A Personal Testimony
Back Home Next

Up
A Letter to My Son
Venture Theater
A Personal Testimony
Contact Info

Personal Testimony of Charles Welty

(As of 07/29/14)

My name is Charles Welty. I reside at the time of this writing in the city of La Mirada, on the border of Orange County and Los Angeles County, California. I plan to move soon to Toluca Lake or perhaps some other area which will depend on what happens with various business interests that I have. It could be the Austin area, the Princeton area, Annapolis, or perhaps somewhere else.

I was raised in the Presbyterian Church, Westminster Confession. All I learned from my experiences in the Presbyterian Church is that as far as I was able to tell, to be saved you had to join a committee. Those of you who are of a Presbyterian background will surely appreciate the humor of that observation.

The doctrines of sin and salvation didn’t have much meaning to me. Mine was not a “cross and the switchblade” type of testimony. For you younger people, The Cross and the Switchbladewas the name of a popular book about Nicky Cruz, who left a life among the gangs and barrios to become a minister. My testimony might be better labeled The Cross and the Butterknife. But sin is sin and I was brought to a realization of this when I was in high school. Gary Richmond, who has served as an Associate Pastor at the Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton for a number of years now, was at that time a leader of a Campus Life club at Hoover High School in Glendale, California. He led a study in my parents’ home. After a few weeks of listening to what he said, the Spirit of God convicted me of my sin and need for redemption.

For those of you who question any of this, and especially in regards to my reputation or that of my twin brother, William, I say that I was much worse then, in spite of my Cross and the Butterknife testimony, than I am now, as God is working his patient work in me, the least member of His Kingdom.

I am a single father. My eldest daughter (29 this November) was married a week before Christmas in 2004 to Nathan Larson, a wonderful Christian man. Christopher, my son (now 26), is in the Navy, currently stationed at Point Loma in San Diego after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland at the end of May of 2011.  Rebecca, my youngest daughter, 22 this November, is studying social services at Cal State Long Beach.

I have been married twice. The first time was in 1976. The marriage lasted 4 years. She wanted to be a lawyer and saw no future with me. She divorced me and abandoned all of our friends. She has since been disbarred, throwing away all she gained after our divorce. See what happens when you try to do things your way, and reject God’s Law for your own short-sighted choices? You throw everything away, and for what?

But I remarried in 1984. The effects of childbirth on my second wife resulted in severe post-partum depression and a mental breakdown for her. I tried to keep my family together, but in the first trimester of her last pregnancy, she was literally placed in a padded room with no medication, for fear of harming our baby, who turned out to be my precious daughter, Rebecca. During the last trimester of her pregnancy, she was hospitalized at a mental care facility. Around the time of her hospitalization, my wife divorced me, blaming me for her problems. Nearly 15 years later she came to regret that decision, as I warned her she would, but what is done, is done… and I cannot change that.

My three children have been somewhat estranged from her. Rebecca has been talking to her. My former wife now resides in constant supervision at a board and care facility. As far as I am able to tell, my children don’t blame me for what happened to her. My children and I have had many long talks about this.

I spend my time writing and optioning or selling screenplays, overseeing the development of them into novels and such, and now and then putting some input into Davidson Press, the company that my brother and I formed to publish the International Standard Version Bible. That’s the translation that we had the privilege of funding upon the sale of Continental Satellite Corporation, the DBS licensee that was ultimately sold to Dish Network.

I also have a new motion picture development company called Welty Brothers Studios. My various screenplays are quite eclectic in nature. They run from light-hearted comedies, political thrillers, bio pics, time travel adventures, and the like. One of my scripts has a $40 million budget, and a very reputable producer friend in the Beverly Hills area is looking at producing it. Maybe we will produce it ourselves.

Through God’s grace, Davidson Press and the ISV Foundation were able to distribute over $2,000,000 to various charitable Christian groups, including the ISV Foundation, some local churches, a seminary, and a law school, all from the sale of that DBS license. And we have distributed over 10,000,000 free copies of the ISV New Testament on line (and 35,000 copies in print), making the ISV one of the most successful new Bible translations on the Internet. And the complete ISV Bible began to be distributed as an ebook on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and as an Apple iTunes ebook around May 5, 2011, the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible.

Many of the recipients of our gifts later came to despise the gifts, and the giver, though. To this day, I am not sure why; perhaps because the people with whom we made the complex legal arrangements required for the transfer of the assets that were donated left the organization and new people didn’t understand or respect what we accomplished. We learned some lessons from this. If you don’t work for what you get, many times you will despise the gift and the giver. That may not make sense to you, but it’s true. Some of these people think the gift, and its continuing benefits, were something they earned or deserved. I’ve seen this first hand, and I still don’t quite understand the thinking behind it. Oh, well…

The nature of my work takes me away, now and then, sometimes for extended periods of time. My new movie – Ludington’s Ride – is in development. We posted the preliminary storyboards for the motion picture to our website a while back. And American Radio Theater (or whatever we end up calling it) – our live radio drama theater project – is perking along. We’re hoping to bring back “The Shadow”, “The Green Hornet”, “Captain Midnight” and other old favorites, performed live with new and original scripts, in a live radio broadcast from a theater in or near the city of Burbank in Southern California. A big agency in Chicago has inquired about working with us.

