TO PERMIT the balancing of our accounts and the rendering of them before the first of the year, it is our custom to start each financial year on December 1st. The sum total of the work reported a year ago was so large for us that we doubted if it would not be our banner year. Additionally, the threats of our enemies were heard on every hand. They boasted that before another year our Society's work would be stopped. The basis of this threat was their intended and already started campaign of slander, abuse, misrepresentationanything to stop us. In closing our last year's Report we said: "Let us not be fearful of the great Adversary's roar, when like a roaring lion he would seek to intimidate us. 'Be of good courage, and the Lord shall strengthen thine heart.'"
Without judging the majority of the ministers of Christ of various denominations we may surely say that the experiences of the past year have abundantly demonstrated that some very mean men are wearing the livery of Heaven, professing to be the mouthpieces of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our kindest thought respecting them is that the great Adversary is blinding them, much as he did the great Saul of Tarsus. And our hope for them is that, like Saul, they will ere long be smitten down by a great light from Heaven, and hear in their consciences a voice saying, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest"; and that then some of these rabid foes of the Truth may become its staunch servants.
We are sure that our readers are awaiting this Report with keen interest. Wonderful as it may seem, it is our privilege to report that the past year has been in every way our most successful one. The more the Lord permitted our enemies to assail us, the more did He strengthen and comfort our hearts with evidences of His favor. He demonstrated that He who is on our part is mightier than all that be against us.
Indeed, we have had various evidences that the vicious attack of certain ministers has had an effect the very reverse of what they intended. The public have seen the Adversary's spirit manifested; and even worldly people know the difference between the Spirit of Christthe spirit of meekness, the spirit of loveand the contrary spirit of Satanthe spirit of malice, hatred, envy, evil-speaking, strife. If God sees best to awaken some of His children to thought by the wolfish growling of some who pose as representatives of the Great Shepherd, it is not for us to question the Divine Wisdom, but to say with the Master, "The cup which My Father hath poured, shall I not drink it?"
Nor is the Editor alone in these experiences. While he is the chief target, all identified with the work in a public way are also marks for those described by the Psalmist: "The wicked...shoot their arrows, even bitter words, that they may shoot in secret at the perfect." (Psalm 64:3,4.) Surely we may all rejoice in the privilege granted us of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. "For if we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him." And if our sufferings be the way by which the Lord would attract and bless others of His true sheep, we may surely, with the Apostle Paul, "glory in tribulations also."Romans 5:3.
One of the most encouraging features of the work is the zeal manifested in various quarters in the CLASS EXTENSION WORK. Hundreds of dear brethren, backed by the Classes with which they are associated, have gone forth as evangelists. They have held meetings in cities, towns and villages in the vicinity of the Class home. They have broken a good deal of new ground in this way, have corrected misapprehension in respect to our Gospel Message, and have brought a considerable number to full consecration to the Lord and to great joy and blessing in the knowledge of the Truth.
It is now two years since this work started; and this year, for your encouragement, we must give some figures. The friends in thirty States have joined in this work. The average number of speakers per month throughout the twelve months was 105; 3,050 meetings were reported, with an attendance of 91,881. The cost of these meetings as reported by the Classes was $8,546.61. This amount does not appear in our Report, except about 10 per cent. The Classes rejoiced in the privilege of financing their meetings, and only in a few instances was the Society's help needed. Of course, the Society furnished the literature used at these meetings, which with freight and expressage was no small item.
We trust that this noble work will go on, and that the [R5365 : page 372] Lord's blessing will continue with it. We sometimes term it the "Layman's Home Missionary Movement." We observe that the Classes participating in this work most vigorously are usually the most blessed of the Lord spiritually, as well as numerically. And undoubtedly all who thus serve as evangelists receive a great blessing in their hearts from the Lord. In the interests of those Classes that feel that a repetition of the Class Extension Work would not be wise, or that feel that they have speakers or financial strength which they can furnish for Sunday work at greater distances from their homes, we have recently proposed an "Auxiliary Pilgrim Service." We trust that this may prove a means of blessing and furtherance of the work during the year just begun.
With literature in thirty different languages, distributed in large quantities, it is not surprising that we have a large correspondence. Our Brooklyn office keeps thirty typewriters busy, besides our Multigraph machines.
These figures do not represent the correspondence of the various branches. More and more the dear friends are learning to separate the business part of their letters, [R5366 : page 372] and so to write the letters that business items will be together, and separated from doctrinal questions, requests for Pilgrim service, etc. This aids us greatly in handling the mail satisfactorily, because our work is divided into different departments, for its greater efficiency.
The Editor receives very many letters which he greatly enjoys, but does not answer. In the interest of the general work he seeks to confine his replies to matters and questions which seem really important. Please accept this excuse, and ordinarily address all correspondence to the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. Where convenient, you may mark the envelope in care of whichever department your letter is especially concerned with; as, for instance, Pilgrim Department, Colporteur Department, etc. Ordinarily, mail respecting subscriptions and questions should be addressed to the Society merely. This applies to the various branch houses also.
