The Dog that did not bark: Jehovah's Witnesses' greatest mystery

by Terry 52 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • ProdigalSon

    Halloween Deaths: Satanic Ritual Murders
    or Natural Causes?

  • zengalileo

    Very interesting. i'm still not sure I know who the dog is and who is the thief, and who is barking and who is not, and why, but it still was very interesting.

  • Leolaia

    I don't agree with the OP. Rutherford, Van Amburgh, and McMillan certainly promoted the notion that Russell was "that servant" and openly published that claim in the Watch Tower and other official publications. But the idea was already widespread among Bible Students long before Russell died and it is clear that Russell himself was party to the promotion of the view.

    First of all, in the 15 July 1906 issue of the Watch Tower Russell stated that Maria was the first who in 1894 "called attention to Matt. 24:44-45, applying it to me at a meeting at Allegheny and in another meeting with the New York Church. I demurred that I had not thought of the passage thus, and declined to make any personal application of it, although I could not deny the force of the argument....I urged great moderation in the making of any personal application" (p. R3811). Yet in the same issue Russell declares himself (with professed humility) to be "God's mouthpiece" with the unique role of disseminating God's truths as his "agent":

    "I claim nothing of superiority, nor supernatural power, 'dignity or authority; nor do I aspire to exalt myself in the estimation of mv brethren of the household of faith....No, the truths I present, as God’s mouthpiece, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God's audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880. Neither is this clear unfolding of truth due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God’s due time has come; and if I did not speak, and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out" (p. R3822).

    The same issue also publishes a resolution from the Allegheny congregation that recognizes Russell "as the servant of the Lord, whose providence has placed him in the position he has occupied for so many years, and still occupies, for the dissemination of His Truth and the help of His people in the clearer understanding of His holy Word" (p. R3819).

    Russell also frequently referred to his own writings as the "meat in due season" provided by the Lord. "Let us remember that it is not sufficient that we have the Bible, the DAWN STUDIES, upon our shelves or upon our tables. We need to use them, we need to partake of this bread, this meat in due season, this refreshment which our present Lord has supplied to us" (15 May 1907 Watch Tower, p. R3992). "Our WATCH TOWER list does not show a marked increase over last year. We still publish 30,000 copies each issue -- which allows about 3,000 for sample copies and for new subscriptions. The cutting off of some who did not renew accounts for this in part. Responsibility for the size of the list lies largely with you, dear readers. You are our agentsl not for the sake of 'premiums,' but because you appreciate the contents and because you desire as 'fellow-servants' to dispense the divinely provided 'meat in due season' to all who belong to the 'household of faith' " (15 December 1909 Watch Tower, p. R4532).

    At the same time, Russell would explicitly designate the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society as "that servant". "Our opponents are ready to admit that the Lord has used the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society as his channel or servant in forwarding the harvest message in a most remarkable degree" (1 October 1909 Watch Tower, p. R4483). The 1909 Souvenir Notes of the IBSA Convention also put both the Society and Russell in that role: "Our reason for appreciating Brother Russell's recognition more than that of any other man living is that, we have FAITH that the Lord has returned, that He is the Chief Reaper of this Harvest, that He has been supervising that work for now about thirty-five years, that He has placed Brother Russell in charge of that work, that the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY is the CHANNEL which He has been pleased to use for the dissemination of the harvest message -- the 'meat in due season,' and we wish to be in thorough harmony with Him and the Channel He uses ... If any oppose the Lord by opposing the Channel and the Servant the Lord has delegated to do His work, to the extent he loses the favor, the Spirit of the Lord, light becomes darkness, and he is soon outside". J. A. Bohnet wrote that it is not true that "you 'set forth the view that you alone are 'that servant' of Matt. 24:45-47; Luke 12:42-44;' whereas your claim re 'that servant' was for THE WATCH TOWER" (1 February 1910 Watch Tower, p. R4562). But Russell tacitly accepted personal identification of this role to himself by publishing statements from believers in the Watch Tower without correcting them or telling them to stop referring to him in such a manner:

    "Gratefully and lovingly remembering always that through you, dear Pastor, the exposition of God’s great plan and of the real, true meaning of his wonderful Word of Truth, was given as 'meat in due season to the household of faith' " (1 March 1907 Watch Tower, p. R3957)

    "I do thank our dear heavenly Father for raising you up to give us this meat in due season. The Lord has provided all that is needful for his church" (1 April 1907 Watch Tower, p. R3974).

