A Prophet Among You


Preparation of a New Book 10

“The great God has reared His mighty structures in the granite rocks, in the towering mountains, in clefts, in the gulches, in the gorges, and in the castle rocks, and in the caves of the earth. And with these surroundings—the work of God’s power—how thankless the heart who needs images of man to worship. The heathen who worship nature, the works of the divine hand, are idolators. But does not their worship strike the senses as more sensible than the worship of images bearing the mold and impress of finite man? Everything about us teaches us from day to day lessons of our Father’s love and of His power, of His laws to govern nature, and that lie at the foundation of all government in heaven and in earth. These rich tokens of God’s matchless power, if they will not call the mind to the Creator of heaven and earth, if they will not awaken gratitude in these dull and thankless hearts, will images and shrines of dead men do this? We look upon nature. We see the fields clothed with carpets of living green. We see the variety of His works. In this house God has builded for man, every part of this house, diverse it may be from another, but we trace in unmistakable tokens the handiwork of the great Architect. There is beauty in the valleys, awful grandeur in the solemn masses of cleft rocks, majesty in the towering mountains that look as if they touched the heavens. There is the lofty tree with its delicately formed leaves, the spires of grass, the opening bud and blooming flowers, the forest trees, and everything points the mind to the great and living God.” [Insert, Page 357] APAY 357.1

The procedure followed in the office of the Ellen G. White Publications in the preparation of such compilations from the writings of Mrs. White as Evangelism, Temperance, The Adventist Home, and Child Guidance, has been planned so that readers will receive an accurate and unbiased view of the Ellen White teachings on the subjects covered. In order to set forth the instruction fairly in a compilation, care must be exercised to see that all phases of the subject are presented in a balanced way, and that the arrangement of material and its emphasis is balanced and harmonious with the whole body of the instruction. For these reasons the usual method of preparing a new book cannot be followed: It is not possible to prepare an outline and then search out materials to fit that outline. Although this method would be more economical of both time and money, there would be involved a risk of overlooking some portion of vital instruction that had not been included in the outline. On the other hand, there would be danger of over emphasizing some point of minor importance. Using the book Evangelism as an illustration, we shall trace the several steps followed in the preparation of an Ellen White compilation. APAY 357.2

1. Authorization and planning. The secretary and associate secretaries of the Ministerial Association of the General Conference, as well as other workers, sensed the need for a single volume that would present the full Ellen White instruction concerning evangelism. In 1944 the Association suggested to the Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Publications that such a book be prepared. APAY 358.1

The Board of Trustees, after carefully studying the question and making some investigation of available materials, authorized the compilation of a volume of the counsels to evangelists and instruction concerning evangelism. They set up two committees to execute the work. The first was a fostering committee of five, headed by a General Conference vice-president and including representatives from the Board of Trustees and the Ministerial Association, and an evangelist of long experience. It was the duty of this committee to plan for the compilation and to give general guidance to its preparation. APAY 358.2

The second committee was a working team of two, comprising the secretary of the Ellen G. White Publications, Arthur L. White, and Miss Louise Kleuser of the Ministerial Association. The task of gathering and arranging the materials was assigned to this team. APAY 358.3

2. Gathering the counsels. With this assignment, the working team, under the guidance of the fostering committee, undertook their work. They did not begin with an outline of what they thought should go into the book, but worked so as to allow the materials themselves to determine the outline and the emphasis. They set about to assemble all the Ellen G. White writings that might have a bearing on the subject of evangelism. Every source was drawn from—the current books; early, out-of-print books and pamphlets; periodical articles; and the manuscript files. The Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White guided to statements in the current books. The card indexes in the White Publications vault led to other sources. All the materials that might have a bearing on the subject were copied, regardless of repetition, each statement on a separate sheet for convenience in handling. APAY 358.4

