Thursday, October 8, 2009

Foreign Language Fields within the United States

A request for a German language tract “setting forth the glad tidings” was sent to Russell in late 1882 and it appears in the December Watch Tower. Russell called for “a German brother with the necessary ability” to translate the October 1882 issue, a missionary issue, into that language. He also remarked that “a Swedish translation is also much called for. … Here is a place in the harvest field for someone.”[1]

Financial problems delayed the work in both languages. Russell explained:

As will be seen below, the Fund is in debt over $2,500, and of course no further work can be undertaken by the Fund until this debt is paid. We regret this exceedingly, and partly because in our last issue we held out a hope to some, who have long desired it, that we would soon issue the October Tower in German and in Swedish.

A plan suggested to us is the only way out of the difficulty which we can see. It is this: We can start two sub-funds, one for the German and the other for the Swedish papers, and those desirous of contributing specially to these can thus do so. A Swedish brother has already sent $8.50 for the latter, and a German sister $3 for the former fund. When either of these funds shall amount to $200, we will commence to print and go as far as we can. Meantime we will, by the assistance of brethren, have translations prepared.[2]

Contributions to the Swedish and German Tract funds came slowly. This isn’t surprising considering the difficult financial condition of most recent immigrants. In June 1883 Russell reported: “Our regular Tract Fund is still behind and the special Swedish Tract Fund, started some time since, has not flourished thus far and contains less than thirty dollars. It would require about three hundred dollars to issue a proper edition. Our Master is rich -- he owns the cattle upon a thousand hills, as well as the hills themselves, and all the gold and silver are His. If he deems the work necessary he will make the necessary provision. The German Fund has made even less progress, but as the interest in that direction is less we shall for the present be most interested in the Swedes.”[3]

The first significant work among Scandinavians is noted in 1883 with the publication of a letter from a Charles Seagrin, a native of Sweden. There almost no record of Charles Seagrin. Even his name is a puzzle, since it appears to be Anglicized. It may be that his birth name was Carl Sjögren. An individual of that name was born about 1859 in Hellstad Östergötland Län, Sweden and emigrated to the United States. He departed Göteborg on April 15, 1880, bound for New York.[4] There appear to be two or three all of the same name who arrived within months of each other. It is pure conjecture that any of these are the Carl Seagrin mentioned in Zion’s Watch Tower. Of these, the most likely are a man who left Sweden in 1879 bound for Chicago and one who left in 1873 bound for Cleveland.

Seagrin entered the work in late December 1882 or January 1883, “some six months” before he wrote to Russell. He saw a conflict between usual religious doctrine and practice and what he believed the Bible to teach. “Some time ago,” he explained, “finding my Bible teaching one thing and sectarianism quite another, I determined to go out as a lay Evangelist to preach the truth as nearly as I could understand it, among my own countrymen, the Swedes, and in my own language.”

His introduction to Watch Tower theology was by means of Food for Thinking Christians. While in Iowa someone brought him a copy and asked his opinion of it. He tried to explain away its teachings but became convinced instead:

I spent a whole evening trying to explain away its teachings, and afterwards retired to spend much of the night in thinking over the subject. The next morning I got the "Food" and my Bible, and began in earnest to compare the two to see if these things were really true-- after careful study of the Bible I came gradually to see the beauty of this real glad tidings.

I began in my preaching to introduce the teachings; yet to avoid reproach and secure the favor of men, I was tempted to limit or explain away these glorious Bible truths. Once on a text involving Restitution I had begun to explain it in the old manner, but the Spirit cut me off; I then thought to avoid saying anything to the point, but God did not forsake his Jonah-like servant. I saw at once the evil of so doing, and conquering the tempter, I did plainly preach "the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." I have never since compromised with error.

I find many who will listen for hours with close attention. Some reject the truth, but many hear with joy. Some that I thought slow to receive it were only trying the foundations thoroughly, and some of these are becoming its most firm and able defenders, many of these humble teachers with their Bibles in hand, are able to overthrow the wise and learned preachers of traditions. For nearly a year I have preached this truth with more or less fullness as I gradually came to a knowledge of it.

