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CHAPTER 31

Did Mrs. White's Secretaries Write Her Books?

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Section Titles
Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration Not Taught
Why She Read Her Manuscripts to Others
The Illustration of Lazarus
Saved From One Problem
Assistants Did Not Change Thought
Literary Quality of Mrs. White's Earliest Writings
Mrs. White's Public Addresses
Newspaper Comments on Her Speaking
Literary Assistants Testify
Mrs. White's Own Statement
The Sad Story of Fannie Bolton
Miss Bolton's Service for Mrs. White
Did Fannie Bolton Write “Steps to Christ”?
An Exhibit of Early Sources of “Steps to Christ” Expressions
The Polishing of Her Manuscripts




Charge: “No prophet of God ever made stronger claims than did Mrs. White. In ‘Spiritual Gifts,’ Vol. II, page 293, she says: ‘I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision as in having a vision.’ Here she claims that the very words in which her visions are recorded are of divine inspiration. But … :

“1. She often changed what she had written, and wrote it very differently. I have seen her scratch out a line, a sentence, and even a whole page, and write it over differently….

“2. I have seen her sit with pen in hand and read her manuscript to her husband, while he suggested changes, which she made. She would scratch out her own words and put in his….

“3. As she was ignorant of grammar, she employed accomplished writers to take her manuscript and correct it, improve its wording, polish it up, and put it in popular style, so her books would sell better….

“4. One of her employees worked for over eight years preparing her largest book. After completing it, she said: ‘I got a little here, and a little there, and a little somewhere else, and wove it all together.’ The manager of one of their largest publishing-houses, who was intimately acquainted with her work, said that he did not suppose that Mrs. White ever prepared a whole chapter for one of her popular subscription books.”

“Just recently we received the best of evidence that Fannie Bolton wrote ‘Steps to Christ’ without any dictation or assistance from Mrs. White whatever. It was her product in toto, but was published as Mrs. White's production.”

We believe that the chapters on the question of plagiarism have provided at least a partial answer to the charge before us. Except for the part that relates to the writing of Steps to Christ, this charge rests on the following reasoning: Mrs. White claimed that she wrote the very words of her visions by direct dictation of the Spirit. It is evident that her husband and literary assistants did make corrections, at least of grammar and construction. Therefore her claim is fraudulent.


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As a foundation for the charge the following words are quoted from her pen: “I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision.” These words, standing alone, might support the doctrine known as verbal inspiration; namely, that a prophet, in recording his message, writes exactly and only those words dictated to him by God. But let us put this quoted sentence in its context:

“After I come out of vision I do not at once remember all that I have seen, and the matter is not so clear before me until I write, then the scene rises before me as was presented in vision, and I can write with freedom. Sometimes the things which I have seen are hid from me after I come out of vision, and I cannot call them to mind until I am brought before a company where that vision applies, then the things which I have seen come to my mind with force. I am just as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in relating or writing a vision, as in having the vision. It is impossible for me to call up things which have been shown me unless the Lord brings them before me at the time that He is pleased to have me relate or write them.”—Spiritual Gifts (1860), vol. 2, p. 293.

Doctrine of Verbal Inspiration Not Taught

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It is evident, with the addition of the related sentences, that Mrs. White is not teaching verbal inspiration at all. Her dependence on the Spirit of the Lord in relating a vision has to do with the Lord's bringing sharply before her mind again, at the time that He wishes her to relate or write the vision, that which she had seen before. Otherwise she felt that she was unable to present her message. The Lord did not always call upon her at once to write out a vision or to relate it. When the right time came, the Lord refreshed her mind as to what she had seen in vision, and then she wrote or related it. Place alongside this quotation another in which Mrs. White describes the difference between what she sees in vision, by revelation of the Spirit, and what she writes of that vision. We quoted these words in the chapter on plagiarism. They apply here also:

“Although I am as dependent upon the Spirit of the Lord in writing my views as I am in receiving them, yet the words I employ in describing what


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I have seen are my own, unless they be those spoken to me by an angel, which I always enclose in marks of quotation.”—Review and Herald, Oct. 8, 1867, p. 260.

