Conflict of the Ages Designed for a New Generation

Mark Cook, co-founder of design studio Types & Symbols, talks about his Conflict Beautiful project, designing elegant contemporary hardbacks to match the rich and meaningful narrative of Ellen White's most enduring volumes.“We drew from the geometry of the tabernacle, the color of the materials, and the life and death of Christ in making our decisions.”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

“We understand that there can be some legitimate concerns when it comes to adjusting Ellen White’s writing, so we are planning to make all of the changes and decisions about those changes publicly available.”

I for one would welcome adjustments. There are many instances where the apparent intent is unfortunately no longer accurately conveyed by the words that Ellen White used for her time and context. Her intent needs to be made more accessible to readers located within today’s contexts.

One such word usage is “punish” which can mean to impose something on another or can mean to experience inherent consequences - like when I consider participation in a marathon race to have been a ‘punishing’ experience. This scope of meaning under the word “punish” exists both in our English dictionary and the original Hebrew and Geek ‘concept labels’ (ie words). It would appear that Ellen White was raised under the dominance of the former view, but subsequently and progressively grew in her understanding of God to embrace the latter view. Realising this places a completely different emphasis on much of her writing/s that incorporate this highly relevant and significant concept for readers.

It would be nice to have an attribution page with the names of her ‘bookmakers’, helpers, editors, and co-writers; then have it annotated with the appropriate sources. No time like the present to correct some wrongs.


A splendid plan to modernize, beautify and increase marketability of the EGW product. Hopefully you will,also use appropriate colorful pictures / maps / illustrations scattered through the pages.
And attractive, appealing. book covers.

However, no amount of modernizing/ upgrading / marketing will alter the undeniable fact that the average reader will never know which
phrase /. paragraph / passage /. page / chapter is original with her,
or which is borrowed / plagiarized. / stolen.

What a shame that she tainted her product with shabby ethics.

She claims repeatedly that she was “shown” , but what a circuitous
route God chose to give her His instruction, second hand, through other contemporary writers.


Dear brothers and sisters, I do understand your desire to improve the understanding of sister EGW’s writting, but adjusting them will not realise that. On the contrary. Let us, as we are urged in Proverbs 3:5, trust in the Lord with all our hearts, and lean not unto our own understanding! Cause the Lord’s prophet said:

“They come to me, those that are copying my writings, and say, “Now here is the better revised words, and I think I will put that in.” Don’t you change one word, not a word. The revised edition we do not need at all. We have got the word that Christ has spoken Himself and given us. And don’t you in my writings change a word for any revised edition. There will be revised editions, plenty of them, just before the close of this earth’s history, and I want all my workers to understand, and I have got quite a number of them. I want them to understand that they are never to take the revised word, and put it in the place of the plain, simple words just as they are. They think they are improving them, but how do they know but that they may switch off on an idea, and give it less importance than Christ means them to have.” {Ms188-1907.26}

A very good quotation from Ms188-1907.26, but many words and phrases of the 19 and 20th century do not attract 21st century readers. As long as the editors place their names on the book, I think it is great. But just to put out another book “by Ellen White” which is currently done every year is a sham. Keep it honest. I don’t find how one can be one of the “Kickstarter” purchasers.

What utter nonsense! EGW would have us believe that Jesus actually spoke the archaic English wording we read in the KJV. Furthermore, she clearly didn’t know that the KJV authors cautioned their readers not to settle for their primitive efforts without checking against the later more skillful translations she rejects.

Will we ever grow up?


Have you though of updating the nine volumes of the Testimonies? There is probably less borrowed work in these letters then the Conflict of the Ages series. They would represent the real EGW, rather then the polished, edited public face of EGW.

How is changing the covers going to overcome the widespread and growing disaffection in the church for Ellen White’s writings? I think this effort is pursuing an illusion.


Why? The rate at which church members are paying attention to Ellen White’s writings is declining. How is changing the covers going to overcome the root causes of that growing disaffection?

Sure most SDA’s have no interest in reading the Testimonies. They present a side of EGW that most would find difficult to accept.

The “testimonies” started out as private letters to private individuals - and then voila! Names were taken out to protect the non-innocent and they became applicable to everyone, for all time!? When they were written they were letters of counsel from Sister White - then they became The TESTIMONIES and The SPIRIT OF PROPHECY, with even Mrs. White speaking of them in the third person, as though these writings were somehow disengaged from her (believing her own publicity). There is so much wrong with all this…so. much. wrong.


The Testimonies are hard to read, full of reproof and correction. They seem to be against a lot of thing–novels, sports, dating, children playing on Sabbath, card playing and many others things.

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This whole exercise only reminds of the expression “lipstick on a pig.”


Why do you say they are hard to read?

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Well now, you had to go and say that, didn’t you?



I hear you. :slight_smile:

Tell you what it reminds me of:

Our financial matters stand well, and there is wealth yet in our pens.

—James White, Letter to Ellen White, Feb. 18, 1881

I don’t know the people involved with this endeavor, but…crowdfunding…

Anyway, I can’t say I didn’t derive meaning from these books at the time when they served me.

But I wonder if the Adventist church will ever just come clean with the Adventist people.

Edit: regarding crowdfunding—to be fair, maybe people are just pre-buying the product.

In any case, I would never say people shouldn’t print or sell EGW products at a profit.

There’s just such a heavy load of sketchy history around all this EGW stuff that it’s hard not to have a jaundiced eye, but I’m trying. :face_with_monocle:


I keep wondering how is it possible to just change the content/appearance of a book written by someone who already died. It is what is IS. Any change must be a fraudulent attempt, isn’t it?

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Well isn’t that special :smirk:

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Considering the way in which they’ve reportedly “edited” the Revelation quarterly after it had already been approved, nothing is surprising.