Ambassador College had survived its first two years, and was set to expand. Added to the original two and one-quarter-acre campus was Mayfair, a stately, 28-room, Tudor-style mansion. This addition expanded the campus to four acres. Used for on-campus housing, most of its re-landscaping was done by students.
In fall of 1949, the student enrollment grew to 12, with Richard Armstrong as the first student body president.
That same year, The World Tomorrow program was still being heard on only nine radio stations. Yet ratings agencies revealed that the program was the second highest rated in Chicago during its half-hour time-slot. Also, during this period, the Work continued to grow at its steady—yet extraordinary—rate of 30 percent each year, which was to continue for 35 years, beginning from 1935 and continuing through 1969, inclusively.
The College’s Fourth Year
The year 1950 saw a tight financial crunch for the Work, resulting in only four issues of The Plain Truth being published—and these had to be reduced to eight pages each.
That fall, ten new students had enrolled, and the school acquired its third piece of property—a camellia nursery, which became a small athletic field.
Also, for the first time, Ambassador College had freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes. This meant that the school’s first commencement ceremony was held in May 1951.
Snapshot of the Church
Even though the gospel was being spread across the nation and into Canada, the Church was still small, with only about 150 people and four congregations, helped by many co-workers. The Work was basically being done by a one-man ministry.
In the years Mr. Armstrong had been away from Oregon and Washington—acquiring airtime on radio stations, making quality recordings for the program, writing all of The Plain Truth articles, moving headquarters offices to southern California, founding and running a college, as well as teaching classes—the Eugene congregation had dwindled from approximately 100 people to about 30. Most brethren and field leaders lacked the vision Mr. Armstrong possessed. Without his constant, reassuring presence before them, many simply could not endure. Consequently, they were led astray by three would-be leaders. Even the 30 members who remained had split into two opposing factions.
Meanwhile, the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington congregations combined into one congregation, with only about 12 members.
The Church needed trained ministers and leaders in the field to stabilize congregations—fast!
The elders who rebelled, whom Mr. Armstrong had entrusted the care of the brethren, did not remain humble. With Mr. Armstrong far away, they began to view themselves with delusions of grandeur. They forgot they were not—on their own, without guidance from headquarters—equipped to feed Christ’s sheep the proper spiritual diet necessary to overcome the pulls of the flesh, the wiles of the devil, and the influences of the world Satan influences. They did not, on their own, know how to properly structure local Church functions in a way that would yield success and thus grow the local congregations, or how to set the right example before the brethren in speech, dress and conduct. These men were not extensively trained to protect Christ’s sheepfold from false doctrines and other snares.
The brethren in Washington and Oregon were in the midst of doctrinal confusion and opposing factions, led by false leaders. Mr. Armstrong soon came to recognize the root cause for the chaos: the right form of government—God’s government—had to be re-established in the Church.
Meantime, Mr. Armstrong was forced to scrap The Plain Truth mailing list and start from scratch. (The magazine had grown to 50,000 copies.) This solved part of the financial problem of not having enough money to publish so many issues.
Then he decided to publish a magazine for brethren and co-workers, offering practical, spiritual food: The Good News. He would train certain students to write articles for the magazine, giving them the necessary training and experience that would prepare them to eventually write for its sister publication, The Plain Truth.
Restoring God’s Government to His Church
Since first being called into the understanding of God’s truth in 1927, Mr. Armstrong had been perplexed over the years as to how the Church should be governed. God was not ready to reveal the towering truth of this most important biblical teaching until Ambassador College was established, providing a team of teachable, dedicated and trained leaders for Church headquarters and the field.
In his May 2, 1974 letter to brethren and co-workers, Mr. Armstrong explained why the Church abandoned the inefficient, chaotic, manmade government of democracy, and restored God’s government—administration from the top down. This extensive quote tells the pivotal story in his own words:
“Many times I have told you, dear Brethren, that when God first called me, beginning in the autumn of 1926, that the living Christ brought me into His truth a step at a time. YOU have not had to learn the truth so slowly—Christ used me to do it for you. And one of the very last truths He opened to me was that of CHURCH ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT! There was a reason for this.”
“I want to give you a brief synopsis of my association with the ‘Sardis’ church...”
“Brethren, I have felt it necessary that you should know and understand these things, so you may realize WHY I did not yet fully understand the truth regarding church government and organization, in February, 1939—MORE THAN 35 YEARS AGO—when I wrote an article on church organization.
“There had been much confusion and argument among the ‘Sardis’ brethren about church organization. When the new so-called ‘Bible Form of Church Organization’ was introduced at Salem, naturally the Stanberry people argued against it. I think we all became confused on the question. It’s like being too close to one tree to see the forest. I KNEW that the so-called ‘12, the 70, and the 7’ was entirely misapplied, and definitely NOT God’s form of organization. But also I knew that the ‘General Conference’ form was not Biblical. In both of those—Stanberry and Salem—the people voted—government from the bottom like these dissenters today.
“For this reason I did write an article more than 35 years ago, in the February, 1939, GOOD NEWS—WHICH WENT TO OUR OWN ‘Philadelphia Era’ MEMBERS—NOT to the Salem or Stanberry membership—intended to PROTECT OUR OWN MEMBERS WHO WERE MY OWN CONVERTS, AND NOT TO CONFUSE OR TAKE MEMBERS FROM EITHER OF THEM—proving that this so-called ‘Bible Form of Organization’ was NOT Biblical.
“By that time our own churches, and the RADIO CHURCH OF GOD were operating separately from either of them. But I had not, as yet, come to understand WHAT IS the true Bible form of church organization. When the true knowledge was revealed, LATER, to those of us in the ‘Philadelphia Era’ we put it into practice and PUBLISHED THIS TRUTH.
“Brethren, do you realize THIS IS THE ONLY CHURCH on earth, so far as I know, which has consistently GROWN in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18) as God commands. We GREW into the TRUE knowledge regarding church organization and government.
“We published an article revealing new truth about church organization in The GOOD NEWS, November, 1952, and again in August, 1953, ‘GOVERNMENT in Our Church,’ and in November, 1953, ‘JUDGING and DISCIPLINE in God’s Church.’ As God revealed truth, His Church accepted it. And long since, we came into the FULL TRUTH on church organization and government.”
