Chapter 17


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Section Titles
Preparation of Articles and Books During Ellen White's Lifetime
The Work and the Helpers

The preparation of manuscript matter for publication is pains-taking work. Seldom, if ever, does the product of the most careful writer appear in print in exactly the same form in which the original draft was written. After the thoughts are first expressed, the manuscript passes through various stages of rewriting; of transposition of phrases, clauses, or sentences; of rephrasing; of clarification of expressions; of revised punctuation; of addition or deletion of words. What is required in the preparation of the writings of a secular author was required in a degree in the preparation of Ellen White's writings for the press.

God's call of art individual to the prophetic office does not eradicate all of that person's shortcomings. It does not endow him with a full knowledge of historical facts, or make him a faultless grammarian and speller, or give him the ability to express himself so flawlessly that no improvement could be made in the method of expression. Though the call will inspire the man to make full use of his capabilities, it will not alter his social or educational background.

Letters in Ellen White's handwriting, like the one illustrated on page 211, written when she was twenty years of age, reveal that her well-chosen words gave the same forcefulness and clarity of expression to these early communications that characterized her writings later in life. A careful scrutiny reveals some errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but the style is distinctive. Mrs. White's meager classroom education was a source of continual regret to her, and led her to turn to


others better qualified than herself to help with the technical details of readying copy to be sent to the printer, and in later years to do the same for letters and other communications. For some years, Elder James White was the one who gave help along this line.

“While my husband lived, he acted as a helper and counselor in the sending out of the messages that were given to me. We traveled extensively. Sometimes light would be given to me in the night season, sometimes in the daytime before large congregations. The instruction I received in vision was faithfully written out by me, as I had time and strength for the work. Afterward we examined the matter together, my husband correcting grammatical errors, and eliminating needless repetition. Then it was carefully copied for the persons addressed, or for the printer.”—Ellen G. White, “The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church,” page 4.

Even during James White's lifetime it was necessary for additional help to be enlisted. Elder White traveled widely and carried weighty responsibility. He could not give all the needed assistance. After his death even more aid was essential to carry on the ever-broadening work of preparing the writings for publication.

“As the work grew, others assisted me in the preparation of matter for publication. After my husband's death, faithful helpers joined me, who labored untiringly in the work of copying the testimonies, and preparing articles for publication.”—Ibid.

Although Mrs. White employed other persons to assist in the preparation of copy for books and articles, the writings were in no part the product of the pens of these assistants. Some have misunderstood the work of Mrs. White's secretaries and literary assistants. The next sentence in the quotation above regarding her helpers reads: “But the reports that are circulated, that any of my helpers are permitted to add matter or change the meaning of the messages I write out, are not true.” What, then, was


the work of these assistants? This question must be considered in its context—the broader picture of how the messages were written out and made ready for circulation.

Mrs. White has described the way in which light and instruction were often given to her in vision. “As inquiries are frequently made as to my state in vision, and after I come out, I would say that when the Lord sees fit to give a vision, I am taken into the presence of Jesus and angels, and am entirely lost to earthly things. I can see no farther than the angel directs me. My attention is often directed to scenes transpiring upon earth.

“At times I am carried far ahead into the future and shown what is to take place. Then again I am shown things as they have occurred in the past. After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, and the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 292.

Seldom did Ellen White simply chronicle words that had been revealed to her. There seem to have been five different ways in which she was given a basis for what she wrote in her articles, letters, pamphlets, and books.

1. At times the written material was a direct account of a single vision. Expressions like this are found frequently: “August 24, 1850, I saw.”—Early Writings, page 59.

2. Sometimes there is a composite account of many visions. Speaking of the record in The Great Controversy, Mrs. White said, “From time to time I have been permitted to behold.”—The Great Controversy, Introduction, page x.

3. On other occasions counsel was given based on a specific vision, not being a record of the vision itself. “In the night of March 2, 1907, many things were revealed to me regarding the value of our publications.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 65.

4. Again there was counsel delivered that was based on light


given in many visions. “In other cases, where individuals have claimed to have messages for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, of a similar character, the word has been given me, ‘Believe them not.’”—Ellen G. White Letter 16, 1893.

5. Further, light was sometimes given which could be given to various individuals as the need arose. “God has given me a testimony of reproof for parents who treat their children as you do your little one.”—Ellen G. White Letter 1, 1877.

