Fascinating 1914 exchange between CT Russell and a colporteur

by cedars 26 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • cedars

    Hi everyone

    I'm just doing some research for my book, and I uncovered a real gem from the Watch Tower of July 1st 1914 - published three months before the "Gentile Times" were due to end climaxing (as they thought back then) in Armageddon.

    A rather brave "colporteur" (pioneer) wrote in to the magazine asking whether the Studies In The Scriptures series of books advocating 1914 to be the end of the world should cease to be circulated after October. Not only does the question itself prove that the expectations of publishers back then were entirely contrary to what the Society repeatedly implies them to be, but the answer given by Russell shows the same arrogance and evasiveness that we see in modern literature from the Society, showing how little has changed since those days.

    Here is the clipping...

    russell 1914

    Notice how Russell falls back on the same line of argumentation used by the Society, namely "we have not attempted to say these views are infallible."

    Actually, Russell DID say his chronology was not only infallible but "God's dates, not ours," as the following quotes show...

    Watch Tower, July 15th 1894...

    gods dates

    Watch Tower, August 15th 1904...

    perfect machine

    So in no way could Russell justifiably argue that his chronology was put across as fallible on a "take it or leave it" basis. As with the Society's modern predictions and prophetic interpretation, Russell's assertions were to be considered sacrosanct and borne of God himself.

    It's also curious that, in his answer to the colporteur, Russell implies that IF his chronology is somehow incorrect, this is only by a small number of years. It's therefore more than likely that Russell died in 1916 still believing in the chronology espoused in his literature.


  • rip van winkle
    rip van winkle

    If the tactic works why change it. Good catch, Cedars!

  • notsurewheretogo

    Very interesting Cedars...your book will be interesting to read...is it going to be a long work-in-progress or will you rattle it out promptly?

  • cedars

    Thanks notsurewheretogo - the first two chapters are already written and I'm just in the process of trying to find a publisher/agent.

    If all goes well, I'm hoping it will be available later this year!


  • EdenOne

    Very good catch, Cedars.

    I found this sentence on Russel's reply to be almost prophetic:

    "We have not attempted to say that these views [on 1914] are infallible ... that will be an interesting matter a hundred years from now".

    Indeed! 2014 is around the corner and 100 years past since Russel wrote this it is still a matter of interest to JW's and ex-JW's. What Russel didn't expect is that nothing he predicted about 1914 ever came to be.


  • TheOldHippie

    I particularly liked the humble and polite way by which he started his reply:

    "You are entirely in error."


    And it is, as always, enlightening too see the statement that one should be aware of the fact that the year 1914 was not to be the BEGINNING of the troubles, but the END of them .............. There is a certain variance between how now the pre-1914 period is described as a peaceful, happy period ending abruptly in 1914 - whereas the QFR around 1907 circled around whether Russell was mistaken or not, because world conditions then were so tough and full of crime, violence, wars, rumours or war, famine, pestilence - that it was difficult to see how mankind could survive to 1914.

  • designs

    Nice find. Something about the human brain and mind that makes us vunerable to this type of thing, a problem needs a solution, a practical one but we often go for the fantasy.

  • Phizzy

    Dear Cedars, many thanks for the quotes, very useful. Could you please give us an outline of the intent of your book, and some of its intended content. I am myself writing a book at present and do not wish to be competing with your good self, I would rather be complementing.

    P.M if you prefer, or e-mail, I think you have my addy.

    One thing that comes to mind is, again if not treading on your toes, we on JWN could produce a short pamphlet for 2014 with such quotes as are pertinent from around the 1914 time, to be sent to every K.H and any JW's we want to have it.

    A title for the pamphlet comes to mind, but may not be deemed appropriate :

    " 100 Years of Talking BOLLOCKS ! "

  • cedars

    Hi Phizzy, well done with your own writing project! I wish you well with that.

    I don't think there's any likelihood of treading on anyone's toes. I will be dealing with the Society's history along with its teachings and some of the more recent scandals and developments, but all of this will be interwoven with my own personal story and experiences - so whatever you write, it is likely to be different!


  • Pyramid Scheme
    Pyramid Scheme

    Cedars - fascinating!!

    Have you read the Charles Taze Russell biography by Frederick Zydek? I am reading it now, thought he did an excellent job of research.....

Share this