Counsels to Writers and Editors


Chapter 17—Periodical Circulation

Review and Herald and Signs of the Times—Mistakes have been made in putting down prices of publications to meet certain difficulties. These efforts must change. Those who have made this move were sincere. They thought their liberality would provoke ministers and people to labor to greatly increase the demand for the publications. CW 131.1

Ministers and people should act nobly and liberally in dealing with our publishing houses. Instead of studying and contriving how they can obtain periodicals, tracts, and books at the lowest figure, they should seek to bring the minds of the people to see the true value of the publications. All these pennies taken from thousands of publications have caused a loss of thousands of dollars to our offices, when a few pennies more from each individual would scarcely have been felt. CW 131.2

The Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times are cheap papers at the full price. The Review is a valuable paper; it contains matters of great interest to the church, and should be placed in every family of believers. If any are too poor to take it, the church should, by subscription, raise the amount of the full price of the paper, and supply the destitute families. How much better would this plan be than throwing the poor upon the mercies of the publishing house or the tract and missionary society. CW 131.3

The same course should be pursued toward the Signs. With slight variations, this paper has been increasing in interest and in moral worth as a pioneer sheet since its establishment. These periodicals are one in interest. They are two instrumentalities in the great field to do their specific work in disseminating light in this day of God's preparation. All should engage just as earnestly to build up the one as the other.... CW 132.1

Extend the Circulation—Our people should make greater efforts to extend the circulation of the Review. If our brethren and sisters would only manifest greater earnestness and put forth more persevering efforts to accomplish this, it would be done. Every family should have this paper. And if they would deny themselves their darling luxuries, tea and coffee, many who do not now have its weekly visits might pay for the messenger of light to come into their household. Almost every family takes one or more secular papers, and these frequently contain love stories and exciting tales of villainy and murder which injure the minds of all who read them. Those who consent to do without the Review and Herald lose much. Through its pages, Christ may speak to them in warnings, in reproofs and counsel, which would change the current of their thoughts, and be to them as the bread of life. CW 132.2

Content of Our Periodicals—Our papers should not be filled with long discussions or long doctrinal arguments, which would weary the reader; but they should contain short and interesting doctrinal and practical articles. The price of our papers should not be made so low that no margin is left to work upon. The same interest which has been manifested to circulate the Signs of the Times should be shown in extending the circulation of the Review. If this is done, success will attend the effort. CW 132.3

We are upon the enchanted ground, and Satan is continually at work to rock our people to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. There is an indifference, a lack of zeal, that paralyzes all our efforts. Jesus was a zealous worker; and when His followers shall lean on Him, and work as He worked, they will see and realize corresponding results. An effort must be made to place a proper value on our publications, and bring them back gradually to a proper basis. We should not be affected by the cry of speculation, money-making! We should press steadily forward, unmoved by censure, uncorrupted by applause. It will be a greater task to work back upon a proper basis than many suppose; but it must be done in order to save our institutions from embarrassment.—Testimonies for the Church 4:598-600 (1881). CW 133.1

On Our Library Tables—Many Sabbathkeepers neglect to take the Review, and some have neither the Review nor the Signs. They plead as an excuse that they cannot afford to take these papers which it is so important for them to have. But in many cases several secular papers will be found upon their tables for their children to peruse. The influence of most of the periodicals of the day is such as to render the word of God distasteful, and to destroy a relish for all useful and instructive reading. The mind assimilates to that which it feeds upon. The secular papers are filled with accounts of murders, robberies, and other revolting crimes, and the mind of the reader dwells on the scenes of vice therein depicted. By indulgence, the reading of sensational or demoralizing literature becomes a habit, like the use of opium or other baleful drugs, and as a result, the minds of thousands are enfeebled, debased, and even crazed. Satan is doing more through the productions of the press to weaken the minds and corrupt the morals of the youth than by any other means. CW 133.2

Let all reading of this character be banished from your houses, let books that are useful, instructive, and elevating, be placed in your libraries and upon our tables, with the Review and Herald, our church paper, and the Signs of the Times, our missionary paper, and the effect upon both parents and children will be good. During these long winter evenings, let parents see that all their children are at home, and then let the time be devoted to the reading of the Scriptures and other interesting books that will impart knowledge and inculcate right principles. Let the best reader be selected to read aloud, while other members of the family are engaged in useful occupations. Thus these evenings at home may be made both pleasant and profitable. Pure, healthful reading will be to the mind what healthful food is to the body. You will thus become stronger to resist temptation, to form right habits, and to act upon right principles.—The Review and Herald, December 26, 1882. CW 134.1

I have been reading the Review this morning. It is full of precious matter. This paper should be in every family of our people, not only in America, but in every country. It is our church paper for the world. I shall endeavor to obtain subscribers for it in America and Australia. I do not disparage the Signs of the Times. Both the Review and the Signs should be widely circulated. And I hope the subscription list of the Watchman may be greatly increased. I hope you will endeavor to obtain subscriptions for the Watchman and for the Review, for these papers contain important matter for this time.—Letter 93, 1905. CW 135.1

