The small newspaper arrived in the mail, sent in by a member in southeast Idaho. The title, emblazoned across the front page fairly shouted: Earths Final Warning. The picture of a smiling President Clinton with Pope John Paul II in the center of the page seemed in sharp contrast to the title.
On the back page the return address proclaimed the sender’s credentials: Heralds of Truth, P.O. Box 800, Puyallup, WA 98371-0072. The “resident” mailing label signaled that this was part of a very large and probably very expensive mass mailing intended to blanket the entire community.
Warning was an odd-sized piece, almost eleven inches square, printed on newsprint stock. The piece deserved high marks for layout, quality artwork and effective use of basic two color printing. But the good news ends there.
From first to last, Earths Final Warning is an anti-Catholic diatribe which would have the reader believe that the United States, the United Nations and the Papacy are embarked on a grand scheme to create a new world order dominated by Rome. And while we’re at it, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Ecumenical Movement are all part of this grand conspiracy which will ultimately destroy human freedom and restore the so-called “dark ages.” The publishing organization appears to be a Seventh Day Adventist splinter group associated with last year’s anti-pope billboards which were heavily concentrated in the west and northwest. There are references to the Vatican’s Sabbath versus the Biblical Sabbath.
The writers are diabolically clever. They weave together accurate and properly cited quotes with their own bizarre interpretation. Statements made years apart are scrambled to create the illusion of connection and progression. Comments are ripped out of context or else placed side by side to create an artificial and totally unwarranted linkage designed to deceive and confuse the unsophisticated reader.
And the people who will read and believe Earths Final Warning are indeed unsophisticated and ill-informed. They will be fooled by the slickness and the artwork and the illusion of truth which this piece so cleverly conveys.
And they will send money. And they will give copies to others like themselves. And the cycle of bigotry and prejudice and anti-Catholicism will go on and on.