See also WT January 15, 1918 (pg 6202R) reporting on the shareholders' meeting (at which JFR was re-elected president and explained it was the Lord's will):
REGARDING MILITARY EXEMPTION
Quite a number of our brethren in different parts of the country have been denied military exemption. Some of them, because of their refusal to engage in military service, have been court-martialed and sentenced to long terms in prison, while others are held in detention camps in different parts of the country. Those attending the convention felt it incumbent upon them to express their love and sympathy in support of these dear brethren who are so loyally standing for the prineiples represented by our Association; and it was deemed proper to pass a resolution relating to the matter. A committee previously appointed for that purpose reported a resolution on Sunday morning which was read before the convention and, upon motion, was seconded and unanimously adopted. The resolution follows:
... That we recognize ... that the Congress of the United States, representing the people of that nation, placed a provision in the Selective Act that no person should be compelled to engage in military service who is a member of a well-organized religious organization or association whose teachings or principles forbid its members to engage in war, or who are against war in any form; that in taking the position they do, our members are claiming only the protection the law provides against violation of conscience.
"THIRD. That we are followers of the Great Master Christ Jesus our Redeemer, and have covenanted with the Lord to do his will; and that we are certain that it is not his will that we, as his followers, should participate in the great war now upon the earth. We recognize in the present great war one that is different from any other war ever before known, to wit: That it marks the end of the world -- that is to say, the end of the present evil order of things -- and is purging the nations and preparing the way for the kingdom of God for which followers of the Great Master, Christ Jesus, have prayed for many centuries; and that for forty years past this Association has held and taught that the year 1914 would mark the beginning of this great international conflict which the prophets of the Lord foretold must take place, immediately preceding the establishment of the everlasting kingdom of righteousness.
The official line at that point, then, was that Bible Students did not fight.