Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is an outline of the History of the JW’s


I. The History of the JW’s

A. The founder = Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916)

1. CT Russell was of a Scottish-Irish birth to Scott-Irish Presbyterian parents.

2. At age 15 he rejected the doctrines of the Presbyterian Church and joined the congregational church.

3. By age 17 he dropped out of the congregational church, because they taught one doctrine that CT didn’t like and that was the doctrine of Hell.

4. At age 17 he became a skeptic of all religions that were organized.

5. At age 18 Russell organized a Bible class of about 6 members and began to follow the teachings of the Second Adventist but had a problem with them. He believed in the invisible return of Jesus Christ in 1870.

6. In 1877 Russell began to publish his first predictions in prophecy also he sold his interest in his family clothing business for ¼ of a million dollars.

a. With this money he began a paper called the "Herald of the Morning" which founded today’s book "The Watch Tower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom"

7. Around 1900 Russell began an all out assault against organized religions. He organized a plan for people to go to churches and give out watch tower papers after the services on Sunday morning he went as far as to include a withdrawal letter in the paper for the church member to resign from his church.

8. Russell’s Character

a. Russell married Maria Atchley in 1879 and in 1897 they separated and got a divorce in 1913. He died 3 years later.

(1.) She sued him on grounds of conceit,

Egotism, and domination.

(2.) The second part of her suet was that he showed misconduct with other women.

b. Miracle Wheat

(1.) He sold it for 1 dollar a pound when normally it was sold for 4 cents.

(2.) It was claimed to grow 5 times more and bigger than regular wheat.

(3.) The "Brooklyn Eagle" exposed this scam and said it was just the same as regular wheat.

(4.) The U.S. government began an investigation and they filed a claim against him and CT lost.

c. "The Watch Tower" was a money maker

(1.) Russell owned 990 shares of the company and close personal friends owned the other 10.

(2.) So 99% of the profit went to Russell

d. His speaking engagements

(1.) He claimed to have spoken at many places around the world.

(2.) Many of those places he had never been to.

e. Russell’s Perjury

(1.) He was taken to court over lying in his publications in a court case Russell Vs. Ross and he lost again.

f. C.T. Russell died on Oct. 31, 1916

g. There’s never been a biography written about him.

B. Judge Joseph F. Rutherford (1869-1942)

1. He was a lawyer and a judge from Booneville Missouri

2. He was brought up in a Baptist family.

3. He defended Russell in the Ross case in 1913

4. He became interested in the "Watch Tower" in 1894

5. Rutherford became the second President of the Watch Tower in 1917

a. The organization split in 1931 because of his personality

(1.) The followers of Rutherford’s policies were called Jehovah’s Witnesses.

(2.) The Followers of Russell’s teachings called themselves the Dawn Bible Society.

6. Rutherford’s only real difference was that he put more enfaces on door-to-door soul winning than on the Bible Study groups.

7. Rutherford’s Character

a. Convinced his followers that to oppose him was to oppose Jehovah himself.

b. Distributing anti-war propaganda in World War I they were arrested and some put away for 20 years.

(1.) Jehovah witnesses believe all wars are from Satan but the battle of Armageddon.

(2.) Rutherford though only spent 9 months in jail.

c. With a fanatical zeal Rutherford convinced the JW’s they must get all the literature into the world that they can.

d. Rutherford mandated that spirituality be mandated in time quotas and attendance quotas.

(1.) Selling books became a mode of worship.

(2.) At the time Russell offered the members 2 free books for every one that was sold.

e. He died on Jan. 8, 1942 from cancer at his mansion he named Beth-Sarim (a house of princes)

C. Nathan Knorr (1905-1977)

1. He was elected the 3 president on Jan. 13, 1942

2. His impact for the JW’s was in publishing.

a. He wrote the JW’s bible "The New World Translation" in 1961.

3. Under his leadership the JW’s expanded into 200 countries.

4. Upon His death in June 1977 Fredrick W. Franz succeeded him.

5. Franz died in 1992 and was succeeded by Milton W. Henschel.

II. Logistics

A. Figures taken by the JW’s of their numbers as of 1996

--- 5,413,769 JW’s in the world

--- 975,829 JW’s in the U.S.

--- 43,663 were baptized in the U.S. in 1996 alone

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