Letters by William Irvine, 1919–1947

From 1918 until his death in 1947, after Revelation began to open up to him, Irvine wrote innumerable letters to his friends and inquirers and continued his letter-writing up until one year before his death in 1947, at the age of 84.  He sent letters to those who indicated an interest in his beliefs and progressive revelation. He referred to the 2×2 Church as “The Testimony” or “The Testy.” His letters went to his followers who were spread all over the world; to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and South Africa.

Irvine wrote “To have a few in Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand, California, West and East Canada is quite interesting and there may be a few in Eastern U.S.A., though I don’t know of any.  But clearly Thyatira is the Pacific coast and now we can wait patiently and see the results there and also in the churches in general or The Testimony.”  (September 3, 1930 Letter to Edwards)

The oldest letter to be found so far written by Wm Irvine is dated January 17, 1919, and is addressed to Hon. Lord Northcliffe.  Many of his letters were addressed to William (Willie) Edwards, one of the first two Omega Message followers, the other being Bob Skerritt.  Both had been 2×2 workers.  The last letter known to the author written by Wm. Irvine is dated June 13, 1946, addressed to Ackersons in Vallejo, California. Irvine sometimes enclosed his photograph, and many of his followers have copies of photos of him.

Today, no one follower has all of Irvine’s letters in their possession, but most followers have a good number of letters in their private collections, which could fill several notebooks.  Most of Irvine’s original letters were handwritten, using a fountain pen, and were carefully preserved, copied, typed and distributed to other followers. Through the years, his letters have been typed and copied again and again and have been handed down through generations. Irvine encouraged this practice.  

Since there is no single letter that gives the entire Omega Message, it must be assimilated from reading many of his letters. There is no central bank of Irvine’s letters, nor are they to be found on a website hosted by his followers.  They have been copied and recopied. “On this trip we brought along Mr. Irvine’s original letters to us from 1925-35, and John and I have been retyping them, with wide margins to put in book form…and have enjoyed it so much, for we are more able now to value and understand what he has written.” (Anna Edwards’ Letter to Fountains August 8, 1938*)

The lack of public distribution is intentional, as Wm. Irvine firmly believed the Omega Message should be shared through individual contact, as Jesus and the Disciples gave the Message of their day.  His followers have no printed material nor hymnal.   Followers of William Irvine do not accept monetary compensation for supplying letters to interested parties. A number of his letters are reprinted and may be read on the Telling The Truth (TTT) website.  

Current Omega followers keep their own files of letters and at their discretion, share them with others:  “If you are hungry and thirsty for the Truth of God, there are many there who can help.  They have copies of most of the letters I have written from here [Jerusalem] these past 26 years, so they can meet all your needs and give you help to understand what’s written in [the] Book and my letters.”  (October 23, 1944 Letter to McDonald and Gruber)  He believed his letters were the subject of Rev. 22:2: “The tree in Psalms 1 becomes the Tree of Life in Rev. 22, and twelve manner of fruits has been MY LETTERS these 26-1/2 yrs.”  (April 11, 1946 Letter to Ida Newby)

When followers are witnessing to prospective converts, they prefer them to read the letters Irvine wrote from 1940 to 1945 first, because by that time, he had received most or all of the Revelation Program.  “Naturally, we spend more time on the later letters, or specially since ‘trimming’ started.  Some of what Mr. Irvine read 10 years ago, he may see clearer today, so we need to go by what the Spirit has given him, as the vision has become clearer.  When he went to Jerusalem, he did not see that his friends would come there too.”  (March 13, 1939 Letter from Rose Edwards to Fountains)  They have put together a collection containing 20 letters, especially for Beginners:  “The Beginner Book.”  These 20 letters are printed in the Telling The Truth Collection of Letters by Wm Irvine.

Message People do not freely distribute Irvine’s letters to outsiders, because they don’t believe in “casting pearls before swine.”   Irvine wrote:  “So never trouble people with these things unless they show appreciation of what you have to say.”  (August 1, 1924 Letter to Fladungs). Taking care not to give their enemies ammunition against them, they parcel out information in bits and pieces to prospective converts, until they show signs that they believe in Wm Irvine and his Omega Message. 

