The strange tale of CHARLIE and MARIA RUSSELL: (the Twain)

by Terry 30 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Terry

    A chronolgical view of the mysterious couple who launched a new religion!

    Charles Taze Russell was born in 1852 (February 16) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was raised in a strict Presbyterian home.

    1868 (Age 16) In an encounter with a non-believer he became disillusioned over the subject of whether God as a heavenly father would burn his children in hell

    1869 (Joseph Franklin Rutherford was born and raised a Baptist)


    1870 At the age of 18 the deeply troubled Russell attended a meeting where Adventism was preached by Millerite Jones Wendall. He heard for the first time the idea that there was no burning hell.

    A now changed Russell starts his own Bible study group which elected him as "Pastor". In the course of these studies Russell discovered that Christ had returned invisibly in 1875. (Russel would have been 23 years old)

    Charles Russell decides it is incumbent upon him to publicize this arrival of Jesus by publishing Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence" in magazine form. He sent out 6,000 issues each month.

    1880 (Age 28) Russell declares that his system of theology had been "revealed" to him directly from God.

    Now a new character appears!

    Russell had taken up with a highly intelligent original thinker whom he eventually married,(1879) Maria Francis Ackley who explained to Russell that he was the "faithful and wise servant" of Matthew 24:45.

    Maria Russell conceived of the two of them "Twain" as this mouthpiece of God.

    1881 (Age 29) Zion's Watchtower tract society is formed ( The Henry Ward Beecher mansion, at 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, came into the possession of the Society, and Pastor Russell continued to use the home of Brooklyn's world famed pulpit orator as his study and residence until his death.)

    1882(Age 30) Russell officially denies the doctrine of the Trinity

    1884(Age 32) Russell turns the Watchtower into a Corporation

    1893 Frederick Franz is born

    1894 Rutherford becomes a missionary for the movement at age 25.

    During the early days of their marriage both Maria and Charles Russell influence each other's thinking. Russell sees that Maria wants full equality of credit for the development of the theology he is putting into print. When Studies in the Scriptures is finished Russell starts urging people not to read his earlier work (influenced by Maria.)

    By this time Russell is convinced Jehovah reveals his Truth to him alone. Poor Maria!

    The Russell's arguments grow more and more heated and bitterness ensues.

    1896 (Russell is 44) Maria Russell repudiates her stance on her husband being the "Faithful" and wise servant. She now identifies him as the "Evil Slave" of Matthew24:45-47

    Marital relations become strained to the point of outright war. Scandal ensues.

    1903 (Russell is age 51) Maria Russell filed for legal separation. (Maria claimed she was tortured by Russell who denied her sex. She accused Russell of kissing and fondling his "special friend" who was stenographer and had come to them as a foster child at the age of 10 in 1889)

    Charles Russell had been moving his/their assets into the corporation for the previous 19 years to avoid alimony.

    1906 Maria Russell writes her views on headship and marital obligations in THE TWAIN revealing an incisive mind with a clear grasp of women's issues.

    March 1,1917 One year after Charles Russell's death "The Watchtower unhesitatingly proclaims brother Russell as 'that Faithful and Wise Servant'

    Awake! May 8,1951 "who is preaching the teaching of Pastor Russell? Certainly not Jehovah's Witnesses! They can not be accused of following him, for they neither quote him as an authority nor publish or distribute his writing"

    Thus, Russell was both proclaimed and denied by his wife and the society which he founded.

    When Maria Russell published her writing, the following critic gave his mind on the substance of her scriptural explications:

    Pittsburgh Lender

    Sunday Morning October 14th, 1906-Special Magazine Section


    "The Twain One" Reviewed by a Local Minister, Who Finds Fault With the Premises and Conclusions




    "True happiness, in any human relationship, is incompatible with ignoble ideas both of tyranny and of servility."

    "Paternal and filial love must respond to each other."

    "Any subserviency to fellow man is a secondary consideration û We ought to obey God rather than man and this is manifestly right so we must oppose men when they are wrong."

    "The duty of submission to those in leading positions in the church we regard not in the light of unquestioning childish or servile obedience, but simply as a matter of respectful deference."

    "The servant is not in duty bound to please his master in all things except within the limit of his contract."

    "Obedience of children to parents is expected by God, but for any tyrannical use of this parental authority to gratify a pride of power in the dominant parties will be punished by God. The command of obedience does not apply to children after they come to maturity."

