KEYWORDS: god, lord, job, kids, mail

Epistle to a Leader

David Berg

—MO January 16, 1971 NO.39


1. WELL, PRAISE THE LORD! GOD BLESS YOU! THE LOST IS FOUND, AND THE DEAD IS COME BACK TO LIFE AFTER A SILENCE OF MORE THAN A MONTH! Praise the Lord! You must have really done some diggin' to rake up all this talent to shove in my hands in a hurry while the judgements were beginning to fall!

2. THANKS FOR FINALLY SENDING US A FEW OF THE THINGS WE'VE BEEN ASKING FOR OVER THE PAST FIVE MONTHS! Did you ever think about answering a letter with the letter in your hand, marked so you won't forget anything? After years of experience, I've found that this is the only way to do it! I can't trust my own memory, and I'll certainly no longer trust yours; so we're enclosing a long list of things for you to attend to, so you can't miss 'em, many of which we've been begging you for, for months. Maybe you'd better turn it over to your wife to be sure it's done.

3. WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR PROMPT ACTION. From now on we're going to check and double check down there in Texas; even triple check or more. I really appreciate all this beautiful stuff you rushed into the mail to forestall the impending action, which your guilty conscience apparently sensed was coming, but I'm afraid it arrived a little too late! I'm sure Hosea is already there, God willing, and we're trusting the Lord to help straighten things out!

4. FOR YOU TO HAVE GONE A WHOLE MONTH WITHOUT A SINGLE WORD, AND NEARLY TWO MONTHS WITHOUT READING MY LETTERS TO THE KIDS WAS BOUND TO RAISE SOME QUESTIONS IN OUR MINDS, DON'T YOU THINK?—As to what was going on down in Texas! To say you thought it was top security makes me wonder who you thought I was writing all those letters for! Apparently you weren't even reading them yourself! By the time you heard the storm brewing, you must have had quite a stack of them on your desk to wade through‚ like cramming for a final exam, and if we hadn't gotten some action out of you, boy, it would have been your final exam! I just feel kind of sorry for the poor kids—trying to cram all that stuff into them in one week, but at least you apparently finally got the point that these were living epistles to be read of all men, or nearly all!

5. OF COURSE‚ WE DO HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT YOU WERE APPARENTLY ON A MONTH'S VACATION FROM THANKSGIVING TO CHRISTMAS IN CALIFORNIA AND OHIO WITH MOST OF YOUR TOP LEADERS! But of course, everything went just beautifully while you were gone‚ as you said. You only lost several important disciples, nearly lost some others, and did lose quite a bit of leadership! Of course, these were mere minor matters which were "not as bad as all that!"

6. SOMETIMES, I THINK THAT YOU'RE SUCH A GOOD SALESMAN YOU EVEN OVERSELL YOURSELF INTO BUYING YOUR OWN BILL OF GOODS! You make Saul the maddest that I have known him to be since we've been working with him again—maybe even madder than the flag episode, so now you and Josh can cry on each other's shoulders!

7. JUST REMEMBER, WHEN SAUL BEGINS A LETTER "MY DEAR SO-AND-SO," AND USES YOUR FORMAL NAME, SOMEBODY'S ABOUT TO GET THE AX! I'm afraid I'll have to agree with Saul‚ and I have agreed with him in my letter to him.

8. WELL‚ THIS OUGHT TO HELP KEEP YOU HUMBLE IN THIS, YOUR FINEST HOUR, or should I say half hour. Otherwise it was great!

9. WELL, PRAISE THE LORD! ONLY GOD CAN SAVE US! We certainly don't know how to save ourselves! We spend months working on security; then get on nationwide TV and tell 'em how we do it! I think you took the cake that time—only it's more apt to be pie in the eye!

10. WELL, I'VE TRIED TO PACIFY SAUL, AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE LETTERS WHICH PRECEDED THIS ONE, BUT I THINK YOU'D BETTER WRITE HIM A PERSONAL APOLOGY and try to get yourself off the hook somehow! There's no use trying to explain it or excuse it to him—just ask him to forgive you for being so damn stupid as to say those things on TV.

11. SO YOU BETTER ASK THE LORD TO FORGIVE YOU, TOO‚ and to have mercy in a hurry, before the bottom drops out! Praise the Lord! Only God can save us! Otherwise you did a good job!—And let's hope the rest did some good. I'm sure the Lord will use it, praise the Lord! Pride cometh before a fall! Amen? God bless you! I love you!—That's why I have to spank you so much!

