Sharing Disks Service Begins
Now you can receive Giving & Sharing articles and books on computer disks! Many of our readers either have a computer, or have access to a computer through a friend, school, public library, or copy center. The easiest and cheapest way to distribute our literature is through computer disk, rather than on printed paper. To distribute a larger article or booklet on paper, we must print at least 500 to 1,000 copies to bring the printing cost down to an affordable level. Then, we must keep this inventory on hand and spend large amounts on postage and packaging to mail copies when we receive requests. The volume of material that we publish makes this a difficult task. Usually, several items are out of stock, and we are saving funds to reprint them, and/or expanding and improving them.
Our articles are originally composed on a computer. Copying them to a computer disk and mailing a disk is inexpensive and easy. We do not have to reproduce a large number of copies at a time. Postage and packaging is lower, we do not have to find inventory space, and we are never “out of stock.” Most of all, we can put several large booklets and articles on one computer disk, for a fraction of the cost it would cost to have them printed on paper. We can pass these savings on to you. You can receive new material and updates much quicker. You can print out the computer disk files, or read them on line, at your convenience. Even if you know nothing about computers, you can find someone who does, and would be glad to print out our articles for you.
Therefore, Giving & Sharing is beginning a new service, called Sharing Disks. The files are in text format, also known as ASCII format, on high density 3.5 inch disks. Any personal computer, whether IBM or Compaq compatible, or Apple Macintosh, can read text format files.
Anyone with elementary computer skills can help you load the files into your word processor. If you have a Windows-based computer, Windows comes with a simple word processor called Notepad. Open Notepad, open one of our text files, and print.
Individual files for a particular book are grouped on a directory (folder). For example, the files in our series, Biblical Marriage and Family are grouped under the directory entitled “MARRIAGE.” Macintosh computers refer to directories as “folders.” Macintosh computers can read DOS (IBM compatible) disks.
Remember, copyright laws apply the same with electronic, computer disk, media as with printed media. Most Giving & Sharing material is copyrighted. You may not distribute our material at a profit, or change it slightly and claim it as your own (which is plagiarism). Permission is granted for you to reproduce our copyrighted material, provided it is given away freely, and not altered in meaning.
The following disks are available from Sharing Disks, c/o John Guffey, 619 North Pottinger, Shawnee, OK 74801. The suggested donation is $2.50 per each 3.5 inch high density DOS formatted disk (or, $5.00 per disk for 5.25 inch disks). Please make checks payable to Giving & Sharing. Your contributions and suggestions are welcome.
[ ] Disk 1: Bible Studies 1-130, 14 files, 1,067k; Newsletters 1-30, 3 files, 211k.
[ ] Disk 2: Bible Studies 131-150, 21 files, 439k; Biblical Marriage and Family, 12 files, 321k; The Incredible History of God’s True Church, by Ivor C. Fletcher, © copyright 1984 by Ivor C. Fletcher, republished by permission, 11 files, 556k.
[ ] Disk 3: History of the Seventh Day Church of God, Volume I, 6 files, 598k; Six Papers on the History of the Church of God, 6 files, 720k; What Should You Be Doing? 10 files, 104k.
[ ] Disk 4: Biblical Health and Healing, 4 files, 340k; Biblical Doctrine, fundamentals of belief and analysis of the doctrines of various Sabbath-keeping groups, 4 files, 316k; Biblical Law, 3 files, 397k.
[ ] Disk 5: Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, 31 files, 910k.
Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, about 250 pages of public domain articles written by Armstrong from 1928-1953, is planned for publication in book form as soon as funds are available. You may order the book on disk, from Sharing Disks, or, you may reserve your copy of the printed book for a suggested donation of $9.00 from Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.
Copyright or Copy Wrong?
In the early years of his ministry, Herbert W. Armstrong did not copyright his articles, magazines, and booklets. By the early 1950s, the Radio Church of God began copyrighting its material. They got a little carried away in their zeal for copyright protection. They even tried to copyright plagiarized material that was in the public domain.
An example of unabashed plagiarism has been cited by Tony Badillo. The booklet, “Has Time Been Lost?” is a very fine article proving that the seventh day of the week today is the same seventh day of the week in the Messiah’s time, and the same seventh day of the week since creation. I have a 1972 copy, which shows the author as Herbert W. Armstrong. This booklet bears a notice, “Copyright © 1952, 1968, 1970, 1972 Ambassador College All Rights Reserved.” However, I also have an older, mimeographed, version, with no copyright notice and no author. It has the address of “Herbert W. Armstrong, Box 111, Eugene, Ore.” which shows it was typed prior to 1948. It is obvious that this article was in the public domain and not available for a copyright.
