The telephone plan was like taking the pulse of our It Is Written viewing audience. We found the heartbeat strong when we picked up the receiver and heard a viewer say, "I'm wearing out my finger trying to get that book!" Or, "I'm glad I got through. Tonight I made my decision to be baptized."
In Los Angeles we needed thirty-five telephones to serve the thousands who would call in. To arrange for the telephone company to set up the necessary equipment at our office would have cost thousands of dollars. Therefore to avoid this heavy expense, we turned to some of the largest business firms in the city and shared with their administrators our problem. And when the executives of one of the largest retail corporations in the world opened the doors of their telephone order department and placed their equipment and personnel at our disposal with only their actual expenses charged to us, we thanked God for opening the way.
Once each month for five months the offer to send a free copy of Planet in Rebellion to anyone who telephoned in, was made at the conclusion of the telecast. For two hours our operators remained at the telephones to receive the calls. When the first offer was announced we received more than 1,000 calls within the two-hour limit. As the company executives saw their switchboard light up instantly across the entire board one of them exclaimed, "I've never seen that here before! We receive through these lines more than 17,000 calls each month, but this is the first time we've ever seen all of the lights on the board flash on at once. This is amazing!"
Newspaper writers, ministers, and people from all walks of life called in to request copies of the book. One newspaper columnist said, "Please send me your book and any other information you have so that I can write about this for the fourteen papers that I serve."
Many times different members of the family took turns dialing the telephone number until they could reach an open line. In one home a little girl took her turn after others in the family had kept long vigils. When our It Is Written operator answered she heard a childish voice shout excitedly, "Oh no! Mommy, we got 'em!"
In addition to taking requests for Planet in Rebellion our operators were trained to inquire tactfully if the callers were receiving Take His Word. Those not already enrolled would frequently request the Bible study guides. Thousands of persons began receiving Take His Word in this way.
For the first three offers we staffed the telephones with thirty-five women whom we trained. Then the ministers in the conference asked if they might share in the adventure. We organized a "Ministers' Telephone Night." That evening ministers from all parts of the conference answered the hundreds of calls that came in. Someone suggested that we probably didn't handle so many calls as usual that night—the ministers talked too long. But the pastors' response was enthusiastic, and their skillful handling of the calls opened the way for fruitful follow-up.
Before each telephone offer thousands of copies of Planet in Rebellion were packaged in jiffy bags and postage affixed to the bags. As soon as the first hundred calls were received the names and addresses were taken to waiting typists who addressed labels. Quickly these were proofread and attached to the packages. Within a few minutes after the telephoning was completed the books were in the post office being prepared for delivery on Monday morning.
A television offer, a telephone call, a book, and Take His Word—these became four familiar steps to timely truth for thousands of southern Californians during the winter of 1962-1963.