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FOR the sake of our many new readers we explain that the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, as the parent organization, represents all the activities in Christian work with which THE WATCH TOWER and its Editor are associated. All the work done through the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION and PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, directly and indirectly, is the work of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. The Editor of THE WATCH TOWER is the President of all three of these Societies. All financial responsibility connected with the work proceeds from the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. From it the other Societies and all the branches of the work receive their financial support. There is nothing unusual in this. It serves to keep the different parts of the work separate. Just so our Methodist friends have a Methodist Book Concern, an Epworth League for the young people, and both Home and Foreign Missionary Societies, besides numerous other aid societies, etc., etc.
Our division of the work was made necessary by the fact that the parent society Charter by the State of Pennsylvania is not by law permitted to hold property in New York State; hence the necessity for organizing a subsidiary society to hold any real estate in New York. Similarly, the laws of Great Britain prevent any foreign society from holding title to real estate there. This necessitated the organization of the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION with a British charter. Thus it comes that we use sometimes the one name and sometimes the other in various parts of our work—yet they all in the end mean the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY—to which all donations should be made.
For instance, we have for forty years been looking forward to the present year as the one in which Gentile Times would expire and the one, therefore, in which we might expect some special manifestation of the transfer of earth's government to its new King, Messiah. We had hoped that the ending of the Gentile Times might have signified the ending also of the Church's times, or years, in the flesh, the ushering of all the Lord's consecrated people into the Kingdom. The latter expectation brought, we are sure, a great blessing to our thousands of readers. It brought them quickening of spiritual interests, and zeal to know and to do the Master's will. It brought them heart searchings, to see whether or not they were ready for the Kingdom. It brought them a condition of peace with God which passeth all human understanding, so that now they are able to rejoice in the will of the Lord, whatever it may be. If the Lord will continue us in His favor, it will matter little to us whether we are on this side of the Veil or on the other side—so great are our joys and blessings, and so pronounced the peace which rules our hearts.
In God's providence the present year has been the most wonderful one in the history of our Society. We believe that the Lord has used it mightily in pulling down prejudice, ignorance, superstition and error. It seems as though this year we had the grand climacteric of all previous efforts on the part of God's consecrated people to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. In order that the results may be seen in their truly miraculous light, it is proper that we remind our readers that we have no church organization in the ordinary sense of the word, no bondage of any kind, no obligation to pay, either to the parent society or anybody else, either ten per cent. or any other sum. We remind you also that no solicitations for money in any way are authorized by this Society; that every amount, therefore, which has come into our hands, and been used, has been a voluntary donation from a willing heart. We remind you also that it is true of the Lord's people in general, just as the Scriptures tell, that among them are not many rich, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom.
With this before your minds, keep in memory the fact that last year, the year before and several years back, the brethren, THE WATCH TOWER readers, have been spending generously, according to their ability, both of time and money. Now suddenly, as is evidenced in their growing faith in the Lord and the Truth, in the fact that we are nigh at the door of the New Dispensation, everywhere there has been a willingness to give and much rejoicing in the privilege. Let these few words prepare you for the, to us, stupendous results of the year, which show that about One Million Dollars have been spent in the service of Present Truth this year by the Classes for Theatres, etc., and by the Society.
After two years of preparation, the PHOTO-DRAMA was barely ready to give its first exhibition in January last. It did not get properly started with a full swing in America until April. In July we made a start in Great Britain. By September the DRAMA had begun operations on the Continent of Europe—in Germany, [R5591 : page 372] Switzerland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. By October it had reached Australia and New Zealand. Few can appreciate the amount of labor involved in preparing each DRAMA outfit. The arrangement and preparation of the films used is comparatively an easy matter. Our difficulty lay in procuring copies of fine art pictures illustrative of the history of the world from the dawn of creation to the present time and into the future. We adopted, and adapted, everything we could find already prepared and suitable to our purposes; but this left hundreds of paintings and sketches to be made, from which in turn to make the stereopticon slides.
