as it appeared in the newspapers. These ads changed the thinking of thousands of women toward laundries- doubling their volume of business.
A display of typed manuscripts by HWA. He prepared these manuscripts on the Sabbath and evolution to better explain the issues to himself. Later they became the basis of his writings for others.
The clay project brochures
Richard David Armstrong, the third child of Herbert and Loma armstrong, at age six months. Even as a child Dick had beautiful light clear blue eyes and a happy spirit
An important prophetic letter by church leader A.N. Dugger
Proposed Plain Truth in 1929
Old Dever store in Salem, Oregon. Mr. armstrong gave his first sermon here in the summer of 1928
Country schoolhouse in the Dever area where the church at one time met
Garner Ted Armstrong, the fourth child of Herbert and Loma Armstrong, when he was seven months
The Million Dollar Clay Business
EVEN IN 1928, the lean years were to continue quite a while longer. But if these were the lean years financially, they were the fat years spiritually -- years of coming into the true riches. Yet, I still had many lessons to learn. Jesus had said, regarding economic prosperity, Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these [physical] things shall be added unto you! But God doesn't always add the material prosperity until after humans have been tried, tested and proved faithful.
Not only was there much more TRUTH to be discovered and dug out of God's spiritual gold mine -- the Holy BIBLE -- but there was much character to be developed through hard, cruel experience, the dearest teacher of all.
I should not have thought so at the time -- but God knew that I needed much more humbling -- much more chastening at the hands of God!
I had been humbled! O yes! And still, I know now that had God allowed me to have prospered financially at that stage of spiritual experience, self-pride once more would have seized me and the humility would have fled! The lessons so far received by all this chastening would have been lost! I was to have to suffer much more -- and my family to suffer it with me! The material blessings were withheld 28 years!
But do not infer from this that the material riches were my goal. No such idea even entered my mind. I had given up all idea and expectation of material prosperity.
At this time, during 1928, we were living on Klickitat Street in Portland, Oregon. We were falling dangerously behind in paying the rent. The real estate agent who collected the rent came very frequently to the front door. To others he was probably a kind and pleasant-looking man. He taught a Sunday-school class. But to us, he was a dark, foreboding, frightening, almost devilish-appearing man, when, of evenings, he so frequently stood at our front door, demanding in a deep, bass, stern tone: Can I have the rent?
We simply didn't have the rent! Whenever he came, we knew just how a whipped dog feels when his tail is between his legs. Actually, this man, who appeared to us almost as an enemy, was kind enough to pay our rent a number of times out of his own pocket.
At one time we were in darkness nights of involuntary necessity. The electricity was shut off because we were delinquent. My wife did her cooking on a small gas plate, and our gas was shut off. Only the water was left running. We were out of food, and out of fuel. Our heating stove was one my father had made, shaped something like an old covered wagon -- with rounded top.
The children were crying with hunger. My stomach gnawed with pain. Like old Mother Hubbard's, our cupboard was bare, save for a little macaroni. But there was no cheese or any of the ingredients used in baking macaroni. There was not even a grain of salt. AND, there was no money to buy any.
I decided to try to cook some macaroni, even without the accompanying ingredients. Without gas there was no oven to bake it in; so I boiled it. Patiently I tore up and crumpled pages of magazines, so I could set a fire in the rounded-top heating stove for heat. I balanced a pan of water and macaroni on top of the stove, and kept throwing in more crumpled magazine pages to keep the fire going.
I offered this delicacy to my wife and daughters. We all tried it.
That is all we did. We did not swallow it. We tried, but the slick, slithery, tasteless mess simply would not go down! You may laugh. I don't know why some Hollywood scenario writer never thought of this as a comedy idea. People love to laugh at the discomfiture of others in the movies. Movie actors pretend to suffer things like this to give audiences big amusement.
But to us it was not a bit funny! It was about this time, while still living on Klickitat Street, that I learned what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians of how God also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit (II Cor. 3:6).
The SPlRIT of the Law
Most people, I had noticed, thought that the letter was done away, and that the ministration of the spirit did away with the law and all obligation for OBEDIENCE to God.
I have told this many times in sermons, and on the air. But this experience occurred at this time, and I believe it belongs in this account.
Our eldest daughter, Beverly, then ten, had been in the habit of bringing books home from the school library. I had noticed they were always fiction. She was an inveterate bookworm, and a rapid reader. We had noticed that she was beginning to have a little trouble with her eyes, and we attributed it, at least in part, to excessive reading habits. Besides, I had noticed that the constant reading of these fictitious, ready-made daydreams -- which is precisely what fiction is -- was causing her mind to drift and wander, rather than to think actively.
Beverly, I said one day after my wife and I had discussed it, Mother and I want you to stop taking these fiction books out of the library. You are injuring your eyes with too much reading.
Two days later, I observed Beverly in her usual slumped-over position in a chair, with a book opened near the middle.
Let me see that book, Beverly, I demanded. Isn't this another fiction story?
Yes, Daddy, she replied, handing it to me. Already she had read it half through.
Beverly, I said sternly, didn't I tell you to stop bringing these books home and rest your eyes?
Well, yes, Daddy, came the innocent reply, but I didn't get this book at the library. I borrowed it from Helen.
Beverly actually obeyed the literal letter of the law, but she completely disobeyed the SPIRIT of what I had told her! The spirit of the law goes much further than the mere letter. It includes the letter, but also its obvious meaning, or intent.
That is the way WE must obey God -- not only the letter, but the SPIRIT or intended MEANING of the law as well! Jesus explained this in His sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:17-28 -- especially verses 21-22, and 27-28).
My First Personal Healing
It was also while living here, during 1928, that I had perhaps my first experience in applying God's miraculous power of healing, as a personal experience in my own body.
For fuel we burned wood -- when we were able to have it. One day in chopping wood, the axe slipped, and struck my left thumb in mid-air. It cut clear to the bone. I had to pull the sharpened axe out of the bone. It had cut quite a deep gash.
Instantly I prayed, asking God to prevent pain, and to heal it over rapidly, as I ran into the house to wrap and bandage it. At first such a cut often benumbs the nerves, as it did this time -- but normally the pain soon follows. This time I felt no pain at all.
I made one slight mistake later, else I am convinced I should never have had so much as a scar. I left the bandage on for some three days. But I became over-anxious to look at it. When we trust God for healing, we need to keep our eyes and our minds on CHRIST -- not on the physical part. I unwrapped it too soon. I experienced the only pain at any time from that severe cut in removing the wrapping to look at it, and pulling off a scab that had formed.
The result was that there is, to this day, just the slightest trace of a scar across the length of my left thumb. But, even so, it is so slight that one would never notice it unless pointed out. The cut was directly across the knuckle. I believe it could have robbed me of the use of the thumb. As it is, there is no impairment whatsoever.
Advertising Job -- Rejected
It must also have been during this year of 1928 that another advertising job was offered me.
I mentioned, in connection with the advertising service for laundries, the soap builder used by laundries manufactured by the Cowles Detergent Company, of Cleveland, Ohio. This company was a subsidiary of the Aluminum Corporation of America. They manufactured an unusual product, unique and exclusive, so far as I know, in the laundry industry. I understood that this company was the largest operation in the laundry industry.
The Cowles Detergent Company had become familiar with the advertising I was writing and designing for laundry clients. Also they were familiar with the astonishing results. These ads had been building the volume of business of my clients in unprecedented fashion.
And so it was that, about this time, the sales manager of the Cowles company, a Mr. Fellows, came to Portland to interview me and offer the post of advertising manager of their company. Actually the job was to organize and establish a new advertising department! Up to that time, they had delegated all advertising preparation and placing to their advertising agency.
Bear in mind, I was not yet a minister. Although I had given a few talks that might by a stretch of the imagination have been called preaching, and had been speaking almost every Sabbath before the little group in Oregon City, I most assuredly did not think of myself as a minister. Nor did I expect, at this time, ever to be.
The laundries of the nation, through their national association, had gone into their five million dollar national campaign. This had pulled right out from under me -- like a rug being jerked out from beneath one's feet -- all my laundry clients, save one. I still had the account of the National Laundry, second largest in Portland. But, as I have mentioned before, this required only about 30 minutes a week of my time. It was our sole income -- $50 per month. It was not enough to pay house rent, and keep us fed and alive.
If you will remember, in 1924 I was offered the job of advertising manager of the Des Moines Register -- rated by many as one of the ten great newspapers of the United States. I had turned it down because I believed that I was not an executive. I believed I could not direct and supervise the work of others. I found it so distasteful to make out reports and keep records -- which would have been a regular routine on such a job -- that I felt I was simply not fitted for such an office.
I explained all this to Mr. Fellows. I told him frankly that one of my faults was that I worked in spurts. I felt I was moderately talented in certain directions, but this was offset by serious faults I had not yet been able to master and overcome. At times my performance would be brilliant. Results would be outstanding. But then I might go into a slump for a week or a month, during which I would accomplish little or nothing. What I did not tell him was that my wife and I had talked it over, and decided that in order to obey God and keep His Sabbath, I must reject the offer.
Lest any suspect that I went into the ministry to make money (and I suppose most could not realize one could have any other motive), I was rejecting a very flattering offer.
Mr. Fellows thanked me sincerely for my honesty in telling him of these shortcomings. He returned to Cleveland. I never heard whether he found the man he needed, and started his new advertising department.
Actually there may have been some providential guidance in my supposition that I could not become an executive. Had I accepted this job, which, as I remember, would have paid a salary of $8,000 a year in 1928 to start -- the equivalent of a much larger figure in today's dollar value -- and about $12,000 if I made good, I would have been snatched away from the calling God was drawing me into. I would probably be back in the world today.
Actually I was mistaken about not being able to become an executive. When God later began to build His Work around me, and the Work began to grow steadily and continuously at the rate of about a 30% increase each year over the year before -- which rate of growth continued for 35 years -- I had to become an executive! And with God's help and power, it was achieved, and the working in spurts was long ago overcome. For many years, now, I have had to work at the same steady pace day in and day out.
Cash Position Desperate!
Also it was about this time, late in 1928, that our position was so desperate that I prayed earnestly and asked God to open a door for some income that very day.
Having asked in faith, in the morning, I took the streetcar to downtown Portland, seeking the open door to a job, or something with some cash in it. All the circumstances have dimmed somewhat in my memory, but I believe that we had to have a certain amount of money by 5:30 that evening, or be evicted from our home. But I knew that if I did my part, God would provide the need.
All day long I sought open doors -- but every door was closed and apparently locked tight. My faith was being tried. Then 5:00 p.m. came. Time had almost run out.
But I still relied on God. At that moment it came to my mind to stop up at the office of a Mr. Davidson, manager of the Merchandising Service Department of the Portland Oregonian.
Say, he exclaimed, you're just the man I've been looking for. The advertising agency for the Bissell carpet sweeper people want a survey made in Portland on the relative opinions of women between the carpet sweeper and the vacuum cleaner. You are the only man I know with the experience to conduct such a survey. Can you take time to do it?
I most certainly could! It was going to pay just the exact amount I needed by 5:30 that evening to prevent being evicted. But the check would not be forthcoming until about 30 days, after the survey was completed.
With brisk step, after having been briefed on what the Bissell company wanted in the survey, I walked rapidly over to the offices of the mortgage company where the house payment had to be made, arriving right on the deadline, 5:30 p.m.!
I explained about the survey to be made immediately. I offered to simply endorse the check and hand it over for our house rent when it came, if the company would accept it some 30 days later. My word was good with them. Since it was definitely sure, they agreed to accept this check 30 days My word was good with them. Since it was definitely sure, they agreed to accept this check 30 days later, on my promise to endorse it over.
And Now -- 1929!
1928 ended. It had been a year of great progress in my life. Spiritually, that is -- certainly not financially.
It had been a year of outstanding world events. Trotsky, Zinoviev and other Communists were exiled from Russia January 16th that year. The first all-talking motion picture was shown in New York that year on July 6th. This was preparing the way for our filming The World Tomorrow for television, beginning 1955. October 13th of that year God had blessed us with the birth of our first son, Richard David.
In the spring of 1929 we moved to a house on 75th Street, north of Sandy Boulevard. 1929 was to be a year of struggle, spiritual growth, and miraculous answers to prayer.
In world events, too, 1929 was an epochal year! The notorious St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago occurred February 14th. On June 7th that year, the Papal State, extinct since 1870, was revived as a state, or nation. The Kellogg Peace Treaty, known also as the Pact of Paris, outlawing WAR, was signed July 24th. Albert B. Fall, Secretary of the Interior, came to his terrific FALL November 1, when he was sentenced for accepting a $100,000 bribe. Commander Richard E. Byrd made the first flight over the south pole November 28. And, biggest event of all, the New York Stock Market crash occurred October 29th. 16,000,000 shares changed hands. The decline in value of stocks was estimated at 15 billion dollars by end of 1929. And stock losses, by 1931, were estimated at 50 billion, affecting directly 25 million people. It plunged America into its worst depression. It prevented me from making a million dollars!
Incident of the Mystery Woman
1929 not only ended as a depression year for us -- as it did for millions of others -- it began as just another of the lean years! For us, it was another year of desperation to keep ourselves alive.
Very shortly after moving into the house on 75th Street, we had reached another crisis of hunger and desperate need. Again I prayed earnestly for God to either send us some money or provide a way for me to earn it.
An hour or two later, a strange woman knocked on our front door. Mrs. Armstrong opened the door. There was something mysterious about the woman's appearance.
Who was she? She did not introduce herself. She gave no inkling of her identity.
If your husband isn't too proud to do it, she said in a low, quiet voice, there are two truckloads of wood he can throw in at this address. Jot it down. My wife jotted down the street and number.
The mysterious woman walked quickly away and dis appeared. People in Portland used wood for fuel. Portland is in the heart of the Oregon-Washington lumber country. Throwing wood into the woodshed, garage, or basement, was an oddjob customarily reserved for the bums who came along. Very few men in Portland threw in their own wood. To be seen doing it was to appear as a down-and-out bum.
We were totally perplexed as to the identity of this strange woman. How did she know we were in such desperate need? Who was she? We never knew.
But I did know I had just asked God to provide. And at once I recognized one fact. This woman was like the mischievous boys playing a trick on a poor widow. Her window had been open. She was praying aloud, asking God to send her some bread for her children. The little boys, playing just outside the window, overheard her prayer.
Let's play a trick on her, said one of the boys. Let's toss a loaf of bread through her window.
When they did, she knelt again and gave God thanks. Ah-ya-ya! jeered the boys. God didn't throw in that bread -- we boys did.
Well, answered the grateful widow, smiling, Maybe the devil brought it, but just the same GOD sent it!
No matter who this mysterious woman was, I knew God sent her! And I realized instantly that God was answering my prayer HIS way, and not mine. I knew He was giving me a test to see whether I would accept a humiliating job. I realized I had not yet been freed completely from ego and pride. I knew that God was giving me a lesson in humility at the same time He answered my prayer.
I walked immediately to the address the woman gave. It was about a mile from our house. There was a large pile of wood in front. I went to the door, asked for, and got the job of throwing the wood in the basement.
Realizing God was teaching me a lesson, I resolved to do it HIS WAY, which was to do the best job I could. A thing worth doing is worth doing right! Now that God allows me to be the employer of many men, I insist that they do their work in the right manner -- or else tear it out and do it over.
