The year 1941 was the largest year in the -11- history of the distribution of the trade editions of the E. G. White books in North America. A number of circumstances are doubtless responsible for this, chief among which is probably the fact that our people realize the seriousness of the times in which we are living, and feel the need of the precious counsels which have here been given to this people for these times. Comparative statements show increase in the distribution of some leading books to be as great as three or four hundred percent.
Exclusive of many pamphlets and small paper books, 62,025 single volumes were placed in the homes of our people in 1941. Compare this with 24,599 volumes in 1938; 42,041, in '939; and 36,191, in 1940. Seventh-day Adventists are turning as never before to the Spirit of prophecy. This record reminds us of the statement made by Ellen White in 1903: "When He may see fit to let me rest, His messages shall be of even more vital force than when the frail instrumentality through whom they were delivered was living."—E. G. White MS. 122, 1903.
Subscription-Book Sales.—It is also heartening to note a substantial increase in subscription-book sales. Just as it should, "The Great Controversy" takes the lead among the large E. G. White books in circulation. The fact that more than 16,500 copies of the regular subscription and special editions have been placed is indeed encouraging. Two thousand four hundred copies of "Patriarchs and Prophets" were also put into the field. The 1941 sales of these books amounted to just double the 1940 sales. More than five hundred copies of "Christ's Object Lessons" found their way into the libraries of the public schools last year, and it is hoped that "Education" will soon follow.
Spirit of Prophecy Reading Program -- However good they may be, books standing idle on the shelves of our believers accomplish nothing. The Spirit of Prophecy Reading Program, devised three years ago, through which the General Conference Committee designates two important E. G. White books to be read systematically each year, is one means which has led many thousands of Seventh-day Adventists to a regular study of these volumes of inestimable value for these days. While there is no registration for this program, and no records are kept or certificates issued, surveys indicate that approximately 25,000 Seventh-day Adventists are engaging in thi3 reading program in North America. In certain overseas divisions the plan is also accomplishing a good work. Volumes which have been read thus far are "The Great Controversy," "Ministry of Healing," "Messages to Young People," "Patriarchs and Prophets." And for 1942 the books to be read are "The Desire of Ages" and "Early Writings."
Two Years' Accomplishments.—As do report was rendered last year, we call attention to certain features of our work for a two-year period. Culminating a work of many months in resetting and reillustrating "The Desire of Ages," we now have a pleasing subscription edition of the book, printed from new plates, which take the place of those long outworn. A second printing of the new book has just appeared, and will be placed in the field for use in connection with the plan for selling our larger books in sets.
"Christ's Object Lessons" Trade Edition. —For years it has been impossible to secure a copy of "Christ's Object Lessons" in what we might think of as the trade edition, which would harmonize with the "Index to the Writings of Mrs. E. G. White." Arrangements were made late last year with the Review and Herald Publishing Association, to bring out the book paged identically with the copy from whicll the Index is made. This volume will be enthusiastically received by our workers because of its uniformity in paging, and because it is lighter in weight than the present standard edition. (See page 39.)
Progress of Publications Overseas
Because of war conditions, which have disrupted systematic reporting from many of our overseas publishing houses, it is impossible at this time to make a complete statement of the situation as it exists The past two years, however, have witnessed many advance steps in bringing out the E. G. White books in other countries.
China published "Ministry of Healing" and "Education," and is now working on "The Desire of Ages." Our Dutch East Indies house put out an edition of "Steps to Christ," and developed plans for "Patriarchs and Prophets" and a three-volume set of "Selections From the Testimonies." In India, work was completed on the issuance of one volume of "Selections From the Testimonies" in several of the dialects, and they are now at work on an abridgment of "Ministry of Healing."
In North Africa, where inexpensive literature must be used, "The Sanctified Life" is being brought out, and on the Gold Coast they are at work on an abridgment of "Steps to Christ," to be issued in the Tsh language. In South Africa, "The Great Controversy" has just appeared in the Afrikaans, and study is now being given to the issuance of small books in a number of the dialects for the native people. Finland has just issued "Messages to Young People," and is laying plans for "Selections From the Testimonies." "Messages" has also been published in the Hungarian and French languages.
South America has issued "The Great Controversy" in abridged form in the Portuguese language, and a Spanish edition of "The Desire of Ages" has just been published in its entirety. "Messages to Young People" has also appeared in Spanish. The Buenos Aires house issued a Spanish edition of about two fifths of the text matter of "Ministry of Heal"ing" in a 196-page Big Week book, which has attained a good circulation; and plans are under way for the issuance of "The Great Controversy" in the Spanish language at our house in Buenos Aires. Inter-America is circulating the large Spanish E. G. White books published by the Pacific Press in Mountain View. To these they have added a Crisis book made up of "Ministry of Healing" chapters, comprising some ninety-six pages.
