The Literature Revolution

Although David had been writing Letters of counsel and instruction (the “Mo Letters”) since late 1970, these were initially only read by full-time members inside COG colonies. Outside the group, the Mo Letters were relatively unknown.

By 1972 the COG was putting out an underground newspaper called the New Improved Truth (NIT), which was later revamped into a small monthly magazine format and renamed the New Nation News (NNN). It was in the NIT and NNN that the first Mo Letters appeared for the general public. Distribution of the NNN was sluggish, but in March 1972, David predicted that getting out God’s message via literature distribution would become the COG’s most important outreach method.

From the beginning, COG members had distributed millions of free tracts with both the message of God’s salvation and America’s impending doom—42 million by the end of 1972. But it wasn’t until early 1973 that one of the COG’s charter members decided to try selling individual Mo Letters on the streets. When David heard of this, he encouraged other members to try it out as well, saying, “At least some of the kids and freaks would buy them.” They did, and so did many others. Within several months, the COG was printing selected Mo Letters and distributing them to the public on the streets.

But the true spark that began what became known as the “Lit Revolution” was a Letter written by David in June 1973 entitled “Shiners?—Or Shamers!” In a general call to get out the message via the printed word, David wrote:

We can’t possibly reach enough people in our personal witness. So God gave me the answer. Literature is the answer! … This is serious business: we have the fate of the world in our hands! But some of our soldiers are strolling up and down the streets chatting with each other, or staring into the sky or in too big a hurry to get somewhere, or too busy preaching sermons! We’re working hard, but if they don’t get out there and use it, all our work is in vain! We’re stymied right at the point of final accomplishment, and the whole Revolution is in vain if we’re not getting the message out to the others!

Our main motive should be to obey God and get the message out, the wonder working words to the waiting world!—Millions for the billions!

Get out and do your best for Jesus and lost souls!—And God Himself will reward you with everlasting souls and joy of the Lord!—They that win many shall shine!—But some will be ashamed!—Which will you be?—A shiner?—Or a shamer? (See Matthew 25:21; DanieI 12:23.) God help you!

“Shiners?—Or Shamers!” 1973

Children of God Colonies worldwide swung into action, distributing up a storm everywhere they could! By the end of 1973, the total pieces of literature distributed for the year reached 19 million—most of them Mo Letters. In 1974, this figure skyrocketed to 55 million. Street distribution of the Mo Letters (called “litnessing”) became the COG’s predominant method of outreach—as well as support—for the next five years. Local translation units were set up to translate the Mo Letters into as many languages as possible. By the end of 1974, Mo Letters were being distributed in 18 languages worldwide. By the end of 1977, some Letters had been translated into as many as 51 languages and printed in 47 languages.