In full accord with this clearcut disavowal of verbal inspiration, is an official pronouncement of the General Conference. The following is quoted from the preamble to a resolution passed at the session of 1883:

“We believe the light given by God to his servants is by the enlightenment of the mind, thus imparting the thoughts, and not (except in rare cases) the very words in which the ideas should be expressed.”—Ibid., Nov. 27, 1883, p. 741.

Why She Read Her Manuscripts to Others

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In the setting of these statements by Mrs. White, and the General Conference pronouncement, how pointless is the critic's inquiry: “If God gave her the words, why did she scratch them out and alter them?” In fact, most of the sections of this charge disappear in the light of her statements. Why should she not read her manuscripts to her husband? Authors often read their manuscripts to those who will listen to them. An author's purpose in so reading may not be with a view to making any change of thought in the writing, but only to make sure that he has expressed his thought in language that will be most effective, most clear, most expressive, and least capable of misunderstanding. The listener may suggest changes in words, but that does not necessarily imply changes in thought. There is a world of difference. How often a listener may say to an author: “I believe I understand the thought you seek to present, but it would be clearer to me if you expressed it in a little different words.” Does the listener thus feel that he is in any way entering into the creative work of that author? Not at all.

The Illustration of Lazarus

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We would repeat, in a slightly different context, an illustration used in the preceding chapter: We do not minimize the miracle-working power of Christ because Lazarus, whom He


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raised from the dead, could not speak until human hands had unwound the funeral sheets that bound him. Then why should we feel it necessary to conclude that Mrs. White was not displaying a miraculous gift from God in the writing she brought forth, simply because the human hands of secretaries released some inhibiting bands of faulty grammar before the vision spoke to men?

Of course it may be said that if the Lord had really been with Mrs. White, He would have given her good grammar as well as given her true visions. Or that if the Lord had really been with the Seventh-day Adventist people, He would have selected for them a prophet who really was well educated and did not make errors of grammar.

Saved From One Problem

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But what if the Lord had selected for the prophetic gift a person highly educated in English and possessed of obvious natural gifts in literary lines? Then someone would declare that there was nothing at all unusual about her good writing, her beautiful thoughts, her incisive expressions, because she had been well trained in literary lines, and gave natural evidence that she was thus well gifted.

Certainly God might have given to Mrs. White a miraculous gift of perfect grammar as she wrote out her visions. But her failure, sometimes, to employ correct grammar or flawless literary constructions does not thereby prove that God did not give her visions. Because of the fact that most readers of the Bible do not read the Greek, they do not know that the apostle John wrote many ungrammatical sentences in the book of the Revelation. Yet we have never heard any lover of the Bible offering derogatory remarks about John as a prophet of God, nor have we ever heard any of them criticizing the English translators of the book of Revelation as tamperers with the Word of God because they corrected John's grammar. But the English translators did for John's Revelation precisely what Mrs. White's literary assistants did for some of her work.


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Assistants Did Not Change Thought

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Someone may interject here: “But the translators changed only errors of grammar and construction. They did not add new thoughts or make sweeping changes.” That is correct. Neither did Mrs. White's literary assistants. What evidence is presented to support the charge that “the manager of one of their largest publishing houses … did not suppose that Mrs. White ever prepared a whole chapter for one of her popular subscription books. They were all the work of others”? The answer is, No evidence at all. Obviously there were changes of words in revising grammar and of phrases in smoothing literary construction. But that was true of the translators' work on the Revelation.

We have found repeatedly that the critic's charges have been proved groundless. The same is true here. Note that he identifies neither “the manager” nor the publishing house, nor does he say to whom this unidentified manager said what he is supposed to have said. Yet because the critic declares that an unnamed manager said to another unnamed individual that he “did not suppose that Mrs. White ever prepared a whole chapter for one of her popular subscription books,” therefore the reader is supposed to conclude that she did not. In fact, the reader is supposed to conclude that Mrs. White was such an ignorant woman, so unversed in grammar and all literary matters, that nothing she wrote was halfway presentable until much work had been done upon it.

