Saturday, July 14, 2018

To our recent visitor from Green River, Wyoming

You're not welcome here. We will delete any comments from you. Find another site to troll.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Your analysis of this quotation

I need your comments sooner rather than later. Please.

Christians were to be holy and take the Gospel message to their neighbors. They were to maintain a correct relationship to the state. Russell discussed a Christian’s relationship to governments in 1886. Writing in The Plan of the Ages he said:

Man’s extremity will become God's opportunity,[1] and “the desire of all nations shall come” – the Kingdom of God, in power and great glory. (Hag. 2:7) Knowing this to be the purpose of God, neither Jesus nor the apostles interfered with earthly rulers in any way. On the contrary, they taught the Church to submit to these powers, even though they often suffered under their abuse of power. They taught the Church to obey the laws, and to respect those in authority because of their office, even if they were not personally worthy of esteem; to pay their appointed taxes, and, except where they conflicted with God's laws (Acts 4:19; 5:29), to offer no resistance to any established law. (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:21) The Lord Jesus and the apostles and the early Church were all law-abiding, though they were separate from, and took no share in, the governments of this world.

Though the powers that be, the governments of this world, were ordained or arranged for by God, that mankind might gain a needed experience under them, yet the Church, the consecrated ones who aspire to office in the coming Kingdom of God, should neither covet the honors and the emoluments of office in the kingdoms of this world, nor should they oppose these powers. They are fellow citizens and heirs of the heavenly kingdom (Eph. 2:19), and as such should claim only such rights and privileges under the kingdoms of this world as are accorded to aliens. Their mission is not to help the world to improve its present condition, nor to have anything to do with its affairs at present. To attempt to do so would be but a waste of effort; for the world's course and its termination are both clearly defined in the Scriptures and are fully under the control of him who in his own time will give us the kingdom. The influence of the true Church is now and always has been small – so small as to count practically nothing politically; but however great it might appear, we should follow the example and teaching of our Lord and the apostles. Knowing that the purpose of God is to let the world fully test its own ability to govern itself, the true Church should not, while in it, be of the world. The saints may influence the world only by their separateness from it, by letting their light shine; and thus through their lives the spirit of truth reproves the world. Thus – as peaceable, orderly obeyers and commenders of every righteous law, reprovers of lawlessness and sin, and pointers forward to the promised Kingdom of God and the blessings to be expected under it, and not by the method commonly adopted of mingling in politics and scheming with the world for power, and thus being drawn into wars and sins and the general degradation – in glorious chastity should the prospective Bride of the Prince of Peace be a power for good, as her Lord's representative in the world.

The Church of God should give its entire attention and effort to preaching the Kingdom of God, and to the advancement of the interests of that Kingdom according to the plan laid down in the Scriptures. If this is faithfully done, there will be no time nor [sic] disposition to dabble in the politics of present governments. The Lord had no time for it; the apostles had no time for it; nor have any of the saints who are following their example.

The early Church, shortly after the death of the apostles, fell a prey [sic] to this very temptation. The preaching of the coming Kingdom of God, which would displace all earthly kingdoms, and of the crucified Christ as the heir of that Kingdom, was unpopular, and brought with it persecution, scorn and contempt. But some thought to improve on God's plan, and, instead of suffering, to get the Church into a position of favor with the world. By a combination with earthly powers they succeeded. As a result Papacy was developed, and in time became the mistress and queen of nations. – Rev. 17:3-5; 18:7.

By this policy everything was changed: instead of suffering, came honor; instead of humility, came pride; instead of truth, came error; and instead of being persecuted, she became the persecutor of all who condemned her new and illegal honors.[2]

[Analysis here]

[1]               The expression “Man’s extremity will become God’s opportunity” traces back to at least 1629 and is found in Adam’s Works published that year. Defoe used it, and in a 1798 George Whitfield described the phrase as “an old saying.” [An Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman in Ireland; to Mr. William Thompson, London, page 8.] It was still in common usage in the late 19th Century.
[2]               C. T. Russell: The Plan of the Ages, Millennial Dawn, volume 1, Tower Publishing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1886, pages 266-268.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

An extract -

Yes, I know this is detached from its setting. But I'm posting it as is anyway. We would like your comments. This is a temporary post.

This post has been deleted.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

We need to see these:

Suggestive Outline Notes [Exact title is uncertain], 1882.

Hints to Millennial Dawn Canvassers. 1887.