At times Ellen White did record specifically revealed words, but generally she described events as they passed rapidly before her, showing scenes of the past and present, and sometimes the future. Frequently words of instruction were spoken in connection with these views. At times she was taken in vision into homes, committee meetings, churches, councils, and conferences. In some of these instances, not only were the actions and words of individuals and groups revealed to her, but also the motives behind the words and actions.

When she wrote out what had been shown her, Ellen White endeavored to describe in the best manner of which she was capable the things she had seen and heard. Though at times she quoted exactly what she had heard, the writing was not mechanical, nor were the specific words of the complete record dictated. For the most part, the words used were her own, as was true in the case of the Bible writers. God made use of the messenger's background, education, and experience in bringing to His people the revelation He wanted them to have.

It must not be concluded, however, that any prophet was left entirely free to do as he pleased with the message that had come to him. The writing or speaking was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In an early letter, Ellen White told how some individuals had found fault with messages she had given them. They expressed the opinion that part of what was contained in the messages was from the Lord and part was from her own thinking as a result of things that had been told her. She asked in the letter, “Has God placed His work in such a


careless manner, that man could fashion it to suit his own inclinations, receive that which was agreeable to him, and reject a portion?” Then she went on to explain: “If God reproves His people through an individual He does not leave the one corrected to guess at matters and the message to become corrupted in reaching the person it is designed to correct. God gives the message and then takes especial care that it is not corrupted.”—Ellen G. White Uncopied Letter 8, 1860. By the Spirit the writer was impelled to make the best use of all his powers of insight and description, and was carefully guarded that he might not misrepresent the message with which he had been entrusted. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21. “Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation.”—Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867.

Speaking of the Bible writers and their varying descriptions of the same incidents, Mrs. White comments: “One writer is more strongly impressed with one phase of the subject; he grasps those points that harmonize with his experience or with his power of perception and appreciation; another seizes upon a different phase; and each, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, presents what is most forcibly impressed upon his own mind—a different aspect of the truth in each, but a perfect harmony through all.”—The Great Controversy, Introduction, page vi.

Since the messages were not divinely dictated, there was freedom on the part of the writer to choose words within the limits of the ideas to be expressed. Ordinarily more than one word may be used to represent an idea adequately. In some cases there may be a score of ways of expressing the same idea—more than one of them of equivalent accuracy and value. This being


true, there is no apparent reason why the inspired writer should not study to improve his mode of expression and make some modification in his original writing. The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of these voices for God was a continued work. In the case of Mrs. White she endeavored constantly to improve her presentation of truth. In her first writings, as found in Early Writings, we observe a simple yet forceful vocabulary and sentence structure. In her later books we find a broader vocabulary and more complex sentence structure, for she constantly endeavored to improve the presentation of the inspired message.

Preparation of Articles and Books During Ellen White's Lifetime

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In describing the preparation of an Ellen White book, no one procedure can be presented as a uniform plan that she followed through the seventy years of her ministry. Her first book, Experience and Views, published in 1851, was largely a collection of visions which had been previously published in broadsides and periodical articles. The books that followed during the next three decades were written chapter by chapter in their natural development of subject matter. Those published during the last half of Ellen White's ministry were comprised of matter currently written and materials drawn from the reservoir of her writings—periodical articles, early books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and letters. To all these Mrs. White added pertinent .passages enriching and rounding out the presentation for the forthcoming book. Thus in her later life she made much use of her earlier writings.

Ellen White said little about the preparation of her writings for publication before the death of her husband. She mentioned, as we have already noted, that he frequently assisted her, and that, in later years, because of the press of duties, others also were called upon for help. After the death of James White, however, helpers were regularly employed to aid in gathering


from all her writings pertinent material to form articles for the papers and chapters for books. The work of these helpers was most valuable to Mrs. White, and its nature should be carefully investigated so that it might be fully understood. W. C. White, Ellen White's son and assistant, described a part of the work of the assistants as follows:

“Mother writes very rapidly. She does much of her writing early in the morning. She often writes upon many subjects in one letter or manuscript, just as subject after subject is flashed upon her mind. These manuscripts she passes to one who is expert in reading her writing, to copy off on the typewriter, and then it is given back to Mother, and she examines it, making such corrections, changes, and additions as she sees fit. Then it is copied again, and sent out according to Mother's direction. Sometimes a long personal letter will contain matter which she wishes to use in a more general letter to be sent to a group of workers. Sometimes it contains material for an article for one of our periodicals, or a chapter in a book.”—“The Integrity of the Testimonies to the Church,” Nov. 25, 1905. Ellen G. White Publications Office Document File 107d.

