The will of Charles Taze Russell commented according to Christian standards

Will and testament of Charles Taze Russell

Because in the past years, at various times, I have turned all my personal possessions to the Watchtower Bible and Tractate Society, with the exception of a small personal bank balance of approximately $200 at the Exhange National Bank in Pittsburg, which is legally due to my wife, If she survives me, I have only love and Christian good wishes for all dear members of the Bible House family and for all dear coworkers in the harvest work, yes for all of the households of faith in every place who invoke the name of the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

At first it is noticeable that it was no problem for Russell "to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus as his Savior". He must have prayed to Jesus and all his followers as well. The ban on contact with Jesus imposed by a Jehovah came up later, so that the assumption that Russell was a Satanist or something like that does not bear fruit. In all epochs we find Christians who are arrested with erroneous and downright erroneous ideas, but who cannot be denied to be Christians because of their frank prayer to Jesus. Russell has taken a verifiably bad position as a Christian while shining as the leader of a corporation. His directives testify that he was more concerned with his work than with the work of God. He also did not leave the leadership of the corporation to God, but thought he had to exercise this leadership himself beyond his death.

He greets the "Bible House Family", which as such is not a Christian church, but only a society of those who follow Russell, with love, for he has invested almost all his fortune in them. What a nakedness is recognizable in this behavior! The great Pastor Russell, a man of God never called or ordained, but only self-appointed, who is said to be known worldwide as "Pastor Russell," who loves the Watchtower corporation because he has invested all his wealth in it. We read nothing else in the first sentence of his will!

Russell openly confesses here that he does not love from God, but because of financial interactions, which are of course connected with power. Already in this one sentence the entire nakedness of Russell's thinking becomes visible. He is probably one who invokes the name of Jesus, but he serves money and the power connected with money. He prefers the prestige before men to the prestige before God. He places no value on trusting in Jesus, but rather regulates – as can be seen below – his company, which functions according to all the rules of capitalism. At the same time he does not shy away from being unraveled with the "glorious" investment of his fortune. And this is the reason of his love for the Watchtower Society. – How deeply a man must sink to call upon the name of Jesus and yet so openly put his worldly interests at the top of his mind!

Before this factual context the invocation of the name of Jesus presents itself rather as a Christian facade. If this is the case, the later development of the religious group into an organization of the prohibition of contact with Jesus is only a logical consequence. However, if Russell was only naïve and only addicted to his own validity, then the Watchtower Society as a whole must once again be subjected to an even more broadly diversified evaluation. The fact remains, however, that Russell, as a pastor, preferred to tie love to his dear money rather than to God. Even today, the Watchtower Guild still prefers to exercise the ministry of preaching and mind control rather than the guidance of the Lord Jesus. The behavior of the entire organization, starting with Charles Taze Russell, clearly shows that they have nothing to do with Jesus except his use as a decorative facade. [RH]

When I turned the magazine "Zion's Watchtower", the "Old Theology Quarterly", the right to reprint the " Millenium-Day-break-in-writing studies", various other smaller books, songbooks, etc. to the Watchtower Bible and Tractate Society, I did so with the express condition that I would have complete control over all interests of these publications during my lifetime and that they would be continued after my death in a manner corresponding to my wishes. Hereby I express my wishes in this regard, my will concerning this matter as follows:

Believing in Jesus means that I must, can and may refrain from forcing, prescribing or obligating other people to behave in any way by will. Those who have learned how Jesus deals with us also have the confidence that their life's work falls into the right hands. Russell did not have this trust. His only great concern is the cementing of his line. This natural addiction of a person unbelieving in Jesus continues to this day in the Watchtower Society. It is not the person who is placed in Jesus' hand, but the brain is washed and the thought controlled. And everything that deviates or threatens to deviate from the given line is subjected to psychological torture and ultimately to exclusion. This is the opposite of trust and it is the opposite of faith in Jesus. Because Jesus guides the people who rely on him, regardless of whether they belong to a brainwashing organization or not. Jesus is the Lord. Whoever thinks he has to anticipate his guidance in the Holy Spirit through determined corporate directives is the lowest world. He belongs to the system of things to use the jargon of Jehovah's Witnesses. Such a person is miles away from being a pastor or Christian.