I have suffered much reproach and some trials and persecution for the truth's sake, but never since the time mentioned have I faltered or mixed truth with error to make it palatable to formal Christians. I find some infidels who, hearing the truth, are beginning to think the Bible is true, and some have accepted the truth and are telling the good news to others, showing that the Bible is reasonable when understood.

During the time that I have preached this truth some two hundred Swedes have received it and are rejoicing in it and telling it to others.[5]

Seagrin asked that translations into Swedish progress as rapidly as possible. Of Seagrin himself, nothing more is heard. There is no indication that he persisted as a Watch Tower evangelist, and his association appears short-lived.

It is difficult to read motivations into one hundred year old correspondence, and even more difficult to find clues to personality in a single letter. However, at the risk of falling into the trap of psychoanalyzing the dead, Seagrin’s letter impresses me as the writing of a less than stable but zealous preacher. More documentation is needed, and I would be happy to revise this opinion if it is ever forthcoming.

When publishing Seagrin’s letter, Russell explain that the Swedish Tract Fund had not prospered. The fund contained less than thirty dollars, he said, far less was needed “to issue a proper edition.”[6]

Still, the Swedish tract work came to fruition first. In October 1883 The Watch Tower requested the names and addresses of “of all the moral and religious Swedes and Norwegians you can gather; for samples of the Swedish paper.”[7] When a list was compiled, Russell announced the publication of twenty thousand copies of a sample issue of The Watch Tower in Swedish:

The Swedish tract fund reached such a sum as to justify the publishing of a sample copy of the Tower in the Swedish language, to be used as a tract, among the Swedish and Norwegian Christians, here and in Sweden. The notice in our last issue, that we were ready for lists of addresses of religious Swedes and Norwegians, brought to us many responses, and we will be mailing sample copies to the same, about the time you receive this paper. Whether there will be in the future, a regular edition of the Tower in Swedish, will depend upon the interest awakened amongst that people by these sample copies and upon the supply of needful means for the additional expense involved.[8]

Exact details of the first Swedish Watch Tower are lacking. It was issued irregularly. In February 1884, Russell reported that requests for the paper continued to arrive in his office, but said he couldn’t publish it regularly “until about 1,500 subscribers are pledged.” He reported that they had “plenty of sample copies … so continue to send for them.”[9]

By October 1884, Russell found interest among Swedish immigrants gratifying. He reported that “thousands of papers in English and Swedish are printed and sent forth continually. We mention this that you may know that you have a supply to draw from so long as the Master shall supply the funds. Order as many ‘sample copies for distribution,’ as you think you can use to advantage in preaching the ‘glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.’”[10]

The work entered Sweden through the irregular publication of the Swedish language Watch Tower. In October 1884, a Swedish immigrant woman wrote to Russell asking for three copies of each issue so they could forward them “to Sweden, to some persons whom I know for sure are thinking Christians and Bible students.”[11]

By January 1885, Russell could report that they had published “four numbers of the same size as the English Tower, containing selected articles—translations from English numbers.” He said there were about eight hundred interested Swedish immigrants interested in the work, but “the number of … would not justify … the regular publication of the Tower in that language.”[12]

An urgent request for “some Swedish brother, whose heart is filled with the love of the truth and with a desire to serve it, who … has no family; one who has a good Swedish education and a fair understanding of the English language” appeared in Zion’s Watch Tower in January 1886. One presumes this was to fill the need for continued translation and evangelization among Swedish speakers in the United States.[13]

As with the British and American fields, most missionary activity was informal, a point Russell makes frequently. His view of the work was that every child of God would use every opportunity to speak the Good News. The letters he selected for publication often reflect this. For instance in the September 1886 Watch Tower, he wrote: “The Lord wanted to gather some saints in Sweden, and he raised up some earnest Swedes in this country, who by private letters and translations communicate the good tidings to other Swedish saints.”[14]

Those efforts produced fruitage. None of the names of those in Sweden who expressed interest in the 1880’s survive as far as I can tell. Yet, Russell mentioned letters of interest from Sweden[15] One such letter signed only as M. N. O. appears in the February 1887 issue of The Watch Tower.