I stacked the wood up as neatly and orderly as I could. I worked rapidly, and did it as quickly as I could. Several people walked past the house. Every time one saw me, I winced. I knew they thought I was a down-and-out bum. Each passerby knocked off a little more of that vanity. But I just prayed silently to God about it, and thanked Him for the lesson, and asked Him to help me to be humble and industrious.
When the job was finished, the woman inspected the piled wood in her basement.
Why, you've done that so neatly, and so fast, I'm going to pay you double, she said.
The satisfaction and inspiration this gave was a far bigger reward than the extra money.
Clay Mine a GOLD Mine?
About this time a clay mine was brought to my attention. It promised to become a million dollar gold mine.
My former associate on The Vancouver Evening Columbian, who had been its Business Manager, Samuel T. Hopkins, brought it to me. He had encountered an elderly man who owned a farm on which a mysterious kind of clay was mined. It was located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, in Skamania County, Washington.
One day this farmer had cut a bad gash on the back of his hand on a rusty barbed wire fence. He had been digging rather deeply in the vicinity and had dug into a semisoft grayish blue-green clay. Without thinking much about why he did it, he reached down, scooped up a handful of the soft clay and slapped it over the back of the hand to cover the cut. Then he proceeded with his day's work. The clay dried in some 20 or 30 minutes.
That evening on removing the now dried and hardened clay, he was surprised to discover that it had coagulated the blood, drawn the skin together from the wide gash, and virtually healed it over!
The farmer became curious. A member of his family was plagued with eczema. He experimented. This clay was placed over the portion of skin affected, and allowed to dry. There was noticeable improvement. A second and third application was applied. Soon the skin disease dis appeared.
The farmer knew Sam Hopkins, and told him about it. Mr. Hopkins made a few experiments on cases of acne and eczema. Results were astonishing.
This clay contained a certain amount of fine sand and grit which proved somewhat harsh on women's skin. So he experimented with rubbing the clay through a very fine copper wire screen, removing most of the sand and grit.
Astonishing the Doctors
About this time he came to me with his discovery. He thought it contained great possibilities, but didn't know how to market it. He offered me a 50% partnership in whatever we might do with it. I was considerably intrigued. I took a sample to a well-known doctor in Portland who specialized in skin diseases.
It is certainly a coincidence, said the doctor, that you came at this psychological time. I have a stubborn skin disease case which has persisted six months. I'm not making any headway with it. I couldn't tell my patient, but I don't mind admitting to you that I am desperate enough to try this clay. Under other circumstances I'd be very reluctant to experiment with anything new.
I returned a week later. The doctor was very excited. There's something very mysterious about that clay, he said. Why! a few applications cured that skin disease completely!
We had noticed that it was 50% heavier than water. A pound-size jar of this clay weighed 24 ounces. He felt it might contain radium, or other radioactive substance. He suggested I take it to another Portland physician, then president of the Oregon-Washington Medical Association, who specialized in cancer and radium treatment. He called this doctor on the telephone and set up the conference for me.
I found this physician maintained a large suite of offices, or treating rooms, like a private hospital, with eight registered nurses in constant attendance.
He made a number of experiments, and became quite excited. It cured acne, eczema, psoriasis. One day he contacted me, requesting a large supply of the clay. He had a patient almost completely covered and his whole body swollen with poison oak -- the most severe case he had ever seen -- and the patient was in critical condition. After the first application of the clay, the painful itching was greatly relieved, and after the second it was stopped. This patient was kept in his private hospital quarters, and after several days the poison was completely gone!
This physician made a photographic test for radium -- not a completely reliable or conclusive test, but he felt it would give some indication. The film, left overnight inside a metal case placed next to a jar of clay, had been exposed to light when developed. This indicated radium! But the doctor would not accept it as final, saying this was not a completely conclusive test.
Some four or five rooms down the hall his X-ray apparatus was located. He said it was barely possible that the film had been exposed by this machine, instead of by the clay. If this were true, I reasoned, then why were not all his X-ray films exposed by that apparatus, so he could never use any of them? But I was not a scientist, I discarded my reasoning as worthless.
Option on the Mine
This physician acquainted a friend of his, a leading corporation attorney, with the facts about this clay. This attorney had connections in the east with wealthy men and interests who had large sums to invest.
He advised us to tie up the clay mine at once on an option to buy.
I'll tell you what I'll do, said the lawyer. You men cannot afford to pay me the fee I would charge to handle this for you. But the doctor has told me enough to give me confidence in this thing. I'll make you this proposition: I'll handle the legal end of it, and give you whatever advice I can. I will do what I can to get it financed. You either have a million-dollar proposition or nothing. If it fails, you owe me nothing. If you succeed, I'll charge you a double fee, and in that event you'll be amply able to pay it.
We agreed. He drew up an option contract, under which we were to be given exclusive right to all of the clay for one year, at a certain price per gallon. We were given one year to exercise the option and purchase the property. The purchase price was set at about three times the value of the property as a farm. The owner signed the option contract. We had one year to make our million dollars.
It was probably August or September, 1929, when we got the contract signed and were ready to start building our million dollar fortune out of the clay mine.
With the cooperation of this doctor, I immediately sought out the leading, most aggressive and the best-informed beauty shop operator in Portland. Many inquiries in the field led to one certain woman. Since this clay seemed to quickly rid women of acne, eczema, and other common skin diseases, we decided the biggest single market possibility was through the beauty shops.
This woman made experiments. The results were the same. It cleared up splotched faces after a reasonable number of applications. But, she discovered, it had a drawing power too severe for many women. Applied as a face masque, or a mud-pack, it seemed to hold the face in a stiff vise. Its drawing power was exceedingly strong.
For use as a mud-pack facial, this beauty shop owner advised, I recommend cutting down the severe drawing power by mixing a certain facial oil in it. And it must be perfumed.
We'd better have the advice and cooperation of a top-flight chemist, I said. I went to the chief chemist of the largest wholesale drug house in Portland. He agreed to help. Between him, the beauty shop expert, and the physician, we worked out a formula which the beautician pronounced perfect, the doctor and chemist pronounced safe and harmless, which had the most delightful fragrance, and which, after many tests, we found to have the same powers of eradicating embarrassing face blotches -- except that it required perhaps one or two more treatments than before.
Selling Mud Packs
But, just as we were getting everything ready to approach one of the largest cosmetics concerns on a deal to sell them our formula and the raw supply of the clay -- just as we were devising various other possible uses and markets -- that fateful October 29th, 1929, rolled around.
The stock market crashed. The nation was plunged into the worst economic depression of its history.
It became utterly impossible to finance a new business, or sell a new product to a cosmetic firm.
Once again, as if some unseen supernatural hand were taking every business opportunity away from me, another promising business of million-dollar possibilities was swept away by powers and forces beyond my control!
I began to call myself King Midas in reverse! Everything I touched turned -- well, this time -- to CLAY! It was certainly not a gold mine. It was only a clay mine, after all.
By this time I had no means of keeping my family alive, except to try to sell this clay. I had to explain to beauty shop owners that they could not sell these facial masques as a means of healing, or curing a facial disease. They could be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license if they did. But they could recommend these treatments to customers as the finest of all facials, and suggest that if, incidentally, they found that the acne dis appeared, that would be very nice!
I also worked out a formula for poison oak. I called it P.O.P. -- Poison Oak Paste. A certain amount of distribution for this was developed through local Portland drug stores. All who bought it reported astonishing results.
The facial masque, or clay-pack, I named Marve. This I began to sell in booth-size pound jars to beauty shops. But each jar actually weighed l½ pounds! Before long, many of the Portland shops were using it, and gradually resales increased.
I found a way to dilute the clay until it became a soupy liquid. All the sand and grit would sink to the bottom. Then I siphoned off the top. Straining it through fine copper-wire screens did not remove all the fine grit. My new way left it soft and utterly smooth. Our kitchen on 75th Street became virtually a clay factory. After the siphoning process, I boiled the clay down to the consistency I wanted it. This boiling did no harm to its curative powers, and made it more sanitary.
Here's Your Breakfast!
Shortly after we moved into the house on 75th Street, a Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Beck moved into the corner house next door. Helen Beck was one of the most cheerful women we ever knew. She seemed full of sunshine and good cheer within and without. She was quite religiously inclined, even emotionally so. She learned and accepted quite a little Biblical truth through us, but seemed unable to see quite all of the truth. Nevertheless she appeared to walk in all the truth she really grasped -- and if I ministered to some extent to her in spiritual matters, she ministered to us in a material way.
She learned that we often did not have enough to eat. When we did get in a little money, we went to the markets and loaded up on beans and food that went the farthest and cost the leastest.
But often when we were out of food, she would come to our back door with her cheery Good morning, folks, here's your breakfast, carrying a tray full of steaming hot breakfast. Prior to the bust of 1920 it would have cut my pride unbearably to have received this kind of charity from a next-door neighbor. But hers was the kind spoken of in I Corinthians 13, where it says that though you may speak with the tongues of angels, understand all knowledge, have all faith, and have not charity, you are NOTHING!
Actually this cheerful good morning act of charity profited both ourselves and Helen Beck. It is more blessed to give than to receive. She reaped that greater blessing. But I reaped the spiritual blessing of being humbled a little further -- having to swallow more pride, and see the hand of God in it!
And so the year 1929 had come and gone. 1930 was to be another of the lean years -- as indeed were several others to follow. We were at rock bottom financially. We had learned what it is to go hungry. But these were, nevertheless, years of spiritual growth.
These were the years in which Jesus Christ, the living Head of His Church, was instructing me in His Word, preparing me for His ministry, humbling me, rooting out the self-confidence, the cocky conceit, the vanity and egotism.
But he was replacing these self-trusting attributes with reliance and dependence on GOD. Instead of self-confidence, He was giving me painful but valuable lessons in FAITH. He was granting us a few miraculous answers to prayer. Some far more astonishing answers to prayer were to follow in the year 1930.
Astounding Answers to Prayer
NEVER in my life have I faced a more serious problem than the situation that confronted us at the beginning of the year 1930. Not only were we confronted with another lean year economically -- with our own personal financial condition at rock bottom -- with the whole nation plunging on down, down, DOWN, into the depths of depression -- but it seemed as if we were destitute of faith in God as well.
We were within six weeks of the birth of our fourth child. My wife, who had been so miraculously healed in 1927, was now in an alarming condition. She was anemic. Her blood was lacking in iron. Her strength appeared depleted. The doctor was definitely alarmed. He was afraid of complications at the time of delivery, due to her weakened condition. He insisted she go to the hospital where every emergency facility would be available in event of trouble.
The Lesson of Fasting and Prayer
But we had been in such financial depths that the hospital bill for our first son's birth had not been paid. The hospital would not admit my wife again until the previous bill was paid -- or else we paid in advance.
I had prayed for Mrs. Armstrong's healing. But she had not been healed. I had prayed again. And again! But there had been no improvement, and time was running out. We were becoming desperate.
What was wrong? I had learned that God does heal. We had experienced almost incredible miracles. My wife had been healed before. But why not now?
Obviously God had not changed -- He is the same from eternity to eternity. He has promised to heal, and His Word is SURE! The fault could not be with God. I knew it had to be with me. But where? I searched my heart. One condition to receiving miraculous healing is that we OBEY God.
Whatsoever we ask, we receive of him BECAUSE we keep his commandments (I John 3:22).
But I had surrendered to obey God's commandments three years before. FAITH is the second condition. But I believed, as firmly as when God first healed my wife.
There was no more time to lose. I had to find the answer. I knew of only one way. Fasting and prayer! It was the last-ditch resort. I didn't know how one ought to fast and pray -- I had never done it before. But when Jesus' disciples were unable to cast out a demon, Jesus said such a result came only by fasting and prayer. So I began to fast.
The fasting was begun on a Sabbath morning. That morning I ate no breakfast. Not knowing how one ought to go about fasting and prayer, I first prayed and asked God to show me the way -- to open my understanding. Then, since God speaks to us through His written Word, I began to search the Bible for instruction about fasting. For one hour with the aid of a concordance I studied passages of Scripture on the subject of fasting and praying, much of the time on my knees.
Then for one hour I sat in thought and contemplation. I turned over in my mind the scriptures I had read. I reflected on my own life in recent months. I tried to compare it with God's way, as revealed in the Scriptures. Then I spent the next hour in talking to God -- in prayer.
And so I decided to continue in this order -- one hour in Scripture study, one in contemplation, and one in prayer. I did not once ask God to heal my wife -- as yet. I had been doing that for weeks, without result. I was fasting and praying, not for the purpose of bringing pressure on God to force Him to obey my will and give what was asked -- but to find out what was wrong with me! I realized we did not need to nag at God. NEVER fast as a means of inducing God to answer!
I read of Elijah's prayer, in presence of all the priests of Baal, when God answered and the fire came down from heaven. I timed that prayer. It was very short -- only about 20 seconds. But the awe-inspiring answer came crashing from heaven instantly! Elijah did not need to talk God into it by a long prayer, or by repeated prayers. But I knew that Elijah at that moment was close to God -- that he had previously been spending hours in long prayers to be in contact and close communion with His Maker! And he naturally knew His Maker would answer!
Gradually the truth began to pierce through the fog in my mind. Gradually, as this process of fasting and prayer continued all day, and into the afternoon of Sunday -- as I became more and more hungry -- but closer and closer to God, the realization came that I had been keeping my mind more and more fully on this clay project.
Finding the Trouble
This experience in fasting and prayer, and the overwhelming result, has been broadcast over the air, and probably related previously in The Plain Truth. But it is one of the outstanding experiences in my life and properly belongs in this present account, even though a repetition for numerous readers.
This process of self-examination, in the order of one hour of Bible study, followed by an hour of reflection and contemplation, and then an hour of prayer, under the unpleasant weakness of fasting, continued until the middle of Sunday afternoon.
Suddenly I heard one of our daughters cry out: Here comes Grandpa and Grandma!
My father and mother were driving their Ford 2-door sedan up our driveway. At the moment I was lying on the bed in our bedroom, in an hour of thinking and reflecting. By this time I KNEW where the trouble had been. I realized fully that I had gotten so wrapped up in this clay project -- the development of formulas -- devising plans for marketing -- and selling enough of it to beauty shops to keep us from starving, that I had unconsciously been drifting farther from the previously close relationship with God.
I had not stopped Bible study or prayer. I had not even realized that I had been diminishing it. But now I realized that I had actually become closer to this clay project than I was to God. It was fast becoming first in my mind, my interest, and my time. And God will not play second fiddle to anything!
I wonder, as I write, how many of my readers are more wrapped up, in their interest, and in their hearts, in some material business, project, or other interest, than they are in GOD! Probably most of you who are reading this need what God had brought me to do.
I realized now that God had mercifully, in His wisdom and His love for me and my family, refused to answer my prayers to force me to fast and pray and come to see where I was unconsciously drifting.
But in a flash, as I heard my father's car drive past the bedroom window, the realization came that the mission of the fasting was accomplished! No need to continue it, now! I must end it, and go out and greet my parents.
And so, in a brief prayer not much longer than Elijah's, but in deep earnestness and absolute faith, I now -- for the first time during this fast -- asked God to heal my wife and put iron in her blood and give her needed strength. Like a flash it came to mind that we were completely out of food -- out of wood for fuel to keep warm (in January) -- so I asked Him to send us food and fuel. I asked Him to send money for the hospital bill for the delivery of the baby. Quickly I thought of my winter topcoat -- it had a big hole at the rear of one hip, which was embarrassing and a handicap in my work -- and asked God for a new coat.