12. GET THAT LETTER OFF TO SAUL IMMEDIATELY, BEFORE THE ROOF CAVES IN! Maybe you can sugarcoat it with another sales talk on how wonderful everything else is! I used to enjoy your reports to Saul‚ but I haven't seen one for quite a while! They always remind me of the old lady whose reprobate husband's funeral was being preached by an eloquently eulogising minister! It's said that near the end of the glowing eulogy, she rushed forward and looked into the casket to make sure it was her husband! You make TSC sound like the country club! But that's OK—Saul loves it—and from all I've heard, I may not even recognise it when I get back! I hope I can still recognise you!—When Hosea gets done with you for not reading my letters—but from all these glowing reports I've just received; you're like the hare that has just blasted off, and you're almost caught up, but not quite! I still have a few things to say unto thee!

13. YOUR DEAR LITTLE WIFE HAS ALMOST SAVED YOUR NECK WITH HER LOVELY LETTER‚ LONG OVERDUE, and I'm inclined to agree with her on something I've thought for a long time: she'd make a very good manager for TSC—and it might be a good idea to listen to her sometimes!

14. APPARENTLY, SHE FOUND MY LETTERS IN YOUR ABSENCE AND DECIDED SHE'D BETTER READ THEM! Thank God she did, for evidently you hadn't bothered to; so I hope that teaches you a lesson! Maybe she could manage the camp while you go deer hunting! Yes, sounds like she's doing a great job, God bless her! It's amazing with all she had to do that she's able to do your work too, while you're on vacation! When is she going to take a vacation?

15. AT LEAST I'M CERTAINLY GLAD TO HEAR SHE'S SINGING, LEADING, EATING, DANCING‚ AND LOVING THE GUYS! Sounds great!—And I mean it! Only please don't tell the secretaries what I want to hear—I'd rather they'd decide for themselves. Personally, I don't like that censorship! Everything was so censored there last month, I didn't hear a word—and they may not be able to write like us, but they can tell it like it is, at least!

16. I WOULD REALLY ENJOY YOUR ROSE–COLOURED GLASSES, if it weren't for the fact that sometimes they make me see red—nothing's that perfect!

17. I DON'T KNOW WHY YOUR WIFE IS CONFUSED ABOUT THE MAIL AND THE CHECKS AND THE THANK-YOUs! It hasn't confused you a bit: You just open the mail, bank the checks, and thank the people‚ without ever even telling us about it! I told you when I left that would be fine, if you'd just send me a report on it! In five months, I have yet to receive your report on our mail or checks, checklist, either one of us requested time and again! You need a checklist so we're herewith enclosing one! You'd better make out one about things around TSC—you need to get organised!—If you're that forgetful! Praise the Lord!

18. I DON'T THINK IT WAS ASKING TOO MUCH, SINCE I LEFT YOU IN CHARGE OF THE LORD'S BUSINESS, to at least send me a monthly report on your finances, but I guess you were too busy deer hunting! Don't you know you're only supposed to hunt deer one month a year? All I asked for was your total monthly expenses for food, autos, office, etc.‚ total for each category; and the grand total for the month, and the same with the income‚ plus a monthly report on your bank balances!

19. IF YOU CAN'T DO THIS, PLEASE TURN THE JOB OVER TO YOUR WIFE. She seems to be able to do her job, and yours too! Thank you for at least being concerned about my finances! We're OK‚ now, thanks to the Lord and a few miracles, but please let me know what's going on!

20. APPARENTLY YOU'RE HANDLING THE MAIL, AGAIN, AS I DIDN'T HEAR FROM TEXAS FOR OVER A MONTH! I hope this never happens again! If it does‚ it'll be the last time!

21. ALSO, PLEASE CHECK ON MY REPORTER. WHOEVER SHE'S GOING TO BE, AND MAKE SURE I'M GETTING ALL THESE REPORTS, logs, and so on, regularly, I would say, at least bi-monthly, preferably weekly. Thank you. God bless you. I love you. I knew you two could do the job. Commandeer all the help you need for the task, and make it their full–time job, if necessary. I hope I never have to endure another month of silence, and many months without some of these reports!