This is fairly urgent. We need a good photocopy or scan of each. Can you help? 

Hints to Millennial Dawn Canvassers is NOT the same as the later Suggestive Hints booklet.  

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Cedar Point Baptism - 1919

The 1919 date is from the library that owns a copy of this photo. But Bernard points out that this is really from 1922. Herewith another view, courtesy of Bernard. Note the 1922 date:

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Music publishing

A recent article on this blog discussed the Russells’ (father and son) business venture as music publishers in 1872. This was known in Separate Identity volume 1, which reproduced the one known piece of sheet music they published on page 333. It was called The Evening Prayer. The recent article discussed the background of this piece, written by Blessner and Pershing for a local Pittsburgh college.

It is curious that out of all the different businesses CTR and his father tried, this one was still viewed as worthy of mention in a court case over forty years later!

The case was the famous 1913 Russell vs. Brooklyn Eagle trial, generally known as the “miracle wheat” trial. In a review of Russell’s various business ventures, W E Van Amburgh included a music business. The reference is in the transcript on page 320, section 959.

Van Amberg (sic) did not become a director of the corporation until 1901, and this exchange took place in 1913, both events decades after the 1872 music publishing. He would have had no first-hand knowledge of Russell’s stores. Yet out of all of Russell’s past business ventures it is curious that the music store should still be referenced.

Maybe somewhere there is still more to be discovered.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Do you understand this, or have we confused the devil outa you?

            Accordingly, evangelization of the majority of mankind was reserved for the Millennial Age. In what he called “the gospel age,” the age in which they lived, the heaven-bound Bride of Christ was the target of their evangelism. They would be transformed, counted as justified, perfect humans, and then counted as the sprit creatures they would become in fact on their translation or resurrection to heaven:

During this age, as many as now hear (“He that hath an ear let him hear,”) the good news are by it informed that Christ died for our sins, that the price of sin has been paid, and they are justified, if they believe it, and that they can come unto God not as sinners but as righteous persons, and by faith call God “Father.” It is as justified (perfect) fleshly beings that they now call God Father – because in God’s sight restored to the condition occupied by Adam before he became a sinner ... . The next step for these justified beings to take, is to consecrate their justified flesh (being) to God. “Present your bodies a living sacrifice,” present it to God alive, for his service.[1]

            That salvation for the majority of mankind would await salvation until after Christ’s return was not original to Russell. None of his theology was. His belief that the world of mankind came to salvation after Christ’s second advent was an extension of Reform [in this case Congregationalist] theology as represented by Jonathan Edwards [1703-1758] and other American colonial era participants in the first Great Awakening. Edwards’ view of the matter was:

It is very dangerous for God's professing people to lie still, and not to come to the help of the Lord, whenever he remarkably pours out his Spirit, to carry on the work of redemption in the application of it; but above all, when he comes forth, to introduce that happy day of God's power and salvation, so often spoken of.' That is especially the appointed season of the application of redemption. The appointed time of Christ's reign. The reign of Satan as god of this world lasts till then; but afterwards will be the proper time of actual redemption, or new creation, as is evident bv Isa. Ixv. 17, 18, &c. and Ixvi. 12. and Heb. xxi. 1. All the outpourings of the Spirit of God before this, are as it were by way of anticipation. There was indeed a glorious season of the application of redemption in the first ages of the Christian church, which began at Jerusalem, on the day of Pentacost; but that was not the proper time of ingathering. It was only as it were the feast of first-fruits; the ingathering is at the end of the year, or in the last ages of the Christian church, as is represented, Rev. xiv. 14-16. and will probably as much exceed what was in the first ages of the Christian church, though that filled the Roman empire, as that exceeded all that had been before, under the Old Testament, confined only to the land of Judea.[2]

            Edwards thoughts echoed through American Congregationalism into Russell’s day. It is hard to imagine that Russell did not hear preaching that restated Edwards. He accepted it a soundly Biblical.
            With some considerable quibbling and qualification, traditional churches found Russell’s explanation of justification questionable. For William Coit Stevens, objections derived from the non-Trinitarianism behind Watch Tower theology, and Watch Tower teaching that the Bride has a role in the sacrifice of Christ.[3] Current Watchtower teaching strongly resembles Russell’s exposition here, though it rejects any thought of the heavenly Bride of Christ as part of the ransom sacrifice. The key point, however, is that Watch Tower adherents were to present their bodies as a living sacrifice to God, doing his will and seeking others of God’s choosing.

