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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pastor Russell was NOT IMMORAL!


It will be recalled that in the 1870’s C. T. Russell disassociated himself from N. H. Barbour, publisher of The Herald of the Morning. This he did because Barbour denied the Scriptural doctrine of the ransom, which Russell staunchly upheld. Then in the early 1890’s certain prominent persons in the organization unscrupulously tried to seize control of the Watch Tower Society. The conspirators planned to explode veritable “bombs” designed to end Russell’s popularity and bring about his finish as the Society’s president. After brewing for nearly two years, the conspiracy erupted in 1894. Mainly, the grievances and false charges centered around alleged dishonesty in business on the part of C. T. Russell. Indeed, some of the charges were very petty and betrayed the accusers’ basic intention—the defamation of C. T. Russell. Impartial fellow believers investigated matters and found Russell to be in the right. Hence, the conspirators’ plan to “blow Mr. Russell and his work sky-high” was a complete failure. Like the apostle Paul, Brother Russell had experienced trouble owing to “false brothers,” but this trial was recognized as a design of Satan, and the conspirators henceforth were viewed as unfit to enjoy Christian fellowship.—2 Cor. 11:26.

This, of course, was not the end of C. T. Russell’s trials and difficulties. He was yet to be touched in a very personal way, by circumstances arising in his own household. During the trouble in 1894, Mrs. C. T. Russell (the former Maria Frances Ackley, whom Russell had married in 1879) undertook a tour from New York to Chicago, meeting with Bible Students along the way and speaking in her husband’s behalf. Being an educated, intelligent woman, she was well received when visiting the congregations at that time.

Mrs. Russell was a director of the Watch Tower Society and served as its secretary and treasurer for some years. She also was a regular contributor to the columns of Zion’s Watch Tower and for a time was an associate editor of the journal. Eventually, she sought a stronger voice in what should be published in the Watch Tower. Such ambition was comparable to that of Moses’ sister Miriam, who rose up against her brother as leader of Israel under God and tried to make herself prominent—a course that met with divine disapproval.—Num. 12:1-15.

What had contributed to this attitude on Mrs. Russell’s part? “I was not aware of it at the time,” wrote C. T. Russell in 1906, “but learned subsequently that the conspirators endeavored to sow seeds of discord in my wife’s heart by flattery, ‘woman’s rights’ arguments, etc. However, when the shock came [in 1894], in the Lord’s providence I was spared the humiliation of seeing my wife amongst those conspirators. . . . As matters began to settle down, the ‘woman’s rights’ ideas and personal ambition began again to come to the top, and I perceived that Mrs. Russell’s active campaign in my defense, and the very cordial reception given her by the dear friends at that time throughout a journey . . . had done her injury by increasing her self-appreciation. . . . Gradually she seemed to reach the conclusion that nothing was just proper for the WATCH TOWER columns except what she had written, and I was continually harassed with suggestions of alterations of my writings. I was pained to note this growing disposition so foreign to the humble mind which characterized her for the first thirteen happy years.”

Mrs. Russell became very uncooperative, and strained relations continued. But early in 1897 she became ill and her husband gave her much attention. This he gave cheerfully and he felt that his kind care would touch her heart and restore it to its former loving and tender condition. When she recovered, however, Mrs. Russell called a committee and met with her husband “specially with the object of having the brethren instruct me that she had an equal right with myself in the WATCH TOWER columns, and that I was doing her wrong in not according her the liberties she desired,” wrote C. T. Russell. As matters turned out, though, she was told by the committee that neither they nor other persons had the right to interfere with her husband’s management of the Watch Tower. Mrs. Russell said, in substance, that though unable to agree with the committee, she would try to look at matters from their standpoint. Russell further reported: “I then asked her in their presence if she would shake hands. She hesitated, but finally gave me her hand. I then said, ‘Now, will you kiss me, dear, as a token of the degree of change of mind which you have indicated?’ Again she hesitated, but finally did kiss me and otherwise manifested a renewal of affection in the presence of her Committee.”

So the Russell’s ‘kissed and made up.’ Later, at Mrs. Russell’s request, her husband arranged for a weekly meeting of “The Sisters of the Allegheny Church,” with her as its leader. This led to further trouble—the circulating of slanderous remarks about C. T. Russell. However, this difficulty also was settled.

Eventually, though, growing resentment led Mrs. Russell to sever her relationship with the Watch Tower Society and with her husband. Without notice, she separated from him in 1897, after nearly eighteen years of marriage. For almost seven years she lived separately, C. T. Russell providing a separate home for her and also making financial provision for her support. In June 1903 Mrs. Russell filed in the Court of Common Pleas at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a suit for legal separation. During April 1906 the case came up for trial before Justice Collier and a jury. Nearly two years later, on March 4, 1908, a decree was issued that was styled “In Divorce.” The language of the decree is: “It is now ordered, adjudged and decreed that Maria F. Russell, the Libellant; and Charles T. Russell, the Respondent, be separated from bed and board.” “Separated from bed and board” is the language of both the decree and the docket entries made by the clerk of the court. This was a legalized separation and there never was an absolute divorce, as some erroneously have held. Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (Banks-Baldwin Law Publishing Company, 1940) defines the action as “A partial or qualified divorce, by which the parties are separated and forbidden to live or cohabit together, without affecting the marriage itself. 1 Bl. Com. 440.” (Page 314) On page 312 it says that it “may more properly be termed a legal separation.”

C. T. Russell himself fully understood that the court did not grant an absolute divorce, but that this was a legalized separation. At Dublin, during a 1911 tour of Ireland, he was asked: “Is it true that you are divorced from your wife?” Of his answer, Russell wrote: “‘I am not divorced from my wife. The decree of the court was not divorce, but separation, granted by a sympathetic jury, which declared that we would both be happier separated. My wife’s charge was cruelty, but the only cruelty put in evidence was my refusal on one occasion to give her a kiss when she had requested it.’ I assured my audience that I disputed the charge of cruelty and believed that no woman was ever better treated by a husband. The applause showed that the audience believed my statements.”

What took place at C. T. Russell’s funeral at Pittsburgh in 1916 also is significant along these lines. Anna K. Gardner, whose recollections are similar to those of others present, tells us this: “An incident occurred just before the services at Carnegie Hall that refuted lies told in the paper about Brother Russell. The hall was filled long before the time for the services to begin and it was very quiet, and then a veiled figure was seen to walk up the aisle to the casket and to lay something on it. Up front one could see what it was—a bunch of lilies of the valley, Brother Russell’s favorite flower. There was a ribbon attached, saying, ‘To My Beloved Husband.’ It was Mrs. Russell. They had never been divorced and this was a public acknowledgment.”

