AR22 December 15, 1982
As we approach the end of another calendar year, we wish to thank you for your continued support of Ambassador Report. It is because of the encouragement and help we receive from people such as yourself that we are able to continue publishing our newsletter and the facts about Herbert Armstrong and his corporations.
Over the years, many have taken the time to write us expressing how much the Report has meant in their lives. But occasionally we are asked, "How much is Ambassador Report really accomplishing?" That's not an unfair question, and perhaps it's one you'd enjoy seeing answered.
As you may know, Ambassador Report (originally called Ambassador Review) was started in early 1976 when a group of Pasadena-area Ambassador College alumni decided it was time someone revealed to the supporters of Ambassador College and to the general public exactly what was going on at that institution. We put out annual publications in 1976 and 1977, and since 1978, four newsletters per year. (We are now working on our fourth quarter issue, and you should have it in a few weeks.)
While we have not kept precise statistics on circulation, we do know that since 1976 we have filled literature requests for well over 10,000 different WCG-affiliated individuals. In addition, we have sent our publications to thousands of other WCG members at the request of readers. While ours may not sound like a very large circulation, we know that the average Report copy is read, not just by the individual subscriber, but by friends and relatives as well. And we have heard that many readers make photocopies of the Report for distribution in their local areas. For instance, we have been told that one AR subscriber in Australia, for a time, made 1,000 photocopies of each newsletter we sent, for distribution in that country. So we know Ambassador Report is getting around.
We also know that the Report has had a real impact on the size of the WCG's membership and income. Our experience has been that 95% of those WCG members requesting literature from us leave that church within one or two years. That doesn't mean that we are the only cause for their leaving, for many are forced to leave because of strong doctrinal convictions or because they can't shake the "nasty" habit of asking questions. Nevertheless, our mail clearly indicates that the Report has played a major role in the large exodus of Christians from the WCG in the last six years.
That exodus has cost Herbert Armstrong dearly. Had those individuals not been extricated their sojourn in the wasteland of Armstrongism may have continued anywhere from one to twenty, or more, years. (We recently received a letter from an individual who left after forty years with Herbert.) It is therefore not illogical to assume that the average AR reader, who as left that organization, has been spared perhaps ten years of misdirection. According to the WCG's own statistics, the average WCG member contributes over $1,000 per year to the Armstrong "work." Many give much more. Therefore, one reasonable estimate is that Ambassador Report has already cost Herbert Armstrong over $100,000,000 (10,000 Report readers x 10 years average membership x $1,000 per year).
Actually, that is a very conservative estimate for a number of reasons: (1) As mentioned above, our publications are read by many more than just our actual subscribers. (2) The information published goes beyond just the readers (as through personal letters and by word of mouth). And (3) the Report is used extensively as a reference source by authors and journalists who have, in turn, disseminated our information in their own writings. Occasionally some of our readers complain that the news media does not give adequate coverage to the WCG. That maybe so, but what many may not realize is that if it were not
for our efforts in keeping the press constantly informed, there would be much less information available in the media.
That is why we feel it is so important to distribute the Report to a maximum number of individuals with control of, or access to, the media. Let's take our last issue as an example. Aside from our regular subscribers and hundreds of current WCG members and Ambassador students sent complimentary copies, here are just a few of those to whom we sent our last issue: the editors of over 100 of the nation's top magazines; over 175 of the country's leading news commentators and columntsts, including Paul Harvey, Jack Anderson, Ann Landers, and Abigail Van Buren; the mayors, city directors, city managers, police chiefs, and leading citizens of both Tyler, Texas, and Pasadena, California; Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley; California Governor Jerry Brown; California Goveror-elect George Deukmejian (remember him?); Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek; and top officials in the government of Jordan. We even sent copies to entertainer-celebrities Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Chet Atkins, Lucille Ball, end Jimmy Stewart (all of whom have had some contact or association with the Armstrong organizations in the past), and to Johnny Carson, to whom we suggested Herbert Armstrong as a most appropriate subject for his famous comedy routines. We also sent copies of our last issue - along with back issues, supporting documents, and personal letters - to princess Lillian of Brussels (wife of King Leopold), Madame Imelda Marcos (First lady of the Philippines) and Franz Jose Strauss (the Bavarian politician). We thought all of them would appreciate knowing a little more about Herbert Armstrong and a little more about how they personally are being used.