“Now let’s look into New Testament teaching to see how this is POSITIVELY REVEALED.
“Take the Apostle Paul, called and chosen by Christ direct, as leader, under Christ, in getting THE WORK to the Gentiles, as well as the conducting of services in the churches, after the Work has resulted in conversions and local churches—that is, the function of ‘feeding the flock,’ after THE WORK has not only proclaimed the Gospel as a witness, but also resulted in conversions and adding members to the Church.
“I quoted from Galatians 2:7-8 about how Paul was assigned by Christ to head THE WORK to the Gentiles.
“Now notice Titus 1:4-5 and 2:15—Paul wrote to Titus (UNDER PAUL), ‘To Titus, mine own son after the common faith (even as those under me in THE WORK today, are MY own sons, directly or indirectly, in the Lord)...from God the Father (first in rank) and the Lord Jesus Christ (second in rank) our Savior. For this cause left I (next in rank—to Gentiles—under Christ) thee (under Paul’s authority in the Work) in Crete, that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders (under Titus who is under Paul, who is under Christ) in every city as I had appointed thee.’
“Paul gave reason, in the following verses, for GOVERNMENT and AUTHORITY in the Church—‘For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers...whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses (even as those fighting against order and government in God’s Church are doing today), teaching things they ought not (as right now), for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, (lazy gluttons – RSV)...This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.’ And Paul adds, chapter 2:15, ‘...and REBUKE, with ALL AUTHORITY.’
“Yes, God’s Government is NECESSARY in His Church, and He PUT IT THERE!
“No authority in the Church? What did God MEAN when He says in His Word, ‘OBEY them that have the RULE over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account (as I know I shall) that they may do it with JOY, and not with grief for that (causing those over you grief) is unprofitable for YOU. Pray for us (THOSE OF US GOD HAS SET IN AUTHORITY TODAY) for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things, willing to live honestly’ (Heb. 13:17-18).
“No government in God’s Church? Then WHY did God inspire this to the Thessalonians? ‘And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are OVER YOU in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves’ (I Thes. 5:12-13).
“One of the things SATAN works overtime in injecting into any mind that will let it enter, is RESENTMENT OF AUTHORITY. GOD’S authority is administered in LOVE—and actually as one SERVING those under His authority for THEIR GOOD and out of loving CONCERN for them. That is the way I try to use what authority God has delegated to me, and I try to teach those under me to use it in the same manner—as a servant, not one lording it over those under him—as JESUS gave us an example. Satan DESPISES government, except as HE himself harshly and in hate employs it.”
“Notice what Jesus taught: ‘And there was also a strife among them, which of them (Jesus’ disciples) should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them...but ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve’ (Luke 22:24-26). This same conversation is also recorded in Mark 10:42: ‘...ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them...but so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister...’ But no one can say Jesus had no authority.
“Years ago, seeing this, and not considering the many, MANY Scriptures charging some in the Church with authority, rulership, saying to ‘rebuke’ the unruly, etc., I took the above scriptures to mean there is no authority in the Church. I did not want to exercise authority. I was still NEW in God’s truth (this was over 40 years ago). So, in the early days of the parent Church of the Philadelphia era, at Eugene, Oregon, I allowed ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ to come in and sow the seeds of discord among brethren. It resulted in splitting the church in two—possibly turning half my flock onto the way that leads into a lake of fire! God had His own way of REBUKING ME SOUNDLY, making me see this in its true light. Jesus here is talking about THE MANNER in which the authority Christ delegates is used. He is NOT saying there is NO AUTHORITY.”
Mr. Armstrong learned that God’s government protects the Church. It also enabled the Work to leap forward, because without the bureaucratic “red tape” that is a natural by-product of democracy, Mr. Armstrong and leaders under him were able to smoothly administer and execute vital—and often time-sensitive—decisions.
Ranks, Offices, Functions and Duties
Mr. Armstrong knew that the “Rock” of the Old Testament—the One who spoke to Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, and worked through Moses to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt—was the Word, or Spokesman, of the God Family (John 1:1-2), who later became Jesus Christ (vs. 14; I Cor. 10:1-4). Since Christ is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8), and He declares, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal. 3:6), Mr. Armstrong came to realize that the same God who established a structured, top down government with ancient Israel (Ex. 18:19-22, 25-26), the Old Testament “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38), also established His government for spiritual Israel, the Church. Mr. Armstrong studied passages such as Ephesians 4 and I Corinthians 12, which list the ranks and offices within the true government of God, and describes the operations, duties and administrations that carry out God’s Work and structures, feeds and protects the Church.
In 1954, Mr. Armstrong wrote the following in the Good News magazine: “It’s vital that you know how God confers the authority of office in His Church.
“Jesus conferred upon His called ministers of His Church the keys of the Kingdom of God. He vested them with authority to guide His Church, and carry on His work, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
“But how can you know who carries this authority? How are those upon whom it is conferred ordained to office? How can you recognize the one and only true Church of God—the very Church Jesus said He would build—His body, thru whom the Spirit of God today carries on the work of God?”
“What is God’s order of authority in His Church?
“You find it in Ephesians 4:11-12: ‘And He (Christ, the head of the Church) gave some, apostles, and some, prophets, and some, evangelists, and some, pastors (leading or presiding elders of local churches), and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come to the unity of the faith...’ In other words, to prevent separate, independent, and competing work which would introduce confusion, and division, driving many out of the Body of Christ, God has organized government in His Church. That government is the government of God.
“It operates from God, at the top, on down. It is government of and by and from God the Father, thru Christ, thru God-called and ordained apostles, thru evangelists, thru pastors, thru teachers, in that order. This government means teamwork. It works for unity, not division.”
“Must God’s Ministers Be Ordained by the Hand of Man?”,
GN, May, 1954
As he came to understand that God’s government is structured with ranks and offices, Mr. Armstrong grew to recognize the true nature of the office and authority he held in the Church and in God’s Work.
