—1Peter 5:3—MOFebruary 22, 1971LTA No.50
1. My dear beloved children in the Lord: Greetings in Jesus' Precious Name! Thank you again for your good reports, letters, etc.: The TV tape from California about Selahland, the beautiful colour pictures from our ideal colony in Kentucky, the thrilling full-page newspaper coverage from Texas‚ and the beautiful half-page news article from Ohio, as well as many other fascinating reports and enclosures—all excellent samples of the wonderful work you are all doing! God bless you!
2. AS MY DEAR LITTLE SECRETARY WAS TYPING THE TITLE OF THIS EPISTLE, SHE ACCIDENTALLY GOOFED, AND INSTEAD OF WRITING "A GOOD SAMPLE," SHE TYPED OUT "A GOOF SAMPLE." Well, I hope this letter doesn't turn out to be such, as we've all made enough goofs lately, and I think it's time we talk about the good samples for a change! As dear old Satchmo used to sing, "Accentuate the positive!" We've had to dwell enough on the negative of late, and I'd just as soon talk a little bit more about the positive, for a change, of which we have had many good samples from you in recent days. So let's see if we can dwell on a few good examples for a change! PTL!
SECURITY OF THE MAILS
3. I THINK ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC CHANGES ALONG THIS LINE HAS BEEN TEXAS' NEW REPORTING PROGRESS! In fact, Texas is now reporting so volubly that it's taking a great deal of our time just to read their reports, though we're certainly not going to complain about that, because we love it! WE'D RATHER HAVE TOO MUCH LIGHT THAN NOT ENOUGH! I'D RATHER BE DAZZLED BY YOUR BRILLIANCE, THAN LEFT IN THE DARK! In fact, in Texas' last large package which they sent registered at a cost of about eight dollars, they had so many reports we're still reading them! However, despite the fact that this package contained a very valuable check‚ and much extremely important material, it was enclosed in such a thin, flimsy envelope that it was torn half open by the time it arrived‚ at the end of its transcontinental, trans-Atlantic‚ trans-European, and trans– Mediterranean journey‚ so that if God had not protected it, the envelope containing the check could easily have fallen out and the rest of the material could easily have been read by anyone curious enough to take the trouble without even opening it further! In fact, some of the material may have been lost out of it for all we know! IT DOESN'T DO MUCH GOOD TO REGISTER IT, AND THEN ENCLOSE IT IN TISSUE–THIN PAPER THAT CAN EASILY BE TORN and the contents strewn along the way! Also‚ requiring me to personally sign a return receipt card to be mailed back to your post office may reassure you that I've received it, but it's an official and legal dead giveaway of highly classified information on an open post card, plainly visible to all hands through which it passes, including your local postman, proof of one of the most valuable bits of information he could possibly be desiring to get a hold of, at the behest of others wanting it—an extremely serious breach of our Selah; but as there was no other way to get the package than to personally sign the card‚ I did so, with considerable misgiving and reluctance; after all of our other precautions, this one just about took the cake—one of the worst breaches yet! I'm sure this never even occurred to you, as it apparently didn't, or you wouldn't have dreamed of doing such a thing, but the damage is done and we'll just have to trust the Lord—but IT'S TIME WE STOPPED DREAMING, AND STARTED THINKING AND PRAYING DESPERATELY ABOUT EVERY LITTLE MOVE WE MAKE LEST WE INADVERTENTLY CAUSE UNTOLD TROUBLE THAT WE NEVER EVEN DREAMED OF!
4. At least most of you by this time have read our letter on other points of Selah wisdom, and are no longer stamping your mail with foot-high official return titles, thank the Lord! But despite the fact that we spent several of the Lord's precious dollars and some priceless moments on trans-Atlantic telephone giving you detailed and explicit instructions on exactly how to address our mail, we're still getting mail from everybody but Kentucky, addressed to Poste Restante, instead of our box number, even though this box number, which was very hard to get, appears plainly as a return address on every one of our communications; so that even though California wrote it down on the phone, and repeated it back to us, and promised to immediately inform the rest of you, even California is still addressing us without the box number, besides the fact that California has not yet learned to spell the name of the city in which we are located—so California, you are apparently not taking the trouble to even read the return addresses on the envelopes we send you, which give you the exact box number and the exact spelling of our address; and although California failed to notify the rest of you of this extremely important news, nevertheless, we were mistakenly comforted by the fact that even if they failed, you would read our address with its new box number on every envelope of our most recent communications from here, which you have received by this time! Nevertheless in spite of this, all of you but Kentucky continue to address us at Poste Restante, and poor little Kentucky even got the box number wrong, God bless you! I love you! But for your information, please consult the envelope which contains this letter, if you want the right number, and please, do not send any more communications to Poste Restante! You have no idea how much trouble it was to get this post office box, and I haven't time here to tell you‚ or why, or how much expense it was, or what a miracle it was; but suffice it to say that the main idea was to be able to eliminate certain undesirable factors in our return address‚ and yet be specific as well as to save the postman trouble and eliminate delays in receiving our