Fund to Aid in Initial Expense.—One aid to this definite increase in the issuance of E. G. White books in other languages has been the provision of financial help to assist in meeting the initial expense of publishing E. G. White books in overseas fields. This fund, set up at the Fall Council in 193o, and replenished in 1940, has been a material help in the form of grants of from $300 to $500 for each work, as an aid in meeting part of the initial expense in issuing books in languages for which financial help is limited. Through this aid, the sale price of the books is greatly lowered and larger editions are made possible, and this in turn further reduces the price.
"Ministry of Healing" in China is one of the first fruits of this new plan. The first edition was disposed of in less than a year's time. The second edition has been published, and is being sold, even in wartime and under war conditions. The edition of "The Great Controversy" in South America has been aided from this fund; also, "Christian Service" in the Rumanian language, a volume of the "Testimonies" in French, "Selections From the Testimonies" in Finnish, a five-volume set of "Testimonies" in Chinese, "The Desire of Ages" for China, "The Great Controversy" for the Southern African Division, and "Ministry of Healing," abridged, for the Southern Asia Division. Aside from what is being accomplished through help from this fund, the subsidies provided by the gifts of our young people, have materially aided in the issuance of "Messages to Young People" in sixteen languages.
Book Manuscripts.—In the office of the Ellen G. White Publications work has been done on two new book manuscripts. "The Story of Our Health Message" is an enterprise which was begun a number of years ago by C. C. Crisler. It was an important task which Ellen White hoped to see undertaken before her death, but which has not, until the present, been completed. D. E. Robinson has led out in the work of gathering the data and organizing the material for this historical volume, which sets forth for the first time, in well-documented form, the full story of the inception and development of our health message. It is hoped that it may have a wide circulation, so that it may bring the important and true place of our health message to the attention of both workers and laity.
The second manuscript, already released to the publishers, and now in type, is the "Supplement to the Index to the Writings of Mrs. E. G. White." The "Index," published in 1926, has attained a circulation of more than three times the fondest expectation for it at the time of publication. It is now found in some 15,000 Seventh-day Adventist homes, offices, and libraries. Since this "Index" was published, six important E. G. White books have come from the press: "Messages to Young People," "Counsels on Diet and Foods," "Medical Ministry," "Counsels on Sabbath School Work," "The Sanctified Life," and "Counsels on Stewardship." Approximately eighty per cent of the content of these books is new matter, and the "Index Supplement" covering these works now affords a study guide to this wealth of counsel.
In future editions of the "Index," the "Supplement" will be bound in as a part of the work. Separate copies will be axailable for those who already have the "Index."
Work has also been done on furnishing our International Branch of the Pacific Press with the manuscripts for two of the numbers of "Selections From the Testimonies" for publication in the Italian, Slovakian, Russian, and Ukrainian languages as used in North America. These are but two units of a five-unit set of books which will be published in these languages, the volumes being works of approximately one hundred twenty-eight pages each. The first one is now out in Russian and Slovakian. The Brookfield House is also working on "The Great Controversy" in Slovakian, in abridged form.
Trusteeship.—The Trusteeship responsible for the custody and publication of the E. G. White writings, arranged for by Mrs. White in 1912, has sustained one change in personnel during the last two years. The vacancy caused by the death of Steen Rasmussen has been filled through the selection of W. E. Howell as a member of the board of five trustees. This was done in harmony with Mrs. White's own arrangement for the filling of vacancies when they should occur. The four other members constituting the board are F. M. Wilcox, J. L. McElhany, M. E. Kern, and A. L. White.
A Third Brochure Published.—A companion brochure to the first two (-Custody and Use of the E. G. White Writings," and "The Writing of the E. G. White Books) has been issued by our office, bearing the title, "Prophetic Guidance in Early Days." This is a reprint of a series of articles based upon documents in our vault and in the Advent Source Collection, which appeared in the Ministry. This document, which emphasizes the part the Spirit of prophecy played in the formative period of our work from 1844-1855, is being' well received in the field, and is being ordered by a number of Bible teachers for use in connection with Spirit of prophecy classes. Its particular value lies in the fact that within its covers is presented information which will enrich our conception of the early days, and which, up to the time of the issuance of this brochure, was not fully available to our workers and students.
—To be concluded in August