While Russell intended the Swedish material to address the needs of Norwegian immigrants too, it failed to do so. What ever led him to that idea, a letter from Charles A. Strand, [16] a Norwegian resident in New Orleans disabused him of it: “I believe that the Norwegians are a still more religiously inclined people than the Swedes in general. In short, I believe the truth would meet with a still better reception among them. You will probably question: ‘Do not the Swedish publications meet the demand of the Norwegians also?’ I answer, ‘No; the two languages differ so much that the Swedish number of the Tower is almost of no use to the Norwegians, and will hardly be read by any of them.’ There is also a little prejudice existing between the two nations. I pray God to open a way to have it published in Norwegian. The ‘Food’ and the ‘Tabernacle’ would, I know, be a great blessing to the saints in Norway.”[17] Russell’s reply was that translation into Norwegian should be done as soon as possible, but it would be some years before Norwegian publications were available.

Never-the-less the Watch Tower message reached Norway through letters from interested Norwegian-Americans. Strand wrote again, saying: “The ‘Plan of Redemption’ has met with a joyful reception in my Norway home. I heard from my father a week ago. He sends his thanks and warm greetings to you all. He says that it is not entirely new to him, having discerned from the Word the outlines of the plan; but he rejoices now ... in being more fully able to see the plan clearly, being aided by my translations from the Watch Tower and Food, together with long letters that I write. ... Others besides himself are also getting interested, to whom these translations and letters are read, as the epistles of old, to different little congregations.”[18]

It is impossible to tell what fruitage was born by Strand’s letters to Norway. Those responsible for the history of the work in Norway appearing in the 1977 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses quote from Strand’s first letter without attributing it to him, and reference none of his subsequent letters. This is regrettable, since it appears that the work in Norway was begun through them.[19]

Data conflicts create uncertainty, but the basics of Charles A.[*] Strand’s life are known. Strand was born in Norway in September 1852.[20] Census returns give him conflicting immigration dates, 1861 and 1880. The 1880 date is an obvious error. He was in New Orleans in 1879 and married to Annette, maiden name unknown.

Though not verifiable at this time, there is some indication that Strand saw Civil War service as a boy aboard the USS Pittsburgh, a stern wheel Mississippi River gunboat. The 1880 Census tells us he was a “mate” He worked on tugboats for a while too. In early 1886 he wrote to Russell, reassuring him of his continued interest: “I have not had a chance to do much work in the vineyard of late, as I am working on board a tugboat. The Lord has given me the two men – two brothers – I am working with. They are Italians by birth, and are very earnestly interested in the glad tidings, although raised in the Church of Rome.”[21]

Later that year he wrote more about his work with tracts and circulating The Plan of the Ages. He expressed his interest in the Lord’s poor, saying that his wife Annette looked after that part of their work:

Inclosed [sic] please find P.O. Order for ten dollars, for which please renew my subscription for the Watch Tower (three copies), and send another copy of Millennial Dawn. What is over use where most needed. The money I send I received in answer to prayer. I have been desirious to send my subscription and something for the Lord’s work, but somehow was not able to spare it out of my wages. Yesterday I asked the Lord to help me get it. Today my employer handed me twenty dollars as a present, which seems to me a direct answer to my prayer

I have been since asking the Lord to make plain his will to me regarding it, which I believe to be this, to give ten dollars for clothing and feeding of the spiritual man, the other ten I give to my wife for her part of the work, namely, supplying the physical necessities of the Lord’s poor around us.[22]

By 1886 he had his captain’s papers.[23] His letters to Zion’s Watch Tower taper off in the 1890’s, though not from lack of interest. Though still seeing New Orleans as his home port, he was in the Seattle-Alaska-San Francisco trade by 1900, first as captain of the Santa Ana, then as captain of the aging Centennial. He captained the Centennial through dramatic events during the Russo-Japanese war. The 1910 Census still lists him as an active steamship captain.

