Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 208, 1899

Members of the Book Committee


December 18, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in CW 160-161.

Dear Brethren:

I have some things to say in reference to the making of books. There are dangers which our book committee needs to guard against. Men who have any part to act in the service of God should be careful, lest they use the common fire in the place of the sacred. They should watch and pray, and be careful that their own hearts are under the control of the Spirit of God. If, like Daniel, they are men of earnest prayer, they will be careful of their words and deportment. They will not exalt self, but they will love and fear God, and respect their brethren. They will pray for grace to keep themselves faithful and true and untainted with selfishness in their connection with the work of God. No neglect will be seen, no complaints will be heard, no unjust course will be taken toward any man whom God has used in His work. 14LtMs, Lt 208, 1899, par. 1

When Elder Littlejohn’s book was published at the office at Battle Creek, he was not fairly treated. An arbitrary spirit, which was not of God, was exercised against this brother. Brother Littlejohn was a man of intelligent perceptions, a man who as far as his intellect was concerned was far in advance of those who composed the book committee. The men who passed judgment on the book revealed in their decisions the spirit that controlled them. Justice and equity, and the sound, pure principles of the gospel were not brought in, and this led to the corruption of principle. The members of the book committee did not take into consideration the results of their methods. They did not consider that God was working upon other minds than those which constituted the book committee. 14LtMs, Lt 208, 1899, par. 2

The men who are placed in the position to judge if books are worthy of publication should be few and well chosen. Men who have never written a book themselves, or had any experience in this line, cannot be expected to have clear perceptions in these matters, and they should never be placed on a committee to pass their judgment or estimate the value of a book. They may speak of these matters as though they were competent to judge, but they are ignorant of the subject brought before them. 14LtMs, Lt 208, 1899, par. 3

The Lord reproves these men who have been placed in positions of trust, for they are not under the control of God’s Spirit. The outworking of their decisions has led to the promulgation of error. Many books have been issued, not for the glory of God, but simply because the authors desired to make a book. Men have considered it their right to put books into circulation which were not at all needed, that they might make a little money for themselves. Other persons feel that their productions are needed, and are great offended when they are not recognized as authors. There is not safety for these supposedly wise men and women, unless they humble themselves before God and seek Him with heart and mind and soul. 14LtMs, Lt 208, 1899, par. 4

The Lord would have men of solid judgment in connection with His work, else the world will be flooded with a class of literature that it might better be without. And His people are to learn to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God. 14LtMs, Lt 208, 1899, par. 5