One can but imagine the heartache and emotional strain C. T. Russell’s domestic trials brought upon him. In an undated handwritten letter to Mrs. Russell at one point in their marital difficulties, he wrote: “By the time this reaches you it will be just one week since you deserted the one whom before God and man you promised to love and obey and serve, ‘for better or for worse, until death do you part.’ Surely it is true that ‘experience is a wonderful teacher.’ Only it could have persuaded me thus of you, of whom I can truly say that at one time there could not have been a more loving and devoted helpmate. Had you been other than that I am confident that the Lord would not have given you to me. He doeth all things well. I still thank him for his providence toward me in that respect, and look back with sensations of pleasure to the time when you kissed me at least thirty times a day, and repeatedly told me that you did not see how you could live without me; and that you feared that I would die first . . . And I reflect that some of these evidences of love were given me only a year and a half ago, though for a year previous your love had been less fervent—because of jealousy and surmisings, notwithstanding my assurances of the ardor of my love for you, repeated a hundred times, and still asseverated.”

Russell did feel that the great Adversary then had a “very firm hold” on his wife. He said, “I have prayed earnestly to the Lord on your behalf,” and he also sought to aid her. Among other things, he wrote: “I will not burden you with accounts of my sorrow, nor attempt to work upon your sympathies by delineating my emotions, as I from time to time run across your dresses and other articles which bring vividly before my mind your former self—so full of love and sympathy and helpfulness—the spirit of Christ. My heart cries out, ‘Oh that I had buried her, or that she had buried me, in that happy time.’ But evidently the trials and testings were not sufficiently advanced. . . . Oh, do consider prayerfully what I am about to say. And be assured that the keen edge of my sorrow, its poignancy, is not my own loneliness for the remainder of life’s journey, but your fall, my dear, your everlasting loss, so far as I can see.”


As though the strain of Russell’s marital difficulties was not enough, his foes stooped to making scurrilous charges against him to the effect that he was immoral. These deliberate falsehoods centered around a so-called “jellyfish” story. During the trial in April 1906, Mrs. Russell testified that a certain Miss Ball told her that C. T. Russell had once said: “I am like a jellyfish. I float around here and there. I touch this one and that one, and if she responds I take her to me, and if not I float on to others.” On the witness stand C. T. Russell emphatically denied the “jellyfish” story, and all this matter was stricken from the court record, the judge saying in his charge to the jury: “This little incident about this girl that was in the family, that is beyond the ground of the libel and has nothing to do with the case.”

The girl in question came to the Russells in 1888 as an orphan about ten years old. They treated her as their own child and she kissed both Mr. and Mrs. Russell good night each evening when retiring. (Court Record, pages 90 and 91) Mrs. Russell testified that the alleged incident occurred in 1894, when this girl could not have been more than fifteen years old. (Court Record, page 15) After that Mrs. Russell lived with her husband for three years and was separated from him for about seven years more before filing suit for separation. In her bill for separation no reference was made to this matter. Though Miss Ball was then living and Mrs. Russell knew where, she made no attempt to procure her as a witness and presented no statement from her. C. T. Russell himself could not have had Miss Ball present to testify because he had no notice or intimation that his wife would bring such a matter into the case. Furthermore, three years after the alleged incident, when Mrs. Russell had called together a committee before whom she and her husband discussed certain differences, the “jellyfish” story was never even intimated. In the suit for separate maintenance, Mrs. Russell’s attorney had said: “We make no charge of adultery.” And that Mrs. Russell actually never believed her husband was guilty of immoral conduct was shown by the record (page 10). Her own counsel asked Mrs. Russell: “You don’t mean that your husband was guilty of adultery?” She answered: “No.”

Throughout the trialsome period of Charles Taze Russell’s domestic difficulties and the related hardships, Jehovah sustained him by means of the holy spirit. God continued to use Russell during those years, not only to write material for Zion’s Watch Tower, but to discharge other weighty duties and to pen three volumes of Millennial Dawn (or Studies in the Scriptures). How encouraging this is to Christians today as they go on doing the divine will though beset by various trials! Especially heartening to Jesus’ faithful anointed followers are these words of James: “Happy is the man that keeps on enduring trial, because on becoming approved he will receive the crown of life, which Jehovah promised to those who continue loving him.”—Jas. 1:12

- 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, WTB&TS

Russell having spent the years 1877 and 1878 largely in preaching afield, zealously going from city to city, and also by this time having closed out most of his previously successful business interests, which had netted him more than a quarter of a million dollars, it became necessary, in 1879, for him permanently to locate in Pittsburgh. Furthermore, in that year he was married to Maria Frances Ackley, who had become a colaborer and a contributor of articles to the Watch Tower magazine. They came to have no children. Nearly eighteen years later, in 1897, due to Watch Tower Society members’ objecting to a woman’s teaching and being a member of the board of directors contrary to 1 Timothy 2:12, Russell and his wife disagreed about the management of the journal, Zion’s Watch Tower. Thereupon she voluntarily separated herself from him after they had arranged a financial settlement to enable her to live apart from the Society’s headquarters. This agreed separation, however, had absolutely nothing to do with a much later divorce proceeding (1906), charging “adultery,” as clerical enemies of Russell slanderously tried and still try to maintain. The court records plainly fix the lie to all those who falsely accused and even now accuse Russell as having been an immoral man, divorced for adultery.

See: A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens, by J. F. Rutherford, pp. 16-18.

“That Mrs. Russell herself did not believe and never has believed that her husband was guilty of immoral conduct is shown by the [court] record in this case where her own counsel (on page 10) asked Mrs. Russell this question: ‘You don’t mean that your husband was guilty of adultery?’ Ans. ‘No.’” Ibid., p. 19. Also W July 15, 1906, pp. 211-227. - 1955 Watchtower, WTB&TS


Russell was married in 1879. For the first thirteen years of their married life he and Mrs. Russell lived happily together. They were both engaged in religious work, and had been even before their marriage. A semi-monthly religious journal, THE WATCH TOWER, was published, of which Pastor Russell was and still is the editor. She became dissatisfied with his manner of conducting this journal and attempted to dictate the policy thereof. Being the head of the house, Pastor Russell would not submit to his wife’s dictating the manner of conducting his business affairs. Without notice, she voluntarily separated herself from him in 1897, nearly eighteen years after their marriage. For nearly seven years she lived separate and apart from him, he furnishing her a separate home.

In June, 1903, she filed in the Court of Common Pleas at Pittsburgh a suit for legal separation. They had been actually separated for nearly seven years. In April, 1906, the cause came on for trial before Justice Collier and a jury.

It has been remarked by a number of lawyers who have read the record in this case that "no court has ever before granted a separation upon so slight testimony as appears in this case." The record discloses nothing except a misunderstanding between husband and wife, and which at one time was adjusted, by mutual consent. The issue being submitted to the jury they evidently concluded that, being already actually separated for a period of seven years, a legal separation might as well take place.