We still regard the sale of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES one of the best indications of the progress of the work. Our total sales of the six volumes for the year amounted to 692,598 copies. Only one year ever exceeded this number1908when our total was 718,474. However, the difference is probably fully offset, or more, by the fact that last year numerous editions were published in foreign lands for cheapness or convenience, and these do not show in this year's Report.
We still continue to regard the dear Colporteurs as amongst the most efficient servants in the Harvest work. They are a noble band. Additionally, they are learning better how to do effective servicethey are becoming more courageous. With the ripening of their own characters, they are enabled to speak the Truth more forcefully than ever, and yet more gently, more lovingly. They are learning the meaning of the Apostle's words"Speaking the Truth in love, grow up into Him."
Some of the dear Colporteurs are so efficient that there is pretty sure to be a class of Bible students started, to meet regularly, in every town they canvass. They note, as they canvass, those who seem to indicate that they are true children of God, begotten of the Spirit, or hungry to know the Lord. These they nurse by repeatedly visiting them, encouraging them to read the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, helping them over misunderstandings and counteracting the evil influence of those who seek by slander to hinder them from reading and from true Bible Study. May the Lord's blessing be richly with the dear Colporteurs during the year beginning, encouraging, strengthening, blessing them!
No other year will at all compare with the one just closed in respect to the amount of Pilgrim work done and the apparent results. You know the dear Pilgrimstheir devotion to the Lord and His Cause, and their willingness to endure hardness and to spend their strength to the glory of God and the blessing of His people. Their services are free; and as nearly as we are able the Society responds to requests for public and private services of these Pilgrims. Much, of course, must depend upon the size of the city from which the call comes, the convenience of reaching it, and the promises made in respect to a suitable auditorium.
The Society has found that it is a waste of time and money to send Pilgrims to places where only second or third class auditoriums are promised. In our day, when churches, theatres and lodges are all bright, clean, attractive and comfortable, we must not expect the public to be attracted to very inferior places; for before hearing they do not know, they cannot realize, that we have for them a Message transcendently superior to anything else they have ever heard.
Remember that the expenses of the Pilgrims are all borne by the Society, and that donations or collections are neither requested nor expected. We do, however, expect that these servants of the Lord will be esteemed by those whom they serve as worthy of food and clean, comfortable lodging. They expect no feasting nor special preparation, however.
Incidentally, we advise all the brethren taking part in public meetings to give considerable attention to their apparel. Black clothing is always appropriate to the platform, and generally a skirted, or frock, coat. Only a white shirt and collar and a black or a white tie should be considered suitable. By this we do not mean that God is a respecter of persons and of clothing; but we believe that our Message carries more weight if delivered by those who are plainly, modestly, but appropriately dressed. Everything loud, crude and commonplace should be eliminated. The Truth should have a respectable presentation; for it attracts chiefly those of respectable mind.
Another thought: The introduction of the Pilgrim should be considered so important that unless well done, it should not be done at all. It should be very brief and in well-chosen, grammatical language. The introductory prayer should also be very briefmerely an invocationa request for the Divine blessing upon the audience and the speaker, with thanks for the mercies of the occasion. All language implying a division of the audience should be avoided"we" and "you." It should be taken for granted that all present are Bible students, and no suggestion to the contrary should be offered. The meeting to follow should be announced briefly before the speaker is introduced. Where announcement cards are used, they should be distributed with the hymn slips, while the audience is being seated.
Total number of ministers serving.................
Cities and towns visited.......................... 7,491
Total number of public meetings................... 3,626
Total number of attendance........................ 808,851
Semi-public meetings held......................... 3,913
Total number in attendance........................ 230,218
Parlor meetings held.............................. 9,373
Total number in attendance........................ 213,884
Total number of miles traveled.................... 882,713
Divine providence is still favoring the presentation of the Gospel in the public press. The efforts of the enemies of the Gospel of the Kingdom to misrepresent our teachings and to prejudice editors and publishers against them have not prevailed. In this also we perceive that He that is for us is mightier than all they that be against us. The day may come when the Truth will be crushed to the earth by slander and misrepresentation, but that day has not come yet. Indeed, in quite a number of instances the editors, although worldly men, have appreciated the situation, despised the unjust principle manifested by some preachers in their opposition, and have given space and prominence to our Message.
The latest figures given us by the Newspaper Syndicate which handles the Sermons and Bible Study Lessons in the United States and Canada show 1,424 papers publishing weekly. About 600 papers in Great Britain, South Africa and Australia publish weekly. This in round figures represents 2,000 newspapers. How many millions of readers are thus reached by these papers we know not, nor can we tell how many of those reached are reading and being influenced. We do know, however, that the whole world is waking up, and that the truths we are presenting are gaining adherents and exerting influence everywhere. We trust that the Lord's name is being glorified thus, and that many of His consecrated people are being ripened for the Kingdom.