    "I think of you as that faithful steward whom the Master made ruler over all his household to give meat in due season, and that you have been strictly true to your charge; for surely no such heaping dishes of the most wholesome food have been set before the Lord's servants since at the first" (15 February 1908 Watch Tower, p. R4142).

    "May the Lord keep you faithful even unto death as 'that servant', is my daily prayer" (15 May 1909 Watch Tower, p. R4402).

    "My constant prayer for you is that you may fulfil those conditions which shall enable you to continue to give meat in due season to the household of faith" (1 August 1909 Watch Tower, p. R4449).

    "I am glad to say I have always recognized in you the Lord's chosen servant to give us the meat in due season" (15 August 1910 Watch Tower, p. R4670).

    "My heart goes out to you, dear Brother, for all your loving service to the household of faith, and daily our prayers ascend in behalf of you and all the dear Israel of God" (15 January 1911 Watch Tower, p. R4751).

    "I die daily, not only for the cause of the Master, but also for the servant of the Lord. You know what whatever arrow is shot at you by enemies, first pierces me through my heart" (1 February 1913 Watch Tower, p. R5177).

    "I wish to express my deep appreciation of the 'meat in due season' provided by our Lord through you, as a 'chosen vessel' " (15 June 1914 Watch Tower, p. R5486).

    "We want you to know that this class in this little corner of the world have the utmost confidence in you as the Lord's faithful servant, used to deliver his message" (1 June 1915 Watch Tower, p. R5744).

    "We give him [the Lord] thanks and praise for every manifestation of his great love and for the increasing light as it is presented in THE WATCH TOWER. We also thank him for that faithful and wise Servant, and pray richest blessings upon him" (1 June 1915 Watch Tower, p. R5744).

    "I cannot close without again assuring you of my ever increasing love and abiding confidence in you as the Lord's specially chosen servant to bring forth meat in due season" (15 October 1915 Watch Tower, p. R5790)

    "Beloved Brother, it has been our thought this year to send you some slight token of the great love we have for you, as God's appointed servant and channel for dispensing the 'meat in due season' to the household of faith" (15 November 1915 Watch Tower, p. R5804).

    "DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: -- It is with great joy and heartfelt gratitude toward our God and Father and toward our Savior Jesus Christ that I forward to you the yearly report of the French work. We have learned in Christ's school to love our brethren. Our great wish is to progress in this line and, above all, to love the one whom our Savior has chosen as our pastor to give us 'meat in due season' (1 January 1916 Watch Tower, p. R5828).

    "We are grateful to our heavenly Father and to our Present Lord who have used and are still using you to bring forth 'Meat in due season for the Household of Faith' " (1 March 1916 Watch Tower, p. R5869).

    "I praise God for raising you up, dear Brother, as 'that Servant.' May he bless you still more, that you may give us the 'meat in due season' " (15 April 1916 Watch Tower, p. R5888).

    So the Watch Tower under Russell's editorship played an active role in promoting the view that Russell personally was the "faithful and wise sevant".

    Moreover it is not true that the 1 December 1916 Memorial Edition of the Watch Tower represented only the views of Rutherford, Van Amburgh, and Macmillan. Many others, including those who would become Rutherford's adversaries, also expressed the same view. Paul S. L. Johnson wrote: "His official relation to the pilgrims can be understood when we recognize the office to which the Lord was pleased to call him, i.e., to be the special channel for giving the 'meat in due season,' as well as for arranging and directing the work of the household of faith" (p. R6006-6007). Also E. W. V. Kuehn wrote: "Eminently chosen of the Lord (Matthew 24:45) to serve the 'household of faith with meat in due season,' and elsewhere (Ezekiel 9:2, 11) described as the 'man in linen with the writer's ink horn at his side,' HE HAS DONE AS HE WAS COMMANDED, finished the work given to him, and has entered upon his reward" (p. R6011). The congregation in Duluth, Minnesota, wrote a letter stating that "we hereby humbly bow before his unerring decision in taking from us that 'faithful servant' and render thanks for the many blessings received through his ministrations" (p. R6018). The Albany congregation passed a resolution stating that "it has pleased our heavenly Father in his infinite wisdom to take from our midst 'that servant,' our dearly beloved Pastor and brother" (p. R6019). The congregation in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, wrote: "Though your loss and ours as well is very painful, yet how we can rejoice to know our dearly beloved Pastor, 'that servant,' has finished his course in joy and has heard that 'Well done' " (p. R6020). More letters from other congregations were published in the 1 and 15 January 1917 issues. The Springfield, Massacusetts, congregation wrote that "We realize with sorrow our great loss in the passing over of 'that wise and faithful servant' " (p. R6030). The Wheeling, West Virginia, congregation wrote that "keenly do we feel the loss of him who ... provided that which is 'meat in due season for the household of faith' " (p. R6030). The Allentown, Philadelphia, congregation wrote: "We realize that in the death of our Beloved Pastor we have lost that 'faithful and wise steward' " (p. R6030). The Cleveland, Ohio, congregation wrote that that "our Lord Jesus, the Chief Reaper, had especially chosen our Pastor as his mouth-piece and servant" (p. R6036).

