The start of it all...
Charles Taze Russell
Although the Watchtower will tell you that C.T.Russell did not actually start the Jehovah's Witnesses - he did start the Bible Students which were the forerunners. It is vital to trace the history of the Watchtower Society right the way back to the very beginning to establish the TRUTH of this dangerous, mind controlling cult.
Charles Taze Russell was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and was raised as a Congregationalist. As a teenager he began losing faith in his church and Bible doctrine and he became more and more interested in chronology and prophecy .Russell was particarly interested in the date 1874 which, according to an Adventist Jonas Wendall, would be Christ's return. He beame a baptized Adventist in 1874
Russell paired up with Nelson H. Barbour after reading his publication called ''Herald of the Morning''.. Barbour believed that Christs return would take place in 1874 invisibly and that the Rapture would take place in 1878 (Interestingly, Barbour himself changed his mind over his beliefs several times during his lifetime and even abandoned the idea of Christ's invisible return)
Of course the Rapture did not occur and soon after 1878, Russell split with Barbour and began his own magazine called ''Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence'' In 1881, he co-founded Zion's Watch Tower and Tract Society and in 1884 the corporation was officially registered, with Russell as president.From 1886 to 1904, he published a six volume Bible study series originally entitled ''Millennial Dawn'', later renamed ''Studies in Scripture''.
These Study books are very interesting and give us some interesting information about Russell and what he believed in. See below;
Russell and Freemasonry
Masonic images smothered early Watchtower publications, such was Russells involvement in Freemasonry.
Russell himself was a 33rd degree Freemason.
By Russells grave a nine foot stone pyramid complete with the Masonic cross and crown symbol stands as testimony to his occult beliefs and practises.
Just across the road is the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center.
Russell's Divorce: Court records from Brooklyn, NY in 1896 show that Russell's wife divorced him on charges of incest, adultery and general ill-treatment of her. She won.
But Russell made sure he transferred all his property, worth over $240,000 over to the ''Watchtower Bible & Tract Society'' before his ex wife could lay claim to it.
- GIRL KISSED PASTOR AND SAT ON HIS KNEE
Click on the above link to read the court hearing regarding Russell's inappropriate behaviour.
Would God really appoint this man, with his occult beliefs, whose wife accused him of adultery and divorced him, and who had questionable relationships with women, and who lied in court, to be the founder of God's organization on earth?
Think about it!
To be continued....
ShirleyJCJohnson on November 19, 2014:
My husband was raised in a Jehovah's Witness home; I have no tolerance for this group. They misconstrue the Bible greatly, and it breaks my heart that so many are so lost. For instance, if one does not celebrate a birthday, because the Bible does not mention the celebration of birthdays, how does one account for the fact that Jesus' life was ordered by his age? How does one account for so many days and months and years being numbered throughout the Bible?
Pedro Morales on September 19, 2014:
sorry to get back to you after so long. But yes I did read the article. And by that standard the Catholic Church would be also a cult, for they have more numerous cases of child abuse that they did not report to the authorities and tried to manage on their own. Up to a few months ago in my country the Catholic Church in one city refused to break confidentiality arrangements. I do not think that makes the Catholic Church a cult.
Darrin Hart on March 06, 2014:
Excellent HUB. Thank you for all of your hard work! It's stunning to any JW/former JW to learn of the disgusting things practiced by this cult.
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on September 30, 2013:
Russells writings were indeed far from perfect! As are ALL of the ramblings of the Watchtower Society since the day they formed. (Interesting how the world was in spiritual darkness [apparently] until they invented their own take on the Bible)
The Bible with all it's contradictions and error has caused so much of the world's problems and wars and the Watchtower adding it's own corrupted version of the Bible with even MORE contradictions and errors just adds to the mix. But JW's aren't allowed to question the Watchtower gods! Like lambs to the slaughter, they follow their leader.
Indeed they do not care who they hurt along the way, or who dies because of their doctrines.
Children are cast out of the family home; children die because life-saving blood was with-held. And why? Because the JW's all follow Watchtower lies.
I for one despise this cult and would like nothing more for all JW's who have harmed a child be held accountable for their dispicable acts.
I STILL bear the emotional scars of this foul cult.
