Monday, February 13, 2017

Very, VERY temporary post

I'm posting this for helpful comments. We like the 'well done' comments, and do make them. But we want to further this research with additional information. Can you contribute to our understanding?

Usual rules. Copy for own use. DO NOT SHARE IT. Remember, this is developing research and may change.

Foreign Language Fields Within the United States
In late 1882, a reader requested a German language tract “setting forth the glad tidings.” Notice of it appeared 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:

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.
The remainder of this post was deleted.


Andrew Martin said...

An incredible compilation of information. I'm only part-way through the draft, but already have some comments to make - will save them until I've finished.

As usual, a great job at uncovering history we used to think was lost "forever".

Andrew said...

Simply incredible. I always wondered about Otto Von Zech, and always wondered about his history and introduction to WT teachings. I know a bit about his disagreements with Russell in the 1890's, and this background helps me place the later history between the two in context.

Once again, your research is of the highest quality, and I am constantly amazed at your ability to make it look easy.

My highest compliments. I have said this before, and I'll say it again: Your example of clear, accurately researched history makes my own history projects immensely better. Your example is priceless, and I wish I could somehow let my readers understand that any success I have comes in large part from following your good example of how to do it right.

I cannot thank you enough. Please continue your efforts. I know at least twenty people who read your blog but do not comment. They LOVE your blog. Don't ever think your efforts are not appreciated or go unnoticed.


Anonymous said...

sorry to say that there are some spelling mistakes in the German titles. Is it like that in the original? If not, I would be glad to help,
German girl, proposing

Warum der Unterzeichnete seine Verbindung mit der ev. Luth. Kirche, Respective mit der Synode von Ohio und seiner Gemeinde lo¨sen (lösen) musste, nebst Angabe einiger Gru¨nde (Gründe).

Die Ernte-Sichel : Monatliche Zeitschrift zur Berbreitung (Verbreitung) der Erkenntniss (maybe ancient spelling, modern spelling only one s in the end) und zur Forderung (Förderung) der Interessen Wahern (Wahren) Chistenhums (Christenthums, th is ancient spelling also).

Die Stiftshütte in der Wüste. Ein Vorbild der Wahern (Wahren) Hütee (Hütte) Gottes.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Thanks for your help. Bernard noticed them too. They're now fixed.

roberto said...

It's like seeing a movie. I read, and see people, churches, roads, actions, etc.
The last part (German language work and Von Zech) is perfect, in some paragraphs moving.
Thanks again.

Andrew Martin said...

After reading through the complete draft, I have a few observations.

Re: Charles Seagrin, you mentioned that "even his name is a puzzle, since it appears to be Anglicized." Just a suggestion here, but quite a few Scandinavian immigrants at that time adopted new names based on their town of origin. A quick search didn't reveal any town in Sweden named "Seagrin", "Seagren", or "Seegren", but maybe it's something to keep in mind in research on future Scandinavian connections.

I concurred with your assessment of Seagrin as "a less than stable but zealous preacher", particularly with his testimony of 'the Spirit cutting him off', and with his self-description as the Lord's "Jonah-like servant" (Goodness! Foregleams of P. S. L. Johnson!!!) :)

Now I thought this was a curious requirement for someone to translate and evangelize in Swedish: "has no family". Was that standard at the time for pilgrims and such?

Your reference to "Those responsible for the history of the work in Norway appearing in the 1977 Yearbook" is something I wish to elaborate on at a later time.

Otto von Zech's involvement with German New Theology is very telling, especially in light of testimony contained in "Conspiracy Exposed" (1894) when the von Zechs had their falling out with Russell. Unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced my copy, but I seem to remember that at least Mrs. von Zech was noted to have expressed doubts about the efficacy of prayer. I wonder if that was perhaps a relic from German New Theology - which, by the way, seems to have been a very unlikely background for anyone later attracted to Watch Tower teachings, especially in view of Meiser's comment that "pastor von Zech no longer agrees with the Biblical teaching on the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures as we confess it in the Lutheran Church, but instead takes the position advocated by present day New Theologians". It sounds as if the seeds of their departure from the Watch Tower movement were planted even before their arrival!

I found Maria Mathilde von Zech's following comment quite interesting: "No movies, no entertainment of any kind, no singing in the choir, no sound of the piano, (how could one play the piano in the Lord's consecrated time?)".

Was that merely the application of the von Zech family, or was it the beginning of future musical developments within the Watch Tower movement? I'm unaware of any consistent choir arrangements, except the "Bethel Boys Choir" on the old LP records, an occasional experiment on the circuit level in the 1970s (that was discontinued within a year, due to it "taking up too much time") and of course the current music videos on

Also, does "no sound of the piano" mean at home, or did it extend to religious meetings? Wasn't it during the 1930s that congregational singing was discontinued, under the argument that 'the Bible is such a large book, and there is so little time to study it, that we don't have any time to waste on singing' (or words to that effect)? Could the von Zechs' mentality have been the beginning of that policy?

Thanks again for your thorough work - as you can see, it has raised all kinds of thoughts; maybe future research will tie some of it together. It encourages me to keep searching for what I can find on this end.

jerome said...

Congregation singing was dispensed with at general congregation meetings following an article in the Watchtower for May 1 1938. After giving suggestions on introducing a meeting, it said: "A few words like the above pronounced at the beginning of the study would be far more beneficial than to occupy the same time in singing songs, which often express much that is out of harmony with the truth of and concerning God's kingdom."

The idea of being “out of harmony with the truth” suggests that one main reason was that the existing songbook was “out of date”, reflecting certain viewpoints that had been amended since the previous songbook "Songs of Praise to Jehovah" was published 10 years before, in 1928.

However, singing still occurred at assemblies or conventions using the 1928 songbook - in some cases song sheets were issued for the particular ones chosen. Then in 1944 singing was reintroduced at meetings with a new song book. See the 1944 Assembly Report (found in Consolation for October 25, 1944, page 7) for a review of the reasons given in Fred Franz’s talk. Franz of course had been very much involved with music and singing (as part of The WT Male Voice Quartet) both on Radio WBBR and recordings on the Columbia label