The manuscripts that came from the pen of Ellen White varied considerably in editorial perfection. When she wrote at a moderate speed, and not under undue pressure because of traveling, preaching, or other responsibilities, her work revealed good grammar, careful sentence structure, and comparative freedom from errors in spelling and punctuation. Haste in writing multiplied the minor errors, but it did not materially affect the flow of the language or the development of ideas. Repetitions crept in and at times thoughts were introduced which contained gems of truth, but which were not entirely relevant to the subject at hand. Again, there were instances when the transposition of a passage would add strength or lead to a more logical presentation. Under instruction from Mrs. White, her literary assistants were to make such changes as would, within the framework of her thoughts and words,


render the passages grammatically and rhetorically correct. Nothing was added, and no thoughts were changed.

After the suggested changes and copying were completed, the manuscript was returned to Ellen White for her additions, corrections, and approval. She reread carefully the whole of the matter, made her insertions, deletions, and revisions, and then turned it back to the copyist for the final draft to be made. The finished copy was then returned to her for reading, approval, and signature.

In a letter to Elder G. A. Irwin she told of her preferred method of working to perfect her manuscripts. The letter spoke of her need for workers on her staff, and it illustrates her method of editorial work. A typewritten copy of Mrs. White's handwritten letter was returned to her for corrections.

The resulting sentences read: “I ought to have someone to whom I can read every article before sending it to the mail. This always helps the writer: for the writer, after reading the matter before one who is interested, often discerns more clearly what is wanted, and the slight changes that should be made.”—Ellen G. White Letter 76, 1897.

Thus Mrs. White was intelligently responsible for the whole manuscript. She was certain that nothing done by her assistants had in any way altered the ideas she was trying to convey. It was the Lord's message given through His messenger just as truly as though every sentence had been written in its final form at the time it was first drafted.

“Her copyists have been conscientious people and were faithful in following her instructions, that no change of thought and no additional thought should be brought into the work by them. And that there might not be any error through their misunderstanding of the manuscript or any change of thought through their grammatical corrections, she has faithfully examined the manuscripts again, and when the presentation was satisfactory to her, she gave it her approval, and not until then was it sent out as copy for the printer, or as letter or manuscript


to men, or groups of men for their instruction.”—W. C. White Letter in Ellen G. White Office Document File 52a.

The Work and the Helpers

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The larger part of the work of Ellen White's assistants was not that of correcting errors in grammar and spelling. It lay rather in the field of gathering from her writings passages that would make suitable articles for the periodicals and chapters for books. Had Ellen White undertaken to perform this task herself, it would have meant that her time available for new writing would have been reduced so materially that it would not have been possible for her to discharge her responsibility in that line.

On October 23, 1907, Mrs. White addressed a letter to Elder F. M. Wilcox in response to an inquiry he had made of her. A portion of her letter read as follows:

“About a year after the death of my husband, I was very feeble, and it was feared that I might live but a short time. At the Healdsburg camp meeting, I was taken into the tent where there was a large gathering of our people. I asked to be raised up from the lounge on which I was lying, and assisted to the speaker's platform, that I might say a few words of farewell to the people. As I tried to speak, the power of God came upon me, and thrilled me through and through. Many in the congregation observed that I was weak, and that my face and hands seemed bloodless; but as I began speaking they saw the color coming into my lips and face, and knew that a miracle was being wrought in my behalf. I stood before the people healed, and spoke with freedom.

“After this experience, light was given me that the Lord had raised me up to bear testimony for Him in many countries, and that He would give me grace and strength for the work. It was also shown me that my son, W. C. White, should be my helper and counselor, and that the Lord would place on him


the spirit of wisdom and of a sound mind. I was shown that the Lord would guide him, and that he would not be led away, because he would recognize the leadings and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

“The assurance was given me: ‘You are not alone in the work the Lord has chosen you to do. You will be taught of God how to bring the truth in its simplicity before the people. The God of truth will sustain you, and convincing proof will be given that He is leading you. God will give you of His Holy Spirit, and His grace and wisdom and keeping power will be with you….