ResLight on September 29, 2013:
Russell had been acquainted with the "end of the world" predictions of the Second Adventists, in which many were claiming the planet earth itself would be destroyed along with all but a relatively few "saints". Russell, believing in the "ransom for all", rejected this view of "the end of the world". Indeed, in relation to this view, Russell did not believe in such an "end of the world". Russell did believe in a transition period that Jesus referred to as the "end of the age", often rendered as the "end of the world".
In his earlier years, he adopted Barbour's view that the "end of age" had begun in 1874 and that it would end in 1914. Thus, he spoke of the end of Gentitle Kingdoms as coming in 1914; this could be viewed by many as being "the end of the world" in 1914, although Russell himself did not speak of the "the end of the world" in 1914. His earlier view was that God's Kingdom would have brought peace to the world by 1914.
However, in time, Russell rejected Barbour's view that the time of trouble had begun in 1874. For a while, however, he still believed that the time of trouble would come sometime before 1914 and end in 1914. From what is reported in the pages of the Watch Tower, there were some Bible Students who did not believe that the time of trouble was to end in 1914, but that rather it was begin in 1914. Russell opposed this view for many years, but he finally accepted this in 1904. Thus, from 1904 onward, he was no longer expecting "the time of trouble" to end in 1914, but rather that it was to begin in 1914. He was no longer expecting the "end of all Gentile Kingdoms" in 1914, but rather he was expecting the "beginning" of the end of all Gentile Kingdoms in 1914.
Russell, however, was not a prophet, and he denied being a prophet many times. He only claimed to be a student of prophecy, and he admitted many times that his expectations could be in error. He never once demanded that everyone had accept his views or forever be lost; indeed, there were many differing views amongts the Bible Students in his day, especially concerning chronology and time prophecy; the same remains true today. Russell, unlike the JW leadership, even printed differing views in his magazine, often without comment. For instance, in the June 15, 1905 issue of the WT, Russell presented both John Edgar’s and U. G. Lee’s parallels. Edgar pointed to the year 1915 as the a possible year of Christendom’s destruction (the end of the time of trouble). Lee’s chart pointed to the year 1920. Russell presented these views, but he never actually adopted either of them, although he mentioned them a few times between 1904 up to 1914. Russell several times stated that we do not know how long after 1914 the time of trouble was to last.
Russell also mentioned several other views, amongst which were: that the Gentile Times were to end in 1915, not 1914, that they were to end sometime in 1930s, that the time of trouble was to end in 1918, 1925. He himself did not accept these views, but he did allow others to have their views.
Russell did, however, believe that what he had presented in his writings was in harmony with the light of the Bible; thus, he reasoned that for one to not be harmony with the Studies in the Scriptures would make one to some extent, in darkness. At the same time he said this, however, he also pointed out that the Bible is the light, and that if the SS should not be found in harmony with the Bible on some point, that the Bible should overrule the SS.
I, myself, have found that, although Russell's writings are not perfect, he was indeed in harmony with the Bible in most things. No one, however, should be a follower of anyone except Christ, or only in that a person may lead a person closer in understanding of Jesus and his God.
See my site:
Delgado on September 28, 2013:
Didn't Charles Russell predict the end of the world twice (1914 and then 1942)? Would that not consider him to be a false prophet? According to Deuteronomy 18 it does. And didn't he also say if one did not read his version of Scripture that one was "lost"? Since the Bible teaches that we should not follow or listen to a false prophet, then his teachings and version of the Scriptures are erroneous.
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on July 16, 2013:
Read this, and decide if the Watchtower followers are 'good'....
Pedro Morales on November 09, 2011:
The Jehovah Witnesses bad people? Cult? I have two very good friends who belong to this church, and they live a more Christian life than many people from established churches. I understand that Jesus once said something in the nature that 'those who are not against us, are for us.' Of course, being for Jesus, I take it to mean being for what he stood for, and making effort to lead a life of service and love towards others. Also, the greatest teaching of Christianity, at least for me, is to love all people including those who persecute you. Christians are supposed to love others, and you can only love others by respecting them and not putting a demeaning label to an entire group of people.
I have no idea who founded the JW and am not interested in gossips concerning him. Jesus said that you would know people by their fruits. If there are JW who show kindness, responsibility, love, something has to be right in there, even if they do not have the correct interpretation of the Bible.