mail! Instead of this‚ since all of you but Kentucky is continuing to blithely ignore our new address, meaning the box number, you are actually causing the post office even more trouble, because now it has to go through more hands than ever, first to one address‚ and then shuffled back to the other, causing even greater delay‚ more difficulty, and attracting even more attention of more people‚ and I'm sure the post office is wondering why I insisted on having a box and yet get such a volume of mail and nobody uses the number! They're still having to send most of it up to Poste Restante, then back to the sorting clerks, and then out to the box, two additional operations that they wouldn't have even had to perform if they hadn't given me the box, since nobody's using the box number! I wouldn't blame them for being mad about it, because I'm plenty mad about it myself, that you paid absolutely no attention to the instructions given you on the phone‚ California, on the morning of February the 10th when I called you about the earthquake and gave you the box number! You have continued to address mail to me without it, totally misspelling the name of the town, and failed to pass it on to the other colonies‚ as requested, even though it's also been on every communication since then! When will we ever learn? You have no idea how important these seemingly insignificant items are, insignificant to you, that is, but they could mean the difference between life and death to us here, or at least our stay here, and even our personal safety! I have eagerly searched each new piece of mail to see if you'd gotten the point about the box number, but apparently nobody has paid any attention to it yet but our dear little Nahum and Jael in our tiniest little colony! I even threatened, and may do it yet, to paint you a big sign on one of these sheets with nothing but our box number and send you nothing but that in this envelope, hoping you might get the point, but if this doesn't get through to you, I guess nothing will! But if I get another piece of mail that's not addressed correctly to this simple little box number, I don't know what I'm gonna do! I have phoned you, I've asked California to notify you, I've put it on every piece of mail‚ and now I'm screaming it in your ear! What'll it take? Please‚ for God's sake, His Work's sake, our sake, your sake, and the post office's sake:
USE OUR BOX NUMBER! DO NOT MAIL ONE SINGLE PIECE OF MAIL WITHOUT IT!
If this doesn't do it‚ I don't know what will! I give up! It's a shame that I've had to use a whole page and a half on this important communication on this one dandy-bad example, a "goof" sample of an unfaithful messenger and their failure to communicate, rather that the good examples I had planned to tell you about—But maybe my secretary was right: she must have been inspired when she wrote "Goof Sample" instead of "Good Sample" for the title of this discourse! God help us! But let's hope that maybe at least we're learning something from these ridiculous blunders‚ but we can only profit by our mistakes if we learn to correct them and not continue to repeat them‚ God bless you! May I make one final‚ heartrending appeal: That you, who are such experts in memory work, and can memorise chapter after chapter in the Bible with all the references perfectly, can I beg of you‚ may I plead with you, I implore you, what more can I say:
PLEASE MEMORISE OUR SIMPLE LITTLE THREE-FIGURE BOX NUMBER!
And, oh, yes, lest we forget, would you be so kind as to not only memorise it, but PLEASE use it ON EVERY PIECE OF MAIL ADDRESSED TO US! THANK YOU. You're wonderful! I love you! Do you get the point? Do you want the books, or don't you? Have I made it clear, or need I repeat: USE OUR BOX NUMBER! Did I just hear someone say, "I think he wants us to use his box number"? I hope so!
5. SO YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD AN EARTHQUAKE! YOU'VE NO IDEA HOW SHOOK UP I AM ABOUT THIS BOX NUMBER! Thank you, and God bless you! You're really great kids and I love you, only you're just as dumb as all the rest of my kids—almost as dumb as I am! PTL!
6. THIS IS A DANDY "GOOF" SAMPLE OF HOW MANY OF YOU CAN OVERLOOK A SMALL DETAIL, BUT A VITALLY IMPORTANT ITEM, BY BEING UNOBSERVANT OF THE SIMPLEST THINGS! NOTHING IS UNIMPORTANT IN THIS BUSINESS—NOT ONE JOT OR TITLE! NOTHING SHORT OF RIGHT IS RIGHT! ACCURACY IN DETAILS IS SO IMPORTANT THAT THE SLIGHTEST ERROR COULD CAUSE DISASTER AND THE SLIGHTEST SCRAP OF INFORMATION COULD WARN US OF IMPENDING CATASTROPHE! I even refuse to let anyone open the mail until I carefully study the outside of the envelope, how you addressed it, what return address you used, how much postage there is on it, what the postmark says‚ does it look like it might have been opened, and other important clues to your faithfulness in details, and for any hints of trouble! The complete ignoring of our new address by all of you but Kentucky has been nothing short of shocking and leaves me wondering how many other negligent oversights are occurring in our ranks that could lead to calamity, God forbid! Certainly only He can take care us; we have proven incapable of taking care of ourselves. Thank God for His Mercy! God bless and keep us all! I'm very sorry to have had to spend so much time in this letter on this dandy "Goof" example, before we get to the good examples, but as usual, our mistakes require more attention than what we're doing right!
7. I WANT TO COMPLIMENT YOU ON YOUR DANDY GOOD EXAMPLES, BUT IT ALWAYS SEEMS NECESSARY THAT WE TRY TO HELP YOU CORRECT YOUR DANDY BAD ONES FIRST; and your failure to correct our address was a dandy bad example of this, and could yet cause us a lot of trouble if it were not for the mercy of the Lord! Thank the Lord for His loving care! Certainly we are unable to take care of ourselves, that's for sure!
