The Fannie Bolton Story


Letter 61a, 1900, entire letter. (To G. A. Irwin, April 23, 1900, not sent—see revised copy, Letter 61, 1900.)

I cannot sleep after half past twelve. I have read what you say in regard to Fannie. I have many things written in reference to her engagement with Caldwell, but I do not wish to make her case a public matter. Therefore I shall not send the letters written in reference to her misbehavior in this country, which has uprooted the confidence of those who know her. I can send these letters if it is essential, but I do not want to do so. FBS 92.2

The statement in regard to my telling Fannie to write to A. R. Henry is a fabrication which has not in it one thread of truth. Why she makes statements which are sheer falsehoods is a mystery to me. I have copies of all the letters I have written to A. R Henry. I never to my knowledge told Fannie to write a letter for me to any person whatever. FBS 92.3

One night, after I had disconnected from Fannie Bolton, I had a singular experience. The angel of the Lord stood by my side, instructing me to give Fannie a chance to connect with me again and take up the work again. I was to give her another trial. To the astonishment of all, I did this. At the time, Fannie was sick, and was staying at Brother McCullagh’s. I brought her to my home, and fitted up a room for her away from the other workers; for she could not endure the least noise. FBS 92.4

I cared for her as I would for my own sister. Then after a time, I put copy in her hands, to evidence to her that I would do the work pointed out by the angel for me to do. She took the copy, and all she had to do was to read it to one of my copyists. But though she had all the time she wanted, she could not complete the article. She told me that she could not possibly do the work, and that she would never again have the privilege of having the precious matter in her hands. FBS 92.5

“I fear,” she said, “that I am wholly unfitted for the work. I cannot even do this article. I have pursued such a course (speaking in reference to Caldwell) that I am humiliated in the dust. I cannot remain in this place, where my course is so well known. I must go to America.” FBS 92.6

She then begged me to let her take some articles with her to prepare for me. I did this once when she was at Ann Arbor. I said, “No, Fannie; none of my writings shall be placed in your hands. I am decided on this point.” Well, she said, “if you ever need me to prepare copy for you, I would be glad to do it after my health improves.” She tried to get me to say that she could return to me if she desired to. I said, “No; when you leave me of your own will, I shall never re-unite you with my work.” She said that if I would take her back, she would pay her own passage to Australia. But I told her that I could make no promise whatever. I said, “The Lord instructed me to forgive you and take you back for another trial. I have done this; but even while you are confessing your wrong course to me, you say that you are afraid, should you attempt to take up the work again, you would go over the same ground you have gone over in the past. You have already told me that you dare not take up the work again, that you think you had better go to America. When you said this, I was free.” FBS 92.7

I see now why it was that I was directed to give Fannie another trial. There are those who misunderstand me because of Fannie’s misrepresentations. These were watching to see what course I would take in regard to her. If I had disconnected from her, they would have made the most they possibly could of the way in which I had abused poor Fannie Bolton. The course I pursued in following the directions given me took away any occasion of criticism from those who wanted to condemn me. FBS 93.1

I have never wanted Fannie to connect with me again. I wrote to Edson not to employ her on any account; for her imagination was so under the control of the enemy that he could lead her to exaggerate to any extent. FBS 93.2

I have not mentioned the disagreeable experience which has cost me so much sorrow, which was caused by her lovesick sentimentalism in her connection with Caldwell, her terrible deception and falsehoods, which both she and he confessed. While Fannie was acting out the temptations of Satan, because imbued with his spirit, she claimed that the Bible-readings she gave were inspired by God. She said that when she talked, her hearers would grow pale under the effect of her words. Many of our brethren and sisters claimed that she was inspired, but understanding the underhand[ed] course she was taking and the positive falsehoods she was telling, I told them that they need not covet any such inspiration; for it was of the same order that Satan keeps in his stock in trade. FBS 93.3

You may reason with others on this line: Wherein do my articles in the papers now differ from what they were when Fannie was with me? Who is it that now puts in words to supply the deficiencies of my language, my deplorable ignorance? How was this done before Fannie Bolton had anything to do with my writings? FBS 93.4

Cannot people who have reason see this? If Fannie supplied my great deficiency, how is it that I can now send articles to the papers? FBS 93.5

What Fannie says in regard to this is all a sham. Does she not know it? Or does Satan work on her imagination in such a way that she thinks what she says is true? FBS 93.6

I tell you that there is not a semblance of truth in her statements. My copyists you have seen. They do not change my language. It stands as I write it. Marian’s work is of a different order altogether. She is my book-maker. Fannie never was my book-maker. How are my books made? Marian does not put in her claim for recognition. She does her work in this way. She takes my articles which are published in the papers, and pastes them in blank books. She also has a copy of all the letters I write. In preparing a chapter for a book, Marian remembers that I have written something on that special point, which may make the matter more forcible. She begins to search for this, and if when she finds it, she sees that it will make the chapter more clear, she adds it. FBS 93.7

The books are not Marian’s productions, but my own, gathered from all my writings. Marian has a large field from which to draw, and her ability to arrange this matter is of great value to me. It saves my poring over a mass of matter, which I have no time to do. FBS 93.8

So you understand that Marian is a most valuable help to me in bringing out my books. Fannie had none of this work to do. Marian has read chapters to her, and Fannie has sometimes made suggestions as to the arrangement of the matter. FBS 93.9

This is the difference between the workers. As I have stated, Fannie has been strictly forbidden to change my words for her words. As spoken by the heavenly agencies, the words are severe in their simplicity; and I try to put the thoughts into such simple language that a child can understand every word uttered. The words of someone else would not rightly represent me. FBS 94.1

I have written thus fully in order that you may understand the matter. Fannie Bolton may claim that she has made my books, but she has not done so. This has been Marian’s field, and her work is far in advance of any work Fannie has done for me. FBS 94.2

I have written this letter between half past twelve and four o’clock A.M. I must now leave it to write other letters. But I wish to ask, If Fannie is converted and is used by the Lord, why is not her vision clear in reference to her past representation of the work she has done for me? I think the first work the Holy Spirit would do for her would be to lead her to confess that by false statements she has misrepresented me to others. The Lord would clear away the mist and fog from her mind, leading her to see the great injury she has done me by saying that she made over all my writings. FBS 94.3

When the Lord teaches her and reveals to her how she has unsettled and undermined the faith of many in the testimonies of the Spirit of God, as she has unsettled and undermined the faith of Brother Bartholf in the work the Lord has given me to do, by making the statement that she was directed to write a testimony to A. R. Henry, she will see where she is standing. The statement in regard to the testimony for A. R. Henry is an absolute falsehood. FBS 94.4

Those who receive such statements are without excuse. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” My work has been in the field since 1845. Ever since then I have labored with pen and voice. Increased light has come to me as I have imparted the light given me. I have very much more light on the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which I shall present to our people if my way is not blocked by such influences as the influence exerted by Fannie Bolton. Such a work as hers calls for my pen and voice to contradict her statements, in order to save poor souls from being entirely swamped by her assertion that she has received the Holy Ghost. This is another phase of her desire to exalt herself as ordained by the Lord to bear a message to His people. The Lord did not send her, yet she ran. She will not honor the cause of God, but will mislead others. FBS 94.5

Those who have been unwilling to receive the true testimonies of God, notwithstanding that these testimonies have been in the field for so many years, who know not the voice of the Lord, may listen to the voice of a stranger, and receive from a poor, deceived, unbalanced human agent what is supposed to be truth. What is the chaff to the wheat? Know that you are on trial for spiritual life, and accept no delusive sentiments. God save His people from Satan’s snare. FBS 94.6