Several times during the later years of her life, Mrs. E. G. White expressed to me, and to others, concern regarding the future of her writings. She was anxious that her books already in print should continue to be widely circulated, also that a proper use should be made of the unpublished manuscripts that she would leave.
It was difficult at that time for me to understand this anxiety on her part. I tried to assure her of the deep interest our people had in her work, and of my conviction that when the time of which she made mention should come, the leaders would surely take such steps as were necessary to promote the circulation of her messages.
But such assurances did not satisfy her. She said that she had received cautions indicating that the leaders might become so busy with administrative work that they could not give proper attention to the promotion of her particular writings. And she feared that no one, except perhaps her son, Elder W. C. White, would adequately realize the need of bringing forth at the proper time such unprinted manuscripts as contained certain cautions and warnings the Lord had given her which would be needed in the closing years of our work.
So, for a number of years, this burden rested upon her heart. She desired and urged us to study with her what arrangements could be made, while she was still living, to ensure, after her death, the proper use of her manuscript testimonies, to promote the circulation of her books, and to bring out such new publications as would be needed from time to time. At length she was led to appoint certain ones to act for her as trustees in carrying out these wishes and responsibilities.
In her last will and testament she embodied her desires regarding the lines of work to be carried forward, and appointed the following five men, W. C. White, F. M. Wilcox, C. H. Jones, C. C. Crisler, and the writer, to act as trustees in carrying out this instruction.*
The task of maintaining the circulation of the books, of preparing matter for translation into other languages, and of bringing forth suitable portions of the unpublished manuscripts, was greater than could have been anticipated.
We feel that the future of this work seems very bright. There is a growing spirit of cooperation between our publishing houses, our conference leaders, and our ministers generally, in strong, successful efforts to increase the circulation of the Ellen G. White books. This cooperation is the result of a better understanding of the problems before us, and the way in which we are endeavoring to meet these problems.
We have found a growing interest on the part of many of our people, especially among the ministers, to have a better acquaintance with the work that Sister White committed to the trustees. This is manifested by the number of visitors who come to the "Elmshaven" office to see for themselves and to ask questions. The nature of these questions is indicative of the points of interest to our people, and it has seemed very desirable to give the readers of the Ministry the benefit of the information that has been placed somewhat in lecture form by Brother Arthur L. White, as he has had occasion to meet the many visitors at the office, together with additional important information that should prove of great value to the workers in this cause.
Arthur White is the son of Elder W. C. White. He has been connected with the work of the Ellen G. White Estate at "Elmshaven" for nearly six years, and has become familiar with its various features. He has been appointed by the trustees as assistant secretary and treasurer.
In order that our ministers and other workers may have the information they should have, the trustees have authorized Arthur White to prepare this series of articles, which, approved by them, will now appear in the Ministry. It is our hope that a wider and better understanding of the work of the trustees may be the means of answering questions that are sometimes asked, and may give a truer understanding of the importance of the task that they are facing. You, readers of the Ministry, must, as leaders and teachers, share with us the great responsibility of promoting the circulation of these messages that have been given to this people by the Most High. who rules the universe.
March 11, 1935.
* The Trusteeship made vacant by the death of A. G. Daniells has been filled by the appointment of J. L. Shaw ; and, because of ill health, C. H. Jones asked some time ago that another be appointed in his place. J. E. Fulton was elected, and thus the board stands today.—Editor.