Alison has been focused on writing Bible-related lectures (curriculum) since 1967, when she graduated from Cal (UC Berkeley) and spent a week’s vacation putting together a series on self-esteem for teenagers. After that, while on Campus Crusade for Christ staff in Massachusetts, she frequently wrote follow-up Bible studies for students. She continued to do the same in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and this writing gave her some of the material she used in writing The Challenge Of Being A Woman in 1974-76.
She was able to pack a lot of productivity into the post-Challenge years of 1977-85 while living in Ann Arbor, even with an abusive husband who was happy as long as she wrote more lectures for women “that would make us become millionaires”. That was not her motive, but she knew she had to “create peace” in her home for her to be able to write. Once her husband found a well-paying job, with professional football players, he was content…for a while. This gave her the freedom to work on the children’s songs (more than 1000) and the poems (more than 2000) that she was inspired to write.
She moved to La Jolla, because of her husband’s increasing abuse (with the threat of death to her and the two children). She expected happiness and peace, but it did not work out that way. Instead, she was shocked to discover more threats of abuse—which continued and would not go away. Two were from family members. When she moved away from her parent’s home, she experienced frequent assaults on her living quarters, with many valuable items taken: clothing, shoes, lamps, furniture, paintings, and from her firesafe—important photographs and documents. She never felt that she or her things were safe. She was disappointed to see a lack of concern from other family members who said, “surely this cannot be happening” or worse, “Alice, you must have accidentally hidden those things”.
This went on and on and on, with no one in her family wanting to talk about it or realizing that she needed help. She was all alone in this “battle”—to preserve her things (what was still left) and to preserve her sanity. These repeated incidents and the continual fear of harm caused her to become very worn down, also distrustful of people. She was also disheartened by the lack of concern for her among “church people” in the ten different churches she visited. What was serious and even life-threatening seemed to not be a concern, even to friends (including ones involved in church work). So much around her seemed “crazy”, but she held on to her faith in God and kept taking things “a day at a time”. After moving to a new apartment, a year ago, she entered a new period of peace where no break-ins have occurred.
Alice changed her name to Alison Whitney twenty years ago, after the threat from one brother who said he would sue her if she hurt the famous family name. That resulted in less name-calling, but did not stop the theft. The main problem, to her, was that her old audience (1976 onward) would not recognize her new name. They would not know that “Alison” was Alice. So she decided that (when it was time to release the new studies) she would use the name Alis—as it at least sounded like her old name. It is not easy to be a known author…and then to change both your first and last name! So this solved one problem.
The next problem was to decide on the order in which the studies would be released, starting with the most important ones first (to her they all are important). After months of looking at all her lectures and prioritizing them (and also what would be most motivational for her to do), she has pretty much settled on the following order:
(1) And This Is The Will of God lays the foundation for her two Time series, numbers (5) and (6), in sequence. This lays an important foundation for the messages that follow.
(2) The New Challenge Of Being A Woman will replace her 1976 best-seller. It presents the egalitarian message for marital harmony vs that of headship and submission—the first being a message that was pounded into Alison as a young believer. She now totally rejects that interpretation, as it resulted in a total lack of freedom and much abuse in her marriage.
(3) Esteem Etc is about self-esteem. This is a continuation of her messages started in 1967. Alison has long felt that this would be her most life-changing series. After forty-six years of working on these lectures, off and on, putting all her notes into 24 file folders, they were stolen one afternoon while she was at a doctor’s appointment. She had left them out of their locked place (four-drawer file) to change some of the titles, and left the large file box on her bedroom floor to finish after the appointment. She was horrified when she returned home to see that it all of the files were gone. The “thief” had come in and taken them. All that careful work was lost, including the two 90 minute messages that she had prepared for a West-Coast conference where she got two standing ovations. She had “worked” the material so that it communicated well and she was eager to finish it. She is searching for “old” material on two older computers and has six years worth of new insights that will make it an excellent course
(4) Women, Abuse and Esteem will use some of the Esteem, Etc. material, add to it important insights about abuse, and tailor it to battered women. She is eager to reach out to this group of women who need help.
(5) When Life Is Hard will be for people who are struggling with difficulties of various kinds, including trauma. And it is for the people who want to help them. This will deal with suffering, tests, trials, overcoming, and aims to give a “boost” to many. Alison is very determined to change the way “church people” think about abuse and suffering (that good people do not cause it) and she is hoping to change minds and lives.
(6) Living Successfully With Time gives a biblical presentation of time, purpose, success, goals and focuses on long-term planning.
(7) Successful Daily Living deals with guidance, power for daily living and realization of shorter-term goals.
(8) Happy Little Scripture Songs (110 songs for preschool-age children, recorded in 1983). These are being released only now, as they were stolen for twenty years.
She has three additional song collections she hopes to record (…for later).
(9) Years and Years Of Tears, is a collection of 150 earliest poems. Among other things, they aim to alert “church people” (many who are negative toward battered women) to see that people who have a solid faith in God can and do become victims of abuse. These people need to receive compassion and comfort, not rejection and more abuse.
(10) Poems That Tell A Story will come out after the study series are released. These will be the best of the 2000 written, if she can find them. These tell the story of how she grew to be a strong and resilient person. This total collection of poems was stolen out of a four-drawer file which she almost always kept locked. They were started in 1979, the time that the extreme abuse started, and represent 35 years of careful work. “The thief” found them one night, took them as she slept, and they were never seen or heard of again. She is searching two old computers to see what she can find.
Alison has worked on these messages, poems and songs, from 1967 to present—a total of 51 years. She is relieved to finally see “what material goes where”. She hopes to complete her writing in four years.
She is looking for two good workers to help her re-start WhitneyWorks, so that she can have contact with the people who use her “works”.