The Fannie Bolton Story

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Letter 59, 1894, entire letter. (To Bro. Olsen, February 5, 1894.)

Dear Brother Olsen, I am carrying a heavy burden, and I can bear this no longer alone. I wish you to make calculations to return to this place. Some matters, in reference to my writings, must come before you and Willie. I shall have nothing more done upon them until I lay the matter before you, and you must give time to read some of these chapters, if not all of them. FBS 19.3

Brother Starr came to me and talked with me in reference to things Fannie had said to him. He said he was reading from the testimonies, and making remarks in regard to the clear light presented before them for us in these last days, and spoke of the beautiful language used in a certain testimony. Fannie took him after meeting and asked him if he thought it was right to give all the credit to Sister White, and make no mention of the workers, Marian and herself. She said the ideas and preparations of the articles were almost entirely changed from the writings of Sister White, that her writings came in such a shape that they had to be made all over and that she got all the credit, and those who were engaged in fitting up these articles received no recognition. Elder Starr said he met her squarely, and said, “What do you mean by saying these things to me?” He said it went like a dagger to his heart. She has talked these things to Marian and Marian has been led into much of the same views, but not to the extent of Fannie. FBS 19.4

Well, I felt like a wounded stricken deer, ready to die. I had been warned of this before, twice in Preston and three times in New Zealand. A similar warning was given me as in the case of Mary Clough, but this did not fully arouse me to the danger, and to the real situation. I will not take time to explain these warnings. Not long before I left New Zealand, while in camp meeting, it was represented to me. We were gathered in a room of quite a company, and Fannie was saying some things in regard to the great amount of work coming from her hands. She said, “I cannot work in this way. I am putting my mind and life into this work, and yet the ones who make it what it is, are sunk out of sight and Sister White gets the credit for the work.” I said some very pointed things. I said, “Your ambition to be first and do some great thing is doing you harm; you will certainly lose your soul if you are not thoroughly transformed in character, and after hearing your words which you did not mean I should hear, I understand your spirit. It is not Christ you are following, but another leader, and I dare no longer place my writings in your hands.” FBS 19.5

Again I was listening to earnest talk between herself and Marian, and it was of that character that gave me great pain of heart. A voice spoke to me, “Beware and not place your dependence upon Fannie to prepare articles or to make books. She cuts out words that should appear, and places her own ideas and words in their stead, and because she has done this she has become deceived, deluded, and is deceiving and deluding others. She is your Adversary. Additions and subtractions are made that do not represent your simplicity. She is not true to her duty, yet flatters herself that she is doing a very important work.” FBS 20.1

I am now brought where I lay down my pen. I cannot write even on the Life of Christ, until I understand whether my writings are to come forth with Fannie’s ideas and language, or with Marian’s ideas and fixing up and the productions are claimed to be Marian’s and Fannie’s. Let this impression be made on the minds of our ministers, and of what value or force will the testimonies be to them. I have called a halt and here I stand until some things are decided. I request Elder Daniells, Elder Rousseau and Willie C. White come to help me just as soon as you can adjust your business and let us counsel together, and see some way to adjust these matters. I have plainly but kindly told Fannie, I have no confidence in her as far as her reformation within the last three or four weeks is concerned. Her ardent love for praise and ambition was very similar to that presented to me in regard to the workings of Satan in the heavenly courts to bring disaffection among the angels, and she would repeat the same course she had pursued, and I could not trust her and depend on her. I beg you will come to my help just as soon as possible, but I am not willing Elder Olsen should return to America before these matters have a most thorough, careful investigation. I do not think I can in the future have any copy placed in the hands of Fannie. I would come at once to you but do not think that that would be wisdom. FBS 20.2

We have for the first time taken our meal together in our dining room. I spoke in Brighton last Sunday. 100 were present. It was a most oppressive day. I have not been well. The reasons are evident in that which I have placed before you. Fannie seems broken and humbled, but a counter current will set in another direction any time. I am writing by lamp light. I commenced about 2:30 A.M. I feel distressed to send this to you, but the time has fully come for something to be done. FBS 20.3