    "The Scriptures do not teach domestic slavery."

    "Adam found in woman a companion capable of sharing all his joys."

    "Nothing in the Scriptures indicates that woman was in the least inferior to man."

    "God created man and woman with equal rights."

    "Woman has become the weaker vessel through sinful man."

    "He (man) often, selfishly taking advantage of the situation rules over her (woman) instead of treating her as an heir."

    Quotations from Mrs. Russell’s book, "Twain One."


    Marie Frances Russell, the wife of the celebrated Pastor Charles T. Russell, the North Side preacher, with congregations all over the world, has written a book which is of the "woman’s rights" order. Those who have analyzed the work are of the opinion that Mrs. Russell has undertaken to sustain her position in applying for a divorce from bed and board and demanding alimony from her husband.

    "The Twain One" is the title, and the green cloth cover binds all sorts of biblical quotations to sustain the contention of the author that a woman was created equal with man, with the same rights, and instead of being servile to man, woman was expected to be an heir of the land with him and share all his joys and returns from the soil. She launches into a tirade against sinful man and takes the stand that the decline of woman in influence and wealth is absolutely due to sinful and greedy man who, taking advantage of woman, has domineered over her to such an extent that woman is generations off her sphere.

    Too frequent maternity, due of course to greedy and sinful man, has also prevented woman from associating with others in the world so that she could progress mentally as rapidly as man. Instead, she has been compelled to stay in the house, raise children and, while man is recuperating in the fields and associating with his neighbors, "gathering strength the while," poor woman is debarred from what is divinely hers and sinful man is rubbing it in on her at a great rate. The time apparently, is ripe for a change of all this and woman should step into the church, business and even at home to demand what has been given her by God and "held out," to use the parlance of the day, by greedy, sinful, domineering man.

    A review of the book by a minister follows:

    "The title of this little volume would seem to imply a treatise respecting the oneness of union and mutual adaptability of the sexes to each other so as to produce the greatest amount of harmony or union. However, the writer does not, in our judgment, seem to approach the subject from this standpoint, but rather the reverse û ‘the twain two.’ The motif appears to be to disprove any special headship of the husband and hence to establish a double headship in every family. The thought of the writer seems to be the one that is now so common amongst so-called ‘new women.’ viz., that in the divine order men and women were by nature, and by grace intended to be on an absolute equality, mentally and physically, but that women, for centuries oppressed by men, have gradually grown weaker and weaker both in mind and in body until today that writer reluctantly admits men are stronger both mentally and physically. That we may do the writer no injustice on this point we quote:

    "‘They (Adam and Eve) stood on a par in God’s estimation of his handiwork. It is manifest that God created them with equal rights when he gave the dominion of earth to them both originally’ (p. 31.). ‘Dr. H. S. Drayton tells us that while woman’s brain is smaller than man’s it is larger in proportion to the total weight of the body, and is more finely organized, so that in his opinion honors are about even.’ (p. 37.)

    "As proof of an acknowledge feminine inferiority of strength, mentally and physically, the author says: ‘Woman’s natural office of motherhood and home duties connected with it, the training of children, etc., which, under perfect conditions, as originally designed, could have brought only happiness and joy, instead under the conditions induced by sin, brought sorrow and the gradual physical weakening or decline The too frequent maternity often imposed upon her, regardless of proper conditions, has undermined the health of women generation after generation, while man, whose natural occupation has been more in the fields and in subduing the elements of nature, has gathered from nature more of its invigorating force and thus woman has become, by far, the weaker vessel.’ (p. 36.) ‘Thus the natural tendency of sin has been, not only to render woman a weaker vessel, but also to bring her under the power of her husband.’ (p. 41.)

    "Whatever the author may otherwise be she is evidently not a logician, as shown by the above quotations: for while she argues that the sexes are equal and should stand on a par every way she, in the different quotations, claims that women have become by far the weaker vessel û hence logically no longer on a par with males.

    "But still more illogical is the proposition above quoted that women have become ‘by far the weaker vessel’ gradually for centuries as a result of the recognition of the headship of men. Would not even a novice in logic recognize the fact that such a claim is an absurdity; because every girl babe must receive of the strength, the virility of the father as every boy babe must partake of the weaknesses of his mother. If males begat males and females begat females we would could understand how the one sex could, in centuries, oppress and degrade the other; knowing that this is not the case, but that on the contrary nature equalizes and harmonizes the strength and weakness of both parents in the children, it follows that the author has failed to grasp her subject. She may not be aware, either, that in Europe for centuries women have labored in the fields and thus have employed the very conditions which she says has made the males superior in mental and physical strength.