While it is not our first priority, the distribution of the AR to the media is, we believe, an important service, and in the new year we hope to expand that part of our circulation. Perhaps with a bit of luck we will also be able to again campaign to have the Armstrong broadcasts and telecasts removed from some stations, as we have done in the past. Unfortunately, that type of campaign takes a great deal of time and money. That is why we have not, so far, been able to do more in that area.
You may have noticed that our last issue of the Report was the shortest in some time. We had been hoping to bring our newsletter back up to about twelve pages. But after much analysis and with publishing experts, we have decided to opt for the shorter six-page size - at least for awhile. That is due, not just to the recessionary economy and our reluctance to pressure readers into bigger contributions, but because we believe it will really make for a bigger impact in the long run. A careful look at our last issue will reveal that its six pages really contained the equivalent copy of about nine pages of many of our previous issues. That is because we are now typesetting (in smaller type) rather than simply typing our newsletters, as in the past. We are also making a greater effort to prune down our writing style. Thus the new issues will not be as lightweight in content as they might first appear.
While two or three readers wrote that they missed the bigger size, a few thought the shorter issue was not only easier to read, but more important, was easier to photocopy for friends. Of course, by cutting down the overall size of our newsletter we hope to save considerably on printing and postage costs. If the savings turns out as significant as we hope, we will not only put out more copies of each issue for wider distribution, but perhaps we will also be able to put out a few special mid-quarter issues of the Report as important stories develop.
Another area into which we may be able to expand is advertising. We have already begun to run classified ads in some areas of the country where our newsletter is still relatively unknown. Here is the ad we have been putting in some newspapers:
HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG followers: Find out the plain truth about the inner workings of the Worldwide Church of God. Read Ambassador Report. Sample copies $2. Write: Ambassador Report, P.O. Box 4068, Pasadena, CA 91106.
To those who respond, we send the current issue of the Report plus one or two back issues and a note explaining that they may subscribe simply by asking. The $2, by the way, is not a get-rich device. It is mainly intended to discourage those with no real interest in the Armstrong church from flooding our mailbox with requests for something for nothing. However, the $2 is still low enough that anyone with a real interest in getting the facts on HWA can still do so and the money received does help to partially offset advertising costs.
We do feel that running such ads will help us reach people in those church areas where we have very few subscribers. In case some of you would like to see this ad run in your local newspaper, feel free to place it yourself (under "Notices," "Religious," "Publications,"etc.). Or for those who wish to become even more personally involved, the above ad can be run minus the end part, beginning "Sample copy..." That part can be replaced with "For information call (your phone number)." You might be surprised at how many friends you can gain by passing on information about Ambassador Report and about your own experiences in the WCG.
We know that most readers would probably prefer not to get personally involved to this extent. But if you'd like to help us, there area few simple things you can do: (1) If you have information on the WCG in your local area, drop us a short note and tell us. (2) We don't make a practice of giving out names from our mailing list, but sometimes we get requests for such information from people leaving the WCG. Many are simply looking for people with whom they can share experiences. If you'd like to help such people or correspond with them, write us. We'll make a note of it, and if the opportunity arises, well paw on your name (or pass on theirs to you). (3) If you know of people who can benefit from the Report, show them a copy. If you're always showing them your copies, suggest they subscribe. Or send us their names and addresses, and well mail them a copy along with a note explaining that they can receive the Report regularly just by asking. A little effort can go a long way in helping others make a real improvement in their lives.
Once again, thank you for helping us this past year. It is much appreciated, not just by us here in Pasadena, but by thousands around the world who are benefiting personally from the information published in Ambassador Report.
I know that most of our readers do not keep Christmas or New Year's, at least not in a religious sense. But like us, most of you will (hopefully) be getting time off for the holidays to be with your families. From all of us at the Report, a happy and We holiday season and the very best of everything in the coming new year.
With warmest regards,
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