THE WATCHTOWER and MONEY
Charles T. Russell, the age of 13, joined the Congregational church (dumped Presbyterian).
He went (like Girl Scouts are sent out with cookies to sell) door to door to RAISE MONEY for the Church.
Russell hated fund raising. He had to ask poor people to part with their money. He said he felt he was "fleecing the flock."
Russell sold 5 men's clothing stores for: $6,521,739.13
$300,000 of 1876 dollars would be worth : $6,521,739.13 in 2016.
He threw his money into publishing End Times writings.
He spent the family fortune like a drunken sailor on his favorite topics.
If somebody wrote something Russell agreed with he'd pay for the publishing.
If that somebody disagreed with Russell, he'd pull funding.
Russell finally fell in love with his own writings to the exclusion of everybody else (including his wife) and began writing 7 ambitious volumes.
He wanted to set everybody straight.
"In July 1879, ZION'S WATCH TOWER and HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE magazine was started by Charles Taze Russell and Maria Russell, his new wife of three months, as a personal business venture.
(Maria F. Russell was a trained and experienced schoolteacher who eventually claimed that she edited and/or authored much of the writings attributed to Charles Taze Russell. One only has to compare the quality of Russell's writings immediately before and soon after their marriage to see that Maria was telling the truth. Maria Russell also claimed that before they were married in March 1879 that Charles and she discussed partnering in their own Second Adventist magazine as one of the main reasons for their getting married. Apparently, even his marriage was a business venture as far as Charles Taze Russell was concerned.)
The ZION'S WATCH TOWER magazine, the Millennial Dawn series of books, and all other signature publications published up until May 1898 were all OWNED PERSONALLY by Charles Taze Russell -- NOT Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. Simply observe that ZWT specifically directed that all non-cash PAYMENTS for ZWT subscriptions and other literature and materials regularly offered for sale in ZWT were to be made payable to"C. T. Russell".
1886 the money dried up due to the immense amount of money spent in printing and distributing the first three publications.
He was spending about a million dollars a year! (In today's money.)
GUESS WHAT YEAR Russell tried to sell his books in bookstores? 1886.
By 1897, nearly one million Dawns had been distributed, largely by the colporteurs. DOOR TO DOOR BOOK SALESMAN.
After 1931, the term “colporteur” was replaced by “pioneer.”
Pastor Russell's volumes were sold at about $2 a set or $2 of 1900 dollars would be worth: $55.00 in 2016 purchasing power.
Russell also turned to writing sermons as a newspaper columnist and built up a readership of about fifteen million people.
Having built a customer base (faithful readers) Russell went on tour giving sermons IN PERSON becoming one of the most recognized and 'famous' ministers in the world, like Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyers today.
Russell had no problems accepting private donations!
Pastor Russell had made a name for himself by refusing to take collections during meetings.
The slogan "Seats Free - No Collections" angered many clergymen because it was a slam on the traditional collection plate process.
The Watch Tower turned to advertising miraculous beans as a free giveaway and then switched to Miracle Wheat for a dollar.
In 1911, the market price for wheat was 59 cents to $1 a bushel. In Charles Taze Russell's Hicks Street Tabernacle, "miracle wheat" was being sold for $60 a bushel, or $1 a pound.
(The beans and wheat had been DONATED to Russell's ministry)
$1 of 1911 dollars would be worth: $24.39 in 2016 buying power.
Miracle Wheat brought in $1,800 of 1911 dollars would be worth: $43,902.44 in 2016
1897: When his wife Maria petitioned the court for a LEGAL SEPARATION (not a divorce) it was granted with Alimony.
Russell transferred his funds into the WTS account and strung Maria's alimony out torturously to make her dependent and to teach her a lesson.
Russell was litigious if he thought he could win a lawsuit.
The Washington Post partially quoted Maria's testimony about his claim "he floated from woman to woman like a jellyfish."
Russell sued and was awarded one dollar in damages. But--he relentlessly pursued an appeal making himself a legal nuisance and the case was settled for $15,000. $15,000 of 1915 dollars would be worth : $348,837.21 in 2016.
Russell's attorney was Judge Rutherford who wrote a pamphlet:
Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens defending Russell's reputation.
"This is a non-stock corporation; it pays no dividends, no salaries, and no one has ever, as its books clearly show, reaped any financial benefit therefrom. It is supported entirely by voluntary contributions made by those who are interested in the promulgation of Bible Truths. Its work is exclusively religious.
For each contribution of $10.00, the contributor is entitled to one voting share. While there are nearly two hundred thousand shares, and it would be an easy matter to elect some other man as president, there never has been cast a vote against Pastor Russell."
Ten dollars times two-hundred thousand shares = $2,000.000 $2,000,000 of 1915 dollars would be worth: $46,511,627.91 in 2016
Bingo! (Note: Not until 1913 was Federal Income Tax was passed into law.)
NINE MILLION people saw the PHOTO DRAMA of CREATION (a slide show) presented to audiences around the world. Stop and consider:
No collection plate was passed--however--DONATIONS were accepted. (A donation box in plain sight.)
On September 23, 1912, the Eagle ran a cartoon called "Easy Money Puzzle."
Russell sued the Eagle for libel, demanding $100,000 in damages for "injury to his reputation, good name, fame and standing."
The case was brought before Justice Charles H. Kelby and a jury in the Kings County Supreme Court.
One of the juicier allegations made against the Watch Tower Society was that it had coerced an insane man, Hope Hay, into contributing $10,000 to its funds.
William E. Van Amburgh, secretary-treasurer of' the Watch Tower Society, acknowledged that Mr. Hay was in an "insane asylum" and that the WatchTower Society was footing his bills, but denied that Mr. Hay had not given his money of his own free will.
The jury of twelve men was out for less than forty-five minutes before it returned a verdict of not guilty in the Eagle's favor.
This is just a historical snapshot of how money and the Watch Tower had their beginnings.