    "Far be it from the writer to inveigh against women or to deny women their proper rights and opportunities We are even willing to concede, that in times past, under barbaric and semi-civilized conditions, women had not by any means the liberties and opportunities they should have had; but are not the same things true of the other sex? Have not the majority of men in the past been the merest serfs or slaves? Are we not to remember that only within the past century has Europe given to the males universal suffrage? Indeed, this boon of the family was not given to the English males until within a decade, and in Russia suffrage has only been granted to the males this very year under restrictions, somewhat similar to those which prevail in Germany, which give those not property owners a decidedly less voice in politics than others? Are we not to remember that free school education in Europe is only the matter of the past decade? What we should notice in this connection is that just in proportion as the males have gotten free from serfdom and ignorance in the very same proportion have the females of the same lands risen to civilization and education. These points appear to us to be too frequently overlooked by those studying or discussing so called women’s rights.

    "It is a fact that the twain are one by divine arrangement and by their creation. The sexes are so adapted the one to the other that injury to either signifies proportionate loss to both. Hence the safe and sane of both sexes are practically agreed that the Almighty did not design the sexes to be exactly equal either mentally or physically, but better far than this did design an adaptation between them, the one for the other, represented in the expression ‘a manly man’ and ‘a womanly woman.’ We feel sure that the observance of this law of nature brings more joy than any amount of disputation, or endeavor to prove that there is no difference between the sexes. Very few women would care to marry or expect to be happy with an effeminate man, and very few men would desire to marry or expect to be happy with a masculine wife."

    "The author lays great stress upon the fact that women do not receive proper recognition in the churches—evidently believing that no sex distinction should be recognized in the ministry. Although the consensus of opinion among Christian people for centuries has been that of the special ministrations of religion should be in the hands of males, this apparently has no influence whatever with our author. She carefully culls every reference to women in the Old and New Testaments and makes the most of these to support her contention, but either innocently or intentionally omits all notice of the fact that Jesus Christ appointed no female apostles—the twelve were male and the subsequent seventy sent out were men; nor was this because there were no women interested at that time, nor, as is seemingly hinted, the women of that day were so much more illiterate than the men. On the contrary, we have the apostolic statement to the effect that they were fishermen and tax-gatherers from the humbler walks of life and that, too it was distinctly stated by the public in general that they were ignorant and unlearned men. (#Ac 4:13) If ignorant and unlearned men could be qualified and used by the Christ as His representatives, could not the ignorant and unlearned women have been equally qualified for His service had He so designed. But on the contrary, have we not the intimation that some of the believing women of the time were of the higher class, styled, "honorable women" û women of station, "wealth and probably of education also? See #Lu 8:3, #Ac 7:4-12. The same is true of the course pursued by the apostles. We have no record that they ever ordained women as elders in any of the churches they organized. Nevertheless they, both Jesus, and the apostles, were prompt to recognize, appreciate and to utilize the womanly talents and qualities of the believers of that time, as we believe, all Christian ministers are disposed to do to this day.

    "The author of the "Twain One" certainly displays the craftiness of an expert attorney supporting an unjust case when she attempts to so interpret the words of the apostles respecting the deference or submission of the wife as the weaker vessel to the husband as the head of the family With a n attorney’s skill she arranges three difficult texts in order, placing first, one, the phraseology of which she could construe favorably, and then proceeds to apply the misfit interpretation to the others. For instance the following:

    "‘Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as it is fit in the Lord." #Col 3:13 ‘Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the savior (preserver, caretaker) of the body. Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.’ #Eph 5:22-24

    "Again she quotes, ‘Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands.’ #1Pe 3:1

    "The veriest tyro in scriptural exegesis would surely be astonished at the cleverness of the misinterpretation of the first of these texts. The apostle says ‘as it is fit in the Lord,’ by this evidently meaning that women in the Christian church were to be submissive to their husbands as were the Jewish women, and not to consider that because they were not ‘in the Lord’ they were exempted from the proper responsibilities of wives. ‘As it is fit’ then evidently means, as it is proper, as it is right for those in the Lord to do But our authoress gives a twist to the entire matter in these words. ‘We must bear in mind this limitation of fitness.’ (P. 53). She proceeds to ring the changes of these words fit and fitness twelve times in her endeavor to nullify the force of the above quoted Scriptures by implying that the wives are to submit themselves to their own husbands not ‘as it is fit’ but rather as the wives may deem fit.