  • Ding


    Here is my understanding of what happened. It's different from what you've said. You may be right. Please feel free to comment.

    1. Russell did come to believe that he individually was the faithful and discreet slave, God's seventh and final messenger to the church (whether because of Maria or his own ego).

    2. At first, following Russell's death, Rutherford spread this claim in the literature, professing to believe it himself.

    3. He did this in order to ingratiate himself with the Bible Students by appearing to be honoring and exalting their late beloved Pastor Russell and to be doing his best to perpetuate Russell's work and legacy.

    4. Once he had solidified his power and grown the organization, he then jettisoned Russell by saying that the FDS was the organization, not any one individual, and that Russell was far too humble to have claimed such a title for himself (thereby making those who claimed the title for Russell appear to be dishonoring their humble pastor's memory with their man-exalting idolatry).

    5. He also got "new light" against pyramidology, came up with the name "Jehovah's Witnesses," and replaced Russell's 1874 parousia teaching with his own 1914 version, and introduced all of his unique teachings.

    6. These steps caused the Bible Students loyal to Russell to split and be branded the "evil slave class", at which point the organization had fully become Rutherford's.

    However it really went down, it IS ironic that the WTS no longer teaches 99% of what's contained in The FINISHED Mystery!

  • AvocadoJake

    Nancy you are wondering about the current 'faithful'? I am struggling now with this rocky little boat that is taking on water. My mind melted two months ago when I was given another version of the "Generation" and shook my head. With the New and Mid GenElders, its very easy to fade away without anyone noticing, other than donations taking a dump, if you give more than half the Halls income each month. I am taking things slow, and not sharing what I am learning, critical thinking is not a concept that is practiced in the organization. "The Slave has provide a new update! This is awesome how the Slave has provide new light again!" There are those who truly think Jehovah has told the "Slave" when the "End Times." will come. When a letter is read to the Hall, people still 'hold their breath, look at each other with eager anticipation, "Is this the letter to stop preaching and will herald in the Great Trib?" 'Will we now go out and preach "The Message of Doom?" the message that you are no longer able to receive Salvation but are Doomed!" This still goes on and people's hearts race with each special annoucement, as of Nov 2011, this mindset is still the same!

  • Terry

    On the 1st page of this thread I posted this response:

    "I'm arguing that the "faithful and wise servant" nonsense can't be pinned on Russell the way it was used by RUTHERFORD as a magesterium."

    The emphasis should be on THE WAY IT WAS USED by Rutherford....and the explicit term magesterium.

    Who were the people who were smitten with Russell, his writings and his date setting explications?

    Where did they come from?

    Clearly, they are part of a FAILED movement that would not say die.

    Hard-headed 2nd Adventists unable to let go of the crackpot aspect of End Times predictions.

    Remember, it was a great many mainstream church-goers who left their own groups because William Miller had convinced them of a DATE.

    That sizeable constituency lived through a GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT.

    Disappointment for what reason? Embarassment at being fools? Fear of being mocked? Obstinate refusal to admit error?

    Whatever motives the Millerites had they were fanatical about DATE-SETTING. Not about making William Miller an anointed leader and founder of a new religion.

    Stop a moment and think. Part of their group shrugged and went back to church. But, most did not!

    Another DATE was set and failed.

    Miller apologized--but--never let go of his certainty until his death.

    At this point new people came along to carry on the task of ORGANIZING crackpot date-setting fanatics. Among them Ellen G. White.

    Ellen G. White had an advantage over William Miller. She made actual claims of receiving DIRECT information from Almighty God. (Visions)

    There were other Adventists who could not get behind a "woman" as speaker, prophet and leader. These male chauvinist (Pauline) Adventists

    went elsewhere and published their own crazy newsletters.

    Charles Taze Russell, like many other DATE-SETTING crackpots, was in search of a definitive gestalt (a whole religious doctrine greater than the sum of its parts.)

    He attended Adventist (date-setting) lectures. He asked questions and was dazzled by charts of Dispensational arguments.

    Point being what?

    Russell was a DATE-SETTER obsessed with WHEN the end of the world (Jesus Advent) would occur.

