Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years: 1905-1915 (vol. 6)


Important Principles Enunciated

The whole experience was wholesome, for it drew out from W. C. White an explanation of principles that has been most valuable in dealing with the Ellen G. White counsels, in both primary and secondary ways. Of this he wrote to C. W. Irwin: 6BIO 384.3

One of the most perplexing problems we have to deal with in preparing Mother's writings for publication is in just such matters as this, where the conditions of a family, or a church, or an institution are presented to her, and warnings and instruction are given regarding these conditions. In such cases, Mother writes clearly and forcefully, and without qualification regarding the situation presented to her. And it is a great blessing to us to have this instruction for our study in dealing with similar conditions elsewhere. 6BIO 384.4

But when we take what she has written, and publish it without any description, or particular reference to the conditions existing when and where the testimony was given, there is always the possibility of the instruction being used as applying to places and conditions that are very different. 6BIO 384.5

Very much perplexity has been brought into our work in this way, by the use of what Mother has written on the subject of diet, and on the use of drugs, and on other subjects that you will think of without my enumerating them; and when the time has come for instruction to be given to some individual, or family, or church, which presented the right course to be taken, under conditions which were different from those contemplated in former writings, the exception made, or the different course advised in view of the different conditions, has often come as a surprise to those who felt that the instruction they have been studying was of universal application. 6BIO 385.1

In our book-making, as we have met this perplexity, Mother has given us very comprehensive and emphatic instruction as to how we shall deal with such matters. We are endeavoring to follow that instruction faithfully. It was in response to this instruction that several manuscripts were prepared that Mother read at the last General Conference, among which was the article entitled, “Faithfulness in Health Reform.”—DF 251, WCW to C. W. Irwin, February 18, 1913. 6BIO 385.2

Another consideration pointed out by W. C. White was: “Often people read into a statement many things that were not contemplated when it was written. And this makes it important that everything that is to be printed shall be studied in its many bearings before it is sent to the printers.”— Ibid. 6BIO 385.3

Neither Ellen White nor W. C. White considered the “perplexities” referred to as a deterrent to a multiple use of materials. In 1868 she was instructed to publish testimonies addressed to individuals and families, for the counsel given to one would be useful to another (Testimonies for the Church 5:658, 659), and the Lord did not give a vision for each individual situation. She made a provision in her will for the production of books from her manuscripts. 6BIO 385.4

W. C. White told Irwin that from the outset, in developing the chapter on “Deportment of Students” it was thought that the statement written to the school at Cooranbong, if used, “ought not to stand alone, but that a more complete presentation of Mother's views should be given than was found in that one manuscript” (DF 251, WCW to C. W. Irwin, February 18, 1913). And he told of how, with the manuscript ready to go to the printer, and considering the far-reaching nature of the statement on courtship, he asked Ellen White to read the chapter again. He reported that “she began with ‘Courtship,’ and read to the end, commenting upon and approving point by point of the instruction.”—DF 251, WCW to J. E. White, January 25, 1913. 6BIO 385.5

The chapter was included in the finished manuscript as it went to the printer, with the subtitle “Courtship” replaced by the less-pronounced “Association With Others.” The portion in question reads: 6BIO 386.1

In all our dealings with students, age and character must be taken into account. We cannot treat the young and the old just alike. There are circumstances under which men and women of sound experience and good standing may be granted some privileges not given to the younger students. The age, the conditions, and the turn of mind must be taken into consideration. We must be wisely considerate in all our work. But we must not lessen our firmness and vigilance in dealing with students of all ages, nor our strictness in forbidding the unprofitable and unwise association of young and immature students.—CPT, p. 101. 6BIO 386.2

Thus, Ellen White refused to allow a statement written to meet the needs of the Avondale school in its beginning days, with its enrollment of young students, to be used as a rule to guide in college administration. The book came from the press in mid-May, 1913. 6BIO 386.3