The Pyramid Monument in Rosemount Cemetery, Allegheny, Pa.

by Kenneson 3 Replies latest jw friends

  • Kenneson

    In Oct. 1916 the founder of the Watchtower Society died. In his will published in the Dec. 1, 1916 Zion's Watch Tower, Charles Taze Russell stipulated: "I desire to be buried in the plot of ground owned by our Society, in the Rosemount United Cemetery, and all the details of arrangement respecting the funeral service I leave in the care of my sister, Mrs. M.M. Land, and her daughters, Alice and May, or such of them that may survive me, with the assistance and advice and cooperation of the brethren, as they may request the same. Instead of an ordinary funeral discourse, I request that they have a number of the brethren, accustomed to public speaking, make a few remarks each, that the service be very simple and inexpensive and that it be conducted in the Bible House Chapel or any other place that may be considered appropriate or more so..." Further down under "Closing Scenes in New York and Pittsburgh" we read:
    "The funeral cortege consisted of 101 automobile and a train of several trolley cars. The beautiful Rosemount Cemetery was reached at dusk, where a company of five hundred friends were gathered on the hillside to witness the last rites in connection with the placing of our loved one in the grave. An avenue lined with flowers was formed, through which came the mourners with bared heads, bearing solemnly the casket containing the remains of our Pastor. The walls of the grave were lined with ferns and white chrysanthemums. At the foot was a floral design inlaid with colors of gold, which silently expressed the belief that the victorious Christian soldier, whose body lay before us, had gone home, and was now a partner of the Divine nature. "While the bier rested upon the supports over the open grave, prayer was offered, and the casket was lowered to its final resting place, during which the choir impressively sang the beautiful words of Hymn No. 98." Click Watch Tower. Then look for 1916 and click. Scroll down to Dec. 1 and click.

    It's interesting to note that nothing in Russell's will mentions a pyramid monument. I am of the opinion that this was really J.A. Bohnet's idea; he was one of the members of the Board of Directors of the Watch Tower Society. He designed the monument and claimed it met Russell's approval. But there is nothing in writing. And nothing leads me to believe that the Masons had anything to do with its erection. The 1919 Souvenir report claimed it is a memorial to the Watch Tower Society. See See also "On the Pyramid a Masonic Symbol" at There are also numerous articles on the Masonic question here. Please note that some of the articles were written by a Frenchman, whose English is not the best.
    Sometimes people point to the Greater Masonic Temple that is visible across the roadway from the Cemetery claiming it is proof that the monument was put up by the Masons. Please note that this temple was built in 1995, some 79 years after Russell's burial and has nothing to do with the cemetery. Proximity is not proof. The old Masonic temple was built in Pittsburgh in 1914 and is now owned by the University of Pittsburgh. Does that make the University a bastion for Masons?

  • kid-A

    But there is nothing in writing. And nothing leads me to believe that the Masons had anything to do with its erection

    Its irrelevant whether or not the masons had anything to do with its placement, the issue is, why would Russell have requested this, if your hypothesis is correct?

    This also does not account for Russells consistent use of masonic imagery on his literature (eg the winged sun-disk). While there is no proof of his membership in the masons, clearly he borrowed from their imagery and ideas, which is the important point. P.S. having worked at the university of pittsburgh for several years, I can tell you, the masonic building you are referring to is still owned by the masons, but is leased out to the university campus. The masons still have their own parking lot beside the entrance and it is used regularly for mason and shriner events.

  • Rig Boy
  • Kenneson

    Kid A,

    The Masons, according to the following article, have not owned the former Masonic Temple since 1993 when it was acquired by the University of Pittsburgh. It was renovated and renamed in 2002.

    Why did Russell request this symbol into the cemetery? It is not known for a fact that Russell did. This was J.A. Bohnet's claim. However, Russell certainly did believe in pyramidology. But this belief was not restricted to Masons. Others, particularly John Taylor and Charles Piazzi Smyth were instrumental in introducing it to Adventist groups and subsequently Russell and the Bible Students. Check this link: Smyth died in 1900.

    To better understand how Russell was introduced to pyramidology go to

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