Asking God for these five things had taken less than a minute. But by now my parents were alighting from the car, and I wanted to go out to meet them. Two scriptures flashed to my mind:
Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him (Matt. 6:8).
My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
So quickly I ended my prayer, saying, Father in heaven, you know what I need, before I ask -- and you have promised to supply every need -- so I ask you to supply whatever else I need. Then I quickly thanked God for it, rose and ran to greet my parents.
Dad was just handing Mother a big covered roaster out of the car, and then gathering up an armload of wood. He had removed the back seat before leaving Salem, and piled into the entire rear part of the car a large supply of wood.
We soon had a fire going in the kitchen cook stove, and Mother reheated an entire big dinner she had brought in the roaster. Dad had managed to pile about a week's supply of wood into his car. So here, even as I was asking for it, was the answer to two of my prayer requests -- the immediate fuel and food.
Arising Monday morning, my wife's cheeks were rosy red! When the doctor saw her, he exclaimed:
What in the world has happened to you! He could not understand how her anemia had so suddenly dis appeared. She had her old zip and pep and strength. (Mrs. Armstrong always was an energetic person -- as recorded earlier, her brothers had nicknamed her variously Shebang, and Cyclone as a little girl.)
The very first mail delivery after my prayer request, on that Monday morning, brought a letter from one of my wife's uncles in Iowa containing, most unexpectedly, a settlement from her mother's will, in the exact amount of the hospital bill! My wife's mother had died when she was twelve.
You may be sure that Mrs. Armstrong and I were overwhelmed with gratitude. Our prayers that morning were all of thanksgiving to a God who is REAL, and near to every one of us -- if we will be near to Him!
But Monday was another business day in downtown Portland, and it was necessary to make the rounds of some of the beauty parlors once again to sell more clay. Arriving in the lobby of an office building I would remove my topcoat, and carefully fold it so as to hide the big hole in the side, carry it on my arm, and then enter the shops or offices where I had to call.
About eleven that morning I found myself across the street from the building of the gas company, where my brother Russell was an information clerk. So I crossed over. We chatted for a couple of moments.
Herb, exclaimed Russell suddenly, eyeing the hole in my coat, You've got to have a new overcoat. Meier Frank are having a big sale on overcoats. Today is January 20th. I have a charge account at Meier Frank's, and anything charged beginning today is not billed until the March 1st statement, and I will have until March 10th to pay and keep my credit good. You go over now, and select an overcoat, and I'll meet you over there at noon and have it charged.
Oh, no, Russ I remonstrated, I couldn't let you do that. But suddenly, as I continued to protest, it seemed as if a still, small voice within said to me: Didn't you ask God to give you a new overcoat? Are you willing to receive it the way God gives it, or not?
It is human nature to rebel against God's way. We want to do things in a different way than God commands. We want to live a different way than God's Law. I broke off the remonstrance immediately.
O.K., Russ, I smiled humbly, and gratefully, I'll go select a coat -- and thanks a million! -- as my eyes began to water.
It was humiliating to me to take this coat from my brother. I felt he could not afford it. But I realized it was God's answer, coming the way God had chosen to answer my prayer. He was still humbling me. But this was good for me, and actually, giving the coat was good for my brother. It just did not seem so, humanly.
On Tuesday or Wednesday of that week my other brother, Dwight, drove over to our house in his Ford.
I got to thinking, Herb, said Dwight, You may have to rush Loma to the hospital at any unexpected hour of day or night. I've brought my car over for you. I'm going to leave it until you go to the hospital. And in the meantime, just use it as if it were your own.
I think it was on Thursday afternoon Mrs. Armstrong and I were sitting in our living room reviewing what had happened, and thanking God. It was about three o'clock.
You know, I never should have thought of needing a car for a sudden emergency trip to the hospital, I said. But I asked God to send whatever else we needed, besides what I asked for specifically -- and He sent it.
There is only one thing more that I can think of, mused my wife. I never thought of this before, but I do not have a robe or slippers to wear in the hospital. If I had those, every need would be complete.
We dismissed it from our minds. But that evening, my sister's husband drove her over to our house. She seemed highly embarrassed, and a little flustered.
Loma, she said, I don't understand this at all -- and you may think I'm crazy. But this afternoon, about three o'clock, something strange came over me -- an insistent urge to go to my bedroom and pray. And while I was praying something put it in my mind -- just like a voice saying: 'Take your robe and slippers to Loma! Take your robe and slippers to Loma!' I didn't understand it! I never had any experience like that before. You may think I'm crazy, but I simply had to bring these to you.
We then explained how God had answered my prayer, and how, at that precise time that afternoon we had been in conversation about that very remaining need -- the robe and slippers.
Truly, God does move in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform!
Garner Ted Is Born
It was just a little over two weeks later that the loan of Dwight's car was justified, and I rushed my wife to the hospital.
On the 9th day of February, a Sunday, my second son was born.
My wife named him Garner Ted. The name Garner had been a family name in her family and her mother's family for generations. Her maternal grandmother was a Garner before marriage. Several men in the family had been given the name Garner as a first name.
Mrs. Armstrong had known an intelligent young man in college in Iowa by the name of Ted, whom she greatly admired. The name seemed, she said, so short and simple and direct.
He was our fourth child. For eleven years of married life I had been denied a son. After Mrs. Armstrong's first miraculous healing, in 1927, I knew that, despite warnings from three doctors, we could have another child without fear of fatal consequences. God had blessed us with our first son, Richard David, on October 13th, 1928. That day was the happiest day of my life. I was filled to overflowing with gratitude for a SON after all those years -- a gift from God.
But now, a year and four months later, God blessed us with a second son. And Ted, too, was born as a result of an almost incredible miracle of healing only three weeks before his birth!
Prelude to Ministry
I HAVE related previously how my wife nearly died of toxemia eclampsia shortly before our second daughter was born. Three physicians had warned us that my wife could never have another child. We did not know the reason then. It was many years later that we learned we had the opposite RH blood factor -- she being negative, and I positive. This was unknown to the doctors who said Mrs. Armstrong could not bear another child. It probably was not the cause. This, however, was undoubtedly the cause of Ted having been born with yellow jaundice.
This, as nearly as we can remember now, was one of the reasons it was necessary to supplement the new baby's breast milk. Another reason was the fact that Mrs. Armstrong did not have enough to eat. She simply was not able to supply sufficient milk.
One day a few months after Ted was born -- probably early summer, 1930 -- I arrived home from the beauty shop rounds in midafternoon. The baby was crying lustily. Hurry! exclaimed my wife, Go to the store and get a quart of milk. The baby has missed one feeding, and it's a whole hour past his second feeding, and I haven't a bit of milk for him.
Asking God for a Dime
Well, I'm broke. Give me a dime, I said. Milk was then ten cents a quart -- think of that!
But if I had a dime, I'd have sent Beverly after the milk long ago, she replied. I've been waiting for you -- praying for God to hurry you home. I thought you'd have at least a dime.
The baby howled louder than ever. We had never established credit at any store.
There's only one thing to do, I said. We're helpless, of ourselves. There's no human to help us. We'll have to rely on God. He has promised to supply all our NEED -- and this is a need.
Jesus said we should enter into our closet, or small room, and pray to our Father in heaven in secret, and He will reward us openly. The only small room of absolute privacy in our home was the bathroom. I locked the bathroom door and knelt beside the bathtub. God had promised to supply our every need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. I believed Him.
But we had to have the answer immediately. I had learned that sometimes God does not answer at once -- He sometimes tries our faith in order to develop patience in us. But right now it seemed that little Garner Ted needed his milk more urgently than I needed patience.
I felt there was not time -- or need -- of a long prayer. Instantly the 70th Psalm flashed into my mind. God by His Holy Spirit inspired David to record, as part of the very Word of God, David's prayer wherein he asked God to Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord ... I am poor and needy: make haste unto me ... O Lord, make no tarrying. I knew that prayer would not be in God's Word unless it was God's will to ANSWER that same prayer for me. So I asked God boldly to MAKE HASTE!
I arose, unlocked the door, and walked back toward the kitchen. Before I even reached the kitchen, one of our girls cried out from the living-room window:
Oh Mother, here comes the old rag and bottle man! Well, quick! Beverly, called out my wife, run and stop him! We have a lot of old things in the basement we can sell him!
The only entrance to our basement, I remember, was from the outside at the rear of the house. In eager anticipation we led the rag and bottle man down the basement stairs. My wife showed him all kinds of things. We expected to get at least a dollar from him.
He only shook his head. No. Nothing here I want, he said, starting back up the stairs.
Our hearts sank. Halfway up the steps he stopped, glanced at a high stack of old magazines beside the stairs. Slowly he turned and retraced his steps, examining the stack of magazines.
I'll give you a dime for these, he said. This is all I want.
I had asked God to send to us a dime -- immediately -- in haste! When God sent it, within the very minute I asked, we tried to increase it to a dollar or more. But the immediate NEED was a dime for milk. God has not promised to supply our wants -- only our NEED. The need I had asked was a dime -- ten cents! That is what God sent -- immediately!
We had learned another lesson! We gratefully gave God thanks, as I ran all the way to the store and then back with the milk.
Jesus said: What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and YE SHALL HAVE THEM! I know that is true. DO YOU?
This incident has been made public before -- over the air and in The Plain Truth -- but it properly belongs here in the Autobiography, so I relate it again.
A New Job
A family by the name of Melson lived on 74th Street in Portland at this time. Their house and ours were opposite, back to back. Some years later this family became nationally famous. A feature article about them on How America Lives appeared in one of America's leading mass-circulation magazines. We can remember that they had three little girls, Anna Lou, Marilyn, and Joyce. Little Dickie, our older boy, called Anna Lou Ah-woo.
One evening Mr. Melson came over and asked me if I would accept a job with the Wear-Ever Aluminum Company. He was a salesman with that company, selling to retail stores. The job open to me was selling the heavy New Method utensils direct to consumers.
The sale of the clay to beauty shops was not providing a living. This aluminum job was the straw a drowning man would grab. We were in such down-and-out financial circumstances we were grateful for anything that promised enough food to eat.
I went to their office. I found this company had developed a type of salesmanship with which I was not experienced -- and they had reduced it to a virtual science. They sold this particular line of utensils, not through stores, but direct to consumers by a system of demonstration dinners, which they called dems. First, to see what it was like, I attended one.
A woman was offered a valuable utensil prize if she would invite a number of married couples to a dinner in her home. The prize was in accordance with the number who came. They had to be couples -- husbands and wives. The salesman supplied all the food and ingredients and cooked the dinner. It had to be the most delicious dinner the guests had ever eaten, and of natural foods -- no concoctions.
After the dinner, he gave a lecture on health, and the causes of sickness and disease. I observed that the salesman giving this dem seemed to know more about the causes of sickness and disease than the physician who was a guest with his wife -- and he kept quoting nationally known physicians and surgeons for his statements, and then asking the local guest physician if he agreed. Of course he did -- for the statements were all medically correct, and the guest doctor would be dis agreeing with outstanding national or international authorities unless he endorsed everything the salesman said.
Before he was through, the guests were impressed that this salesman-lecturer knew more about the minor ailments in their families than their family doctor. Enough of these common ailments had been mentioned -- colds, fevers, constipation, rheumatism, tooth troubles, stomach troubles, digestive disturbances, etc., etc., that every family present was sure to be affected. Then the salesman made appointments to call at each home at a time when both husband and wife would be present, in order to give private and confidential counsel about how to prevent these ailments by proper diet and method of preparing food.
Every couple present willingly made the appointment. I could see that most of them were actually eager to make it. They had never heard a lecture of this type before. It had been sparkling with interest, and had opened up facts about common ailments they never knew before.
I was intrigued. I saw that this job offered me the opportunity to make an intensive study of the causes of sickness and disease, and of nutrition and the part diet plays in health or illness. I had already been doing enough preaching to have had some little experience in giving these lectures. Also, the lectures would provide experience for more effective preaching.
One thing that appealed to me was the fact that a salesman, in this rather unique work, could be doing a great deal of good. I learned, during the following years, that many of these salesmen were conscientious and used their work only for the good of the customer.
Lecturing on Health
My first dem was a very large cooperative one, held in a public hall in Oregon City. Several of the men out of the Portland district headquarters participated, a more experienced one delivering the lecture. Actual participation gave me initial experience.
The district supervisor, a Mr. Peach, gave me a list of several books, whose authors were nationally famous physicians and surgeons, on the subject of diet, causes of common ailments, sickness and disease.
At the library and bookstores I searched out other books beside these he recommended. I plunged into an intensive study in this fascinating field. Mr. Peach also gave me mimeographed material, data, and facts which his office had condensed from many qualified authorities -- including many shocking figures and statistics on existing national health conditions. The office also supplied me with large charts, illustrated, showing many of these little-known facts. The charts were used in the lectures.
I obtained pamphlets from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, showing results of scientific government tests made, I believe, at the University of Wisconsin. These tests showed the percentage of mineral elements and vitamins lost from various kinds of foods by cooking at or over the boiling temperature. These figures were astounding. They showed that excessive temperatures, in cooking, rob foods of from 23% to 78% of these vital health elements.
I learned of what the human body is constituted -- primarily 16 elements of matter, 12 of which are alkaline-reacting mineral elements, and 4 of which are acid-reacting carbohydrates. I learned that, while the human body requires for health that the diet be composed of a large majority of the alkaline mineral elements, the average American meal is in fact a dietetic horror -- consisting of an overwhelming preponderance of the starches, sugars, and greases -- the carbohydrate acid-reacting elements which cause numerous ailments and diseases.
Most natural foods are rendered harmful by sauces, gravies and dressings. I learned that leading physicians -- that is, the very few who have studied foods, or the causes of sickness and disease -- estimate variously that from 85% to 95% of all sickness and disease which is not of mental origin is caused by faulty diet, and the small remaining percent from all other causes combined.
Soon I had an eye-opening, interest-compelling lecture outlined. Of course the study was continued intensively -- along with continued Bible study for the next year, and the lecture progressively altered and supplemented.
The details are now dim in memory -- this is being written almost 30 years later -- but it seems that I teamed with another more experienced man in the next one or two dems.
Then I must have been transferred to the territory around Salem, Oregon. Also it seems this move was influenced by the fact that I had not yet gotten sufficiently established in this aluminum selling to have been able to pay our house rent, and my father was having to pay it for us. Apparently he felt it would be less burden on him for us to move back into the parental home in Salem.
Our First Automobile
About the time I was getting started in this new work, we acquired the first automobile we ever owned. I had learned to drive a car when I was Assistant Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce at South Bend, Indiana, when I was 23. I had driven cars a great deal. Often I had borrowed my brother Russell's car, and also my brother Dwight's. But it was impossible to hold these dems without a car.
So an arrangement had been made with my father whereby I received his car -- a two-door Ford sedan -- and he acquired a better car. Just what the three-cornered deal was is too cloudy in mind to recall.
So, along about October, 1930, we left the house on 75th Street in Portland, and once again moved in with my parents on Highland Avenue in Salem.
The religious interest did not diminish. Rather, this new study of the causes of ill health and disease, and these dems with their health lectures, only supplemented my continued study of the Bible.