There never has been an absolute divorce of either of the parties.


Upon the trial of this cause Mrs. Russell testified that one Miss Ball had stated to her that her husband said, "I am like a jelly-fish, I float around here and there. I touch this one and that one, and if she responds I take her to me, and if not I float on to others."

All this matter the Court struck from the record and would not permit it to go to the jury. In his charge to the jury the Judge said: "This little incident about this girl that was in the family, that is beyond the ground of the libel and has nothing to do with the case because not being put in it, and it was condoned or allowed to pass."

It is manifest that this "jelly-fish" story was entirely the product of Mrs. Russell’s imagination, and other facts which appear in the record conclusively show that it could not have been true. Pastor Russell emphatically denied that any such thing ever occurred. It would seem unreasonable that any man would make such a statement about himself.

But the most conclusive facts disclosed by the record showing her statement to be untrue are these: Miss Ball came to them in 1889, a child of ten, and was taken into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Russell. She was treated as a member of the family. She was an orphan. She kissed both Mr. and Mrs. Russell good night each evening when she retired. They treated her as their own child. (Court Record, pages 90, 91.) Mrs. Russell testified that the "jelly-fish" incident transpired in 1894, when the girl could not have been more than fifteen years of age. (Page 1.5, Record.)

Mrs. Russell lived with her husband for three years thereafter and was separated from him seven years longer before suit was filed, or ten years after the alleged incident before she filed her suit for separation. In her complaint, or bill for separation, no reference whatever is made to the Ball or jelly-fish incident. Her husband had no notice that she intended to make such a charge, and when upon the trial it was intimated by her counsel that he expected to prove such, counsel for Pastor Russell asked for a continuance of the case, which the Court denied. Miss Ball was then living and Mrs. Russell knew where she was and could have procured her as a witness, or have had her deposition, in court. No attempt was made to procure her attendance or her deposition.

Pastor Russell could not have had her there to testify because he had no notice or intimation that his wife would attempt to bring such into the case. It is but reasonable to conclude that this jelly-fish story was manufactured for the occasion. Truly it is a great fish-story!


Another point that conclusively shows that the "jelly-fish story," or Miss Ball incident, was manufactured and untrue is this fact: Three years after the alleged incident Mrs. Russell herself selected and called together a committee of three before whom she and her husband met to discuss their differences and tried to arrange them.

Two members of that committee testified at the trial that all the differences of Mr. and Mrs. Russell were discussed and that their trouble grew out of the management of the paper, or journal. The committee decided against Mrs. Russell’s contention, and, in their language, the two "kissed and made up."

The Miss Ball or jelly-fish incident was not even intimated to this committee. (Court Record, pages 79, 113-116.)


At the trial of this case Mrs. Russell’s counsel made mention that Mr. Russell was in a room with Emily Matthews, a member of the household, and the door was locked. To this Pastor Russell at the time made answer under oath (page 97, Record of Testimony), as follows:

"I said (to Mrs. Russell), ‘Dear, you understood all about that. You know that was the room in which the slops were emptied and the water was carried, and that was the morning that Emily Matthews was sick, and you told me of it and asked me to go up and see her, and when they were running out and in with water pails I turned the key for half a minute until I would have a chance to hear quietly what she had to say, and there wasn’t the slightest impropriety in anything that was done. I would just as soon that everybody in this room would be present.’"

Mrs. Russell did not deny this statement in her testimony, and therefore, being undisputed, it must be taken as the true and correct explanation. It shows not the slightest impropriety on his part.

That Mrs. Russell herself did not believe and never has believed that her husband was guilty of immoral conduct is shown by the record in this case where her own counsel (on page 10) asked Mrs. Russell this question: "You don’t mean that your husband was guilty of adultery?" Ans. "No."

It is seen that the court properly took away from the jury the consideration of the "jelly-fish" incident to which she testified. These are the facts which Pastor Russell’s enemies distort, and upon which they charge him with immoral conduct.

There was no testimony produced upon the trial of this case that had any tendency to show that Pastor Russell had been morally derelict in the slightest. No witness testified against his moral character, and no witness in any court has ever yet uttered a word of testimony tending to show anything against his morality.

- A Great Battle in the Ecclesiastical Heavens, by J. F. Rutherford


Resorting to Ridicule and Slander

In their desperate efforts to kill the influence of C. T. Russell and his associates, the clergy belittled the claim that he was a Christian minister. For similar reasons, the Jewish religious leaders in the first century treated the apostles Peter and John as “men unlettered and ordinary.”—Acts 4:13.

Brother Russell had not graduated from one of Christendom’s theological schools. But he boldly said: “We challenge [the clergy] to prove that they ever had a Divine ordination or that they ever think of it. They merely think of a sectarian ordination, or authorization, each from his own sect or party. . . . God’s ordination, or authorization, of any man to preach is by the impartation of the Holy Spirit to him. Whoever has received the Holy Spirit has received the power and authority to teach and to preach in the name of God. Whoever has not received the Holy Spirit has no Divine authority or sanction to his preaching.”—Isa. 61:1, 2.

In order to impugn his reputation, some of the clergy preached and published gross falsehoods about him. One that they frequently employed—and still do—involves the marital situation of Brother Russell. The impression that they have sought to convey is that Russell was immoral.

What are the facts?

In 1879, Charles Taze Russell married Maria Frances Ackley. They had a good relationship for 13 years. Then flattery of Maria and appeals to pride on her part by others began to undermine that relationship; but when their objective became clear, she seemed to regain her balance. After a former associate had spread falsehoods about Brother Russell, she even asked her husband’s permission to visit a number of congregations to answer the charges, since it had been alleged that he mistreated her. However, the fine reception she was given on that trip in 1894 evidently contributed to a gradual change in her opinion of herself. She sought to secure for herself a stronger voice in directing what would appear in the Watch Tower. When she realized that nothing that she wrote would be published unless her husband, the editor of the magazine, agreed with its contents (on the basis of its consistency with the Scriptures), she became greatly disturbed. He put forth earnest effort to help her, but in November 1897 she left him. Nevertheless, he provided her with a place to live and means of maintenance. Years later, after court proceedings that had been initiated by her in 1903, she was awarded, in 1908, a judgment, not of absolute divorce, but of divorce from bed and board, with alimony.

Having failed to force her husband to acquiesce to her demands, she put forth great effort after she left him to bring his name into disrepute. In 1903 she published a tract filled, not with Scriptural truths, but with gross misrepresentations of Brother Russell. She sought to enlist ministers of various denominations to distribute them where the Bible Students were holding special meetings. To their credit not many at that time were willing to be used in that way. However, other clergymen since then have shown a different spirit.