Worse yet, the Church of God, Seventh Day, Denver, Colorado group, previously published the same booklet, “Has Time Been Lost?” The content appears to be virtually identical to Armstrong’s booklet. In 1965, Armstrong’s attorney wrote the Church of God, 7th Day, asking that they, the Church of God, 7th Day, discontinue printing the booklet because Armstrong’s church had it copyrighted. Reports the Church of God, 7th Day:
A search has revealed that a booklet by the title ‘Has Time Been Lost?’ was listed along with other available literature as early as in the February 10, 1925, issue of the Bible Advocate . . . A minor search in our files uncovered an old, yellowed copy of our booklet which considerably predated 1952, the year Mr. Armstrong first had his booklet copyrighted. We never heard another word from the Armstrong attorney after our attorney responded with this information.
We do not know who actually wrote “Has Time Been Lost?” because the original version, published by the Church of God, 7th Day, does not list the author. Rather than acknowledge the lie that Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this booklet, the Worldwide Church of God continued to improperly “copyright” this public domain article, and claim that Herbert Armstrong wrote it. As far as I know, Armstrong never did give credit to the Church of God, 7th Day, as the source of this article.
Why do religious organizations copyright their material? Giving & Sharing copyrights because we do not want others to plagiarize, or worse yet, slightly alter and change the meaning of our writings, and palm them off as coming from us. One minister actually did that some years ago. He took an article I wrote, added a few lines which totally contradicted my main point, and said that the article was written by me, Richard C. Nickels. It appears that the apostle Paul had the same problem, warning the brethren not to be shaken “either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, that the day of the Lord has come,” II Thessalonians 2:2 (RSV). Copyrighting our articles gives Giving & Sharing the legal or moral power to stop them if necessary. Perhaps the copyright notice will deter most from doing such a dastardly deed.
Along with our copyright notice, we also state, “Permission granted to copy this material, provided it is given away freely and not altered in meaning.” Those who wish to duplicate Giving & Sharing copyrighted material, have our blessing. You do not need to ask our permission. However, if you charge for our material, or alter it, then you are violating copyright law. The Bible believer is to obey the laws of the land, Romans 13:1-2. The truth the Almighty gives us is NOT “ours” to jealously protect with a copyright. That is why our copyright notice protects us from plagiarism and fraud, yet allows anyone to freely copy and distribute our material, verbatim.
When you see Church of God material copyrighted with the notice “All Rights Reserved,” perhaps this actually means: “This is ours to keep and receive benefits from. We are a business and must protect our assets and financial livelihood.” Did you notice the word “rights”? This is an age where almost everyone is concerned exclusively with themselves (II Timothy 3:1-2), with their “rights.” How accurate the Eternal was, when He characterized the last days as a time when the Laodicean attitude would be prevalent. After all, the word, “Laodicean,” means “the people’s rights” (Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names, J.B. Jackson, page 58).
Most religious organizations cordially grant their permission to reprint a particular article. Thomas Nelson Publishers, of Nashville, Tennessee, one of the world’s largest religious publishers, granted us permission to duplicate their compilation of the laws of the Bible, which is now part of our book, Biblical Law. Well-known writers Dave Hunt and David Barton likewise granted us permission to freely reprint specific articles they have written. Mr. Hunt even sent me a computer disk with his fine article, “A City on Seven Hills” (Bible Study No. 150). These folks are honest and “above board.”
In initiating our Sharing Disks service, I wrote to several Sabbath-keeping organizations asking them to contribute articles on computer disks that we would distribute verbatim, with their organization’s address on the label. Not only did I not receive a letter granting permission, to date I have received no answer at all! Their “All Rights Reserved” policy seems to mean: “Keep out! This is mine!” Does II Peter 2:1-3 apply to them? Let the Almighty be their judge.
In the world of business and government, the vast majority of correspondence and communication is answered. You expect it. If you have a serious problem, you may have learned to pray to the Almighty for guidance, deliverance, protection, and inspiration. His people expect to receive an answer, John 14:12-15. But as with Job’s trials, we sometimes have to learn to wait on the Eternal.
However, in the world of religion, even in the Church of God, your correspondence and communication may not be answered. Numerous times I have written brief, respectful, letters to different Church of God organizations asking a short question, and I have been disappointed not to receive any reply.