[1]               C. T. Russell: In the Flesh, Zion’s Watch Tower¸ April 1881, pages 3-4.
[2]               The Works of Jonathan Edwards, William Ball, London, 1839, Volume 1, page 383.
[3]               W. C. Stevens: Why I Reject the “Helping Hand” of Millennial Dawn, M. G. McClinton & Co., San Francisco, California, 1915, pages 111-112.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Can you help us pin this down?

The March 1882 Watch Tower quotes at some length from The New York Herald. We need the exact issue by date. Anyone?

Never mind, I found it. Jan 29, 1882. 

A "Discussion" on another web site ... Comments, anyone?

I've updated this. Just so you know.

It seems to me that there is a lot of discussion about what Russel was teaching but much of it is left out. In particular, what he was professing would soon occur and the dates he put forward. Much of the focus is on his teachings which do have a lot of Biblical backing for them but little or no discussion on his false teachings. For instance, what exactly was this upcoming 'gospel age' that he was advocating and did he set a date for this or for Armageddon?
As side issues, this presents us with interesting fare. The tracts were free, paid for primarily out of Russell’s pocket and secondarily by contributions to the Tract Fund. The modern Watchtower Society declined to allow us access to the ledger book from this period, which still exists. We do not know why.

Do you have any proof that the tracts were primarily paid for from Russell's pocket primarily? This is especially in view of the fact that you admit to not having access to the ledgers of that time.
It is possible that what was printed in publications about the funding at that time was deceptive, just as the current Watchtower is today. So much discussion is made about the free tracts and little on the publications/bibles he sold.
The tracts served the purpose of advertising and it was through them that individuals were encouraged to purchase more substantial publications.
But in terms of income levels in the 1880s, an immense amount of money was expended to provide evangelizers with free tracts. This gives the lie to the claims of some former-adherents that the Watch Tower was founded by Russell as a money making scheme. It was a money-losing proposition

The fact that the tracts were distributed at no cost in no way proves that Russell was not establishing a money making scheme. In many businesses you've got to create a market who is ready and willing to part with their money for more of your products. Many businessmen expect a loss in the initial years in order to reap profits in the following years. There are various methods that businesses use to encourage people to purchase their products. Providing free samples or advertising in brochures are just two, both methods being used by Russell and who knows what else because there is little discussion about this.
His venture into his Photo-Drama of Creation was another innovative project which he was prepared to gamble on.
The message of God’s Love contrasted with the message of fear preached in Christendom. In Russell’s view God would save the bulk of humanity, in what some call “near-universal salvation.”

I cannot see any substantiation regarding the claim that his message did not include a measure of fear, just as Christendom's does. If the idea is that more humans would be saved under Russell's idea's than under Christendom’s, this doesn't mean you can claim there was no fear being taught through his doctrines. To also claim that all of Christendom were preaching fear is not proven and may well be false.
His passion for individual and public testimony shows through despite his questionable punctuation and grammar. And to his readership it was the passion that mattered. They saw it as founded on Biblical “truth.”

I find this comment intriguing. It would have been more correct to claim "His passion for individual and public testimony shows through despite his questionable teachings of Biblical 'truth'." And then you follow on with a significant comment in saying that it was his passion that mattered to his readers. That seems to be very much the case because his teachings could not hold water on their own.

In conclusion, I find the blog very biased and it seems that the writer has been moved by his passion.
de vienne

Dear Listener, 

You misapprehend the nature of what you read. We do not write either a polemic or defense of the Watch Tower. We write history based on the original documents. What you read is a partial of a much larger work, not even a complete chapter. We deal with Russell’s predictive failure elsewhere. For instance in volume one of Separate Identity we included a chapter entitled Aftermath of Failure. That chapter discusses the 1878 failure. We have another that will appear in volume two [the extract you read is part of vol. 2] that discusses Russellite expectations for 1881. 

You ask about the Gospel Age, calling it “up-coming.” Our text makes it clear that in Russell’s dispensationalist view it was ending. He thought it would end at or near 1914. We deal with that in another chapter. 

