Manual for Canvassers


Secular Books

In this age the trivial is praised and magnified. There is a call for anything that will create a sensation. The country is flooded with worthless publications, which were written for the sake of making money, while really valuable books are unsold and unread. Those who handle this sensational literature, because by so doing they can make higher wages, are missing precious opportunities of obtaining discipline and intelligence in doing good through cooperation with God. It will require earnest effort to arrest the attention of men and women, and interest them in really valuable books that have the Bible for their foundation. And it will be a still greater task to find conscientious, God-fearing workers who will canvass for these books of highest value for the purpose of diffusing light and a correct knowledge of God. MC 50.3


My heart aches as I see those who profess to be looking for the Saviour devoting their time and talents to circulating books that contain nothing concerning the special truths for this time,—books of narrative, books of biography, books of men's theories and speculations. The world is full of such books, they can be had anywhere; but how can the followers of Christ engage in so common a work, when there is crying need for God's truth on every hand. It is not our mission to circulate such works. There are thousands of others to do this, who as yet have not sufficient knowledge of anything better. We have a definite mission, and we should not turn from it to side-issues. Men and means are not to be employed in bringing before the people books that have no bearing upon the present truth. MC 51.1


The world is deluged with books that might better be consumed rather than circulated. Books upon Indian warfare and similar topics, published and circulated as a money-making scheme, might better never be read. There is a Satanic fascination in these books. The heart-sickening relation of crimes and atrocities has a bewitching power upon many youth, exciting in them the desire to bring themselves into notice, even by the most wicked deeds. There are many works more strictly historical whose influence is little better. The enormities, the cruelties, the licentious practises, portrayed in these writings, have acted as leaven in many minds, leading to the commission of similar acts. Books that delineate the Satanic deeds of human beings are giving publicity to evil works. The horrible details of crime and misery need not be lived over, and none who believe the truth for this time should act a part in perpetuating their memory. MC 51.2

Love stories and frivolous and exciting tales constitute another class of books that is a curse to every reader. The author may attach a good moral, and all through his work may weave religious sentiments; yet in most cases Satan is but clothed in angel robes, the more effectually to deceive and allure. The mind is affected in a great degree by that upon which it feeds. The readers of frivolous, exciting tales become unfitted for the duties lying before them. They lead an unreal life, and have no desire for useful employment, and no desire to search the Scriptures, to feed upon the heavenly manna. The mind is enfeebled, and loses its power to contemplate the great problems of duty and destiny. MC 52.1

I have been instructed that the youth are exposed to the greatest peril from improper reading. Satan is constantly leading both the youth and those of mature age to be charmed with worthless stories. Could a large share of the books published be consumed, a plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work in weakening the mind and corrupting the heart. None are so confirmed in right principles as to be secure from temptation. All this trashy reading should be resolutely discarded. MC 52.2

We have no permission from the Lord to engage in either the printing or the sale of such literature, for it is the means of destroying many souls. I know of what I am writing; for this matter has been opened before me. Let not those who believe the truth engage in this work, thinking to make money. The Lord will put a blight upon the means thus obtained; He will scatter more than is gathered. MC 53.1