22. CONGRATULATIONS ON THE WONDERFUL JOB YOU'VE DONE ON THE MAILING LIST! Your letters are beautiful! I knew you could do it! That's one of the last things I told you when I left was to have your secretary write those letters, and she has done a terrific job! Praise God! Just don't use that expression "tax deductible receipts" lest you run into legal problems, in case some IRS office doesn't want to consider them deductible. I'm glad she's writing the letters—I never could keep from blasting them!

23. THANKS FOR THE LOVELY PHOTOS—Of Ohio, or Kentucky, or wherever it was, or whoever the people were—we could only guess, except for the one which had a sign in it and some familiar faces! It'd be nice if you could at least write their names and places on the backs of them next time!

24. HAVE YOU DISBANDED THE PHOTOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT AT TSC? We haven't seen a picture from there for months, not even one of the new school, nor all the painting, fencing, etc.; despite all the colour photos promised, we've received no photos at all, except a bunch of old ones we already had, mostly of California‚ neither have we received the tapes always promised from Texas, except the one you made on the bus, on the way to L.A.! Thanks at least for that one, and all of you who testified on it!

25. THE PICTURE SHEET WAS GREAT, EXCEPT FOR THE GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION, and I didn't realise Texas had a branch in L.A. that looked like the courthouse, and except for the one of Maria, which was lovely, you must have scrambled all the photos you had in a bowl‚ then blindfolded, pulled them out like a lottery considering some of the ones you picked, when we had so many beautiful ones to choose from! Also, why didn't you have a little more descriptive material on the brochure? Explain yourselves a little! Tell who you are, what you're doing, and why!

26. I THINK YOU OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO WHIP UP SOMETHING BETTER THAN THAT, WITH ALL YOU'VE GOT TO BRAG ABOUT—and you do have something to brag about! You've done a phenomenal job in less than a year there! Not many schools can boast that they've started a nursery, kindergarten‚ grade school, high school, Bible college, and youth colony all in one year, plus a few other things!

27. LET'S GET WITH IT, AND PUT OUT SOMETHING THAT'S WORTHY OF THE NAME— something that even Saul would be proud of, and I hope he never saw that thing! You keep bragging about all the equipment you're getting donated—what are you doing with it? You ought to be publishing brochures, catalogues, newspapers‚ comic books‚ and all in colour by this time! Ha! Of course, you've been pretty busy reading all my letters at once this past week, and your reports weren't too specific as to which kids loved "Let's Talk About Jesus."—Your four kids—Or my four kids, leaders, or babes, or both? L.A. had the guts to read it to everybody—I think Ohio and Kentucky did, too! Where's Texas?


28. I THINK IT WAS PRETTY WEAK TO BLAME IT ALL ON YOUR POOR SECRETARY and the girls! You blew it; and I'm letting you know, like you asked me, but I love you just the same! That's why I'm tellin' you! Don't let it happen again! You beat up my messengers, stored my prophecies; you'd better take care of my son‚ lest the lord of the vineyard arrive in his wake! (Mt.21:33-41)

29. SAYING YOU WERE FOLLOWING ALL MY INSTRUCTIONS SOUNDS LIKE 1SAMUEL 15, particularly verse 13—and my answer is verse 14. Your excuses sound like verses 20 and 21! You'd better pray God verse 23 isn't fulfilled! Your plea for mercy sounds like verse 25; your excuses like verse 24; and I felt about like verse 26, as you sound about like verse 30, but I guess I'll have to do like verse 31, but I'm having to hew Agag to pieces again!

30. WHAT DID YOU PUT OUR OFFICE STAFF ON THAT THEY COULDN'T GET THEIR JOB DONE? I told you a long time ago to take our secretaries off of those other jobs‚ so they won't have to sit up all night writing the log, enough to break up their marriages! It's a full-time job‚ if it's done right!

31. WELL, WE USUALLY REAP WHAT WE SOW, PRAISE THE LORD! So now you know what it's like, after the way you gave it to many others! Just please don't try to fill my shoes! I wear a size 10. And you have yet to explain to me how come you pushed Sir Robert into marrying a babe. How's my little Magdalene doing? Willie sounds great! Thank God for Mr. Rees! What happened about Mrs. Young? Where is ASA—you never mention him! Doesn't sound like the kids have much free time! Did you invite Mrs. Ingersoll for Christmas? Guest room sounds great!

