In the new DVD governing body member David Splane discusses the fact that the Bible Students did not simply disappear after Russell died in 1916. He says this is because Jehovah had already chosen the organization to do his work.
This is not a work of man, this is a work of Jehovah God. It's evident that Jehovah had already chosen this organization, because of the faithfulness and the sincerity of the men behind it. It's obvious that Jehovah had already chosen this organization to get his work done. There were enough honest hearted men, hungering for the truth, desirous of doing the will of God, to prevent the organization from collapsing.
How does that square with the teaching about the inspection of the temple and the selection of the organization in 1919? Is this a change in teaching, a slip of the tongue, or simply an indication they don't care about being consistent in their statements? For decades the selection of the Watchtower organization in 1919 has been a pretty bid deal, and for a governing body member to apparently undermine it with this incidental comment strikes a pretty discordant note.
In a certain sense I suppose Splane is only stating what on some level must be obvious in the Witnesses' presentation of their history. Although they formally teach that Jehovah only chose the organization in 1919, they seem to believe that Jehovah already approved and directed the Bible Students well before that date. His use of language in saying that Jehovah already chose the organization before 1916 is clumsy however, and draws a attention to a tension between the somewhat contradictory messages that Jehovah had been using the Bible Students right from the start, and that the organization was specifically selected as God's chosen organization in 1919.
I have not finished watching all the DVD yet, but so far not a single mention of Maria Russell. That is a travesty!