Charles Taze Russell was born on February 16th, 1852 and he died on October 31st, 1916.
In July of 1879, he began publishing a monthly religious journal called "Zion's Watchtower
and Herald of Christ' Presence" this eventually evolved into what it is called today "The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom."
a. Financial Motivations
I have chosen to begin this webpage with their Founder, because I have found his character
to be highly questionable. He was raised as a Presbyterian, but he began to question their
beliefs about predestination and eternal judgment early in his life. He eventually became associated with an Adventist group that predicted that the Lord would return in the year 1874.
In 1876, Russell and a man by the name of Nelson Barbour combined their wealth and devoted themselves to publishing materials related to their belief that the Lord would return and the dead would be raised in 1878. Some say that Russell sold a chain of clothing stores and supplied
the financial capital for this venture in the amount of $300,000.00 (U.S. equivalent of 7 Million Dollars
in 2010). That sounds generous, but the claim has been disputed. Others claim that the organization started with only $5,000.00 in capital. A man by the name of William H. Conley,
who was the co-owner of the Riter-Conley Company in Allegheny provided $3,500.00, Joseph Russell $1000.00 and Charles Taze Russell $500.00 (1). In addition to this, as early as 1892, Russell's views and management style were strongly criticized by certain individuals associated with him. They accused Russell of being a dictatorial leader, a shrewd businessman who appeared eager to collect funds from the selling of the Millennial Dawn books, that he had cheated one of them out of financial gains, and that he issued thousands of Millennial Dawn books under
a female pseudonym. A booklet entitled "A Conspiracy Exposed and Harvest Siftings" was written by Russell and issued as an extra to the April 1894 Zion's Watch Tower magazine in order
to preempt attempts to have their views circulated to a wider audience of Bible Students (2). Another interesting event occurred on November 1st, 1916. This is when a newspaper called
"The Brooklyn Daily Eagle" published an article accusing Charles Taze Russell of a scam involving the sale of "Miracle Wheat" seeds for $1.00 a pound (quite expensive in that day) claiming that these seeds could produce five times as much wheat as the average seed. The newspaper also published a cartoon picturing the 'Pastor' and his 'Miracle Wheat' in such a way that Pastor Russell became offended and brought a lawsuit against the newspaper for libel asking them
for $100,000.00 in damages. Russell lost this lawsuit due to the fact that the government investigated and found that the wheat "was not miraculous or overly excellent." Russell claimed that he received no revenue from the sale of the miracle wheat, and that no one had been disappointed with the product or had returned it which they could have done. The revenue,
as Russell claimed, went to the Watchtower Society. It should be noted, however, that Charles Taze Russell owned 990 of the 1,000 shares of the Watchtower Society Stock; so, in reality, he
did benefit from the sale of it (3). In Addition to this, on February 19th, 1912, the Brooklyn Daily
Eagle reported that Russell traveled extensively and sent back sermons that he supposedly
delivered back to the United States. The Eagle contended that Russell never delivered these
sermons in places like Hawaii to a "large audience." The Editor of the Hawaiian Star wrote
that Russell appeared for a few hours in Hawaii but didn't make his expected public address.
This was typical of many other documented accounts. (4)
b. Sexual Misconduct
Charles Taze Russell was married to Maria Frances Ackley on March 13th, 1879. In 1897 they separated, following disagreements over her insistence for a greater role in the management of Zion's Watch Tower magazine. In 1913, Mrs. Russell sued for a divorce on
the grounds of "his conceit, egotism, domination, and improper conduct in relation to other women." Upon hearing the evidence, the judge ruled in her favor.
When the fact that Pastor Russell's wife was suing him for a separation became public much general interest was aroused and the courtroom was thronged during the proceedings.
The testimony which elicited the most comment concerned the relations of Pastor Russell with Rose Ball, a young woman stenographer employed by Pastor Russell in the Bible House on Arch Street. This testimony was given by Mrs. Russell on direct examination on Thursday, April 26, 1906. It was ruled out by the court on the ground that the incidents to which reference was made were said to have occurred on a date which precedes the dates mentioned in Mrs. Russell's bill of complaint. Pastor Russell recurred to the incidents when he went on the stand several days later, and gave his version of what had happened. Rose Ball was not called to the stand, as she left for Australia shortly before the case came to trial.
The verbatim record of this testimony taken from the official report of the case on file in the office of the Prothonotary of Allegheny County is as follows:
Q. I want you to tell us what your husband did in company with this woman Rose, in your presence and in your home.
A. In the first place I considered it--(objected to and witness was not permitted to finish.)
Q. Tell us what you saw and what he said was done.
Pastor's Wife Tells of His Alleged Nightly Visits
Q. You state that you found him doing this at other times. How often after that?
A. I found him a number of times; I don't remember how often.
Q. In her room?
A. Yes, sir. And I found him in the servant girl's room as well. and I found him locked in the servant girl's room.
Q. Did he make any explanation why he was in the girl's room?
A. No. He did not; he just got angry.
Q. What did you say to him about this conduct and what did he say.
A. I said to him, "We have a great work on our hands," and I said, "In this work you and I have to walk very circumspectly before the world and if you are going to do things like this, what will happen? Suppose you are all right, don't you suppose people will talk about things like this?" and I said, "I am not satisfied with it," and he said he wasn't going to be ruled by me. But I felt distressed about that.
