7 Bones To Pick With C.T. Russell & The Jehovah’s Witnesses

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"Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you to explain the hope you have." (1 Peter 3:15, ISV)

If you're like the average American, you've been paid a visit by the Jehovah's Witnesses at some point. Although I'm about to deliver a critique of Jehovah's Witness theology, and offer some unsettling facts about one of the founding members of the religion, I have the utmost respect for people who believe something so strongly they are willing to share it with the world, and I realize that Witnesses are coming to my door in love. What troubles me is that when I press them for answers to any of the following, they typically get a frumpy look on their face, clam up and walk away. This is highly discouraging, because if they can't or won't respond to these criticisms, what am I supposed to think? That they don't care? Don't have arguments? The last thing I'm going to think of such intellectual evasiveness is that their religion is something I want to be a part of.

1) One of the more remarkable stories involves the very first president of the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell. The man was found guilty of selling phony “Miracle Wheat” through his publication Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald’s of Christ’s Presence. Russell claimed that this “Miracle Wheat” was superior to regular wheat, and would grow five times as fast as any other brand. After the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a cartoon ridiculing Russell and his “Miracle Wheat,” Russell sued the newspaper. When the “Miracle Wheat” was investigated by government agencies, it was found to be slightly inferior to standard wheat. Needless to say, the Eagle won the suit. (p. 14, Nov. 1, 1916, Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

2) Second, Charles Taze Russell was a proven perjurer. In June of 1912, Rev. J.J. Ross of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, published a denunciatory pamphlet about Russell entitled, Some Facts About the Self-styled “pastor” Charles T. Russell. Russell in turn sued Ross for libel. During the trial which took place the following year, Ross’s defense attorney asked Russell if he knew the Greek alphabet. Russell’s reply was “Oh, yes.” When further asked to identify the Greek letters at the top of a page of the Greek Testament handed him, he was unable to do so, finally admitting that he knew nothing of the Greek alphabet. Furthermore, Russell had previously claimed to have been ordained by a recognized religious body. The defense also pressed him on this issue, finally asking point blank: “Now, you never were ordained by a bishop, clergyman, presbytery, council, or any body of men living?” Russell’s answer, after a long pause was, “I never was.” In this trial, therefore, Russell’s deliberate perjury was established beyond a reasonable doubt. (For the entire story of this trial, which includes other examples of Russell’s lying under oath, the reader is referred to p. 18-22 of Martin and Klann, Jehovah of the Watchtower, rev. ed., Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1959)

3) Russell implied that his own "Scripture Studies" were superior to the Bible. In the Sept. 15, 1910 issue of Watch Tower, p. 298, Russell writes: “Not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see also that if anyone lays the 'Scripture Studies' aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood his Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. On the other hand, if he had merely read the 'Scripture Studies' with their references and not read a page of the Bible as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the scriptures.” Friends, this is about as dangerous as can be. Russell usurps the authority of the Holy Writ and posits that the Bible, which Witnesses claim as the inspired word of Jehovah, is inadequate by itself. Russell clearly elevated his own teachings above the authority of the Bible.

4) In his Divine Plan of the Ages, Russell prophesied that 1914 would see the battle of Armageddon and the dawn of Christ’s thousand year reign on the Earth. When this failed, it was changed to 1915, then 1918. Russell also taught that the end times had started in 1799, and that Christ had returned to earth in 1874. Incidentally, another WatchTower president, Joseph Rutherford, predicted Armageddon would take place in 1925. Similar predictions were also made for the year 1975. (See Franz, Life Everlasting in the freedom of the sons of God, p. 29) For one, Russell had directly defied scripture which states that, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) For some reason, Russell and Rutherford must have thought pretty highly of themselves to claim such enlightenment. Secondly, scripture plainly states in Deuteronomy 18:22 that, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message that the Lord has not spoken.” IMO, history has clearly proven that Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Rutherford and other Watchtower members were not messengers of the Lord.


I would now like to switch the focus of the discussion onto the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, and what I feel are a few points of erroneous exegesis in the Watchtower's Just What Does God Require Of Us?

