Thursday, June 23, 2016

HWA Insinuated No Christian Children's Books Retold the Entire Bible (1958)

The Other Bible Story (1953)

In his preface to The Bible Story (1958-72) HWA claimed that Christian children's books failed to explain everything and just told a few events without explaining the wider context. This is nonsense. Although they may have been slightly harder to acquire and more expensive such books were out there.

Here is how HWA put it in the November 1958 issue of The Plain Truth.
THE NEXT fifteen pages bring you the first installment of the long-awaited Bible-story book for children, written and sketched by nationally known artist Basil Wolverton. 
Never has there been a Bible-story book like this!

It is not a disconnected series of blood- and-thunder stories without meaning or any connection with God’s real Message or the Gospel. Rather, this is THE story of the whole BIBLE-starting with the original creation in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis. (p. 5.)
The insinuation that there was no other children's book that retold the Bible as a continuous narrative before 1958 is nonsense. As a matter of fact there had been retellings of the Bible written for children that discusses the events of the Bible from beginning to end published outside of HWA's following. And many of them actually got around to discussing Jesus and the events of the New Testament. When Basil Wolverton ended his narrative in 1972 he had ended it with the return of Jews to the Holy Land under Ezra and Nehemiah.

Considering that HWA devised his syncretic ideas from various sources all such books published outside of HWA's control would have presented information and ideas that contradicted his dogmas. But their disagreement with Armstrongism is a separate issue from whether there were any children's books that presented the Bible as one narrative. There were such works available.

In fact in from 1953 until 1957 one Arthur Maxwell, a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, published a ten volume narrative retelling the Bible for children. It was named The Bible Story. Is this the source for the name of Wolverton's narrative?

(Gerald Flurry's PCG has bought the copyright for Wolverton's narrative from WCG. The copyright was possibly acquired no later than 2008 which is the copyright date for Volume 1 of PCG's printing of Wolverton's narrative.)

Once again HWA's hyperbole does not match the facts.


  1. I remember seeing these in the waiting room of my family's doctor and dentist office in the early 1960s.

  2. Those "children's" Bible story books were the stuff of nightmares! Just the illustrations by Basil Woolverton scared the beejeezus out of us!

  3. Those "children's" Bible story books were the stuff of nightmares! Just the illustrations by Basil Woolverton scared the beejeezus out of us!

  4. Claiming exclusivity where there is none is a very basic advertising technique. If there were extraterrestrials, and if they happened to visit the USA on planet Earth, they would probably assume that the old WCG and all the splinters had been created by some ad agency.


  5. Kathleen,

    I hear Maxwell's work was often left in places like that.


    It was a terrible thing HWA in making something that scared so many children within WCG. Wolverton's specialty was making grotesque illustrations. Clearly HWA or whoever had oversight over him just let him make grotesque illustrations that scared children. It was a terrible choice to make these scary illustrations in a book marketed for children.

    Shame on HWA. He was so used to frightening people to get what he wanted he did the same thing even to the little children. Children are not adults, HWA. It is terrible thing that was done to frighten them in this way.

    And shame on PCG for continuing to do this to their children. There's no reason to assume things would be any different today.

    Byker Bob,

    You are so right. HWA just said it. But of course it's simply not true.

  6. Most COGers had (and most still have) no clue where Basil Wolverton came from and why he created such grotesque art for the Radio COGs Bible Story.

    Basil Wolverton's Back Story

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      I must say I was quite surprised when I read the link you posted detailing what Wolverton did while at the same time making (mainly fear mongering) illustrations for Radio/Worldwide COG.