When reading the new book on Nelson Barbour and his relationship to Russell I was struck by two things. The authors politely say that an unnamed Witness historian tried to stop the book from seeing print because he thought it would show the watchtower religion to be less than divine. They quote from Hebert Stroup's rather disorganized book from the 1940's. Stroup's comment was:
“There is no unified historical record of the movement and on the whole the present-day followers are totally ignorant that the group has a history. The majority of those whom I questioned did not even know the year of its founding. Many Witnesses would like to assume that the organization, being inspired of God, never had an earthly beginning. Some actually told me that it dated back to a period before the creation of the world. Others said that the problem of the organization’s history was trivial beside such a monumental task as that in which they are now engaged.”
Being totally ancient, I remember how excited I was when The Watchtower published a series of history articles back in 1955. The excitement diminished when I tried to follow up on some of what was written. The Watchtower organization is only interested in using "history" to promote its view of itself as God's modern-day mouth piece. As disappointing as those articles were back in 1955, the piqued my interest.
Of course the Watchtower isn't alone in fearing its own history, but it makes no sense to hide what others can find. I noted that the authors of the book editorialize about that over on their blog. I wonder if they're getting fed up with resistance from their own people.
Both the book and the author blog are well worth reading. They have just put up bits of research on Russell's early Adventist contacts. I’m pleased that they produce the sources for their research, something the Watchtower’s Proclaimers book fails to do.
The blog is here: truthhistory.blogspot.com
The book is here: