Few WCG publications have had the torturous history that The Wonderful World Tomorrow: What It Will Be Like has had.
The first edition came out in 1966 at just under a hundred pages, co-authored by Herbert and Ted Armstrong. It was to gain infamy from its opening paragraph:
Where will YOU be, ten years from now? You can know what is going to happen. In this booklet you are going to take an astonished glimpse into this world as it will be - in just ten or fifteen short years.
Of course, fifteen years later it was 1981. Whoops.
There was a revised edition in 1973 (shown in the photograph above), but the next hard copy I have in my files is from 1979, published in hardback by the church imprint Everest House. The title has been slightly altered: Tomorrow... What It Will Be Like. By this time Ted had been expunged - the "cultural revolution" of 1978 had broken over the church like Hurricane Katrina, leaving one senile, unpredictable, imperious megalomaniac as supreme figurehead. Herbert's name now stands alone. This was the version that appeared in US bookstores, destined to lie in unsold heaps, little more than a "vanity publication."
By 1982 the WCG was reissuing it "... not to be sold. It is a free educational service in the public interest..." Educational? In the public interest? Do tell... The text is virtually identical with the Everest House edition, but the title has been restored to its original form.
I have no idea whether it made it off the presses again before Armstrong's death. PCG undoubtably now owns the rights to this "masterpiece."
But fear not little flock, if you missed out on the earlier versions, and can't stomach the thought of crawling to Gerry for a copy, you can secure an "almost the same thing" genuine imitation. Earlier this year LCG released a colorful 35 page clone entitled The World Ahead: What It Will Be Like, authored by none other than your favorite "leading evangelist" and mine, Roderick C. Meredith. While the word "joy" isn't the first one I associate with Rod and his "three to five years" gospel, it figures prominently in the sub-heads: "JOY Under God's Government" (arbeit macht frei?) and "Teachers of JOY!"
I guess you could call it the Ren and Stimpy "Happy happy joy joy" rewrite.