THE MEMOIRS OF DAVID ROCKEFELLER
For the uninitiated David Rockefeller is a grandson of the late John D. Rockefeller, “the richest man in the world,” and the son of John D. Jr. He is the youngest of five brothers; the others are John, Winthrop, Laurence, and Nelson. Nelson was for years governor of New York and also the Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford. They also have a sister dubbed “Babs.”
David earned a PhD in economics and was for years Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank. He published his memoirs in 2002. He is now in his 92nd year having been born June 12, 1915. After hearing of the book, and seeing no need to further enrich Mr. Rockefeller by buying it, I checked it out at the local library. I found it to be a very interesting and informative read. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in our world and just what is going on in it. Before reading Memoirs virtually everything I had read of David Rockefeller demonized him; his book humanized him. Later I saw it offered in a book club and purchased it; seeing it as a valuable addition to my library; one that could be used for reference in many valuable ways. That is what I am doing now.
John D. Rockefeller left this life, at the age of 97 on May 23, 1937. “While the official cause of death was schlerotic myocarditis, it would be simpler to say he died of old age.” I found that statement by David to be very interesting. My mother who died at the age of 84 in 1997 was diagnosed by her doctors has having some sort of dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s. It was suggested that she may have suffered a series of mini-strokes. Another doctor wondered if she had bone cancer. I finally came to the realization that they did not know just what was wrong with her. I discussed this on the phone with her sister, my Aunt Lorinne. I’ll never forget her response. She exclaimed, “Why I know what is wrong with her, she is old!” The fact is that if we use our bodies long enough we just wear them out.
In writing of his parents David relates: “When my parents married on October 9, 1901, the press headlined it as the union of the two most powerful families in America: the son and heir of John D. Rockefeller and the daughter of Nelson Aldrich, Republican majority leader in the U.S. Senate and, according to some, ‘the General Manager of the Nation.’” To get a handle on just how influential and powerful David Rockefeller has been one only has to view the pictures contained in the book. Consider these: David and his daughter Neva in the Kremlin in 1964 with Nikita Khrushchev. David introducing Peggy, his wife, to Zhou Enlai “on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Bejing in 1973.” Sitting next to Henry Kissinger, the National Security Advisor, while President Nixon standing on his left delivers a speech. A meal with Golda Meir, the Prime minister Of Israel. Standing with King Hussein in Amman, Jordan. Shaking hands with Anwar Sadat in Cairo in January 1974. Shaking hands with President Jimmy Carter. Then he is pictured , in separate photos, with the first President Bush, Fidel Castro, Yasser Arafat, and Nelson Mandela. There is a picture taken during the New York City fiscal crisis, with David Rockefeller of Chase Manhattan, Pat Patterson of J.P. Morgan, Walter Wriston of Citibank, Secretary of the Treasury William Simon and President Gerald Ford in it. One can only conjecture as to just how much power and influence he wielded, but in view of the above it must have been considerable. Perhaps he still does. Obviously many world leaders sought his counsel on financial matters and perhaps many other matters as well.
The psalmist suggested that we should take heed about who we take counsel from. (See Psalm 1:1.) While we should expect the world to get its counsel from worldly sources we should be disturbed at just how much Christians go to the same sources for guidance and instructions. Allow me to cite a few.
Of course many Christian schools have been around for a number of years because Christians did not want their children educated in America’s public schools; some homeschool as well. But we have not been nearly so watchful in other areas. We get our legal advice from lawyers. You say yours is a Christian. But were his professors in law school Christians and were his textbooks written by Christians?
Then there is the medical profession. I recently spent a week in south Florida. I exclaimed to a friend there that everywhere I turned there seemed to be a hospital, a clinic, a drug store or doctor’s offices etc. He responded that medicine was the largest industry in the nation. I suspect he is right. Turn on the television and it won’t be long before someone stands before you trying to sell you a purple pill or a green one or they will introduce you to a disease you have never heard of before (which will likely be given initials for a name) and then recommend their pill that will treat it.