With all this accomplished, a still further difficulty presented itself. We wished to have those beautiful pictures hand-colored—really beautiful. To attain our purpose we had some painted in Paris and some in London, while the majority were done in Philadelphia and New York. We required of these artists their very best skill in coloring. We should not forget to say that, with others, our own Art Room turned out a large share of the work. Although we are not adding to the number of panoramas with painted slides, yet the breakage is so great that even now we have twenty continually at work on replacements and in photographing and tinting the Eureka Dramas.
God kindly veiled our eyes as respects the amount of labor connected with the DRAMA. Had we foreknown the cost of time and money and patience necessary for the start we would never have begun it. But neither did we know in advance the great success that would attend the DRAMA, and that through it nearly eight million people in the United States and Canada have already heard a glorious Message from the Word of God (a precious Message that they will never forget), also that other hundreds of thousands in other lands are hearing in their own tongues "wonderful words of life." We had twenty DRAMAS, which, in FOUR PARTS, were able to serve eighty cities each day. The audiences varied from four thousand down to less than a hundred, according to place and circumstances.
The Classes which put on the DRAMAS in the various cities experienced great blessings and also great trials. They had precious opportunities for serving, sacrificing time and money. These faithful sacrifices the Lord rewarded, as He always does. The trials of faith and patience sometimes arose from accidents causing delays in the receiving of films; sometimes from misunderstandings between the friends in connection with the service of the DRAMA; sometimes through misunderstandings along financial lines because of not being experts in the matter of keeping accounts. But, rightly received, all these trials had their good effect, helping to test love, to develop patience and thus to broaden Christian character. It is safe to say that the DRAMA has done as much for the friends of the Truth as for the [R5592 : page 372] public in general. This is surely saying a great deal; for in one city the newspapers published that in the week following the showing of the DRAMA their police court records showed one-half the usual criminal cases.
The special advantage of the DRAMA seems to have accrued to a certain class of people whose faith had well-nigh slipped, who were beginning to doubt the Bible and everything connected with the future. Some of these have written us very beautiful and pathetic letters of appreciation and of thanks to God. Some have contributed to the Society's Funds to assist in defraying the expenses of the DRAMA further.
We had various things to contend with in order to keep the DRAMAS all busy every day. Train schedules were not always to our convenience. Then, too, the friends who engaged the place of exhibition could not always get the dates that would have served best. In order to adapt ourselves to the various times and seasons, opportunities, etc., it was often necessary to take what might have appeared a very zig-zag course. Hindsight might have enabled us to do better in some instances, but we used the best foresight which we possessed. We had a large force of extremely competent Brethren continually at work safeguarding the interests of the DRAMA and the engagements. Perhaps a sufficient number of mistakes occurred to keep us all very humble, to make us realize that when that which is perfect shall have come and that which is in part shall have been done away, the whole world may move the better in consequence.
The expenses of the DRAMA were, first, the preparation of the films and the slides. This was considerably accomplished before the DRAMA started, of course. But the large amount of money necessary for this preparation was not included in the statements of last year and the year before. The friends who contributed the money were quite agreeable that it should be used for this purpose and not be reported until the DRAMA would begin. Those preliminary expenditures are included in the present financial report. Another item of expense was the railway fares of approximately one hundred and twenty people, their food, shelter and clothing. The shorter the stay in each place, the higher the rates for board, lodging and traveling. These expenses all appear in the financial statement under the head of the DRAMA expenditure.
However, there is another item of DRAMA expense which does not appear in our report; namely, the expense borne by the various Classes in connection with the DRAMA presentation. It is difficult to estimate the total, but we do know of three cities which have each spent more than Ten Thousand Dollars in conjunction with the showing of the DRAMA in their own cities. We believe that it will be safe to say that the total amount expended by the different Classes for the preaching of the Gospel through the DRAMA would total somewhere between $150,000.00 and $200,000.00, in addition to what our financial report shows. What a wonderful blessing thus came to the Lord's people! If it is more blessed to give than to receive, as the Master declared, then surely these have had rich blessing.
Quite naturally these heavy expenditures on the part of the different Classes caused a considerable decrease in the contributions which otherwise would have come to THE WATCH TOWER treasury. The friends, having given of their substance freely, could not in every case fulfil all of the "Good Hopes" they had entertained at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, we are sure that a great surprise awaits every reader to see how large have been the contributions this year, notwithstanding the financing of the DRAMA'S expenses in the home cities. The results are greater than anything we have had before.