I learned quite a little about fasting as a means of eliminating toxins and poisons from the body. Always the people I visited after a dem, had in the family some of these common ailments or diseases. Never before had most of them heard any explanation of why they had these sicknesses.
Most people seemed to suppose it is natural for our bodies to get sick. But sickness is not natural. Sickness comes only from broken physical laws within our bodies. Most of the time it comes from excess of carbohydrates. Part of the time from malnutrition -- a lack of essential elements. Under fasting the body naturally eliminates stored up toxins and poisons.
Many on whom I called were, by fasting followed by right diet, relieved of rheumatism, constipation, colds, and many other chronic ailments or diseases.
Of course most doctors do not recommend fasting. Many M.D.'s refer to fasting as a starvation diet. At that time some doctors seemed to feel that if a patient missed a single meal or two he or she would starve. No matter what the sickness or disease, if one were admitted to a hospital, one very probably was fed, even if intravenously.
Actually, if people would fast more, as animals do by instinct when sick, and eat more carefully, it might just be that the doctors would starve, not the patients!
But those doctors wanted to stay in business. They did not often recommend fasting.
On the other hand, one should not fast for more than three to five days unless he is under the care of a physician who does understand and believe in fasting, or someone equally experienced. And one kind of fasting is required to rid one of constipation, and another kind is indicated for other situations.
It is regrettable that medical science was so narrow that it tried to make a cure-all of one thing -- medicine; or, in some cases, of surgery. One doctor confided to his elderly mother that if all drugs were dumped into the ocean, it would be so much better for humanity, and so much worse for the fish. But such was the science of man that all too often it is, as the Word of God says plainly, science falsely so called. The day will come when the whole world will wake up to that sad fact!
I never did, on these calls, ask people if I could pray for their healing. God's instruction is, Is any sick among you; let him call for the elders of the church (James 5:14-15). They are told to ASK FOR IT. And I was not then an elder. I was not then ordained.
However, when the subject of God's truth did come up -- as it frequently did -- if I found the people I was visiting were believers, and they asked me to pray for their healing, I always did. This happened a number of times, and several were healed. But I had learned never to force religion on any one, and the approach to the subject had to come from them. This is God's way.
What I learned during this year of study and lecturing on sickness and disease was actually an important part of the preparation God was taking me through for His ministry.
The Near Fight at a Meeting
Along in November of 1930 the Runcorns, neighbors of my parents, asked me to go with them to a business meeting of brethren of the Church of God, being held in the home of Mrs. Ira Curtis, near Jefferson, Oregon.
Although I was a guest -- I had never become a member of this church, whose headquarters was at Stanberry, Missouri -- they asked me to act as secretary and take down the minutes of the meeting. I learned that the meeting was called for the purpose of organizing these Oregon members into an Oregon Conference.
I sensed immediately there was a feeling of division among them. Elder A. N. Dugger was the real leader of the church at Stanberry. He was editor of the church's weekly paper sent to members. He either was, or had been, president of their General Conference. I learned that they were organized as a General Conference, with elections of officers held biannually. Most of the Oregon members lived in the Willamette Valley in the vicinity of Jefferson. Most of them were in attendance at this business meeting.
About half of them were opposed to Elder Dugger. They wanted to organize a State Conference. Some of the other states had state conferences. The purpose of this Oregon State Conference was to hold the tithes and church funds contributed by Oregon members in Oregon.
But actually, it was born of opposition to and dissatisfaction with the Stanberry membership and state conference. The other half were just as verbal in their loyalty and support of Elder Dugger and the Stanberry regime.
The dispute over Stanberry politics and Elder Dugger's personal fitness and integrity waxed more and more heated. One tall man who weighed considerably over 200, and was a leader, spoke of dirty politics and called Elder Dugger a ward-healer. An equally vociferous man on the other side of the dispute rose to defend the honor of Mr. Dugger. Words flamed hotter and hotter. Each side was sincere and in roused earnest. Under the tense pressure tempers were flaring. I became afraid it was going to be settled (or unsettled) by fists.
At that instant I rose, and in a loud but calm voice asked if I might say a word. Since I was a guest, they didn't refuse.
Brethren, I said, you all know how, as recorded in the first chapter of Job, when the sons of God came together, Satan came also. You also know how, in the 12th chapter of Revelation we are told that the people Satan is most angry with are those who keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. That means us. Satan is here. He is stirring up rage and anger in your hearts. I am going to drop to my knees right now, and ask God Almighty to cast Satan out of this house! All of you who wish may kneel with me and pray silently.
Without another word, I quickly dropped to my knees beside my chair, and began asking God to rebuke Satan and this controversial spirit that was rousing these men to anger, and to drive Satan from our presence, and to give us peace and love.
When I rose there were some wet eyes, but there were no angry voices. These people were sincere. They simply believed what they believed and had allowed themselves to be caught off guard, and roused to anger.
Asked to Conduct Campaign
The state conference was agreed to and formed. The concept of church government seemed to be that lay members should be in the offices of authority. Ministers were to be employed, and under orders from the lay members. This is essentially the concept of what we call democracy: government from the bottom up. Those being governed dictate who shall be their rulers and how their rulers shall rule them.
The most perplexing subject in all the Bible to me was this matter of church government. I never did come to clear understanding of the BIBLE teaching on the subject until after Ambassador College was formed and well on its way.
I believe that elderly G. A. Hobbs of Oregon City, previously mentioned, was made the first president of this state Conference, and that O. J. Runcorn, with whom I had come to this meeting, was president the second year. I have in my old files my Ministerial License Certificate, which is reproduced in this autobiography, dated March 2,1932, and signed by O. J. Runcorn as President, and Mrs. I. E. Curtis as Secretary. This was almost a year after I was ordained -- probably my second certificate.
At the close of this business meeting, the newly elected officers caused me great embarrassment.
They asked me if I would hold an evangelistic campaign for them in the church building they rented in Harrisburg. I had never preached before the public. Only before these brethren in the Willamette Valley and at Oregon City. As I have stated before, becoming a preacher was the very last thing I should ever have wanted to do. I had been literally drawn into what little preaching had been done before these few brethren. Most certainly I had never pushed myself in.
But to hold a public evangelistic campaign! Consternation seized me! By nature, I shrank from the idea. Yet here were these simple, Bible-loving people, looking to me for leadership. It was as if they were sheep needing a shepherd. They wanted to get the Gospel out. It seemed impossible to refuse. If I was severely embarrassed at the thought of doing it, it would be even more embarrassing to refuse. More and more I was being drawn into the ministry by some power greater than I.
Inexperienced though I still was in the Gospel area, I had come to realize that the success of any campaign depended more on the amount and earnestness of prayer behind such a campaign, than on the oratory or eloquence of the speaker. One thing I knew -- if GOD was in it -- if I were merely an instrument and GOD was really conducting the campaign, it was bound to bear fruit.
Embarrassment on the Other Foot
All these things flashed through my mind in a few seconds.
Well, brethren, I replied, I have never preached before a public audience in my life. All the revivals and evangelistic services I have attended have wound up in altar calls. I'll tell you the truth -- I simply could not do this without a lot of help from God. And I know that results will depend more on the PRAYER back of the meetings than on my preaching. In fact, the effectiveness of the preaching will depend on prayer and the extent to which I can allow God to speak through me. This would really be a very hard assignment for me. But I'll make you brethren a proposition. If every one of you here at this meeting will pledge yourselves right now to devote not less than one hour every day to earnest and believing and prevailing PRAYER for the success of these meetings -- for God to help me and speak through me -- for God to cause the ones He is calling and drawing to attend -- and for God to convict the ones He is calling -- and if you will solemnly pledge to keep up this hour or more a day of prayer, beginning now, and until the last night of the meetings -- then I will undertake this campaign. I could do it at the end of December. Our company does not work from December 20th until after New Year's day. I could start the campaign on Sunday night, December 21st, and eleven nights right up to the end of the year. The Wear Ever company has a convention in Seattle the first week in January and I must be there. But I will have these eleven nights free.
And now, it was their turn to be embarrassed. Perhaps some had been spending an hour a day in prayer -- but I was sure most of them had not. Their tempers would not have boiled over into a near fist fight if they had. But, as I had been too embarrassed to refuse their offer, they were too embarrassed to refuse mine. To refuse to devote an hour a day on their knees would be very un-Christian! Yes, that would have been more embarrassing than to go through with it!
They agreed. They pledged themselves to this intensive prayer.
I agreed. I was brought one step closer to the ministry of Christ!
These brethren realized that the Stanberry church was not getting the Gospel to the world with power. In this area the church was virtually impotent. The Oregon brethren were anxious to get the Work going. Although I had been greatly humbled by business reverses not of my making, and by conversion, they were aware of my past experience in the business world.
And actually, from the time of this business meeting, the brethren in Oregon looked to me for the leadership that would revitalize the work of the Gospel. There had been no minister of the church resident in Oregon. But from this time ministers were to be sent there to counteract the favor these Oregon brethren were showing toward me. Always I was to meet opposition from the ministers.
The First Public Preaching
You may be sure that I, too, practiced what I demanded of them. In fact, I was afraid not to. If ever I had needed the help of God it was now.
I designed a good-sized circular. This was the first time my 20 years of advertising experience was used in God's Work. I did not have the money to have the handbills printed, but the new conference officials agreed to pay all expenses for the meetings. I had the circular printed at the job printing department of the Salem Statesman. I do not remember how they were distributed, but I think church brethren living near Harrisburg must have volunteered to do it. The handbills were distributed to every house in Harrisburg and for some five miles around.
Even before conversion I had attended two or three evangelistic campaigns. A businessman, a prosperous and successful owner of a factory in southeastern Iowa, had conducted a big tent campaign in Indianola, Iowa, during the summer of 1923. At that time I was working with my brother-in-law, Walter Dillon, on his college oratory, and also conducting a merchandising survey for an Indianola weekly paper.
I had attended several of these meetings. The businessman was a vigorous speaker, somewhat of the Billy Sunday style. He had a very effective song leader and team -- much as Billy Graham was to do later on a much larger scale. Always there were altar calls -- the traditional sawdust trail. Workers urged people of the audience to go forward.
In my inexperience, I took these traditional methods for granted. In these beginning years of my ministry I went along with many of these religious practices -- and even some doctrines -- commonly accepted by the evangelical denominations, and which I later had to UN-learn.
I had to learn one doctrine, and one truth, at a time. The little church building in the little town of Harrisburg, then about 500 population, had seating capacity of perhaps 150. On the first Sunday night we had about 100 or more in attendance.
I think the attendance dropped a little after the first night, but it held up not far under a hundred. Our little group of church brethren assembled in the church about an hour and a half early each evening, and had their hour of prayer together in the church.
We did not have droves of hundreds or thousands hitting the sawdust trail, but God did give us four who were converted in the meetings.
However, we knew that the greatest good done was the spiritual revival that took place in the church brethren as a result of that hour a day spent in solid prayer!
They were a changed people! They were happy. They were closer to God -- and this was evidenced by their manner, their conversation, their lives!
WHO Should Baptize?
The subject of water baptism had been the very first I had studied in the Bible, after my original surrender to Christ. Now I had four new converts to be baptized. One of those was my own brother, Dwight Armstrong.
But WHO was to baptize them? I was not an ordained minister. A young minister of the Church of God who had been sent out from Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters, had been in an automobile accident in Harrisburg. He was confined to bed with a broken leg at the time. I consulted him. It was a problem neither of us had confronted before.
We looked at Matthew 28:19-20. Go ye, said Jesus in His Great Commission, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them ... It appeared that whoever taught those who repented and accepted Christ was to do the baptizing. Nothing was said about being ordained.
We examined Acts 2:37-41 -- the initial New Testament experience on the day of Pentecost. Three thous and were baptized. It was evident that the twelve disciples of Jesus could hardly have baptized this vast number.
In Acts 8, Philip, a deacon, and apparently not yet at that time an ordained evangelist, baptized those to whom he preached at Samaria, and later the Ethiopian eunuch.
We decided that I had the authority of God to baptize those converted during my first public preaching.
I baptized them. This brought stern criticism from authorities higher up in the church. There was criticism because the Conference paid expenses when I was not even a member. In fact, from this time I was to meet continued criticism, opposition, persecution, and political maneuvering by ministers. But the lay members looked more and more to me for leadership.
Ordained to Christ's Ministry
THE YEAR 1931 dawned for Mrs. Armstrong and me, like those preceding, with dark and overcast skies. It was one more of the economically lean years. It was an exceedingly high-point year in my life. It was the year in which I was ordained as a minister of Christ's Gospel, plunged full time into the ministry. Yet this very ordination was to foment multiplied opposition and persecution from the Stanberry ministers.
God did not induct me into His service as an imposing figure impressing others as a man of importance, wisdom and distinction.
Rather, the Eternal put me into His ministry a good deal like the Apostle Paul, who wrote: And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom ... and I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling (I Cor. 2:1-3).
Greenhorn Tail-End Minister
I was no VIP entering the ministry. There was no red-carpet welcome -- no pomp and ceremony -- no spectacular acclaim. It would not have been God's doing, had it started out auspiciously. Everything God does through human instruments must start with a humble beginning, the very smallest. God brings down low and to naught the proud and the lofty. The Eternal is able to exalt in His own due time those He first humbles.
Every person has his IDOL. GOD cannot receive and convert a human life until his idol has been smashed or torn from him. My idol had been an egotistical sense of self-importance -- a cocky self-assurance -- a passion to become successful -- to attain STATUS -- in the eyes of the material world. God is creating in those He calls a righteous character which can be developed only through experience; and experience requires TIME. God has a lot of time -- He is Eternal -- He has always existed -- He always will.
It took time to eradicate from my heart the love of the praise of men. God gave me, instead, the false accusations, the unwarranted oppositions, the scheming persecutions of jealous, competitive-minded ministers. It required time to bring me to a place where I no longer set my heart on material possessions and the finer things of this material world.
This process required not one or two years -- not seven -- but four sevens! For 28 financially lean and humiliating years out of the very prime of life, God continued to root out of my life and character this vain idolatry!
From the first, and for some time, I was treated by the ministers as the green-horn tail-ender among them. They used every practice and device constantly to humiliate me and belittle me in the eyes of the brethren. I needed this -- and I knew God knew I needed it! Aware of my need of humility, I felt, myself, that I was the least of the ministers. However, the brethren loved me and continued looking to me for leadership. The only fruit being borne resulted from my efforts. This, naturally, was the very reason for the opposition and persecution.
And so the year 1931 dawned. The Convention at Seattle
The first evangelistic campaign was over. It was just a short 11-night campaign in the little rented church building in Harrisburg, Oregon. Attendance had been good for such a small town -- around 100. I had not known better than to follow the Protestant evangelical method of giving altar calls, for repentant sinners accepting Christ to come up to the altar and kneel. Four had come, and been baptized.
The pastor of one of the churches in the neighboring larger town, Junction City, asked me to hold a campaign in his church. I do not remember which church, but I believe it was the Baptist.
I was still dependent on my job with the Wear Ever Aluminum Company, giving dinner dems with health lectures and selling their new method heavy aluminum utensils. It was necessary that I attend the annual convention of their Pacific Northwest sales force in Seattle, beginning at or after the first week in January.
This prevented any extended campaign at the church in Junction City. However, it was arranged that I should hold three special services there -- on Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon, and Sunday night with the pastor himself holding his usual Sunday morning service.