5) The Watchtower teaches that Jesus died and was resurrected by God as a spirit creature. (p. 7, JWDGROU) This is in direct contradiction to Luke 24:36-43. Now, the disciples did initially think that the resurrected Christ was a spirit creature. However, Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (v. 39) Jesus also ate a piece of fish, and as far as I know, ghosts don't have that much of an appetite.

6) The Watchtower claims that, "Jehovah listens only to the prayers of righteous people. For your prayers to be heard by God, you must be trying your best to live by his laws.” Friends, this is nothing short of the voice of Satan. If this were true, then no one could repent and be saved, as in their natural state, “not one is righteous” in God’s sight. If this is true as the Watchtower would have us believe, then a blatant sinner would never be able to be heard by God. However, throughout the entire Bible, we find instances of unrighteous sinners having their prayers not only heard by God, but answered. For example, the robber who hung opposite Christ at Golgotha.

7) The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the version of the Bible accepted and promoted by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, is worthy of doubt. It was translated exclusively by members of the Watchtower sect, all of whom entered into the Brooklyn headquarters, over a short period of three years. Of the seven translators known to this author, only Frederick Franz had any training whatsoever in the original biblical languages, and nowhere near the caliber we might expect of a qualified translator.

Franz was self-taught in Hebrew, and had studied Greek for two years. In Franz's autobiography, concerning his education at the University of Cincinatti, we find the following: "What a blessing it was to study Bible Greek under Professor Arthur Kensella! Under Dr. Joseph Harry, an author of some Greek works, I also studied the classical Greek. I knew that if I wanted to become a Presbyterian clergyman, I had to have a command of Bible Greek. So I furiously applied myself and got passing grades…" (The Watchtower, May 1, 1987, p. 24). Franz misleads the reader into thinking that biblical Greek studies were his primary pertinent coursework in this matter, and that his studies in classical Greek were supplementary. In fact, quite the opposite is correct: Franz took 2 hours of Bible Greek and 21 hours of classical Greek. Furthermore, Kensella lacked a Ph.D. and taught entry-level courses. Hence, he was an instructor, not a professor as Franz alleged, demonstrable by a quick perusal of the course catalog of 1911.

To contrast, the New International Version, which I also have my gripes about, was translated over a period of eighteen years by an international assembly of over one hundred scholars, from fifteen denominations. Why is that significant? I don't know about you, but the fact that only four members from the same sect were responsible for the New World Translation makes me suspicious. That's like four Republican writing a book about why the Republican party is the only true party. And we all know how that goes. Conflict of interest, to say the least.


So what do we have? We have an organization that has rewritten sections of the Bible to support their own teachings, which have been claimed to be superior to scripture. We have a history of Watchtower representatives caught in unscrupulous behaviors. We have failed prophesies. We have the principal translator of the New World Scriptures embellishing his arguably scant knowledge of the relevant languages. The list could go on, but for sake of brevity, now would be the time to pose the question: Is the Watchtower institution believable? Are you willing to rest your eternal future on an organization with such demonstrable error in their teachings? If you are a Witness, I do not mean to offend, but to sincerely ask: Do you really trust the Watchtower? Why?


  1. Pingback: Joseph Rutherford with the iron glove | Bijbelvorser = Bible Researcher
  2. Rodney Pelles


    I found the New World Translation to be the most twisted, inaccurate version I have ever read. An example of this can be found in the very first edition (1950) in John 8:58. This verse translates “I am” to “I have been.” The interesting thing about this rendering is explained in the footnote. It says it was translated from the “perfect indefinite tense” of the Greek language. So what’s so interesting about that footnote? Well, there is NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT INDEFINITE TENSE IN THE GREEK LANGUAGE! They actually invented a Greek tense to support this translation. I believe it was the late Dr. Walter Martin who notified the Watchtower via registered mail, and others, to inform them of this error. The next edition of the New World Translation, and all years that follow, the footnote is removed, but the mistranslaton remained.