Earlier, Maria Russell had condemned, verbally and in writing, those who charged Brother Russell with the sort of misconduct that she herself now alleged. Using certain unsubstantiated statements made during court proceedings in 1906 (and which statements were struck from the record by order of the court), some religious opposers of Brother Russell have published charges designed to make it appear that he was an immoral man and hence unfit to be a minister of God. However, the court record is clear that such charges are false. Her own lawyer asked Mrs. Russell whether she believed her husband was guilty of adultery. She answered: “No.” It is also noteworthy that when a committee of Christian elders listened to Mrs. Russell’s charges against her husband in 1897, she made no mention of the things that she later stated in court in order to persuade the jury that a divorce should be granted, though these alleged incidents occurred prior to that meeting.

Nine years after Mrs. Russell first brought the case to court, Judge James Macfarlane wrote a letter of reply to a man who was seeking a copy of the court record so that one of his associates could expose Russell. The judge frankly told him that what he wanted would be a waste of time and money. His letter stated: “The ground for her application and of the decree entered upon the verdict of the jury was ‘indignities’ and not adultery and the testimony, as I understand, does not show that Russell was living ‘an adulterous life with a co-respondent.’ In fact there was no co-respondent.”

Maria Russell’s own belated acknowledgment came at the time of Brother Russell’s funeral at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh in 1916. Wearing a veil, she walked down the aisle to the casket and laid there a bunch of lilies of the valley. Attached to them was a ribbon bearing the words, “To My Beloved Husband.”

It is evident that the clergy have used the same sort of tactics that were employed by their first-century counterparts. Back then, they endeavored to kill Jesus’ reputation by charging that he ate with sinners and that he himself was a sinner and a blasphemer. (Matt. 9:11; John 9:16-24; 10:33-37) Such charges did not change the truth about Jesus, but they did expose those who resorted to such slander—and they expose those who resort to like tactics today—as having as their spiritual father the Devil, which name means “Slanderer.”—John 8:44.

- Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, 1993, WTB&TS

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Henry Grew and George Storrs

Working in the “Field”—Before the Harvest

THE disciples of the Great Teacher were puzzled. Jesus had just related a brief story about wheat and weeds. It was one of a number of parables that he spoke that day. When he was finished, most in his audience left. But his followers knew that there must be a particular meaning to his parables—especially the one about the wheat and the weeds. They knew that Jesus was not just an interesting storyteller.

Matthew reports that they asked: “Explain to us the illustration of the weeds in the field.” In response, Jesus interpreted the parable, foretelling a great apostasy that would develop among his professed disciples. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-38, 43) This did occur, and apostasy spread quickly after the death of the apostle John. (Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12) Its effects were so pervasive that the question Jesus posed, as recorded at Luke 18:8, seemed very appropriate: “When the Son of Man arrives, will he really find the faith on the earth?”

Jesus’ arrival would mark the beginning of “the harvest” of wheatlike Christians. That would be a mark of the ‘conclusion of the system of things,’ which began in 1914. So it should not surprise us that there were stirrings of interest in Bible truth in the period leading up to the onset of the harvest.—Matthew 13:39.

An examination of the historical record makes it evident that especially from the 15th century onward, minds were being stirred, even among the masses in Christendom who were like the “weeds,” or imitation Christians. As the Bible became freely available and Bible concordances were prepared, honesthearted individuals started searching the Scriptures carefully.

The Light Brightens

Among such men at the turn of the 19th century was Henry Grew (1781-1862), from Birmingham, England. At the age of 13, he sailed with his family across the Atlantic to the United States, arriving on July 8, 1795. They settled in Providence, Rhode Island. His parents instilled in him a love for the Bible. In 1807, at age 25, Grew was invited to serve as pastor of the Baptist Church in Hartford, Connecticut.

He took his teaching responsibilities seriously and tried to assist those in his care to live in harmony with the Scriptures. However, he believed in keeping the congregation clean from any person who willingly practiced sin. At times, he, along with other responsible men in the church, had to expel (disfellowship) those who committed fornication or engaged in other unclean practices.

There were other problems in the church that disturbed him. They had men who were not church members handling the business affairs of the church and leading the singing at the services. These men could also vote on matters of concern to the congregation and thereby have some control of its affairs. Based on the principle of separateness from the world, Grew very strongly believed that only faithful men should perform these functions. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; James 1:27) In his view, to have unbelievers sing songs of praise to God was blasphemy. Because of this stand, in 1811, Henry Grew was rejected by the church. Other members with like views separated from the church at the same time.

Separating From Christendom

This group, including Henry Grew, started a study of the Bible with the aim of conforming their lives and activities to its counsel. Their studies rapidly led them to a greater understanding of Bible truth and caused them to expose the errors of Christendom. For example, in 1824, Grew wrote a well-reasoned refutation of the Trinity. Note the logic in this passage from his writings: “‘Of that day, and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the FATHER.’ [Mark 13:32] Observe here the gradation in the scale of being. Man, Angels, Son, Father. . . . Our Lord teaches us that the Father only knew of that day. But this is not true, if, as some suppose, the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit are three persons in one God; for, according to this [teaching, the Trinity doctrine,] the . . . Son knew it equally with the Father.”

Grew exposed the hypocrisy of clergymen and military commanders who made a pretense of service to Christ. In 1828 he declared: “Can we conceive of a greater incongruity, than for a Christian to go from his closet, where he has been praying for his enemies, and command his troops to plunge the weapons of death with fiend like fury, into the hearts of those very enemies? In the one case, he happily resembles his dying Master; but whom does he resemble in the other? Jesus prayed for his murderers. Christians murder those for whom they pray.”

Even more forcefully, Grew wrote: “When shall we believe the Almighty who assures us that he is ‘not mocked?’ When shall we understand the nature, the genius, of that holy religion which requires us to abstain from even the ‘appearance of evil?’ . . . Is it not a libel on the Son of the blessed, to suppose that his religion requires a man to act like an angel in one relation, and allows him to act like a demon in another?”

Eternal Life Not Inherent

During those years before radio and television, a popular way to express one’s viewpoint was to write and distribute pamphlets. About 1835, Grew penned an important pamphlet that exposed the teachings of the immortality of the soul and hellfire as unscriptural. He felt that these doctrines blasphemed God.

This pamphlet was to have far-reaching effects. In 1837, 40-year-old George Storrs found a copy on a train. Storrs was a native of Lebanon, New Hampshire, residing by this time in Utica, New York.

He was a highly respected minister in the Methodist-Episcopal Church. Upon reading the pamphlet, he was impressed that such a strong argument could be made against these basic teachings of Christendom, which he had never before doubted. He did not know who the author was, and it was not until some years later, at least by 1844, that he met Henry Grew while both were residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, Storrs studied the matter on his own for three years, speaking only with other ministers about it.

Finally, since no one could refute the things he was learning, George Storrs decided that he could not be faithful to God if he remained in the Methodist Church. He resigned in 1840 and moved to Albany, New York.