PUBLIC RELATIONS WITH PARENTS AND VISITORS
8. ANOTHER MATTER THAT I'M GREATLY CONCERNED ABOUT IS YOUR HANDLING OF VISITORS, an extremely important part of our witness and public relations. On this score, we can cite a dandy good example, that of Brother Amos and his teams at the gate in Texas! In the first place, we appointed him for this task as Director of Greeting because we knew that he had had a good deal of experience in meeting the "System" public in his previous ministry, and also was old enough to somewhat help to bridge the generation gap. Parents and older visitors would treat him with a little more respect and have a little more confidence in him because they felt he was nearer their age and could understand them better. But a large part of the credit for his good public relations with them is due to the fact that he himself has wisely treated them with consideration and respect which is Scripturally due to the older generation by virtue of their age, whether they deserve it or not, and whether they're right wrong: "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (Pr.15:1) and "Honour thy father and thy mother" (Eph.6:2). It doesn't say "provided they're right" or "if you're wrong." It just says, "Do it!" and you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary trouble this way. "Agree with thine adversary quickly whilst thou art in the way with him, lest he hail thee to the judge, and the judge commit thee to the prison, and thou shalt not come forth from thence until thou hast paid the last farthing" (Mt.5:25). ... "If they smite thee on the one cheek, turn unto them the other" ... "And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also, and whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away. ... Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you‚ and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven, for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Mt.5:39–45). ... "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the Children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My Sake; rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Mt.5:5-12). ... Resist not evil" (Mt.5:39). How's that for a shocker?
9. FROM WHAT I HAVE HEARD OF SOME OF YOU, AND AT THE MOMENT I HAVE CALIFORNIA IN MIND, IT MIGHT BE WELL FOR YOU TO MEMORISE THESE PASSAGES FROM MATTHEW 5! YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUNG BABES‚ TEENAGERS‚ AND FRESH RADICALS WITHOUT MUCH EXPERIENCE AND DIPLOMACY AND TACT IN HANDLING THE PUBLIC‚ AND WITHOUT EVEN A DESIRE FOR THE SAME, GREETING IRATE PARENTS AT THE DOOR. You need one of your eldest‚ humblest, sweetest, and most patient and understanding staff members to supervise the greeting, like our dear Brother Amos. It might be well for Texas to send him out there for a little while‚ to organise and train your greeting teams, and show them how it should be done! Obviously some of them have made quite a mess of it so far, from what I've heard! You're bound to have some trouble—Mt.10:36 has promised this, but I've found that MOST ENEMIES CAN BE AT LEAST PACIFIED, IF YOU KEEP SWEET, DON'T LOSE YOUR TEMPER, LET THEM BAWL YOU OUT, BUT DON'T BAWL THEM OUT, AND DON'T PREACH DOWN AT THEM! BETTER A SAMPLE‚ THAN A SERMON! Amos' and his team's shining examples of keeping sweet, and taking it in humility have turned away lots of wrath with their soft answers, and "The greatest of these is love" ... "Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away" (1Cor.13). I don't care how much you know about the Bible, or how much Scripture you can spout, or how loud you can yell in tongues, or how much you scream prophecies at these people—this is not going to pacify them—it's only going to make them madder! The only thing that can do it, if anything, is love, and more love, and hours of patience! I READ AMOS' VISITOR'S LOGS WITH AMAZEMENT AT THE HOURS AND HOURS THAT HE DEALS WITH THEM IN LOVING PATIENCE, AND NEARLY ALL OF THEM GO AWAY, AT LEAST PACIFIED, some of them even with a much better attitude, even if not convinced!
10. BUT FROM WHAT I CAN GATHER FROM BOTH REPORTS, LOGS, AND INDIRECT RUMOURS, OF THE HANDLING OF VISITORS AT L.A., SOME OF THEM GO AWAY MADDER THAN EVER BECAUSE OF THE WAY THEY'RE TREATED; and from what I can actually read in your own Visitor's Log, I'm beginning to understand why! You cannot have such a rapid turnover in Greeting personnel, and such a frequent changing of log secretaries, that you get such skimpy information, lack of detail, and even a repetition two or three times of the same item, because the present shift didn't take the trouble to notice that the former shift had already recorded the item! Many times they even failed to get the name straight‚ or don't even get the name at all, or just say "someone called‚" or they don't even know what they called about! Also‚ some of your visitors seem to get little satisfaction from their calls, even some of our friendly parents, such as Jenny's dad‚ who apparently called three times in one day, offering help, without reaching a responsible party—at least that's what it sounds like from the log! In fact, the writer of the log obviously didn't even know who he was! If were going to have such and aversion for all parents, that we can't even treat the befriending ones with a little consideration‚ may God spare us from our enemies! When I suggested that leadership be inaccessible‚ I meant particularly to unfriendly and unnecessary visitors, certainly not those who are offering us their assistance, and commending us for the work we're doing with their children as has Mr. C., one who has helped us a great deal, and without whom the Kentucky Colony would not now even be in existence! May God help us to know how to treat our friends and enemies, and know how to know the difference!
