My Part in Advancing Right Worship
As told by Arthur H. Secord
WHEN I was young, I thought I was a Christian. I had been baptized in a church system of Christendom and attended Sunday school regularly. I assumed that this was the right way to worship God. Yet there were always many questions in my mind about the Bible and what I thought were its teachings.
When I became old enough to get out among so-called Christians and those who were supposed to be teachers of the Bible and upholders of its truths, I began to find that there was no real Scriptural instruction in right worship to be had from the church and Sunday school. Instead, at Christmastime, for example, they would give us as presents books of adventure, the glories of war, sailing stories and other literature that would turn our minds away from the Creator and right worship. As time passed I became less and less interested in religious teachings.
INTEREST IN BIBLE BEGINS
My father was the first of our family to study the Bible more thoroughly. Although he had to work very hard on our farm in Ontario, Canada, in order to support our large family (I was one of seven children), he was interested in right worship.
My father’s interest was stimulated further when his brother became interested in the teachings of the Bible as preached by C. T. Russell before the turn of the century. My uncle would send booklets, tracts and leaflets explaining the Bible, but my father was the only one in our family that appreciated them. He tried to tell us what he learned and encouraged us to read the literature. I tried to, but the church system I had been in since my birth in 1890 had dulled my interest in religion.
Sometime later I went to Toronto to visit my uncle. On one Sunday afternoon he invited me to accompany him to an exhibition hall where the “International Bible Students” (as Jehovah’s witnesses were called at that time) assembled for public meetings. The speaker talked from the book The Divine Plan of the Ages. As he did so, my memory took me back to what my father tried to tell us and to the little I had read. I found that not only could I understand what was being said, but, in addition, I was delighted with the information presented, so much so that I determined to set myself to reading and studying the Bible when I returned home!
In 1911 I subscribed for the Watchtower magazine. I also obtained a Bible dictionary and the booklet What Say the Scriptures about Hell? About this time the sermons of C. T. Russell, president of the Watch Tower Society, were printed in our county newspaper. These proved to be very interesting and educational in Bible teachings. Later I saw the pictures “The Photo-Drama of Creation” that were shown in my hometown of Simcoe, Ontario. It was the first time I had the privilege of seeing those wonderful pictures and of hearing the accompanying lectures, all of which quickened my desire to know more about the Bible and its teachings. In time, after much Bible research, I realized I must dedicate my life to Jehovah. I went to Toronto in midsummer of 1915 and was immersed in water in symbol of my dedication.
As a result of World War I opposition arose against the preaching activity of Jehovah’s witnesses. For instance, I wanted to go to Hamilton to hear C. T. Russell give a scheduled lecture, but, due to pressure created by the war, he was not permitted to speak and had to leave Canada. Also, all our literature was banned and our freedom of action hindered. Nevertheless, I continued to do what I could to advance right worship.
DESIRE FOR MORE SERVICE FULFILLED
After the war, I desired to have as much of a part in advancing right worship as possible. I had kindled within me the desire to offer my services to the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in Brooklyn, New York. I turned in my application, hardly expecting it would be accepted, as my vocation then was farming and I had little education compared to what I thought would be required at headquarters.
Soon, to my surprise, a letter came from the Society inviting me to come to the headquarters, Bethel, immediately. Shortly I said good-bye to my family and friends. I can still remember how sad my father looked on seeing me leave, because he was losing his companion in the truth. But at the same time he was glad, because he knew it was for my spiritual good and that it fulfilled my desire to have an increased part in advancing right worship.
I began my full-time service at Bethel by being assigned to the printing factory, then a small building at 18 Concord Street in Brooklyn. During the week that followed I overheard some fellow workers talking about the Society’s building a radio station on Staten Island, New York, and needing help on weekends with the work. I was delighted to hear this and offered my services. When my two-weeks’ vacation period arrived, I devoted that time to help with the radio building work.
Soon I was assigned to work regularly in the radio construction, splicing cables, putting the steel on the 200-foot towers and other tasks. The masts were erected and painted, aerials were built and the transmitter and studios installed. It was found advisable to purchase the land adjoining the radio station so that no tall buildings could interfere with the radio waves going out. This land was later used for truck gardening too. In addition, an electric power plant was installed so no broadcasting time would be lost through power failure of the local company’s plant during electrical storms. Then everything was ready. On the evening of February 24, 1924, WBBR began to broadcast, advancing right worship by telling about the good news of God’s kingdom.
At times I was assigned to paint the radio masts and aerial equipment. I would have to spend the whole day up where I could see nearly all of Staten Island. I had a bird’s-eye view of the trees, streets and houses throughout the area. But I wondered if this was preaching the Kingdom good news. Then I would realize that a few feet from me good news was traveling out through the air waves and that my work was necessary to preserve the equipment that Jehovah God was using as part of advancing right worship.
As mentioned, the extra property purchased next to the radio station was used for truck gardening. A brother, Herman Henschel, who himself had been a truck gardener, gladly offered to instruct those of us who were assigned to that work in addition to our radio duties. He would come once or twice a week, particularly Saturday mornings, and do what he had time to accomplish, leaving suggestions as to what else might be done.
The vegetables grown would be used by the Watchtower family at WBBR and the Bethel family in Brooklyn. What could not be used in season was canned for use in winter months. For this to be done, it required canning equipment and a building suitable for the purpose. These were made by many of the brothers nearby who had experienced God’s loving-kindness in coming to a knowledge of the truth. Thus they were happy to offer their assistance willingly and would come whenever called on to help us take care of the food to be canned. At times I also wondered how this canning was preaching the good news of the Kingdom. But then I would call to mind how appropriate it was for us to use our energies to help feed those who were spending all their time furthering the Kingdom activities at Bethel and at station WBBR.
RIGHT WORSHIP ADVANCES RAPIDLY
World War II came and made it more difficult to preach the good news by means of radio as well as by going from door to door calling on the people. The enemies of right worship used every means possible to try to stop this preaching activity. But by remaining neutral as to warring activities, and by relying on Jehovah’s Word and guidance, right worship continued. Early in 1942 our dear Brother Rutherford, who had been president of the Watch Tower Society for twenty-five years, finished his course as a great advancer of right worship and as president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. But Jehovah’s hand was not shortened. Brother N. H. Knorr was chosen as president and the Kingdom activity continued, yes, expanded day by day and month by month. When World War II came to an end, all features of the Kingdom preaching increased greatly.
Eventually the greatest usefulness of preaching the Kingdom good news over WBBR passed. A more intensive preaching from door to door was found to be more suitable. So station WBBR was disposed of in 1957. The farewell message was given by the Society’s president. He told the radio audience that the good news would continue to be preached in a more effective way. The next morning, after the program ended at 8 a.m., WBBR snapped off the air waves, thus ending thirty-three years of its advancing the right worship of Jehovah God.
Then I was assigned to come to Brooklyn Bethel to help in the printing factory. But what a change from the little factory at 18 Concord Street that I first worked in! Instead, there were now two large, modern buildings, well equipped with the latest and best printing machinery, capable of printing millions of pieces of literature every week in scores of languages to advance right worship. Surely Jesus’ prophecy is being fulfilled when he said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth as a witness to all the nations.”—Matt. 24:14.
As I now near the three-quarter-century age and look back on my forty-one years of full-time service in the most desirable work that anyone can do, I know that Jehovah has favored me as I have continued to do my part in advancing right worship. I also know he will favor all others who come to an accurate knowledge of his will and purposes, who dedicate their lives to God, and who then do their part in advancing right worship.