Doubtless many of our foes imagined that by this time THE WATCH TOWER readers would be disconsolate, disheartened, etc., and that many of them would be regretting that they had spent their money so liberally for the Truth. But not so! The spirit of service seems to burn within the hearts of the dear friends everywhere. Gratitude to God, appreciation of the Truth and desire for further opportunities of service—these are prompting to love, joy, faith, confidence, rejoicing.
While the field seems riper than ever for the Message [R5592 : page 373] of the Truth since the war began, the Lord's providence is making it clear to us that expenses must be reduced. The twenty DRAMAS are now reduced to six, and we know not how long they may continue active. One other DRAMA has been taken over by a Brother who engaged to spend Ten Thousand Dollars in the expense connected with the showing of it. The Society always follows the plan of watching the Lord's providences. The more money we receive, the more we spend. As the funds diminish, we curtail expenses. We have no desire to lay up treasures on earth; neither must we incur debts. In this connection we should add that so great a work could not have been accomplished for less than double the amount shown in our financial columns had it not been that all of our Managers, Superintendents, Operators, etc., gave their time freely, voluntarily, merely receiving things needful—which we supplied not only to those who were out in the field operating the DRAMA, but also to the many in the Bethel Home connected with the preparation of the slides, films, management, etc.
Splendid reports are coming to us from the showing of the DRAMA in Great Britain. It has been presented in six different places in London to large and appreciative audiences. It opened at the Prince's Theatre, remaining there for several weeks. Then it showed in various suburban districts of London before reaching London Opera House. The presentation in the latter place has been phenomenal. It showed there approximately five weeks, afternoon and evening daily, including Sunday. In the evening hundreds were turned away—very much the same as when the DRAMA was shown in the great Auditorium Building of Chicago. In the London Opera House an exceptionally high-class of visitors were present. Several hundred pounds Sterling were voluntarily handed in, thus permitting continuance of the exhibition. By the time the engagement at the Opera House was closed, the interest was so great that the London friends found themselves able to undertake the exhibition of the DRAMA in Royal Albert Hall—one of the largest and most notable buildings in Europe. It has a capacity altogether of nine thousand, but probably not more than five thousand could be comfortably seated and have a view of the screen. We have yet to hear of the results.
In various other cities of Great Britain two other DRAMAS have been operating as continuously as possible, the dear friends demonstrating their love and loyalty by their self-sacrificing arrangements for the presentation of the DRAMA. In Glasgow the DRAMA had an especially good reception.
Good word reaches us from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany and Switzerland. In each of these very large auditoriums are obtained. The people crowd to see the pictures and hear the lectures. The free Scenarios are taken with avidity. The Lord's blessing is with the work, and many hearts have been made glad. We have just heard from Australasia that the DRAMA there has started and bids fair to be a good success.
Our readers will remember that reference was made in these columns to the Eureka Drama No. X and No. Y, suggested to the Classes and private individuals as useful in connection with their Class Extension work. These notices appeared in our issue of August 1st, Page 238, and in our issue of August 15, Page 254; also in November 15th issue, Page 2. Our readers will be deeply interested to note the success of these DRAMAS. They are going into the various small towns, villages, school-houses, in the vicinities contiguous to the owners of the DRAMAS.
Consider DRAMA X first. We have sent out a total of fifty-six outfits, but we have had reports from only six of these. These reports certainly are encouraging. They have shown in nineteen different places, sixty exhibitions altogether, with a total attendance of 1,231, an average of over twenty at each entertainment. The X DRAMA, be it remembered, has no slides, no films, but merely the phonograph musical and lecture records. We trust that the possessors of the other fifty outfits of DRAMA X are doing similarly good work and that we shall hear from them at their convenience.
EUREKA DRAMA Y reports show as follows: Of the forty-five outfits sent out twenty-nine have reported. They have served two hundred and seventy-two places, giving eight hundred and four exhibitions to a total attendance of 69,053. The average attendance was 86. Three thousand five hundred and ninety-seven cards inquiring for further literature were received. The number of DRAMA Scenarios and STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES sold has not been reported, but over a quarter of a million of Scenarios have been distributed free.