In the early spring of 1842, Storrs gave a series of six lectures in six weeks on the subject “An Inquiry—Are the Wicked Immortal?” The interest was so great that he revised it for publication, and over the next 40 years, it reached a circulation of 200,000 in the United States and Great Britain. Storrs and Grew collaborated in debates against the immortal soul doctrine. Grew continued zealously preaching until his death on August 8, 1862, in Philadelphia.

Shortly after Storrs presented the six lectures just mentioned, he became interested in the preaching of William Miller, who was expecting the visible return of Christ in 1843. For about two years, Storrs was actively involved in preaching this message throughout the northeastern United States. After 1844, he would no longer go along with setting any date for Christ’s return, yet he did not object if others wanted to investigate chronology. Storrs believed that Christ’s return was near and that it was important for Christians to keep awake and spiritually alert, ready for the day of inspection. But he parted company with Miller’s group because they accepted unscriptural doctrines, such as the immortality of the soul, the burning of the world, and the absence of any hope for everlasting life for those who die in ignorance.

To What Would the Love of God Lead?

Storrs was repelled by the Adventist view that God would resurrect wicked people for the sole purpose of putting them to death again. He could see no evidence in the Scriptures for such a pointless and vengeful act on God’s part. Storrs and his associates went to the other extreme and concluded that the wicked would not be resurrected at all. Though they had difficulty explaining certain scriptures that referred to the resurrection of the unrighteous, their conclusion seemed to them to be more in harmony with God’s love. A further step in the understanding of God’s purpose was soon to come.

In 1870, Storrs became very sick and could not work for some months. During this time, he was able to reexamine all that he had learned throughout his 74 years. He concluded that he had missed a vital part of God’s purpose toward mankind as indicated in the Abrahamic covenant—that ‘all the families of the earth would bless themselves because Abraham listened to God’s voice.’—Genesis 22:18; Acts 3:25.

This brought a new thought to his mind. If “all the families” were to be blessed, would not all have to hear the good news? How would they hear it? Were not millions upon millions already dead? On further examination of the Scriptures, he came to the conclusion that there were two classes of dead “wicked” individuals: those who had conclusively rejected the love of God and those who had died in ignorance.

The latter, Storrs concluded, would have to be raised from the dead to give them a chance to benefit from the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Those who accepted it would live forever on earth. Those who rejected it would be destroyed. Yes, Storrs believed that no one would be raised by God without having hope before him. Eventually, no one would be dead for the sin of Adam except Adam! But what about those living during the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Storrs finally came to see that a global preaching campaign would have to be undertaken to reach them. He had not the slightest idea how such a thing could be done, but in faith he wrote: “Yet too many, if they cannot see just how a thing is to be done reject it, as if it were impossible for God to do it because they cannot see the process.”

George Storrs died in December 1879, at his home in Brooklyn, New York, just a few blocks from what would later become the focal point of the global preaching campaign that he had so eagerly anticipated.

Further Light Needed

Did such men as Henry Grew and George Storrs understand the truth as clearly as we do today? No. They were aware of their struggle, as Storrs stated in 1847: “We should do well to remember that we have but just emerged from the dark ages of the church; and it would not be at all strange if we should find some ‘Babylonish garments’ still worn by us for truth.” Grew, for example, appreciated the ransom provided by Jesus, but he did not understand that it was a “corresponding ransom,” that is, the perfect human life of Jesus given in exchange for the lost perfect human life of Adam. (1 Timothy 2:6) Henry Grew also erroneously believed that Jesus would return and rule visibly on earth. However, Grew did have concern for the sanctification of Jehovah’s name, a subject that had been of interest to very few people since the second century C.E.

George Storrs likewise did not have a correct understanding of some important points. He was able to see falsehoods promoted by the clergy, but sometimes he went to the opposite extreme. For example, apparently overreacting to the orthodox clergy’s view of Satan, Storrs rejected the idea of the Devil as an actual person. He rejected the Trinity; yet, he was uncertain until shortly before his death as to whether the holy spirit was a person. While George Storrs expected that Christ’s return would originally be invisible, he thought that eventually there would be a visible appearing. Nonetheless, it seems that both men were honesthearted and sincere, and they came far closer to the truth than most.

The “field” that Jesus described in the parable of the wheat and the weeds was not quite ready to be harvested. (Matthew 13:38) Grew, Storrs, and others were working in the “field” in preparation for the harvest.

Charles Taze Russell, who started publishing this magazine in 1879, wrote concerning his early years: “The Lord gave us many helps in the study of His word, among whom stood prominently, our dearly beloved and aged brother, George Storrs, who, both by word and pen gave us much assistance; but we ever sought not to be followers of men, however good and wise, but ‘Followers of God as dear children.’” Yes, sincere Bible students could benefit from the efforts of men like Grew and Storrs, but it still was vital to examine God’s Word, the Bible, as the real source of the truth.—John 17:17. - October 15, 2000 Watchtower, WTB&TS


Additional note: By the 16th century, antitrinitarian movements were strong in Europe. For example, Ferenc Dávid (1510-79), a Hungarian, knew and taught that the dogma of the Trinity was not Scriptural. Because of his beliefs, he died in prison. (2) The Minor Reformed Church, which flourished in Poland for about a hundred years during the 16th and 17th centuries, also rejected the Trinity, and adherents of that church spread literature all over Europe, until the Jesuits succeeded in having them banished from Poland. (3) Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), in England, rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and wrote detailed historical and Scriptural reasons for doing so, but he did not have these published during his lifetime, evidently out of fear of the consequences. (4) Among others in America, Henry Grew exposed the Trinity as unscriptural. In 1824 he dealt with this matter at length in An Examination of the Divine Testimony Concerning the Character of the Son of God. - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, page 125 (footnote), WTB&TS

Influence of Others

Russell referred quite openly to the assistance in Bible study he had received from others. Not only did he acknowledge his indebtedness to Second Adventist Jonas Wendell but he also spoke with affection about two other individuals who had aided him in Bible study. Russell said of these two men: “The study of the Word of God with these dear brethren led, step by step, into greener pastures.” One, George W. Stetson, was an earnest student of the Bible and pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

The other, George Storrs, was publisher of the magazine Bible Examiner, in Brooklyn, New York. Storrs, who was born on December 13, 1796, was initially stimulated to examine what the Bible says about the condition of the dead as a result of reading something published (though at the time anonymously) by a careful student of the Bible, Henry Grew, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Storrs became a zealous advocate of what was called conditional immortality—the teaching that the soul is mortal and that immortality is a gift to be attained by faithful Christians. He also reasoned that since the wicked do not have immortality, there is no eternal torment. Storrs traveled extensively, lecturing on the subject of no immortality for the wicked. Among his published works was the Six Sermons, which eventually attained a distribution of 200,000 copies. Without a doubt, Storrs’ strong Bible-based views on the mortality of the soul as well as the atonement and restitution (restoration of what was lost due to Adamic sin; Acts 3:21) had a strong, positive influence on young Charles T. Russell.