11. SO IN THE FIRST PLACE‚ YOU NEED AN OLDER, RESPONSIBLE, COOL-TEMPERED, LEVEL-HEADED CHRISTIAN DIPLOMAT, WITH UNLIMITED PATIENCE AND LOVE, NOT YOUR HARD ONES who are accustomed to sifting disciples! The parents are not applying for admission; they just want to know about their children, and this is a typical parental trait common to most parents, which you might understand if you had a few, like our dear Brother Amos, or our dear Brother Jethro, or dear Sister Eve‚ all of whom are shining examples in this field. Jethro is outstanding on this subject! I have seen him pour honey and oil, even on those Amos has been unable to placate and send them away cooing thinking we're just great! He has turned many an enemy into a friend, including judges, sheriffs, deputies, parents, cowboys, and so on! He and Amos are two of the best experts in the field that I know of! It might be well to transfer these two to Los Angeles for a while, to teach you how to handle visitors. IF YOU CAN REMOVE THE PERSONALITIES AT WHOM THE ENEMIES ARE AGGRAVATED, AND REPLACE THEM WITH SOMEONE WHOM THEY CAN'T BLAME. YOU OFTEN SOLVE THE PROBLEM! IT ALSO GIVES THE ENEMY A CHANCE TO BACK DOWN AND SAVE FACE! This is often done in politics, business, international diplomacy, and church work, whom you must admit must have learned something along this line from generations of bitter experience! It would do well to take heed to a few outstanding Biblical examples, as well, in which the personnel was shifted to take the heat off, many examples of which we gave you in "I Gotta Split," as well as in "Dropouts," and which I'm personally practicing at the moment myself!
12. I THEREFORE, WISH YOU WOULD GIVE THIS SUGGESTION YOUR SERIOUS CONSIDERATION; to let Jethro and Amos pay you a visit for a few days, at least two weeks to a month, or more, and teach your staff how to handle visitors, while you take a little trip to Texas for a much-needed vacation to see how they do it there! Frankly, in looking over your list of top personnel in Los Angeles, you obviously have some of your hottest radicals, leading rebels, and battlefront fighters, but you're woefully lacking in diplomatic personnel! About the only people I can see on your list that would be sweet and patient enough and longsuffering enough to deal with the older generation would be Becky, Ruth‚ Uriah‚ or Hezakiah, the two girls being my first choice for two quiet, sweet‚ and unassuming greeters or greeter supervisors, at least of the bare eleven you have listed as your top personnel! Maybe you have someone else there that we don't know about, since you haven't yet sent us your staff personnel list as requested. I'm still waiting for your total staff list, including all married couples and anyone with any official responsibility whatsoever from all colonies!
WHO TO HANDLE VISITORS AND PARENTS
13. IN THE FIRST PLACE‚ LOS ANGELES, I DON'T SEE HOW YOU CAN POSSIBLY GET ALONG WITH A TEAM OF ONLY TWO GREETERS, AND EXPECT THEM TO HANDLE VISITORS, VEHICLES, PHONE CALLS, WITNESSING, AND THE LOG, anyone of which can be a full–time job for any one of them! Brother Amos in Texas supervises a number of teams of several greeters each divided into three major categories of three on each team, one for the older Systemites‚ one for the young married couples, or older college–age, and one for the teenagers! You cannot have a teenager dealing with parents, neither one understand each other, neither are older staff members usually most effective with teenagers‚ and neither one is very good with the in-betweens, young couples and college grads. YOU HAVE TO HAVE PEOPLE FOR EACH CLASSIFICATION WHO KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THEM, WHO THEMSELVES ARE SOMEWHAT IN THE SAME CATEGORY AND WHO KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING! From what I can see of the L.A. situation, we have suffered some severe damage and losses along this line, as well as missed some great opportunities because of neglect and carelessness in this field! I'll take the blame, since I had a burden to warn you about this a long time ago but put it off thinking you would learn! Well, you're learning all right, but experience is a bitter teacher! You yourself are apparently waking up to the situation that something's wrong because you've been so ashamed of it that you've even failed to inform me of the seriousness of your problems there in the regard, and I had to learn of them indirectly and inadvertently from a casual remark someone else made from another Colony and I'm sure they didn't intend to be telling on you! You didn't even tell me of Faith's court case in this respect! If we suffer from well-doing, so be it, but if we suffer from our own mistakes, may God have mercy! Your visitor's log, Los Angeles, gives a lengthy list of somewhat sketchy descriptions of many parents calling to see their children, but little or no mention of whether they got to see them or not, but only that they went away either glad, sad, or mad! Is this your standard procedure, that you're refusing to let parents see their children? It's not going to work! I'll tell you from sad experience in Texas, it didn't work, and it caused us some of our most serious troubles, as they went and got the police and demanded to see them anyhow, and it just created a furore and made everybody unhappy but the Devil! IF THE BABE IS NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND AGAINST HIS [ANTAGONISTIC] PARENTS IN A FACE-TO-FACE CONFRONTATION ‚ if worse comes to worse‚ and YOU HAVE TO LET THEM SEE HIM, DON'T TRY TO STOP THEM‚ INTERFERE, AND CERTAINLY NOT FORCIBLY PREVENT IT, EVEN HIS LEAVING WITH THEM! IF HE GOES VOLUNTARILY‚ that's his funeral! If they carry him out by force, that's kidnapping and their funeral! Whatever you do‚ DON'T BECOME A PARTY TO EITHER CRIME BY ATTEMPTING TO FORCIBLY INTERFERE, NOT EVEN BY YOUR ATTITUDE OR WORDS, MUCH LESS BY YOUR BODILY OR PHYSICAL ACTIONS! I don't see any record in the Scripture where any of the disciples were forced to stay‚ or any parents were forcibly interfered with, and the Scriptures I've already given you in this Epistle very clearly teach the contrary‚ or you're in trouble, as you now are! May God help you to learn your lessons, and get you out of it by His mercy!