We freely admit that her grammar and literary constructions, at times, were not perfect, and that literary assistants did, by making certain grammatical corrections, improve the clarity and give a certain polish to the writing. But that is something fundamentally different from what is being charged. And what proof can we present that the charge is false? Strictly speaking, we ought not to be required to defend Mrs. White against a charge which is based on hearsay and gossip and supposition, and the indirect testimony of an unnamed manager speaking to an unnamed individual.

But so great is the power of hearsay, so fatal a fascination has gossip and supposition for many minds, that a critic always has


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a heavy advantage. He needs only to start a rumor in circulation, to tell a plausible story with a certain intonation of the voice, in order to play havoc with a reputation. Against the unsupported charge that Mrs. White was so hopelessly unlettered and ignorant that any quality or worth in her writings was edited in by assistants, some very specific evidence may be presented.

Literary Quality of Mrs. White's Earliest Writings

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1. In the first decades of Mrs. White's writings she had no literary assistant aiding her, except her husband. But he, the same as she, had but a few grades of formal education, yet Mrs. White's writings in those earlier decades reveal that she had no mean grasp of English, and only occasionally is a grammatical error revealed. What is more important, by far, her writings reveal there the same pulsing life and vital drive that they reveal in the later decades. There is a distinctive style running through all her writings, so much so that those who are well acquainted with her writings rarely have difficulty in identifying them without seeing her name.

2. A great many of her letters and manuscripts, beginning with the late 1840's have been preserved. Examination of these—and some of them have been on exhibit at different times in various parts of the world—reveal several interesting facts. There are differences in grades of handwriting. Sometimes she wrote under much greater pressure than at other times. Indeed, in her later years the pressure of her writing became very great. She would often rise at an early hour in the morning and write as rapidly as possible, hour after hour. At such times the penmanship, as would be expected, is poorer than at other times. When she was not under pressure her handwriting is often superior to that of the average college student. And, as also might be expected, the grammar and the literary constructions are definitely better in those manuscripts that do not reveal pressure of writing. But all her letters and original handwritten book manuscripts—that is, writings untouched by any other hands—reveal the same pulsing life, the same


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vigorous spiritual drive, the same incisive presentation of spiritual truth that her printed books reveal. This is an impressive fact.

Mrs. White's Public Addresses

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3. Not only did Mrs. White write; she spoke, and her speaking was often on important occasions, and before large Adventist and non-Adventist congregations. Nor was she routinely dependent, as some notable people are, upon a manuscript, in order to be sure that she had something worth while to say to her audience. She generally Spoke extemporaneously, with no more than the Bible before her.* Now if she was the woefully benighted person that the critics, with their suppositions, hearsay, and gossip would have the reader believe, how painfully embarrassing it would have been to the Adventist leadership through all the years to have Mrs. White standing before great congregations as one of the chief spokesmen for the movement.

But did the church leaders seek to bar nonchurch members from hearing her, lest the movement be brought into embarrassment? No. On the contrary, they sought always to secure for her the largest hearing possible before those who were not church members. And not only in America but in Europe and in Australia. We do not say that her words, when stenographically reported, showed perfect grammar and construction. Rare is the public speaker who, speaking extemporaneously, can stand revealed as free of literary errors in a stenographic report. We simply say that Mrs. White, in her public speaking, compares favorably with other public speakers, as far as the use of the English language is concerned. In public address we look for conformity to ordinary rules of grammar, for vigor and quality of thought, for effective illustrations, and for sequence and fitting climax. Mrs. White had all these. We think she had more. We think that she presented spiritual truths with a force and a vigor and an appeal to the heart that was not found in the sermons of others. There are many still living who can testify to the truth of this statement.


* D. E. Robinson, who served as one of her secretaries during the last twelve years of her life, and who reported many of her sermons, states that she never even used notes when preaching.

The writer of these lines heard her speak on a number of occasions.


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Newspaper Comments on Her Speaking

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At the time of her husband's death, in 1881, some of the newspapers included in their sketch of his life a comment on Mrs. White and her public platform ability. We quote briefly from two:

“He has been admirably aided in his ministerial and educational labors by his wife, Ellen G. White, one of the ablest platform speakers and writers in the west.”—Lansing [Michigan] Republican, Aug. 9, 1881.

