In fact Russell never was a Jehovahs witness.
In the Proclaimers book, page 40 they write:
Stirrings of Watchfulness
In the 19th century, though, the religious climate led to stirrings of
Christian watchfulness. As a result of Bible research on the part of some
clergymen and Bible scholars, such teachings as the immortal sod, eternal
torment after death, predestination, and the Trinity were restudied. In addition,
some students of the Bible were closely examining Bible prophecies
pertaining to the last days. Consequently, various groups of persons
began thinking seriously about the Lord's promised return.
William Miller predicted the return of Christ in
visible form in 1843 or 1844. The German theologian
J. A. Bengel set the date for 1836; the Irvingites in Engl&
dlooked first to 1835, then 1838,1864, and 1866.
There was a Mennonite group in Russia that looked
/ first to 1889, then to 1891.
So why not relegate Russell to the level of these other bible scholars, and say that the true "truth" came sometime later.
That way, they could disassociate themselves from a lot of the now embarrassing things that Russell said.