For about the first 19 years in leading the Philadelphia era, Mr. Armstrong assumed that, in preaching the gospel and announcing the Ezekiel Warning, he was doing the work of an evangelist.
But it was during a Church festival, held at Belknap Springs, Oregon, in the autumn of 1951, when he was presented with a shocking statement. A man who had just graduated from Ambassador College delivered a sermonette in which he stated with unwavering conviction that “Mr. Armstrong is not a prophet—but a man called to the same kind of commission as the original evangelists and apostles of the first century Church of God: to proclaim the message—the announcement—the good news of the kingdom of God—the message that Christ brought from God and taught His disciples.”
The mere mention of being compared to an apostle made Mr. Armstrong uncomfortable. Initially, he decided to shrug off the sermonette as simply being that of a young man who got carried away in expressing his zeal.
Still, the message did inspire Mr. Armstrong to study the Bible to examine how God’s government was to function in the Church. Over the following year, he learned that the government of God is not a democracy—a system wherein the people rule, deciding who should be ordained into the ministry, how God’s Work should be carried out, and other crucial decisions. Rather, Jesus Christ directs His government through His ordained leaders, functioning from the top down—not as a ruthless dictatorship, as seen in the non-democratic governments and regimes of men (Luke 22:25), but with humility, wisdom, service, and with genuine love and outgoing concern for others, all while upholding the doctrines and traditions of the Bible.
The ministry of that government is structured, from the lowest office to the highest, with local elders, preaching elders, pastors, evangelists, prophets and apostles. Examining each office and then comparing them to how God had used him to preach the gospel and feed the Church, Mr. Armstrong slowly (and reluctantly) recognized that he held the office of apostle. (It was not until the 1970s, when a series of church-wide rebellions forced him to remind the brethren of the authority—and responsibility—Christ bestowed upon him.)
It has always solely been the duty of apostles to take the gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations—the whole world. This began with the original apostles, who were told by Jesus before Pentecost in A.D. 31 to “Go you, therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them...teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20).
Jesus foretold that the “gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world...unto all nations” before and up to “the end come” (Matt. 24:14), also called “the end of days” (Dan. 12:13) and “the time of the end” (vs. 4), just prior to Christ’s Return. For this to occur, an apostle had to exist in the modern age, when “Many shall run to and fro [mass transportation systems of superhighways, international flight and high-speed bullet trains], and knowledge shall be increased [mass media communications]” (same verse).
“The word apostle means ‘one sent forth,’ Mr. Armstrong explained in a 1978 Good News article.
“The New Testament Church of God received all its teachings, practices, customs, from the apostles, with Peter chief over all the others.
“Yet the apostles were the teachers, who instilled in the Church the beliefs, teachings, practices and customs of the Church. And all members of the Church were required by God to believe and speak the same thing!
“There was no doctrinal board! The teachings of the Church did not come from a council of ministers and/or lay members, who voted on what to believe.
“Right here, mark well this point: God put His truth into His church through Christ and through the apostles!
“Note this! The Church of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets...
“I have shown you...that Peter was leader of the apostles—and that the Church received its teachings and doctrines from the apostles!
“So now let it be made official—by Christ’s present-day apostle—that this binding and loosing plainly, clearly was given to Christ’s chief apostle—not to lower-rank ministers ordained by his authority—not by the Church as a body—but by the apostle!
“Jesus Christ is the living head of this Church! He built it through His apostle. And He, Christ, still rules supreme in the one and only area on earth where the government of God is being administered today!”
“How Christ Gives the Church its Beliefs,” GN, Nov. 20, 1978
By Their Fruits
When John the Baptist was in prison, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are You He that should come [the Christ, the prophesied Messiah], or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:2-3).
Jesus replied, “Go your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached” (vs. 4-5).
In answer to how he knew he was an apostle, Mr. Armstrong said in a July 21, 1978 sermon, “I will answer just as Jesus Christ answered when the messengers of John the Baptist came to Him and said, ‘Well John wants to know, are you really the Messiah that was to come?’ Jesus didn’t say yes or no. He said, ‘You go tell John what you hear and what you see being done. Go and show him the fruits of what you see coming from Me.’ By their fruits you shall know.
“No, back in 1933 I didn’t know. Well, how do I know now? Because I looked back in all these years, and I see the fruits. And you’re here as part of it. You’re part of the evidence. Because you’re here. And I had something to do with that. And so did Jesus Christ. And He was using me. I didn’t do it myself. And woe be to me if I ever take credit for doing it.”
God had used him to publicly preach the gospel to several towns and communities, and to broadcast it across the radio and through the pages of The Plain Truth, through which the gospel reached large regions of the United States, Canada and into Mexico. Mr. Armstrong had also been used to baptize a steady and growing number of believers, to heal the sick, and to establish new congregations and ordain elders and deacons within them.
Mr. Armstrong never tied his recognition of the office he held to an ordination service specifically designating him to the rank of apostle. He followed Christ’s instruction to look at the fruits of his work.
This is not to say that Mr. Armstrong was perfect. The authenticity of an apostle—or any minister—does not turn on whether he is or has been absolutely flawless in all his ways. Since no one is perfect—that is, without sin (Rom. 3:23; John 8:7)—this could never be the standard by which that person’s fruits are assessed. And God knows this.
Over the years, many have felt Mr. Armstrong could not have been an apostle because of what “people reported” about him. While he did make mistakes, and certainly committed sins—but nothing remotely close to what is reported—none of these could alter the office he held.
Consider some of God’s greatest servants. The apostle Peter was guilty of blatant racism, which caused Paul to address this with him face-to-face in Galatians 2. The Bible records this for us to see that even the chief apostle, whom Jesus had personally trained, was not perfect—in fact, far from it. And never mind the things that Peter did during his training, before receiving God’s Spirit.
Then there is Paul, who had doggedly and brutally persecuted the Church before he was converted (Phil. 3:6; I Tim. 1:15).
How many today would follow Noah if they knew he got drunk and, in his vulnerable drunken state, was abused by his grandson? Yet Noah is listed with Job and Daniel as “righteous men” of extraordinary spiritual stature (Ezek. 14:14, 20).