“‘The Lord will be your Instructor. You will meet with deceptive influences; they will come in many forms, in pantheism and other forms of infidelity; but follow where I shall guide you, and you will be safe. I will put My Spirit upon your son, and will strengthen him to do his work. He has the grace of humility. The Lord has selected him to act an important part in His work. For this purpose was he born.’

“This word was given me in 1882, and since that time I have been assured that the grace of wisdom was given to him. More recently, in a time of perplexity, the Lord said: ‘I have given you My servant, W. C. White, and I will give him judgment to be your helper. I will give him skill and understanding to manage wisely.’

“The Lord has given me other faithful helpers in my work. Many of my discourses have been reported, and have been put before the people in printed form. Through nearly the whole of my long experience I have endeavored, day by day, to write out that which was revealed to me in visions of the night. Many messages of counsel and reproof and encouragement have been sent out to individuals, and much of the instruction that I have received for the church has been published in periodicals and books, and circulated in many lands.

“As the work has grown, the number of my helpers has increased.


“Sister Marian Davis was a great help in copying my testimonies, and in preparing for publication the manuscripts which I placed in her hand. I appreciated her help very much. She now sleeps in Jesus.

“For eleven years Miss Maggie Hare was among my workers. She was a faithful and true helper. She returned to New Zealand. [She again connected with the work in 1911.]

“Recently Miss Minnie Hawkins, of Hobart, Tasmania, who was one of my copyists in Australia, has joined my staff of workers.

“During the General Conference of 1901, Brother C. C. Crisler was impressed by the Spirit of God that I needed him in my work, and he offered his services. I gladly accepted his help. He is a faithful, efficient, and conscientious worker.

“Dores Robinson has assisted in copying my testimonies, and he has been diligently preparing ‘Life Incidents’ for publication.

“Helen Graham is a good stenographer, and helps Sister Sara McEnterfer and W. C. White in their work of correspondence.

“Sister Sarah Peck was my bookkeeper and helper for a number of years. She has left us to engage in schoolwork at College View. We now have as bookkeeper, Brother Paul C. Mason.

“Sister McEnterfer is my traveling companion, nurse, and helper in many ways.

“Sister Mary Steward and her mother are with us now; and Mary, who for many years has served as proofreader in the offices at Battle Creek and Nashville, has united with my workers.

“The work is constantly moving forward. We are making earnest efforts to place my writings before the people. We hope that several new books will go to press shortly. If I am incapacitated for labor, my faithful workers are prepared to carry forward the work.

“Abundant light has been given to our people in these last days. Whether or not my life is spared, my writings will constantly


speak, and their work will go forward as long as time shall last. My writings are kept on file in the office, and even though I should not live, these words that have been given to me by the Lord will still have life and will speak to the people.”—“The Writing and Sending Out of the Testimonies to the Church,” pages 10-14.

In an address given in 1913 to the General Conference session, W. C. White described the work of Mrs. White's assistants—that of gathering from her writings suitable material for book chapters. Because of the importance of a clear understanding of this point, we quote it here:

“Our workers are now gathering together material for a new edition of Gospel Workers. We are also gathering into chapters what mother has written on Old Testament history. Probably nine tenths of this work is already done, and we hope that the book may be published before Christmas. Some of this matter was about ready, we thought, to place in the printer's hands, when mother, upon going over some of the chapters, expressed herself as not fully satisfied. She thought there were other things she had written that we had not yet found, and she desired that these be searched out, if possible, and included. So we have laid the manuscript away in our fireproof vault, and after this Conference probably four different persons will spend six or eight weeks in reading through the thousands of pages of manuscript in the file to see if we can find the additional matter that she thinks is in existence.

“It would be comparatively easy to hasten along the preparation of these manuscripts for publication in book form, if we were to write in a little here and there where she has written only a portion of the story on certain topics and has left a portion incomplete. I say, if her secretaries were authorized by God to do that work, and could write in the connections, the book could be prepared for the printer much faster. But this cannot be done; we can deal only with the matter which we have in hand.


“For this reason, when you get the book on Old Testament history, you will find that there are some stories partly told, and not fully completed. You will find that there are many things you hoped to read about, that are not mentioned. Mother has written quite fully on Solomon, something on the divided monarchy, a little about Elijah and Elisha, quite fully about Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; and we are gathering this and other matter and grouping it into chapters.