  3. I’ve read these accuations many times…have you ever taken the time to truely examine each of them in depth?..or, did you only read the one side?…think of it this way..if you had lived in Jesus day..and the religous leaders, whom led your religous meetings, guided you, etc..told you that Jesus performed his miracles by means of the demons…would you just accept it?..or, would you examine the bible..then the evidence…ALL the evidence?…let me know..you seem unsettled..and I would like to help you find the truth of these matters.

  4. Andrew


    To reply to Michael Lambing – the facts to how the first few presidents of the Watchtower have acted show that this is a religion based on man’s intellect. The Bible tells us to be mindful of false prophets (people trying to predict the end of the world, etc.) when God has said no one knows the time except for Him and Jesus. We are also to be lead by spiritual leaders but that should not be our only source of information – God tells us to read the Word for ourselves and to seek answers. God’s ultimate authority on this earth is the Word of God. He has said that not a jot or tittle should be removed and with some of the changes and teaching that the Watchtower puts forth remove parts of the Bible.

  5. Caleb


    C.T. Russsell did indeed predict the end for 1914 & 1915.
    He clearly stated that the Bible cannot be understood without his publications.
    He tried to avoid paying alimony by transferring all his assets to the WT corp. The courts said he was committing fraud against his wife and ordered him to pay.
    He transferred his religion to NY where he can avoid paying further alimony.

    All these matters are clearly documented. Can’t put everything here though.

  6. Stephen Morgan


    Russell was also a mason. Some of his speeches state him being so and as such would be into the occult. This is born out in the zions watchtower with the symbol of the sword through the crown. A knights templar symbol. He’s buried in the Masonic burial grounds at Pennsylvania which also has a monument built to his honour of a pyramid as he was also into pyramidology. By strange coincidence it measures 6x6x6

  7. Jake Bautista


    Why was Saul chosen to be an apostle?

  8. Sandy


    That which God ordained to be written, HE is not going to let it become corrupt From the day it was written till now it has been defined and protected by a body of believers who are willing to become martyers to protect its truth guided by something that is greater than them in power and might, that being The Holy Spirit, , its truth remains for all generations, though the flowers fade and the grass withers the word of the Lord remains Isaiah 40:8

  9. Fred


    The Watchtower encourage all non-JWs to examine their religious organisations p13 ‘The truth that leads to Eternal Life’, but the Watchtower will not allow JWs to examine their own religious organisation! This is what is known as hypocrisy.
    Even though Acts 17.11; 1 Thessalonians 5.21 and 1 John 4.1 encourage us to check out everything. This is known as diobedience to Jehovah!
    If the JW would read Hebrews 1.10-12 he would see it is a direct quote from Psalm 102.25-27 which is a prayer to Jehovah. Hebrews1.10 says it is speaking of the Son. An example of prayer made to Jesus. And according to the Watchtower Kingdom Interlinear Translation the rule for translating Kurios and Theos as Jehovah is if it is a quote from the Old Testament. Why have they not followed their rule in Hebrews 1.10? Because if they had it would be saying Jesus is Jehovah!

  10. Great list, with very good research support. I’ve been researching this as the JWs (now kicked out of Russia while Putin purges all the Satanic system controlled things like false religion, Ipad spy-devices, and health-damping McDonald’s) have flooded Kyiv, standing at every metro and tramway stop. Here are some things to add:
    * leaders left the watchtower at bethel and reported the presence of Illuminati members working there.
    * Russell’s father was a Freemason. Russell was a Knight Templar (sworn to destroy non-catholic religions and governments by infiltrating, aka, creeping in unaware.)
    * other Russell family members helped build Mormonism and Catholicism
    * JW leadership often refers members to specific financial services and businesses. These often result in overcharging and in financial scandals. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen in Ponzi schemes and embezzlement (by JWs, from JWs) in Europe, the US and elsewhere.
    * JW leaders hide molestation convictions, and this has resulted in further molesting by convicted molesters. They lose suits and millions because of this.
    * Reports of satanic ritual abuse performed on JW children seems higher than that for the general population. There have been several scandals.