    "Surely no sound mind could understand the apostolic injunctions above quoted to signify that wives were to be so submissive to their husbands that they would murder or steal or do other unlawful things. Fortunately, the average men and women have little difficulty in comprehending the scriptural advice on this subject, vis: that love should cement the marriage tie, that in the union the twain will be one, that the head of the united pair is the husband, whose delight as well as responsibility would be to look well after the interests, mental and physical, of his wife ready, if need be, to lay down his life for her protection. Fortunately, too, the majority of women appreciate just such headship as the apostles here indicate and these are the happy couples who best represent the "Twain One," and happy are the children who have parents thus mated in harmony with natural law and scriptural injunction.

    "The advocates of ‘women’s rights’ seem assuredly to be persons in whom the milk of human kindness have soured sometimes through ambition and sometimes through fallacious reasoning! For instance they often tell us that the great colleges are for the men, that the women have no such opportunities for education. They tell us that the legislatures and courts are bound upon the grinding of woman into the dust, into the mire, and that it is necessary for women to step forth from the battles of motherhood and the home to battle for female suffrage and other rights.

    "Fortunately for the world, the majority of the sex reason more soundly than this. Through education or by observation they learn that their husbands and fathers in the legislatures have framed most equitable laws in their interest, for their protection and safeguard, and that the courts are always more lenient toward women than toward men, and that they fare far better at the hands of a male jury than they would if tried before a jury of their own sex, and that the public schools and high schools are as open to the females as to the males, and that a proportionately larger number of the females than of the males are afforded high school opportunities and normal school privileges. They learn, also, that there is abundant provision for their sex in the female seminaries and colleges and that these, almost without exception, have been established and endowed by the opposite sex. We conclude that the majority of the sensible thinkers agree respecting the solidarity of the race-and that in the family and home the husband and wife are not to be twain, but one, and that in the responsibility for the family’s care both human and divine law are right in holding the male to be the responsible head and caretaker.

    "That the author is not ashamed of her work is evidenced by the fact that her name appears in the same six times."

  • blondie
  • Terry

    Did Rose Ball sit on C.T. Russell's lap? Did they caress each other? Did Charlie kiss the young lady who took care of correspondence for the Watchtower? Read the transcript and draw your own conclusions.

    The verbatim record of this testimony taken from the official report of the case on file in the office of the Prothonotary of Allegheny County is as follows:

    Q. I want you to tell us what your husband did in company with this woman Rose, in your presence and in your home.

    A. In the first place I considered it--(objected to and witness was not permitted to finish.)

    Q. Tell us what you saw and what he said was done.

    A. One evening he spent the evening downstairs and our library and bedroom were next to each other upstairs on the second floor, and I spent the evening downstairs reading, and I went upstairs about 10 o'clock to my room, and I supposed that: he was either in the library or had retired, and when I went up there I found that he was in neither place, and I stepped out in the hall, and I found that he was in his night robe, sitting beside Miss Ball's bed and she was in bed. On other occasions I found him going in there and I found she called him in and said she wasn't well and wanted him in, and I objected to this, and I said that it was highly improper, and I said: "We have people about the house, and what kind of a name will be attached in this house if you do that sort of thing?" and he got angry.

    Pastor's Wife Tells of His Alleged Nightly VisitsQ. You state that you found him doing this at other times. How often after that?

    A. I found him a number of times; I don't remember how often.

    Q. In her room?

    A. Yes, sir. And I found him in the servant girl's room as well. and I found him locked in the servant girl's room.

    Q. Did he make any explanation why he was in the girl's room?

    A. No. He did not; he just got angry.

    Q. What did you say to him about this conduct and what did he say.

    A. I said to him, "We have a great work on our hands," and I said, "In this work you and I have to walk very circumspectly before the world and if you are going to do things like this, what will happen? Suppose you are all right, don't you suppose people will talk about things like this?" and I said, "I am not satisfied with it," and he said he wasn't going to be ruled by me. But I felt distressed about that.