It is noteworthy that all religions worldwide rely on the spread and expansion of their influence. However, the foundation of the Christian church is the joy of the status of the people within it led by Jesus. It is not the spread of the church that counts, but Jesus alone. In all religions we find the desire for growth in the sense of number. Christians, however, only want to win their neighbor. Christians are concerned about their neighbor and not about a religion or an organization. The command "makes everyone disciples of Jesus" is always oriented towards the neighbour and the position of the individual Christian. This command can never serve as a maxim for the enlargement of an organization, because this command is directly related to the command: Love your neighbor.

Russell loves his organization. Muslims love their religion. Catholics love their church. Christians love their neighbor. [RH]

An editorial committee of five brothers

I make the order that the entire work of the Watchtower's publication be in the hands of a committee of five brothers whom I exhort to great care and loyalty to the truth. All articles contained in the columns of "Zion's Watchtower; shall have the undivided approval of at least three of these Committees of five, and I recommend that if of any thing approved by three, it is recognized or presumed to be contrary to the views of one or both other members of the Committee, such articles be considered and discussed prayerfully three months before they are published, so that as far as possible the unity of faith and the bonds of peace may be preserved in the publication of the magazine.

This is spiritual socialism. A committee of the powerful directs the masses and within the committee is decided according to the number of votes. The whole thing is disguised as theocracy, for somehow the dictatorial character of the organization must be excused. First you put the brains of the committee members in the foreground and then, if there is disagreement, God may hear prayers – for three months. Then the time limit for God has expired.

The committee is therefore not only dictatorial towards the Watchtower Society, but also makes use of God's power in a purposeful way to influence the course of voting. In such a system the real intervention of God is excluded, for he is only a means to an end determined by Russell. Just as in a communist dictatorship, there can never be anyone here who has so much weight as a single voice that others follow. The prohetische working is thereby completely impossible and all guidance is handed over to the human committee. God as a gap filler is only allowed to participate for three months. But that is all.

If Russell had really believed in Jesus, he would have seen this system as abysmally corrupt and abusive. If Russell had placed even one gram of trust in Jesus, he would have realized that it is not the committee dictatorship that is bringing people forward, but God alone. Russell did not know Jesus. But at least he hasn't demonized the contact to him yet! [RH]

Since the Society has already committed itself to me not to publish any other periodicals, the Editorial Committee must also be required not to be associated in any way with or write for other periodicals. The reason for my demand is to protect the committee and the magazine from any spirit of ambition, arrogance, and leadership, so that the truth may be known and valued for its own value, and so that the Lord may be better known as the head of the Church and the source of truth.

Can one increase the recognition of the Lord Jesus by establishing a magazine monopoly? Or is it not the purpose of Russell's precaution or determination to establish his given line? At any rate, the knowledge of Christ has gone fundamentally wrong in the Watchtower Society, for he is understood by them as another God, although the law of God strictly forbids other gods. This does not only concern worship, but also Having of another God. Jesus as another God resides in the Watchtower religion, so that the law of God is broken. And not only that! At the same time the breaking of the law is attached to this other God Jesus. The Watchtower-Jesus already breaks the law by his status of another God himself (you shall have no other gods beside me). In this way Jesus is stamped as a lawbreaker by the Watchtower Society.

To want to establish a protection "against any spirit of ambition, arrogance and leadership" by limiting the activities of the Committee is illogical, ineffective and has proved to this day to be the opposite provocative instrument. The Governing Body of the Watchtower Society is full of "every spirit of ambition, pride, and leadership. The spirit of leadership can be most clearly recognized by every human being. [RH]

Copies of my Sunday sermons, which have been published in daily newspapers for a number of years, have been preserved and may be used as material for the Watchtower publication as the Committee deems best; however, my name shall not be mentioned, nor shall any indication be made as to the author.

What looks like laudable modesty is, in reality, more likely an escape from responsibility. It is certainly not practicable to refer to the author at every thought in Russell's Sunday sermons. But the complete omission of the author smells of well-founded irresponsibility. This game of hide-and-seek can be seen in most publications of the Watchtower Society. Only rarely are the authors clearly named, and if so, then only in the case of insignificant side articles. The responsible teachers of the Watchtower religion keep themselves in the dark and elude any personal address. Because of this anonymity routine of the Watchtower Society, no one has access to the persons behind the heresies. This allows a deep insight and confirms the first and second impression a Christian has when confronted with Watchtower literature. This first and second impression of the Christian reader includes a clearly noticeable uncertainty as to the extent to which the Bible really functions as the basis and authority for the Watchtower doctrine. If all authorship is kept hidden in the Watchtower publications, this only confirms the suspicion that the Bible is to be distorted, hollowed out, and twisted. No man on earth would avoid responsibility in such an important context. The Watchtower scribes do this with caution. Even letters written in biblical times are at least signed with a false name, attributed to another writer. Nowhere in the Bible is there an anonymous document. The Watchtower is full of anonymity and irresponsibility. In the Watchtower Society, the maxim of dense fog and impenetrable night prevails from the bottom up. Even letters from the branch offices are never personally signed.