Do we have proof that the tracts were primarily paid for by Russell? Yes, we do, and we include a chapter [vol. 2, nearing completion] entitled Organizing and Financing the Work. Put briefly, in the 1880s Russell’s readers were relatively poor due to a series of post-Civil War recessions and depressions. We have some pages from the Watch Tower ledger, sent to us by someone connected to the Watchtower’s writing department and by the Watchtower itself. Most of these list expenses. One lists the major contributors by name and amount. Russell leads the list by far. We include the full text of that page in a later chapter. Additionally, over his lifetime Russell contributed a quarter million dollars to the WTS. WT ‘shares’ were issued if requested for each ten dollars in contributions. The number of Russell’s shares reveals the amount he contributed. He was majority share-holder until his death, and outstanding shares did not pass his in number until near his death. 

Court testimony (Russell v. Russell and Russell v. Brooklyn Eagle] shows that Society publications were sold at a loss or simply given away. The partial chapter you read concentrates on the years 1879-1886. All publications were given away free except for a few remaining copies of Object and Manner which were available in large lots for ten cents. Colporteurs got everything for free, keeping money from subscriptions obtained to defray expenses. In this period there were no “more substantial publications.” Money for Paton’s Day Dawn went to Paton and A. D. Jones, his publisher; not to Russell. Russell paid for copies and gave them away at no cost to those who would circulate them. This was at a financial loss to Russell. 

He offered a few Bibles and concordances at a break-even discount. From 1881 when Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was founded until 1887, the cut off year for Separate Identity, our book, the Society was deeply in debt. A donation of Florida lands by the Russells reduced the debt but did not put the Society in the black. 

You write: “It is possible that what was printed ... about the funding at that time was deceptive.” Historians shouldn’t speculate. And that’s what this is. Ethically, we can’t make things up. We must be guided by available documentation – by that I mean original material, not secondary sources – unless there is a compelling reason to reject the original claims. If you can find proof that the WTS financial statements are deceptive, we will happily include it in this chapter. But ‘proof’ isn’t speculation; it is something in a trustworthy contemporary document. 

In the period on which we concentrate [to 1887] ZWT operated at a loss. Later when forced to open the books in the two court cases I mentioned earlier, it was demonstrated that even Studies in the Scriptures circulated at a net loss. The books did not pay their way. 

By message of “fear,” Russell meant Hell-Fire doctrine. We should clarify that. You wrote: “This doesn’t mean there was no fear being taught through his doctrine.” You mistake current Watchtower practice with Russell era practice. Your statement exemplifies a common logic fault. You presume something was true because you want it to be true. At this point you give us unfounded speculation. Speculation drives research, but alone it is unsound. If you can find in something Russell wrote some form of fear mongering, point me to it. We’ll happily use it in the next volume of Separate Identity.
Simply because the narrowly focused extract from this chapter leads to a conclusion differing from a commonly expressed opposition narrative is no reason to call us biased. We present in footnotes our sources. You have no sources except personal opinion. “Could be” and speculation are not a refutation. Evidence from original sources would be. 

I  should add that admission to the Photo Drama was free, at considerable expense to the Watch Tower Society. So, how does it contribute to your belief that Russell made money off of it?


“Put briefly, in the 1880s Russell’s readers were relatively poor due to a series of post-Civil War recessions and depressions.”
Were these the "Panics" of the latter 19th century? (Crop failures, financial speculation, unemployment, etc.)

de Vienne

Contributions were not as forthcoming as he wished. The January 1885 Zion’s Watch Tower reported on the state of the tract fund for the two previous years, starting with the deficit of $2571.34 that existed at the start of 1883. Expenditures for the period from January 1, 1882 – December 31, 1884, totaled $2,366.10. The fund remained in deficit nearly twenty-five hundred dollars. The loss of ‘two or more’ significant contributors unquestionably affected the work, as did an economic downturn that started in 1884 and continued into the next year. Russell commented on it and its effects:

The opening year finds the whole world in a state of financial depression which will doubtless be worse before improvement comes. Since we are advised in Scripture that the Day of the Lord’s presence will be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, some may be inclined to anticipate too much, too speedily. This is a tendency which all need to guard against. We should not for a moment lose sight of the apostles striking illustration of the trouble of this day, as recorded in 1 Thes. 5:3. From this illustration we should expect spasmodic trouble and distress of nations: and that these will become more frequent and more serious until they reach the climax stated by the prophet, and result in the death of present systems and the delivery of the children of this world into the New and better, the ‘golden’ Millennial age, in which the King of righteousness shall rule and reign Lord of all, blessing all the families of earth.[1]