Yet, another man who had a profound effect on Russell’s life also caused his loyalty to Scriptural truth to be put to the test.

Time Prophecies and the Presence of the Lord

One morning in January 1876, 23-year-old Russell received a copy of a religious periodical called Herald of the Morning. From the picture on the cover, he could see that it was identified with Adventism. The editor, Nelson H. Barbour, of Rochester, New York, believed that the object of Christ’s return was not to destroy the families of the earth but to bless them and that his coming would be not in the flesh but as a spirit. Why, this was in agreement with what Russell and his associates in Allegheny had believed for some time! Curiously, though, Barbour believed from Biblical time-prophecies that Christ was already present (invisibly) and that the harvest work of gathering “the wheat” (true Christians making up the Kingdom class) was already due.—Matt., chap. 13.

Russell had shied away from Biblical time prophecies. Now, however, he wondered: “Could it be that the time prophecies which I had so long despised, because of their misuse by Adventists, were really meant to indicate when the Lord would be invisibly present to set up his Kingdom?” With his insatiable thirst for Scriptural truth, Russell had to learn more. So he arranged to meet with Barbour in Philadelphia. This meeting confirmed their agreement on a number of Bible teachings and provided an opportunity for them to exchange views. “When we first met,” Russell later stated, “he had much to learn from me on the fulness of restitution based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all, as I had much to learn from him concerning time.” Barbour succeeded in convincing Russell that Christ’s invisible presence had begun in 1874.

“Resolved Upon a Vigorous Campaign for the Truth”

C. T. Russell was a man of positive convictions. Convinced that Christ’s invisible presence had begun, he was determined to proclaim it to others. He later said: “The knowledge of the fact that we were already in the harvest period gave to me an impetus to spread the Truth such as I never had before. I therefore at once resolved upon a vigorous campaign for the Truth.” Russell now decided to curtail his business interests so as to devote himself to preaching.

To counteract wrong views regarding the Lord’s return, Russell wrote the pamphlet The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. It was published in 1877. That same year Barbour and Russell jointly published Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World. This 196-page book discussed the subjects of restitution and Biblical time prophecies. Though each subject had been treated by others before, in Russell’s view this book was “the first to combine the idea of restitution with time-prophecy.” It presented the view that Jesus Christ’s invisible presence dated from the autumn of 1874.

As Russell traveled and preached, it became evident to him that something more was needed to keep the seeds of truth he was sowing alive and watered. The answer? “A monthly journal,” said Russell. So he and Barbour decided to revive publication of the Herald, which had been suspended because of canceled subscriptions and exhausted funds. Russell contributed his own funds to revive the journal, becoming one of its coeditors.

All went well for a while—until 1878, that is.

Russell Breaks With Barbour

In the August 1878 issue of Herald of the Morning, there appeared an article by Barbour that denied the substitutionary value of Christ’s death. Russell, who was nearly 30 years younger than Barbour, could see that this was, in fact, denying the essential part of the ransom doctrine. So in the very next issue (September 1878), Russell, in an article entitled “The Atonement,” upheld the ransom and contradicted Barbour’s statements. The controversy continued in the pages of the journal for the next few months. Finally, Russell decided to withdraw from fellowship with Mr. Barbour and discontinued further financial support to the Herald.

C. T. Russell, though, felt that to withdraw from the Herald was not enough; the ransom doctrine must be defended and Christ’s presence must be proclaimed. Hence, in July 1879, Russell began publishing Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. Russell was the editor and publisher, with five others originally listed as contributors to its columns. The first issue had a printing of 6,000 copies. By 1914 the printing of each issue was about 50,000 copies.

- Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, 1993, WTB&TS

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apostasy "seeing oneself as a victim denied"

Back in 1909, the then president of the Watch Tower Society, C. T. Russell, wrote about those who turned away from Jehovah’s table and then began to mistreat their former fellow slaves. The Watch Tower of October 1, 1909, said:

"All who cut loose from the Society and its work, instead of prospering themselves or upbuilding others in the faith and in the graces of the spirit, seemingly do the reverse—attempt injury to the Cause they once served, and, with more or less noise, gradually sink into oblivion, harming only themselves and others possessed of a similarly contentious spirit. . . . If some think that they can get as good or better provender at other tables, or that they can produce as good or better themselves—let these take their course. . . . But while we are willing that others should go anywhere and everywhere to find food and light to their satisfaction, strange to say, those who become our opponents take a very different course. Instead of saying in the manly fashion of the world, ‘I have found something which I prefer; goodbye!’ these manifest anger, malice, hatred, strife, ‘works of the flesh and of the devil’ such as we have never known worldly people to exhibit. They seem inoculated with madness, Satanic hydrophobia [rabies]. Some of them smite us and then claim that we did the smiting. They are ready to say and write contemptible falsities and to stoop to do meanness.”

Also see:

Apostasy - "seeing oneself as a victim denied"

Because of strict adherence to Biblical tenets, Jehovah's Witnesses operate at a moderate to high level of tension against their surrounding environment. This has caused some to push for change in areas where there is ubiquitous community opposition to certain doctrines in an effort to reduce such operational tension. The same is often true of an individual who places greater authoritative weight upon secular sources of information when this data challenges Biblical inerrancy and concord. However, where no change occurs, and the mindset of an individual remains fixated upon communal unanimity rather than the greater responsibilities inherent in obedience to the Christian faith, there often occurs a strong tendency to feel victimized by those taking the lead among us.

As a result of seeing oneself as a victim denied, there can occur a powerful drive toward disaffection and apostasy. As is almost inevitably the case, there is a great need on the part of a leave-taker to validate their oppositional stance, and the victim-victimizer scenario greatly assists a person in justifying their course of action. Blame shifting may therefore temporarily relieve a person of accountability, but it will only succeed in sanctioning a person's actions so long as their position is given greater exposure over that of their (former) religious fraternity. Thus, the importance placed upon maintaining a heightened level of awareness toward the apostate's unique view works to reinforce the reasons for their departure by maintaining the consequences of blame and continuing to scrutinize it in the object of hostility. It is not difficult to see then why an apostate so adamantly rejects information that contradicts the typecast that they have worked so hard to establish. Bryan Wilson, Oxford Professor of sociology observes the apostate mindset similarly:

"Sociologists and other investigators into minority religions have thus come to recognize a particular constellation of motives that prompt those who apostasize in the stance they adopt relative to their previous religious commitment and their more recent renunciation of it. Such a person needs to establish his credibility both with respect to his earlier allegiance to a religious body and his subsequent relinquishment of that commitment. To vindicate himself he needs to explain his volte-face." Further endorsement is seemingly found when an apostate locates a support coalition that corroborates a person's disparate or despondent view, which in turn opens new hostilities forged as a result of collective negative experiences. Consequently, apostasy is then empowered and grows exponentially as the individual continually finds reasons to authenticate the rationale of their departure. Part of this rationale is often seen in the "atrocity story" which is tweaked and recounted through various media, and carped upon by those all too willing to overextend their trust when it comes to subjective discourse. However, the "atrocity story" is almost always rejected by sociologists who study the apostate phenomena today.