Earl Lewis and I answer most letters requiring a reply. We do our best with our limited time resources. (Write questions to Richard Nickels at 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, WY 82718. Remember to send requests for printed literature to Earl Lewis at Giving & Sharing, PO Box 100, Neck City, MO 64849.) Many times, I respond to a letter written by someone who is obviously in a bad attitude, and/or just plain off base. The Savior had a knack for turning such people around to the correct way of thinking. He was not too “goody-good” to deal with scoundrels such as Zacchaeus, Luke 19:2-10.
Many have told me that they wrote such and such organization a question, and received no reply. This circumstance validates the inspiration of the Bible. The Almighty said that false ministers would not visit and care for the flock, and that is what is happening. Our purpose is to serve, to help others learn more about the Creator. That is the “giving and sharing” way!
Tony Hayes, 7-year-old son of Christina and Loyd Hayes of Brownsville, Oregon, contracted acute lymphocytic leukemia late in 1994. With a quick and quiet onset, his illness was not evident until just weeks before he died. Rather than take him to a doctor, his family and members of the Church of the Firstborn prayed for his recovery. On November 4, Tony died. Now, his parents are facing felony manslaughter and criminal neglect charges for failing to seek medical care for their son. The Hayses and members of their church say that prayer has brought about miracles that medical doctors never could have accomplished with needles and pills.
Rita Swan, of Sioux City, Iowa, founder of CHILD, Inc. (Children’s Health Care is a Legal Duty), is a former Christian Scientist who lost a son to meningitis in 1977 although she prayed for his healing. She now believes that parents who withhold medical treatment are criminally negligent. Her group pushes for legal action to force parents to seek medical attention. She keeps tabs of child deaths in order to punish parents who seek God’s healing only for their children.
Oregon law normally protects parents from prosecution if they refuse to seek medical attention for their children due to religious reasons. However, if the child dies, this legal protection is gone. In South Dakota, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland, parents cannot withhold medical treatment from their children under any circumstances.
The Hayses and other members of their church have very sincere religious beliefs. “It’s not that I think it’s wrong to go to the doctor,” said Tony’s uncle, Eric Jensen, “it’s just that I believe prayer works better. So why would I want to try something else?” Tony’s grandfather, Ed Jensen, an elder in the small congregation of about 50 members, says, “Tony did not ask for a doctor. When Tony did not feel well, he asked for us to pray for him, and his suffering was eased. This was very real for him.” Loyd Hayes, Tony’s father, said, “The thing that hurt the most was when the prosecutor said that I had no regard for my son’s life. That’s not true. I loved my son.” Hayes recalled that his own father had been undemonstrative, so he tried to shower his son with love and affection. “Every day we had double kisses and double hugs, and I always told him that I loved him.” Their other children are now worried that their parents will wind up in jail.
Church members from as far away as Seattle came to stand with the Hayes’ in court. Attorneys volunteered to defend them. Even their detractors acknowledge that the Church of the Firstborn is a remarkable fellowship. Rita Swan, self-proclaimed watchdog against faith healing, said, “Our modern society does not cultivate meaningful, non-manipulative, empathetic social relationships the way these people do. They’re not going to get a lot of status in a materialistic society. They have something that is indeed very meaningful to them.”
The Church of the Firstborn was brought to Oklahoma from Europe by John McDonald about 1860. Its 20,000 members are scattered throughout the western United States. There is no central church, no salaried clergy or administrators, and, unlike most churches, the Church of the Firstborn does not seek nonprofit status. It is supported solely by member contributions. Brethren are against participating in war, they dress modestly, and most women wear dresses, avoid cosmetics and jewelry, and have long hair. They seek to live a quiet and peaceable life without being judgmental of others. Although church members rely on faith healing rather than medical care, there are no bragging testimonials to miracle healings. In fact, healing is scarcely mentioned. Elder Ed Jensen said, “We know that most people simply cannot understand this point of view. It is inconceivable to them. But we understand it because we have seen these things [miracles of healing from God]. We know it’s real.”
The Hayes family, and those like them, deserve our prayers, as they face a continuing trial of their faith. The medical profession is not a god. Doctors do not have the power to heal. Only the Almighty can heal. (Thanks to Anne Elena Foster, writer for the Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon, for her excellent reporting of this important case in the April 14, 1995 issue.) Ω
If you have a computer with a word processor, your help is needed to type articles and books for distribution to Sabbath-keeping brethren around the world. Please write to Richard Nickels, 3316 Alberta Drive, Gillette, Wyoming 82718, telephone 307-686-5191. Thanks for your help!
— written by Richard C. Nickels