Then there is the terrible self-righteousness attitude of Job, reflected throughout the book bearing his name. Yet Job was loyal to God, faithful in observing His Law.
How many today would follow Abraham, called “the father of the faithful,” if they knew that he had lied twice out of fear regarding his wife Sarah—and offered her to a foreign king for sexual favors in order to save his own skin? Most would think Abraham not to be faithful at all, let alone the father of all who would have faith (Rom. 4:16) for the 7,000-year duration of God’s Plan.
Moses had a severe anger problem—and it kept him from entering the Promised Land. He also lacked faith in God’s ability to use him before Pharaoh. At times Moses wished to die because continuing to carry the tremendous burden of leading millions of accusative and constantly complaining Israelites seemed too difficult. In addition, he was a stutterer and previously killed an Egyptian in a violent encounter.
Stubbornly rebelling against God using him to warn Nineveh, Jonah wished to die. So did Elijah and Job. So did Mr. Armstrong, who chronicled this in his autobiography. Of course, all repented and kept going forward.
Certainly Samuel, Aaron and Eli were not renowned for their child-rearing skills—look at the lives of their sons.
Finally, there was King David. Where do we start with him? He was guilty of adultery with the wife of one his most faithful servants, whom David then murdered—even requiring the complicity of other servants to pull it off. In another moment of weakness, David, lacking faith in God to protect his kingdom, numbered the army of Israel. He also fell far short of exercising good childrearing training. And yet, upon his resurrection and being born into the kingdom of God, David will lead all the tribes of Israel, with the 12 original apostles reporting to him.
No, Mr. Armstrong was not perfect, and neither is any apostle. His fruits were discerned by the things he accomplished in serving God—not by someone’s list of real or perceived sins. If Jesus Christ is truly using a man—placing him to the high office of apostle, and charging him with great responsibility—his validity does not depend on whether people think he “passes muster.”
Here is something else to consider: What would be the point of Christ appointing a man to an office or responsibility—any office or responsibility—and then not reveal to His Church how to know that He had done so—and how to distinguish that man from imposters? What if the office were so broad in scope and authority that it affected every possible aspect and element concerning the functioning of the Church around the world—what it believed, including doctrines and traditions, its commissions, who held offices at every level within it, including who became ministers and who did not, who made various levels of decisions and when, as well as who had final authority over God’s tithes, among others? How is the Church to know to follow him? How would other ministers know to defer to one with such extraordinary and all-encompassing authority?
Obviously, Christ would never leave in doubt the means for knowing. He would have to establish the criteria in a way that none who truly knew where and how He was at work could be confused or mistake this. And the means Christ presented would have to be above debate, crystal clear. He has done that: “Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:20).
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “If you’ve watched the growth and development of this work for any length of time—the rich and abundant harvest of precious souls being reaped by it—the miracles of healing and changed lives God is performing with and thru it, then you’ll recognize, and you’ll know—and exult in joy and great rejoicing in the recognition—that this is indeed the very work of God!
“You’ll know it by its fruits—rich, abundant, continuous.”
“And Now...ON TO EUROPE!”, GN, April 1952
From the time he understood the true nature of his office, hundreds of thousands believed Mr. Armstrong was an apostle of Jesus Christ—and the meteoric growth and international expansion of the Church and Work served as testimony to this.
“And This Gospel Shall Be Preached”
With the ranks and offices of the New Testament ministry restored, the Church and the Work began to expand and flourish.
Staffed with trained writers and editors to help him, Mr. Armstrong began to offer The Plain Truth over the air once again. This began with the June 1953 issue.
There was even more exciting news in the Work: God had opened the door for broadcasting The World Tomorrow program on the most powerful station on the planet—Radio Luxembourg! Finally, Mr. Armstrong’s voice was being heard in Europe!
However, Mr. Armstrong had faced an interesting challenge as the door opened for Radio Luxembourg:
“In the fall of that year , time did finally open to us on Radio Luxembourg. But it was altogether different from broadcasting to an American audience. Luxembourg is a small country sandwiched in between Germany, Belgium, and France—and its powerful signal heard in several other countries. Their very commercial life depends on being careful in what not to allow to be said over their powerful facilities. They allow no political propaganda not even any allusions to anything political. And, in accepting religious broadcasts, the station obviously enforces strict rules that no offense is given to any religion or religious belief.
“In speaking on biblical prophecy, dealing with today’s world events, we soon learned we had to become very familiar with their policies, lest our analysis of today’s world news be construed as an allusion to things political.
“November 22, 1952, was a historic day for us!
“On that day I recorded the first broadcast for Radio Luxembourg!
“I have written many times about how Christ opened the giant door of Radio Luxembourg to proclaim His gospel to Europe precisely nineteen years—one time-cycle—after the beginning of the work in 1934. The door of radio first opened on the first Sunday in 1934. Our first broadcast to Europe occurred the first Thursday in 1953—the first week in January both times!
“but we did not plan it that way! GOD DID!
“My November 22 recording was rejected by the station. A second try was rejected. The third time I had finally come to comprehend clearly the station policies—and it was accepted! It went on the air the first week in January, 1953!”
Along with the magazine, this, with other stations blanketing the United States and parts of Canada, meant that Christ’s true gospel was being preached to humanity at large for the first time in 1,900 years! The last time this gospel message had been widely proclaimed was in A.D. 53, by Paul. This gospel OF Christ had been suppressed and counterfeited by a false gospel ABOUT Christ. Now mankind was beginning to hear that true message of hope once again.
Speaking of the impediments to going on the air in Britain, Mr. Armstrong described the miraculous events that allowed the preaching of the gospel to continue in that country:
“The British government would not allow any broadcasting facilities within its jurisdiction that might be used by God’s servants to proclaim God’s message of this hour to the British peoples!
“But God was determined to get His message to the British!
“So, the first week in 1953, God’s message started getting into Britain from Europe—when The World Tomorrow program began going out on the superpowered voice of Radio Luxembourg!
“When Radio Luxembourg was no longer effective for this message, God raised up broadcasting stations on ships, anchored just outside Britain’s jurisdiction. ‘The World Tomorrow’ was then thundered over all of Britain daily, from seven of these ships” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy).
