Personal Testimony of Charles Welty
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
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
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
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.
October 12 of 2013, I got a phone call while having dinner with
Lawrence, a director buddy of mine, after we had just finished watching
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.
La Mirada, CA