“In 1846 he married Ellen G. Harmon, a woman of extraordinary endowments, who has been a co-laborer in all his work and contributed largely to his success by her gifts as a writer and especially her power as a public speaker.”—The Echo [Detroit], Aug. 10, 1881.

Of a lecture delivered by Mrs. White on the subject of Christian temperance, in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1887, a newspaper of that city said:

“There was a good attendance including a large number of our most prominent people, at the lecture of Mrs. Ellen G. White, at the Tabernacle, last evening.

“This lady gave her audience a most eloquent discourse, which was listened to with marked interest and attention. Her talk was interspersed with instructive facts which she had gathered in her recent visit to foreign lands, and demonstrated that this gifted lady has, in addition to her many other rare qualifications, a great faculty for attentive careful observation and a remarkable memory of details, this together with her fine delivery and her faculty of clothing her ideas in choice, beautiful and appropriate language, made her lecture one of the best that has ever been delivered by any lady in our city. That she may soon favor our community with another address, is the earnest wish of all who attended last evening, and should she do so, there will be a large attendance.”—Battle Creek Daily Journal, Oct. 5, 1887.*

No one has ever suggested that she had literary assistants on the platform when she spoke, to polish her words as they poured forth extemporaneously!

Literary Assistants Testify

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4. There is the personal testimony of Mrs. White's literary assistant, Marian Davis, who from the year 1879, until her death, in 1904, worked for Mrs. White. Intimately connected with Mrs.


* The newspaper gave the following title and subtitle to this news story: “Mrs. Ellen G. White's Able Address. A Characteristic and Eloquent Discourse by This Remarkable Lady.”


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White for a longer period than any other of her assistants—except her own son, William C.—Miss Davis should be able to offer valuable testimony. In the year 1900 the story was being circulated that literary assistants were so largely doing Mrs. White's work that in one instance, at least, she had instructed an assistant to write out a testimony and send it to a prominent member in Battle Creek. Needless to say, Mrs. White declared that there was no truth in this story. Her statement on the matter may be found in a letter to G. A. Irwin.* But we are not here concerned with what Mrs. White said in denial, but with a statement that Marian Davis wrote at the time and sent as an enclosure in Mrs. White's letter to Elder Irwin. Her statement follows:

“A report in circulation in Battle Creek has just come to my notice. Lest, through this report, any should be led to reject the instruction and warning of the Spirit of God, I feel it a duty to say what I know in regard to the matter in question.

“It is reported that the writing of a testimony for a prominent man in Battle Creek was intrusted to one of Sister White's former workers, or that she was given matter for him, with instruction to fill out the points, so that the testimony was virtually her work.

“I cannot think that any one who has been connected with Sr. White's work could make such a statement as this. I cannot think that any one who is acquainted with Sr. White's manner of writing could possibly believe it. The burden she feels when the case of an individual is presented before her, the intense pressure under which she works, often rising at midnight to write out the warnings given her, and often for days, weeks, or even months, writing again and again concerning it, as if she could not free herself from the feeling of responsibility for that soul,—no one who has known anything of these experiences, could believe that she would intrust to another the writing of a testimony.

“For more than twenty years I have been connected with Sister White's work. During this time I have never been asked either to write out a testimony from oral instruction, or to fill out the points in matter already written. The one who is reported to have made the statement was never, to my own knowledge, either asked or permitted to do such a thing. And from my own knowledge of the work, as well as from the statements of Sister White herself, I have the strongest possible ground for disbelieving that such a thing was done.


* Listed in the files of the Ellen G. White Publications office as Letter 61, 1900.


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“A word more. Letters are sometimes sent to Sister White making inquiries to which, for want of time, she cannot write out a reply. These letters have been read to her, and she has given directions as to how they should be answered. The answers have been written out by W. C. White or myself. But Sister White's name was not appended to these letters. The name of the writer was signed, with the words, For Mrs. E. G. White.

“Hoping that this statement may bring relief to some minds, I remain,

“Yours in the work,

“[Signed] M. Davis.”

While the question Miss Davis is discussing is not the writing of a book but the writing of a testimony, the principle is the same so far as the relation of literary assistants is concerned.

