I'M INTERESTED IN A ATTEMPTING TO FORMULATE A FEW BASIC RULES OF PROCEDURES FOR YOUR PRESENT SMALLER OPERATIONS IN EACH OF YOUR INDIVIDUAL COLONIES, some so small as to have only one typist, one typewriter, and maybe one writer, because each of you are bound to get some volume of mail as a result of your witnessing, disciples‚ their contacts, relatives and friends, local and national publicity, and for various other reasons! I am now talking about CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE GENERAL PUBLIC, on the outside—not our inter-office communications, with its already heavy burden of departmental reports, logs, classes, publications, records, and so on! The outside mail is going to be exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think that we are presently able to handle, but we're going to have to do it‚ like it or not, whether we think we're able or not, God's got to help us, because it's a massive ministry in itself!
ALL BUT THE SMALLEST COLONIES WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE SECRETARY ENGAGED ENTIRELY IN THIS MINISTRY ALONE‚ who can either take dictation in shorthand‚ or on the typewriter, and at least type our form letters‚ or pre-formulated answers with stock paragraphs, to meet specific needs! These can be framed by the local director, working with other leadership, with the help of his secretaries; or perhaps, even better yet‚ they should be decided upon by those with experience at the home base in Texas, and passed on to you for your use—as well as being used by them there, that we may all speak the same thing in handling various types of mail!
BUT LET'S BEGIN AT THE VERY BEGINNING, now that you have your secretary‚ her office, desk, typewriter, and file ready for the Lord's business!
I. RENTING A POST OFFICE BOX—the simplest, easiest, quickest way to get your mail.
1. DOESN'T HAVE TO CHANGE AS YOUR LOCAL ADDRESS CHANGES, so that correspondence does not get confused by the frequent changes of address so common in the Lord's service!
2. SECURITY—Sifts out unwelcome correspondence, visitors‚ and unnecessary callers, who will have to write first! It buys you time in which to give your answers to same, without a sudden‚ unexpected, surprise face-to-face confrontation on the front porch at a moment's notice, with you stammering and stuttering, and wondering what to say! Therefore, this box number is used as your only publicly-known address on such items as business cards, checks, radio‚ TV, or newspaper-magazine announcements (if possible), and all items of publicity, literature, etc.; so that if they want to know anything further, they can write to the box, and it will be processed in due season, in all decency and in order, being diligent in business! The only possible exception to this rule might be personal invitations given by personal witnesses, or on special handbills distributed only to a preselected, carefully chosen, highly-trusted clientele‚ such as those to whom you personally witness, win to the Lord, and feel you can trust to invite to your home for further fellowship and instruction! And even here‚ it would be better and safer to have these individuals write down your meeting or residence address themselves or write it down for them as each individual case warrants, rather than to have promiscuous literature fall into the wrong hands! If your place of meeting is open to the general public, and you wish it to be known to all, but is not your place or residence, this is different; but if it is also your residence, this could be dangerous!
3. PRESTIGE ADDRESS—local post office will not rent it to you unless they know, and verify, by means of the local postman‚ that you have another, local legitimate, residential, or business address‚ and are what they consider, therefore, a reliable and reputable local resident or concern!
4. FASTER SERVICE, CONVENIENT PICKUP—One more advantage of a post office box, and I worked in the post office, and I know, is that your mail is the first to be put up‚ at all hours of the day or night, because your box is right there within firing distance of the sorting clerks, and box mail always goes up first, except for special delivery mail, and even this latter will never be delivered at night; whereas box mail is put in your box by a night clerk, even in the wee hours of the morning; which means, one last, but not least advantage, that in most post offices, the box section is open and available to its box holder at any hour of the day or night—and you‚ therefore, can also pick it up there at such odd hours, as not to be too conspicuous‚ and whenever convenient for you, and when the least number of observers are apt to be on duty‚ if at all.
