In memory of Charles Taze Russell who died 92 years ago.

by AndersonsInfo 50 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • AndersonsInfo

    I'm thinking about offering the Russell divorce trial transcript as an e-document if there is any interest out there. It's a few hundred pages to download and I'll probably offer it for $10.00 through Lulu. (I bought both the divorce trial transcript and the appeal for $300.00 around 1999.) The e-document would not include the appeal transcript copy which is very difficult to read and has to have lots of work done on it to make it easier to read before scanning.

    Any interest?


  • Leolaia

    Hell yes. The Russell vs. Russell transcript is a major, major lacuna in documentation of the history of the WTB&TS. The Moyle, Walsh, US. vs. Rutherford transcripts have been available for years and years, but not the Russell one.

  • Kenneson


    I noticed that Rev. E.R. Barnard officiated at Maria's funeral. What was her affilation at this time?

  • AndersonsInfo

    Some years back I contacted Rhodes Funeral Home in St. Petersburg to ask about the church affiliation of the minister who conducted Maria's funeral. Their records did not indicate his religion so that was a dead end. I'm presently looking for area records which would point to his religious affiliation. If anybody in St. Petersburg wants to do some research on the subject, it would be helpful.

    I was told that Maria attended a few Bible Student conventions in Florida where she saw old friends who had left Rutherford's Watch Tower organization. To some people it probably seems odd that she went to any Bible Student conventions knowing that the people there were followers of Charles Taze Russell, but old friends knew the part she played in the formation of the Watch Tower organization and her co-authoring participation in writing WT literature. Perhaps she went there out of curiosity; And to listen to discussions about Bible Student beliefs was very meaningful to her because she knew she had helped her husband create their theology. No doubt she clung to her past belief system, but not to her old life with C.T. Russell because she spent her last years writing about her beliefs and wrote not a word about her former husband.

    When Maria moved to Florida she was 72 years old. Many years had passed since she won her divorce suit in 1906 when she was 66. In that year she published her book, "This Gospel of the Kingdom," and, until she died, she was working on "The Eternal Purpose" book which would have replaced "This Gospel of the Kingdom." From reading her manuscript that I published on the e-document, "The Writings of Maria Russell," it was clear Maria clung to the majority of her Watch Tower dispensational beliefs. From all of the above, I would conclude she did not join any other church in the area, although I believe she was known to ministers in the area. When Maria Russell died at age 87, a few days before her 88th birthday, she had outlived her friends from before1897, the year when she left her husband and no longer associated with his followers in worship. Consequently, in 1938, who was there around to even preach her funeral that knew and loved her from years past? So it was up to her neice Mabel to find someone because no Bible Student elder would do it since the group living at that time believed all of Pastor Russell's slanderous statements he wrote about his wife in the 1906 Watch Tower. Or perhaps the funeral home provided the minister as that's often done when people who believe in God don't go to church and relatives don't know any local minister to ask to conduct the services.


  • minimus

    So Maria was pretty much disfellowshipped?

    She didn't start her own religion. Did she regularly attend anywhere?

  • AndersonsInfo

    As far as I know, Maria did not attend any church. Neither did her neice, Mabel, or her three children who were all close to their aunt since they all lived together at one point. Mabel's daughter's son, in his 70's now, remembered his grandmother Mabel's mother, Emma, and her sister, Maria, as two very sweet old woman. He recalled no other religion for any of them. He is not religious at all and couldn't discuss Russell teachings to save his life.

    One of Mabel's sons, John, was given Maria's manuscript and Maria's favorite research books and Bibles when his mother knew she was dying. John also had the 7 volume WT Reprints and when he died, his son inherited his father's worldly goods including all of the books. That man told me that his father, John, did not go to any church, but he and his family attend the Baptist Church. Of any of the relatives I spoke to, this fellow has the most understanding of his Ackley and Russell background and their beliefs. And this is the man who gave me Maria's unpublished manuscript plus his father's WT Reprints and also Maria's personal study books and Bibles, which I will give to Princeton University to include in their Watch Tower collection.

    Hopefully, I've answered the question asking if Maria attended any church. We don't have her saying so, but the evidence I think I've provided in this and my other post indicates she did not.

    There were many people who left the Watch Tower religion after the divorce and after C.T. Russell's 1909 mediator-ship and new covenant change in teaching. It is thought the number was as high as 40,000. Out of this group, thousands were loyal to Maria and did not shun her. The people that shunned Maria were those who stayed loyal to Pastor Russell in the Bible Student movement. Also, Jehovah's Witnesses would not talk with Maria if they met her going door to door or if meeting a Bible Student under the same circumstance. In fact, a few years ago, Mabel's grandson in Florida went up to a JW engaged in street work in St. Petersburg and told her about his relationship to Maria Russell, which also includes a relationship to Pastor Russell. The Witness woman was very excited about meeting him and said she was going to tell the elders about him. The next time he tried to talk to her, she told him the elders told her not to speak to him. So even Maria's non-Witness, non-Bible Student descendants, over 60 years after she died, are shunned by JWs.


  • still_in74
    So even Maria's non-Witness, non-Bible Student descendants, over 60 years after she died, are shunned by JWs.


    thanks for all your hard work Barb! We all love you for it!

  • AndersonsInfo

    The minister, Rev. E. R. Bernard, who officiated at Maria's funeral was the pastor of the West Central Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg, Fla. According to "a lamb" who is a poster here on JWD, an article in the St. Petersburg Times in 1925 mentioned Rev. E. R. Bernard as pastor of that church. Many thanks to "a lamb."


  • minimus

    Anderson's, thank you for all that you contribute!

  • choosing life
    choosing life

    Thanks, Barb. so many witnesses have told me that the story of Russell's life does not matter, but it does matter a lot. This is the one single person who they say God chose to start their "true religion".

    Surely, God would have made a better choice.

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