Frank4YAHWEH from Richmond, Indiana on October 13, 2011:
"HOWEVER, ANY religious sect that forms its OWN version of the Bible, its OWN organization & has the AUDACITY to call itself GOD'S MOUTHPIECE; or GOD'S FAITHFUL & WISE SERVANT, is a cult, that is evil thru & thru."
Then the Messiah, his disciples (students) and the Apostles could have been looked upon as "cult" by the religious leaders according to your definition. Were they not falsely accused of forming their own version of the Scripture? Surely they were organized as opposed to being unorganized! Was not our Heavenly Father and Creator's son His mouthpiece and His faithful and wise humble servant?
You also did not thoroughly answer my questions. I was wondering why?
Surely the Messiah had a cult following! He would have been labeled a "cult leader" in our time period!
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on October 06, 2011:
Of course you hear the expression that someone or something may have a "cult following" - It is obvious that THAT would mean people followed that 'someone or something' without fail, they adore them, they in fact would go all out to SEE or BE NEAR them.
So the word cult is used in a similar but different way here & is NOT evil.
HOWEVER, ANY religious sect that forms its OWN version of the Bible, its OWN organization & has the AUDACITY to call itself GOD'S MOUTHPIECE; or GOD'S FAITHFUL & WISE SERVANT, is a cult, that is evil thru & thru.
The Watchtower IS a cult, it is not following the Christian Bible. It is a LIE; & followers are duped into believing it's the TRUTH! They are not allowed to ask questions or research into the Watchtowers & discover the lies upon lies upon lies. They live in fear of being cast out & shunned & losing their beloved families.
Yes, the Watchtower IS a cult.
Frank4YAHWEH from Richmond, Indiana on October 06, 2011:
Do you believe that one is of a "cult" if they do not believe "Jesus IS God!" or accept the "Deity of Jesus Christ"? Do you believe in the so-called "Holy Trinity" doctrine? I have heard many Christians say if they do not follow these doctrinal beliefs that they classify them as a "cult". What is you personal definition of the word 'cult'? In recent years many Christians have given the word 'cult' an evil connotation, when originally the word had no evil connotation. It seems in your writing that you give the word 'cult' and evil connotation.
ResLight on September 30, 2011:
My prayers are with you.
ResLight on September 29, 2011:
Yes, Russell believed all who are dying in Adam will be enlightened with the truth before any final judgment would be passed on them as individuals. Rutherford began to deny this in 1923, and by 1938 he was preaching that all outside his organization would be eternally destroyed in Armageddon whether they had been enlightened or not.
Russell took the lead of many of the reformers -- most of whom were trinitarian -- before him in the belief that Jesus is Michael the archangel. Unlike the trinitarian reformers, however, Russell did not believe Jesus is a person of a triune God; such would denigrate the role that Jesus performed in his obedience to God, and rather than condemning sin the flesh, it would have justified sin the flesh, for it would have proved that in order to Adam to have obeyed God, Adam would have needed to have been God. See the Restoration Light sites "Focus on the Atonement" and "Jesus and His God". Although Russell rejected the trinity doctrine as being unscriptural, and that it, in effect, would deny the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, Russell did not, however, teach that belief in the trinity meant that one was not a Christian. As late as 1915 (just before his death in 1916) he was teaching the following:
The Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly - whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, or Presbyterians, etc. -- and none others.
Have we not here the one Church, catholic, universal, the only Church which the Bible recognizes? In the past we have been too narrow and have supposed that God was as narrow as ourselves. It was on this account that Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists persecuted and were persecuted, each thinking itself the true Church. Are we not all getting broader conceptions of our God and of His Church? Do we not see that we were mistaken in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of reprobates?
St. Paul wrote against sectarianism, already manifest in his day-some saying :"I am of Paul"; others, "I am of Peter"; etc. The Apostle asks, "Is Christ divided:" (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)
The above was printed in Bible Students Monthly, Volume 7, Number 9 (1915), Under the title, "The Catholic Church -- St. Peter's Kingdom Keys." It was reproduced in the Chicago Bible Students publication: Harvest Gleanings Volume 1.
