Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years: 1900-1905 (vol. 5)


How the Work was Done

Ellen White had written extensively on health. For forty years following the health-reform vision of 1863, she had made repeated presentations. So, with the help of Marian Davis, who had assisted her for nearly twenty-five years, the writings on health had been drawn together and placed in an effective sequence. 5BIO 378.3

Though all the material was drawn from writings portraying the light given to her, Ellen White welcomed the opinions of her working staff on the selection and arrangement of materials and the relative amount of space a particular topic should be allowed, and even in the choice of words used. She was eager that the important truths on health should be set forth in the clearest, most appealing, and most effective manner. But her word was final as she painstakingly read and reread the chapters as they were being compiled. While Mrs. White's literary assistants drew matter together, arranging it carefully, at no time did they attempt to augment the E. G. White text. Ellen White worked closely with Marian Davis, filling in here and there what was needed to round out the subject. 5BIO 378.4

The plan for The Ministry of Healing was a broad one and called for much painstaking work. The first section of nearly one hundred pages was released as a series of articles in the Pacific Health Journal while the overall manuscript was in preparation. 5BIO 378.5

On February 1, 1905, she reported, “I have been reading the matter prepared for Ministry of Healing, and I feel much relieved to think that the book is ready for publication, and that it will soon be in circulation.”—Letter 73, 1905. 5BIO 379.1

At another time she reported that “the manuscript will go to press as soon as I can give it a final critical reading.”—Letter 303, 1904. 5BIO 379.2

But there was more to do than prepare the manuscript. Denominational publishers in 1904 were not in any position to make the large investment called for in typesetting, illustrating, and plate making for such a book as The Ministry of Healing. These expenses would run about $3,000. Ellen White herself approached Seventh-day Adventist acquaintances for loans to help capitalize the project. 5BIO 379.3

To a sister in the faith who possessed some means, she wrote on July 11, 1904: 5BIO 379.4

Sister Marian, I have a request to make. Can you lend me one thousand dollars? I need money to help me in getting out my books. I have one book, The Ministry of Healing, which is almost ready for the printer.—Letter 231, 1904. 5BIO 379.5

A week later she approached a brother in the faith: 5BIO 379.6

I now wish to ask you if you could lend me one thousand dollars, to be used in bringing out some important books.... The Ministry of Healing is now almost ready for the printer.—Letter 247, 1904.

Not a few Seventh-day Adventists were pleased to lend Ellen White money to assist her in book publication and as an interest-bearing investment in her books. 5BIO 379.7

Then there were the illustrations. The Ministry of Healing was planned as a book for sale to the general public. W. C. White arranged with Adventist artist W. A. Reaser to serve as art director and do the sketches for the book. Another Adventist artist, Pedro Lemos, designed the texts and mottos. 5BIO 379.8

Now another element was interjected. Even though in debt, Ellen G. White four years earlier had made a gift of the book Christ's Object Lessons to aid in lifting the debts resting heavily on the denomination's educational institutions. More than $300,000 was brought in as publishers, ministry, and laymen cooperated in the effort (Letter 102, 1908). 5BIO 379.9

Now Ellen White proposed to make The Ministry of Healing available for a similar effort to assist the sanitariums, but she reserved the privilege of designating the institutions that would benefit. In 1907 she wrote: 5BIO 380.1

It was God's purpose that by the sale of Ministry of Healing and Christ's Object Lessons the necessary means would be raised for the work of our sanitariums and schools, and thus our people be left free to donate of their means for the opening of the work in new fields.... Wherever the work of selling Christ's Object Lessons has been taken hold of in earnest, the book has had a good circulation. And the lessons that have been learned by those who have engaged in this work have well repaid their efforts. Our people should all be encouraged to take a part in this missionary effort.... Christ's Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing ... are books which contain precious truths, and from which the reader can draw lessons of highest value.—Letter 276, 1907. 5BIO 380.2

She felt clear on this even though she was carrying an indebtedness of $20,000. 5BIO 380.3