Irvine’s understanding was progressive–in other words, he changed his mind about or added to some of his prophecies.  While some view this as inconsistent, his followers look upon it as Irvine’s “human” side. It is a test of faith for the Message followers to overlook any inconsistencies, and they don’t trust most outsiders to understand this practice.  A former Omega follower wrote:  “I remember adults saying ‘it’s not a beginner’s letter,’ meaning someone who doesn’t already have belief in Wm. Irvine would get tripped by the inconsistency.  Especially, where he gave exact dates things would happen, but didn’t.  They said it was because his ‘human side’ became over-zealous wanting God’s plan to work.  Therefore, it wasn’t actually an incorrect prophecy.”

Sometime in the 1960s, a Message follower named Orris Mills, asked some of the other followers to send him a list of the letters written by Irvine that they gave out most frequently to interested parties.  From this list, Mr. Mills, a printer by occupation, put together a large collection of letters.  This collection is sometimes used today as a hand-out when someone expresses interest in reading Irvine’s letters.

Some letters are called “The Mimeographs.”  These letters were typed from Irvine’s original letters onto stencils and run off on a mimeograph machine.  (This was the method used before copiers were invented, for reproducing large quantities of the same page.)  The Mimeographs were the “primer” for many who have accepted the Omega Message, along with a current follower who “brought me along” in the Message. The Mimeographs letters, along with other letters from private collections are reprinted in date order in the TTT Collection of Letters by Wm Irvine.

In 1938, Irvine began to send one letter to “Edwards & Co.”  (Company) every 7-10 days, and Willie Edwards, one of his followers made copies and distributed the letter to numerous hearty followers, who in turn copied/typed and distributed it on to people on their list, along with cover letters, who distributed them to people on their list, etc.  (W. Edwards Letter to Ackersons March 4, 1943*) Irvine was 75 years old by this time, and it made it easier on him to not handwrite so many personal letters:

“In 1938, I felt it was better to write one letter for all and entrusted W. Edwards to circulate it, which proved useful in one sense, for it saved me; for it was hard at 75 to do what I had been doing.”  (November 26, 1945 Letter to Madeline Dunbar)

“I noticed my personal letters were being used wrongly so I allowed W. Edwards to get my letters and send copies to all who were interested, which he did reasonably well” (March 3, 1944 Letter to Nobles)  

“I don’t write many personal letters now because I found some used them for their own purposes.  I write one to W. Edwards for U.S.A. & Canada.  He copies and files and sends to those who value the help we can give – so one to New Zealand and one to Australia.  All get the same chance.”  (December 28, 1942 Letter to Pages)

In 1938, at Irvine’s suggestion, Willie and Rose Edwards began to travel and meet with other Omega followers and their invitees in the USA and Canada.

“How many there were in California who had been reading Mr. Irvine’s letters for 20 years, but they never truly understood them until the Spirit sealed and sent Willie and Rose to them, and the spoken word showed them where they were in God’s sight…” (Minnie Skerritt’s Letter to Denver Folks All, Nov. 1938*)

At this time, Rose was around 50 years old, and Willie was probably about 10 years older than Rose.  Likely, he had retired, as they did not seem to have to schedule around employment.  From comments in their letters, they seemed to be constantly on the road, explaining Wm. Irvine’s letters and thoughts.  Omega followers took copious notes and typed them up and passed them around to other followers in letters.  Wm Irvine wrote of Edwards:  “My heart is glad today to see that they are able to supply what I often felt was beyond the power of my pen…” (Wm Irvine’s Letter to Ritzmans, February 13, 1940*)

Willie Edwards was accepted as Irvine’s right-hand man, and the followers looked up to him and his wife, who heartily gave herself to this ministry, and also to Minnie Skerritt. “How foolish for people to fail to see that they can’t be disloyal to Willie (Edwards) without it being the same to Mr. Irvine and Him. How like Paul, Willie was in being a shepherd protecting the flock…”  (Ackersons Letter to Readers, November 24, 1942*).

Rarely, was there ever a letter from the Edwards that they didn’t mention some Omega follower(s) who had recently visited them at one or the other of their two homes; one was “on the Hill” located between Vallejo and Santa Rosa, California and the other in Phoenix, AZ.   A follower wrote:  “…or as some of us said, even after Mr. Irvine’s letters, we wouldn’t of understood without Edwards to show us.”  Another grateful follower wrote: “so we are more and more thankful for Willie and Rose’s life to help us and being able and willing to guide us in all that was so utterly impossible to understand by our own reading of Book and letters.”

