A Search for Truth
C. T. Russell was born in the United States, in Allegheny (now part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, on February 16, 1852. He was the second son of Joseph L. and Ann Eliza (Birney) Russell, who were Presbyterians of Scottish-Irish descent. Charles’ mother died when he was only nine years old, but from an early age, Charles was influenced by both of his religiously-minded parents. As a later associate of C. T. Russell put it, "they trained the small twig; and it grew in the direction of the Lord." Although brought up as a Presbyterian, Charles eventually joined the Congregational Church because he preferred its views.
Young Charles was evidently quite a businessman. At just 11 years of age, he became a partner with his father in a thriving men’s clothing store. Charles enlarged the business, eventually operating a number of different stores himself. Although things went well for him in business, spiritually he was very troubled. Why was this?
Charles’ parents sincerely believed the creeds of Christendom’s churches and brought him up to accept them too. Young Charles was thus taught that God is love, yet that he had created men inherently immortal and had provided a fiery place in which he would eternally torment all except those who had been predestined to be saved. Such an idea repulsed the honest heart of teenage Charles. He reasoned: "A God that would use his power to create human beings whom he foreknew and predestinated should be eternally tormented, could be neither wise, just nor loving. His standard would be lower than that of many men."
But young Russell was no atheist; he simply could not accept the commonly understood teachings of the churches. He explained: "Gradually I was led to see that though each of the creeds contained some elements of truth, they were, on the whole, misleading and contradictory of God’s Word." Indeed, in the creeds of the churches, "elements of truth" were buried under a morass of pagan teachings that had infiltrated tainted Christianity during the centuries-long apostasy. Turning away from church creeds and searching for truth, Russell examined some leading Oriental religions, only to find these unsatisfying.
Is this not were the WTBTS sect is today! Their "doctrines of men", rules and writings that go beyond the scriptures.