The Fannie Bolton Story


Letter 24, 1897, entire letter. (To Fannie Bolton, June 25, 1897.)

Yesterday my attention was called to your articles now going through the Review. [See The Review and Herald, April 13-May 11, 1897.] I have not read any articles in the papers for some time; for I have been so thoroughly employed. But as I read these articles, I thought it a very wrong thing for you to put in the Review the history of the McKenzie family. Did you think that such productions from your pen concerning a family with whom you had been connected, were right? If that family reads our church paper, think you will it be the means of converting or destroying? FBS 76.2

Your representations can be easily recognized. You place in the worst light the McKenzie family. Is this to be the tone of all the articles you put into the paper? All can easily see that Miss Ashbury, who is placed on the pinnacle of perfection, is a revelation of the way in which Miss Fannie Bolton regards herself. As I read these articles I was more distressed for you and ashamed of you than I can express. Should you caricature so vividly your own history while you were in Battle Creek and Australia, putting things in as vivid a light as you have regarding the McKenzie family, we would have some most striking articles. But such productions should not be immortalized by being put in print. You are certainly doing as you would not be pleased to have anyone do by you. FBS 76.3

That history will certainly be placed in the hands of the McKenzie family. What kind of an influence will it have upon them to see that you have represented family secrets in the very worst light? [Revelation 3:1-3, 15-18 quoted.] FBS 76.4

All who are acquainted with your history in Australia will be nauseated by your representation of yourself. And this is the one that expressed herself as having an unwillingness to handle private testimonies of reproof. Yet without any appointment of God, you take hold of a family, and lay bare the things you have seen and heard in that family, in a most exaggerated light. How could you ever do such a thing? I am very much astonished that you should dare to do it. You have been very much afraid to have anything go to America, even to my son Edson, in regard to yourself. FBS 77.1

It is a great pity that this very wonderful Christian woman, so mild, of such excellent judgment, could not have revealed her character in such beautiful lines when in my family, connected with me. How mild and Christlike were your words to Emily Campbell, when you supposed her to be making a mistake, but when you yourself were doubly at fault? If these things were represented in a story and given to the world, it would be quite sensational. What do you mean? Are you unbalanced in mind? If so, for Christ’s sake do not make striking proof of the fact by letting everyone know that it is so. FBS 77.2

What could have beclouded Bro. Tenney’s perceptive faculties, to lead him to accept such articles from your hand, I cannot conceive. If you want to write sensational novels, put your articles in papers that will appreciate such matter. Do stop and think what you are about. FBS 77.3

I send you this matter, written from a sense of duty. Do not exhibit Fannie Bolton in such angel’s garments, because it is not the Fannie Bolton we are acquainted with. I advise you to let your tired brain have entire rest, while you do some kind of work besides writing. You said that you loved to do housework. Why not do something of this kind, using the muscles of your body in proportion as you have used your mind. Cannot you be satisfied to use your talents in this way? I advise you to do this, and see if you cannot become a Christian in thought and in character. FBS 77.4

I hope and pray that your transgressions may be pardoned. Do not, I beg of you, parade before the world the history of those who are not guilty of doing one hundredth part of the harm that you have done. If you ever truly feel this, you will have such a sense of your wicked course of action, that you will never, never seek to remove the mote from your brother’s or sister’s eye till the beam has been removed from your own eye. FBS 77.5

Your words regarding me and my writings are false, and I must say that you know them to be false. Nevertheless, those unacquainted with you take your words as being the words of one who knows. Because you have been acquainted with me, and connected with me, you can state what you please, and you think that your tracks are so covered that they will never be discovered. But my writings have not stopped. They go out as I have written them. No words of my copyists are put in the place of my own words. This is a testimony that cannot be controverted. My articles speak for themselves. FBS 77.6

When I heard that McCullagh had apostatized, I said, I am glad that all my connection with him has been of the tenderest character. I thought that there was nothing they could have to say against me. But both he and his wife bore the same report that Sister Malcolm bore to me. McCullagh stated in a large congregation that it was reported by one who knew that I picked up things written in books, and sent them out as something the Lord had shown me. At the Bible Institute in Cooranbong, McCullagh told me that you had made a statement to him and his wife similar to the statement made to Sr. Malcolm. Your sowing is producing its harvest. Many in Melbourne have been repeating the same things, things which you have told them, and which they thought must be true. FBS 77.7

I will now only say further that I forgive you, and will continue to pray as I have done that you may be converted. The articles in the Review give me more discouragement over your case than I have ever had; for I see you clothed in garments of pretentious light, and this is a terrible deception. May the Lord anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see yourself as you are, and that you may have that repentance that needs not to be repented of. FBS 78.1