Testimonies on Fair Dealing and Book Royalties


Danger of Unjust Propositions

From a letter written to Elder A. O. Tait, from Granville, N. S. W., June 10, 1895. PH102 18.3

I have received your letter in regard to royalty on books. You seem to be perplexed over this question. Will you counsel with Elder Olsen? I have written to him fully, I think, in regard to the matter. And in Testimony 33, you will find the subject plainly presented. What more can you have? The great burden which some of our brethren have in regard to the matter of royalty is not inspired of God. The Holy Spirit does not move upon men in this way. If those who are so zealous in regard to their selfish acceptance of means which they no more earned than did many others, who were receiving limited wages—had they, in all its bearings, heeded the light which the Lord has given in regard to the practise of self-denial and the maintaining of the principles that characterized the work and the workmen in the establishment of the Review office, their attitude would appear more consistent. PH102 18.4

The policy that dictated the payment of large wages is not inspired of God, and has not His sanction or favor. It was born in selfishness, and lives in selfishness. The great burden over royalties proceeds largely from the selfishness of the human heart, from the spirit of avarice, which should have no place in your business transactions. The representations made in regard to the matter of royalty may confuse minds. This has been done already; but the Lord, who deals justly, who loves mercy, whose ways are equal, will not sanction the devising of men whose discernment is not clear, whose ways are not equal, who would selfishly grasp for themselves all that it is possible in the line of wages, while they would oppress others. These things will one day be seen in their true bearings.... PH102 19.1

I think I need not again present the subject of royalty before your councils. I shall ever stand where I now stand, because it is in the counsel of God. Men may haggle over this business, and bring it to the front, but their man-made laws will be of little use. They may oppress; those who have authority may continue the work of seeking to bring men to their terms or cut off every resource; by their representations and the power of their will they may make it hard and hopeless for others to stand in their God-given sense of right; but bear in mind that God will judge for these things, and that day is not far distant. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I shall bear my testimony as long as God shall spare my life; and should I fall by death, I shall leave my testimony clear and decided against every approach to oppression.... PH102 20.1

Before my husband died I was warned that I must not put confidence in a friend or trust in a brother. Men with whom I would have to deal would not, because of their business education, have power to resist the temptation to overreach and to take advantage. They make God altogether such an one as themselves, and think that their sharp conniving and dealing is after God's order. They make every effort possible to take advantage where they can, for they do not daily experience conversion to God. They enter into plans and go according to methods that they suppose will succeed, but they are far from fair or just or righteous. They spare themselves, but how hard they press others! They work to destroy the power of their fellow-men.... PH102 20.2

God gave me counsel that I must be guarded about accepting the propositions of men who proposed that I should do certain things, alleging that in so doing, I would be helping the cause of God. But should I make the contract that they designed to have me, I would be bound, and could not move, independent of men or councils, to do things that were necessary to be done to advance the cause and work of God. If I should do as they desired me to, then I would be unable to speak to correct evil principles when they should be brought to bear against others. PH102 21.1

It was needful that there should be those who would speak out against that which was wrong; for God would cleanse the publishing house from plans of injustice and fraudulent dealings, even as the Saviour cleansed the temple from its moral pollution. I was shown that schemes would be made to deprive men of their rights; but such plans were not after Christ's order, but after the order of Satan. My Guide said: “I have warned you. Speak My word fearlessly, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear.” PH102 21.2