Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7


Demoralizing Literature

When our publishing houses do a large amount of commercial work, there is great danger that an objectionable class of literature will be brought in. Upon one occasion when these matters were brought to my attention, my Guide inquired of one occupying a responsible position in a publishing institution: “How much do you receive in payment for this work?” The figures were placed before Him. He said: “This is too small a sum. If you do business in this way, you meet with loss. But even should you receive a much larger sum, this class of literature could be published only at a great loss. The influence on the workers is demoralizing. All the messages that God shall send them, presenting the sacredness of the work, are neutralized by your action in consenting to print such matter.” 7T 164.1

The world is flooded with books that might better be consumed than circulated. Books upon Indian warfare and similar topics, published and circulated as a money- making scheme, might better never be read. There is satanic fascination in such books. The heartsickening relation of crimes and atrocities has a bewitching power upon many youth, exciting in them the desire to bring themselves into notice by the most wicked deeds. There are many works more strictly historical whose influence is little better. The enormities, the cruelties, the licentious practices, portrayed in these writings have acted as leaven in many minds, leading to the commission of similar acts. Books that delineate the satanic practices of human beings are giving publicity to evil works. The horrible details of crime and misery need not to be lived over, and none who believe the truth for this time should act a part in perpetuating their memory. 7T 164.2

Love stories and frivolous, exciting tales constitute another class of books that is a curse to every reader. The author may attach a good moral and all through his work may weave religious sentiments, yet in most cases Satan is but clothed in angel robes the more effectually to deceive and allure. The mind is affected in a great degree by that upon which it feeds. The readers of frivolous, exciting tales become unfitted for the duties lying before them. They live an unreal life and have no desire to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the heavenly manna. The mind is enfeebled and loses its power to contemplate the great problems of duty and destiny. 7T 165.1

I have been instructed that the youth are exposed to the greatest peril from improper reading. Satan is constantly leading both the young and those of mature age to be charmed with worthless stories. Could a large share of the books published be consumed, a plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work in weakening the mind and corrupting the heart. None are so confirmed in right principles as to be secure from temptation. All this trashy reading should be resolutely discarded. 7T 165.2

We have no permission from the Lord to engage either in the printing or in the sale of such publications; for they are the means of destroying many souls. I know of what I am writing, for this matter has been opened before me. Let not those who believe the message for this time engage in such work, thinking to make money. The Lord will put a blight upon the means thus obtained; He will scatter more than is gathered. 7T 166.1

There is another class of literature, more defiling than the leprosy, more deadly than the plagues of Egypt, against which our publishing houses need unceasingly to guard. In accepting commercial work, let them beware lest matters presenting the very science of Satan be admitted into our institutions. Let not works setting forth the soul-destroying theories of hypnotism, spiritualism, Romanism, or other mysteries of iniquity find a place in our publishing houses. 7T 166.2

Let nothing be handled by the employees that will sow one seed of doubt in regard to the authority or purity of the Scriptures. Upon no consideration let infidel sentiments be placed before the youth, whose minds so eagerly grasp anything new. At the very highest figures that might be paid, such work could be published only at infinite loss. 7T 166.3

To allow matter of this character to pass through our institutions is to place in the hands of the employees and to present to the world the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge. It is to invite Satan to come in, with his bewitching science, to insinuate his principles in the very institutions that are set for the advancement of the sacred work of God. To publish matter of this character would be loading the guns of the enemy and placing them in their hands, to be used against the truth. 7T 166.4

Think you that Jesus will stand in the publishing establishment to work through human minds by His ministering angels; think you that He will make the truth coming from the presses a power to warn the world, if Satan is allowed to pervert the minds of the workers right in the institution? Can God's blessing attend the publications coming from the press when from the same press are sent forth satanic heresy and delusion? “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” James 3:11. 7T 167.1

The managers of our institutions need to realize that in accepting their position they become responsible for the mental food given to the workers while in the institution. They are responsible for the character of the matter that goes forth from our presses. They will be called to account for the influence exerted by the introduction of matter that would defile the institution, contaminate the workers, or mislead the world. 7T 167.2

If such matter is allowed a place in our institutions, it will be found that the subtle power of Satan's sentiments is not easily cast out. If the tempter is allowed to sow his evil seed, it will germinate and bring forth fruit. There will be a harvest for his reaping in the very institutions established by the funds of God's people for the advancement of His work. It will result in sending forth to the world, in place of Christian workers, a company of educated infidels. 7T 167.3

In these matters a responsibility rests not only upon the managers, but upon the employees. I have a word to say to the workers in every publishing house established among us: As you love and fear God, refuse to have anything to do with the knowledge against which God warned Adam. Let typesetters refuse to set a sentence of such matter. Let proofreaders refuse to read, pressmen to print, and binders to bind it. If asked to handle such matter, call for a meeting of the workers in the institution, that there may be an understanding as to what such things mean. Those in charge of the institution may urge that you are not responsible, that the managers must arrange these matters. But you are responsible—responsible for the use of your eyes, your hands, your mind. These are entrusted to you by God to be used for Him, not for the service of Satan. 7T 167.4

When matters containing errors that counteract the work of God are printed in our houses of publication, God holds accountable not only those who allow Satan to lay a trap for souls, but those who in any way co-operate in the work of temptation. 7T 168.1

My brethren in responsible positions, beware that you do not harness your workers to the car of superstition and heresy. Let not the institutions ordained by God to send out life-giving truth be made an agency for the dissemination of soul-destroying error. 7T 168.2

Let our publishing houses, from the least to the greatest, refuse to print a line of such pernicious matter. Let it be understood by all with whom we have to do that from all our institutions literature containing the science of Satan is excluded. 7T 168.3

We are brought into connection with the world, not that we may be leavened with the world's falsehood, but that as God's agencies we may leaven the world with His truth. 7T 168.4