The mass exodus of the Children of God from the U.S.A. and invasion of the rest of the world in 1972 made them the subject of international headlines and radio and television coverage. As Dad said in February of 1973, “The world has heard about us, now they need to hear from us. Our words have worked. Now we need to tell the world: Put it on paper into print and get the words that work to the world. Multiply MO Missives by the millions for the billions!”
The MO Letters had become important to the COG in 1971 when Aaron, Josh and others printed them up in small 3 by 5-inch volumes to distribute only to leadership, who gingerly shared them with new disciples, lest their contents be leaked and their usefulness destroyed.
But by 1972, the majority of the COG had left America behind, and the press had already published many of the MO Letters. FreeCOG and various other groups were publishing them and writing tracts and articles against them or about them, FreeCOG even selling the few they had for ten dollars a set.
Since so many people were so obviously interested in them, the COG began to distribute the MO Letters themselves early that year. From the beginning they had been passing out free tracts by the millions, 42 million in 1972 alone. But finally that year, under Deborah’s leadership, the COG began to publish some of the milder MO Letters like “Diamonds of Dust” and “Faith” in their then-official publication, the “New Improved Truth,” a newspaper that the COG had inherited along with the Jesus People in the Northwest.
Later that year Dad offered the first individual MO Letter written for the general public, “Survival—the True Story of Moses and the Children of God.” And in August 1972 he began offering regular weekly MO Letters to the general public, also predicting that “Literature is going to become one of our greatest and most widespread witnesses, going places where even we cannot go, and spreading the message where even we cannot preach, as well as portending to become one of our major sources of both individual and collective income to finance the work of the Lord—His Revolution for Jesus!”
Personal witnesses and visible, living, working colonies bring quick but limited visible results, and are dramatic examples. But seed saturation sowing is more far-reaching and will bring a mightier harvest in the long run.—A whole world of youth won by Jesus’ love through our literature telling of our example and how it worked through the love of Jesus!
We can make and duplicate literature much faster than disciples! And the lit can be made to preach our message and tell of our sample much quicker and in more places and even more accurately than they! We’ve got to have the samples to back it up and prove it’s not all ads, but the ads will go a lot farther and faster than the samples! And remember: Our main job is to witness the message even more than prove it! We can do both with loads of disciples and with even more loads of literature. So let’s get with it in an all-out worldwide drive for more literature! The time is now! Tomorrow may be too late! Write, print and pass it now!
But despite these many exhortations, the printing and distribution of the MO Letters was still lingering in limbo as late as mid-1973. The COG was printing and distributing, but only a few seemed to have caught the urgency of the hour, as God presented in the powerful “Birthday Warning,” February 18, 1973, a lengthy prophecy which, like many others, was given through Dad as he slept, and which was preserved because of the faithfulness of Maria to record it.
The Lord said, “There are many, many, multitudes, multitudes, multitudes who die of thirst, who starve of hunger! Behold, I will hold thee accountable in the Day of Judgment for this thing which thou hast done to withhold the words of My Servant from them that die and are smitten and driven away!... Give, I say, and it shall be given unto you! Pour forth, I say, and I shall flood thee with more! ... and thou shall flood the world with thy doctrine!”
One of the disciples who really caught the vision of the “Birthday Warning” was Aaron. In order to meet the need which he felt in his spirit, he spent long hours with the French translators, trying to inspire them to be more diligent, and was largely responsible for some of the first French MO Letters. He also spent hours and hours on the streets selling the “New Nation News,” containing MO Letters.
Stephen, Aaron’s helper, was later inspired to try selling single MO Letters on the streets. That inspired Dad and he became convicted also, “feeling that at least some of the kids and freaks would buy them.”
They did, and so did many others. By July of 1973 the COG was printing the Mo Letters at a monthly rate of two-and-a-quarter million copies, more than was printed during the entire preceding six months of the year, and by September lit distribution was five times that of the beginning of the year.
That very month, as the great comet Kohoutek approached, Dad predicted that it was a portent of “the end of things as they now are, including present world powers, economic systems, etc., the total downfall of America, the collapse of the currency and/or economic system, or the great worldwide confusion brought on by the energy shortage.”
But then ... the largest comet that the scientists had ever seen and which was fifty times larger than Halley’s Comet, hardly appeared at all! It was there and the scientists could see it with their telescopes, but for some unknown reason, it virtually disappeared to the naked eye. It was seen for a little while before it went around the sun. But as it left the sun its tail became, astronomers said, invisible.
Dad said, “It gave no warning tail because we have been giving the warning tale. God has warned the world by our words! It’s just as though the Lord has said, ‘Now you have had the word, you don’t deserve any other sign.’ Jesus said, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign and there shall no sign be given it except the sign of the Prophet Jonas.’ What is a Prophet’s sign? It’s really his message! We have been like the Prophet Jonas!
“No sign shall be given unto them but the sign of the prophet’s own message! God gave them such a good warning through us that He didn’t have to let them see a comet! Our word has become the warning comet! The tale of the prophet has become the tail of the comet! What was the purpose of the comet? It’s a sign of warning, right? Well, we got out the warning to the whole world! We got out the signs and the posters and the placards and the literature. Our message of warning was even in ‘Time’ magazine! It’s been in the papers, on radio—everywhere! The big comet that the world was going to see was us and our tale! Now isn’t that something?”
An old German poem says of comets:
“Eight things there be a comet brings
When on high it doth horrid range:
Wind, famine, plague and death to kings,
War, earthquake, floods and direful change!”