Late 1953 saw another big leap in doing the Work: The radio program was broadcast over the ABC national radio network. This meant an instant audience of millions of listeners to 90 radio stations throughout the U.S.—including 50,000-watt stations in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other metropolitan areas.
God’s Work could now truly take off as never before!
Having His Picture Published
For years, many listeners of the radio program and readers of the magazine sent letters to Mr. Armstrong, requesting that he show a photograph of himself. Naturally, they wanted to see the face of the man who spoke and wrote so boldly.
While Mr. Armstrong loved to preach the gospel message, he wanted people to focus on it—not on himself. This is why, for many years, he did not send photographs of himself to brethren and co-workers.
However, one letter finally changed his mind. “I can’t quote that letter word for word,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “but it said, in effect: ‘What have you got to hide, Mr. Armstrong? Why do you refuse to let us listeners know what you look like? Are you trying to cover up something? Suppose you attend a church service, and the pastor hides behind the pulpit. Suppose he lets the congregation hear his voice, but he hides his face. Wouldn’t you get suspicious? Wouldn’t you think he was covering up something? When I go to church, I want to see what the preacher looks like, as well as to listen to his sermon. A man’s character shows in his face. Are you ashamed of yours? why won’t you publish your picture?’”
Mr. Armstrong did just that, publishing his picture in the November 1951 issue of The Good News. Over the years, as he increasingly became a public figure, he allowed more photos of himself to be published.
Yet here is the irony: Because he finally (and reluctantly) did this, he was falsely accused of promoting himself!
Listeners Respond to Radio Luxembourg
The following excerpts were taken from Mr. Armstrong’s March 1954 Member/Co-Worker letter:
“The broadcast, and The PLAIN TRUTH, are literally shaking Britain [and Europe]! You probably have no conception of the tremendous influence this program, which is made possible by your dollars and your PRAYERS, is having on our British cousins overseas!
“Letters are pouring in by the hundreds! British leaders tell me the effect of The WORLD TOMORROW on Britain is almost beyond belief! They are being STIRRED more than you people in America ever were!
“So now look over my shoulder, as it were—here are just a FEW of the thousands of letters:”
A man in the Royal Air Force, stationed in Wales, wrote: “I am writing to sincerely thank you for your wonderful, inspired radio programme, which we hear on Radio Luxembourg, and for the January ‘54 issue of your ‘Plain Truth’ magazine. I really must tell you how much your radio programme and magazine mean to me personally and my friends in the R.A.F. who listen to your programme. We hear many religious programmes but we honestly believe that the ‘World Tomorrow’ is the ‘Tops’ for sincerity and interest…The Plain Truth is quite definitely the most forthright and down to earth magazine I have ever read. It sets out your message so clearly and distinctly and I only wish I could assist you with a contribution. But as you know, the Chancellor of the Exchequer forbids sending money out of the country. Well, Mr. Armstrong, I hope you will have many such letters as mine from Great Britain and the rest of Europe; don’t ever take your programme from Radio Luxembourg—it is needed here as everywhere.”
From an official of a large British religious federation: “Dear Brother in Israel: I was asked by a friend some time ago if I ever listened to you on Radio Lux.; and when I did, I came to the conclusion that you knew where modern Israel was, and the meaning of these days. Your magazine, for which I sincerely thank you is to hand today, and confirms what I thought. I have read it with great appreciation. Those who know this truth (our identity is ISRAEL) are VERY many today in these islands, and in the Commonwealth. I would like to tell you for your encouragement that you are listened to by many more people than your mail might indicate. I have been amazed at the number of people who have told me they listen to you regularly. May God’s blessing rest on your witness.”
From Cornwall, England: “Dear Mr. Armstrong: So many times we have intended writing you regarding your Gospel broadcast over Radio Luxembourg. Truly it is a very special time of spiritual uplift. We do thank God that He has privileged us to be amongst your vast audience to listen to your inspiring messages of the Scriptures. I’m sure, too, that your ministry will be mightily used to enlighten the intellectuals, because you can meet them on their own ground. The Holy Spirit is truly revealing wonderful truths through you. My father and I are just ordinary simple folks, and we would surely like to say a big ‘THANK YOU’ to you for your profound yet simple messages.”
From Genoa, Italy: “Dear Sir: Last Monday night I heard your very interesting broadcast…The programme was a rather unusual one. I should like to know something more of it. It appears to be both religious and scientific. I have never heard a programme just like yours. Thanks for the broadcast. Perhaps you would send me your magazine.”
From Oslo, Norway: “Dear Mr. Armstrong: Thank you very much for your interesting programme that reached me from Radio Luxembourg yesterday. I should be thankful to receive your offered book.”
From Malung, Sweden: “Dear Mr. Armstrong: I have been very glad to listen to your radio message last night over Radio Luxembourg, and I will say you my heartily thanks for that. In the same time, I will wish you God’s richest blessing over your works for God in this style. I will be very thankful to you when you will send me a copy of your book.”
From Paris, France: “Dear Mr. Armstrong: I heard you again last night from Luxembourg. I admire your zeal, ability, and courage. May the Lord bless you richly in bringing pure light to those who are confused…Send me please The Plain Truth and ‘What is Prophesied.’ When I was recently in Yugoslavia crowds of people were seeking the Lord,—something unusual. Could you do something for East Europe also?”
From Belfast, North Ireland: “Dear Mr. Armstrong: I am thrilled to hear your message of hope these past Mondays over Radio Luxembourg. I should like to have you put my name down for the booklet you offered so kindly over this station last night. I am not being greedy, but then I am sure you will understand, as this Kingdom message of hope for the future is not touched by most churches, so I would like to hear more. Once again thanking you for your hope-inspiring messages, and I trust God may bless your efforts in His work.”
From Neslandsvat, Norway: “Dear Sir: I have been listening to your program over Radio Luxembourg, and I am sending you a few words to let you know that I am very thankful to God and to you every time I hear the Gospel go out in the air like that.”
