This I Believe

Murdock, Marcellus M. (Marcellus Marion)


  • Marcellus Murdock remembers a near-death experience while flying that was a catalyst for transforming his beliefs from a materialist view of life to a spiritual one.
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Marcellus M. Murdock comes from a long line of newspapermen in Kansas. His family founded the Wichita Eagle in 1872, when Wichita was little more than an Indian village. Starting as a reporter, Mr. Murdock is now the publisher of that newspaper. He is also the executive vice president of radio station KFH in his home city. In addition, he has been prominent in aviation and has received many honors in that field. Nearly 70, he has had many experiences in his life and work, which are a part of him and his creed. Marcellus M. Murdock now shares with us the beliefs by which he lives.
One of my earlier recollections is of my spiritually-minded mother. She tolerantly watched me go through the common youthful period of materialist thinking, when Darwin, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, of the so-called Rationalists School, were my regular reading diet. One day, Mother Murdock said to me, “Young man, that stuff may appeal to you now, but someday you are going to wake up and find that the material is a frail, undependable reed to lean upon; that the spiritual is the only support that will not break and will sustain you.”
Many times since then, crises in my life have confronted me. Notably, death itself has held me in its almost sure embrace.
This happened when my airplane, one of man’s material things, which I was piloting, spun into a crackup. Not then or in any of these critical situations could I convince myself that the material force had saved me. That the Lord had His arms around me was my inescapable conviction. I have come to believe that materialism is an essential part of the great whole. But, as such, it is only a small part and is subordinated to the force of the all-controlling spirit.
There are those who declare that the great light of understanding of the spiritual came to them in the twinkling of an eye. In my own case, it was no such sudden revelation. The change came gradually over a period of many years.
It started with the thought that it is every man’s right and heritage to determine for himself, if he chooses, a set of tenets, a creed of his beliefs and his conclusions as to this and the next life’s mysteries. Failing in this either from indolence or a lack of thinking power, he owes it to himself to subscribe to those beliefs already formulated by other men and afforded by the established churches. I myself, after three-score years, find that what I have thought out is far from any complete system of spiritual living. However, my experiences have led me to some very well-anchored convictions. Among them are these.
I believe that truth and honesty are not only the principles that will give me most in terms of satisfying peace and contentment of mind, they are also the surest and easiest principles for me to follow. I believe that I am often too prone to emphasize my adversities and forget my blessings. These blessings may differ in kind from those received by others, but the end product, net happiness, is distributed equally by a just God.
I believe that I am responsible for my actions to the full extent, that I have been fully endowed with individual power; and that of all the shortcomings or so-called sins, selfishness and ingratitude can do most to damage my spiritual growth and beliefs.
Finally, I have learned that each day is a life in itself, and that if I live it as near right as my lights direct, I will have nothing of the past to worry about, nor any anxiety as to the future.
That was Marcellus M. Murdock, the publisher of the Wichita Eagle and the executive vice president of radio station KFH in Wichita, Kansas.