First President Of The Watchtower Society

by William Penwell 9 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • William Penwell
    William Penwell
    I was reading on Wikipedia about the Watchtower Society and it lists a William Henry Conley as the first president of the WT society (1881-1884). I was wonder if this is correct and why the modern JW's have eliminated him from the societies history? The only thing is the society was not incorporated till 1884 with Russel as president. Anyway nothing surprises me with this cult as they do like to rewrite their history.
  • smiddy

    W.P., use the search option at the top right hand corner of the page and you will find a lot about W.H.Conley the first president of the "International Bible Students Association" now known as Jehovah`s Witnesses .

    Remember , C.T, Russell was not the first president of the Jehovah`s Witnesses , he was the second President of the International Bible Students Association .I.B.S.A. in the late 1800`s

    Joseph F.Rutherford was the first President of the newly formed religion of Jehovah`s Witnesses in the early 1920`s .

    Acknowledged by the Proclaimer`s book published by the WTB&TS on page 576


  • steve2
    The name "Jehovah's Witnesses" was adopted as a replacement name for The Bible Students only after the Watchtower conventions of 1931.
  • Captain Obvious
    Captain Obvious

    Check out Barbara Anderson's site,

    She tells in her personal story her time at HQ doing research for the proclaimers book. She was the one who discovered that.

  • disfellowshipped1

    Here is an article about him

    William H. Conley

  • EdenOne

    The Watchtower started as Zion's Watchtower Tract Society in 1881, with William Conley as president and CT Russell as Treasurer. Conley was Russell's financial's backer but later they parted ways, amicably it seems. Russell then incorporated the Society in Pennsylvannia in 1884, becoming its president. In 1896 he changed its name to Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. In 1908, Russell transferred the Society to new headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and the rest, as they say, is history.


  • galaxie
    The I B S A still exists as a reg' charity # 216647 . Head office the Ridgeway london which is also the home of WTBTS all jws. I wonder if they have a picture of pres' CTR on the wall ?!!
  • William Penwell
    William Penwell
    Yes it is interesting to find out this information. Seems like it is part of the Watchtowers history the organization for whatever reason, wants to keep hush hush. Some time ago I read up on the Dawn Bible Students Association and the International Bible Students Association. By their history, they are the ones that follow closer the teachings of Charles T Russell. Like someone mentioned on here once that Russell would now be DF'd by the Watchtower for some of his teachings.
  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot
    Charles Russell may not have been the "first president" of the IBSA/JWs but he sure was the founder.
  • EdenOne

    I suspect that the reason why Russell and Conley parted ways was due to some disagreement involving preacher George N. H. Peters, whose work Conley backed up through Zion's Watch Tower Society; however, in 1883 Zion's Watch Tower journal criticized George Peter's work and recommended its readers not to purchase it. I suspect that Russell wasn't pleased with this endorsement of doctrines he personally didn't agree with, no to mention that Conley had broader contacts with the Advent Christian circles that Russell denounced often, and so he and his former patron parted ways. Conley went to become a leading member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance until his death in 1897.

    Naturally, this bit of Conley's history is something that the Governing Body wish no Jehovah's Witness was ever aware of.


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