5. THIS APPLIES MOSTLY TO LARGE URBAN COLONIES. SMALL REMOTE COLONIES IN REMOTE RURAL AREAS far removed from the usual scene of battlefront witnessing and large populations, and a little more inaccessible to the general public, and not every Tom, Dick, and Harry can drop in on you at a moment's notice, but have to drive a long way and want to see you very badly, and also, where it's rather difficult, and sometimes even impossible for you to drive a long way into town to get your mail, and where a box number in such a small community would be of very little advantage anyhow, if any‚ as everybody knows everybody's business and has lots of time to study interesting pieces of mail anyway—A BOX NUMBER MIGHT BE MORE OF A HINDRANCE THAN A HELP, as well as just an additional expense—even a nuisance. So there are always exceptions to most of the rules we give you—even some of God's rules! WE ARE RECOMMENDING BOXES PRIMARILY FOR THE LARGER‚ BUSIER COLONIES IN METROPOLITAN AREAS. These are apt to receive a fairly large volume of mail‚ or even move occasionally from address to address in the same city. This would make their business a little less known and their leadership a little more inaccessible to the large general public surrounding them nearby. The multitude of postal clerks of a large down-town post office, handling millions of pieces of mail, are not as apt to take a personal interest in your particular mail, as would the local postman on the neighbourhood beat, who sees you and knows where you live everyday and what you're doing‚ and is more apt to be curious about you than necessary! It's impossible to avoid this in a small community or rural area, but it can be virtually eliminated by a box number in your big city colonies. Each situation must be judged on its own merits.
1. FILL OUT A FORM AT LOCAL POST OFFICE, giving organisation name and that of a few top officers, who will be receiving their mail there, plus mail addressed to name of the local colony. This is a formality and usually not investigated further. All others‚ including subordinate staff members, students, and new disciples, should receive their mail only at their actual, local, residential address—not in your post office box! (This policy should be decided upon by your local council.)
2. THE COST of such a box varies with the size, and is payable by the quarter, every three calendar months in advance, or any fraction thereof. Cost varies for average small letterbox, according to size of the city, but let me tell you, it's worth it!
3. IT WILL TAKE TWO OR THREE DAYS for the local postman to verify your residence address, before your application is granted; at which time you should request to see, if possible‚ a list of the available box numbers in order to choose one that's easy to remember.
4. TRY TO GET A KEY BOX, IF POSSIBLE, NOT A COMBINATION! You're too apt to forget it, get confused, and take too long to open the box, and the longer you stand there twiddling with the knob, the more conspicuous you are! You will have to pay a deposit for each key, and they usually give you two keys, and it's certainly not wise to have more than this floating around! You know you have one key, and you should always know exactly where the other one is at all times, and neither key should ever be in any less safe place than your own personal pants pocket‚ kept under your pillow at night, or your wife's purse, kept by her side at all times! If, in case of any dire emergency‚ you should ever have to let either of these keys out of your personal possession, even temporarily for emergency pickup (which you should not!) be sure you get it back immediately with the return mail, in your hand without delay! THAT BOX IS ONE OF YOUR LIFELINES, which could be severed by an enemy! IF AT ANY TIME A KEY IS LOST, take the remaining key immediately to the post office, and request that they change the lock on your box on the spot while you wait, and exchange the remaining key for two new keys to the new lock on your same box, which they will usually do immediately! WHATEVER YOU DO, TRY NOT TO CHANGE BOXES IF YOU CAN HELP IT! This will only add to the confusion! You will, of course, have to pay an additional deposit for the extra key, to replace the one you lost! Such is life! Don't let it happen to you! I never lost a mailbox key, but it seems the people I loaned them to almost always did! God save the box!—and key!
5. NOW THAT YOU HAVE YOUR BOX NUMBER, HAVE IT PUT ON YOUR CHECKS‚ LITERATURE, BUSINESS MAIL, ADVERTISING, etc.‚ and you're ready for business—God's business!
II. YOUR MAILMAN—Your Colony's Own Personal Mailman
1. MAIL SHOULD BE HANDLED ONLY BY YOUR COLONY'S TOP LEADERS: such as the Shepherd and/or his wife, and/or the Assistant Shepherd and /or his wife, and at the very least, and only in the most trusted cases, your top secretary and/or business manager, or both. Unless you, the Shepherd‚ cannot personally pick up the mail, have at least two of your most trusted personnel pick it up together. Personally, I never trusted anyone but myself, not even my wife or my secretary, to pick up the mail at the box!
2. HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE AN OFFICER THAT CAN BE TRUSTED, AVOID PERSONAL FACE-TO-FACE CONFRONTATIONS, and becoming personally known by sight, to postal and federal government officials, in cases where you have to pick up packages or registered mail, etc., even postage due, at the box window! You can bring home these special notices, or to your wife in the car‚ and let her take them in to pick up these special pieces of mail which have to be gotten from the clerk at the window, of which you will receive many such notices in your box—so that you personally‚ the top leadership, will remain unknown and unseen as much as possible at the government post office!
1. CARRIES THE KEY to the box and goes to pick up your highly classified, important, and valuable mail, and
2. PLACES IT IN A SEALED MAILBAG or container, so that none of it is accidentally dropped or lost, strayed or stolen, and each piece is accounted for.
III. TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL—From the Box to Your Office
1. Should be done only by you, or
2. The one who is supposed to pick it up.
1. NOT LEFT CARELESSLY LYING AROUND during transit, such as on the front seat of an automobile where a thief might be tempted to break a window to steal what looks valuable!
2. LOCK IT in glove compartment of your car‚ or trunk, OR HIDE IT under the seat, OR CARRY IT in your hand...
3. OR BETTER YET, DON'T ADVERTISE THE FACT that you're carrying the mail at all! Hide it in your pocket, or sneak in the back door with it! The less you let others know about the Lord's private business‚ the better! Our address also should not be common knowledge to any, but the Shepherd of the colony, his wife, secretary, and most trusted mailman—the one who mails your letters for you, who should only be one of your top leaders, and not just some ordinary errand boy! It's too important!
IV. OPENING THE MAIL
A. PRIVATELY: SHOULD BE DONE ONLY IN PRIVACY BY THE SHEPHERD AND HIS WIFE and/or Assistant Shepherd and/or the Shepherd's most trusted private secretary. Do not open it while standing in the post office, or waiting in the market for your shopping wife, while you scatter checks and confidential information around on the counter or floor‚ and lose something important, or have somebody read it over your shoulder. If you must read it while waiting, do so in the car with no others present than these mentioned above. SOME OF THE WORST MISTAKES SOME MEN OF GOD THAT I KNOW EVER MADE, was to let every Tom, Dick, and Harry, or some little office chick, open all his confidential mail, and know all his classified business, and spread it to the general public, including his exaggeration of his financial condition, complaints and criticisms of enemies, or just generally distorted gossip. Sometimes a half-truth can be more dangerous than none at all; and one of your own co–worker's distortions can be more damaging because they're supposed to know, than the slander of outside enemies‚ who couldn't be expected to know inside facts.
WATCH OUT ABOUT THESE GUYS WHO COME VISITING FOR HALF AN HOUR, AND GO OUT AND WRITE A BOOK ABOUT US. They can always say‚ "I was there, so I know," when they know nothing at all; and the same goes for part–time disciples who go back. The world will believe what ever they say, especially if it's bad, because that's what they wanna believe. They can claim to prove it just because they were there, even if only momentarily. DON'T LET BABES IN ON CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. They might intentionally, but possibly, quite accidentally, let it slip out to the wrong people at the wrong time and place. Even Jesus said He had a lot of things to tell, that they weren't yet able to bear‚ and He spokes in parables to deliberately conceal the truth from those who wouldn't have received or believed it anyhow, but only use it against Him, as they did in some cases.
B. DON'T TALK ABOUT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS:
SO THE SHEPHERD OF A MALL TEAM SHOULD OPEN THE MAIL ALONE, OR WITH HIS WIFE—and maybe you can't even trust your wife! Women love to talk, God bless 'em, and in a multitude of words there lacketh not sin, and sometimes, no little inside information‚ which they just can't keep, it's so juicy, even though it might hurt if it got into the wrong hands via some foolish babe. Maybe you can't trust your Assistant Shepherd or secretary or business manager or general flunkey, even more than your wife. If so, do it, and let the wife do other things where her big mouth can't do so much damage. That's more truth than fiction. She doesn't mean to—it just spills out. Some peoples mouths are like the bunghole on a barrel. The minute they open their mouths, everything in their head runs out; they don't even know it.