From Denmark: “Dear Mr. Armstrong, Yesterday I tuned in to your broadcast over Radio Luxembourg. Your powerful message attracted me, and as it was new thought for me, the wish arose in my heart to study those thoughts a little closer. Therefore, I was happy that you later on offered a little book written by you which I should be very glad to read. I must say that your message interested me very much and I am looking forward to being better acquainted with you through the printed page. Your talk yesterday was very powerful and inspiring.”
Here is how Mr. Armstrong commented on these and other numerous letters:
“My, how these letters ought to warm our hearts, and encourage us to PRESS ON! Just remember, as you read these heart-touching letters, it is YOUR DOLLARS that are being turned into THE VERY WORD OF GOD, finding lodgment in the hearts of these people in MANY NATIONS.”
A Zest for Languages
The August 1952 issue of The Plain Truth was the first to offer articles written by people other than Mr. Armstrong. One was written by his son Richard, with a dateline from London, England. He was overseas in order to pursue his dream of visiting Paris. Richard Armstrong had a natural gift for learning languages. He was so proficient that he could speak French as fluently as a natural-born Frenchman.
Meanwhile, for the first time in years, the Church added two new congregations: Big Sandy, Texas, and San Diego, California. With the overall addition of 300 people, the Church of God grew by 200 percent!
“The Pressure Cooker”
The Church did continue to grow, and so did the Work. Meanwhile, Ambassador College continued teaching and training new leaders.
Students were not just taught how to make a living, but also how to LIVE. Their four years of study were filled with working, serving and growing. The student body remained tiny—for quite a while, less than a hundred. But this enabled everyone to get to know each other. And, when it came to activities, everyone was involved in everything.
There was Ambassador Club, a virtually mandatory once-a-week speech club that taught the men to give speeches, think on their feet and take leadership roles. There were also Women’s Clubs, which developed the cultural refinement of the young ladies.
Physical education and Bible courses were also mandatory.
There were foreign language clubs—French, German and Spanish—which helped and encouraged students to learn how to speak second languages without accents. There was also the campus newspaper, The Portfolio, which was a training ground for potential writers for the Work.
In the early years of Ambassador College, students had to work part-time jobs, 20 hours per week, at a minimum of two hours per day. They were all responsible for maintaining the campus grounds, and even for keeping their dorms clean.
Students were also strongly encouraged to pray, and to study their Bibles daily. Prayer closets were provided for them to have the much-needed privacy that shared dorm rooms did not offer.
There was the Ambassador Chorale, in addition to sports, cheerleading, pep bands, dances, dinner functions, and more. A typical day in the life of a student began at 5 or 6 a.m. and ended at 10-11 p.m.
The Magnificence of Ambassador College
“Recapturing true values”—this was the motto of Ambassador College. Mr. Armstrong wanted the college to reflect the grace, excellence and magnificence of God. His hope was that the quality, beauty and elegance of the campus would inspire the growth and development of godly character and balanced attitudes in Ambassador students.
The property was in a continuous state of improvement, with special focus on horticultural projects, floriculture and floral designs, irrigation and grounds maintenance. Ambassador College was home to more than 1,000 trees, with 47 varieties of flowers and 40 kinds of shrubs. Its grounds featured formal Italian sunken gardens, a reflecting pool and a fountain with five bronze egrets.
Buildings had to be periodically refurbished to maintain their unique look of quality. Many had exquisite interiors constructed of curly birch, Hungarian ash, fumed oak, maple, slash-grained Oregon pine, myrtle, redwood and Peruvian mahogany.
With the purchase of the Fowler estate in 1947, Ambassador College began, and with the purchase, in 1949, of Mayfair (a Tudor-style mansion), expansion began. Over the years, the campus grew, and received community and national recognition for its beautiful environment.
The college’s crowning achievement—Ambassador Auditorium (below)—was completed in 1974. Beloved by the Church as “God’s House,” and home to the headquarters congregation, this multipurpose concert hall seated an audience of 1,262, and, through the years, featured a variety of world-renowned artists, including Arthur Rubinstein, Beverly Sills, Luciano Pavarotti, Mel Torme, Sarah Vaughan, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Victor Borge, Marcel Marceau, Bing Crosby and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few. The theater had 16 bronze doors, each weighing 200 pounds. The auditorium’s foyer was decorated with rose onyx and a bronze, 2,500-pound, 30-foot chandelier, with 1,390 crystals from Germany. The grand lobby had a candelabra composed of Baccarat crystal from France. The lobby and lower lounge walls were covered with rose onyx from Turkey and Iran, and the stairway and balcony-level handrails were crafted from a rare African wood, selected for its grain and color, resembling rosewood.
Ambassador College truly reflected quality, refinement, beauty and grace.
Layout of Ambassador College Campus
The Auditorium: Below are three interior views, one of the beautiful, ornate foyer chandelier, two of the concert hall, and above is the splendid rose onyx behind the chandelier, that served as a backdrop for the Auditorium’s dedication to “The Great God.”
Students who felt overwhelmed by the constant activity were told that they were given too many things to do on purpose—so that they would get their priorities straight. True character can only be built under pressure. And Ambassador College was known as a “pressure cooker.” It was commonly said that “One year at Ambassador College was the equivalent of four years in ‘the field.’”
Stepping Into the World of Television
By 1950, there were 74 million television sets in America. In 1955, 7.8 million more sets were produced. It was beginning to look like radio would soon be replaced by TV.
Always looking to employ the latest, most efficient technology to do the Work, Mr. Armstrong and others around him felt it was time to broadcast The World Tomorrow program on television. He knew and understood that this emerging medium would allow the gospel message to reach even more people.
Yet, after careful review, Mr. Armstrong learned that radio was not “dead” after all. In 1955, there were about 14.5 million radios produced. Many consumers were buying two to four radios per household, while the average home had only one television.
In 1956, the radio program was broadcast to Asia and parts of Africa.
The following year, The Plain Truth graduated to two colors, with booklets being produced in Spanish. And the Church, with growing congregations being led by trained ministers, had increased to about 2,750 people.
Over the next few years, TV sets saturated the nation, eventually causing radio to take a back seat to this more efficient and effective medium. In 1967, God opened the door, and The World Tomorrow television program began to be aired in households across America.