    On the other hand.....his wife, Maria, was into self-empowerment and IDENTITY religion.

    She was a brilliant woman seeking power and authority for womanhod.

    A strong case can be made for Maria studying the source of Ellen G. White's leadership success and then applying it to the "faithful and wise servant" scripture for her own (and husband Charles) purposes.

    My OPENING PARAGRAPH asserts the difference and distinction between RUSSELL as leader and RUTHERFORD as leader vis a vis MAGESTERIUM.

    At the death of Russell, Rutherford immediately demonstrated what was on his mind and what he had been planning by the flabbergasting swiftness with which he acted to seize Russell's foundational organization for his OWN purposes.

    The loyalty of those buying books and magazines was of absolute importance! Rutherford's creed must have been:

    Give the audience what it craves: END TIMES and DATE SETTING.....but, justify your OWN leadership in some way that prevents scattering and loss of membership.

    At first, Rutherford was all about preserving Russell's image, importance and "source authority".

    But, how could he, Rutherford, steal that for himself?

    The only means that could possibly work was by absorbing the "source authority" for his own agenda.

    Historically, Rutherford was a despot who ruled with an iron hand and dominated his readers. But, why would these date-setters accept his despicable personality and agenda in the first place?

    Who were these people?

    THEY WERE WHAT WAS LEFT after yet another Great Disappointment (Russell's death, 1914 non-Armageddon).

    I assert these were person's disaffected with mainstream society and mainstream doctrine and mainstream religion!

    These were rabid revolutionaries loaded for bear!

    Rutherford's angry tirades against Government, Religion, Clergy and Societal Norms APPEALED to their radical psychology.

    They were not primarily date-setters, but, easily manipulated revolutionary misfits disaffected and dedicated to strong leadership.

    Hitler found similar people to dominate and lead in Germany years later.

    Rutherford used what worked for Catholicism: the doctrine of Magesterium.

    When the Church presents some doctrine as definitive or final, it comes under this protection, it cannot be in error; in other words, it is infallible. This is true even if the Church does not use the solemn ceremony of definition. The day to day teaching of the Church throughout the world, when the Bishops are in union with each other and with the Pope, and present something as definitive, this is infallible. (Vatican II, Lumen gentium # 25).

    Rutherford did not call his source authority by this term, of course! He magnified the Maria Russell definition into his own version.

    Russell, UNLIKE Rutherford, did not believe in ORGANIZATION.

    Rutherford used "faithful and discreet slave" magesterium to build ORGANIZATION.

    Russell had only one aim and learned to bask in the glow of personal admiration while pursuing it.

    Rutherford demanded loyalty and pounded out an unbreachable authority for himself co-opting "Governing Body" definitions.

    This distinction, I believe, is quite amazing. The Watchtower Society maintains a fiction of continuity of teaching which never existed in this regard!

    As I said in the 1st paragraph:

    What is the mystery? THE MYSTERY IS HOW THE NON-CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE of the "faithful and discreet slave" became the FOUNDATION of Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • designs

    The Presbyterians are the True Church because God chose the Pentecostals. If that makes sense to you then you can be a JW.

  • Listener

    I am really enjoying this thread, thanks Terry.

    It is ironic to think that even though Rutherford may have recognized Russel as the F&DS he never credited him with the actual appointment/approval as this supposedly occurred in 1918/1919 - a few years after Russel's death.

    Your discussion certainly shows that history is very important.

  • LongHairGal


    Good post but I wonder if it is in the wrong area. You are correct about everything. I always said that the JWs differ just for the sake of being different and I can never forgive them.

    James Woods:

    I always felt that the JW religion is copying the Catholic religion, whether they admit it or not. And they most certainly do have a hierarchy that rivals the church, even if they don't wear vestments. They simply have a plain-clothes clergy. Why, they even claim clergy privilege in courts!

    It is also interesting what you say that a woman (Russell's wife) coined the expression of faithful and discreet slave. So typical of the religion to hide this. Why give credit to a woman?


    You are right that we were members of a religion who "accepted" us just to "serve" a small elite. What the hell would I possibly need them for? In fact, what would anybody need them for? The whole rest of the world should just stay home in their living room and watch TV and let these conceited individuals alone by themselves with their sham religion - where they belong!

  • james_woods

    'The dog that didn't bark'

    is an expression from a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It was an important clue that led to identifying the criminal.

    Does anybody happen to remember which Sherlock Holmes mystery that was from? I have tried several times to think of it, but cannot - and I don't want to read the complete works of A. Conan Doyle to find out...

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