5. Another literary assistant, D. E. Robinson, who connected with Mrs. White's office in 1903 and labored there until 1915, testifies as follows:

“In all good conscience I can testify that never was I presumptuous enough to venture to add any ideas of my own or to do other than follow with most scrupulous care the thoughts of the author.”—Quoted in The Ellen G. White Books, p. 8.*

Mrs. White's Own Statement

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6. We have also Mrs. White's straightforward statement as to the relationship of her assistants to the writing of her books:

“She [Marian Davis] is my book-maker. Fannie [Bolton, who had put in circulation the false story that an assistant had written a testimony,] 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.

“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 the matter is of great value to me. It saves my poring over a mass of matter, which I have no time to do.


* This is a sixteen-page brochure by W. C. White, D. E. Robinson, and A. L. White, and issued by the Trustees of the Ellen G. White Publications, General Conference, Takoma Park, D.C.

Reference is here made to the preparation of the later subscription books. Many of her earlier books Mrs. White wrote chapter by chapter in consecutive order.


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“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.

“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 some one else would not rightly represent me.

“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, she has qualified herself for this, and her work is far in advance of any work Fannie has done for me.”—Letter 61a, 1900.

The foregoing six points of evidence we present in answer to the undocumented hearsay quoted by the critics in support of their charge that Mrs. White was a grossly ignorant woman, with so little literary knowledge that she was utterly dependent on others, and that indeed her books are largely the work of others.

The Sad Story of Fannie Bolton

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Note again that Mrs. White, in the letter we have quoted, refers to two literary assistants, one Marian Davis and the other Fannie Bolton. It is evident from the letter that Mrs. White is critical of Miss Bolton, and for very specific reasons. As already indicated, it was Miss Bolton who invented the story that Mrs. White had instructed her to write a testimony to someone in Battle Creek. It was Miss Bolton, also, who declared that she had played a very important role in preparing Mrs. White's writings for publication, that indeed she edited into those writings some of their choicest passages. Furthermore, the present-day critic whom we have cited as charging that Fannie Bolton wrote Steps to Christ in toto, declares that it was she who made this claim to him.

Now we confess that bringing out into the light charges and counter-charges regarding those long dead is a sorrowful business at best. But we must either bring out the sorry facts, or else leave Mrs. White's critics free to gloat over a most damaging charge. Perhaps no charge against Mrs. White ever seemed more plausible


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or ever could have been more disastrous in its implications than this claim by Fannie Bolton.

How eagerly wound people listen to a woman who had worked right in Mrs. White's home on her manuscripts. Surely she should know whereof she speaks. And if she has done such creative work on the manuscripts, how selfish and deceiving of Mrs. White not to give her recognition. That is what makes her charge so potentially dangerous. Of course if everyone who heard this charge had taken time to examine the six points of evidence just presented, Miss Bolton's statements would have been viewed with great incredulity. But then, too few people take time to examine a matter carefully and critically before coming to a conclusion. Hence Miss Bolton's declarations, as might easily be imagined, created no small stir. And needless to add, Mrs. White's critics found in Fannie Bolton the kind of support that they were wanting. Hence the charge before us that Fannie Bolton wrote Steps to Christ “in toto,” “without any dictation or assistance from Mrs. White whatever.”

We are glad the charge is specific. We shall seek to answer it in the same way. But first, a general statement concerning Miss Bolton to put the whole matter in proper perspective.

Miss Bolton's Service for Mrs. White

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Miss Bolton began service for Mrs. White early in 1888, at the age of 28. The record of her seven years of service is a rather tempestuous one. Previous to her employment by Mrs. White she had written a few articles for a Chicago newspaper. Other than that we have found no evidence that she had done any literary work.

In the files of the E. G. White Publications is a long exchange of correspondence between Mrs. White and Miss Bolton. The record reveals that previous to final severance in 1895, she was several times dropped from employment. The prime reason for her discontent was that she felt that her literary ability was much greater than Mrs. White's and that she could therefore much improve the manuscripts placed in her hands by editing into them


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her own language and her own thoughts. On this point Mrs. White wrote to her on February 6, 1894:

“If you had the task given you of handling Old and New Testament writings, you would see large improvements to be made, great additions and subtractions and changes of expression; you would put in words and ideas to suit your standard of how it should appear. We should then have Fannie Bolton's life and expressions, which would be considered by you a wonderful improvement; but disapproved of God.”