PURPOSE AND USE OF ADDRESSES IN GUESTBOOK
14. Take a cue from Jesus!: On visitors who ask questions but refuse to give you any information about themselves, in this case, you don't have to do it! GET THEIR NAME AND ADDRESS FOR THE RECORD BEFORE YOU ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS! This is standard security procedure by guards in many sensitive public buildings! If they won't give you their name, they don't deserve any information of any kind! Jesus said "If ye will not answer me this question, neither will I answer you your questions. "You have perfect right to know their name ant to ask that they sign the guest book and if possible‚ get their address before you answer any questions regarding personnel, doctrines or otherwise!
15. You could learn something from Texas on this score also—they've gotten to be experts at it. Even IN THE BUSINESS WORLD IT'S VERY ACCEPTABLE AND UNOBJECTIONABLE PROCEDURE WITH CALLERS: "May we have your name please?" ... "And who are you with, or what company do you represent?" and IT IS STANDARD POLICY FOR THE CALLER TO EVEN PRESENT HIS BUSINESS CARD WITH ALL THE DETAILS! This is big business—the Lord's business, the biggest in the world! We can hardly do less than they, and we can learn some lessons from their experience, for, as Jesus said, "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light" (Lk.16:8), believe it or not! This seems usually true when it comes to business and the practical affairs of this world—Christians seem to be pretty dumb, while the Devil's pretty smart! We could even learn a few tips from his dandy bad example: handle potential enemies with kid gloves, sweet talk, and the utmost patient diplomacy, and avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble! It's better to talk than to shoot! From what I can gather from your Visitor's Log, some of your greeters seem to think that the best policy is to fire the first blast and slaughter them with the Scripture, and they wield the Word with deadly accuracy! It may be true, but it doesn't always bring peace! Some of you cling to Jesus' one quotation, "I came not to bring peace, but a sword" (Mt.10:34), making it your own personal motto in your daily dealings with others! This is not what Jesus meant, and if you don't believe it, memorise Matthew 5! He just meant it wasn't always possible, that THE TRUTH WAS BOUND TO BRING DIVISION SOONER OR LATER! BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO DELIBERATELY OUT OF YOUR WAY TO TRY TO CAUSE DIVISION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! YOU'RE TO DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO PREVENT IT! MATTHEW 5 AGAIN, EVEN TO THE POINT OF GIVING THEM EVERYTHING THEY ASK FOR, AND THEN SOME! MEMORISE IT! DO IT!
HOW TO GREET—KEEP SWEET!
16. THE OPPOSITE IS ALSO TRUE! I SEE FROM YOUR RECORDS THAT YOU HAVE MANY FRIENDLY VISITORS OFFERING HELP, ETC. I wonder how they're handled! I see no record of your reaction! I wonder if you even heard about them, or are these offers just buried in the record and forgotten? Or do you invite them to dinner, and go see the place now! THE SHOWING OF GENUINE GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION OF SUCH HELP IMMEDIATELY TENDS TO MAKE A PROFFERED FRIEND EVEN MORE FRIENDLY, AND INCLINED TO BEFRIEND YOU AGAIN, BUT CARELESS AND UNWELCOME TREATMENT OF SUCH VISITORS AND NEGLIGENCE WITH THEIR OFFERS, AND A MANIFEST LACK OF CONCERN, CAN LOSE THEM FOREVER! THIS IS WHY I ALWAYS LIKED THE WORDS OF JESUS BETTER THAN ANY OTHER PART OF THE BIBLE! He was almost always the peacemaker, seldom the rabble-rouser, and certainly not usually the one to deliberately stir up trouble! WHEN THEY ASKED HIM TO LEAVE, HE LEFT! WHEN THEY DIDN'T LIKE HIS MESSAGE, HE DIDN'T FORCE IT ON THEM, AND WHEN THEY WANTED TO LEAVE, HE DIDN'T TRY TO STOP THEM! It was all voluntary, all "whosoever will" (Mk.8:34)‚ and "come unto Me" (Mt.11:28)‚ and "I will draw all men unto Me" (Jn.12:32)‚ not force them! I'm sorry if I haven't made this clear to you before‚ but the Bible certainly makes it clear! This is the Age of Grace, not Works; the Age of Volition, not Compulsion. Maybe your prophets are spending too much time in the Old Testament instead of following the example of Christ in the New! Even Paul made a few mistakes along this line. "Above all, brethren‚ have fervent love!" (1Peter 4:8). Feel sorry for these poor parents, have compassion on them, as Jesus did! "Bless them ... do good to them ... and pray for them" (Mt.5)‚ ... "that ye may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven," NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO! KEEP SWEET! You may have to explain the truth about them to their children, but for God's sake‚ don't slap the parents in the face with it! TRY TO HAVE A LITTLE SYMPATHY, A LITTLE EMPATHY, PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES, TRY TO THINK HOW THEY FEEL, since they're ignorant and don't know any better, and don't really understand what you're trying to do, and have heard all kind of lies and wild tales about you! TRY TO UNDERSTAND AND EXPLAIN WITH LOVING PATIENCE AND SYMPATHY! I was always a skinny, weak, little runt who got