05 April, 2011
The Failed Predictions Of The Jehovah Witness - 1
I know someone who is a Jehovah Witness and she often sends people to see us. If I'm in the mood, and have time, I'll happily chat to them. I question them about predictions their organisation has made but they don't seem to have any answers, beyond what they have been taught. So I thought I'd look for some of the answers myself.
The guy who many call their founder is Charles Taze Russell. He was born in 1852 and worked in Pittsburgh. He seemed to have got involved with Adventism meetings and in particular with William Miller.
Miller predicted that the world would end in 1843 - it didn't, as you probably realise, but this must have had an impact on Russell as he went on to do a bit of doom and gloom forecasting himself. He thought Miller's calculations were wrong so had a go himself - by now he was calling himself Pastor Russell. 1914 was stated as the new date when the world would end.
Again the world didn't end so he adjusted his thinking and now claimed that Jesus had returned to Earth but, er, the problem was he was invisible.
The official Jehovah's Witness Watch Tower website does actually accept that they got 1914 wrong: "Not all that was expected to happen in 1914 did happen, but it did mark the end of the Gentile Times and was a year of special significance. Many historians and commentators agree that 1914 was a turning point in human history.
Pastor Russell died in 1916 and was succeeded by Judge Joseph R. Rutherford - though he wasn't actually a real judge.
First though, they had to bury Charles Taze Russell. I'd better mention this as his grave and nearby pyramid shaped memorial at Rosemont has caused some discussion, because of it's alleged links to the Freemasons. There are also suggestions that Russell had links with the Masons. Russell denied this (while still alive).
In 1913, during a speaking tour he is quoted as saying, "Although I have never been a Mason something I do seems to be the same as Masons do, I don't know what it is; but they often give me all kinds of grips and I give them back, then I tell them I don't know anything about it except just a few grips that have come to me naturally".
The only evidence, of sorts, of Russell being a Mason is Lady Queenborough's book Occult Theocracy. On page 737 it records C.T. Russell's Masonic membership.
Why do some insist he had ties with the Freemasons? It's partly down to his memorial, which is a short distance from his grave - see photo at the top of this post which shows the pyramid memorial with his grave in the background.
It's the symbol of the cross and crown at the top of the pyramid that causes so much debate. This has links to Freemasonry, the Illuminati and the likes of the Knights Templar (image above right shows a Knights Templar seal)
But there's more. The early Watchtower magazines also included this cross and crown symbol, as can be seen below.
To be fair though, the cross and crown symbol has also been used within some forms of Christianity.
Before I move on to further details on the Jehovah's Witnesses a little more about Charles Taze Russell.
On March 13, 1879, Russell married Maria Frances Ackley but they separated in 1897. Maria filed for divorce in June 1903 on grounds of mental cruelty.
During the divorce proceedings Mrs. Russell's attorney alleged that in 1894 Mr. Russell had engaged in 'improper intimacy' with Rose Ball a 25-year old woman. Mrs. Russell also alleged that Rose had told her that Charles Russell was an 'amorous jellyfish floating around' to different women until someone responded to his advances. The newspapers at the time mentioned the amorous jellyfish quote - as they probably would today.
Russell divorced, which is probably wrong according to the Bible, and there were a couple of other often mentioned disputes. As I understand it, Jehovah's Witnesses can divorce as long as there is no third party involved.
He is known to have promoted a 'Miracle Wheat' and sold this for $60 per bushel. It was expensive but Russell claimed it would grow five times quicker than your bog standard wheat. Problem was this was a bit of a porky pie. It was no better than ordinary wheat so he was sued.
He was also involved with a Millennial Bean to cure cancer. Unfortunately another fake.
There we have the beginnings of this religion. The Jehovah's Witness story is continued on The Failed Predictions Of The Jehovah Witness Part 2, starting with Joseph R. Rutherford's reign.