Upon graduating from Ambassador College, Richard D. Armstrong was ordained into the full-time ministry. It was he who set up the London mailing address for radio listeners in Europe to send in their requests. Later, he became pastor over the Riverside, California church.
In late July 1958, Richard Armstrong and another man were on a baptizing tour, driving northward up the Pacific Coast. The road they were taking, Highway 101, was a dual highway, with one-way traffic on each side, divided by a short space. As they drove at night, the men did not notice that the highway became separated, with two parallel lanes divided by a much wider section of land.
They were driving on the wrong side of the road! Before they knew what was happening, their car was hit head-on, resulting in a three-car crash. Richard Armstrong was knocked unconscious and taken to a nearby hospital.
By the time Mr. Armstrong rushed to his bedside, his son was conscious, but in critical condition. His jaw was broken in several places. The accident had shoved his heart over to the middle of his chest. His left lung had collapsed, and his kidneys were not functioning. The doctors felt it necessary to move him to a medical center in Los Angeles, where an artificial kidney would be used to stimulate his own kidneys.
But after the ambulance trip there, Richard D. Armstrong died. He was survived by a wife and baby boy.
The following excerpts from Mr. Armstrong’s autobiography reveal how the tragic loss of their firstborn son deeply affected both him and Mrs. Armstrong:
“But the great God had plans I did not know. I was perfectly satisfied with the one son. We did not plan to have another. A year and four months later, Garner Ted was born—and I then felt doubly blessed—with two sons.
“But when God took from me—or allowed to be taken—my firstborn son, on July 30, 1958—less than three months before his thirtieth birthday—well, it seemed that I could have some little understanding of how Abraham must have felt when he expected to have to give up his son Isaac—or even God the Father of all, in giving His Son Jesus Christ for me as well as for the world.
“Dick’s death occurred early Wednesday morning, July 30, 1958. The accident had occurred the preceding Wednesday morning. The funeral was set for Friday, August 1. The day in between, Thursday July 31, Mrs. Armstrong and I shared a very sorrowful 41st wedding anniversary.
“On Wednesday...I drove in my car to inspect cemeteries—which I had not had occasion to do before in Pasadena. I do not now remember whether Mrs. Armstrong and Lois went along. Necessary arrangements were completed.”
“To say that my comparatively brief graveside sermon was an ordeal would be a gross understatement. I had learned, many years before, in conducting many funerals, to steel my nerves and remain calm, with controlled emotions. But speaking at Dick’s funeral was altogether different. I found myself speaking in a louder, more concentrated voice than usual in a supreme effort to prevent emotional loss of control.
“I remember quoting a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, regarding the duty of those of us remaining to carry on the great work to which God had called us.
“My first impulse was to remain away from the Saturday afternoon college church service. I didn’t want to see anybody. Nor did Mrs. Armstrong. But then I realized it was my duty to attend.
“I thought of entering at the last moment, and sitting in the front row before any could speak to me or offer condolences. But then I realized that some of the students had erroneously assumed that ministers were under such divine protection that no such tragedy could occur to one of them. Dick’s accident and death might shatter this faith. I knew I had to bring a message that would bolster and strengthen, not destroy, faith.
“These experiences were perhaps the most severe test I had ever been called on to experience. But of course I knew where to go for strength, wisdom, and help.”
During the turbulent 1960s, the Work and God’s Church continued to mushroom in size and power. By the end of the decade, The Plain Truth reached more than 2.2 million copies per year. The Radio Church of God exploded in attendance, from approximately 7,000 in 1960 to more than 54,000 in North America by 1969.
The Breathtaking Campus Grounds
The award-winning Ambassador College grounds were renowned for beautiful buildings and landscaping, such as the stunning and stately Ambassador Hall.
Many of the campus buildings were filled with elegance and a feeling of quality, as seen in this view of the central foyer of Ambassador Hall.
Mayfair was used in its earlier years as a student center and dining hall. Later, it served as a residence for female students.
The Italian sunken gardens, with the Science and Fine Arts Buildings and Ambassador Hall in the background.
A sculpture of a sword being beaten into a plowshare, located on the Pasadena campus.
A view of a garden on the Big Sandy, Texas, campus.
West entrance to Ambassador Hall
Lower gardens—scene of many on-campus weddings, focusing on where couples stood
Stairs descending from Ambassador Hall to Hall of Administration
Fountain sculpture in Italian sunken gardens
Fuller view of Italian sunken gardens
Up until 1960, there had only been one Feast site for the brethren to attend God’s fall festival. But in 1961, another site was added. Another came in 1963. By the end of the 60s, there were five major (and two smaller) Feast sites in North America, ranging from 7,602 to 12,250 attendees, with additional sites located in other parts of the world.
In the meantime, with Mr. Armstrong skillfully guiding the master plan, Ambassador College was also growing, acquiring new properties that greatly expanded the scope of the Pasadena campus, including the addition of properties nearby that were not directly contiguous with the 59-acre campus. The college began to take on an extraordinary, even breathtaking, beauty that could only be likened to a very large, perfectly manicured garden. In fact, there were the lower gardens, the Italian sunken gardens, the Japanese gardens, and several others. The 1970s would see the college win national awards year after year, recognizing it as the most beautiful campus in America.
More and more people took note of this remarkable college near the intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards, where the Rose Parade began every year. Residents from the community, and Church members visiting from around the world, enjoyed tours that were offered for anyone who wished to see the beauty of what God had placed together on just four square blocks that were eventually integrated into one magnificent campus.
In 1960, a second campus opened, this time in the United Kingdom. Once again, Mr. Armstrong was led to another magnificently landscaped property, located on a ten-acre estate 19 miles northwest of London, in Bricket Wood. With the Work growing around the world in quantum leaps, it was necessary to train more students with an international background so that they could return to serve in their own countries, either in the ministry or in the growing number of regional offices serving an expanding Church, now with members on every continent and in scores of countries.
Mr. Armstrong held a special affection for the beauty and formality of the Bricket Wood campus, taking every natural occasion to fit a visit to this relaxing, stately campus into his schedule.