“You may say, What do you mean by this ‘gathering’? Did not Sister White sit down and write out quite fully and connectedly that which she had to say about the controversy, about Jeroboam and Rehoboam, about Jeremiah and Isaiah and other Old Testament characters?—No; not on all the principal characters. Her life has been a busy one. She has been kept constantly at the front, speaking to the people, meeting emergencies. Some of the most precious things she has written about Old Testament and New Testament characters were written first in letters to individuals. Some of the most precious paragraphs in Desire of Ages, passages describing Christ's controversies with the Pharisees and the Herodians, were written under circumstances like these:—

“At Ashfield, New South Wales, Elder Corliss and some faithful helpers had been presenting the truth until there was a group of about thirty people keeping the Sabbath, ready to be baptized and organized into a church. The Campbellites could not bear to see that done. A bitter opponent came and challenged our brethren personally and through the papers. This was ignored as long as it could be. Finally, our friends, those in the truth, demanded that there be a discussion. So a discussion was arranged for.

“In the night season this matter was laid before mother. She had never seen the Campbellite champion; but the man was shown to her—his spirit, his methods, his tactics. He had nothing to lose in that community; and it was presented to mother that his plan would be to endeavor to irritate Elder


Corliss, and get him to say things that would discredit him before the people who were embracing the truth.

“During the progress of that discussion, mother wrote to Elder Corliss, stating that it had been presented to her that his opponent in the discussion would work on certain lines, and that he must take such a course as to disappoint the enemy. As she wrote these cautions, her memory would be revived as to what had been presented to her about the work of Christ, and how the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the Herodians had followed Him with accusations and questions, endeavoring to discredit Him before the people.

“When we came to make up the chapters for Desire of Ages, we found in those letters the most vivid description of those experiences, that she had written anywhere. And we found other most precious passages that had been written first in letters to members of the General Conference Committee, and to conference presidents, regarding situations which were illustrated by the experiences of these Old and New Testament characters.

“Being written in this way, it takes much time to search through the writings and find these passages, and bring them together into manuscripts. After these are gathered, and grouped into chapter form, the manuscript is always submitted to mother. She reads it over carefully. Up to the present time every chapter of every book, and all the articles for our periodicals—unless they happen to be reprints—have passed through her hands, and have been read over by her. Sometimes she interlines; sometimes she adds much matter; sometimes she says, ‘Cannot you find more on this subject?’ And then, when more has been found, and added, the manuscript is recopied, and handed back to her again for examination. And when she finally signs it and returns it to us we are permitted to send it out.”—W. C. White, General Conference Bulletin, June 1, 1913.

In a letter to Elder G. A. Irwin, president of the General Conference, Mrs. White wrote, in 1900, of the work of Marian Davis:


“She is my bookmaker…. She does her work in this way. She takes my articles which are published in the papers, and pastes them in blankbooks. She also has a copy of all the letters I write. In preparing a chapter for a book, Marian remembers that I have written something on that special point, which may make the matter more forcible. She begins to search for this, and if when she finds it, she sees that it will make the chapter more clear, she adds it.

“The books are not Marian's productions, but my own, gathered from all my writings. Marian has a large field from which to draw, and her ability to arrange the matter is of great value to me. It saves my poring over a mass of matter, which I have no time to do.”—Letter 61a, 1900.

In chapter 16, “The Ellen G. White Books,” reference was made to the preparation of material on the life of Christ. Records in the Ellen G. White Publications Office contain valuable information regarding the work on the manuscripts that ultimately became The Desire of Ages, Christ's Object Lessons, and Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing. They shed light on the work of the assistants.

Ellen White was away from home at times while work was progressing on her writings on the life of Christ. During such times her helpers regularly sought her counsel by correspondence. Some of these letters, written with the thought that they would be read only by Mrs. White, show us the kind of work that could be done by the helpers and how they were limited by what the messenger provided. In this instance the letters were penned by Marian Davis. The letters reveal that:

1. Major responsibility for the gathering and arrangement of copy rested on Miss Davis. Plans for this were laid in counsel with Ellen White.

2. Marian Davis was entirely dependent on Mrs. White to supply material for her work. When there was nothing available to complete a chapter or an incident, her work was at a standstill. Extracts from the letters are enlightening:


August 2, 1893. “Now about the book. I am so glad you are writing on the two journeys to Galilee. I was so afraid you would not bring that out. Shall hope to receive something from you before long.”

