Tuesday, April 28, 2015


You won't hear much from us through the summer. Between us we've agreed to write three specialty textbooks that must be ready by end of August. They don't require original research, but they are still labor intensive.

We are open to articles by others. If you want to submit an article relevant to Watch Tower history, email it to me at rm de vienne @ yahoo.com. It must be footnoted. It must be verifiable, solid history. If it isn't, it won't see publication here. Bad writing wont see publication either. But ... if you want to try your hand at it, feel free. I prefer original research and an article with some depth.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A D Jones' theology in his own words

From Zion’s Day Star for January 1884

In fact, we were never so thoroughly convinced as now, that the Four Gospels of the New Testament have comparatively no inspiration about them! Very many of the New Testament teachings do not correspond with those of the Old, but do, on the other hand, flatly contradict them! Peter draws a clear-cut line between Jesus as the man and his after exalted state as Lord and Christ. Note this well, for it is a death blow to the Miraculous Conception theory!

We question the inspiration of the Four Gospels, and we challenge those who teach such a theory to harmonize it with Daniel’s prophecy! To claim that Peter, James and John were inspired, is simply child’s talk! Let us look well to what we pin our faith; or upon what we build an argument; and especially when using statements found in either of the four Gospels or Acts of the Apostles!

You ask, then, what is our opinion of him? (Jesus). We answer, it is that he was a man.

By January 1884 there was a doctrinal gulf between CTR and Barbour and CTR and Paton. But in comparison the theological chasm between CTR and Jones had now reached Grand Canyon proportions.


I have been asked if I have a copy of the January 1884 Zion’s Day Star which is quoted above. Alas, no. The only two copies of this paper that I know to be in circulation are December 25, 1884 (by which time it was simply the Day Star) and August 19, 1886. There is a bound volume covering most if not all of 1886 in the Library of Congress, Washington, DC. But it is fragile and oversize, and the library has resolutely decided it can only be copied through one process – and that in about 3-4 years time. Perhaps.

So where does the January 1884 quote come from? It comes from an article in the Church of God/Age to Come weekly paper called The Restititution for July 27, 1887, page 3.

A lengthy sermon by Dr L C Thomas is reprinted as given at Wyoming, Delaware, and Thomas quotes as above from the January 1884 Day Star. The quote is probably a series of extracts that Thomas had put together as one to give the flavour of Jones’ theology. Thomas was NOT impressed, and specifically attacked the editor of the Day Star for being a Josephite. A Josephite is someone who denies the concept of miraculous conception for Jesus, and who therefore believes Joseph to be his natural father. Many Age to Come readers of The Restitution were Socinian in outlook (i.e. they disbelieved in a literal pre-existance for Jesus). Josephites would argue that they were simply taking the concept one step further.

CTR of course had a great deal to say about how he viewed Jones’ changing theology in both early ZWTs, as well as a summary in Harvest Siftings.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Short Update

We're still researching W. H. Conley and up-dating our chapter in progress. Be patient. Lots of new stuff. It will take time to present it accurately.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Selling Shirts

It is known that A D Jones once worked in one of CTR’s stores. He also branched out into the shirt store business on his own account.

Below is an advertisement from the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette for November 6, 1883. The firm of Jones and Littell is operating from Pittsburgh, but they have several branches. One of these branches is at 335, Fourth Avenue, New York.

As shown below, this was the address of Jones’ (Zions) Day Star.

In the December 25th 1884 issue of Day Star there are several advertisements under Furnishing Goods. Below are three. The one in the middle is J M Littell (billed in the ad as the successor to Jones and Littell of Pittsburgh) with its surviving Pittsburgh address. Albert D Jones and James Littell appear to have parted business company by this time, although Jones’ paper still carried advertising for Littell’s solo venture. But topping and tailing the Littell advertisement are advertisements for another company. Do you want a Wamsutta Muslin Night Shirt? Or how about White Dress Shirts? The American Shirt Store can assist you. And the address of the American Shirt Store? Yes - 335, Fourth Avenue, New York.

There were several businesses at this address around this time including a photographic studio and The Tiffany Glass Company. But it is surely no coincidence that a shirt store in Pittsburgh bearing the name Jones, and its successor, are both linked to the same address as the ill-fated Day Star.

Perhaps in retrospect, Jones would have done better just sticking to selling shirts.