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.


Gary said...

Thank you very much Bruce and Rachael for posting this fine introductory essay. It is good to see this draft essay in its entirety which enables readers to set things in context.

jerome said...

I would endorse Gary’s comment about the value of reading the whole piece and seeing your comments in overall context. And like most readers here, I can’t add much your well-expressed conclusions. I could probably write more on the dodgy writers of the past whom modern writers still quote uncritically – people like ex-witnesses Edmund Gruss and Alan Rogerson – but you have made the point sufficiently and thoroughly.

However, the essay has reawakened a long standing query I’ve had over one tiny detail to do with Walter Martin.

In discussing the Ross libel case and the way Rogerson and Gruss covered it, you suggest that they could have contacted the Watchtower Society or Marley Cole to examine the transcript direct for accuracy. It was also noted about Walter Martin “In this era the WT Society possessed a copy of the transcript which they shared with Walter Martin, correcting the Ross material.” But then in another paragraph you said “…Martin…present(s) the contents of the Ross booklet as absolute irrefutable fact.” Putting those two sentences together from different parts of the essay suggests that Martin saw the complete document but still chose to just quote Ross instead.

As we know, if Gruss or Rogerson had ever contacted Marley Cole for this information it wouldn’t have helped them one bit. Cole never saw the transcript. He made that clear in a letter from 1989. I know the Ross transcript has a found-lost-found-lost-again history, but if the Society didn’t show Cole the transcript – and he was writing with their cooperation – would they really have shown it to someone like Walter Martin?

So, how do we know the Society shared the Ross document with Walter Martin, especially since he only quotes Ross on the matter?

The answer is probably going to be - because that’s what Martin claimed in Jehovah of the Watchtower. But how do we know he was telling the truth? I repeat, if the Society didn’t show Marley Cole the transcript, would they really have shown it to Walter Martin?

As the British might say, how do we know that Martin wasn’t telling porkie pies?

The Latter Day Saints (Mormons) wrote a whole book on Walter Martin – a well-documented exposé entitled They Lie in Wait to Deceive (Volume 3). While I’ve no brief for the Mormons it’s a most entertaining read, and if only a fraction of the accusations made about Martin's honesty were true, I wouldn’t trust him further than I could have thrown him!

So I can live with statements like “Martin claimed to have seen the original…” – but can we support an authoritative statement that he really did?

B. W. Schulz said...

Unless we have a sufficient, irrefutable reason to say he lied, we should take him at his word.

jerome said...

Fair enough. There will no-one alive from that time to confirm either way. I wouldn't have said he lied in actual print, just the fudge words that "he claimed..." The other story that went the rounds of course was that Martin stole the transcript. I don't believe that for a moment, because I am sure it would have surfaced (at a price) had anything like that happened, and there are tales of it being rediscovered in the Society's archives since then. I also suspect that should the transcript ever surface it will probably be a big disappointing anticlimax.

B. W. Schulz said...

The society still has it; though it's last verified reading was in 1991. Gone missing again. However, I do have a slight indication of where it was finally filed. Working on it. no promises of course.

jerome said...

All the best with that quest. Some years ago I made contact with descendants of Staunton, but no joy there, and could never trace descendants of Ross. I cannot think of anyone else who would have had a copy.

B. W. Schulz said...

I wrote to Ross' son back in 1972. He did not answer, probably due to age. There is supposed to be a collection of Lynch-Staunton's papers in a Canadian archive, but I couldn't locate them.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing to Gary; this helps so much putting things in the historical context about which I don´t know much.
German Girl