OR, SHEPHERD'S WIFE, IT JUST MAY BE YOUR SHEPHERD-HUSBAND IS THAT WAY, so you may have to act as his private confidential secretary, if you've got more business sense than he has‚ and open the mail yourself, so he won't know too much about what's going on, and spill the beans while he's teaching, although we shouldn't have any shepherds like that—but it's possible. It's happened; that big mouth can get you if you don't watch out. Some people know so little, they like to tell everything they know; and since that doesn't take very long, they make up a few. IT ONLY TAKES A YEAR OR TWO TO LEARN HOW TO TALK, BUT ALL THE REST OF YOUR LIFE TO LEARN HOW TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. KEEP IT SHUT ABOUT BUSINESS AND CONFIDENTIAL MAIL, because it doesn't matter how you explain it, some nut will misunderstand or misinterpret. For example, when it comes to finances, no matter what your income, some guys will know it's not enough ,and other guys will be sure it's too much. It's all a matter of relativity, and whether they're looking up and down, in or out!—So just shut up!
C. ACCURACY IN DETAILS:
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 tittle! 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 of us; we have proven incapable of taking care of ourselves. Thank God for His mercy! God bless and keep us all!
V. GIFTS AND DONATIONS—Must Be Handled Very Wisely
BUT EVEN IF YOU'RE CAMPING OUT, A BOX NUMBER ON YOUR LETTERS, LITERATURE, AND RECEIPTS CERTAINLY LOOKS BETTER THAN THE LOCAL TIN-CAN TOURIST CAMPGROUND. You can even use your friend's home address for a residency reference, if he'll vouch for you when the mailman comes‚ in order to get a box number; but even his address might not look too good on your literature, and could cause him a lot of reaction if there's any trouble—like when they couldn't find Paul, they attacked the house of Jason where he'd been staying and fined him instead.
ANYWAY, IF YOU'VE GOTTEN THIS FAR AS A TEMPORARY HEADQUARTERS, WITH A BOX NUMBER getting mail, open a checking account in the name of your organisation, whatever it is, as instructed above, and use it for depositing checks and paying the bills. Most banks will not even charge for this service for a religious organisation, but you will have to pay for having the checks printed with your organisation's name on them. This is also somewhat of a status symbol to impress the System with your legitimacy and prestige. Use it!
VI. KEEP ACCURATE ACCOUNTS
A. KEEP ACCURATE ACCOUNTS OF EVERY PENNY THAT COMES IN, ESPECIALLY BY CHECK, AND OF ALL EXPENDITURES, INCLUDING ALL THE RECEIPTS you can collect, itemised, (naming the thing you paid or bought, both in your books and on the receipt), and save them diligently, protect them prayerfully, and hope you won't ever have to use them in any legal or financial or tax hassles; but they could come in mighty handy if you had to prove where the money came from and what it was spent for. Incidentally‚ gifts and donations are not supposed to be taxable, and according to the tax instructions, do not even have to be reported as income, so you should be in the clear on that score; but in case anybody ever tries to make you prove it, you'd better have those records and receipts of who and where the money came from, for what, and where it went—for your own protection. An accurate check record, if kept in detail and complete, showing both deposits with the names of the donors as well as all items of expenditure, could be a great asset if they should ever hassle you.