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on September 29, 2011:
Thank you for your reply - I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "Ransom for all" and how the Watchtower changed its take on this, can you explain? I know that the Watchtower lowers the rank of Jesus to a lowly Angel called Michael, and that they do not believe He is part of the Godhead. But they always believed he died to save sinners didn't they?
Ah, I think I get you now! Do you mean that Russell believed that ALL mankind could be saved under Christ's ransom as opposed to Rutherford (and beyond) believing that THEY exclusively would be saved. Is this what you mean?
If that is the case, Russell wasn't as pompous, bigoted & culty as today's Watchtower!
ResLight on September 29, 2011:
I would consider myself a follower of Russell, or of Morton Edgar, or of Martin Luther, etc., only as any of these may lead me to a clearer understanding of the Lord Jesus and his God. At the same time, I, like Russell, believe that any Christian author or preacher -- including myself -- may be mistaken in many things.
When I was a teenager back in 1950s, I read in a Watchtower publication that the alleged "opposition" (that which began in 1917) split up and disintegrated. I was surprised around 1960 when I found out that this was not true. I was already quite perturbed at the JW teachings concerning the second death applications (they were at that time teaching that practically everyone who has ever lived who had heard God's name and did not accept it before death, was eternally destroyed in the second death, and they still teach that millions of men, women and children will be eternally destroyed in Armageddon), and was further surprised to find out the Russell preached against such teachings.
The main doctrine that splits the Bible Students from the Jehovah's Witnesses is that of the ransom for all. Russell, and some of his predecessors, considered this doctrine to be the central doctrine of the Bible as related to the salvation of man. Most Bible Students believe in this doctrine very similarly to the way Russell believed in it. Rutherford began to reject this central doctrine in 1923 when he introduced his new teachings on the sheep and goats, and the application of the second death on many of those who had not been regenerated. By 1938, Rutherford had totally rejected the basis of the ransom for all, in effect, claiming that Adam was under a different condemnation than the rest of the world, which is contrary to Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:21,22. He introduced the teaching that everyone who is not of "Jehovah's organization" -- actually his (Rutherford's) organization -- would be eternally destroyed in Armageddon. Bible Students -- as a whole (represented by the majority) -- rejected Rutherford's new dogma concerning "Jehovah's organization", his new views on Armageddon, etc., and they continued to preach the glad tidings of great joy that will be for all the people, and still do so to this day.
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on September 29, 2011:
Thank you for your kind words - very sad times....
I never actually knew that there were followers of Russell today, as opposed to followers of the Watchtower as we know it!
Of course I was aware of the Bible Students that were the forerunners of the Watchtower Org.
So, where do your beliefs differ?
ResLight on September 28, 2011:
I am sorry about the lost of your friend. I have been through similar experiences.
I am a Bible Student; I am not with the Jehovah's Witnesses. I have been studying Russell's writings (along with writings by many other Christian authors) for more than 50 years. I have also known several Bible Students (all of whom have now died) who knew Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Rutherford personally.
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on September 27, 2011:
I must admit, I am intrigued as to where you are coming from! I mean, you are defending what you see to be the facts, which is perfectly fine - we all have the right to free speech (thank goodness, now I'm not in a cult, I also have that freedom!), but then you say that you agree that the Watchtower IS damaging & controlling etc. So, where are you at? I am asking respectfully.
(When I feel more stronger, I will elaborate more on what I have written above - I lost my best friend 2 weeks ago & I'm not strong enough for a theological debate!)
I look forward to more from you,
ResLight on September 27, 2011:
I evidently did not see the response until today.
The fact is that there was no JW organdization as we know it in the days of Russell at all; the fact is that Russell did indeed preach against that kind of sectarian and authoritative organization; the fact is that Russell preached against the kind of message that the JWs preach, especially as related to "ransom for all" and Armageddon.
The fact is that there is no evidence at all that Russell was a member of the Freemasons, except what has to imagined and assumed regarding whatever is presented. The fact is that we have tens of thousands of pages from Russell's works that provide overwhelming evidence that Russell was never a member of the Freemasons. The fact is that Russell was never a member of the Freemasons' organization, just as he stated.
The fact is that the "pyramidology" that Russell was "into" was the study of the Great Pyramid as God's Stone Witness in Egypt. The fact is that Russell's study of the Great Pyramid had nothing to do with occultism, spiritism, denominism, heathenism, astrology, horoscopes, etc.