Some years ago a book titled Dissent In Medicine came off the presses. Each chapter was written by a different medical doctor. Here are some facts I gleaned from it. At different times and in different places there have been doctors’ strikes. During these strikes the only work doctors would do was emergency room work which is about ten percent of what they normally do. In every instance of a doctors’ strike the death rate has gone down. One might wonder if that ten percent of what doctors do during a strike should be one-hundred percent of what they do in their daily practice. Further it was stated that, “fifty percent of medical costs in this country are spent on medical tests which are often useless and frequently dangerous.” There is more, much more, but that is enough to alert us to the problem. The medical profession prospers in a large measure because people are not willing to do what they should do to maintain their health. They want to eat junk food, overeat, and do other harmful things. They generally are not willing to do healthful things and then, when they become ill they expect the doctor to give them a pill or a shot and that is supposed to fix the problem. In more serious cases an operation should cure the ill. Then they want to go right on living in their careless manner.
I have a friend who holds a BA degree in physical education and a master’s in kinesiology. He is a sixth degree black belt, does body massage, chiropractic type adjustments, and is a qualified acupuncturist and herbalist. He sometimes trades services with a licensed chiropractor. This chiropractor is also a qualified holistic practitioner. He has told my friend that he only does adjustments and has quit providing the other services as people generally are not interested in a program of health but just want a quick fix.
There is quite a variety of financial advisors available also and some that even claim their advice is based on Scriptural principles. Psychological counselors are available as are marriage counselors. I am told that many of the latter simply advise divorce (not the kind of counsel I want). Fact is I just heard from a radio talk-show host of a billboard which stated: “Life is short, get a divorce.” Actually this was an advertisement of a law office. The host on the radio was inviting people to call in and give their opinion about this. There was a variety of opinions proclaimed. I thought of calling myself but didn’t as I have learned that the great majority of these shows don’t want facts, as that ends the discussion. They just want controversy as that keeps the show going. If I had called in, I would have informed her that life is eternal so stick it out. Almighty God hates divorce, or so says the Scripture. But who wants to hear that?
How about child rearing? Have you been to Dr. Spock lately? I just today read the following in a daily devotional book:
As the mother of two young children, I am frustrated by the lack of clear direction for child rearing. I read one article and get one expert’s opinion on potty training or discipline, and then I read a different opinion from another source. There are as many views on parenting as there are parents!
She is a Christian writer; I wonder why she didn’t turn to the Bible on the subject. Of course Scripture says, among other things, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son” and “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Perhaps she didn’t want to consider that, as that Old Testament stuff probably is just too harsh for her. Strange how it worked for years before Spock and all these other experts came along.
Then, of course, there is spiritual counsel. It can be found on about every other corner. Yes there are mediums and psychics and spiritualists of various kinds, and many do involve themselves in this sort of thing. Many however go to church. We also have synagogues in America and nowadays you can even find Islamic Mosques. If you are interested in some sort of Christian religion (and counsel) there is a veritable smorgasbord out there. Someone has stated that, “as many different kinds of Baptist churches there are, there is no excuse for anybody to not be a Baptist.” Fact is, if you want a church with a formal approach to worship, they are available. If you want emotional worship that is available. If you want a Bible believing church there are plenty of them on the menu. And if you are looking for health and wealth with your religion then there are plenty of those who are preaching a “prosperity gospel.” If however you are looking for wise counsel, i.e. the pure unadulterated truth, you may have more than just a little trouble finding that.
Fact is if one takes a real hard, honest look at the situation, he can’t help but come to the realization that it is a veritable mine field out there; tread through it at your own risk. Some years ago I lived in the Indianapolis area and often listened to a “Christian Radio Station” there. Listen all day and you would hear Baptist preachers, tongues preachers, holiness preachers and what have you. I often thought that if someone did listen all day and believed all he heard, at the end of the day he would be the most confused person on earth.
Whose counsel do you seek? Normally, and usually, people seek counsel from successful people. Do you want financial counsel? Then you will likely go to someone who has accumulated wealth. The question is though: did he accumulate his money from the investments he advises others to make or did he make his money by selling his advice?
Do you want spiritual guidance? Then you may decide to go to the pastor of a megachurch. He has built and maintained a large congregation thus he must be right. Examine that thinking! Jesus, the Christ, was crucified. Was His counsel wise? How about the Apostle Paul? He wrote a good part of the New Testament. Was he successful? He was reportedly beheaded. The Apostle Peter? Tradition tells us that he was crucified upside down. George Fox, the founder of The Society of Friends in the 17th century, was incarcerated in virtually every jail in England. John Wesley the founder of Methodism in the 18th century was at one point in his ministry barred from every pulpit in England. Well maybe you don’t really want the truth. Maybe you just want to fit in somewhere and be comfortable. There are plenty of religious salesman out there who are very eager to accommodate you.
MORE WILL FOLLOW LATER