Russell the Man

by Farkel 20 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Farkel

    This piece will not deal with any of C.T. Russell's teaching and false prophecies. Instead, it will deal with Russell the man.

    Many ex-dubs still operate under the misconception that Russell was a kind and honest man. At times, he was. At other times he was cruel, petty, vindictive, arrogant, manipulative and a brazen liar. In that respect, he was much like his predecessor in Watchtower Crime, Fred Franz.

    I will leave his lying to last.

    Russell claimed that he and his wife Maria had agreed before their marriage not to consummate it. Rather than following the instruction in 1 Cor. 7:2-5 for spouses not to refuse their mate the marital due, Russell justified his forced celibacy by citing Rev. 14:4 which deals with the 144,000 "not being

    defiled with women." Perhaps this was part of the reason Maria decided to separate from him. No one alive really knows.

    In the October 19, 1908 transcript of their divorce appeal much information was revealed about Russell the man. For example, Russell told Maria that if they separated, he would give her the house they were living in. If she refused, he would give her nothing. Nothing? Nothing after 18 years of working full time with him in his pet religion? Nothing after giving up the
    prospects of having a normal family so Russell to devote all of his time to promoting his fantasies?

    Maria refused his offer, and true to his word he gave her nothing. After living with her sister for a year and a half, a house that Russell owned had become vacant and Maria moved into it for four years. She rented out rooms in order to support herself. Although Russell gave her no money, he did provide
    some furniture for the house. Maria set out to expose Charles for the mean and vindictive person he was. She did this by circulating a tract which was documented by quotes from letters he had written to her.

    When Charles found out about this he and some other men descended on the house without any warning, took possession of it and evicted her. Russell even took her pocket book which contained money she he received as rent for the rooms. As a result, Maria went to court and the court ordered Charles to pay her forty dollars per month. Keep in mind, this order was five and one half years AFTER they had separated, during which time Russell had paid her nothing. He refused to pay the court-ordered support. At the conclusion of their divorce
    proceedings the Judge ordered Russell to pay Maria one hundred dollars per month. Russell claimed he couldn't do it as he had no money? How could that be? Shortly before the alimony order, Russell had transferred all his personal assets to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. The Court considered this
    action to be a fraud against Maria and ordered Russell to pay $9,000 worth of back alimony. Rather than paying it out of his own money, he got a group of Bible students to pay it for him.

    Was Russell really that poor? The divorce transcript showed that in addition to the Watch Tower Society's assets (valued at $317,000 at the time) and AFTER he sold his clothing stores, Rusell was involved in real estate, rental property, oil and other companies. These included Brazilian Turpetine Company, Pittsburgh Asphaltum Company, Silica Brick Company, and Pittsburgh Kaolin Coke Company.

    When Jesus selected his apostles, they all gave up everything they had to follow him. When God "chose" Russell to be his only faithful and discrete slave, Russell continued on as a business tycoon!

    Russell The Liar

    Charles T. Russell lied several times in Court during his divorce proceedings. He did this to try to hide from the fact he had yet ANOTHER business enterprise going right there at Watch Tower headquarters! It was called the Solon Society, or Solon Association. He was asked about this association in

    Q: Well, where was it organized?
    A: I really do not remember anything about it.
    Q: What is the Solon Society; what does it do?
    A: I don't know anything about it.
    Q: You have heard of it?
    A: I have heard of the Solon Society, yes, sir; but I have nothing to do with it.
    Q: Where is its office?
    A I do not know; I think it is in Cleveland.

    There are FOUR distinct lies in this small piece of testimony and three more that followed. Russell was asked if the Solon Society was organized in the Watch Tower building and run by three "girls" there.

    He replied, "I think they do not; I do not know anything about it, I tell you, I do not know anything about it, and how can I swear to what I do not know."

    The three "girls" were called to the stand. They were Alice Land, Gabrielle Logan and Laura Whitehouse. They testified that they allowed their names to be used to form the firm "Logan, Land & Whitehouse." This firm was used by the Solon Society to purchase merchandise (household goods, furniture, clothing, etc.) at wholesale prices. All three of these women testified that Russell himself approached them and asked if they would allow their names to be used to create a company.