Perhaps to placate their own sensibilities, but more usually to maintain the semblance of a devoted faith, the apostate must of necessity attempt to convince others that their motives for disaffection were sound and that their new credo is scriptural. Yet, in doing so they must conspicuously evade the clear Biblical injunctions against dissent and contrary expository views. (compare Romans 16:17; 1 Timothy 1:3) Paradoxically, in attempting to establish themselves as providers of spiritual edification, an apostate is forced to break the very commands that a Christian is sworn to keep – commands that their former brethren still keep.

By thus breaking God's explicit commands the apostate commits an act of betrayal against Jehovah and must therefore confront the fallout of their indiscretion. And like any sin, the inevitable fallout is the separation of the sinner from God. However, such thinking is rarely entertained by the apostate due to the angst at having to confront their own error. They must therefore reconstruct their shattered experience in such a way that it favours a new ministry rather than a repentant one.

This is in keeping with the fact that much apostate information is presented under the guise of Christian love with a view to helping others appreciate a clearer truth, yet in actuality the apostate feels impelled to propagate their dissent in order to validate their new self image and fortify their religious convictions. Of course, the welcome reception that such information may receive only grants further recognition to an often aberrant viewpoint, which in turn continues the cycle of disaffection.

As a result, the apostate is able to exploit those who misunderstand the scriptural reasons for the operational tension that exists between Jehovah's Witnesses and the moral majority, and subsequently uses this ignorance to their own advantage.

- By Nathan Unger, 2003

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Excerpts: These segments are taken from a larger work. Apostates and New Religious Movements, by Bryan Ronald Wilson, Ph.D.

Informants who are mere contacts and who have no personal motives for what they tell are to be preferred to those who, for their own purposes, seek to use the investigator. The disaffected and the apostate are in particular informants whose evidence has to be used with circumspection. The apostate is generally in need of self-justification. He seeks to reconstruct his own past, to excuse his former affiliations, and to blame those who were formerly his closest associates. Not uncommonly the apostate learns to rehearse an 'atrocity story' to explain how, by manipulation, trickery, coercion, or deceit, he was induced to join or to remain within an organization that he now forswears and condemns. Apostates, sensationalized by the press, have sometimes sought to make a profit from accounts of their experiences in stories sold to newspapers or produced as books (sometimes written by 'ghost' writers). [Bryan Wilson, The Social Dimensions of Sectarianism, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990, p.19.]

Sociologists and other investigators into minority religions have thus come to recognize a particular constellation of motives that prompt apostates in the stance they adopt relative to their previous religious commitment and their more recent renunciation of it. The apostate needs to establish his credibility both with respect to his earlier conversion to a religious body and his subsequent relinquishment of that commitment. To vindicate himself in regard to his volte facerequires a plausible explanation of both his (usually sudden) adherence to his erstwhile faith and his no less sudden abandonment and condemnation of it. Academics have come to recognize the "atrocity story" as a distinctive genre of the apostate, and have even come to regard it as a recognizable category of phenomena [A.D. Shupe, Jr., and D. G. Bromley, "Apostates and Atrocity Stories", in B. Wilson (ed.), The Social Impact of New Religious Movements, New York, Rose of Sharon Press, 1981, pp. 179-215.] The apostate typically represents himself having been introduced to his former allegiance at a time when he was especially vulnerable -- depressed, isolated, lacking social or financial support, alienated from his family, or some other such circumstance. His former associates are now depicted as having prevailed upon him by false claims, deceptions, promises of love, support, enhanced prospects, increased well-being, or the like. In fact, the apostate story proceeds, they were false friends, seeking only to exploit his goodwill, and extract from him long hours of work without pay, or whatever money or property he possessed. Thus, the apostate presents himself as "a brand plucked from the burning," as having been not responsible for his actions when he was inducted into his former religion, and as having "come to his senses" when he left. Essentially, his message is that "given the situation, it could have happened to anyone." They are entirely responsible and they act with malice aforethought against unsuspecting, innocent victims. By such a representation of the case, the apostate relocates responsibility for his earlier actions, and seeks to reintegrate with the wider society which he now seeks to influence, and perhaps to mobilize, against the religious group which he has lately abandoned.

New movements, which are relatively unfamiliar in their teachings and practices, and the beliefs and organization of which are designed in terms that are new or newly adapted, are most susceptible to public suspicion; If they have secret or undisclosed teachings, or appear to be exceptionally diligent in seeking converts, or have a distinctive appeal to one or another section of the community (e.g., the young; students; ethnic minorities; immigrants, etc.) or if the promises of benefit to believers exceed the every-day expectations of the public at large, then they may easily become objects of popular opprobrium or even hostility. The atrocity stories of apostates, particularly when enlarged by the sensationalist orientation of the press, feed these tendencies, and enhance the newsworthiness of further atrocity stories. Newspapers are will known to recapitulate earlier sensationalist accounts when locating new stories in similar vein about particular movements -- a practice designated by some sociologists as the use of "negative summary events." ["This refers to the journalistic description of a situation or event in such a way as to capture and express its negative essence as part of an intermittent and slow-moving story. An apparently isolated happening is thereby used as an occasion for keeping the broader, controversial phenomenon in the public mind." -- James A. Beckford, Cult Controversies: The Societal Response to New Religious Movements, London, Tavistock, 1985, p. 235.] By this means, the dramatic import of each apostate's story is reinforced in its significance, to the detriment of objective and ethically neutral enquiry into religious phenomena of the kind undertaken by academic sociologists. Contemporary religious bodies, operating in a context of rapid social change and changing perceptions of religious and spiritual belief, are likely to be particularly susceptible to the disparagement and misrepresentation which occurs through the circulation and repetition of the accounts of apostates.

Neither the objective sociological researcher nor the court of law can readily regard the apostate as a creditable or reliable source of evidence. He must always be seen as one whose personal history predisposes him to bias with respect to both his previous religious commitment and affiliations, the suspicion must arise that he acts from a personal motivation to vindicate himself and to regain his self-esteem, by showing himself to have been first a victim but subsequently to have become a redeemed crusader. As various instances have indicated, he is likely to be suggestible and ready to enlarge or embellish his grievances to satisfy that species of journalist whose interest is more in sensational copy than in a objective statement of the truth.

