Manual for Canvassers


Chapter 4—Unity of Effort

Perfect unity should exist among the workers who handle the books that are to flood the world with light. Wherever the canvassing work is presented among our people, let the health books and the religious books be presented together as parts of a united work. The relation of the religious and health books is presented to me as illustrated by the union of the warp and the woof to form a beautiful pattern and a perfect piece of work. MC 44.1

In the past the health books have not been handled with the interest which their importance demands. Though by a large class they have been highly appreciated, yet many have not thought it essential that they should go to the world. But what can be better preparation for the coming of the Lord, and for the reception of other truths essential to prepare a people for His coming, than to arouse the people to see the evils of this age, and to stir them to reformation from self-indulgent and unhealthful habits? Is not the world in need of being aroused on the subject of health reform? Are not the people in need of the truths presented in the health books? A different sentiment from that which has heretofore prevailed regarding the health works should be entertained by many of our canvassers in the field. MC 44.2

Divisions and distinct parties should not be seen among our canvassers and general agents. All should be interested in the sale of the books treating on the health question as well as in the sale of the distinctly religious works. The line is not to be drawn that certain books only are to occupy the attention of the canvassers. There must be perfect unity,—a well-balanced, symmetrical development of the work in all its parts. MC 44.3

The indifference with which the health books have been treated by many is an offense to God. To separate the health work from the great body of the work is not in His order. Present truth lies in the work of health reform as verily as in other features of gospel work. No one branch, when separated from others, can be a perfect whole. MC 45.1

The gospel of health has able advocates; but their work has been made very hard because so many ministers, presidents of conferences, and others in positions of influence, have failed to give the question of health reform its proper attention. They have not recognized it in its relation to the work of the message as the right arm of the body. While very little respect has been shown to this department by many of the people, and by some of the ministers, the Lord has shown His regard for it by giving it abundant prosperity. When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart. When the third angel's message is received in its fulness, health reform will be given its place in the councils of the conference, in the work of the church, in the home, at the table, and in all the household arrangements. Then the right arm will serve and protect the body. But while the health work has its place in the promulgation of the third angel's message, its advocates must not in any way strive to make it take the place of the message. The health books should occupy their proper position; but the circulation of these books is only one of many lines in the great work to be done. The glowing impressions sometimes given to the canvasser in regard to the health books must not result in excluding from the field other important books that should come before the people. Those who have charge of the canvassing work should be men who can discern the relation of each part of the work to the great whole. Let them give due attention to the circulation of the health books, but not make this line so prominent as to draw men away from other lines of vital interest, thus excluding the books that bear the special message of truth to the world. MC 45.2

Just as much education is necessary for the handling of the religious books as for the handling of those that treat on the question of health and temperance. Just as much should be said in regard to the work of canvassing for books containing spiritual food, just as much effort should be made to encourage and educate workers to circulate books containing the third angel's message, as is said and done to develop workers for the health books. MC 46.1

The one class of books will always make a place for the other. 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. Both treat on subjects of highest value, and both must act their part in the preparation of the people of God for these last days. Both should stand as present truth, to enlighten, to arouse, to convince. Both should blend in the work of sanctifying and purifying the churches that are looking and waiting for the coming of the Son of God in power and great glory. MC 46.2

Let each publisher and general agent work enthusiastically to encourage the agents now in the field, and to hunt up and train new workers. Let each strengthen and build up the work as much as possible without weakening the work of others. Let all be done in brotherly love and without selfishness. MC 47.1


It has been urged as the best policy that only one book at a time should have a place in the canvassing field,—that all the canvassers should work for the same book. Could this be done, it would not be wise nor expedient. No one book should be carried exclusively and kept before the public as if it could supply every demand for this time. If the Lord has light for His people, brought out in different ways in various books, who shall venture to put up barriers so that the light shall not be diffused throughout the world? The Lord desires our brethren to devise plans so that the light He has given shall not be hid in our publishing-houses, but shall shine forth to enlighten all who will receive it. MC 47.2

If our canvassers are controlled by the spirit of financial gain, if they circulate the book upon which they can make the most money, to the neglect of others that the people need, I ask, In what sense is theirs a missionary work? Where is the missionary spirit, the spirit of self-sacrifice? The work of the intelligent, God-fearing canvasser has been represented as equal to that of the gospel minister. Then should the canvasser feel at liberty, any more than the minister, to act from selfish motives? Should he be unfaithful to the principles of missionary work, and sell only those books that are cheapest and easiest to handle, neglecting to place before the people books which will give most light, because by so doing he can earn more money for himself? How is the missionary spirit revealed here? Has not the canvassing work ceased to be what it should be? How is it that no voice is raised to correct this state of things? MC 47.3


No canvasser should exalt the book for which he is working above others that set forth the truth for this time. Should our canvassers drop all but one book, and concentrate their energies on that, the work would not be carried on according to God's plan. Minds are not constituted alike, and what might be food for one might fail to attract another; therefore, books should be in the field treating in a variety of ways the special subjects for this time. It will be necessary for the canvasser to make a wise selection. Let no one who is doing the work of God become narrow and short-sighted. The Lord has many instrumentalities through which He designs to work. When one book is exalted above another, there is danger that the very work best adapted to give light to the people will be crowded out. There is no need of contrasting different books, and judging as to which will do the most good. God has a place for all the voices and all the pens that He has inspired to utterance for Him. It will be difficult for some minds to fathom our most difficult works, and a simpler way of putting the truth will reach them more readily. Let the leading workers encourage the weaker ones, and show an equal interest in every one of the instrumentalities set in motion to prepare a people for the day of the Lord. Some would receive more benefit from papers and tracts than from books. Papers, tracts, and pamphlets that dwell upon Bible lessons, all need attention in the canvassing work, for they are as little wedges that open the way for larger works. MC 48.1

The canvasser should carry with him tracts, pamphlets, and small books to give to those who can not buy. In this way the truth will be introduced into many homes. MC 49.1