October 18, 1893. “O, when I see how we seem to be in the circles of a whirlpool, that is sweeping Us faster and faster toward the great consummation, I do long to see this book go out, to reveal Christ to the people as He is, in His beauty…. I shall be so glad when we can talk over the work. So many points come up, that I want to ask about…. I will send you a few more chapters soon…. I am real anxious to get some chapters finished and some gaps filled.”

November 25, 1895. “We sent the letter for Sydney workers to Brother ——. It was so good. I must keep all the general for my scrapbooks. Of late I have been using the matter gleaned from late letters, testimonies, etc. Have found some of the most precious things, some in those letters to Elder Corliss. They have been to me like a storehouse of treasures. There's something in these personal testimonies that are written under deep feeling, that comes close to the heart. It seems to me the things gathered in this way give a power and significance to the book that nothing else does.”

An instance of the finding of a gem and its insertion in one of the chapters prepared for Christ's Object Lessons is mentioned in another letter:

March 10, 1898. “The article I send, ‘No Reward but of Grace,’ the parable of the laborers, is the last of the matter that was prepared for the book…. The last paragraphs seem to me very precious…. A few sentences you will recognize as from a letter lately written, ‘The golden gate is not opened to the proud in spirit, but the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child.’*

* This thought may be found in Christ's Object Lessons, page 404. It was written by Ellen White in a letter to Mrs. Wessels of Africa, dated February 21, 1898.




“You left me a manuscript on the Unjust Steward, and I have been collecting material to complete this, and have found some precious things to add to the closing chapters of the life of Christ. Of course I cannot complete the chapters (the last two) until I receive what you write on the ministry of healing…. When the Unjust Steward is done, I shall have finished all I can do on the parable book, until I hear from you.”

Even after a portion of the manuscript for the book on the life of Christ had gone to the publishers, the Pacific Press Publishing Association, Miss Davis found in new manuscripts material she wished to add to some of the chapters. She sent this to California, hoping that it would not arrive too late to be included in the book.

March 1, 1898. “I have been gathering out the precious things from those new manuscripts on the early life of Jesus. Sent a number of new pages to California by the Vancouver mail, and shall send more for later chapters by the next mail. Two of these articles on Christ's missionary work I let Brother James have to read in church. Last Sabbath he read the one which speaks of the Saviour's denying Himself of food to give to the poor. These things are unspeakably precious. I hope it is not too late to get them into the book. It has been a feast to work on this matter.” The manuscript referred to is MS. 22, 1898, and the portion mentioned is found in The Desire of Ages, pages 86, 87.

The use of literary assistants greatly facilitated the work of Ellen White, but the messages are fully the work of the messenger. Her characteristic style is unmistakable to one well acquainted with the writings. Despite the change of helpers through the years, the books consistently display the individuality of the author. Always there appears the firm grasp of Bible thought and language, the facility of expression, the colorful phrase, the persistent but winsome appeal. The early letters which had no benefit of the reading and suggestions of others are of the same character as those of later years. When the


phases of inspiration mentioned in this chapter are understood, the work of the literary assistants is seen to occupy a natural and necessary place in the production of the Ellen White books, articles, and letters. The preparation of books and articles for publication since the death of Mrs. White will be presented in chapter 18.


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1. God's call of an individual to the prophetic office does not remedy all of that person's shortcomings. His background and education remain unaltered. God makes the best possible use of what there is to work with.

2. Ellen White's early writings reveal the same strength and clarity as do the later ones, but she used other persons to help her with the mechanics of spelling, punctuation, and grammar in preparing manuscripts for publication.

3. Those who assisted her in no way altered the thought of her expression, and made only minor changes necessary for mechanical accuracy.

4. All matter on which her literary assistants had done any work was returned to Mrs. White for her reading and approval.

5. Mrs. White explained fully the work of her assistants, including that of her son, W. C. White.


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1. Could not God have so guided the messenger that every expression would have been perfect? How would this have accorded with the Lord's chosen way of dealing with prophets, and with all human beings?

2. Does the fact that Ellen White used literary assistants create any more problems than the fact that some of the Bible writers used amanuenses?


3. Read Ellen White's comments on the inspiration of the Bible writers, in F. M. Wilcox, The Testimony of Jesus, pages 11-18. How does this description coincide with what she has said of her own expression of the messages God gave her?


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Nichol, F. D., Ellen G. White and Her Critics, pp. 468-486, 648-650, 656-663. Washington, D.C., Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1951.

White, Arthur L., Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, pp. 59-61, 79-81.

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