The mere fact of the fundamental anonymity of the responsible Watchtower writers deprives the newspaper publisher from Brooklyn of any validity. Why states can grant this religion the status of a church or a public corporation remains a mystery before this scenario. This religion comes from nowhere, turns Jesus into nothing and is produced by writers who do not exist (for others). This handicraft defect of the Watchtower Society is so deliberate and planned. This defect is an integral part of the organization. Would God and His prophets steal themselves from responsibility in this way? [RH]

The brothers mentioned below as members of the Editorial Committee (assuming their acceptance) are, I presume, fully faithful to the teachings of Scripture, especially the doctrine of ransom, the doctrine that there is no acceptance with God and no salvation to eternal life, except through faith in Christ and obedience to His Word and Spirit thereof. If at any time some of those in particular were no longer in harmony with this provision, they would hurt their consciences and therefore commit sin if they still remained members of the Editorial Committee.

To determine what sin is is quite bold. Above all, defining a sin directed against "harmony with a precaution" Russell's testifies that Russell was completely detached from biblical reality in his role as a global pastor (faithful and understanding slave). Whoever defines sin is God and no one else. Those who define sin as man commit blasphemy to the greatest extent possible. Those who define sin and associate their own goals with this definition cannot be connected to God, nor be interested in asking for God's will.

The definition of sin that Russell makes here clearly shows that he is merely acting as a marketer of his own religion, using the Bible to do so. Not without adding Russell's own components to the Bible or taking away biblical components. The development of Bible twisting initiated by Russell found manifold echo among his followers and is still today the traditional main artery of the Watchtower Society. Jehovah's Witnesses ignore biblical passages that clearly state that Jesus is God (e.g. John 5:23), and they even ignore the first commandment: You shall have no other gods beside me. By making Jesus another God, they have rejected the binding to the Bible. And the bond to God. Jehovah's Witnesses are the most pious godless there are. Russell as a global pastor has laid the foundation for this.

Russel here still brings faith in Jesus as the only possibility of salvation. Was Russell already advocating the thesis that the "ransom" is only the basis of entry into the Watchtower Society? Jehovah's Witnesses actually believe that Jesus' sacrificial death is merely a certain chance for people. After that, the Watchtower Society must work on being saved. In other words, every day as a Jehovah's Witness bears the risk of losing the salvation. Only the stiff loyalty to the faithful and intelligent slave can maintain the status of the saved. This fusion of the work of Jesus with the leadership of the Watchtower Society is the sin that rages independently of Russell's definition of sin in the Watchtower Society. The blending of the Bible with the power of an organization is a sin that does not define a man, but God. Those who are excluded from the Jehovah's Witnesses can consider themselves fortunate, for only then can they accept the sacrifice of Jesus as final and comprehensive. As long as Jehovah's Witnesses are attached to their slaves, they have accepted Jesus' sacrifice only as a secondary component of the Watchtower Society. It cannot be valid as such, because Jesus is not their Lord, but the faithful and understanding slave and his special God named Jehovah God. [RH]

I impose on the Committee the duty to be very careful in selecting others to their number, to ensure that purity of life, clarity of truth, zeal for God, love for the brethren, and fidelity to the Redeemer are outstanding traits of the person to be chosen. In addition to the five brothers named for the Committee, I have named five others, preferring that they should be elected if a position on the Editorial Committee should become vacant before proceeding to a general election, unless something should happen in the time between the drafting of that will and the time of my death that would make them less desirable or make others more than more desirable to occupy the vacancies mentioned. The names of the Editorial Committee are as follows:

William E. Page, William E. van Amburgh, Henry Clay Rockwell, E. W. Brenneisen, F. H. Robison

The names of the five brothers who I think are best suited to refilling vacancies on the Editorial Committee are:

A. E. Burgesz, Robert Hirsch, Isaak Hoskins, Geo H. Fischer (Scranton), J. F. Rutherford, Dr. John Edgar

The following announcement shall appear in each edition of the Watchtower, followed by the names of the Editorial Committee: Zion's Watchtower Editorial Committee. This magazine is published under the supervision of an Editorial Committee, of which at least three members must have read and approved as true all and every article appearing in these columns. The names of the committee serving now are: (Follow the names).