            The financial depression of 1885 was the culmination of several years of compounding problems in the United States, Canada and elsewhere. Edwin Earl Sparks, a contemporary historian, summarized the complex crisis this way:

The crops of 1883 although surpassing the unfortunate yield of 1881 were scarcely up to the average, and the corn crop fell nearly four hundred million bushels behind. Large quantities of stocks and bonds had been watered by extensions and consolidations which could not be expected to yield immediate dividends, and they declined steadily during the year. Northern Pacific threw on the market in October 1883 an issue of twenty million dollars and created a mild panic. More than ten thousand firms became bankrupt during 1882, a larger number than marked any year since 1873. Causes for the depression were found in over-production, financial troubles abroad, over-railroad building, and capital lying idle because rates of interest were unattractive.[2]

            This dry summary doesn’t contribute as much to our understanding as does Russell’s caution against seeing in the world’s financial travail a prophetic fulfillment. People were hurting financially. Many Watch Tower readers were not well off, and even those who were had to watch their pennies. The basics, food to eat and coal to heat with, were scarce and expensive. Jobs dissipated. A United States government report said:

Out of the total number of establishments, such as factories, mines, etc., existing in the country, about eight per cent were absolutely idle during the year ending July 1, 1885, and perhaps five per cent more were idle a part of such time; or, for a just estimate, seven and a half per cent of the whole number of such establishments were idle, or equivalent to idle, during the year named. . . . Making allowance for the persons engaged in other occupations, 998,839 constituted ‘the best estimate’ of the possibly unemployed in the United States during the year ending July 1, 1885 (many of the unemployed, those who under prosperous times would be fully employed, and who during the time mentioned were seeking employment), that it has been possible for the Bureau to make. ... A million people out of employment, crippling all dependent upon them, means a loss to the consumptive power of the country of at least $1,000,000 per day, or a crippling of the trade of the country of over $300,000,000 per annum.[3]

            If God supported the work, he supported it out of the pockets of believers who were in straightened circumstances. Contributions lagged. With the publication of The Plan of the Ages in 1886, Russell changed his approach to circulating Watch Tower publications. It soon became apparent that The Plan of the Ages would not pay its own way. The volumes of Millennial Dawn were sold at a loss through most of their printing life. This was a result of philosophy and practicality. Russell turned to a colportage to circulate Millennial Dawn and the Tract Society’s books and booklets. The booklets were often given away freely, and the agreement with the colporteurs allowed them as much support from the circulation of books as the Watch Tower Society could manage.

de Vienne:

Dear Eye,

Much of what is written about both men is not exactly true, sometimes blatantly false. But I'd never claim that their belief systems were Biblical or that their personal lives were without fault. Because there is so much written by both sides that is wrong, or incomplete, or misleading, we're taking extreme care to be accurate; to tell the story as bluntly and plainly as we can. We base our work on original sources, some of which have been buried for 100 years or more.

We've found and continue to find material hidden in archives leading us to places where Proclaimers will not take you. We've also found astounding misrepresentation in books some of which are seen as authoritative. And example is a book written in 1945 by a Presbyterian minister who wrote as a sociologist. He manufactured quotations. Following his work to the sources he cites shows him to be pretty much a bloody liar.

Then there is plain ignorance. Watchtower books mention people favorably who never were adherents or who left for other belief systems and they do not tell you that. I think they do not know it. Watchtower 'histories' are unfootnoted except for Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose; I have an instant distrust of something that presents itself as a history that fails to footnote. In fairness, I should observe that there are respected authors who've done the same.

We footnote everything because we want our readers to be able to follow our train. We think those who read our books have working minds. I am never disturbed by someone making a decision off available information.. We want the narrative to be refreshed and accurate. As I said earlier, most of what is out there on the Internet and in already published books is false or misleading. There are exceptions. Zoe Knox's new book is worth a read. It is very expensive, but you should be able to read it via interlibrary loan. The trend among historians now is to question everything. And to dig deeper. No history is without a least minor faults, but Besier and Stokosa's Jehovah's Witnesses in Europe Past and Present, a multi volume work with essays be 'experts' in their field is as close as one comes. If we make a decision based on a group's history, we should verify what we read.

[1]               View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[2]               E. E. Sparks: The American Nation: A History. National Development, 1877-1885, Harper & Bros. New York, 1907, pages 328-329.
[3]               Report on Industrial Depression, United States Bureau of Labor, 1886, as quoted in David A. Wells: Recent Economic Changes and Their Effect on the Production and Distribution of Wealth and the Well Being of Society, D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1899, page 18.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Temporary Post

Restrain you excitement, I haven't improved much and I'm not back on a regular basis. I'm posting this for Bruce who is traveling and has an iffy wifi connection.

Usual rules. You can make a copy for yourself, but never rely on a temporary post. They change. As you will see if you retained the previous version of this, there are changes already. Do not share it off the blog. There is new matter in this post. It will not stay up for many days. Comment NOW. We post these things for comments, and a mere impression will do. Comments provide guidance. We do not always adopt suggestions, but sometimes we do. So your comments are important.

Bernard, I know I haven't answered your email. It makes me tear up and I don't really know what to say back, but I will answer soon.


Evangelical Voice

            Russell era evangelism is the foundation upon which the descendant religions – Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bible Student congregations – are built. Yet, its origins are left unexplored. Watchtower writers focus on a few key events: An article in the April 1881 Watch Tower, Rutherford’s Advertise the Kingdom speech; the circulation of Food for Thinking Christians. These events are related with minimal or no connection to their context. Secular and opposition writers do no better, drawing almost everything they say from Watchtower Society commentary. The exception, though a regrettable one, is found in A. T. Rogerson’s D.Phil. thesis. He discusses Russell era evangelism with the same carelessness that he demonstrated in his previously published book:

From Zion’s Watch Tower alone there is no evidence that the Bible students participated in evangelisation regularly or in an organised way prior to 1881. The emphasis in the magazine articles was firmly on the doctrinal and devotional aspect of Bible student life. It appears that Paton and Jones and other contributors to Zion’s Watch Tower preferred this emphasis, and their articles showed more of an inward-looking concern with the group itself. Paton’s book was designed for an Adventist audience and there is little indication of a strong desire on his part (or on Babour’s before him) to propagate their message, or evangelise for converts – the initiative for their preaching tours appears to have come from Russell. This ‘inactivity’ was consistent with their deterministic world-view and their elitist conception of the ‘little flock’. Russell did tentatively suggest that his readers might distribute tracts, but it was only in 1881 that Russell’s emphasis on selling came to the fore. [His British spelling and punctuation retained, as is his grammar fault.][1]

            As is most of what Rogerson wrote either in his book or his D.Phil thesis, this is tainted with misstatements, wrong conclusions and simple error. He suggests here that neither Barbour nor Paton were evangelizers. He based this on what he did not find in Zion’s Watch Tower. We can, to a small degree, excuse him for missing key statements in ZWT because he was dependent on the 1920 reprints which omit many of the earliest readers’ letters, but any excuse for his ignorance is moderated by clear statements of evangelical intent found in the reprinted volumes.[2] Some of this we previously described.
            Paton evangelized near his Michigan home, preaching in nearby churches to whoever would have him. He never gave up his self-identity as a clergyman, collecting fees for his ministry. This limited his ministry to congregations willing to host him and pay for the privilege, but he did evangelize. Day Dawn is an edited collection of his sermons. That this is so demonstrates a regular, evangelical ministry. We should observe too – as we did in the Introductory Essay – that Rogerson misidentifies Adventism. We doubt that Rogerson read Day Dawn; if he did he was totally unaware of American Literalism and how it differed from Millerite Adventism. Paton’s book addressed some Adventist issues, but in a critical way. The book’s content is Literalist. [Readers may want to refresh their memories by reviewing appropriate sections of volume one.] It is noteworthy that Paton’s magazine and theology are discussed in the Age-to-Come/Literalist paper The Restitution but not, as far as we could discover, in the Adventist press.[3]

The remainder of this temporary post has been deleted. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Bruce and Rachael: thank you for all the time you have so far dedicated to this immense work, taking it from your life and your loved ones. And for the energy you have lavished, drawing on resources unknown to us, or that we do not have, or that we do not know how to find. Thank you for the constancy and patience you have maintained, even when the vicissitudes of your personal life would discourage anyone else. Thank you for not being discouraged when some have unjustly criticized your work. Thank you for appreciating the encouragement of most readers.
Thanks also to you Jerome, for your articles, never crafty, always instructive.
Thanks Bruce!
Thanks Rachael!
Thanks Jerome!
Bruce e Rachael: grazie per tutto il tempo che finora avete dedicato a quest'opera immane, togliendolo alla vostra vita e ai vostri cari. E per l'energia che avete profuso, attingendo a risorse a noi sconosciute, o che non abbiamo, o che non sappiamo trovare. Grazie per la costanza e pazienza che avete mantenuto, anche quando le vicissitudini della vostra vita personale avrebbero scoraggiato chiunque altro. Grazie per non esservi scoraggiati quando alcuni hanno ingiustamente criticato il vostro lavoro. Grazie per aver apprezzato l'incoraggiamento della maggior parte dei lettori.  
Grazie anche a te Jerome, per tuoi articoli, mai leziosi, sempre istruttivi.
Grazie Bruce! 
Grazie Rachael! 
Grazie Jerome!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

