Many of our readers, upon picking up their first copy of the Trumpet, exclaim how they recognize the same message the Plain Truth carried for 52 years under the direction of its founder, Herbert W. Armstrong. Subscribers even point to similarities between our style of writing and presentation compared to the Plain Truth in its heyday.
There is a reason for this—and it will be made plain in this, our tenth-anniversary issue of the Trumpet. This month, we look back at our roots. Some of our readers are familiar with this history—most are not.
But regardless of when you came on board, this issue will be a real eye-opener. The sheer number of prophetic statements made by Mr. Armstrong and his editorial team, and their accuracy, will astound you.
We began this project several weeks ago. A team of Trumpet staffers divided up all the Plain Truths on hand and began scouring every article, looking for bold predictions. When finished, we copied the highlighted pages and sorted them into four main subjects: Europe, the United States and Britain, the Middle East, Asia. Our News Bureau then helped us match the prophetic statements we found in the Plain Truth with what actually happened, or is now happening.
This anniversary issue is the fruit of that labor. Originally, we had planned to increase the size of this special edition by 16 pages. But two days before our deadline, we added another four just to fit everything in! This issue is by no means exhaustive. But it does pretty well encapsulate what the Plain Truth was about for more than 50 years.
Before we begin, however, let’s bring our newer readers up to speed. You might wonder what happened to the Plain Truth. One example, in particular, will explain.
For more than five decades under Mr. Armstrong’s leadership, year in and year out the Plain Truth had powerfully and consistently shouted a warning in print about the revival and unification of Germany. It proclaimed that Germany would be the dominant force behind a powerful union of European nation-states that would surpass the Russian bloc and even Britain and America in power and hegemony. Imagine predicting that when Germany lay in rubble after World War II. That’s what the Plain Truth did.
Mr. Armstrong did not live to see the Berlin Wall breached on November 9, 1989, or Germany unite on October 3 a year later. By that time, however, an amazing thing had occurred—those who took over publishing the Plain Truth after Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986 had totally changed its editorial policy!
Here is what the publishers of the “new look” Plain Truth said about that earth-shattering event in 1989: “Following the spectacular news about the opening of the Berlin Wall, we unexpectedly received a call from a news station in Seattle. The news director was well aware of the World Tomorrow program and the fact that for more than 40 years the Church had been predicting the reunification of Europe in some form. He asked for on-air comments about whether the Church believed the opening of the wall was the commencement of end-time prophetic events.
“We responded that it was premature to make statements like that….
“The news director was disappointed that we would not proclaim this to be the absolute beginning of end-time events, but it was interesting that he did say that what the Church has predicted from the Bible was remarkably close to what appears to be happening” (Worldwide Church of God Pastor General’s Report, Nov. 21, 1989).
To long-time readers of the Plain Truth, such a weak assessment of the dramatic events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall was dumbfounding. The magazine had lost its vision, its reason for being! It was fast beginning to deny its editorial heritage of bold outspokenness based on the forecasting of events founded on “a more sure word of prophecy” (II Pet. 1:19). Readership dropped off quickly. Soon the publishers were facing a financial crisis as subscribers’ donations disappeared. Readers and supporters of Mr. Armstrong’s flagship magazine decamped in droves.
At one time, those readers had a vision—a vision of reality that gave them a confidence in the future. Millions of Plain Truth readers who saw the Berlin Wall tumbling down via television news combed the pages of the Plain Truth in vain, searching for a perspective on the next event that would hasten the rise of the Europower Mr. Armstrong had prophesied.
Many of those former Plain Truth readers are now among the quarter-million who receive this magazine.
Ten years ago, we started the Trumpet with a shoestring budget, a handful of subscribers and one objective: to pick up where Mr. Armstrong left off.
That’s what we have done.