32. BETTER CUT THE KISSING WHEN STREP'S AROUND! What happened to Dallas—did it flood? Are you still using the "Bible in Pictures?"

33. IF YOU WANT ME TO TEACH THERE, THERE ARE PLENTY OF MY TAPES AROUND, but you never did like them. The school sounds great, wish I could see it!—Enjoyed hearing from the kids! And what happened to the "Dallas Notes" article, and the first 2/3 of the December log?

34. I WISH YOU'D DATE YOUR NOTES! Everybody else, too‚ I wish you'd please type them. I wasn't bawling you out anymore for the Dallas vigil, than I was the other leaders for their trying to do the same thing! Don't take everything so personally!—Just most of it! How come you left so many leaders off your staff list?—Leaders who are there—what are their jobs?


36. YOU DON'T NEED MORE HOUSING—YOU NEED TO SEND YOUR SURPLUS PEOPLE SOMEWHERE ELSE—OTHER COLONIES, OR ON THE ROAD! Brother Shem, we're praying for you and the school! Did you ever tell the kids remodeling the dining hall was my idea! That's OK, you can have the credit! Why not letter some of those scrolls so you can read them a mile away?—Just 3 or 4 words? Don't you think that doing that vigil just for NBC smacked a little bit of Balaam (Numbers 22)? Anyhow, it did the trick! What's the incubator tape?

37. I STILL DON'T KNOW WHY YOU HAD TO DEAL TWO HOURS WITH JOAB JUST BECAUSE HE SAID LEADERS AREN'T PERFECT! You ought to know that by now! We never saw the big article on your vigil of the Dallas Nixon rally! I'm glad you're showing the kids good films! Congratulations to all the new mothers and babies! You're keeping God's first commandment to man, "Be fruitful and multiply!"

38. According to my figures, you were short about 46 days of the camp log, 23 days of visitors' log, and 45 days of financial reports, or more, through November, plus 18 days of the camp log‚ 7 days of the visitors log, and about 3 weeks of financial reports for December. This is a total of about 160 days of reports and logs missing over the past 4 months, or an average of 40 days per month! Don't you think we've missed quite a bit?

39. THANK YOU, BROTHER SHEM, for your notes, and the good reports we've had of you and the school. Sounds like you're doing a great job! Thanks again‚ Ben and Miriam, for your letter on Holland!—Although it wasn't the Holland youth alone that we had in mind—it's the kids from all over the world who flock there, especially in the summer! Are you ready? Did you receive those special editions of our topics which were sent to you, Miriam, for mimeoing. We never did hear about them!


40. … I want the people to whom my letters are addressed to open and read them themselves, please—and answer them themselves also, please!

41. I GUESS YOU KNOW THERE ARE POSTAL LAWS, FEDERAL REGULATIONS, ABOUT TAMPERING WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S MAIL! … If there's anything I hate‚ it's having people tamper with my mail, even my own wife. …

42. AS FAR AS THE OUTGOING MAIL IS CONCERNED; YOU'RE WITHIN THE LAW TO READ IT BEFORE IT'S SEALED, STAMPED, OR IN THE MAILBOX‚ but once it's sealed, stamped‚ and in the postman's mailbox, it is federal property, and cannot be touched by anyone but the postman according to law!

43. AS FOR THE INCOMING MAIL, POSTAL LAWS REQUIRE THEY BE DELIVERED AND OPENED ONLY BY THE PERSON TO WHOM ADDRESSED, unless they've signed a legal release. Even then I think it's safer to let them open it—in your presence if necessary! …


44. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TESTMONIES AND GREETINGS ON THAT TAPE made on the bus to the L.A. Feast—Brother Abel, Russ, Revel, Ben, Ed‚ Gabriel, Medad, Wendy, Tamar, and Elijah, and others of you! We appreciate your love, prayers and encouragement!

45. I'M STILL NOT BEING KEPT POSTED ON THE DRAFT—your problems, problem cases, failures, and successes! I'm concerned about the boys! Please let me know how they're getting along! Remember‚ let's try to keep everything as legal as possible! Thank you, David Z. for your note! Tell your little lover I miss her, and Vashti, you write the hottest love letters going. I miss you, too. Thank you, also, Adria, Rachel, Eli, and Jerusha‚ Jeroboam, Hope, Phebe, Little Bear, and Jacob for your notes! I was particularly interested, Adria, in the big news that we now have 20 girls on every tribe! Do we also have co-educational dorms? That ought to keep the boys happy! Glad you have a burden for overseas! Thanks also for your signatures Cephas, Ben, Eli, and Abigail!