William Carlton Irish

All we know so far is that he was born in Ontario, Canada, in January 1846. Can you help build his biography?

Rachael sent me this:

Nelson Barbour

            Fragments, snippets of things continue to come our way. Some of them add to the story. [cut ...]


            Barbour, Russell and Paton were not the only active evangelists among readers of the Herald of the Morning. William Carlton Irish, “a kind of traveling evangelist or itinerate exhorter,”[1] was born in Ontario, Canada, January 5, 1846. We first meet him, date uncertain, preaching in Canada across the border from Detroit. Late in 1875 or early in 1876 he crossed into the United States preaching southward from Detroit into the American Mid-West. The Emporia, Kansas, News of January 23, 1876, reported his name and message: “The long-haired street preacher who was here recently, is named Wm. Carlton Irish, and he fixes the end of the world in 1878. We are glad it’s so near, for we always had a desire to live to see that event.”
            The 1878 message is, as far as our research informs us, unique to the Barbourite movement. Before 1876 ended Irish had switched faiths, accepting baptism into the Reorganized Latter-day Saints, and was ordained a priest in that faith in October 1876. Subsequently, he left the Reorganized church and moved Westward. He is one of a number who flirted with, even preached, Barbourite or Watch Tower faith who did not persist. Included in this list are Feltwell, who drifted into Christian Science, S. I. Hickey, Presbyterian clergyman turned Watch Tower evangelist but who turned to Universalism, and others.
            We lose track of Irish after 1876, except for a notice in The San Francisco, California, Morning Call of October 3, 1893. Under the headline “An Insane Street Preacher” we read: “William Carlton Irish, a street preacher, was arrested yesterday morning and locked up in the City Prison. It was evident that he was suffering from religious mania and will be taken before the experts on Insanity for examination.” As Hickey was later, he was arrested and thought insane or senile because of his street preaching. California law enforcement might have found better things to do than harass street preachers.

[1]               J. Smith III: The Memoirs of Joseph Smith III, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missoury, 1979.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Evening Prayer

Separate Identity volume 1 contains a full page facsimile of the cover of this sheet music, which is of interest to us because it was published in 1872 by J. L. Russell and Son of Pittsburgh. 

The full words and music can be accessed from the Library of Congress website if you really want to see what it is like.

The words were written by Rev. Dr. I. C. Pershing of the Methodist Episcopal Church and President of the Pittsburgh Female College. The music was by G. Blessner.

It was dedicated to the Rev. Bishop M. Simpson (1811-1884) who was president at one time of the M.E. Church Missionary Society.

The Pittsburgh Female College was founded in 1854.

Although it was described above as a sectarian institution under the control of the Methodist Episcopal Church, their charter stipulated that students were to be accepted from all religious denominations.

The Rev. Israel C. Pershing (1826-1898) became principal of the college around 1860 and remained so until 1886 when he was accused of fraud.

Gustave Blessner (1808-1888) was head of music in the 1870s, and the college had a choir and put on musical concerts.

Blessner was a highly prolific composer and a lot of his music can still be accessed today. It covered a wide spectrum, from the Sacred (To Thee We Pray – 1879) to the less than sacred (Silly Dilly Dally Dolly – 1872). One of the latter oeuvre, Nanny’s Mammy (1850) starts off…

    A spinster of uncertain age
    (But somewhat past the middle stage)
    Who thought herself extremely sage…

You get the picture. There are shades of Gilbert and Sullivan here.

Blessner’s modern claim to fame is that he wrote the music for the first known song to have the word “Blues” in the title: “I have got the blues today” (1850). The chorus goes:

    I was the gayest of the gay
    But I have got the blues today.

It’s about a singer who gets drunk.

Of course in these instances Blessner wrote the music but was not the lyricist.