Also in 1960, Mr. Armstrong completed his first trip around the world, arranging for 39 radio stations to blanket Australia with the program.
In 1964, God inspired Mr. Armstrong to establish yet one more Ambassador College campus, this time in Big Sandy, Texas. This opportunity was presented to the Church as a result of property donated by long-time Texas members.
Because of its unique rural setting, with open fields on rolling hills, this campus allowed for agricultural studies and an experimental station. While it had already served for several years as a Feast location, this property was natural for being developed into the third and final Ambassador College campus. In later years, it included an airstrip and was used as one of the Church’s North American summer camps. By that time, summer camps had to be established in various parts of the world to help in the experience and training of the large and growing number of young people being taught God’s Way.
As mentioned, international offices of the Work were set up and staffed in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico and the Caribbean. These all allowed for greater efficiency in serving local peoples where they lived.
In 1967, The Plain Truth became a four-color magazine, with 52 pages per issue. By the end of the decade, the magazine had become truly respected and well-known, and was being read by every strata of society across the world, including the “rich and famous” and various world leaders, who understood that it was an absolutely unique publication, unlike anything else they were reading.
With the growing television presence of The World Tomorrow and other amazing developments, and the Work continuing to increase by 30 percent each year, the Church changed its corporate name to better reflect its size and growth. In 1968, the Radio Church of God became the Worldwide Church of God (WCG).
The 1960s were truly the decade that changed the Church and its impact around the world in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission of taking the gospel of the kingdom of God to the world. While the world was undergoing enormous changes in the “turbulent 60s,” none of them for the better, God’s Work was fast-forwarding, enjoying unprecedented unity, peace and growth. Though this was to change later, in a dramatic way, wonderful fruit continued to be borne in virtually every aspect of the Work throughout the decade.
Throughout this period, as big, far-reaching decisions had to be made on an almost regular basis, Mr. Armstrong expressed that it was vital to always seek wide—and wise—counsel before proceeding. Of course, the Work would continue to face major decisions to walk through new doors as they opened to expand the Work. But where God was guiding, and where His servants were pleasing Him, much growth, many blessings and an abundance of fruit continued to be evident. God continued to inspire Mr. Armstrong, even though there was still the occasional persecution or seeming setback.
The following recounts another most painful event to Mr. Armstrong personally and the Church collectively.
Another Great Loss
Sadly, Mr. Armstrong had to experience another death, in this case, of the person closest to him. Loma D. Armstrong, his wife of nearly 50 years, died in April of 1967. Since the college’s founding, students looked up to her, almost as a grandmother-like figure. Mrs. Armstrong had always made herself available to all the female students, who at times came to her when they were feeling homesick or just wanted someone to talk to. She had such a graceful and personable presence, brethren would sometimes write letters to her, and she would answer them. Mr. Armstrong always considered his wife to be one-half of his ministry, yet she stayed in the background, because she did not seek or enjoy attention. Theirs had been truly a wonderful marriage and partnership.
Here is how Mr. Armstrong told the Church about the death of his wife and constant companion through all that this book has but briefly described:
“...I am deeply sorry to have to announce...that my wife’s critical illness has ended in the manner least expected—in her death just after midnight Saturday morning, April 15. In the next second of her consciousness she will awake in the Resurrection, completely healed—and, far more than we beseeched God in our earnest prayers, not in the corruptible body of this mortal flesh and blood, but in an immortal spirit body, in glory in God’s eternal Kingdom!
“Thirty-four years ago, at this same time of year, when my father died having reached his seventieth year, I had to learn that God’s promises are absolutely secure—but not always in the way we expect. For His ways are not our ways. In the ‘Faith Chapter’ of the Bible, Hebrews 11, speaking of the example of faith set by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—’the Fathers’—and of Sarah, we read: ‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them...that they, without us, should not be made perfect.’ (Heb. 11:13 and 40.)
“Had they received the promises by their faith at that time, then you and I would have been left out. But God’s promises to them are irrevocably secure! They shall receive them in the resurrection—and many thousands or millions of us also with them.
“God has promised to heal the sick, upon real repentance and faith. But God has not promised how, or when! That, we must leave to Him in faith.
“We did fully expect that God would heal her now. True, she was seventy-five and a half years of age. Even King David, who had been rescued from death, and healed from near-death more than once, ‘died in a good old age, full of days,’ at age seventy. (I Chron. 29:28). In I Kings 1:1, it is stated that ‘King David was old, and stricken with years,’ just before his death.
“God already had given my wife five and a half years more of this life than He gave David. She was just a few months older than I, though part of each year we were ‘the same age,’ as they are counted. Yet neither of us have felt or acted in any manner like ‘old folks,’ or ‘elderly’ people. We never thought of her as being anywhere near seventy!
“God had called her, and then me through her. He had chosen us for His Work. He had built His great Work through us, bearing great and rich spiritual ‘fruit.’...
“If you’ll read John 15, you’ll realize that God corrects, ‘prunes,’ or ‘purges’ every branch in Christ which is producing fruit—that they may bring forth more fruit. It is only those bearing none that He cuts off.
“This great Work of God not only has produced fruit—but right now God is opening gigantic new doors for His Work to multiply in power!
“In our human thinking, it seemed God would heal her now, that she could continue the remaining few years as my help in the closing years of God’s Work preparing the way for Christ’s coming, and the Kingdom of God, ushering in the wonderful World Tomorrow! But, we know now, God had intended otherwise...
“To all you who have come to a reawakening through her recent illness, let me plead: Carry on, in this spiritually rejuvenated new life! Never slacken! Never lose courage! Now I need your help more than ever!” (Brethren/Co-Worker Letter, April 17, 1967).
A Big Door Opens
The following year, in 1968, Mr. Armstrong’s ministry entered an unprecedented new stage. King Leopold III of Belgium sent word through the Church’s German office that he would like to meet Mr. Armstrong. The two met at the king’s Belgian chateau, and started what became a long friendship. It also led to the opening of a monumental door—one that would put Mr. Armstrong in the presence of kings, prime ministers and other heads of state around the world.