Charles Taze Russell was born on Feb. 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh. His parents awed him at an early age with grim tales of hellfire and damnation. While helping his father build the family's chain of clothing stores, Russell began to question the validity of including the concept of eternal damnation in Christian dogma. Bible study, fascination with the Millerite, or Adventist, movement, and his own inability to reconcile hell with the Christian concept of mercy caused him to develop a personal theology which he began to teach others.
I have to wonder why you hang on so tightly to this part of the cult you were in. Could it be your experience?
Charles Taze Russell was a non-sectarian. He did not believe in an organization such as the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Yes, Charles Taze Russell did indeed learn the truth from Bible (with the aid others who had come before him) that the Bible hell is not a place of eternal suffering, however, he did believe in the Bible's teaching of eternal damnation. Russell did indeed reconcile the Bible hell with the Christian concept of mercy as revealed in the Bible.
The main emphasis of the Watch Tower in the days of Russell was on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus -- indeed, this was the main purpose for which Russell began to publish the Watch Tower magazine, that is, to defend that atoning sacrfice. Of course, if the immortal soul/spirt theories are true, then there was no need for any atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Likewise, if people who do not believe in Jesus in this age are judged (indivdually) to be eternally condemned to be in conscious suffering for all eternity, and they go into that eternal state when they die, then Jesus could not possibly have paid an atoning sacrifice to set them free from that eternal suffering so that they might be judged anew in the day of judgment, since their eternal judgment had already been set. (John 12:47,48) The man, Christ Jesus, gave his flesh for the life of the world, to be witnesses in due time. (John 6:51; 1 Timothy 2:5,6)
And, additionally, if the penalty upon man for disobedience in eternal conscious suffering for all eternity, then Jesus himself, in order to pay that penalty, would have to be now suffering for all eternity, whereas the Bible shows that he now suffers no more, having suffered once for sin. (1 Peter 3:18) In truth, God's wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), not eternal conscious suffering for all eternity. As a human being, Jesus is eternally dead, which was the condemnation through Adam (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22), but as to his being made alive in the spirit, he dies no more. -- Romans 6:9; Revelation 1:18.
I thank God for opening the eyes of Russell to these wonderful truths!!!!