How interesting to note the leadings of the Lord's providence! The people in the rural districts seem hungry for just what these DRAMAS present. We trust that the sixteen other Y DRAMAS are doing as well as the twenty-nine included in this report, and that we shall hear from them soon. The Lord seems especially willing to bless all of His consecrated ones who seek to devote time, strength and money to His service. These agencies are mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds of error and to the upbuilding of His saints in the "most holy faith," in preparation for the glorious resurrection "change," which we are all hoping for soon.
When we speak of fourteen DRAMAS being disbanded, we do not mean to say that they are done away with. The operating corps are disbanded. The slides, films, records, etc., etc., are stored, awaiting such a change in [R5593 : page 373] the Lord's providence as may permit their service to be resumed. We are not without hope of this.
As our readers are aware, Pastor Russell's sermons and weekly Bible studies have for several years been very widely published in the secular newspapers. The number publishing is not so large as formerly; nevertheless, we are probably reaching more people than ever, by reason of inserting the sermons in metropolitan newspapers—in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, Los Angeles.
The difference between the two services is that in the smaller cities the sermons are published strictly as news, the newspapers paying for the stereotyped plates twenty-five cents per column weekly. It is the business with these, conducted by a newspaper syndicate, that has fallen off considerably. The number now publishing the sermons, etc., regularly, is about one thousand.
Newspaper space in large cities is counted too valuable generally to justify the publishing of a sermon of two or three columns weekly. Besides, if one newspaper would publish, the others of the city would decline to publish as news. Furthermore, the publishers claim that since there are many talented men in all large cities, these would expect their sermons also to be published, or else would be offended. To publish the sermons of a large city would be a huge contract. The Society has felt, therefore, that this large field of influence, the large witness to the Truth possible through the immense circulation [R5593 : page 374] of these papers well justifies the expenditure in this way of some of the money at its disposal. It will be encouraging to all of our readers to know that the sermons are now reaching weekly approximately five million five hundred thousand readers.
We trust that some good is being accomplished. We are continually coming into touch with noble souls being reached in this way, and doubt not that many others are being influenced who have not yet come to the place where they wish to express their interest by writing. The money expended in this department this year has been large; but we believe that it has been very economically spent, and the evidences are that it was wisely spent.
From year to year we have wondered what would be the limit of the capacity of our friends in the matter of the distribution of free literature. The quantities have grown enormously. Many who cannot give all of their time in the Colporteur work, Colporteurs also and Pilgrims (indeed, all our readers), have found opportunities for engaging as volunteers in the Lord's service in the distribution of reading matter, which we provide approximately in thirty languages—even the freight or expressage or postage being met from the Society's funds. Indeed, while we supply the literature freely, it is a fact that many of those ordering it are donating largely to the Tract Fund.
It is difficult for people to estimate quantities, especially when the figures run up high. We will not stop to calculate how many car loads of paper went into tracts, nor how many times these papers would girdle the earth. We will merely state the facts in quantities, although we are aware that very few appreciate what a thousand is, or ten thousand, or a hundred thousand, or a million. In a word, then, the total distribution of free literature, during the year just closed, in the United States and Canada alone amounted to forty-seven million six hundred and ten thousand (47,610,000) copies. Of this quantity about two-thirds (30,000,000) were BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLIES, and seven million eight hundred and fifty thousand (7,850,000) were free Scenarios of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION. Thus you will see that these were good-sized Tracts, containing many valuable lessons for those wishing to read them.
Naturally the increase of the work has led to great increase in the correspondence. Nevertheless, we have not been able to write the dear friends as fully and elaborately sometimes as we would have liked. The Editor hopes that all the readers will charitably remember that his capacity is limited, and that he cannot do all that he would like to do in the way of answering the letters of the friends. In fact, letters are rarely answered at all unless something in them especially calls for reply. Sometimes the reply is made by sending a marked copy of some of our publications dealing with the subject, which the correspondent has forgotten or failed to see. The Editor hopes that the dear friends will continue to accept THE WATCH TOWER articles as his personal letters to them. In this way he can best serve the largest number.
Our readers well know that we esteem very highly indeed the Colporteur Branch of the service. God seems to have blessed it in a wonderful manner. We are glad to be able to report that the falling off in Colporteur work during the year was not so great as might have been expected. The DRAMA work became an attraction to many of the friends, some of whom left the Colporteur work to engage in the DRAMA—later on returning to the Colporteuring. A comparison with last year's output shows a less number of volumes put out; yet the figures are wonderfully large. Be it remembered, too, that very few of these books are sold in stores and very few of them sent out from the Office direct in answer to mail orders. Nearly all of them represent the direct exercise of mind and body on the part of a noble band of the Lord's people—brethren and sisters known by the general name of Colporteurs. Amongst them are some from the home and family, the shop, the work-bench, the farm, as well as some clerks, bookkeepers, stenographers, draftsmen, teachers, preachers, lawyers, doctors. The more influence any one has the larger is his talent, all of which has been consecrated, if he entered the Body of Christ which is the Church.
Our enemies have helped us considerably. Their slanderous misstatements undoubtedly stopped some from purchasing and from reading the books, but in other cases their harsh, unchristian words and conduct had a reverse effect to that which was anticipated and intended. Some bought from curiosity. Some said, "If Pastor Russell has something different from the preachers, we would like to see what it is; for we have not been satisfied for a good while with what has been doled out to us—which satisfies neither head nor heart."
At one time we think the Colporteurs avoided as much as possible giving the name of the author of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES for fear the customer would be prejudiced. Now, however, many of them are finding that the surest way to interest their customers is to tell them that the books are written by Pastor Russell, and that they are not like other religious books, but absolutely different, both in matter and style, and contain the very subjects they have been perplexed about for a long time—the subjects concerning which they have asked their ministers repeatedly and unsuccessfully.
The DRAMA has helped also, wherever it has gone, stirring up an interest in the books. Besides, many of the Colporteurs have solicited orders for the bound editions of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION SCENARIO. We trust that all of our readers feel, as we do, a very warm interest in the Colporteurs; and that, as they may have opportunity, they will speak to them words of encouragement; for their way is not always strewn with thornless flowers.
The total output of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES during
the year past was more than 2,000 copies daily.
In cloth binding............................. 623,018
In magazine edition.......................... 78,000
The Pilgrim Service during the year was immense;
but for a time it took a little different course from its
previous and usual one.
Aside from special lectures
following the exhibition of the DRAMA, special series of
Pilgrim Meetings were held in many of the large cities.
These sometimes continued every Sunday for months, the
local friends providing the auditoriums, the Society
providing the speakers.
This kept busy the Brooklyn
Brethren and necessitated their traveling over considerable
distances—to Boston, Washington, Richmond, Providence,
Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toronto, Hamilton,
Montreal, Philadelphia, Baltimore, etc.
while not taking the Brethren long from the Office work, [R5594 : page 375] did entail considerable expense for railway fares.
we believe that the expenditures were wisely made,
and that the results justified the efforts and outlay.
extra service is responsible for much of the extra cost
of this Department above other years.
Some extra services have been cut off. We are endeavoring to trim our sails to the lighter financial breezes. Should the Lord's providence be favorable, you will quickly discern increased activities along all propitious lines.
Balance on hand 1913.........................
Tract Fund and Good Hopes.................... 414,880.48
Sundry P. & L................................ 42,419.96
Special Accounts (amply secured)............. 107,000.00
Free Literature and Newspapers............... $125,462.60
Pilgrim Department (advertising, etc.)....... 61,686.37
PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION...................... 314,876.91
To British Branch............................ 24,165.44
To German Branch............................. 14,735.52
To Australasian Branch....................... 10,723.68
To China, Japan, Korea, etc.................. 5,705.48
To India and South Africa.................... 3,845.00
To Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Polish,
French, Italian, Hungarian, Arabic,
Greek, Finnish.............................. 2,146.30
To West Indies............................... 609.97
Cash on hand................................. 1,677.12