VII. MAINTAIN FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE OF EACH COLONY IF POSSIBLE
A. OUR PERSONAL AND ORGANISATIONAL ASSOCIATION IS NOT CARNAL BUT SPIRITUAL. This is another reason why each unit, each colony, each team‚ should work completely independently financially‚ if possible: so that its finances and business have as little to do with the others as possible; so that if anyone has any problems, it won't reflect on the rest‚ and they can't be held responsible. This is also why ALL VEHICLES AND PROPERTIES AND BANK ACCOUNTS SHOULD BE HELD STRICTLY, EACH IN YOUR OWN NAMES OF YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL ORGANISATION, independent of the others, in every way except spiritually, or in cases of emergency cooperation occasionally in time of need. This is so that you may not only learn to be utterly dependent on the Lord‚ stand on your own two feet by faith, and trust God to supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory, but also to protect the whole body from being killed by an attack on one member. This is very revolutionary, as most groups insist on some kind of financial bondage to the denomination, so that no unit can break away with any property or money, and the big wigs can get their cut; but we just don't do it that way. All of you are on your own, independent except in fellowship, vision, like-mindedness, speaking the same thing‚ and calling, as well as modes of operation, like the Early Church, but no legal or financial ties that could bind or choke the Whole! THIS IS A FANTASTIC SET–UP, FOR NOT ONLY OUR WEAPONS ARE NOT CARNAL, BUT SPIRITUAL, BUT SO IS OUR PERSONAL AND ORGANISATIONAL ASSOCIATION; so they'll not be able to blame any one of you for the sins of the other—strike you, and fell your brother with you—but every man shall give an account of himself, and owe no man anything save to love him. We will help each other as needed, but this is strictly voluntary, not an organisational compulsion. EACH OF YOU IS ON HIS OWN, OR THE LORD'S OWN, just as your leaders must trust God for their needs. Nobody gets paid. All any of us get is our room and board, and such other needs as the Lord supplies. I love it that way, because there's no limit to what God can supply; it's better than a salary‚ and God knows exactly what you need, and every colony's and individual's needs can vary with the situation, and God is not limited in supplying whatever's necessary. Praise God! Hallelujah! I'VE LIVED THIS WAY MOST OF MY LIFE, and He's never failed once. He never makes a mistake. He never gives me too much or too little. I've never saved anything, but I've never run short. I don't own anything, but I have everything I need, and the same should be true of you. WHY HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND HEADACHES OF OWNERSHIP, along with its legal problems, when all you need to do is Use It! Let the other guy own it and worry about it! Let's us just Use It! "This world is not my home: I'm just a-passin' through!" Let him keep it, as long as I can use it! Hallelujah! What freedom! You own nothing, and nothing owns you—but the Lord! Praise God! What glorious liberty from the bondage of things! That guy in the Bible who wanted to build more barns to hold all the junk he didn't want to share with others, couldn't take it with him. His biggest problem was the barniness of his own soul. You gotta get the things out of you, as well as get you out of the things, or they become part of you, and you get barney too. THE ONLY THINGS YOU CAN TAKE WITH YOU ARE THE SOULS YOU WIN FOR THE LORD;—and those you'll enjoy for all eternity, immortal, indestructible, imperishable, everlasting! Isn't that great? That's the most, Man! That's the Eternal Trip! We're Free!...Free!...Free! Free at last‚ and everything we've got is free: free Salvation, free room and board‚ free instruction‚ free truth, free peace, free labour, and free love‚ free happiness, free spirits! Freedom is our business— and it's free! Hallelujah!
VIII. PROCESSING INCOMING MAIL (From "New Colonies II", 3/13/71)
ALSO‚ THE FULL QUOTA OF SHEETS OF PAPER IN AN ENVELOPE, especially these thin airmail envelopes, help to reinforce and strengthen them, so they're not so easily damaged. Remember, in one of these lightweight airmail envelopes‚ you can safely send, with the Lord's help, 13 sheets of airmail paper (the tissue-thin, onion-skin type, even legal size,) in one envelope, which is about the limit to what these envelopes can hold safely. So you see, the more you send in a single envelope, the more you save; because, for each additional half ounce, after the first one, you're sending only sheets of paper, and not another envelope—and this also saves time in addressing‚ stamping, mailing, and trips to the post office. Every little bit counts! Let's be good stewards of God's gifts. When God finds He can trust you with a little, tiny little things like a few pennies' postage, He'll give you more!