Promoting the Watchman—The question has been asked, Should the Watchman occupy territory outside the Southern States? One night I seemed to be in a meeting where this question was being discussed. Some argued that it would not be wise for an effort to be made to push the circulation of the Watchman in all parts of the field. They said that the Review and Herald and the Signs of the Times should be given the right of way, and that the Watchman should not be allowed to interfere with the circulation of these two papers which have been so long in the field. They thought that our work with the Watchman should be confined to the Southern States. CW 135.2

Some were greatly astonished at these propositions. One of authority arose and said, The Lord God of Israel sees the selfishness of the human heart. Let those who are interested in our two elder papers beware of allowing selfish plans to find a place in their work. The Watchman is to have a place in the field at large. It bears the message of truth as verily as do the Review and the Signs of the Times. You are to be careful not to hinder the Watchman in its work.... CW 135.3

A Work to do—Let those who have had success in the circulation of the Signs and Review remember that the Watchman also has a work to do. It will accomplish much good if it is given an opportunity to do its appointed work in all parts of the world. Its field is wherever subscribers can be found for it.—Letter 351, 1904. CW 136.1

Our Health Journals—The circulation of our health publications is a most important work. It is a work in which all who believe the special truths for this time should have a living interest. God desires that now, as never before, the minds of the people shall be deeply stirred to investigate the great temperance question and the principles underlying true health reform. The physical life is to be carefully educated, cultivated, and developed, that through men and women the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. Both the physical and the mental powers, with the affections, are to be so trained that they can reach the highest efficiency. CW 136.2

Reform, continual reform, must be kept before the people, and by our example we must enforce our teachings. True religion and the laws of health go hand in hand. It is impossible to work for the salvation of men and women without presenting to them the need of breaking away from sinful gratifications, which destroy the health, debase the soul, and prevent divine truth from impressing the mind. Men and women must be taught to take a careful review of every habit and every practice, and at once put away those things that cause an unhealthy condition of the body, and thus cast a dark shadow over the mind. CW 136.3

God desires His people to be light bearers to a world lying in midnight darkness. But if they refuse to go forward in the light which He causes to shine on their pathway, the light will finally become to them darkness; and instead of being light bearers to the world, they themselves will be lost in the blackness that surrounds them. God desires His light bearers ever to keep a high standard before them. By precept and example they must hold this perfect standard high above Satan's false standard, which, if followed, will lead to misery, degradation, disease, and death for both body and soul. CW 137.1

Those who act as teachers are to be intelligent in regard to disease and its causes, understanding that every action of the human agent should be in perfect harmony with the laws of life. The light God has given on health reform is for our salvation and the salvation of the world. Men and women should be informed in regard to the human habitation fitted up by our Creator as His dwelling place, and over which He desires us to be faithful stewards. These grand truths must be given to the world. We must reach the people where they are, and by example and precept lead them to see the beauties of the better way. CW 137.2

Our Duty to the World—The world is in sad need of instruction along these lines. The time has come when each soul must be stanch and true to every ray of light God has given, and begin in earnest to give this gospel of health to the people. We shall have strength and power to do this, if we practice these truths in our own lives. If we all followed the light we have received, the blessing of God would rest upon us, and we should be anxious to place these truths before those who know them not.... CW 137.3

In all our work caution should be used that no one branch be made a specialty, while other interests are left to suffer. There has not been that interest taken in the circulation of our health journals that there should be. The circulation of these journals must not be neglected, or the people will suffer great loss. CW 138.1

Let none think that the circulation of the health journals is a minor matter. All should take hold of this work with more interest, and make greater efforts in this direction. God will greatly bless those who take hold of it in earnest; for it is a work that should receive attention at this time. CW 138.2

Ministers can and should do much to urge the circulation of the health journals. Every member of the church should work as earnestly for these journals as for our other periodicals. There should be no friction between the two. Both are essential, and both should occupy the field at the same time. Each is the complement of the other, and can in no wise take its place. The circulation of the health journals will be a powerful agency in preparing the people to accept those special truths that are to fit them for the soon coming of the Son of man.—Counsels on Health, 445-447 (1901). CW 138.3

A Balanced Program—You feel a deep interest in the circulation of the health publications, and this is right; but that special branch is not to be made all-absorbing. The health reform is as closely related to the third angel's message as the arm to the body; but the arm cannot take the place of the body. The proclamation of the third angel's message, the commandments of God, and the testimony of Jesus is the great burden of our work. The message is to be proclaimed with a loud cry, and is to go to the whole world. The presentation of health principles must be united with this message, but must not in any case be independent of it, or in any way take the place of it.—Letter 57, 1896. CW 139.1