I shall never forget the thrill of accomplishment and thankfulness I experienced as I rode with the Runcorns back to Salem after the Harrisburg meetings. It was a deeper and far more intense sensation than I had ever experienced at a football game.
The Wear Ever district convention was held at the New Richmond Hotel in Seattle. There I met all of the top-ranking salesmen of the district -- some of whom were of the high-pressure type and extremely successful, earning large incomes.
However, this convention was somewhat disillusioning. Actual appointments in homes, with a husband and wife who ostensibly were attending a dem lecture, were acted out. The entire district sales force saw these top-ranking salesmen in simulated action. I came to realize that these men who were in the big money used high-pressure methods which I, as a Christian, could not employ. It became apparent that I could never get into the big-money bracket on this kind of a job. I was not making enough to meet the actual needs of my family -- just enough to keep us from starving.
I did, however, learn things I had not known about health, nutrition and diet, causes of disease, etc. One thing I learned which seemed important -- the reason why One man's meat is another man's poison.
Different individuals are of varying chemical types. One person would be classified as the potassium type. The element potassium is somewhat dominating in his physical constitution. These people are said to be the outdoor type, usually extroverts loving to be with other people.
The salesmen analyzed and classified one another as to chemical types. I gave the most expert among them considerable difficulty. I seemed to be a mixture of several types, but they finally agreed that calcium was the dominating chemical constituency in my makeup. This must be true, because I require more calcium than most people. Calcium is found in largest quantities in milk and milk products. I seem to crave and need a goodly amount of milk, cheese, and butter.
The First Funeral
We were still living, at this time, with my parents in Salem.
Shortly after returning to Salem from the convention in Seattle, a death occurred in the family of a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Milas C. Helms, who lived near Jefferson. Parents of both of them were members of the Church of God. Their baby son, Richard Leon, born November 23, 1930, had died on Monday, January 12, 1931.
I was contacted and asked to conduct the funeral. This was a new and frightening experience for me. The dread and fear of it grew.
As the day of the funeral dawned, this dread had almost driven me berserk.
I can't do it! I kept saying. I just can't go through with it! I WON'T! I won't do it! I finally shouted.
Not many times in my life did my father's powerful bass voice speak sharply and with authority to me. This was one of those few times.
Herbert! Dad's voice cracked like a sudden thunderclap, in unmistakable authority, snap out of that instantly! WAKE UP! Come to your senses! Those people are stricken with grief! They are depending on you! You can't let them down! You are going to sit right down and prepare this funeral sermon. Then you are going down there and fulfill this obligation!
If I had been almost out of my senses, this brought me back instantly. It was like a sudden awakening from a nightmare.
Yes, Dad, I said. Thanks for waking me up. I'll ask God to help me, and I will do it.
I had attended very few funerals. I did not know what customary funeral sermons were like. I did not want to know. I felt it would only be a pagan ceremony. I merely prayed and asked God to direct me through His Word. Soon I had a short sermon worked out from the Scriptures, reading certain basic scriptures on the subject of death and the resurrection, with a few brief comments expounding them.
It turned out that only a graveside service had been planned. When the moment came for me to officiate, my prayer for God's help was answered, and I was calm, sympathetic, and in sincere earnest.
That brief sermon from the Scriptures, together with the grief of losing their little son, deeply affected and moved Mike and Pearl Helms, and resulted in bringing them to repentance and conversion through Christ as their Saviour.
It was the beginning of a very close friendship, and Christian fellowship between us for several years to come. I have always had a very special warm spot in my heart for Mike Helms, and I feel sure it is mutual. We were to go through many rough experiences together in God's Work -- experiences which brought us together like two close brothers.
Mike was a vegetable gardener, and a very successful one. He was a natural leader. Inevitably, you will read quite a lot about him if you continue reading this story of my life, for he became closely connected with it and the many experiences I must relate from this point on.
We Move Again
Through the first half of the year 1931 the study and lectures on the causes of sickness and disease continued. Enough of the heavy aluminum was sold to keep the family alive -- but no more.
Two or three cases during that time come back to memory. One man in Salem was troubled with chronic constipation, and with rheumatism. After my first visit to his home he went on a ten-day fast, followed by a diet of natural vegetables and fruits, lean meats and whole grains -- a diet free of starches, fats and white sugar. Both the rheumatism and the constipation dis appeared. Another case was a man who had ulcers of the stomach. He could not even drink milk and hold it down. Yet a milk diet, with nothing else for many weeks, was his logical corrective. I squeezed a half lemon into a glass of milk, stirred it, and had him drink it. Of course it curdled slightly. He held it in his stomach, and was started on his milk diet. His stomach healed over naturally after several weeks.
Because I thoroughly believed in what I was doing, I held dems for the church brethren in the Jefferson area. Most of them purchased the heavy aluminum, and began eating natural foods.
In the spring of 1931 my father bought a small farm about fifteen miles south of Oregon City, trading their home in Salem for the farm. Of course my brother Russell had been married several years and was living in Portland, and my sister also was married and living in Portland. My youngest brother, Dwight, went with the folks to the farm.
At that time we moved to a house on East State Street in Salem. A number of events were to happen to us in that house -- among others, little Garner Ted being miraculously given his voice. When Ted had been about six months old he had fallen out of his crib, landing on his head on the floor. From that time he had been dumb, and he never learned to speak a word until he was past two years old. But that is getting ahead of our story. He was about 14 months when we first moved to the State Street house.
R. L. Taylor Arrives
In early summer of that year a former S.D.A. minister, a Robert L. Taylor, came to Oregon from California. It was practice among these Church of God people to hold all-day meetings about once a month. It was at one of these meetings that Mr. Taylor preached. We were all quite impressed.
He's a better preacher than any of the leading ministers from Stanberry, seemed to be the common exclamation. Indeed we were all rather swept off our feet by his preaching.
After a few weeks, the brethren of this Oregon Conference, which had been formed the preceding November, wanted to team Elder Taylor with me to hold an evangelistic campaign. They were becoming anxious to see a little life in the work of the Church.
They found Elder Taylor very receptive to the idea. By this time a modest balance had accumulated in the new Conference treasury. You will remember that the object in forming this State Conference was to create a local state treasury and keep their tithes and offerings in the state, instead of being sent to Stanberry, Missouri. These were days of rapidly descending economic depression, but several of these brethren were vegetable gardeners. They were doing very well financially.
Elder Taylor said he would be glad to undertake this campaign with me, suggesting it be held in Eugene -- for reasons I was to learn later. We decided to speak on alternate nights, the one not speaking to lead in the song service.
This made it necessary that the Oregon Conference ordain me to the ministry.
ORDAINED Christ's Minister
Being ordained and entering the ministry full time meant a complete change in my life. In former years the idea of becoming a minister was the very last thing I should have wanted to do. But by June, 1931, I had been preaching a great deal for three and a half years. By this time my whole heart was in it.
I had come to see, at the Seattle salesmen's convention, that this aluminum sales job was not permanently compatible with the Christian life. I was unable to adopt some of the high pressure methods -- in the interest of the salesman's commission, but not in the customers' interest -- which the top-ranking salesmen employed. I knew I could never make more than a bare existence for my family. And anyway, by this time I think I recognized that God had called me to His ministry.
I had remained in this aluminum selling only because I realized I was acquiring valuable knowledge about food and diet, and the causes of sickness and disease. But now I had devoted a year to this study. There was no point in continuing.
The decision was not difficult. God had now brought me to the place where I really heard the voice of Christ as if He were saying, Come, and follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men.
It was decided by the officers of the Conference that on the next all-day meeting I was to be ordained.
I shall never forget that moment of my ordination. The meeting was being held outdoors. I do not remember where -- except it was in the general rural area of Jefferson. I do not remember other circumstances.
But I do remember the ordination itself. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences like being married, and being baptized. Only this seemed to me to be the most momentous event of my entire life.
All the brethren -- as many as could get their hands through to my head -- laid their hands on me -- on my head, my shoulders, my chest and my back.
I am sure it was the weight of the experience, from a spiritual and emotional standpoint, rather than the physical weight of hands and arms -- but it seemed I was entirely weighted down with the heaviest load I had ever stood up under.
To me this was symbolic of the tremendous responsibility that now came down on my head and shoulders.
And let it be made plain here: I was ordained by, and under the authority of, the Oregon Conference of The Church of God, separately incorporated; not by the Stanberry, Missouri, headquarters.
This brings us to a series of almost incredible facts. Whether strange coincidence or planned acts of God I cannot now say. But these are FACTS, nonetheless.
I never recognized these facts until just a few months before the writing of this present chapter. Certainly this strange chain of occurrences was not of my planning.
Here, then, are the actual facts: First, Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry at about age 30. God took away my business, moved me from Chicago, started bringing me to repentance and conversion preparatory to inducting me into His ministry, when I was 30!
Second, Jesus began the actual teaching and training of His original disciples for carrying HIS GOSPEL to the world in the year A.D. 27. Precisely 100 time-cycles later, in 1927, He began my intensive study and training for carrying HIS SAME GOSPEL to all nations of today's world.
It is important that we realize the significance of 100 time-cycles!
God set the earth, sun, and moon in their orbits to mark off divisions of time on the earth. One revolution of the earth is a day. One revolution of the moon around the earth is a lunar month (according to God's sacred calendar). One revolution of the earth around the sun is a solar year. But the earth, the sun, and the moon come into almost exact conjunction only once in 19 years. Thus 19 years mark off one complete time-cycle!
Now consider further facts -- whether strange coincidence, or providential design.
The actual ordination, or completing of the ordination and enduement of power for sending out the original disciples into the ministry occurred after 3½ years of intensive instruction and experience. It was on the Day of Pentecost. And the year was A.D. 31.
Exactly 100 time-cycles later, after 3½ years of intensive study and training, Christ ordained me to preach this same Gospel of the Kingdom in all the world as a witness to all nations (Matt. 24:14). This ordination took place at, or very near, the Day of Pentecost, 1931.
I do not remember the exact day of the month of this ordination. No special significance was attached to the date then. Most of those who participated are now dead. But the date was June, 1931.
But that is not all! Consider further! More Amazing Parallels!
Christ started out His original apostles preaching the very Gospel of the Kingdom which God had sent by Him, and which He had taught the apostles, in the year A.D. 31. For exactly one 19-year time-cycle this preaching was confined to the continent where it started -- Asia. After precisely one l9-year time-cycle, A.D. 50, Christ opened a door for the Apostle Paul to carry the same Gospel to EUROPE! This was A.D. 50. Before A.D. 70, Roman armies besieged Jerusalem. From that time the Roman government stamped out the organized mass spreading of the Gospel of Christ. Soon a different gospel was being tolerated, later endorsed and then enforced by Roman government. It was Roman paganism now being palmed off under the new name Christianity.
For nearly 19 centuries the world has been rendered spiritually drunk on the wine of this counterfeit gospel! As prophecy foretold, ALL nations have been deceived. But looking into our time, just before the END of this age (Matt. 24:14), Jesus foretold that His same original Gospel of the Kingdom of God was to be preached and published (Mark 13:10) in all the world as a witness to ALL NATIONS! This was to immediately precede HIS SECOND COMING!
TODAY THIS IS BEING DONE! Now consider this amazing parallel!
God first opened a door -- that of radio and the printing press -- for the mass proclaiming of HIS ORIGINAL TRUE GOSPEL the first week in 1934! The exact date was January 7, 1934. Exactly one time-cycle later, January 7, 1953, God opened wide the massive door of the most powerful commercial radio station on earth, and RADIO LUXEMBOURG began broadcasting Christ's Gospel to EUROPE and Britain!
What startling coincidences! -- or are they mere coincidences?
My First Extended Campaign
My ordination ended the dems and selling of aluminum. The state Conference employed Mr. Taylor and me as evangelists at salaries of $20 per week. Remember this was 1931. The country was undergoing rapid deflation.
Immediately Mr. Taylor and I went to Eugene. The Conference owned a small tent. With a small platform across the front, we were able to set up 50 folding chairs -- that is all -- 50!
This tent was pitched on a vacant lot in Eugene on West 10th Avenue. I rented a room with a small kitchenette on the second floor of a house across the street, within the same block. Mr. Taylor and his wife had moved to a small chicken ranch on the outskirts of Eugene. They had a car. I must have left mine in Salem. It probably died of old age at that time, or shortly later.
I do not remember about preliminary advertising, but we must have had some. I was entirely too advertising-conscious after my long years in that profession to have started without it.
I opened the first Sunday night's meeting as MC and song leader. Elder Taylor preached. The tent was full -- 50 people.
On Monday night he opened the song service, and I preached. Thus we continued for the six weeks, alternating each night. Services were held six nights a week -- none on Saturday nights.
In Portland I had gained some little experience with pentecostal people. I had been somewhat overawed by their speaking in tongues, and their glib testimony. I had not yet at that time fully understood it. But I had noticed that most of these people refused to obey God's commandments; almost none had any real sound understanding of the Bible; they customarily had a wide knowledge of certain scattered texts -- verses or partial verses -- which they usually mis applied, entirely out of context, putting only a meaning of pseudo-spirituality on them. They spoke in what was supposed to be spiritual-sounding language. They loved to show off -- to brag, especially about their own spirituality which usually consisted of sentimentality and emotion.
The brethren in the Willamette Valley had been decidedly antagonistic toward tongues speaking and pentecostalism in general. Elder Taylor had also appeared to be opposed to it.
But a couple families of pentecostal people began attending our tent meetings in Eugene. Soon I noticed that Mr. Taylor was especially friendly to them. He welcomed, and gradually began to encourage their loud amens and hallelujahs and Praise the Lord expressions during his preaching.
But, for the first few weeks I thought little of it. Sole Fruit Borne
This was my first ministerial experience teaming with another man. Jesus sent His disciples out two and two together. The teaming of two ministers together certainly has Biblical precedence and approval. But if God refuses to use either member of the team, no spiritual results can be produced by the team. This lesson I was to learn.
I was surprised, somewhat incredulous, somewhat discouraged, as our meetings wore on, to notice that no fruit was being borne. I could not understand it.
Then one night the lone exception occurred. It was an exceedingly stormy night. Mr. Taylor and I went over to our tent to loosen slightly the ropes, so the shrinkage from soaking would not up-stake them, and also to drive down the stakes more securely. It was a nasty night. We did not expect anyone to come. While we were there, one couple who had attended regularly drove up in the storm. I had noticed this couple. I had felt sorry for them. I supposed they were very poor people -- why, I didn't know, except that he was as far from being handsome as Abraham Lincoln had been, and she had no beauty of the worldly sort. Later I was to be much surprised to find that they were very successful and prosperous, though thrifty, farmers -- leaders in their community.
I had not, up to this stormy evening, become acquainted with them further than shaking hands with them at the tent entrance.
No one else came that night. No service could have been held in the tent.
It would simply be a dirty shame for you to have come all the way into town on such a terrible night, and then be deprived of a service, I said sympathetically. Why not come on over to my room, and we can at least have a Bible study together?
That would be splendid, smiled Mrs. Fisher. I had never known their names before.
Well count me out, answered Mr. Taylor. It's too stormy to stay around here. I'm going home.
This was my first shock of dis appointment in Mr. Taylor. He had been my ideal as a minister. But one incident like this could not cause me to lose confidence in him.
Over in my room, Mrs. Fisher said: I wonder if you would mind giving us a Bible study on the question of which day is the Sabbath of the New Testament. My husband believes the only Bible Sabbath is Saturday. But it never seemed possible to me that all these churches could be wrong. I'd like to have you explain just what the Word of GOD says.