the worst end of any fight‚ so I long ago tried to learn how to avoid it rather than come to actual blows! LOVE THE SINNER, BUT NOT HIS SIN! LOVE THE SYSTEMITE, BUT NOT THE SYSTEM! LOVE THE PERSON, EVEN IF YOU DON'T LIKE HIS POINT OF VIEW! THIS IS TRUE IN ALL OF YOUR WITNESSING! DWELL ON THE POSITIVE, NOT THE NEGATIVE, DISCUSS THE THINGS YOU HAVE IN COMMON, NOT YOUR DIFFERENCES. EMPHASISE THE THINGS YOU CAN AGREE ON, NOT ARGUE ABOUT, AND TRY TO ESTABLISH AS MANY POINTS IN COMMON AS POSSIBLE, INSTEAD OF PICKING OUT THE FLAWS! You need to know what that Scripture meaneth when Jesus said, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice" (Mt.9:13), and when the Apostle wrote, "Love throws a veil over countless sins!" ALL SOME PEOPLE CAN SEE IS A BUTTON OFF THE VEST, INSTEAD OF THE BEAUTIFUL NECKTIE! All some people can do is be like a billy goat who goes around butting everything he doesn't like, crashing head-on with "but this, and but that," etc.! They're always seeing the hole instead of the doughnut. ONE OF THE SUREST WAYS TO PACIFY A PARENT IS not to immediately take up the cudgel of the Word and start beating him over the head with it, hoping he'll beat a hasty retreat, but to SHOW HIM YOU SYMPATHISE WITH HIM, UNDERSTAND HIS CONCERN, AND AGREE WITH HIS MISGUIDED EFFORT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! "I certainly don't blame you for being concerned about your little Johnny, which is only right, as you should be as a loving proper parent; but never fear, he's in good hands, in spite of all you've heard about us, and if you don't believe it, here he is, bright and cheerful, safe and sound and happy!" And DON'T HESITATE TO PRESENT HIM, OR THEY'RE BOUND TO THINK YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE AND CALL THE POLICE! How do they know you haven't killed him, tortured him, drugged him, or done away with him like a Charles Manson! They don't know the difference, and outside enemies certainly haven't tried to show it to them! LET THEM SEE A SAMPLE! LET THEM SEE HIM.—DON'T JUST GIVE THEM A SERMON, YOU'RE WASTING YOUR TIME! They won't listen to anything until they've seen Little Johnny! They don't want to hear anything but his dear‚ sweet voice, reassuring them that he's alright‚ that there's nothing to worry about, that he's happy‚ having lots of fun, and much better off then he used to be! But all your efforts are gonna do no good if Little Johnny himself comes in breathing fire and smoke‚ and blasting away with salvo after salvo of denunciatory Scriptures, immediately berating them and condemning them, and consigning them to everlasting fire and torment without a word of consolation! "Honour thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed" (Eph.6:2,3), which Paul said was "the first commandment with promise." It can really reap good dividends, make friends out of enemies‚ helpers out of hinderers, and at least pacify the public! But as I've told you before, IF YOU INSIST ON ANTAGONISING THEM‚ AN ANGRY PARENT IS ONE OF THE WORST AND MOST PERSISTENT OF ENEMIES! He will leave no stone unturned, and he will arouse both Heaven and earth, and turn the world upside down to free his Little Johnny, his darling angel‚ from the clutches of these horrible monsters if you don't prove that you're otherwise! But when the poor parent comes and finds that you act exactly as he expected you to, blasting him with words he doesn't understand, refusing to let him see his child, ordering him out of the building, he can't help but think that you're all he nightmared about, his suspicions confirmed by your actions, your words, your looks, and your spirit, which he doesn't understand and couldn't possibly be expected to comprehend, unless you yourself are a dandy good example of the kind of love you're supposed to be talking about. Selah!
17. IF THE PARENT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE, INCORRIGIBLE, AND IMPLACABLE, I SUGGEST YOU TRY TO SEND LITTLE JOHNNY TO [ANOTHER HOME IF HE SO DESIRES] where it won't be so easy for them to get their hands on him and so take the heat off of you! JUST TELL'EM THE HONEST TRUTH, THAT HE'S NOW TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER COURSE OF TRAINING IN ONE OF OUR OTHER LOCATIONS AND YOU'LL BE HAPPY TO GIVE THEM HIS NEW ADDRESS IF THEY'D LIKE TO WRITE TO HIM! You're sure he'd be happy to reply and tell them what a wonderful time he's having! Or, he's on a field trip somewhere, and as soon as you hear from them you'll tell him to write so they'll know he's O.K. Most parents just want to make sure they're still alive, and unharmed, and happy—but when they don't hear from them for months, they're bound to be concerned! IN TEXAS, WE MADE IT COMPULSORY FOR THE CHILDREN TO WRITE THEIR PARENTS AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, or even better, once a week, or twice a month, so the parents will rest at ease that at least he's still alive—and they're not so apt to call out the Romans to look for them! But if they don't hear from him for months you can hardly blame them! I warned you of this a long time ago! What did you do about it? If you don't you're bound to have trouble, as you're now having!
