Did Ellen White’s secretary write Steps to Christ?

It is true that there is not an original manuscript for Steps to Christ. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Mrs. White typically did not keep the working papers for the things she had written after they had appeared in print. This was a matter of practicality.
  2. Especially in the latter half of her life, she did not write out her book manuscripts as new compositions. Rather, she and her staff would plan an outline for a book, and the staff would locate things she had written previously, whether published or in her letters and manuscripts, which contributed to the thoughts they wished to develop. The staff assembled these, and if needed, Mrs. White would write additional material to fill in the gaps or improve the flow. When she was satisfied with the book, it went to press. In such circumstances, one would not expect to find a “manuscript” for the book.

Did Ellen White’s secretary write Steps to Christ? No. The method of composing the book that I have described above would lead us to expect to find portions of it in Mrs. White’s earlier writings. And, indeed, we do. In the 1930s, when the charge you read first surfaced, D. E. Robinson wrote a response in which he listed a number of parts of Steps to Christ that were drawn from articles by Mrs. White that had been published earlier. He also told more about the source of the charge and the secretary who the critic claimed was the author. You can access what he wrote in the Digital Resource Center on the Ellen G. White Web site. It’s the second half of a document titled “The Story of a Popular Book ‘Steps to Christ’ and The Authorship of ‘Steps to Christ.’ ”