Why, I replied in some surprise, that is exactly the way I felt when my wife began keeping the Sabbath. That is the very thing that started me studying the Bible -- to prove that 'all these churches can't be wrong.' I'll be very happy to open the Bible and show you what I was forced to see for myself. This is the very question that resulted in my conversion.
After my opening up the Scriptures, and having Mrs. Fisher read them for herself -- and after answering her rather sharp questions later, and explaining some vague passages she brought up, she smiled and said:
I thank you, Brudder Armstrong -- she was Swedish, and talked just a trifle brokenly, it is all clear now. My husband and I will keep the Sabbath together from now on.
And that was the sum total of the tangible results produced by this entire six weeks' campaign!
But God was to use Mr. Elmer Fisher, and Mrs. Margaret Fisher, in a most important way in raising up this very work which now thunders the true Gospel of Christ worldwide, into every continent on earth! You will read much of them, later!
As our tent campaign progressed, a few little incidents began more and more to disturb me in regard to Brother Taylor.
I began to notice that he was becoming much more chummy with the two pentecostal families than others who were attending. Finally he asked me to attend an all-night tarry meeting they were going to have out at his place following our evening meeting.
You need a deeper spiritual experience, he said to me. You need to pray, and agonize, and 'tarry' until you receive your 'baptism of the Holy Ghost', he said.
Brother Taylor, I answered, I know I need a deeper spiritual experience. I do want a still closer fellowship and contact with God. But I prefer to seek it the way Jesus attained it -- by going out to a solitary place -- perhaps up on a mountain -- or, at least as Jesus commanded, to enter into 'a closet' or small room, alone with God, and pray.
I shall never forget his astonishing answer. You'll never get your 'baptism' that way, brother! he said sharply, with emphasis.
I was shocked -- and dis appointed. I'm sorry, I replied firmly. But if this 'baptism' is something I can't get the way Jesus taught and commanded -- if it is something I have to get from men and cannot receive from God while alone with Him, then it is something I do not want!
Prior to this, Mr. Taylor had come to me and said: Brother Armstrong, our people -- referring to the brethren of the Oregon Conference -- are not spiritual enough. We need to seek a closer walk with God. To this I had agreed.
Now it began to dawn on me that Mr. Taylor was, little by little, attempting to lead the church into the very thing he had told them, in his sermons, he was against -- this wild-fire pentecostalism. When he had first heard that the brethren were against it, he assured them he was also against it. But now, by careful and adroit methods, he was gradually beginning to try to introduce this very thing.
Was he, himself, just beginning to believe he had been wrong? Had he been honest and sincere? Was he now honest in claiming God was opening his eyes to see that we were not spiritual enough?
Why, didn't you know? later exclaimed a man who had known Mr. Taylor much longer than we had, Taylor has always been 'pentecostal.' He just pretended he wasn't, in order to get in with the church.
But from the moment I turned down his tarry meeting invitation, his attitude toward me became coldly courteous, and I sensed repressed hostility.
Correcting a Member
During this tent campaign in Eugene, we attended Sabbath services with brethren at the church building in Harrisburg. One elderly brother whose name was Rough as nearly as I remember (pronounced Row) had been, in his deep sincerity and zeal for a certain contention, stirring up a row at nearly every service.
He lived out east of Eugene on the Mackenzie Highway. He contended the church was in error on one scripture. He could shout his antagonism like a lion's roar. The brethren wanted Mr. Taylor and me to visit him and see if we could not change his mind or at least quiet him.
I had just read, some time previous, an article in the old American Magazine on how to win an argument. The idea was to make your opponent first state his case fully. Ask him questions. Make him state every detail. Exhaust him, till he has nothing more to say. Just listen -- do not reply to any of his arguments -- until you have made him state them all. Then summarize his entire position briefly, showing you fully understand his argument. State it even more clearly than he did, if possible.
Then AGREE with him on those points where you find you actually are in agreement. Then, finally, tear apart his remaining arguments, disproving them -- leaving him without anything to come back with.
We decided to use this method. In our morning session, before noon dinner, we just listened to his reasons. We asked questions, but gave no answers. We drew him out exhaustively.
Mrs. Rough had prepared a delicious chicken dinner. I think this was my first experience with the custom of serving chicken when the minister is the guest. I never understood the reason for it. But I was to eat a great deal of chicken from that time on.
After dinner, we questioned old Brother Rough some more, until he simply had to drift into silence for want of anything more to say.
Then we summarized his arguments, and got him to agree we thoroughly understood his reasons -- which he had always claimed the church was not willing to understand. Next we agreed on certain points.
But, finally, we riddled his whole conclusion by scriptures he had not considered, which totally reversed his whole argument. It left him without any answer or comeback. The lion's roar had been reduced to a kitten's meow. There were no more explosive eruptions from that time on to disturb Sabbath-School or church services -- and he remained friendly.
Building a Church
As our campaign neared its close, Mr. Taylor was promoting with the church brethren the idea of building a church building in Eugene. Actually, there were no members in Eugene. Some lived a few miles north, but most of them lived north of Junction City or Harrisburg -- although two families lived out east of Eugene on the Mackenzie Highway.
The Eugene campaign added only the Fishers, and, I believe, one other man who continued only for a while.
It was planned that I was to leave Eugene and put on a campaign up in St. Helens, Oregon, 25 miles north of Portland, with a minister by the name of Roy Dailey, who had just returned from Stanberry or points in the Middle West. The Conference had just employed him. There were now three of us on the payroll at $20 per week. At this rate the Conference treasury was soon going to be empty.
But Elder Taylor was to remain at Eugene, superintending the new building. Many events were to take place in that little church building.
Evangelistic Campaigns in Full Swing
MY FIRST full-length evangelistic campaign with Elder Robert L. Taylor in Eugene, Oregon, came to its almost fruitless end. Mr. and Mrs. Elmer E. Fisher, who lived seven miles west of Eugene, were the only ones added to the church by this campaign. And they had been brought in by a private Bible study in my room -- not in a preaching service.
Mr. Taylor had induced the Oregon Conference members to build a church building in Eugene. He felt sure he could build up a good congregation there.
It turned out that Mr. Taylor had, for some little time previous to our campaign, been in the retail lumber business in Eugene. He had apparently failed, and salvaged out of it only a small amount of lumber. This lumber, although not enough to build it, was put into the new little church building. The money for the remaining lumber, and all other expenses, were contributed by the church members. The members purchased a 50-foot lot just outside city limits on West 8th Street.
However, because of the lumber he donated, Mr. Taylor managed to have the entire property deeded in his name personally. Before leaving Eugene I attended one service in the new church building. It was entirely unfinished. The siding had not been put on the outside. Slabs of plaster wallboard had been nailed up on inside walls, but the cracks had not been filled in, nor had it been painted. Folding chairs were brought in for seats. A small speaker's stand substituted for a pulpit. Actually, that was as far as Mr. Taylor was to proceed in finishing the church.
The St. Helens Campaign
The officers of the Conference decided to team me up with Mr. Dailey, since Mr. Taylor was staying on in Eugene to try to build up a congregation for the new church building, still to be completed. Actually, he never added a single member.
We were assigned to go to St. Helens, Oregon, 25 miles north of Portland, on the west bank of the Columbia River. In West St. Helens, sometimes called Houlton, lived a very zealous member of the church, Mrs. Mary Tompkins. She was filled with zeal and a spirit of love -- although we were to learn that she had more love and zeal than wisdom. Mary Tompkins was a worker. She witnessed for Christ in a most active way. She had for a long time pleaded with the Conference to send evangelists for a campaign in St. Helens. She assured them there was a tremendous interest there. So the Conference sent us.
Arriving in St. Helens, we first sought out a hall for meetings and rented a second-floor hall. I do not remember whether it was the old K.P. Hall or the old Masonic Hall. Whichever lodge, it had built a new one. However this old hall was reasonably attractive, and appeared quite desirable.
Next we went directly to the newspaper and placed a half-page advertisement, ordering a few thous and reprints to be distributed as circulars.
Then while we awaited the first Sunday night service, I spent some three or four days going from house to house, inviting people personally to come, and leaving a circular. I was surprised at two things. Practically everybody I invited, except those Mary Tompkins had talked to, promised to attend. Elder Dailey and I saw visions of having to hang out the SRO (Standing Room Only) sign. But I was even more surprised to find, at the many homes where Mrs. Tompkins had visited, that the people were hostile, and regarded this dear, well-meaning lady as a pest.
Sunday night came. But the expected crowds did not! To our utter dismay, not a soul showed up!
We couldn't understand it. On Monday, I went to the newspaper office to see if they had an explanation. They had.
Of course nobody came, the man grinned. That hall has been condemned as a fire-trap. Everybody knew that but you.
And you took our half-page ad, and our money -- and also our money for all those reprints, and didn't tell us a word! I exploded.
He only grinned. I felt he really needed some of our fiery gospel preaching! But we didn't give up immediately. We returned to the hall on Monday night. One couple came. I then heard something I had never heard before in my life. Mr. Dailey mounted the platform, walked behind the pulpit, and preached an entire sermon. And I mean preached! His style had a bit of the old preachy-tone -- and he preached, full volume, just as if the hall were packed with people. And to only two people! That was a new experience for me!
Well, we know now, Mr. Dailey said as we went back to our room after this 'meeting,' that we are not going to have a crowd here. But I know a place where we can draw a crowd -- over in Umapine. It's in eastern Oregon, near Walla Walla, Washington. I have visited one of our members there, Bennie Preston. We can stay at his house and save room rent, and we can draw enough people there to make it worth while.
Next morning, early, he started out in his car for Jefferson, Oregon, to get permission from the Conference Board for this switch to Umapine, and a little additional expense money.
On Tuesday night, left in St. Helens alone, I went again to the hall. Two couples of young people came. I did not preach. Instead I sat down with them and had an informal Bible study, letting them ask questions, and answering them.
On our long trek in Mr. Dailey's car over to Umapine, we exchanged views on a lot of things. I was especially puzzled over the matter of church organization. Not yet having come to see and understand the plain and clear Bible teaching, I had gone along with the Oregon Conference in its idea of government by the lay members. In this Conference the governing board was composed solely of lay members. They hired and fired the ministers.
If we were to have the ideal organization, opined Mr. Dailey, all the officers would be ministers -- not laymen. This sounded strange to me at the time. But the question of church organization and government was to keep coming up in my mind for years, before it was finally to become clear. Remember, I still was driven by the persistent question: WHERE is the one true Church -- the same one Jesus founded? This Church of God, with national headquarters at Stanberry, Missouri, seemed to be closer to the understanding of Bible truth than any -- yet I was unable to reconcile myself that such a small, and especially such a fruitless church, could be that dynamic fruit-bearing spiritual organism in which, and through which CHRIST was working. Surely the instrument Christ was using would be more alive -- more productive! Yet I had not found it!
The Meeting at Umapine
We were welcomed by Bennie Preston and his wife, and given a room where Roy Dailey and I slept in the same bed. We quickly rented a hall on the main street, ground floor.
Here, as Mr. Dailey had promised, results were different. We certainly did not have a crowd of thousands, but attendance, as I remember, ran between 35 and 50 which, at the time, we considered satisfactory. We had no local church to swell attendance. We were unknown, locally. None of the factors that produce great crowds was present.
One little event I shall never forget. Bennie Preston raised some sheep. He decided to butcher one for us. He had impressed me as a man filled with true Christian love.
I should hate to kill this tame, loving little sheep, he said, if it were not true that God created sheep to produce wool and meat for man. That is their only purpose in existence. Man has a different and far greater purpose -- to become sons of God.
Still, Mr. Preston loved that helpless little sheep, now about to give its life for food for us. He led it to a spot in his backyard. He lovingly caressed it first. Then he hit it a hard, stunning blow on top of the head with the sharp edge of a small sledge hammer, and quickly slit its throat to drain out the blood. The sheep suffered no pain. The sharp, quick blow rendered it instantly unconscious.
After about two weeks of our Umapine meetings, a letter from Mrs. Florence Curtis, secretary of the State Conference, informed us that a business meeting of the board had been called for only two or three days after our receipt of the letter.
I know what this meeting is all about, said Mr. Dailey. It means the conference treasury is running out of funds. They are going to have to lay off at least two of us three ministers. If we don't go back there and protect our interests, at this meeting, they will be sure to let you and me out, and keep Elder Taylor on. We're going to start back to the Willamette Valley at 5:30 tomorrow morning.
But Roy, I protested, we are only halfway through our meetings here!
Aw, we won't accomplish anything by staying here. Whatever we accomplish is in God's hands, I replied. We are merely His instruments. God has sent us here to preach His Gospel. We have people coming. The interest is increasing, and so is the attendance. I'm going to let God protect my personal interests at that Conference Board meeting, Roy; but I'm going to stay right on the job where He has put me, and continue those meetings.
Elder Dailey was now becoming a little nettled and disgusted with me.
I told you I'm starting for the valley at 5:30 in the morning, he returned. If you don't go with me, you'll force the Conference to have to pay your bus fare to get you back home. They won't like that.
But I was just as firm as he. Regardless of what the men on the Board like, I know GOD would not like it if I desert, while I'm here on duty. To me it would be like deserting an army, and running away, in the thick of battle in a war. This is God's battle. He put me here, and I am staying right here on the spiritual firing line until the campaign is over!
Why must men always consider only their own personal interests -- and cater to what men will like?
I know Mr. Dailey thought I was wrong. He sincerely believed I was wrong most of the time from then on. But to me it was a matter of duty, and a matter of principle, and a matter of obeying God.
At precisely 5:30 next morning, Mr. and Mrs. Preston and I bade Elder Dailey goodbye, and he started alone, giving me final warning that the brethren were not going to like my remaining behind and costing them extra bus fare to get home.
As it turned out, the special business meeting was called off, and Mr. Dailey had raced back to the Valley for naught. But later, just as he anticipated, both he and I were laid off and Elder Taylor kept on -- but not until after I had returned from completing the campaign.
Left Alone-Fruit Borne
I continued the meetings alone.
Interest continued to pick up at the meetings in the hall. Results were not great -- but there were results! Details are rather hazy in memory, now. I am not sure whether Mrs. Preston had already been converted and baptized, or whether she was converted by these meetings.
In any event, we had a total of five by the close of the meetings. There were three or four to be baptized. I learned that a son of our Conference president, the elderly G. A. Hobbs, was a local elder in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. I went to this younger Mr. Hobbs, and through him arranged for the use of the baptistry in the church.
Before leaving, I organized the five members into a local Sabbath school, to meet at the home of Bennie Preston, appointing Mr. Preston as superintendent and teacher. This should have grown. But there was no minister to feed the flock and protect it from wolves in sheep's clothing. Bennie Preston was a substantial and upright man, but he lacked the leadership and qualifications of a minister.
This tiny flock endured for a while. But some little time later, Mrs. Preston died. I am not sure whether this was the cause of the disintegration of the little Sabbath school, but Mr. Preston was hit a demoralizing blow by her death. Some years later he moved to the Willamette Valley. He had remarried by then.
This Umapine experience was one more in which no fruit could be borne as long as I teamed with one of the ministers of this church, connected with, or springing from the Stanberry, Missouri, political center.
