A week ago today, my fellow Lebanese sadiq (that’s like paison in Arabic) Sam Moore, passed away at 88.

Like my grandfather Joseph Farah, he came to the U.S. from Lebanon with nothing and made the most of the opportunity – in Sam’s case, building a small Christian publishing house into the largest one in the world and top-10 book publisher of any kind.

It’s with Sam Moore and his execs that we first founded WND Books as a highly successful imprint of Thomas Nelson Inc., later spinning it off as its own wholly owned subsidiary of WorldNetDaily.com Inc.

I love Sam’s story. He arrived in the U.S. at the age of 19 and supported himself through college by selling Bibles door to door. From that meager start, he ended up publishing and selling more Bibles than anyone else in the world. What a country, huh? Where else can you do that? And Sam loved America for it as much as I do.

What kind of a Lebanese name is Sam Moore, you ask? Not his given name, which was Salim Ziady.

Sam always had big ideas. He bought the company in 1968 when the owners of the company offered him a job. Instead of taking a job, be bought the company.

I remember one day sitting in his office while we talked about big-time authors we could pursue for WND Books, which was Thomas Nelson’s first imprint to deal with current events, politics and other newsy subjects. We had successfully signed Michael Savage as an author for his first political book, and it quickly became a No. 1 New York Times best-seller. Sam didn’t worry about money when it came to signing authors with that kind of potential. He threw out another suggestion: “How about Sean Hannity?” (He loved Sean Hannity.) I explained the problem. Sean worked for Rupert Murdoch at the time, whose holdings included Harper Collins, an even bigger publisher than Thomas Nelson. He also worked for ABC at the time, which owned another huge publisher.

“Sean,” I patiently explained, “might have a problem going outside one of those two big corporations that employ him.”

“Well,” he said, “let’s find out.”

So, he dispatched his president, Michael Hyatt, and me to go find out. We had a great meeting with Sean, but, as we were leaving, Sean said, “You know, I might have a problem signing with you guys because …” You guessed it. His employers. Nevertheless, Sam was right. You never know until you ask.

He had big ideas, big dreams. If you don’t think big, you don’t accomplish big.

He also understood that God wanted us to think big. His favorite Bible verse was Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Sam wasn’t just in it for the money. His life work was his Jesus-centered mission.

He never forgot who he was nor his humble origins in Lebanon. He always had a special greeting for me wherever and whenever we ran into each other. Even though I was third-generation Lebanese-American, I always got a hug and a warm Arabic greeting.

He sold off Thomas Nelson a decade ago to Harper Collins, a thoroughly secular company that owns all of the major Christian publishers. I guess there weren’t any Sam Moores around with big ideas and big dreams to “keep it in the family,” so to speak.

He was a thoroughly unique individual and character. He will be missed.


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