Magazine Article

All That and a Bag of Chips

What you don’t see in your Review.

Merle Poirier

I once toured a potato chip factory. I remember thinking at the time that never once had I given thought to where potato chips come from or how they got into the bag. They were just there, and I ate them. My guess is that most of us don’t really think about where something originates. We simply accept that it exists.

Have you ever thought of how the Adventist Review you hold in your hands was produced? It is what I think about every day. Why? Because I’m the operations manager for Adventist Review Ministries, where, with editors, designers, and others, we work together to ensure that the Review is ready for its readers each month.

Producing the Review has been going on for a long time—almost 175 years. In the beginning, a team of young adults led by James and Ellen White manually assembled each magazine using a small hand press. Someone set the type, another punched the holes, and still another sewed the paper together. And last, Uriah Smith, using a pocketknife, trimmed the edges. Recalling those early days, Smith wrote:

“We blistered our hands in the operation, and often the tracts in form were not half so true and square as the doctrines they taught.”1

Current technology, quick communications, and powerful presses producing thousands of copies per minute ensure that blisters are no longer a challenge. But you might be surprised to learn that no matter how fascinated Uriah Smith might be with today’s advances in publishing, he would still recognize the process.

Our office produces two print journals—Adventist Review and Adventist World—as well as a publication for children (KidsView) each month. In addition, Adventist World articles are translated around the world for online and print (see article by Gerald Klingbeil). We also produce the annual

Week of Prayer readings, as well the General Conference Session Bulletins each quinquennium.

The process we follow is the same no matter the publication. First a theme is selected to help develop content. Authors are then selected, and we begin to develop content. Each article is seen multiple times by editors, copy editors, designers, and proofreaders before finally being uploaded electronically to various printers. Each printer carefully plates the issue, prints, binds, and pre- pares it for mailing.

I can’t do what I do without thinking of the publishing vision of Ellen White. Her husband, James, was told to produce a paper that would be small at first but would become “like streams of light that went clear round the world.”2

Next time you open a bag of chips, pause for a moment to think how they got there. Then take that next leap to remember this article. This is a ministry created and blessed by God. To be part of it as we work each day to accomplish the vision is a privilege.

1Uriah Smith, “History and Future Work of Seventh-day Adventists,” General Conference Daily Bulletin 3, no. 10 (Oct. 29, 1889): 105.

2Ellen G. White, Life Sketches (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1915), p. 125.

Merle Poirier lays out publishing schedules as decided upon, and faithfully engages with the people, and on behalf of the circumstances, that may sustain, confirm and honor those schedules.

Merle Poirier