46. IT ALWAYS WARMS MY HEART WHEN SOME OF YOU CALL ME DAD‚ so if it makes you feel good, go ahead!—I love it! You're my kids, and I'm proud of you! And Jeroboam, sounds like your clean up crew's a good "Sample"! Rachel, congratulations to you and tiny Joseph! I especially appreciated that kiss and hug! Here's some for you!—OOO! XXX! WOW! Line up, girls! Hope, that was such a sweet letter about the school—makes me envy your teachers! Yours too‚ Phebe! Honk, Honk, to you, too!

47. JACOB, THE COMIC BOOK AND PAPER SOUND GREAT! You can be the "Delivery" boy! Glad you like "Squeeze," Little Bear! I'll give you one when I get home! Thanks for all the news about the school!—That's the most we've heard about it! How's Mark! Hearing about Keturah's and Cande's cooking makes me hungry! Wait till we tell you about what we eat over here! That's coming with some slides next letter, God willing!

48. I COULDN'T QUITE FIGURE OUT WHETHER THE BOTTLE-BREAKERS EACH LEARNED 128 VERSES OR ALL TOGETHER! I wouldn't put it past our whiz kids, or their whiz teachers! And thank you, Little Tabitha‚ for your sweet little note!—I want to see you, too! We'll soon be sending you Benjamites a special little story just for you!—Hang on!

49. IF I'VE MISSED ANYBODY THERE WHO'S WRITTEN TO ME, PLEASE FORGIVE ME! We get so much mail, it may have gotten lost in the shuffle, or I'll blame it on my secretary, like you do!


51. BABES SHOULD NEVER BE VISITOR'S GUIDES! Be sure to follow up your good contacts and use their homes. It blesses them and you both! Watch out for truants and delinquents. You could be accused of harbouring or contributing! Have you got that GUEST BOOK in the guestroom? It's a generally accepted and polite way of getting names and addresses, as well as recording comments! Guest Director, or Chief of the greeting crew: you might put a dot or something by favourable names—some cue mark so the secretary can later add names marked, to mailing list.

52. REMEMBER THAT MINORS, EVEN WITH A LETTER OF PERMISSION, ARE A MORE SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY, BUT WORTH IT! Don't you think any serious cowboy trouble, like arson or vandalism‚ should be reported to the sheriff? Remember, delaying delivery of mail can also be serious! You shouldn't read more than one of my topics to the kids in a day—too hard to absorb so much at once! Give 'em time to think each one over. Selah.

53. WHO'S YOUR TAPE MAN? COULD HE COPY GRANDMOTHER'S TAPES for these people offering to buy them? In fact, someone who's been a faithful friend for years should be sent one without charge, but DO NOT SEND OUT ANY ORIGINALS!

54. I'D LIKE A PERSONAL NOTE, AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH‚ from some of you other leaders giving me your version of what's going on! Thanks! Uncensored, please! And remember, I want your report typed by your wife, please! That way I can read it, she can add to it, and she'll also know what you're reporting, and when! Just dictate it to her like I'm doing this one right now, straight on the typewriter. Tell a secretary I would like one or more of you to please keep minutes of the leadership meetings, and send me a condensed report of same. The log does not contain the subjects of these meetings.

55. I WOULD LOVE TO LIST ALL THESE IN A STRAIGHT LINE DOWN THE PAGE, NUMBERED‚ SO YOU'D BE SURE NOT TO MISS ANY, but to save space, we can't. Just be sure you read and check them off one by one as you take care of them. And give me a report on each, as to what was done about it. Maybe you ought to use a different colour in marking each one for who's supposed to take care of it! Sorry this is a little long, but it's an accumulation of months of neglect‚ oversight, procrastination, forgetfulness, and so on! Hope you can handle it!

56. GOD BLESS YOU. I LOVE YOU!—AND I HOPE YOU STILL LOVE ME! I'm really trying to help you and the Lord's Work and the kids. God bless you all and keep you and continue to make you a blessing! Thanks for your prayers. We need 'em! My epistles are even worse than Paul's, aren't they? Sorry, but I'm not Paul! Maybe it's because I have a better secretary!

Love, Dad.