Testimonies on Fair Dealing and Book Royalties


Justice to be Maintained

From a letter to Elder G. I. Butler, written from Basel, Switzerland, March 1, 1886. PH102 15.2

There is a subject that I wish to mention to you. It is the matter of royalties on books. Since W. C. White returned from America, he has received from A. R. Henry letters of a very decided character on this point. W. C. White has stated the positions taken by your board in Battle Creek. I am sorry that they are not far-seeing in judgment. They give evidence that they are narrowing their views and comprehensions. They will arouse much unpleasantness of feeling in the bookmakers, and will not accomplish that which they have undertaken. This movement will create a want of harmony. God will not sanction such things as they have in view, because they are not just.... PH102 15.3

The policy plan is a snare. While the members of the council may pride themselves on the thought that they are doing a very nice thing, they show a short-sighted wisdom that will cripple their own efforts for success. In order to stand, the structure must be built upon a right foundation. When the board of the Publishing Association takes it upon them to urge that all the profits of books shall go to the Publishing Association, they are seeking to control matters which do not come under their jurisdiction. They are taking upon themselves a work which they can not carry out.... PH102 16.1

Some years ago the matter of the publication of books came up, and plans were laid which I can not now call to mind. It was something like this,—that no one individual was to be benefited by the publication of his books.... A proposition was then made to us which my husband, without ability to consider fully, assented to, that the Publishing Association should have the benefit of the books. I was considering the matter, and thought like this: I wish the testimonies to go to as many as possible. They contain messages from God to His people, and I wish no benefits personally for this work. Thus we stated the matter. PH102 16.2

But shortly afterward, I was shown that it was not wisdom to relinquish our right to manage and control our own writings; that we would know better how to handle the profits from these books than those who had far less experience; that publications were to be multiplied, and the profits that we would receive would enable us to lead out in the advancing work, to build up the interests of the cause, and to carry others with us in the work; that there was a principle to be maintained in guarding the interests of true workers. We ourselves were not the only ones that this decision would affect. I was instructed that justice must be maintained; that the cause of God would be continually widening; it would embrace the whole world as its field; that the wants of the cause of God should not be determined by one man's mind and one man's obscured vision; that there would be important work done in God's moral vineyard, and that no man should feel that the part of the work over which he presides is to be all-absorbing. PH102 16.3

This settled our minds upon this point, and we have no reason to change them. PH102 17.1