It was Miss Bolton, as indicated earlier, who created the story that one of Mrs. White's secretaries had drafted a testimony for a certain person in Battle Creek. It seems that she composed this story, not so much to discredit Mrs. White, as to prove that she also had the prophetic gift.

After her final severance from Mrs. White's employ in 1895 in Australia, where Mrs. White had been living for several years, Miss Bolton came to America. Over the years she had several times written letters of abject apology to Mrs. White for her vain and unseemly words and actions. The only picture that one can draw fom these letters is that of an unstable personality kept in constant turmoil by an overweening conceit as to literary ability. Back in America she began to display the same characteristics in her statements on Mrs. White and religious subjects in general. A letter from G. A. Irwin * to Mrs. White, regarding Fannie Bolton's activities, makes this observation: “It is the general opinion of the better class of brethren in Battle Creek that the poor woman is not sound in mind.”—June 11, 1900.

An undated manuscript of Miss Bolton's, which was evidently written sometime in 1901, and addressed to “Dear Brethren in the truth” once more expresses her contrition over any wrong conceptions of Sister White that she had created by anything that she had said in the past, and confirming her confident belief that God was leading His people forward uniquely through Mrs. White.

In the years that followed she wavered back and forth. It is no secret, but a matter of open, public record, that her mind finally


* President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from 1897-1901.


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became unbalanced to the point that required her confinement in State hospitals for three different periods.* She died in 1926.

Did Fannie Bolton Write “Steps to Christ”?

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This, in brief, is the sad story of Fannie Bolton, not as hearsay and gossip have it, but as the documents reveal it. Only the merciful God, who knows the limitations of body and mind of all His creatures, should rightly be judge in her case. We have written with no desire to judge or to censure, but only because the name of Fannie Bolton has been so widely and plausibly used by critics.

There is naturally one question that arises in anyone's mind at this point: if Fannie Bolton, wholly unaided, wrote a book like Steps to Christ, in 1892, when a relatively young woman, why did she not write other books to stir the hearts of men and quicken their desire for heaven? It is true that she did write a few poems, some of them of good quality, but we search in vain for anything from her pen that might be a companion volume to Steps to Christ. How strange this flash of brilliance in 1892 that never again threw light across the path of spiritually needy mankind! One of the reasons she was restive working at what she called monotonous tasks for Mrs. White was that she felt that she herself could write. Mrs. White released her. Ever afterward she had opportunity to write, but the writings never came.

We have already noted that Miss Bolton began to work for Mrs. White early in 1888. Steps to Christ was published in 1892. We present, now, in parallel columns (1) certain passages from Mrs. White's writings published previous to 1888 and (2) certain passages from Steps to Christ:

An Exhibit of Early Sources of “Steps to Christ” Expressions

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* Twice in a State hospital in Michigan, once in a State hospital in Florida.

Page references are to the 1908 illustrated edition.

1872—Testimonies, vol. 3,
pp. 106, 107
Steps to Christ, p. 47
   “The warfare against self is the
greatest battle that was ever fought.
The yielding of self, surrendering all
   “The warfare against self is the
greatest battle that was ever fought.
The yielding of self, surrendering all
to the will of God, requires a