However, one wonders if his music lessons at the straight-laced-ladies-only M.E. College were sometimes rather fun.

Anyhow, although a great amount of Blessner’s music was published and can be found online, the Evening Prayer is the only composition I can find that was published by the Russells, and then only in tandem with other music publishers. It appears to be the only item they did publish, maybe because this was a local item sung by the college choir for one of their concerts.

Pittsburgh Daily Post (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)  16 Dec 1872

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Joseph Lytle Russell in Pittsburgh

Joseph Lytle Russell stated in his application for naturalization in 1848 that he had been in America for at least five years. It now appears that he had been in the Pittsburgh area since at least 1843. The Pittsburgh Daily Post for Monday, October 16, 1843 (repeated in the following two daily issues) listed those who needed to go the post office to collect mail.

James Russell, also with mail awaiting, was likely Joseph L's older brother.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Intro Essay

I've had several queries about this essay. This is the introductory essay in current form but in rough draft. For the usual reasons this will not stay up many days. Assume it will change. Never rely on the rough drafts we post. Do not share it off the blog. You may save a copy for your own use. As always, we post material from vol 2 for comments.

Also, Rachael wants me to tell Bernard that she has his email and was deeply affected by it. She will answer it when she can.

I've kept this up longer than I should. It will come down soon. IF you intend to comment, now is the time to do it.

Introductory Essay – B. W. Schulz

            In this volume of Separate Identity you will find much that is unfamiliar to you. Some of what we present changes the narrative – call it the story line – usually presented by those who write about the Russell years. But more often we simply elaborate where others have abbreviated. A more complete narrative gifts readers with a better understanding of Russell era history. This occasionally makes us myth-busters. Occasionally a reviewer criticized our impatience with the poor work of some who’ve written on similar topics. Perhaps we should have lowered the sound level when we expressed our distaste. But ultimately, we have no apology for having noted partisan, misleading, and false statements. Writers owe readers their best efforts. Not lies or sloppy research.
            Criticisms have been few. Some continue to believe that Russell was a Mason, part of a conspiracy seeking world domination. If he was, he was very ineffective. Though this conspiracy theory is dying a slow death on Internet boards, we readdress this in appendix one. Despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary, some continue to assert that Russell was an Adventist. We think the evidence presented in volume one is plain. Watch Tower adherents and other Literalist believers rejected that identity. If it was wrong to identify them as Adventist then, it remains so today. Those who identify Rusellites as Adventists should do so on the basis of some evidence other than speculation about what ‘might have been.’
            Among those who continue to present Russell era believers and descendant religions as Adventist is Zoe Knox. This is disappointing. We expected better from her, given her history of thoughtful and careful research. Her most recent book, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Secular World, continues the myth of Russellite and Watch Tower Adventism, which she supports by citing Rogerson: “In 1969, Alan Rogerson observed that most of Russell’s interpretations were not new and that many or them originated with various Adventists of his day.”[1] Rogerson did not support his claim; a critical eye would wonder why he failed to do so. The reason, of course, is his claim is insupportable. Using unsupported claims as the basis for your own work – without a minimal amount of verification – is not best work. Nothing in Rogerson’s claim can be sustained from contemporary documentation. What can be sustained is that Russell derived his doctrine from Literalist belief. Much of what we wrote in volume one of this work proves that. 

The remainder of this post has been deleted.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Food for Thinking Christians

Food for Thinking Christians was issued in more than one edition. The original was a special issue of ZWT for September 1881. Below is the cover of one of those originals.

The owner commented that this original was not in the best of condition “but it has been lovingly read many times over in the past.”

When the publication was reprinted in large numbers to be used in evangelising work, the cover was changed in one respect. Here are two copies of the revised cover.

The special issue for September 1881 ZWT has now become a Free Supplement to Zion’s Watch Tower, 1881.

Any readers who have access to Tower Archives can see this cover in a greenish-blue color. I don’t have permission to copy that, but the design is the same as above.

The copy of the Food on the left in the picture has an extra paper strip and holes near the spine, because this was originally bound with a copy of Tabernacle Teachings as described in a recent blog post.

This copy had a brief inscription on the front end papers.

Homing in for an enhanced close-up we can see this is from Sunderlin to McCormack.

This would be the McCormack who went to Chicago in 1882 as described in another recent post.

(With grateful thanks to Mike C and Brian K who supplied the images)