I do agree that the Watchtower as it exists today is very damaging and mind-controlling, and that is harmful to children and families. Russell's Watch Tower, however, preached against such things.
I am still unsure of whether I am allowed to post links to my website regarding Focus on Charles Taze Russell, but all of the above is addressed in greater detail on that site.
Mandy Jones (author) from Hampshire, England. UK on July 02, 2011:
ResLight - we are all entitled to opinions and I will respect yours. HOWEVER, my very much shortened account of the origins of the Jehovah's Witnesses is true and factual and every thing I ever write concerning this cult CAN BE BACKED UP.
Granted that Russell did not call his followers Jehovah's Witnesses, rather 'Bible Students' (You will see that I did actually state this), but he WAS the absolute beginning of the the organization as we know it.
Russell was indeed a Freemason, he was also very much into pyramidology.
Regarding Russells alleged adultery - in court, his wife discussed his closeness with the young woman, Miss Ball who lived with them, indeed, he was often in her bedroom.
Regardless of what anyone wants to believe regarding these 'finer' points, the facts remain;
The Watchtower is a very damaging, mind-controlling,non-Christian CULT that has caused no end of harm to children and families.
ResLight on July 02, 2011:
I am not with the Jehovah's Witnesses, I am a Bible student, as was Charles Taze Russell.
Nevertheless, Charles Taze Russell was indeed NOT the founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other such religion. The JW organization did not exist in Russell's day. After Russell died, Joseph Rutherford, by means of deceit and legal trickery, gained control of the legal entity, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and within a few weeks had destroyed that Society as Russell had intended for it to be, and had restructured as new legal entity, one that would be more useful for his ambitious goals. Rutherford slowly created the new religious organization over the following fifteen years. By 1930, the Bible students movement as a whole (represented by the majority) had rejected Rutherford's new organization as well as Rutherford's new gospel.
Russell did not believe in such an organization, nor did Russell believe in the bad tidings of eternal doom for most of the people that is preached by that organization. Russell did not believe in the Armageddon that is taught by the JWs.
Russell was never a 33rd Degree Free Mason. In fact, Russell was never a member of the Free Masons, nor did he ever use symbols of the Freemasons. Although, in a few cases, Russell used some of the terminology of the Free Masons, as well as other organizations, to illustrate Biblical points, Russell's works do not have Freemasons' images. The cross and crown, the winged sun disk, the Watch Tower, are all illustrative of Biblical terminology (some claim the Bible is a Masonic book, but that is another story).
Rutherford's pyramid monument stands in honor of Russell's adherence to the Biblical teachings that Jesus died for us, represented by the cross, and of the crown as reward to those who overcome through faith. The pyramid is a replica of God's stone witness in Egypt, as spoken of in Isaiah 19.
Rutherford's pyramid monument certainly has nothing at all to do with the Free Masons, nor with any kind of spiritistic occultism. At most, I would say that it may have been an extravagant use of funds to construct such a monument, but other than that, I find nothing at all wrong about that monument.
The Masonic Center that was constructed several decades after Russell died across the street from the Rosemont Cemetery has nothing at all to do with Russell, nor with the Rosemont cemetery in which Russell was buried, other than it happens to have been constructed across the street from the cemetery.
In his sermon, when speaking of the Masons' organization, Russell plainly stated: "I have never been a Mason." Russell, however, in that sermon, did use some Free Masons' terminology to illustrate the building work that Christians are doing in service of Jesus and God. Russell never said that he was a member of the Free Masons' organization.
The court records show that Mrs. Russell did NOT claim that Russell had committed either adultery or incest. The money transferred was already money that Russell was holding in his name (evidently as the major partner in the United States Investment Company) on behalf of the Watch Tower Society. The very purpose of creating the United States Investment Company was to handle business transactions on behalf of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.
Mrs. Russell did make many insinuations, and she presented many hearsay accusations against Russell, but she fell short of accusing him either of incest or adultery; she plainly stated that she was not accusing her husband of adultery.
The alleged mental cruelty mostly centered around the agreement that both had concerning no sexual relations, except that one or the other should wish to break that agreement. Mrs. Russell never asked for such in all the time that she was with her husband.