I don’t know how long these projects will take, but they could keep me away, or at least occupied in and out of the local area, for quite some time. I used to attend a small Bible-teaching church in Irvine with my daughter. I now attend Hosanna Chapel in Bellflower, pastored by the wonderful Dr. Garry Ansdell. I know. A Calvary Chapel. And pastored by a guy with a Ph.D., no less. That's almost a miracle in itself. I've never met one of those before. And I was going to Calvary Chapel when it was a tent down on the outskirts of Santa Ana way back in the very early 1970's.

If I’m not actively involved in some of the local church committees, it’s not because I am lazy. I just request that people understand that my ministry is my work, as it should be, and that my ministry is expanding way beyond the local area here. And a home in Toluca Lake, in Annapolis, in New York or North Carolina where our Ludington’s Ride motion picture project could be produced, or elsewhere may be a reality. I don’t know what will happen with those projects.

I have avoided formal membership in churches, only because they never seem to understand the nature of my work and why it may take me away for long periods of time. Missionaries and people who serve in the military understand that, though. I trust whatever church I land in will understand this, too. Local involvement on committees can be spotty, as my schedule can be unpredictable.

A note on tithing: One other reason I avoided church membership is all the others, especially the Baptist churches I looked at, had a tendency to demand 10% tithing.  They seem to think “tithe” means 10%. It actually means a tenth, like “percentage” doesn’t necessarily mean one percent. It could mean multiples of that, and I think “tithe” actually means more than 10%, and sometimes less.

I have had to arrange my affairs so that my personal income is actually quite little each year. My businesses and trusts pick up all my other expenses. This was done many years ago, more than two decades now. And ten percent of that is not much, so I don’t bother. That sounds harsh. Let me explain something, and I hope you can get used to this, as it is a part of my testimony.

My income has been irrevocably dedicated to a number of non-profit trusts under my trusteeship, and the trusteeship of my family (like Rebecca, when she’s old enough, and if she should be interested in that sort of thing) and of certain qualified individuals who really know what is at stake. So I don’t personally earn anything. The trusts get the royalties from my novels, movie scripts, and corporate holdings, including our publishing company, and all the rest of them.

I don’t believe in 10% tithing, by the way, as I think this is unbiblical. It’s not that I disagree with tithing. Actually, I think 10% tithing doesn’t go far enough! The biblical tithes were much greater than 10%. They were actually closer to 22%, if you add them all up, including what I call the “party tithe” where God told the Israelis to plan for and set aside money for a festival; a party, if you will.

So I live on about two to ten percent of my income, sometimes a lot less and sometimes more, and the rest is slated for other causes through a trust structure I cannot change. There is always foundation grants for special projects, I suppose, so don’t rule me out completely about helping with a church mortgage now and then. Let’s see what happens with the trust incomes.

In January of 2010, just after New Year's day, I was admitted to the Downey Regional Medical Center near my office with breathing difficulties. I had suffered a mild heart attack. I underwent cardiac bypass surgery a week later. Open heart surgery is a bit traumatic, but God saw me through it. My children stayed over from the Christmas and New Year's holidays, so they were there for me, as were some friends from the motion picture industry who came down to the hospital and my home/office to visit me. And about two months or so later, on April 1, my twin brother went into the same hospital for congestive heart failure. He underwent the same operation. Gee... we're twins. We should've got a family plan discount. Ah, well... all is getting better daily and we're back to working our various projects, but at a slower pace.

Around Labor Day weekend of 2011, I went off to Annapolis for my son's graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. My brother William went into a local hospital for surgery. He left his left foot behind. He is getting along with a prosthesis. Things are difficult, but not impossible. William can identify with the citizens of that African country he's dealing with; about 30% of the workforce there over the age of 30 have lost limbs to roadside bombs. In a tragic sort of way, he's one of them now. We're told the president of the country says "Now you're one of us." It is strange to hear that.

On October 12 of 2013, I got a phone call while having dinner with Jonathan Lawrence, a director buddy of mine, after we had just finished watching Gravity, that new Sandra Bullock/George Clooney picture. Marvelous film. Anyway, I got a call from my son Christopher. It was the anniversary of his relationship with a certain young lady named Holly. Christopher asked her to marry him. She wisely said yes. He sent me a picture of the wedding ring. It's on the right, above. I assume it's an actual image. I searched on Google Image. Couldn't find one like it. So I guess that's the one. The sailor image is a nice touch, given that Christopher is in the Navy. He's an officer on a submarine. Can't say which one.

Around the first of June in 2014, I went back into a local hospital for what turned out to be kidney problems. I was put on dialysis. Over 7 weeks of treatments I lost about 40 pounds, almost a pound a day average. I'm heading down to 190, my ideal weight. I don't recommend dialysis for losing weight. For one thing, it's more than a bit confining. I don't know if I will have to continue 4 hours a day for three days a week. I think my nephrologist wanted to cut me back to one two-hour session one day per week. We'll see.

If you pray for rain, you’d better bring an umbrella. Anything else is less than faith. Likewise, if you work hard and pray for your business to be a success, you’d better plan for that success, or you aren’t really believing that God is going to do anything. I suppose God doesn’t want to hear our words on what we would do if He blesses us. I think he likes to see actions rather than hear words. Don’t you agree?

And all of this includes your life, not just your business; your family, here and now. Life, business and family have been roller coasters for me, but all along, He has been faithful, even when I fail. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.”

So… that’s my testimony… my “Ebenezer stone” as the Scripture puts it: Thus far have I come, by God’s grace. And by God’s grace, he will see me home.

Charles Welty 
La Mirada, CA

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Charles R. Welty. All copyrighted or trademarked material is a copyright or trademark of the respective holder. All rights reserved worldwide. Last modified: 04/03/14.