One poster's comments:
NYC was advocating for watch tower to be taxed as a business (legitimate reasons to follow)
The three officers who control the voting stock and spend the money say they are not accountable to anyone but God
Rutherford claims there's nothing to conceal and anyone who wants to know about the inner workings of the society just have to ask
Bethel housed 20 families in 1917 who were paid $11 monthly ($229 adjusted for inflation)
When Russell founded the watch tower in 1884 he was worth $250,000 ($5.2 million adj) from his clothing business
Russell believed the day of resurrection would occur in 1914 and prophets would be resurrected to lead the new world
In 1917 his followers were saying his prediction was a bit soon but the war in Europe (WW1) justified his claim and after the war would come revolution among the worldly governments and the gods kingdom.
Russell founded a "charitable foundation" called the Good Hope Fund.
Some of Russells money making schemes: "miracle wheat" supposedly outgrows any other wheat, a cemetery company for the poor, "angelaphones" to carry sacred music into homes, a moving picture of creation, a salve designed to heal almost anything, a cancer cure. The society claims to make no profit from these.
The Good Hope fund was bringing in from $200k-450k ($4.1 million-$9.3 million adj) annually.
Rutherford claims receipts never exceeded $500k and as low as $150k and are often left with a deficit at the end of the year.
400 people worked for free exhibiting the photo drama of creation. Nonbelievers were paid.
600 colepourters on the road selling Russells literature. They had to buy the literature at cost and sell it at a price that would cover their living expenses (pyramid scheme). They also sold "Brown's wonder salve."
Travelling speakers had their expenses covered, unlike colepourters.
In 1896 Russell had two enterprises, the watchtower bible and tract society and the United States Investment Company, a holding corporation for real estate. It was organized to take over properties that it was not thought advisable to have owned by a religious organization. Willed properties were sold through the USIC and the funds donated to WTBTS.
The People's Pulpit Association was founded after Rutherford (a lawyer) advised Russell he couldn't purchase NY property with his PA corporation.
Bethel has or had a 10:30 bedtime.
Google search was fruitless in figuring out what the hell a "wireless plant" is. Context makes it sound like a kids playground apparatus?
Every $10 ($208 adj) donated to WTBTS earned you one voting share if* he or she asks for it. Russell turned over $300k ($6.2 million adj) from his Pittsburgh properties in exchange for voting shares.
Russell gained more shares by instructing followers to give publications for free to those who couldn't afford and in exchange donate one of their shares to him.
To be continued.....
Very few outside the officers of concern asked for voting shares with only 48,000 outstanding, 45,000 owned by Russell, 1000 by contributors and the remainder by officers. Russell was in absolute control of the society and didn't send out invitations to shareholder meetings, as he deemed it unnecessary considering he had sole decision making power. Russell would have had no power if contributors had asked for their share, which totalled 200,000.
Rutherford claims so many shares were purchased in later years that Russell was technically powerless but did not have to worry about a power struggle while alive.
Those who donated to the Good Hope Fund received two ongoing pledge documents, one to send to the society and one to keep as a reminder. Rutherford claims it's not a contract and wouldn't hold up in court. The pledge encourages the signee to set aside money every week and give more than pledged when possible. To comply with US mail laws, pledges could be claimed as subscription fees to the watch tower magazine.
Donations dropped sharply between 1914 and 1917
Russell sued the Brooklyn Eagle for libel over "miracle wheat." The courts sided with the newspaper after expert testimony claimed several varieties of wheat outperformed the miracle wheat. Russell claimed a farmer discovered a wheat that could outgrow any other and donated some to the society. They sold it for $1 ($20 adj) a pound.
Russell claimed there would be a famine in 1914 but the miracle wheat would survive, conning believers into purchasing it. He later offered refunds to those who requested
Russell taught that angels lived in earth's atmosphere and would occasionally materialize to trouble men. Russell claims one of these angels materialized in his image to a married Australian woman (yeah, right, charlie....)
"Angelaphones" were produced and sold at a slight profit by a watch tower subsidiary. The courts used this as an example of watch tower being a business, not a religion.
A "cancer cure" was offered for "free" with the instructions you couldn't share it but had to tell others where they could receive it for free. The package contained a pledge with information on how to donate to watch tower
Brown's Wonder Salve was sold by mail for 8 cents ($1.67 adj) and claimed to treat anything from corns, to nosebleeds, to inflammation.