Years later, still in my search for the one true church, still questioning whether this could be that church, still not having found it elsewhere, I asked Mrs. Runcorn (whom Mrs. Armstrong and I looked upon as our spiritual mother) if she could point out a single real bonafide convert, brought in from the outside, resulting from the ministry of any of the preachers affiliated with Stanberry. She thought seriously for quite a while. Then she slowly shook her head. She knew of none. I asked several others who had been in the church for years. Their answers were the same.
My first evangelistic effort was conducted alone, at the end of 1930, in Harrisburg. There were conversions. In 1931 I was teamed with Elder Taylor, who had arrived from California. There were no results, except for the night it stormed the meeting out, and in a private Bible study in my room Mrs. Elmer Fisher had accepted the truth. I was teamed with Elder Roy Dailey. There were no results. He left Umapine. I continued alone, and there were conversions. Results then were small -- indeed it was a small beginning, compared to the mounting worldwide harvest of today -- but God was using me, and producing fruit.
I have always noted, in my years of experience since, that if even one member of a two-man team is not a true instrument of God, there will be none of the kind of fruit borne which is produced only by GOD through human instruments. This very undeviating method of God, verified by experience, is the source of great inspiration and encouragement today. For in God's Church today, without exception, every minister or team of ministers is used of God, and God really does things through them! By their fruits ye shall know them, said Jesus.
A Thrill and a Jolt
I remember distinctly the all night bus ride back to the Valley from Eastern Oregon. Arriving home, on East State Street in Salem, I learned that the State Conference board had run low on funds, and, unable to continue paying three salaries each of $20 per week in the descending depths of the great depression, had decided to retain Mr. Taylor, and release Elder Dailey and me until funds revived.
Also, a few days after arriving home, happy over success in the campaign, this sense of elation was rudely jolted by a stern letter from old Mr. Hobbs. He had heard from his son. He wanted to know what a young whipper snapper like me meant, using the prestige of his name with his son, and baptizing people in Umapine without authority, or special consent from the Board? Shortly following the first evangelistic experience at Harrisburg, Mr. Hobbs had sternly called me on the carpet, asking me what authority I had for baptizing those converted in the meetings. I had answered that I had GOD'S authority -- that of Matthew 28:19 -- where those who do the teaching resulting in conversions are commanded to baptize those taught. This rather stumped him, at the time.
But elderly Mr. G. A. Hobbs was a stern, fiery little old man -- a stickler for proper form and system, and proper authority for everything. He had been an Adventist since a young man -- probably beginning somewhere around 1870, or perhaps earlier. Adventists during those earlier years were very strict, legalistic, and exacting. Mr. Hobbs had left the Adventists rather late in life when he saw clearly, in the Bible, that the Millennium will be spent on earth and not in heaven. But he retained his strict disciplinary teaching to his death.
But if old Mr. Hobbs was one of my strictest and sternest critics, he was also one of my staunches supporters to the day of his death. He defended me against other critics with the same fiery zeal with which he criticized me to my face. His sharp criticism for baptizing the converts God gave me at Umapine, plus the sudden, though not unexpected loss of salary, did dull somewhat the spirit of rejoicing over the results God granted at Umapine.
But having my salary cut off caused no worry. By this time I had learned to trust God. Already we had experienced many miraculous answers to prayer. I knew God has promised to supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
So, in perfect faith, I prayed and told God of our need, and asked Him to supply it, and use me wherever He willed.
But I had not yet learned that everything that happens is not, necessarily, from God. I had not learned to try the spirits, whether they are of GOD (I John 4:1). While this scripture is speaking of spirits -- angels or demons -- yet we must learn also to test experiences, and happenings, whether they be of GOD.
It was now late November. Back Into Advertising!
In serene confidence, I was expectantly awaiting God's answer to supply our financial need. Not more than two or three days later, my former newspaper associate, Samuel T. Hopkins, who had been Business Manager of the Vancouver Evening Columbian, appeared at our door.
He had left the Columbian, and now was Editor and Manager of a new morning newspaper in Astoria, Oregon, the Morning Messenger. He and two Astoria associates, a physician, and the superintendent of a salmon cannery, had started a new newspaper in Astoria. But they were in deep trouble. They had started a brand-new daily newspaper in the depths of the national depression, and without adequate capital.
Herb, you've just got to come out to Astoria and help us, pleaded Sam Hopkins. You are the only man I know with the specialized advertising and selling experience who can put this thing over for us. I know you can do it. Right now I'm not even in position to guarantee you any regular cash salary. Actually I'm depending on you to get in the business to make even your own salary possible. But once we put this over, we'll give you a large chunk of the stock in the company -- anything, if only you'll come on out to Astoria and inject the life we need into this paper. I want you to come as Advertising Manager. We'll set your salary at $25 a week at the start, and hope we can pay it. But as we get the paper on its feet, the sky's the limit. You'll have a big salary, and a large chunk of stock.
But Sam, I answered, I'm in the ministry now. I can't go back into the newspaper business.
He would not give up. He kept pleading. It was a matter of life and death to him. I began to think of how I had prayed for God to supply our new financial need. In my inexperience, this did seem to be the answer. I did not then realize this was not GOD'S answer. This was not GOD'S WAY of answering.
I did realize that I could not accept this job as a permanent thing. I knew I had been called to the ministry. I had been ordained. I had been successful in a small way. Everything I had ever touched in business, since age 30 in Chicago, had turned to nothing. But in the ministry, everything I did was, in the small way of a small beginning, successful. Yet, this did appear to me, in my inexperience, to be God's answer to my prayer. Since I could not go back into the advertising business, and leave the ministry, permanently, I reasoned this solution:
Tell you what I might do, I finally said to Mr. Hopkins. I know I have been called to the ministry. I've been ordained. But my salary is temporarily cut off. It seems to me this is God's answer as a temporary fill-in for our financial need. I'll come on out to Astoria just for one month only. Then I'll have to return here.
How many times, since, have I quoted the scriptures: Lean not unto thine own understanding, and There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Human reason is usually faulty. But this did seem like the right decision. I was to pay a high price over the next 15 months to learn that lesson.
I was to have to learn two basic requirements of God, before He can use one for an important commission in His great Master Plan working out His Purpose here below: 1) Not only must God's instrument preach THE WORD faithfully, but having been plunged by Christ into God's Work, he must never turn back (Luke 9:62). And 2) he must rely on GOD, and not man, for his NEED -- in, not out of God's Work. The REAL WORK started only after I learned these lessons!
How I found myself caught in a trap of unforeseen circumstance, forced to break all precedent in methods of selling advertising space; and how, after 15 long and almost sleepless months I finally got back into the ministry, is related in the next chapter.
Caught in Newspaper Business Trap
GETTING back into the newspaper business was a tragic mistake. A too dear price now had to be paid to learn an important lesson: when God once truly calls a man into His ministry, he must keep at it, in season and out of season (II Tim. 4:2).
And if he attempts, like Jonah, to run away from the mission, God will first teach him a stern lesson and then yank him back to perform what God called him to perform!
Arriving in Astoria, I made a disillusioning discovery. Immediately I made preliminary get-acquainted calls on the leading merchants. It was then, for the first time, that I learned the true state of affairs. It was far worse than Mr. Hopkins had told me. Every merchant told me our situation was hopeless. We faced a predicament unprecedented, as far as I know, in the newspaper business.
Caught in a Trap
It called for desperate and unprecedented measures for solution. And before I realized it, I was caught in a trap of circumstances from which I was unable to extricate myself for fifteen months.
This was the unheard-of situation: Only months before, the opposition newspaper had purchased the old established morning paper, The Astorian, for $50,000. But the opposition publisher had also signed up all local stores which advertised on five-year contracts in which they agreed not to advertise in any other Astoria English-language paper. (There was, in Astoria, a Finnish language daily paper not harmed by the contracts.)
Apparently this publisher and the merchants had assumed the rather general concept of those in smaller cities, viewing advertising in terms of obligatory support of the newspaper, rather than as an effective means of selling goods, lowering costs, and increasing profits. This publisher offered to save the merchants from having to support two newspapers by buying out and thus eliminating his competitor -- provided the merchants would sign up on these five-year contracts. Every store in town which was a regular advertiser, with the single exception of the J. C. Penney store, had signed.
But, I protested, that kind of contract is illegal! It is in restraint of trade!
We know that, came the answer, but there is more to it than mere legality. You just don't know your opposition publisher. Maybe you don't realize what he could do to us in retaliation, if we broke our contracts. He could print things harmful to us, slanting the news so as to reflect against us, or assassinate our character right on the front page. I for one am afraid to try to break my agreement -- and I think the other merchants are as afraid as I am. We just won't take this chance!
A few days later I learned what he meant. Our news editor handed me a clipping from the teletype. It was a dispatch from Oregon City, Oregon, reporting an automobile accident involving one of Astoria's leading merchants. It exposed also the fact he was having a clandestine affair with an attractive woman, who was with him in his car. The press service had sent it along as a nice juicy scandal for Astoria papers.
But The Messenger did not print it. Neither did the opposition. I took the teletype strip personally to the merchant involved. His face reddened.
Thanks! he exclaimed in extreme embarrassment. Man! This could have ruined me if you had printed it! It would have broken up my home, and ruined my business. You see, Mr. Armstrong, this sort of thing is the reason none of the merchants dares try to break his contract with your competitor by advertising with you.
Yes, I understood, now, only too well! Our plight was utterly frustrating. Our newspaper was new. The opposition paper was old, well established. The evening paper had the dominant circulation. It was well financed. The morning Messenger, on the other hand, did not have the capital to do those things necessary to build a better paper, or, for that matter, even to keep it on its wobbly feet. And every retail advertiser in town, save one, actually by agreement and by fear was prohibited from advertising with us.
It Means Something to YOU!
I am going to relate what was done in this predicament, because the experience has a direct connection with the lives of all my readers.
You probably shall never run into this specific kind of problem. But nearly all people do, more than once in a lifetime, find themselves in some frustrating, apparently hopeless trouble.
One of the seven basic laws of success in life is resourcefulness. Resourcefulness is the ability and determination to find a way to solve every problem, trouble or obstacle. It accepts and acts on the old adage: where there's a will, there's a way! Another of the seven principles of success is endurance. Nine out of ten who have every other ingredient for success finally give up and quit, when just a little more stick-to-it-iveness mixed with resourcefulness would have turned apparent hopeless defeat into glorious success. Of course there is a time to get out and leave whatever you are in: if it is wrong, or if it really is totally dead. But usually it only appears dead.
The seventh and most important rule of success is contact with God, and the guidance, wisdom, and help that can be received from Him.
In this desperate situation, I did invoke these three recourses. I do believe I had made a costly mistake in supposing this call to the newspaper business in Astoria came from God. Yet, once in it, I did call on God for guidance and help. And a way was found to break those five-year contracts, and fill our newspaper with advertising! I think the account of how it was done may be interesting, informative, and -- if you will apply the principles to your own problems -- helpful.
Inside Facts About Advertising
This unprecedented situation, I knew, called for a totally unprecedented solution. Most people are absolutely bound by precedent. They are slaves of habit. They are conformists. They must do just what society does -- the way society does it. I have never been afraid to break precedent, or to go counter to established procedures, if such action is both right and necessary.
Advertising space in newspapers and magazines had always been sold on the basis of a certain price per column inch, or per page. The rate is set according to volume and class of circulation, being influenced also by competition and general circumstances.
So now let me give you a few inside facts not known by most of the general public. Full-page advertising space in large mass-circulation magazines costs tens of thousands of dollars.
Do you mean for just one time? many will ask incredulously.
Yes, for one page in just one issue. But that is not expensive. It is, actually, one of the least costly ways to get a message to people!
The magazine may have a circulation of one million copies, often actually read by two or three million people! Now suppose you try to get just a very brief message to one million homes by inexpensive post cards. You would have to pay not only the costly postage but also for the blank cards. You probably never realized that before. Then figure what you would pay to have your message printed one million times on a million cards. Add the cost of hiring enough people to write names and addresses of one million people on the cards. I think you will decide it would be much less costly to pay for a whole page of space, as large as a news magazine-sized page, which includes the cost of the paper, of the printing, of the postage for mailing, and of the stamping on of the names and addresses. And, more than this, in every home where your message is received, the recipient asked for the magazine to come, and (except for The Plain Truth) actually paid to receive it. If you were to spend money to print and mail out a million post cards, they would be uninvited, and probably unwanted in most homes.
So you see, magazine and newspaper advertising is not expensive.
You probably have heard that advertising forces up the price of a commodity or service to the consumer. Many people believe that if they can purchase a non-advertised brand they save money. They suppose the merchant or manufacturer who advertises must add the cost of the advertising to the price.
Do You Pay More for Advertised Goods?
Let me tell you the true inside facts -- The Plain Truth about this supposition. Truly, people as a whole are DECEIVED today, not only about God's truth, but even facts about business.
Actually, if the advertising is intelligently and effectively used, it reduces the price to the consumer! I think it may be interesting to you to know how it works:
Suppose a certain comparatively small store sells $100,000 worth of men's clothing and haberdashery in one year. This store spent nothing for advertising. But it did pay, shall we say, $70,000 for the merchandise to the manufacturers. And it also had to pay, shall we say, $15,000 for clerk hire, and $10,000 for store rent, heat, light, water, wrapping paper -- all other expenses. So you see that for every dollar of goods bought by a customer, the merchant had to pay, over and above the cost of the merchandise, 25 cents which is 25% as a cost of doing business. He had 5 cents -- or 5% of sales -- left for himself. This merchant, then, based on sales price, had a cost of 70% for merchandise, and 25% as cost of doing business, with 5% profit for all his own time, hard work, worry, and return on his capital investment.
Now suppose this merchant tries advertising the next year. This is, approximately, what did happen in a similar interesting case in Astoria, as I shall relate. I am assuming this merchant's advertising is effective.
So the following year this merchant spends $4,500 in advertising. It is effective, and brings in new customers. This year his sales increased to $150,000. But because in the preceding year his salesmen did not have enough customers to keep them busy, he does not need to hire additional clerks. He still pays the same rent, public utilities, and similar expenses -- a total of $25,000, the same as the year before.
But here is the big difference. That $25,000 was a 25% cost of doing business the year he sold $100,000 worth of goods. But now, with sales of $150,000, it is only 16 2/3%. But he did have one increase in business expense -- his $4,500 advertising. But even so, his $29,500 cost of doing business is only 19 2/3%. This merchant passes this saving in total cost of his business expense, per dollar of sales, to his customers, still taking for himself the same 5% of sales for profit.
Now see where this leaves the customers, and what it makes for the merchant. You may think the customers were the only ones who benefitted, since the merchant still took only 5% profit. But the merchant actually made half again more for himself -- because his 5% profit now is taken from $150,000 sales, instead of $100,000. So the merchant did all right for himself! He made $7,500 this year instead of only $5,000. But what about prices to the customers? The same item -- or number of items -- that sold for $100 the nonadvertising year are now priced at only $92.92. It is simple to figure. The merchant still paid $70 for this amount of merchandise. But his business expense now was only 19 2/3%, and profit 5% -- total 24 2/3% instead of 30% the year before. This is $24.67 in expenses per $100 in sales. Add the $70 wholesale price to this $24.67, and the new sale price is $94.67, a savings of over $5 to the customer.