Strand organized the first New Orleans congregation affiliated with Zion’s Watch Tower and introduced the magazine’s message to Norway. He actively evangelized, especially among Norwegians until going to sea in the Pacific Coast trade. His name appears for the last time in Zion’s Watch Tower in the July 15, 1908 issue.[24] Much of his history with Zion’s Watch Tower is best told in another context, and we will save further details for a more appropriate place. Charles Strand died in New Orleans in 1914.[25]

German Language Immigrants

The first interest noted among German speaking immigrants is found in the December 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower. Apparently in response to the November issue, a special missionary issue with a printing of 200,000 copies, Russell noted that “one German brother” sent one hundred dollars to support the work. The same issue contained a letter from Bern, Pennsylvania, requesting a German language tract.[26]

Plans for sample or missionary issues of Zion’s Watch Tower in both Swedish and German did not materialize as hoped. Russell started the tract funds for each language in January 1883. The German fund grew very slowly. When presenting Charles Seagrin’s letter about his work among Swedish immigrants, Russell remarked that “The German Fund has made even less progress, but as the interest in that direction is less we shall for the present be most interested in the Swedes.”[27]

In August 1883, Russell printed a letter from a young German immigrant then living in Omaha: “I have a perfect knowledge of the German language, and I am meditating upon what I could do. When the German people are won, they are faithful. I am assured there will be a way opened to them by our divine Lord somehow.”[28]

Even though no German language publications were forthcoming, small German speaking groups existed. In November of that year Russell, citing Amos 8:11, suggested that the German brethren were suffering from spiritual famine. “We shall give some special attention to the German Fund,” he wrote. “It will be remembered that this fund was started some time ago and then permitted to rest until the Swedish Tract-paper should be issued. Now we are ready, so far as in us lies to preach the glad tidings to our German brethren and sisters also. The German Fund contains about $25. When it grows to about $300, we shall begin to make a start, in this direction.”[29]

The German fund continued to languish for the next two years. In January 1885 it contained only $126.54, about a third of the Swedish tract fund. “We published nothing in German,” Russell explained, “the fund being insufficient for even a start, but, growing gradually, it may be of use some day; meanwhile, we have obtained the addresses of some, able and willing to assist, by translating, when we are ready.”[30]

Russell’s accounting of the German tract fund drew at least one contribution from a German speaker who had been reached with Food for Thinking Christians. He sent a contribution to be used to address what ever need Russell felt most urgent, and he expressed himself as ready to preach the message:

How I long to have all the back numbers of the Tower. Is there no way of procuring them? Any price! I am preparing to work among my (German) countrymen, and would like to have them on that account.

The glorious truth which since a year ago shone on my heart through the “Food,” becomes brighter and brighter. I had the “Food” three years in my possession, but never found time nor opportunity to read it, but always saved it. Last winter I got poor and lean and all creeds and dogmas seemed to leave me. I searched and found “Food.” No book ever took me like that. I forgot meals and all. I could not sleep for joy. O, the blessedness I have enjoyed since then. God is still revealing more and more to me by the Tower and Scriptures. Diaglott and Young's Concordance are great helps to me. I would like this glorious truth to be spread among my people. I find much opposition with some, but some take it readily. I am still in the Methodist Church (German), but preach and talk in private and openly of the glorious truth. What will become of me the Lord knows--I expect to be thrown out. I would much like to see you personally and talk to you about plans which I have. If any way possible, I will see you.[31]

Russell wanted to have the October 1882 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower translated into German for use as a missionary tract. This never happened.[32]

In March 1885 The Watch Tower printed a letter from a German speaker who was preparing to work among his countrymen. Neither a name nor a location is attached to the letter so there are no clues to this person’s identity. They were still associated with a German Methodist church but said they “preach and talk in private and openly of the glorious truth.” They expected to be expelled from that church and wanted to meet Russell and discuss their plans for German language evangelism.[33]

The message reached Otto Ulrich Karl von Zech, an Evangelical Lutheran Clergyman,[34] in November 1885. Von Zech was born in 1845 to Karl and Berta Franziska Louise von Zech and was “a member of a landed family from Thuringia who immigrated to the United States to escape military service in 1865.”[35] He became a German Evangelical Lutheran pastor, apparently after immigrating.

Zech was the pastor of Saint Paul’s Congregation Evangelical Lutheran Church in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, founding the congregation in 1871 with twenty members. He returned again as its pastor in 1883, serving in that capacity through 1884 when he moved to Allegheny.