    Alice Land testified: "I understood it was formed for the purpose of purchasing goods at wholesale prices from the manufacturers for an association called the Solon Company or association...Mr. Russell was their representative."

    A bit of clarification is needed here. The company who sold the products wholesale would not sell to individuals, only companies. Russell's Solon Society only promoted and sold merchandise. The three girls at Russell's request formed a company using their last names to do the actual purchasing of
    the merchandise.

    Another woman by the name of Christina Weir who worked in the Watch Tower Annex was called to the stand:

    Q: Well, in the (Watch Tower) Annex, what business was carried
    on there...?
    A: During the year 1905 there was some business carried on
    there by the Solon Society.
    Q: And what did the business consist of?
    A: The buying and selling of goods at wholesale prices.
    Q: Selling them, I understand, to the subscribers to this
    Solon Journal, is that the idea?
    A: Yes, sir.
    Q: Was or was it (the Solon Journal) not sent out with the
    Watch Towers?
    A: I saw it wrapped there during one issue in the same
    packages as the Watch Tower and taken over to the post office.
    Q: Did you know a firm doing business in that building by the
    name of Logan, Land & Whitehouse?
    A: Yes, sir.
    Q: And what business did that firm carry on, if any, and if you know?
    A: It carried on the business of the Solon Society.
    Q: Then the Logan, Land & Whitehouse firm, was substantially
    the Solon Society?
    A: That was what I understood.

    Maria Russell testified in this trial that although she was Secretary and Treasurer of the Watch Tower Society, she never once was allowed to look at the Society's financial records.

    Only Russell saw them. How then, could Russell be totally unaware of a business being run in his own property and also not know that his own Watch Tower magazines were being stuffed with promotional material from that business?

    Well, he wasn't, because then a MIRACLE happened! He was caught in a pack of lies while under oath and he knew it and had to do something about! So, he magically got his memory back!

    Note this cross examination:

    Q: Now, to come back to the late firm of Logan, Land & Whitehouse, you say you suggested to these young ladies that they permit the use of their names?
    A: Yes, sir.
    Q: Who were these people that wanted to use the names of these young ladies?
    A: I remember one was Mr. John G. Koehne, of Cleveland, Ohio, and another one was Mr. Clayton J. Woodworth of Scranton, Pa.; they were the two principals.
    Q: And they were the men who transacted the business?
    A: Yes, sir.
    Q: But they did it in the name of Logan, Land & Whitehouse?
    A: No, sir they did it in the name of the Solon Association.

    Russell then denied that he had any financial interest in the Solon Association and added, "I bought this suit, of which is the coat, from the Solon people for $16.00."

    For those of you who don't know, Clayton J. Woodworth mentioned by Russell above was the principal co-author of that marvelously wacky piece of science fiction known as "The Finished Mystery."

    There's more. The Solon Association was mentioned FOUR times in the Watchtower Magazine. The WT of December 1, 1904 offered a free four-month subscription to the Solon Journal and stated, "The managers of the Solon are well-known to us as in every way honorable and reliable and we give this announcement without solicitation for the benefit of WATCH TOWER readers,---that they all (as well as the Bible House force) may benefit by the
    wholesale purchasing arrangement, effecting large savings in our purchasing yearly."

    Let's review again what Russell said in earlier testimony about the Solon Association:

    "I really do not remember anything about it."
    "I don't know anything about it."
    "I have heard of the Solon Society, yes, sir; but I have nothing to do with it."
    (Where is it located?): :"I do not know; I think it is in Cleveland."
    "I think they do not; I do not know anything about it..."
    "...I tell you, I do not know anything about it..."
    "...and how can I swear to what I do not know?"

    In an article called "Investigating the Investigator" in the Journal "The Continent", September 26, 1912 W.T. Ellis interviewed Charles Russell. He stated:

    "I sought a prophet and found a business man! Instead of a humbler seeker after truth, I found the cleverest propagandist of the age -- a man before who John Alexander Dowie, Mary Baker Eddy, Madame Blavatsky, Abbas Effendi, 'Elijah' Sanford and Joseph Smith pale into puerile ineffectiveness."

    Indeed. Would the Lord God Jehovah use as his only spokesman on earth a man who would abuse his wife and marriage, a man who would refused Court orders to support his own wife, and man who had a whole portfolio of different business enterprises, a man who hide his own financial records from everyone including his very own wife, a man who would use his Watch Tower magazine to promote a business and then willingly lie about knowing about that business in Court?