    Q. What did Rose do at the Watch Tower.

    A. She attended to the correspondence.

    Q. Where was her desk with reference to the desk of Mr. Russell of the Watch Tower Society?

    A. It wasn't near his; it was in the office.

    Q. When would he go to the Watch Tower, in the morning?

    A. I don't remember; he generally went down alone.

    Q. Who would return with him?

    A. She came with him in the evening and they came about 11 o'clock and the young men that were in the office -- she was the only girl, and the young men would go home, and he wouldn't allow her to go home with them, and she must wait and always go with him.

    (Objected to.) Q. I want the mere fact, did this girl Rose go home with your husband?

    A. Yes, Sir.

    Q. What year was that?

    A. In the fall of 1894. (By Mr. Porter, attorney for the plaintiff.)

    Q. Did you state to your husband at this meeting any endearing terms?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. What were they?

    A. I said "She tells me that one evening you came home --" I asked her when did these things occur. I said to him, "She says they occurred down at the office when she stayed down there with him in the evening after the rest had gone, and at home at any time when I wasn't around."

    Q. Now, about the endearing terms?

    A. She said one evening when she came home with him, just as she got inside the hall, it was late in the evening, about 11 o'clock, he put his arms around her and kissed her. This was in the vestibule before they entered the hall, and he called her his little wife, but she said "I am not your wife." and he said "I will call you daughter, and a daughter has nearly all the privileges of a wife."

    Q. What other terms were used?

    A. Then he said, "I am like a jellyfish. I float around here and there. I touch this one and that one, and if she responds I take her to me, and if not, I float on to others"; and she wrote that out so that I could remember it for sure when I would speak to him about it. And he confessed that he said those things.

    Q. And the young men came home ahead of them?

    A. Yes, sir.

    Q. State to the court and jury what talk, if any, you had with this girl Rose, in regard to her relations with your husband, which you communicated to your husband?

    This question was objected to and it was changed to read as follows: Q. You are to tell what you stated to your husband that Rose had said and his reply to you.

    Mrs. Russell Says Girl Told Her of Pastor's Caresses.A. I told him that I had learned something that was very serious and I didn't tell him right away. I let a day elapse until I felt I had control of myself and could talk and then I told him that I had something very serious to tell him about this matter, and he said, "What is it?" and I said, "Rose has told me that you have been intimate with her, that you have been in the habit of hugging and kissing her and having her sit on your knee and fondling each other, and she tells me you bid her under no account to tell me, but she couldn't keep it any longer. She said if I was distressed about it she felt that she would have to come and make a confession to me, and she has done that. (By the court.)

    Q. What did he say?

    A. He tried to make light of it at first and I said, "Husband, you can't do that. I know the whole thing. She has told me straight and I know it to be true." Well, he said he was sorry; it was true, but he was sorry. He said he didn't mean any harm. I said, "I don't see how you could do an act like that without meaning harm."

    Tsk tsk tsk!

  • snowbird

    Blondie beat me to it!

    I read both The Twain One and This Gospel of the Kingdom - fine mind, beautiful lady.

    Wonder how much of her manuscript, The Eternal Purpose, did Franz "borrow" to use in his expositions?

    Tee hee hee.


  • Broken Promises
  • Terry

    It is mind-boggling how the average Jehovah's Witness won't even blink when confronted by the fact that the ENTIRE CONCEPT

    of turning the "faithful and Discreet Slave" into the central dogma of Jehovah's Witness theology COMES FROM MARIA RUSSELL!!

    Without the FDS doctrine there would be no GOVERNING BODY ruling the Watchtower!!

    Clearly Maira was marginalized as women always have been in the Watchtower religion.

    Without women this religion would collapse overnight.

  • blondie

    BTW, I do believe that Barbara Anderson is close to consolidating a book she is writing with Jim Penton, on Maria Russell (pronounced Moriah).

  • snowbird

    I was quite impressed that, according to Barbara Anderson, Maria wrote in the Spencerian style of penmanship.

    An example from Wikipedia:

    File:Spencerian example.jpg

    Coca-Cola's trademark name is also written in the Spencerian style.


  • JWoods

    Surely we are not attempting to make a heroienne out of this crazy woman?

    She was just as bad as her husband.

  • snowbird

    I don't consider her a heroine; she's just a woman who was married to the founder of the WTS, which organization has had a profound impact on my life and the life of my family.

    For that reason, and that reason only, of course, I'm interested!


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