Q. What did Rose do at the Watch Tower.
A. She attended to the correspondence.
Q. Where was her desk with reference to the desk of Mr. Russell of the Watch Tower Society?
A. It wasn't near his; it was in the office.
Q. When would he go to the Watch Tower, in the morning?
A. I don't remember; he generally went down alone.
Q. Who would return with him?
A. She came with him in the evening and they came about 11 o'clock and the young men that were in the office -- she was the only girl, and the young men would go home, and he wouldn't allow her to go home with them, and she must wait and always go with him.
(Objected to.) Q. I want the mere fact, did this girl Rose go home with your husband?
A. Yes, Sir.
Q. What year was that?
A. In the fall of 1894. (By Mr. Porter, attorney for the plaintiff.)
Q. Did you state to your husband at this meeting any endearing terms?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What were they?
A. I said "She tells me that one evening you came home --" I asked her when did these things occur. I said to him, "She says they occurred down at the office when she stayed down there with him in the evening after the rest had gone, and at home at any time when I wasn't around."
Q. Now, about the endearing terms?
Q. What other terms were used?
Q. And the young men came home ahead of them?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. State to the court and jury what talk, if any, you had with this girl Rose, in regard to her relations with your husband, which you communicated to your husband?
This question was objected to and it was changed to read as follows: Q. You are to tell what you stated to your husband that Rose had said and his reply to you.
Mrs. Russell Says Girl Told Her of Pastor's Caresses.
A. I told him that I had learned something that was very serious and I didn't tell him right away. I let a day elapse until I felt I had control of myself and could talk and then I told him that I had something very serious to tell him about this matter, and he said, "What is it?" and I said, "Rose has told me that you have been intimate with her, that you have been in the habit of hugging and kissing her and having her sit on your knee and fondling each other, and she tells me you bid her under no account to tell me, but she couldn't keep it any longer. She said if I was distressed about it she felt that she would have to come and make a confession to me, and she has done that. (By the court.)
Q. What did he say?
A. He tried to make light of it at first and I said, "Husband, you can't do that. I know the whole thing. She has told me straight and I know it to be true." Well, he said he was sorry; it was true, but he was sorry. He said he didn't mean any harm. I said, "I don't see how you could do an act like that without meaning harm."
In his book entitled, "Jehovah's Witnesses" by Maurice Barnett, it is pointed out that Russell
tried to avoid paying alimony to his ex-wife by transferring all of his wealth to the Watchtower
society which he controlled. He wrote,
"She had to sue again to get her allotted alimony when Russell had all his property
transferred to the Society. Russell had turned all of his assets over to the Society
so she would be left with nothing. Great guy!"
Some Food for Thought
Regarding the Jehovah's
Witnesses Cult -->
c. Documented Perjury
Another matter that brings Charles Taze Russell's character into question is the fact that
he perjured himself in court. In 1912, a Pastor from Ontario named Reverend J.J. Ross released an enlightening pamphlet exposing Russell's lack of qualifications as a minister, and his shaky theological teachings. Ross exposed Russell as an inferior scholar who "never attended the higher schools of learning, knows comparatively nothing of philosophy, systematic or historical theology, and is totally ignorant of the dead languages." Out of pure fury, Russell sued Ross for defamatory purposes. Russell was unable to present evidence to deny these words from Ross,
leaving only his own statements made under oath. The pamphlet was read during the trial,
and Russell denied everything stated within it except for the Miracle Wheat scandal where Russell actually stated that this was "a grain of truth in a sense". Although Russell had sworn under oath to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, the evidence is overwhelming that he did not. As the cross examination continued, Russell further contradicted himself:
In regards to this subject, we should not overlook the fact that Russell claimed to have
translated the Bible more accurately than any Greek scholar of his day. How could this
be possible since it was proven that he did not even know the Greek alphabet. In my conversations with Jehovah's Witnesses, they have typically pointed out that their founder
was never prosecuted for perjury. I suppose this is true. But does this change the fact
that he obviously lied under oath? It's a matter of public record.
By now, I hope that you can see why I started with their founder. The evidence seems
to be mounted against him, and it is not pretty. He is depicted as promoting at least one financial scam through the Watchtower Magazine, using ministry funds for personal
and exotic travelling excursions (Like Hawaii), being an adulterer and a womanizer,
being divorced by his wife for this reason as well as others, trying to avoid paying alimony
by transferring all of his finances into the watchtower society which he controlled and lying under oath. In my opinion, none of this passes the "smell test."