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to the will of God, and being clothed
with humility, possessing that love
that is pure, peaceable, and easy to
be entreated, full of gentleness and
good fruits, is not an easy attainment.”
struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.”
1885—Review and Herald,
February 3
Steps to Christ, pp. 126-128
   “‘Trust in the Lord.’ Each day
has its burdens, its cares, and perplexities;
and when we meet, how
ready we are to talk of our difficulties
and trials. So many borrowed
troubles intrude, so many fears are
indulged, such a weight of anxiety is
expressed, that one might almost suppose
that we had no pitying, loving
Saviour, ready to hear all our requests,
and to be to us a present help
in every time of need.
   ”Some are always fearing and borrowing
trouble. Every day they are
surrounded by the tokens of God's
love, every day they are enjoying the
bounties of his providence; but they
overlook these present blessings.
Their minds are continually dwelling
upon something disagreeable which
they fear may come; or some difficulty
may really exist, which, though
small, blinds their eyes to the many
things which demand gratitude. The
difficulties which they encounter, instead
of driving them to God, the
only source of help, separate them
from him, because they awaken unrest
and repining.
   “Brethren and sisters, do we well
to be thus unbelieving? Why should
we be ungrateful and distrustful?
Jesus is our friend. All heaven is
interested in our welfare; and our
  “The Psalmist says, ‘Trust in the
Lord, and do good; so shalt thou
dwell in the land, and verily thou
shalt be fed.’ ‘Trust in the Lord.’
Each day has its burdens, its cares
and perplexities; and when we meet,
how ready we are to talk of our difficulties
and trials. So many borrowed
troubles intrude, so many
fears are indulged, such a weight of
anxiety is expressed, that one might
suppose we had no pitying, loving
Saviour, ready to hear all our requests,
and to be to us a present help
in every time of need.
   “Some are always fearing, and borrowing
trouble. Every day they are
surrounded with the tokens of God's
love; everyday they are enjoying the
bounties of His providence; but they
overlook these present blessings.
Their minds are continually dwelling
upon something disagreeable, which
they fear may come; or some difficulty
may really exist, which, though
small, blinds their eyes to the many
things that demand gratitude. The
difficulties they encounter, instead of
driving them to God, the only source
of their help, separate them from
Him, because they awaken unrest
and repining.
   “Do we well to be thus unbelieving?
Why should we be ungrateful
and distrustful? Jesus is our friend;


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anxiety and fear grieve the Holy
Spirit of God. We should not indulge
in a solicitude which only frets and
wears us, but does not help us to bear
trials….
   “You may be perplexed in business;
your prospects may grow darker
and darker, and you may be threatened
with loss. But do not become
discouraged; cast your care upon
God, and remain calm and cheerful.
Begin every day with earnest prayer,
not omitting to offer praise and
thanksgiving. Ask for wisdom to manage
your affairs with discretion, and
thus prevent loss and disaster. Do all
you can on your part to bring about
favorable results. Jesus has promised
divine aid, but not aside from
human efforts. When, relying upon
your tried Helper, you have done all
you can, accept the result cheerfully….
   “It is not the will of God that his
people should be weighed down
with care. But our Lord does not deceive
us. He does not say to us, ‘Do
not fear; there are no dangers in
your path.’ He knows there are trials
and dangers, and he deals with us
plainly. He does not propose to take
his people out of a world of sin and
evil, but he points them to a never-failing
refuge. His prayer for his disciples
was, ‘I pray not that thou
shouldst take them out of the world,
but that thou shouldst keep them
from the evil.’ ‘In the world,’ he says,
‘ye shall have tribulation; but be of
good cheer; I have overcome the
world.’”—Page 65.
all Heaven is interested in our welfare.
We should not allow the perplexities
and worries of every-day
life to fret the mind and cloud the
brow. If we do, we shall always have
something to vex and annoy. We
should not indulge a solicitude that
only frets and wears us, but does not
help us to bear trials.
   “You may be perplexed in business;
your prospects may grow darker and
darker, and you may be threatened
with loss; but do not become discouraged;
cast your care upon God,
and remain calm and cheerful. Pray
for wisdom to manage your affairs
with discretion, and thus prevent
loss and disaster. Do all you can on
your part to bring about favorable
results. Jesus has promised His aid,
but not apart from our effort. When,
relying upon our Helper, you have
done all you can, accept the result
cheerfully.
   “It is not the will of God that His
people should be weighed down with
care. But our Lord does not deceive
us. He does not say to us, ‘Do not
fear; there are no dangers in your
path.’ He knows there are trials and
dangers, and He deals with us plainly.
He does not propose to take His people
out of a world of sin and evil, but
He points them to a never-failing
refuge. His prayer for His disciples
was, ‘I pray not that Thou shouldest
take them out of the world, but that
Thou shouldest keep them from the
evil.’ ‘In the world,’ He says, ‘ye shall
have tribulation: but be of good
cheer; I have overcome the world.’”