J. F. Rutherford disregarded Russell's will in all matters and seized power in the organization. If Russel had indeed been a faithful and understanding slave, he would have had a bevy of unfaithful disciples. If Russell was not a faithful and understanding slave, then his own religion has indeed consistently continued in Russell's line and deepened the furrow of lies. Russell's highly religious words about the expected character traits of the committee members are only a pious addition to the Jehovah's Witnesses' religion of lies. Neither Russell nor his successors ever had the truth in mind, but they only pursued the organizational goals of New World domination and slavish loyalty to the line that is otherwise found only in fascist systems. Jesus – the truth itself – has no place in the Watchtower society. As another God there he becomes a special Watchtower Jesus, who may only be regarded as the first witness of the opponent God "Jehovah God". The contact to Jesus is forbidden by the successors of the certainly not faithful and intelligent slave Russell under death penalty. The Jesus of the Bible does not exist among Jehovah's Witnesses.

The role assignments within the organization are not and should not be led by God. Russell testifies to this with his directives. Russell is only concerned with the management of his religious group. The same tradition that Russell is striving for here in vain is found in the Catholic Church in a similar form. There, too, the people use and depose according to human arbitrariness. And the tradition of the papal line has the same value as the tradition of the formation of the governing body in Jehovah's Witnesses. Both religions rely on human leaders with infallible nimbus. Both religions carry the stigma of failure and sin in this leadership myth. Both do not trust in God, but care in a human way who is used when and how.

Only this humanization of the faith in God, this reduction of the community to the system of things (expression of the WTS), this shaping of the community with renunciation of God, the precaution in the vapor of the self-interest of the people who are currently in power, this humanization of the faith should be a bright red signal for all people: Do not go into such organizations! Ask Jesus himself. He offers it to you and will answer you. [RH]

I consider it wise to maintain the practice of society in the past with regard to compensation, namely that no salary is paid, but that only reasonable expenditure is permissible for those who serve society or its works in any way. In accordance with the use of the Society, I propose that the pocket money for the Editorial Committee, or for the three who are just fit to work, should be ten dollars a month for each except food and housing, in addition to such moderate benefits for wife and children, or for others who depend on them, as the Directory of the Society deems appropriate, just and reasonable; they should not, however, be so high as to be able to be covered by the money.

The refusal of a salary places the employees of the Watchtower Company under the full control of the Group. In this way, people become inventory whose maintenance costs have to be clearly documented. The seemingly heroic curtailment of the financial independence of employees serves solely to maximize the profits of the Russell religious group and ensures that influences such as Jesus do not have access to the Jehovah's organization. With full cost control – also as far as the livelihood of the employees is concerned – the mindset of all those involved can be perfectly regulated from moment to moment. Among Jehovah's Witnesses there is not the slightest chance that one of them will believe in Jesus, for they have to bow to and reveal themselves to the Jehovah's organization with every fiber of their being. Once a Jehovah's Witness becomes aware of the fact that this Jehovah cannot be God, he is excluded and can never become a chance for other Jehovah's Witnesses to convert to Jesus. In this way, the influence of the Holy Spirit is directly and indirectly blocked, and the Jehovah's organization remains bound to its godlessness forever. There is no chance that the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses will ever move closer to the Bible. Any option in this direction has been carefully prevented by perfectionist implementation of slavery in Jehovah's organization. The dictatorship of theocracy has only one outcome, that is being excluded. This being excluded is equipped with the highest possible psychoterror, so that the Watchtower Society is the most functional dictatorship in the world. The dictatorships of the world have produced many corpses. The Watchtower dictatorship produces spiritual corpses. [RH]

I wish that the paper "Old Theology Quarterly" would continue to appear as it does now, as long as the opportunities for distribution and the laws of the country permit. His sitemap shall consist of reprints of old editions of the Watchtower or excerpts from my lectures. However, no name shall be given in connection with this matter unless required by law.

It is my wish that the same rules be observed in the German, French, Italian, Danish, Swedish or any other foreign language publications monitored and supported by the Watchtower Bible and Tractate Society.