Edwards would send a cover letter to those who distributed Irvine’s letters for him to other followers, sometimes addressed to “Our Dear Friends in Wm Irvine.”  He often referred to Irvine as their “Our Leader.”  “…surely it would make us tremble if we didn’t have a Leader and Commander whose every word is our law and guide.” Edwards referred to Wm. Irvine’s letters using several reverent terms:

“Nothing so important as to digest well all the late letters contain as they come from the Throne.”  (W. Edwards’ Letter to Mitchells and Popes, November 18, 1942)

“We have the pleasure of forwarding to you another feast, as two letters arrived yesterday.” (W. Edwards’ Letter to Schulzes April 24, 1941)

“We were glad to get your letter and enclosed from His ‘Sent Angel’ which always is meat in due season.” (Rose Edwards’ Letter to Balls August 5, 1936)

“…we are enclosing a few of the Prophet’s late letters…” (W. Edwards’ Letter to Balls November 6, 1937)

“…for if we believe he (Wm Irvine) has the mind of God, then it is only right that we take his words a voice from Heaven…” (W. Edwards’ Letter to Minnie Skerritt, September 4, 1942)

“I expect of all the letters he has ever written, there have been none so rich and full as these late letters, and it would seem as if he could see from where he is, right into the hearts and lives of all, because of what he writes being so appropriate, and we have likened his letters to those in the Book that were written by Paul, Peter and John, just before the end.”

One follower referred in a letter to the two wisest men in world:  Solomon and William Irvine.

The recipients were encouraged to give the letters far more than just a casual or cursory reading.  This thought was repeated over and over again:  “…as Willie was saying to some who were here, ‘It would take a good 6 months to read and digest all that is in that letter,’ for it isn’t just the reading of the letter, but also all the references he gives, and then looking up cross-references so as to become more familiar with the Book, and have it written on our hearts, so that at all times we are prepared and ready to open our mouths to all we come in contact with.”  (Madeline Edwards’ Letter to Monroes February 15, 1943*)

The need was stressed to write letters to other Omega followers, and their sincerity and heartiness were judged by the volume and depth of their correspondence, and also by how much witnessing they did to outsiders.

The first and last paragraphs of Irvine’s letters were often personal messages. He used very little punctuation, underlined for emphasis and often used extremely long sentences.  He used the European style of dating (Day, Month, Year).  Typed copies of his letters usually have added punctuation and paragraphs to make them easier to read.  His letters contain very few personal details about himself and his daily life. He sometimes wrote on the back of a letter sent to him by another correspondent, so the recipient received two letters to read (April 24, 1945 Letter to Laughlins; and April 24, 1945 Letter to Pages).

A present-day California Omega follower, Wendell Rideout, wrote the author regarding his beliefs about the timing and purpose of the inventions of pens, typewriters and computers:  “I can refer you to Ezekiel 9:2 and 9:10, which refers to the man with the ‘writers inkhorn at his right side.’  This is a definite reference to the prophet for the last days.  When William (whom I call Wm.) Irvine was born, quills were still in use… Personally, I believe that God allowed man to invent the fountain pen specifically so that William would fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel 9:2 and 9:10.  He did have to ‘dip’ his pen in the inkwell…I also believe (there is no letter reference that I know of, nor a scriptural reference) that God allowed the portable typewriter to be invented, specifically for those who followed William from 1914 through the 1940s and 1950s, that they might be able to copy William’s letters, and give a few to those who had truly heard and wanted to find out more. And now, I believe the computer was allowed by God for the latter-day followers of William – simply because the computer is faster, and can store a lot of information that doesn’t have to be redone, and that the time is so very short before these things begin.”

His followers believe Wm. Irvine was the greatest prophet this world has ever known. Some even named their children after him; “Irvina Kerr” (daughter of George Kerr, the son of Joe and Sarah Kerr);  a boy named John Irvine Barnes; and Irvine Noble.  James and Ina Hill named one of their sons, William Irvine Hill, born September 6, 1906, in California (See:  James & Ina Hill Clann Edited by Richard R. Hanson).

“Thanks for your letter and the Baby and the name, which I hope may do as much for your home as it has done for me and Mrs. W. Loitz, for it was the first name I got…It was a surprise to me when I had heard they had called their boy William Irvine Loitz…But the naming of their baby after me caused them to find out who were my friends and enemies among their own people…”  (Wm Irvine’s Letter to Harry and Mary Carson, October 27, 1927 ), (Wm. Irvine’s Letter to Skerritts, March 24, 1923)  Note:  His namesake, Wm Irvine Loitz, did not follow the Omega Message.

Click Here to go to Collection of Letters by Wm Irvine