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1885—Review and Herald, October 27 Steps to Christ, p. 10

   “Notwithstanding the curse was pronounced upon the earth that it should bring forth thorns and thistles, there is a flower upon the thistle. This world is not all sorrow and misery. God's great book of nature is open for us to study; and from it we are to gain more exalted ideas of his greatness and unexcelled love and glory. Every spire of grass, every opening bud and blooming flower is a token of God's love, and should teach us a lesson of faith and trust in him.Christ calls our attention to their natural loveliness. Page 657.

   “The world, though fallen, is not all sorrow and misery. In nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are covered with roses.  “‘God is love,’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire
of springing grass.”
1886—Review and Herald,
September 21
Steps to Christ, p. 57
   “Here is where thousands are failing.
They do not really believe that
Jesus pardons them personally, individually. They fail to take God at
his word.”—Page 593.
   “Here is where thousands fail: they
do not believe that Jesus pardons
them personally, individually. They
do not take God at His word.”
1887, Feb. 6, E. G. White Letter 35 Steps to Christ, p. 121
I had a dream not long since.
I was going through a garden and you
were by my side. You kept saying,
‘Look at this unsightly shrub, this
deformed tree, that poor stunted
rose bush. This makes me feel bad,
for they seem to represent my life
and the relation I stand in before
God.’ I thought a stately form walked
just before us and he said, ‘Gather
the roses, and the lilies, and the
pinks, and leave the thistles and unsightly
shrubs, and bruise not the
soul that Christ has in His choice
keeping.’ I awoke. I slept again, and
the same dream was repeated.”
   “I dreamed that I was in a garden,
and one who seemed to be the owner
of the garden was conducting me
through its paths. I was gathering
the flowers and enjoying their fragrance,
when this sister, who had been
walking by my side, called my attention
to some unsightly briers that
were impeding her way. There she
was, mourning and grieving. She was
not walking in the pathway, following
the guide, but was walking among
the briers and thorns. ‘O,’ she
mourned, ‘is it not a pity that this
beautiful garden is spoiled with
thorns?’ Then the guide said, ‘Let the


[485]
thorns alone, for they will only wound you.
Gather the roses, the lilies, and
the pinks.’”
1887—Review and Herald, June 7 Steps to Christ, p. 85
   “The only way to grow in grace is
to be interestedly doing the very work
Christ has enjoined upon us to do,—
interestedly engaged to the very extent of our ability to be helping and
blessing those who need the help we
can give them.”—Page 353.
   “The only way to grow in grace
is to be disinterestedly doing the very
work which Christ has enjoined upon
us,—to engage, to the extent of our
ability, in helping and blessing those
who need the help we can give them.”

These parallel passages give conclusive proof that some of the material of Steps to Christ was actually written before Miss Bolton ever connected with Mrs. White's office. This exhibit provides sufficient proof in itself of the utterly groundless nature of the present-day critic's amazing charge that “Fannie Bolton wrote ‘Steps to Christ’ without any dictation or assistance from Mrs. White whatever. It was her product in toto, but was published as Mrs. White's production.”

In the future, when our readers note in the writings of a critic the confident line, “the best of evidence,” as an introduction to some charge against Mrs. White, their minds will probably turn to this Steps to Christ incident, and they can quickly decide for themselves how worthless may be the critic's “best of evidence,” and how doubly worthless the rest of his evidence.

We ask the reader to remember that the charge with regard to Steps to Christ is the only specific one that we have been able to find offered in support of the blanket declaration that literary assistants did a large part of Mrs. White's writings!

The Polishing of Her Manuscripts

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Her assistants were called upon, not to do creative, original work on her manuscripts, not to change the thought or intent, but simply to correct possible errors of grammar, to improve sentence structure, and the like, which, for lack of a better word, is sometimes described as polishing a manuscript. It would have been a


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very unprofitable use of Mrs. White's time if she had done this painstaking, detail work.

All the polishing in the world will not make a pebble into a precious stone. Nor does polishing change in any way the intrinsic quality of a diamond. The polishing only makes the quality more evident. Even so with Mrs. White's writings and the so-called polishing done by literary assistants.*


* See Appendix L, p. 644, for Mrs. White's extended statement concerning the work of her literary assistants through the years.

 

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