I want a copy of this paper to be sent to each of those whose names have either been named above as belonging to the Editorial Committee or are on the list after which other committee members are to be elected to fill vacancies. In addition, such a copy shall also be sent to each member of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society Board of Directors. This should be done as soon as my death becomes known, if possible within one week, by persons designated as members of the Editorial Committee. They may address their messages to the Vice President of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society regardless of who holds this office at the time. The responses of the above shall indicate their acceptance or rejection of the precautions and conditions set forth. A reasonable time shall be granted to each of the persons mentioned in the case of his absence from the city or country. In the meantime the remainder of the Committee, at least three brethren, shall continue to act in their capacity as editors. It will be the duty of the officers of the Company to make the necessary arrangements for these members of the Editorial Committee and to assist them in every way possible in accordance with the arrangements made with me in this matter.

I have already gifted the Watchtower Bible and Tractate Society with all my voice parts, and I now place them in the hands of five Plenipotentiaries. They are the following:

Sister E. Loise Hamilton, Sister Almeta M. Nation Robison, Sister J. G. Herr, Sister C. Tomlins, Sister Alice G. James.

These plenipotentiaries shall serve for life. In the event of their death or renunciation, successors shall be elected by the directors of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the Editorial Committee, and the rest of the Plenipotentiaries after they have prayed for divine guidance.

Russell's approach is characteristic of his attitude of mind, namely the attitude of a company boss who uses God as a stopgap when it comes to the incalculable. As long as Russell's brain can still grasp the situation, Russell's will counts; as soon as Russell's reach ends, God can serve and fill the gap. What arrogance lies behind such a course of action! Russell, the shrewd religious and corporate leader, makes pious by allowing God to intervene when Russell can no longer determine. This is the hallmark of all religions. They switch and act at their own discretion, according to their own arbitrariness and only allow God when they can no longer do otherwise.

Not so the people who believe in Christ. Christians always put their violence and decisions under the influence of Christ. A Christian would have built Russell's directives completely differently. A Christian would have placed all these concerns in the hands of the praying community, merely pointing out that Jesus is the one who leads and decides. But this must unfortunately remain excluded in the Watchtower Society, because a possible influence of Jesus could expose the Jehovah God. [RH]

I take the following precautions here in the event of the indictment and dismissal of a member of the Editorial Committees who would be considered unworthy of his position due to carelessness in doctrine or morality.

  1. The Jurisdiction Committee on the matter shall consist of agents of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the five agents who administer my voting shares, and the Editorial Committee except the defendant.
  2. At least three members of the committee must be in agreement in bringing the charges.
  3. Of the sixteen members, at least thirteen shall vote in favour of the indictment and dismissal in order for it to enter into force.

Instruction for my funeral

I wish to be buried on the property which belongs to our company on the "Rosemont United Cemetery" (United Cemeteries). All details of the order regarding my funeral and celebration I leave to the care of my Sister Mrs. M. M. Land and her daughters Alice and May or those of them who survive me. They may seek the help and assistance of the brethren as needed. Instead of an ordinary eulogy, I would like a number of brothers who are accustomed to speaking in public to make a few comments; that the celebration be very simple and not costly; and that it take place in the Bible House Chapel or in another equally or more suitable place.

My legacy of love

I leave my best wishes to the dear "Bethel Family", both collectively and to each one personally, and hope that God will bless them with His blessing that makes them rich and does not add suffering. I wish the same to the whole family of the Lord in all places, especially those who enjoy the truth of the harvest. I exhort you all to continue to progress and to grow in knowledge and above all in love, the great fruit of the Spirit, in all its various forms. I exhort meekness, not only against the world, but also against one another, kindness to all, brotherly kindness, godliness, purity. I remind you that all these things are necessary for us to attain the promised Kingdom, and that the Apostle has assured us that if we do these things, we will never stumble, but that "the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ" will be abundantly offered to us.

It is my desire that this my last will and testament be published in the edition of the Watchtower following my death.

My hope for myself and for the whole Israel of God is that we will soon gather together not to separate, in the First Resurrection, in the presence of the Master, where there is abundance of joy forever. We will be satiated when we awaken in His image – "Transformed from glory to glory".


Made known and explained in the presence of the witnesses whose names are attached here:

May F. Land, M. Almeta Nation, Laura M. Whitehouse.

Given to Allegheny, Pa. 29 June 1907


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