Finally, several thousand pages were gathered. As the statements were being brought together, the working team found a general outline becoming apparent—an outline determined by the materials themselves and by the Ellen White emphasis. The next step was to set down the general features of this outline. There were twenty general divisions, or sections. As the sorting continued, it was possible to form a more detailed outline for each section. Next, the statements that fell naturally into each general section were grouped according to the topics that would make up that section. APAY 359.1

After this classification had been completed, each of the twenty groups of quotations was carefully studied. The most pointed and comprehensive statements, regardless of their source, were selected and arranged in their logical order. Brief paragraph headings were then chosen. Each member of the working team did the initial work on certain sections, and this was thoroughly reviewed by the other member. The body of the material, in this preliminary arrangement, was copied, and a copy furnished to each member of the fostering committee. APAY 359.2

The members of the larger committee read the manuscript and made suggestions as to arrangement, headings, the inclusion of items that might have been overlooked, and the deletion of repetitious statements. APAY 359.3

With the recommendations of the fostering committee in hand, the working team went through the entire manuscript again, giving closer attention to repetitions. This problem is intensified by the fact that no change can be made in the wording, and that the same general approach to an important point is often made with a slightly different treatment and wording. As far as possible, repetitious sentences were deleted, but sufficient of the quotation was given to preserve its proper setting. APAY 359.4

3. Approval for publication. This painstaking work called for handling some sections as many as six or eight times. When the working team had completed its revision of the manuscript in the light of the criticisms of the fostering committee, the revised manuscript was mimeographed and submitted to the Board of Trustees of the Ellen G. White Publications, who were responsible for the preparation of the proposed book. Copies were given to the officers of the General Conference for their concurrence in the release of unpublished materials. Because the volume was being considered as a Ministerial Reading Course book, it was also submitted to a reading committee appointed by the Ministerial Association Advisory Council. In the interest of economy of time, the manuscript was submitted to these groups simultaneously. APAY 360.1

Careful note was made of all the suggestions made by this reading group, but very little change was called for. Action was taken approving the manuscript. APAY 360.2

A foreword was written, explaining the preparation of the volume, but no recognition was given to those responsible for the detailed work of its compilation. Policies governing this work place the full responsibility in the hands of the Board of Trustees, and no individual receives personal credit for the part he may have had in assembling the contents of a posthumous Ellen G. White book. APAY 360.3

The manuscript, now in its final approved form, was passed to the publishers. The usual procedure in the handling of a book manuscript calls for its acceptance by a book committee, but in the case of an Ellen White book, this step is omitted, and the material goes directly from the trustees to the publishing house copy editors. The Board of Trustees carries the full responsibility ordinarily assumed by a book committee. APAY 360.4

Copy editors studied punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and so forth, within limits carefully defined by the Board. From the copy room the manuscript went to the type room, then to the press and bindery; and from there the new book, Evangelism, went to the field,—in every sense a genuine Ellen White book. APAY 361.1

The methods followed in compiling one of her books today do not differ greatly from those in the preparation of such books as Testimonies for the Church, volume 9, Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, and Prophets and Kings. When Ellen White was living, she consulted with leading workers as to the best manner in which to bring certain lines of instruction before the people. She enlisted the assistance of her office staff in gathering matter she had written through the years. She gave study to the selection of statements for publication, and joined in their preparation for the press. The principal difference in the preparation of a book today lies in the fact that she cannot now give study to the matter selected and cannot improve the text or write in connections uniting several excerpts in one blended statement. None of these can be done now that her pen has been laid aside. APAY 361.2

Since Mrs. White’s death the books that have appeared have been drawn largely from her periodical articles, to a lesser degree from manuscripts and early pamphlets, and to some extent from her current books. Some compilations representing special lines of instruction contain statements that are already published in current books. While it is planned that as far as possible the republication of available counsel should be avoided, making a compilation that gives complete coverage of the subject treated has advantages that outweigh the objection to a small amount of repetition. No one knows what the demands of the future may be, but it appears to the Trustees that in the Ellen White books now in circulation the full range of instruction and counsel vital to the welfare of the church is available. APAY 361.3