Concerning Truth Magazine

Bryan Vinson, Jr.

Truth Magazine has many faithful friends. To these people it owes its very existence. Their continued concern for the welfare of this effort is all that has sustained it; and their prayers and support are continually sought. These friends often inquire: "What is the future of TRUTH Magazine?'' "Can you continue publication?" "How is it financed?" and "What can I do to help?" I trust that the following will help explain our situation and answer these questions that have been posed by our friends.

Typical Paper Problems

I suppose that every publication has faced difficult problems. Some have overcome; more have perished. It takes time for a paper to establish itself, both financially and in the eyes of prospective subscribers. I know of no paper which is sustained fully by the money received for subscriptions. It takes either a booming book and literature business or donations from friends. Both are difficult to come by. The book business can only be profitable with capital and volume. When orders must he filled by sending the order to another book store to be shipped directly to our customer the profit is so small that it hardly merits the time and effort spent. Capital is needed so that books and class supplies can be purchased directly from publishers at the greatest discount and mailed directly to our customers for the establishment of good service. Our stock of books and class materials is more nearly adequate now than ever; but much capital is needed before it can be as it should. But adequate stock without adequate volume is a losing business. A book store must have good volume in order to be able to hire help, give good service, and show a profit which could apply toward the publication of a paper. This "good volume" we have never attained. We did more business in this department in the last year than in the two preceding years, but our volume would have to increase ten times to be able to contribute a sizable sum toward the publication costs of Truth Magazine. Thus, our book business has not yet reached a level necessary to be able to sustain the paper.

As for donations, they are few. Some few faithful friends, not wealthy people, can take credit for the fact that Truth Magazine is about to round out its third year. As they read these lines they should know they have been the life-line of this effort, and they have the thanks of all of us closely associated with this work. I wish that more could realize the power for spreading truth that this paper has been. Perhaps more would come to our aid.

In The Beginning

Every paper has a beginning. In the beginning of this effort our purposes were clear. A few of us in this area, admittedly inexperienced, purposed to begin publication of something new and different. We desired to present to our brethren a paper designed to provoke them to a deeper study of the problems which from time to time endanger the unity of God's people and purity of Christ's gospel. We were not interested in publicizing personal clashes, or giving space to endless disputes; but we were interested in controversy,-a clean, sincere, sweet and loving presentation of contrary convictions by men who love one another and desire to be together with God in the hereafter. As to what was to be published remained the decision of the editors. We knew we could not publish every article that was submitted. We purposed to be fair and allow both sides space for articles properly written and expressive of a proper spirit. Certainly we have made mistakes in our efforts to carry these plans out. We have critically considered the efforts of one another in the light of these purposes. We have tried to be of help to each other. We are not afraid to admit mistakes; not me, my associate editors, or those other faithful men who work closely together with us to bring each month's issue into existence.

Another purpose, less important, was with us from the beginning. We desired to publish a magazine that would be very attractive. We wanted the cover to be pretty. We wanted the quality of paper and print to be the best. It has not always been as good as we wished, but we feel that it is far more attractive than most religious journals. We have often talked of reducing the cost of publication by printing a less attractive magazine. The reduction would be so small that we hardly feel it would justify putting out a cheaper edition. Time will only reveal how important that small reduction may become.

Together with these purposes which remain unchanged was the recognition of the fact that difficult times were before us. We knew we lacked experience. Not one of us had ever edited anything larger than a weekly church bulletin. I knew when I assumed the post as editor I was much too young, immature, unlearned and inexperienced. When the time came for putting someone's name beneath the word "Editor," there seemed to be no one else. God and my associates know that I sought an older, more capable swordsman, but he refused. I cannot blame him. A paper with so weak a financial footing hardly affords one with an optimistic view of its future. I don't consider myself yet capable. I am currently negotiating to replace myself with someone far wiser and more capable. One friend recently wrote me of the fact that he and others felt that I fell far short of what an editor ought to be. I agree. But while I freely admit that I am not yet mature enough to be the kind of editor TRUTH Magazine ought to have, I have my own ideas about what kind of a man ought to steer its course and will do all within my power to make sure that no other kind ever does.

We all recognized lack of experience in the beginning. Time has only reminded us of this f act.

From a financial standpoint our beginning was weak. A sum of money gathered from among ourselves and interested friends with whom we had discussed our plans was only sufficient for about two or three issues of TRUTH. We had no subscribers,-not one, -when we printed 5,000 copies of Volume 1, Number 1, and sent them without charge to as many names and addresses as we could assemble. This was expensive. The following weeks proved that it was worthwhile, and as I often compare a recent issue to that mistake filled first copy of TRUTH I wonder why anyone would have been interested in subscribing. Subscriptions did come in. We were pleased with our early growth. I was not overly optimistic. I told my associates time and again that if we could last five years we could continue as long as our purposes remained the same. We did not spend all of the subscription money that was coining to us. We set up a plan whereby 21c per month would be used, thus assuring our subscribers either 12 issues of TRUTH or their money proportionately refunded. We still maintain a reserve, although most of our subscriptions are backed by our book stock.

Since we had no one to underwrite our efforts, it was necessary from the beginning that we dig into our own pockets, monthly, in order to assure continuation. This we did cheerfully. Myself, my associate editors, three Christians who live in the Aurora area, and a few of the staff writers closely associated with the actual production of the magazine were found making a monthly contribution to the cause. We still do this. But even this is not sufficient. We cannot continue to do so indefinitely. Some of you probably think that a few subscribers and some donations ought to put us in the black. If these be your thoughts, you just don't realize how expensive it is to produce and mail a magazine like TRUTH.

Looking Ahead

I am not a prophet, and my predictions are often wrong. I have tried to be realistic in my approach to the problems which threaten the very existence of our magazine. I know we cannot continue for long under the present circumstances. More than anything else we need subscriptions. Donations help in an emergency, such as we have existed in from the beginning, but a growing subscription list provides the best assurance for future publication. If our friends would send us $10 and four names and addresses it would help very much. If just 100 people would do that, our subscription list would immediately increase by 400. Some say they don't know four people to send it to. Well, we know hundreds that need it. Send us the money and we will assure you that it will be used to send TRUTH Magazine to those who need and appreciate it. We need more subscriptions, and no one can be as effective in getting them as those of you who appreciate our efforts and want to see them continue through the years.

Donations are still needed. We have not made it a practice in the past three years to publicly ask for help. But many of us have done almost all that we can. If we could find a few friends willing to help us with a $10 or $20 contribution per month for a while, this would prove most helpful to our efforts toward continued publication. Not one of us receives a dime from the magazine. No one receives a salary. We all donate our time and energy. But the printer must be paid each month. The post office must he paid in advance. Many supplies are necessary for such an operation., Yes, donations are still needed.

Our book business must also be pushed. It has a great potential. If brethren and churches, particularly in our area, would order from us and bear with us while we adjust to new business, our growth in volume would eventually enable us to take money from the book business and apply it toward the publication of TRUTH.

Right now TRUTH Magazine has no intentions of ceasing publication. Our future is in the hands of our friends. It is my hope and my prayer that it will grow in circulation and usefulness. Many improvements can be made if needed growth becomes a reality. I trust that many of you will consider our needs and respond according to your ability.

Truth Magazine, III:10, pp. 2-4
August 1959