USE A VISITORS LOG
18. FROM NOW ON, I'D LIKE TO SEE IN ALL OF YOUR VISITOR'S LOGS, AS THEY DO IN TEXAS, THE EXACT NAMES OF WHO IS DEALING WITH WHOM, THE SUBJECT OF THEIR VISIT AND THE OUTCOME! Texas even tells us what kind of a car they came in! If you can't get their address, get their license number.—It could come in handy if they cause any trouble! WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T TAKE THE LAW INTO YOUR OWN HANDS—LET THE POLICE DO IT!
19. And Los Angeles, ARE YOU ALSO GARNERING NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF PARENTS AND OTHER FRIENDLY VISITORS FOR YOUR MAILING LIST! Either you're going to have to write to them as Texas does not to theirs, ISSUING A REGULAR EXPLANATORY AND PROMOTIONAL PRAYER LETTER, or let the King or Texas do it for you! The King's last prayer letter was very good! He knows how to talk to Systemites! He knows what will explain your actions, methods, and results, and what will touch their hearts, and cause them even to be a help! If you can't do it yourself‚ why not turn these names over to him, and let him do if for you! WHATEVER YOU DO, YOU MUST NOT NEGLECT THEM, IGNORE THEM, AND BE UNAPPRECIATIVE OF THEM! YOU NEED THEM! DON'T KNOCK IT—USE IT! You've got the best excuse in the world to ask for their help! You're helping their Little Johnny—you could use their help, too! Otherwise, let Texas handle it for you!
RECEIVING NEW DISCIPLES AND BACKSLIDERS
20. I'M STILL CONCERNED ABOUT THE HANDLING OF NEW DISCIPLES AND THEIR APPLICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP, and I don't like the sound of an all night third-degree in some kind of purge room ! I'll confess that it was our practice in the beginning due to limited space and personnel in our early days to limit membership only to leadership potentials, as we were at that time preparing a cadre of officers—you—for the present influx of a mighty army! But what kind of an army is it going to be now with all chiefs and no Indians, all generals and no buck privates! The day for that policy is past! WE MUST NOW THROW OPEN OUR DOORS TO ALL SINCERE SEEKERS WHO MANIFEST A GENUINE DESIRE TO TRY TO FOLLOW, as Jesus did! "The poor, the lame, the halt, and the blind" (Lk.14:23) ... "and him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out" (Jn.6:37), unless they are really enemies and troublemakers! The only one Jesus ever sent away was Judas, and that only after three and a half years of patience! My mother used to say, "IT'S BETTER TO PRAY THEM OUT, THAN THROW THEM OUT!" LET THEM LEAVE VOLUNTARILY, WITHOUT MALICE, RATHER THAN EJECT THEM MAKING THEM A PERMANENT ENEMY! We have made many mistakes along this line in the past! May God help us to rectify our errors, and learn something from them! "And He healed all that came unto Him, for He had compassion upon the multitude!" (Mt.8:16; 9:32) How can we turn them away? To whom will they go? We alone have the words of Eternal Life, and the present Scriptural way of happiness! WE'VE GOT TO MAKE A PLACE FOR THEM SOMEWHERE‚ EVEN FOR THE HANDICAPPED! Jesus did it, the Early Church did it, we must do it! Jesus even trusted Judas with the money although He knew He was a thief—that's really giving a guy a chance, don't you think? And though every time Peter opened his mouth, he stuck his foot in it, and even went back a-fishing for a while having denied his own Master‚ when Jesus rose from the dead He told a former harlot to go tell His disciples "and Peter" (Mk.16:7) to meet Him in Galilee, knowing Peter might feel so condemned that he wouldn't feel eligible anymore and that even the disciples might consider him ousted! ALSO‚ REMEMBER THE PRODIGAL SON, JOHN MARK, KING DAVID, AND MANY OTHERS, WHO BACKSLID FOR A WHILE, BUT LATER WENT ON TO GREATER SUCCESS, or at least a position of some trusted reinstatement, if their repentance was genuine, including every one of the disciples who all forsook Him at the time of Jesus' arrest, including John the Beloved who ran away naked because the Roman grabbed his cloak! "Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone" (Jn.8:7). I have backslidden and so have you! WHAT IF GOD HAD REFUSED TO TAKE US BACK OR USE US AGAIN! WHERE WOULD WE BE NOW? WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF I HAD REFUSED TO TAKE YOU BACK? WE ARE ALL GUILTY! LET'S NOT BE SO SELF–RIGHTEOUS! Jesus said forgive 77 x 7! (Mt.18:22). "Him that is weak receive ye" (Rm.14:1), ... and "Restore such an one" (Gal.6:1). ... "Gain thy brother" (Mt 18:15; Lk.17:3). "To whom much hath been forgiven, the same loveth much" (Lk.8:7). As Jesus said to one harlot, "Go and sin no more, lest a worst thing befall thee" (Jn.5:14), ... and to another harlot "To whom much hath been forgiven‚ the same loveth much," ... and to you and me "Unto whom much hath been given, of the same shall much be required!" (Lk.12:48). Are you responsible? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Lk.6:31)‚ or as Jesus has done for you! We've had a few good samples along this line, and another, example I just remembered was Onesimus whom Paul went to bat for with his boss, Philemon‚ in that epistle. Read all these!