Bryan Ronald Wilson, December 3, 1994, Oxford, England

Bryan Ronald Wilson is the reader Emeritus in Sociology in the University of Oxford. From 1963 to 1993, he was also a Fellow of All Souls College, and in 1993 was elected an Emeritus Fellow. For more than forty years, he has conducted research into minority religious movements in Britain and overseas (in the United States, Ghana, Kenya, Belgium and Japan, among other places). His work has involved reading the publications of these movements and, wherever possible, associating with their members in their meetings, services and homes. It has also entailed sustained attention to, and critical appraisal of, the works of other scholars. He holds the degrees of B.Sc. (Econ) and Ph.D. of the University of London and the M.A. of the University of Oxford. In 1984, the University of Oxford recognized the value of his published work by conferring upon him the degree of D.Litt. In 1992, the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium awarded him the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa. In 1994, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

“Deconstructing the Apostate Mentality ”

Apostates generally take their course of action because they believe free thought is being suppressed, hence they feel a "crisis of conscience."

However, truth be told, their complaint is not really one of suppression, but one of inclusion. When THEIR views are rejected, they often lash out. When someone dares to question them at some point in time, accusations are hurled about. What it really comes down to is not free thought after all, but only THEIR thought. Only they can be right! They are just as exclusionary as the group they have left. They SAY they want their readers to "draw his or her own conclusions" but they do this in the same breath as accusing the other side of the argument of "deception." [Carl Olof Jonnson's Gentile Times Reconsidered] Hence, there is no room for another conclusion. The line has been drawn. The apostates has the reader thinking his is the only enlightened view, and the other conclusion we can draw is mired in deception and lies.

Their approach to their research is even more totalitarian than the group they accuse, as they cannot now budge. There is no room for new light or progressive revelation. It has indeed become the hill they chose to die on. Jonsson, for instance, thinks he has the answers, but he has culled his research using the template of accepted chronology. Furuli thinks this template is flawed, and, after reading his book, I believe so also. Just because it is accepted by the majority, does not mean it is right.

I also question the chronology used by evolutionists. It may be that us Jehovah's Witnesses are one of the few true iconoclastic faiths that are really willing to think outside the box. I believe that this is what makes the truth so fresh and exciting. I just received an email from Jonsson basically accusing me of spreading falsehood because of some articles I have on my site.

No surprise there. These are of course responses to items initially brought by him in his book, wherein he attacked several persons. Jonsson, like others of his ilk, is not allowed to be questioned.

Jonsson claims that if someone has information on hand that others need in order to get a correct understanding "It becomes his or her duty to make that information available to all who want to know the truth, however this may appear" and that "it would be morally wrong to remain silent." Well, there are some that are not remaining silent, except now, when this is done, is this move applauded. No! Jonsson is hostile. Why? Because this info runs counter to what he wants us to believe. This leads us to only one conclusion. Carl Olof Jonsson feels has the only truth, and thus becomes a mirrored caricature of the group he has rallied against for a quarter of a century. That Jonsson is still wallowing in this puerile attack on Furuli is evidence that he is at a loss for any real substantial response concerning the EVIDENCE in regards to the Chronology.

There is nothing that he can truly do, as he is ignorant in regards to knowledge of the ancient languages involved, and Rolf is not. Carl has to rely on secondary evidence, evidence of course strained through the sift of the accepted chronology. Furuli has the edge, as he can look at the evidence for himself. Find out why Carl Olof Jonnson is scared, and read Furuli's book for yourself, and NO, you will not find this book taking potshots at other people. There is no need, nor room, when there is evidence at hand.

-Webmaster Babylonian Exile - 50 Years, or 70? Read Persian Chronology and the Length of the Babylonian Exile of the Jews by Rolf Furuli - Additional Reading:

- By Heinz Schmitz

Contrary to public opinion, the overwhelming majority of defections from new religious movements are a matter of voluntary apostasy. Moreover, the clear majority of those who leave of their own free will speak positively of certain aspects of their past experience. While readily acknowledging the ways a given religious movement failed to meet their personal expectations and spiritual needs, many voluntary defectors have found ways of salvaging some redeeming values from their previous religious associations and activities.

But there are some voluntary apostates from new religious movements who leave deeply embittered and harshly critical of their former religious associations and activities. Their dynamics of separation from a once-loved religious group is analogous to an embittered marital separation and divorce. Both marriage and religion require a significant degree of commitment. The greater the involvement, the more traumatic the break-up. The longer the commitment, the more urgent the need to blame the other for the failed relationship. Long-term and heavily involved members of new religious movements who over time become disenchanted with their religion often throw all of the blame on their former religious associations and activities. They magnify small flaws into huge evils. They turn personal disappointments into malicious betrayals. They even will tell incredible falsehoods to harm their former religion. Not surprisingly, these apostates often appeal, after the fact, to the same brainwashing scenarios usually invoked to justify forcible disengagement from new religious movements. . . . . . . . . . . .

There is no denying that these dedicated and diehard opponents of the new religions present a distorted view of the new religions to the public, the academy, and the courts by virtue of their ready availability and eagerness to testify against their former religious associations and activities. Such apostates always act out of a scenario that vindicates themselves by shifting responsibility for their actions to the religious group. Indeed, the various brainwashing scenarios so often invoked against the new religious movements have been overwhelmingly repudiated by social scientists and religion scholars as nothing more than calculated efforts to discredit the beliefs and practices of unconventional religions in the eyes of governmental agencies and public opinion. Such apostates can hardly be regarded as reliable informants by responsible journalists, scholars, or jurists. Even the accounts of voluntary defectors with no grudges to bear must be used with caution since they interpret their past religious experience in the light of present efforts to re-establish their own self-identity and self-esteem.

In short, on the face of things, apostates from new religions do not meet the standards of personal objectivity, professional competence, and informed understanding required of expert witnesses.

- Lonnie D. Kliever, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, Southern Methodist University

Religious scholars have routinely found the testimony and public statements of apostates to be unreliable. In his book "The Politics of Religious Apostasy: The Role of Apostates in the Transformation of Religious Movement", Professor David Bromley, Department of Sociology and Anthropology of Virginia Commonwealth University, explained how individuals who elect to leave a chosen faith must then become critical of their religion in order to justify their departure. This then opens the door to being recruited and used by organizations which seek to use their testimony as a weapon against a minority religion. "Others may ask, if the group is as transparently evil as he now contends, why did he espouse its cause in the first place? In the process of trying to explain his own seduction and to confirm the worst fears about the group, the apostate is likely to paint a caricature of the group that is shaped more by his current role as apostate than by his actual experience in the group."

17These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit,"[a]and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud." - 2 Peter 2:17-22 (New International Version).