So what actually happened? The merchant saved his customers more than 5 cents on the dollar -- or $5.33 on each $100 of purchases. So his advertising reduced the cost of goods to the customer! At the same time, this merchant made $7,500 for his own year's work, which was $2,500 more than he made the year before he advertised.
You might ask, didn't the advertising cost anything? Of course. It cost $4,500 -- or 3% of his year's sales. Then HOW did it save the customers money, and make more money for the merchant? The answer is that it does cost money to run a store. It does cost money for us who are customers to have a merchant take all of his time, and all of his salesmen's time, to gather in merchandise from New York, from Chicago, from London, from Los Angeles, and assemble it all in one store for the convenience of us customers. But could we go to the clothing manufacturer in New York, the shirt manufacturer in Utica, New York, and the shoe manufacturer in Boston or St. Louis to buy our goods, without spending money over and above the factory cost? Of course not. And if we all did this individually, the manufacturer would have to charge us more, because it would add to his expenses to have to deal with so many people. When the factory sells enough suits, or shoes, or hats for 200 people, or 500 people or more to just one store, he can sell for much less than he could by making 500 different transactions with 500 individual customers. So actually the local merchant renders us a pretty valuable service, far cheaper than we could do it ourselves.
In so doing, he has a cost of doing business. And, as the experience of thousands and thousands of retail stores shows, that cost is reduced by spending about 3% or 4% in advertising, because then he spends less, per dollar of sales, on such other expenses as rent, salaries, public utilities, etc. His total expenses of operating his store are less, per dollar of sales.
That is how it works. Why your local merchants do not use a little of their advertising to just explain these simple but interesting facts to their public, I do not know. But I have spent years of my life as an advertising and merchandising specialist, and I thought that these facts about the price you pay for goods you buy every day -- whether at the grocery store, the clothing store, the dry-goods store, or wherever, might prove interesting. You come in direct contact with this very merchandising operation at least every week of your life.
Now let me relate to you the rather exciting story of an experience with one store in Astoria.
Breaking All Precedent
There were four retail clothing (men's) stores in Astoria. Three advertised, and were signed up on these five-year contracts. The second largest, Krohn Carson, had never spent its first dime in advertising. I checked financial ratings in Dunn Bradstreet. Krohn Carson had the highest financial rating of the four.
So I went immediately to Krohn Carson. I found them as firmly set against advertising as a 50-foot-thick stone wall. Apparently it was even more impossible to crack their stone-wall resistance against advertising than to break these five-year contracts. Yet I did have a will, and I did find a way!
I mentioned above that newspaper and magazine advertising has always been sold by the column inch or by the page. The Messenger rate was 25 cents per inch. The larger evening paper charged 50 cents per inch. But now I deliberately shattered all precedent in newspaper advertising practice.
I proposed an entirely new, completely revolutionary plan to Krohn Carson. I explained to them what I have explained to you, above, how effective advertising works. The clothing stores in Astoria were each selling only about 40% as much merchandise as they had sold before the depression.
But, I explained, for every $100 that men used to spend in these four stores, they still spend $40. Now if we can show Astoria men and their wives that you can save them money in this depression, a larger portion of that $40 will come to you. I can show you how you can still double your business, and your own profits, and at the same time save your customers money by lowering prices!
It sounded fantastic, preposterous! But it cost them nothing to listen to my plan.
First, I proposed, you will put on a big price-reducing sale. Your shelves are loaded with goods that are not moving. Retail success depends more on turnover -- keeping your goods moving -- than on big margins of profit. You have capital tied up in all these goods. Put on a sale. Sell it for less money -- get your money back out of the merchandise, plus a small margin to cover business expenses -- reinvest that money in more goods -- keep it moving. Better make 12 profits a year of only 1 cent on a dollar of sales, than a 10 cent profit once in two years. This way you take 12% on your investment. The way you are doing now you make only 5 cents per dollar.
Now, here is how we will make this sale a success, and double your business. Harvard Bureau of Business Research figures show that the retail clothing stores which spend 4% of sales in advertising have the lowest cost of doing business, and the highest turnover. To spend less than 4% in advertising means to spend higher percentages in salaries, rent, utilities, and other expenses. To spend more than 4% does not bring enough additional increase in sales to pay. So this is what I propose. It is a new plan. It is unheard of in newspaper advertising! You pay us just 3% of your sales. That is one fourth less spent on advertising than most successful stores spend. Then we will give you absolutely unlimited space in The Messenger. I will give you my own personal service in writing all your advertising. Your competitors cannot afford to bring specially trained professional advertising writers to Astoria -- and they do not know how to write ads that can compete with what I will write for you.
We will start out with four full pages, announcing this sale. We will make it a BIG sale -- and we will make it look big! We will reprint the four pages in our job printing department as a big handbill, and you can hire boys to distribute those to every house within the entire Astoria trade territory. We will charge you nothing extra for the circulars, but you hire them distributed. We will follow this up with two-page ads as long as the sale lasts. It will be an Astoria sensation.
Now that people can spend only 40% as much for clothing as they did before the depression, they have to try to save every penny. They are price conscious. These lower prices will bring in crowds of customers from miles around.
How Could WE Afford It?
But, Mr. Armstrong, protested the younger partner, Mr. Krohn, who was Mr. Carson's son-in-law, how can you afford to give us four whole pages, and then repeated double pages, at no increase in cost to us -- just this 3%?
Two reasons, I explained, smiling. First, because I know this policy and this big space will greatly increase your sales. If we double your sales, we double what you pay us. It makes us a partner in your business, in a way. We get paid according to the results we bring you. If we don't bring more customers, you don't pay more. Then there is a second reason why we can afford to do this. We have to print eight pages every day -- never less. The paper now has very little advertising. I am going to write these ads and design them with great, large display type. It will cost us far less to set a page, or two pages of these big-type ads than for our Linotype operators to have set all pages in small news type.
Mr. Krohn persuaded Mr. Carson to accept my offer. The sale drew crowds. Sales soared. During the sale an opportunity came to the store to double its floor space, and still reduce rent. The store occupied a corner location. The landlord had not reduced rent in proportion to reduced business during the depression. A ladies' ready-to-wear store which had occupied a middle-of-the-block location with twice as much space as Krohn Carson, and with four times as much front window display space, had failed and closed up. The landlord of this storeroom, faced with a no-rent prospect for the duration of the depression, offered this to Krohn Carson for half the rent they had been paying in their corner location.
I advised taking it. Then I recommended a new merchandising policy.
If you double the size of your store, you will have to also double the volume of business, or such a big store space will look rather foolish, I said. Now, you are reducing your expenses, by lower rent, not adding to them. If you will be willing to try out a new merchandising policy, I think my ads will convince the men of Astoria, and make it work. My idea is that you now keep these special reduced sales prices in effect right along. If you have doubled the sales volume -- or keep up what you are doing in this special sale -- without increasing your expenses, you can make at least as much profit -- perhaps more, and win the good will of the customers -- help the public by reduced prices -- and, as the depression begins to end and prosperity comes again, you'll be the largest and best liked store in town.
They agreed. As soon as the sale ended, and they moved to the new larger store, I began running full-page, editorial-style advertisements. They were of the nature of a straight Man-to-Man Talk with the men of Astoria and vicinity.
I told the men that, if they would keep up the sales volume, this store believed it would be able to keep these reduced special sale prices in effect every day in the year. I told them of the reduced rent. I told them of Krohn Carson's well-known financial capital -- how they were able to take cash discounts, and buy for less -- and were willing to pass these savings on to customers, if customers in turn would keep up the sales volume. I explained, as I have above for you, how increased sales volume, if it does not increase expenses, can lower the price to the consumer.
The ads were sensational in policy -- dignified in appearance -- and they had a ring of sincerity that rang true. The men of Astoria responded.
Breaking the Opposition
I am taking space to explain in some detail this experience for one reason. I hope many readers may get from it the lesson of a valuable principle: there is always a WAY where there is a WILL!
Would you have quit, thrown up your hands, and said, It can't be done?
And let me explain, here, another principle I always followed in my business experience -- especially in advertising and selling. It was never to sell anything, unless I was convinced it benefitted the other fellow, as well as myself.
Be an expert adviser in your customers' interests was a slogan I tried to follow. Know your stuff was another -- in the advertising man's vernacular. Always educate yourself in your field. Know more about it than your competitors, or your customer. Know how to help your customer. If you are profitable to him, he will stay with you. Another adage I followed was: A customer is more valuable than a sale. The one-time sales to customers who feel they were talked into something unprofitable costs more to make than it is worth. I have always wondered why more businessmen do not understand these principles. Honesty is the best policy!
But back to our story. As I said, the men of Astoria responded. Soon Krohn Carson was doing more than half of all the clothing and haberdashery business in town. The ones my work did not benefit -- and for this reason I would never do this again -- were the competitors.
In this experience I learned a few things about Jewish people. Both Mr. Krohn and Mr. Carson were Jewish. So was their chief competitor, who had previously had the biggest business, across the street. In business, these men were bitter enemies. But after business hours -- well, that was different. Then they were friends. At the synagogue they were friends. But in the store -- there they looked across the street at the competitive store with intense rivalry.
It's the same in many other businesses or professions. I certainly do not waste time watching prize-fights on television. But who can avoid seeing a few seconds of one occasionally, turning the dial from one channel to another? Have you ever noticed the end of such a fight? Men who have fought viciously, unmercifully, with the killer-instinct trying to knock each other unconscious, will dance to their enemy of a second ago, after the final bell, and throw their arms around each other in loving embrace -- and it makes no difference if one is white and the other black! Lawyers who will fight each other angrily in a courtroom during the heat of a trial, will go out to lunch together after it's over, as the best of friends! I've seen bankers who have been bitter rivals forget it completely, and call each other by their first names, buddy, buddy fashion, at national bankers' conventions.
But, in business Krohn Carson's Jewish rival across the street was bitter and now getting more and more bitter!
In desperation, as his customers flocked over to Krohn Carson's, he ran a half-page ad in the opposition paper. It cost him twice as much per inch as our regular inch rate. In it he advertised a price-slashing sale. Mr. Krohn called me to the store.
Look at this! he exclaimed, worried. Now maybe he will get the business, and our new plan will fail after all.
Oh no, I laughed. This only means it's time for you and me to get busy. I want you to take that ad, and mark your own prices, cut STILL LOWER, on every item -- item for item -- listed in his 'ad.' Tomorrow morning we will run a TWO-PAGE ad, listing exactly the same items, every one priced LOWER -- and once again reminding the men that Krohn Carson SAVE THEM MONEY. We'll run a special sale tomorrow, also, on these same items.
Mr. Krohn looked at me and shook his head in amazement, and then began to grin, as he went to work marking lower prices.
Next day all the special sale customers filed into Krohn Carson's -- the biggest day in some time, while their rival across the street looked more discouraged than ever in his empty store.
Later that day, he telephoned The Messenger office, and asked if I would come to the store to see him.
Look here, he stormed, you are breaking my business. I can't afford to run many half-page ads in the evening paper at their high rates -- and even when I do you come out with a bigger one for Krohn Carson, and they get all the business from my ad as well as their own! You have brought me to the place where I am willing now to take a chance on the evening paper doing anything if I break my agreement not to advertise with you. I want you to make me the same deal you did Krohn Carson -- and I am willing to sign up right now!
I'm sorry, I replied, but you and all the other merchants turned me down cold when I first came to Astoria. You presented me with a kind of unfair competition such as I never heard of. You forced me to break all precedent to develop new advertisers out of non-advertising merchants. That plan was offered to only ONE merchant in each line. You said you were bound and could not advertise with us. Now WE are bound, and can't give you this same deal of unlimited space on a percent of sales.
Well, then, he countered, can I buy space with you at your regular price by the inch?
Oh yes, of course was the answer. But that is not enough, he continued. It is the way you write these ads that is bringing the business to Krohn Carson's. Will you write my ads, as well as theirs? If you will, I will start advertising with you, and quit with the evening paper.
I had not bound myself to exclusive ad-writing service, so I was free to agree. Next morning, his first ad, about a third of a page, appeared.
When I walked into the Krohn Carson store that day, Mr. Carson was like a wild man.
LOOK at this! he shouted. Anyone would know you wrote that ad. You cancel our advertising immediately, and don't ever come in this store again.
All right, Mr. Carson, if that's what you really want to do, I said. But first, I want you to calm down and listen to me just one moment. I never offered you my advertising-writing services exclusively. I have not given your competitor the unlimited space on a percent-of-sales basis at all. He has to pay the regular rate by the inch. Mr. Carson, I have doubled your business for you in the midst of this terrible depression. I have worked hard for you, and made you money. But I am advertising manager of The Messenger, and when my plan begins to really work, and break down these unethical and illegal contracts our 'opposition paper' holds over these other merchants, that is the real reason I evolved this unprecedented system that has doubled your business, and made you the LEADER in Astoria, instead of second-fiddle like you were. Now, if you didn't appreciate that, and want to cancel -- O.K.! I'll walk out of this store, and never come back again -- and now you free me to give this whole plan to your competitor across the street!
I began to walk out rapidly. Mr. Carson showed surprising and amazing athletic ability in scampering behind the counters to the front door before I could get there! He darted into the doorway, blocked it, holding up both hands.
Wait! Wait! he exclaimed. Don't you walk out of here! Don't you cancel our agreement!
He came up and threw his arms around me, and cried like a child.
Mr. Armstrong, he said, embracing me, I have loved you like a son. I didn't mean what I said. I want you to still be my advertising manager and adviser -- even if you do write ads for that fellow across the street.
Even though dollars were at stake, Mr. Carson spoke from the heart. He was filled with emotion, now. He was really sincere -- he did really feel a deep love for me. It was not only because of the business success our relationship had brought -- our close personal association had brought about mutual affection. He was a businessman -- he was very conscious of dollars, and had acquired his share of them -- but underneath was a real warm heart capable of real friendship.
Our radio listeners have heard me say that I bear no hatred toward Jews -- I love them, as I love all people. Some, allowing themselves to become hooked on the insidious, poisonous drug of anti-Semitism, and hatred for Jews, have never learned all there is to know about Jewish people. Sure, many of them, despised and hated and persecuted by race prejudice, have developed a keen sense of dollar consciousness, but who among us is so free from faults and sins he can throw the first stone? I have learned that many Jews also have very warm hearts of friendship. We have all been carnal, weighted with human nature, until converted and filled with God's Holy Spirit of LOVE, and TOLERANCE!
Unable to Leave
I have been getting ahead of my story. I have carried this one experience with this one advertising client on to its conclusion, over a period of many months. But I wanted to complete this one case history, as a typical example of the Astoria newspaper experience.
Back, now to December, 1931. In Astoria was one of the two leading hardware stores not tied up on those 5-year contracts, besides the J. C. Penney store, one of the movies and several restaurants. I induced most of the restaurants to take out advertising in trade for meal checks for our employees, and the Penney store and the hardware store accepted my unlimited space on a percentage-of-sales basis.
But by December 31, I found I was caught in a trap. We had 23 men employed. If I left then, the paper would have folded and these men would have been out of work. There still was no money in the Oregon Conference church treasury to bring me back into the ministry. I was stuck in Astoria. God intended for me to learn a lesson. It seems that most of the time I have had to learn these lessons the HARD WAY, through experience, and suffering. This was to be no exception. It was not until the end of February, 1933, that my prayers to be relieved of these newspaper responsibilities, and to be allowed to return to God's ministry, were answered.
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As it is recorded...
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