21. ONE OF OUR OWN GOOD SAMPLES IS OUR TINIEST COLONY in Kentucky, WHOSE PASTOR, WITH LOVING HEART, has given one of our best-known backsliders another chance, and he's doing great! All he needed was love and someone to trust him! IF OTHERS HAVE NO FAITH IN YOU IT'S HARD FOR YOU TO HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF‚ SOMETIMES EVEN THE LORD!—I know, I've been there! WHEN YOU FEEL NO ONE ELSE LOVES OR TRUSTS YOU, YOU THINK MAYBE GOD DOESN'T EITHER AND YOU WANT TO QUIT. BUT IF SOMEONE SHOWS YOU THE LOVE AND FAITH OF GOD, IT INSPIRES YOU TO RESPOND IN A NEW EFFORT TO SUCCEED! Believe it or not, one such a little one did that for me, and that's one reason I'm succeeding right now! She inspired me to have renewed faith in God and my calling because she herself showed such faith in me and my gifts from God, and inspired me to manifest them, and that God could still use me, bad as I am! God bless her! Try it! Amen!
THE SMALLEST COLONY THE BEST EXAMPLE
22. In fact, Kentucky is the principal good sample colony that I wanted to tell you about in this letter most of all! TO ME, THEY ARE THE IDEAL EXAMPLE OF WHAT ONE OF OUR NEW SMALL TEAMS CAN DO, HOW MUCH THEY CAN ACCOMPLISH, HOW FAITHFUL THEY CAN BE, AND HOW MUCH GOD CAN BLESS THEM, WITH THE MOST LIMITED PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT, in the most unlikely area, and under the most adverse conditions! If they can succeed there in that way, anybody should be able to! Here's a team led by some of our youngest leaders, not old-timers from California, but comparatively recent and limited in both seniority and experience and training; and yet here they are, flung out in the wilderness with a bunch of babes and backsliders, broken-down vehicles, and housed in and old shack way out in the woods without even running water or inside toilet, and suffering subzero weather and deep snows, with nothing but a wood stove for heat, no big city to scrounge in, no large place to witness, no great nearby gathering places of young people, and yet they have done one of the most phenomenal jobs of any of our colonies and have become A SHINING EXAMPLE OF WHAT A SMALL TEAM CAN DO IF THEY TRY, WITH THE FAITH OF GOD‚ AND A LOT OF GUTS, INCLUDING THE USUAL PIONEER'S VISION AND INITIATIVE! Even when we tried to discourage them, and tell'em it was impossible under those conditions to survive a rigorous northern winter‚ and tried to get them to close up‚ fold up, give up, get out, and go South, they refused to quit! THEY JUST DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH COMMON SENSE TO KNOW THAT IT COULDN'T BE DONE, AND WENT AHEAD‚ BLINDLY BELIEVING GOD‚ TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE, AND HE DID IT—A MIRACLE! Hats off to Nahum and Jael, and other crazy people like them, including our own dear Gershom‚ the man who came back! If you don't believe it can be done, just look at Kentucky—so isolated by snow they can't even get out, so the Lord sends people to them, feeds them with human ravens, sends them the rejects of other Colonies, and they build one of the strongest, bravest, little units in our whole outfit, and are winning some of the most unlikely souls you can imagine, and portends to be out first officially occupied city! Hail to our Roanoke, Kentucky‚ and its 13 or so citizens! They have possessed the land in spite of the giants and they're enjoying the milk and honey of His blessings as a result! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
23. FROM THEIR HUMBLEST BEGINNINGS THEY HAVE DONE SOME OF THE BEST AND MOST FAITHFUL REPORTING OF ANY COLONY, INCLUDING FAITHFUL PERSONAL LETTERS FREQUENTLY FROM BOTH TOP LEADERS, Nahum and Jael, as well as notes, testimonies, and songs from some of their personnel, with tapes, pictures, and the works! In fact, they have sent us some of the most beautiful colour pictures of any Colony, and the most comprehensive and descriptive‚ including detailed and humourous captions and explanations on the back of each photo, all taken with nothing but a little equivalent to the Brownie, a cheap little old Instamatic, with the most gorgeous results! And he wasn't afraid of their faces! He even took a portrait of Jael with her chin resting on his stomach, barely a foot away—a little distorted, I agree, but at least you could tell it was she, which is more than I can say for the backs of the rest of you! They also depicted thrilling views of their activities, both inside and out, including their environment, the famous old "warm morning" wood stove in action, with their little family huddled around it, with shots of classes, beautiful interior decorations, such as colourful wall charts, new disciples and a happy family at work and play! JUST THE THING WE HUNGER TO SEE, TO KNOW HOW YOU'RE REALLY LIVING, WHAT YOU REALLY LOOK LIKE, and the quaint scenes of dear old Kentucky at home—all but the outhouse, which I missed! This is better than some of you big Colonies have done, with all your photographers, elaborate equipment, and everything to photograph! In fact, Texas' famous last words have always been to me, "Will send colour photos soon"—but they've never come! KENTUCKY NEVER FORGETS TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS, TELL ME THEIR PROBLEMS, READ AND REREAD MY LETTERS‚ APOLOGISE FOR THEIR MISTAKES, AND DO WHAT I SAY! They even hold nightly leadership meetings, have registered to vote‚ etc.! Take a tip from Kentucky! God bless'em! Don't tell me these little teams can't make it! Give God and them a chance! Send'em out now!