    If "Jehovah" did choose Russell knowing these things, then "Jehovah" was either stupid or unbelievably desperate.

    By the way, all the WT leaders who followed Russell were thoroughly dishonest scumbags themselves. None of them cared the least about kindness, compassion, mercy or truth. It was all about business for them.


  • minimus

    WHEW, Farkel-----My question is what will RR say in rebuttal? Hmmm....maybe Rutherford had something on CTR and the others that allowed him to manuever things in taking over The Society....What do you think??

  • Leolaia

    Another classic post. I hope this gets pinned in the "Best of: Farkel" thread. I had no idea about the particulars of Russell's other business ventures (other than Miracle Wheat)? It looks like he knew he had his own niche market he created with his religion and tried to exploit it in various ways, and had no qualms about misleading others about it when the chips were down.

    I read (maybe in Harrison's book) that the New York corporation was formed to avoid having to pay alimony to Maria. True or false?

  • Farkel


    : I read (maybe in Harrison's book) that the New York corporation was formed to avoid having to pay alimony to Maria. True or false?

    True. I was fortunate enough to have a very nice conversation with Barbara Grizutti Harrison a month or so before she died. She was the sweetest person one could imagine. She invited me to come to Manhattan and stay with her and also said she would send me a copy of each of her books. But she was very ill to the point of dying when I spoke with her and I'm sure she was just too sick to carry out that promise.


  • sf

    Rusell was involved in...oil...
    Yes. He was, at one point, an oil speculator.
    One that speculates: a commodities speculator; a speculator regarding the future turn of events.


    A person who is willing to take large risks and sacrifice the safety of principal in return for potentially large gains. Certain decisions regarding securities clearly characterize a speculator. For example, purchasing a very volatile stock in hopes of making a half a point in profit is speculation, but buying a U.S. Treasury bond to hold for retirement is an investment. It must be added, however, that there is a big gray area in which speculation and investment are difficult to differentiate. Also called punter.


  • minimus

    He was a businessman. The WBTS learned well from him, evidently.

  • Farkel


    : My question is what will RR say in rebuttal?

    RR has said in the past that CTR wasn't blameless, but neither was Maria. He cannot dispute what is in the trial manuscript, though. Here is what the Judge said about Russell in that trial when he granted the divorce:

    "His course of conduct toward his wife evidenced such insistent egotism and extravagant self-priase that it would be manifest to the jury that his conduct towards her was one of continual arrogant domination, that would necessarily render the life of any sensitive Christian woman a burden and make her condition intolerable. The indignities offered to her in treating her as a menial in the presence of servants, intimating that she was of unsound mind, and that she was under the influence of designing and wicked persons fully warranted her withdrawal from his house, and justified her fear that he intended to to further humiliate her by a threat to resort to legal proceedings to test her sanity. There is not a syllable in the testimony to justify his repeated aspersions on her character or her mental condition, nor does he intimate in any way that there was any cause for difference between them, other than that she did not agree with him in his views of life and methods of conducting their business. He says himself that she is a woman of high intellectual qualities and of perfect moral chracter. Whie he denied, in a general way, that he attempted to belittle his wife as she claimed, the general effect of his testimony is a strong confirmation of her allegations."

    That doesn't sound like he's talking about the kind of person God himself would want as a mouth piece, does it?

    : Hmmm....maybe Rutherford had something on CTR and the others that allowed him to manuever things in taking over The Society....What do you think??

    I doubt it. Russell did not want Rutherford to take over his work. He wanted a committee to do it. Rutherford took over by bullying and making false claims about the illegality of the board members' positions.

    I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that it was Rutherford who slowly poisoned Russell to death, though.


  • minimus

    .....sounds like a married man that is celibate toward his wife.

  • toreador

    Very interesting! Thanks Fark!

    How hard is it to get these court transcripts you quoted from and how do you go about it?


  • Farkel

    : How hard is it to get these court transcripts you quoted from and how do you go about it?

    It's not hard. Randy Watters might be able to tell you who's providing them now. You'll have to pay a fee, but it isn't very much.


Share this