He received the Watch Tower message through a gift subscription. In late 1884 or early 1885 Russell started sending the magazine to all the clergymen in Allegheny, and von Zech was included in the list. He regularly discarded it until the November 1885 issue, “to which his attention was called providentially,” caught his interest.

Russell issued Zech’s statement to his former church which was published as a special eight page booklet and sent out as a supplement to the December 1886, Zion’s Watch Tower. It was entitled Erklärung: Warum der Unterzeichnete seine Verbindung mit der ev. Luth. Kirche, Respective mit der Synode von Ohio und seiner Gemeinde lösen musste, nebst Angabe einiger Gründe.

His open letter explained his new doctrinal stand and opened with the statement that he felt explanations were owed to his former associates in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio. It was a scriptural due, he said, in the light of 2 Peter 3:15. A note at the end of his Explanation directed readers to Zion’s Watch Tower, giving the 101 Federal Street address.

The record of his troubles drew some sympathy from Watch Tower readers. A brief letter from a sister in Texas asked Russell to “please present the enclosed amount, $5.00 in the name of our dear Lord and Master, to our brother, Otto Von Zech, who has left all to follow Him.”[36]

Von Zech assumed responsibility for the German language work, preparing several issues of Zion’s Watch Tower for use among German speakers, and the first issue was ready by January 1886:

We take pleasure in announcing to our German friends, that we have commenced a German edition of the Tower, the first number of which goes forth this month. It will be a monthly, of eight pages, smaller than the English edition: price, 25 cents per year. The Lord seemed to set before us an open door in this direction, and to the extent of our ability we go forward to enter it by starting this paper. You also have a privilege in connection with this work. It is for you to scatter sample copies, and to awaken an interest in it among earnest German Christians. Do your part well, and while you pray, labor also and sacrifice in the spread of the “glad tidings.” Send in subscriptions and orders for sample copies at once.[37]

The April 1886 issue encouraged their use: “We have now issued several numbers of our German edition, composed in the main of translations from the English edition, by Bro. Von Zech. We want to get it into the hands of all the truthseeking Germans possible. You can thus help in ‘bearing up’ and ‘washing’ and making ‘ready’ the members of the body among these. Will you do it? Order all the sample copies you can use judiciously--Free. Those who are canvassing with sample packets of ‘Food’ and Tower should have samples of the German with them for such.”[38]

With the August 1886 Watch Tower, Russell urged his readers to send in the names of those who “might have a hearing ear for the truth, for samples of English, German or Swedish Towers.”[39] The German language version of The Watch Tower edited by von Zech never had a large circulation, reaching only about six hundred by 1894, and some of those were English language readers who subscribed to help forward the work.[40]

When Millennial Dawn: The Plan of the Ages was released, von Zech translated it as well. A notice that he was “now engaged in translating it” appears in the August 1886 issue of The Watch Tower, but his translation wasn’t released until 1888 as Millennium Tages-Anbruch: Der Plan der Zeitalter. He also prepared and published his own material. A letter printed in the February 1886 Tower suggests as much when it thanks him for two printed sermons he sent to the writer. No copies are known to exist.[41]

Enough German language interest followed von Zech out of the Lutheran Church that at least by August 1886 meetings were held in the G.A.R. hall over the Third National Bank at 101 Federal Street in Allegheny City. The German group met at 1:30, followed by two English language meetings.[42]

[*] The Watch Tower consistently gives him the middle initial ‘A.’ A newspaper reference gives ‘F’ as his middle initial. The Watch Tower errs enough on names to make this uncertain. Handwriting was as indecipherable in the 19th Century as it can be today.