Dad predicted that the two main effects of the comet would be governmental and economic. “Newsweek” magazine, in its year-end edition for 1974, said, “It would be an exaggeration to say that the world was turned upside down in 1974. Yet there was pervasive suspicion that such a process had begun.
“The extraordinary number of leadership changes around the world (are) changes too numerous and sweeping to be attributed simply to normal political wear and tear.” A total of 13 major heads of state fell in 1974, including Nixon, as well as a colonial defeat in Africa, where the Portuguese surrendered to the rebel armies of its three African colonies. “A development,” according to “Newsweek,” “unprecedented in Sub-Saharan colonial history.”
“Newsweek” continued, “Many economists ... doubted that the monetary system which has prevailed for more than a quarter century could long be sustained.” This was because 1974 began “what surely will become the largest redistribution of global wealth in history. The coffers of the Mideast members of OPEC (had) 85 billion dollars by the end of 1974, compared to just 15 billion dollars a year earlier.” Then, quoting a top capitalist, it concluded that “1974 triggered as many changes as anything since the Industrial Revolution.”
During the year of the comet’s approach, 1973, it was already having drastic effects, with a tremendous increase in world tensions, the resumption of the Arab-Israeli War, disastrous droughts in Africa and elsewhere, followed by horrible famines, the starvation of thousands, and storms, floods and earthquakes throughout the earth (in Mexico, South America, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Spain, the U.S., and many other places).
In the years that followed, huge, unprecedented earthquakes have continued to rock the world, taking over a million lives in Guatemala, the Philippines, Italy, China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey. India was hit by the worst floods in living memory, and Chile in 30 years, and in the western U.S., the worst droughts ever.
By 1977, almost every major head of state had toppled, while the wars in Africa and the Mideast escalated nearly to the point of Armageddon. The warning of impending catastrophic world change has been fulfilled.
The term “litnessing” was coined —witnessing with literature—and teams of litnessers began saturating every major city in the world with God’s message. The kids were so dedicated to getting out this endtime message that they put their lives on the altar of sacrifice to become God’s messengers, and God anointed them with the fire of His Spirit!
Their ministry was in the cold, hard cities where pedestrians hardly even gave passing glances to each other, but they advanced into these territories with the fire of God and began getting out incredible amounts of literature. Sheba Bear was the world’s first top “shiner” in distributing. In 1973 she distributed over 150,000 pieces of literature, averaging 3,000 pieces a week for an entire year, pioneering the way for the present “Top Ten Shiners” all over the world. The next year Koa Morningstar broke her record, with over 216,000 pieces of literature. In 1974, the COG distributed nearly 55 million pieces of literature. And in some places, such as Japan with its teeming multitudes, soon brothers and sisters were regularly distributing seven and eight thousand pieces per week!
The lit was really getting out, but the disciples weren’t coming in, so early in 1975, Dad put the brakes on litnessing in favor of more personal witnessing, soul-winning and discipleship, and the literature output per person was slowed down considerably. But the number of full-time disciples went up from 3,000 to 4,400, as well as adding 383 Catacomb disciples—those who couldn’t leave their families or schools because they were underage, and others in prison or with military obligations. These Catacombers turned out to be some of the liveliest disciples and on-fire witnesses the COG had, setting their families, schools, offices, factories, prisons and military camps on fire with the Gospel.
Dad wrote in January of 1976:
From now on, we will count as Catacomb disciples anyone who receives and distributes our literature and reports their statistics and results to us or their local colonies. Although Jesus had only 12 to 70 full-time disciples who followed Him around almost continuously, He had many thousands of others who received His Words and believed and spread them to others, including a great company of the priests and many secret believers amongst the Jews. His full-time disciples were His above-ground church, while His part-time disciples were His underground church reaching many that the full-time disciples could not reach and with more far-reaching results and indigenous permanency.
When the full-time disciples were forced to move on by persecution or were even martyred, the underground catacombs church took over and carried on where the others could not, and the work continued to grow, even as it has with us. Where our full-time colonists have been forced out and their witnessing and litnessing forbidden, our Catacombs disciples have carried on with even greater results than ever before and more outstanding miracles of God’s blessing and protection!
To us, these underground Catacombs disciples are one of the greatest hopes for the future of His church—the Children of God in every tongue, tribe and nation throughout the world, more than our colonies could ever contain!”
Winning Catacomb disciples became one of the big pushes for 1976. In Nigeria, an entire village of 500 Christians, led by Rev. R. C. Nkosirke, broke with their church affiliation to become Catacomb members of the Children of God, and begged for some leadership to come down and teach them and inspire them. They did, and soon the Revolution was exploding in Central Africa!
By April 1977, nearly 2,700 Catacombers had joined with the 5114 live-in disciples, and they were leading thousands each day into a personal knowledge of God’s love through Jesus; in fact, over 774,000 conversions in 1976 alone! And even though Dad had de-emphasized litnessing, by mid-’77 the COG’s near-8,000 disciples were getting out the message at a monthly rate of over 6 million, in over 50 languages around the world!
The Lord had fulfilled what He had told Dad his ministry would be on that night in 1953, as he stood alone outside his trailer in the dark after having forsaken all that he had, and the Lord had drawn his attention toward that tall radio broadcasting antenna, saying, “I want you to be like that red light atop My broadcasting antenna, beaming My warning message to the world!”