Some More Food for Thought
Regarding the Jehovah's Witness
I have featured the previous video, because I believe that this man made an excellent point.
The Jehovah's Witnesses try to insinuate that our Christian belief in the trinity is what theologians refer to as "modalism." This is the idea that the Father literally became Jesus
the Son, and that He left heaven and came to this earth. It is true that Jesus said to His disiciple Phillip, "...'if you've seen Me, you've seen the Father" in John 14:9. Jesus also made statements like this one, however, that is found in John 5:19; He said, "Therefore Jesus answered
and was saying to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself,
unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things
the Son also does in like manner.'" This helps us to understand that Jesus did not act
independently from the Father's instructions; He is equal to the Father in terms of His Deity
and though a separate personage within the trinity, they act in unison. The example I like
to use is that of a husband and wife being called "one flesh" in the scriptures. My wife
and I are separate persons, but we act in unison regarding our decision making. Our Christian belief in the trinity is described well in the old hymn entitled "Holy, Holy, Holy" which refers
to our God as, and I quote "God in three persons blessed trinity."
The Jehovah's Witnesses claim that their magazine "The Watchtower" is a Prophet. The evidence for this can be found in a Watchtower publication which is dated April 1st, 1972. It
"He had a 'prophet' to warn them. This 'prophet' was not one man, but was a body of men
and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at the time
as the International Bible Students. Today, they are known as Jehovah's Christian Witnesses."
Another example of this is found in a book published by the Jehovah's Witnesses entitled
"The Nations Will Know That I am Jehovah." On page 58 of this publication, it says...
"Who is Ezekiel's present day counterpart, whose message and conduct coorespond with
that of that ancient prophet of Jehovah? Of whom today was he a 'sign' or 'portent'? Not
of some individual man, but of a group of people. Being made up of a unified company
of persons, the modern Ezekiel is a composite personage, made up of many members, just
the same as the human body is"
It is important for us to establish this fact, because the Bible has some specific things to say
about the role of a true prophet as opposed to a false prophet, and this is found in the Old
Testament book of Deuteronomy 18:20-22 which says this.
"20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not
commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet
shall die.' 21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the Lord has
not spoken?' 22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not
come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet
has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him"
I want you to notice that the true Prophet of God is required to be right 100% of the time
when he speaks in the name of the Lord. If he was wrong even once, he was to be designated
as a false prophet, and he was to be put to death. This can only mean one thing in reference
to Jehovah's Witnesses, and that is that their magazine "The Watchtower" is indeed a false
Prophet. For you see, the Jehovah's Witnesses through this magazine are known for setting
specific dates for the Lord's return and none of these have occurred.
In a Watchtower publication dated July 15th, 1894, for example, they predicted that the battle
of Armageddon would occur, and that God's Kingdom would be established on this earth in
the year 1914.
"Now, in view of recent labor troubles and threatening anarchy, our readers are writing
to know if there may not be a mistake in 1914 date…We see no reason for changing
the figures - nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe God’s dates
not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but
for the end of the time of trouble”
The end did not come in 1914; so, they quickly moved the date to the end of the year 1918,
and then again to 1925. This is found in a book that was published by the Watchtower in 1920.
The title of the book was "Millons Now Living Will Never Die, and it was followed by what is
known historically as "The Millions Campaign." On page 89, the book says,
“As we have heretofore stated, the great jubilee cycle is due to begin in 1925. At that time,
the earthly phase of the kingdom shall be recognized”
Also, in the Watchtower Publication dated September 1st, 1922 page 262
"The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures because it is fixed
by the law God gave to Israel. Viewing this present situation in Europe, one wonders
how it will be possible to hold back the explosion much longer: and that even before
1925 the great crisis will be reached and probably passed”
Since that time, they have predicted that the Lord will return on other dates as well including....
. 1957 - The Watchtower magazine stated that some time between April 16 and 23, 1957,
Armageddon would sweep the world! Millions of persons will perish in its flames
and the land will be scorched.'
. 1975 - The Watchtower predicted that Armageddon would occur
. 1984 - The Jehovah's Witnesses made sure in 1984 that no one else would be able to top
their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses record is currently
holding at ten. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, 1975,
and 1984. Lately, the JW's are claiming they're out of the prediction business, but it's
hard to teach an old dog new tricks. They'll be back.
Question = How many times can a Prophet be wrong according to scripture and still be
called a true Prophet?
Answer = Zero
If a Prophet claims to speak in the name of the Lord and is wrong only once,
he is to be considered a false Prophet. And, under the Old Testament system,
he was supposed to be put to death.
Question = How many times has the Watchtower Magazine, which claims to be a Prophet,
Answer = Over ten times and counting
Conclusion = THE WATCHTOWER PUBLICATION IS A FALSE PROPHET!!!