[1] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1882, reprints page 415.
[2] Watch Tower Tract Fund, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 2.
[3] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[4] Swedish Emigration Records, 1783-1951, found at
[5] Brother Seagrin’s Letter, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[6] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[7] See untitled announcement on page 1 of that issue.
[8] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1883, page 1.
[9] Requests, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1884, page 1.
[10] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, October 1884, page 1.
[11] Extracts from Interesting Letters,. Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1884, page 2.
[12] Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[13] Untitled announcement, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1886 page 8.
[14] Seed Time and Harvest, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1886, page 6.
[15] Answers to Your Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1887, page 7.
[16] Letter from Charles Strand to C. T. Russell found in Encouraging Words from Earnest Workers, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1, 1892, page 237. Strand was born in Norway about 1853. The 1880 census incorrectly has him born in Louisiana. That’s corrected in later census reports. He was a mate on a steam ship in 1880. Later he worked on tug boats.
[17] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[18] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, September 1885, page 2. Not in reprints.
[19] 1977 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Watch Tower Society, Brooklyn, New York, page 194.
[20] United States Census for 1900: New Orleans Ward Three, New Orleans, Louisiana, National Archives Roll T623-571, page 20B, Enumeration District: 27.
[21] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1886, page 2. Not in reprints.
[22] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1887, page 8. Not in reprints.
[23] Soards” Directory of New Orleans, 1886, page 757.
[24] Many More Advice They Have Taken the Vow, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 15, 1908, page 219. Not in reprints. Pacific Coast service: Captain of the Santa Ana Finds a Deep-Sea Mine off the Nome Beach, The San Francisco Call, October 10, 1901; Steamer Oregon is Safe at Nome, The San Francisco Call, July 1, 1902; Two Kinds of Dredging, The San Francisco Call, September 20, 1902. Russo-Japanese War: May Have Been Captured, The San Francisco Call, July 30, 1905; Saved by the Fog, The San Francisco Call, August 30, 1905; Fog and Nerve Saved Vessel, The Pensacola, Florida, Journal, August 30, 1905.
[25] New Orleans, Louisiana, Death Records Index: 1804-1949.
[26] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, December 1882, page 2.
[27] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 1883, page 1.
[28] Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1883, page 3.
[29] View from the Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, November 1883, page 1.
[30] Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1885, page 1.
[31] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1885, page 1.
[32] Watch Tower Tract Fund, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 2.
[33] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1885, page 1.
[34] Von Zech was born December 4, 1845 in Kleinballhausen, Kingdom of Saxony. He immigrated to the United States, settling in Pennsylvania. He died March 5, 1908, in Philadelphia.
[35] Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams: Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience, 1988, page 630.
[36] Extracts from Interesting Letters, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1886, page 2.
[37] The Tower in German, Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1886, page 1.
[38] The German Tower, Zion’s Watch Tower, April 1886, page 1. Not in reprints.
[39] Untitled Announcement on page 1 of that issue. Not in reprints.
[40] O Give Thanks Unto the Lord, for He is Good, Zion’s Watch Tower, June 11, 1894, special issue, page 165.
[41] The Trial of our Faith Necessary, Zion’s Watch Tower, February 1886, page 7.
[42] Pittsburgh Church Meetings, Zion’s Watch Tower, August 1886, page 8. Not in reprints.

1 comment:

Miquel Angel Plaza-Navas said...

Sorry, I found also this about Zech in 1885

Pittsburgh Daily Post [Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania], 1885, December 14, p.1

Otto Van Zech Promulgates His Peculiar Belief.
Otto Van Zech preached yesterday morning at the hall of Post 88, Federal street, Allegheny, to the congregation of C.T. Russell. He argued that the punishment of sin was the death of the soul and that the doctrine of eternal torture was contrary to Scripture. He showed by severa quotations that the meaning of the word hell or sheol was simply the grave or death, and that the Bible expressly says that the punishment by sin is the death of the soul, as is shown in the passage ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die.’ The preacher went on to argue that every soul will rise again, and will be given another opportunity to attain perfection in this world; that whose who succeed will live here eternally, and that those who fall to attain perfection will die eternally. The speaker ridiculed the doctrine the doctrine of fire and brimstone. If God created man knowing that he might be condemned to ternal torment, what a horrible God He would be. How could man love a God that woul condemn 142,000,000,000 out od 143,000,000,000 of men to everlasting punishment.
Mr. Von Zech traced back the doctrine of eternal torment to the time of the union of church and state by Constatine, and declared that the church in teaching the eternal life of the soul and eternal torment was accepting as true the lie told by Satin when he said to Eve ‘Thou Shalt Not Surely Die.’”