Our papers for free circulation amongst the people are titled EVERYBODY'S PAPER, PEOPLE'S PULPIT, and the BIBLE STUDENTS' MONTHLY. These have a subscription price of twelve cents a year, but our list is comparatively small. The vast majority are circulated as sample copiesfree. On the average they contain three attractive sermons each. The January 1st issue is generally used Volunteeringfor a nation-wide free circulation. Other numbers through the year are used for the announcement of Pilgrim meetings, Class Extension meetings, etc. Many of them are used for circulation instead of tracts. They are more attractive than tracts.
The wise distribution of these on street cars, trains, boats, etc., as the friends go from place to place, is recommended. This is a form of service in which all can engage. And these little newspapers have all the rights and privileges of the larger newspapers devoted to politics, sports and advertisements. Quite a good many people come into a knowledge of the Truth through this ministry. The friends everywhere are invited to send for these free, in such quantities as they can and will use faithfully in three months. There should be no dead stock wasted in cupboards or garrets. As a part of the Gospel Message each number should be considered too valuable to lie idle.
Our total output of these various papers, issued free, and express or freight or postage prepaid, is represented by such large figures as to be beyond the comprehension of the majority of people; namely, 36,143,500 copies, representing [R5367 : page 373] approximately 100,000,000 of sermons or a thousand million tract pages. This does not represent the Society's work in foreign lands, but merely in America.
Of course, the Higher Critics are disturbed. Having lost all vital faith in the Bible themselves, they have been injecting the poison gradually into the minds of their hearers, and collecting salary for destroying the faith that they have been professing to conserve. To them it seems too bad that the public should be awakened, and that they should appear in the uncomplimentary role of deceivers. They are angry, because not only their incomes, but their reputations are at stake. If slander and misrepresentation will do anything to hinder us from giving the people the Truth, many of these false shepherds are apparently ready to assist.
Let us go forward with good courage, remembering that God is at the helm, and that no weapon formed against His Cause and the ministers of His Truth shall prospereventuallyeven though they might seem to prosper for a timejust as when Jesus was crucified, when St. Stephen was stoned, etc.
The one discouraging feature to us is that THE WATCH TOWER subscription list seems to grow very slowly. We are obliged by the postal regulations to keep pruning off the addresses of those who do not renew their subscriptions, either in money or by request, as of the Lord's poor. We print forty-five thousand copies per issue; but, for the amount of interest which prevails, we should be printing at least one hundred thousand. However, we content ourselves with the thought that we are doing our best to set forth the Message. The increase of the subscription list lies with our readers.
After reading the foregoing statement respecting the number of ministers engaged in the Pilgrim service and the miles they have traveled, respecting the ten hundred millions of tract pages distributed free and express prepaid, and concerning the large amount of correspondence attended to, all with business experience would be inclined to expect that the cost of this work would run up to a million dollars. The one thousand million tract pages alone at ten pages for one cent would be a million dollars. Our office force of one hundred and fifty people, at one hundred dollars a month each, would amount to $180,000.00. And some of our helpers, before coming to us, have earned more than this amount and could obtain more now.
We have paid out for postage stamps, expressage and freightage $34,278.26. The Pilgrim service cost the total of $77,559.10, and the foreign branches a total of $53,832.52. This work, which ordinarily would have cost a million and a half of dollars, has been accomplished for very little more than a quarter of a million dollars. The figures below speak for themselves. They are possible only because all of the dear brethren everywhere live economically and labor faithfully, giving time, energytheir bestto the service of the Lord, the brethren and the Truth.
Balance cash on hand from last year's
Tract Fund, etc., receipts........................107,822.04
In the United States and
In Great Britain...................... 23,422.69
In Germany............................ 4,709.25
In India.............................. 2,394.35
In South Africa....................... 1,193.42
In Scandinavia........................ 2,705.17
For the Polish........................ 2,130.31
In West Indies and South
In China, Japan and Korea............. 10,636.73
For Spanish, Arabic, Italian,
French, etc., etc.................... 2,503.76
Cash balance on hand Dec. 1........... 1,333.95
The above figures do not include moneys expended in preparation for the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which has been advanced by dear friends deeply interested in that workthe amount may appear in our accounts for 1914, should these friends turn over that work to our Association as a donation. Neither do the above figures include THE TEMPLE. Friends of the Cause are financing that work in our interest, on a second mortgage.
Should it eventually be demonstrated, either that some mistake was made in the expiration of the Gentile Times (October, 1914), or that we had expected more to happen at that date than was due, or that the fulfilment of our expectations beginning there would be consummated more slowly than we expectedno matter whichwe all surely shall be glad if the fiscal year begun shall show as grand results for the enlightenment of God's people and for the honoring of God's name as this Report witnesses for the year just closed.