Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers


Far-Reaching Publishing-House Problems

Unfortunately the step of expediency taken in our publishing work in early years, which led the publishing houses to take in commercial work, deeply involved these institutions in the mere business of printing. It reached the point at times when approximately 70 percent of the printing was commercial work and 30 percent denominational printing. Those responsible for the financial interests of the publishing houses envisioned the work in their hands as that of printers, and this led them to accept for publication manuscripts of a character which should never have been printed on the presses of the church. (See Testimonies for the Church 7:161-168, chapter “Commercial work,” and Selected Messages 2:350, 351, “The Perils of Hypnosis.”) TM xxviii.2

At the same time, some men in responsible positions in the publishing work turned from important basic principles which had governed our institutions in the remuneration of its personnel. It was reasoned that the work had reached its state of prosperity because of the special skills and talents of those who served in managerial lines; therefore these men should be favored by special remuneration more in keeping with their positions in management. As a result, certain men in key positions received remuneration double that of a skilled factory worker. TM xxviii.3

The same spirit led the management of the publishing house at Battle Creek to take every step within its power to gain control of the literary products it handled, and this resulted in cutting off a fair royalty income to authors of the books published by the house. In this way the income of the publishing house was enhanced. It was argued that those in positions of management in the publishing house were in a better position to understand the needs of the cause, and know how to use profits which came from literature, than were the individual authors. The authors, they felt, might fall short in proper stewardship of royalty incomes. In several communications, Ellen White, writing to those in positions of management, pointed out that selfishness motivated such plans. Counsel in this area is found in Testimonies for the Church 7:176-180. TM xxix.1