  11. Donna B. Good


    Thank you all for your comments! As a child of a Holy God whose WORD was written by holy men of God as led by the Spirit of God, I thank you for this stance on revealing the subtle but intentional heresies as directed by the enemy of our souls. Ultimately, the bottom line per usual is mankind’s love of money. This organization has a base of unnamed men which is in clear contrast to over 40 writers NAMED in the Holy Writ. Thank you for the stance and strength in the free standing Word of GOD!!! Jesus says in JOHN 14:6 KJV Jesus sainthood unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. That sums it up!

  12. Donna B. Good


    * saith unto them…

  13. Ivan Garthwaite


    I think the one comment from Johns gospel 14:6 says it all . Jesus the Son of God . The Holy Lamb of God : The Sacrificial Lamb of God for the atonement of mans sin, who brought salvation and redemption for mankind. The Prince of Peace said .” I am the way; the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me”.
    That statement from the God head entirely sums up the message to man. Repent, turn from your wicked sinful ways and be saved for all eternity.

  14. Michael W. Gephart


    When people criticize the NWT for making changes to the Bible, to support JW
    beliefs, the first verse ALWAYS mentioned is John 1:1 (“the word was “A God”)
    I scarcely ever hear mentioned John 14:10, where Jesus speaks of being “IN”
    the Father. JWs must have thought that simple word “IN” sounds too suggestive of the Deity of Jesus; and so they changed it to have Jesus say
    “I am IN UNION WITH ” the Father” (meaning they merely agree).
    I once wrote a letter to the WTS. My letter began…”Enclosed is my check for
    $10,000. However, you won’t be able to cash it, because the money is not really “IN” my account. It is only “IN UNION WITH” my account…”

  15. Greg Taft


    I can’t believe people don’t really pay attention
    to what C.T. Russell has committed in fraudulent
    Matters…that alone should be the red flag that stays
    the red flag! Besides, Jesus warned believers to watch
    For false teachers predictions…ahh-bye C.T. Russell, U don’t
    Fit the bill!

  16. Rob


    Everything you say is right but the past is the past it no longer applies just like all religions you learn from your mistake and try to improve. All the claims you make happened over 100 years ago and are no longer in practice we believe jesus christ is the founder of our religion and we follow his teaching.

  17. Rob


    Everything you say is right but the past is the past it no longer applies just like all religions you learn from your mistake and try to improve. All the claims you make happened over 100 years ago and are no longer in practice we believe jesus christ is the founder of our religion and we follow his teaching. Charles Tate Russell was an imperfect man who made many mistakes and so did the bible students in the beginning also the jehovah witnesses have made many mistakes but have attempted to correct as best as it possibly can.

  18. Teresa


    Rob, I have to say that I am quite surprised by your posting here, but am very glad you have. Please know that I am currently studying with JWs for heretofore and hereafter reasons unmentioned. I have read extensively (well maybe an exaggeration) at JW website as to their thought processes and understanding of scriptures. Doing this itself, is in line with scriptures, that men might be proven who they are and what they teach; whether truth, errors or lies.
    According to my understanding of reading, and from those with which I am studying, one should not even be visiting sites such as these. Again, I am glad you are, as it shows a measure of loyalty (by standing with those to whom you are associated), which is also spoken of in scriptures.
    However, I would hope that you ask yourself some sincere questions:
    1) Are there any of those same mistakes from the past still being repeated at present?
    2) How long have you studied and searched the scriptures, using not only the material of the organization itself, but also other material from outside the organization?
    3) How long and to what extent have you prayed for truth as a whole, and truth pertaining to each and every individual scripture, and scriptures of study?
    4) Is it wise to follow teachings of a known false prophet, or to remain in a religion who carries down many of those teachings, though with a slight twist on what was originally being taught? [One being that of the teaching of 1914 as they proclaim.]
    5) Is the *truth* really a large religion that comes into complete uniformity of beliefs based on man, or is it …?
    6) Are you encouraged to have fellowship with other [believers] outside of the organization (not including field service or Bible study), even if the other [believer] does NOT seem to be of the worldly nature? [Galatians 5:19-23]
    7) If the answer is ‘no’, then why would this be and do scriptures coincide with this teaching? How is one to prove that a teacher is false, or his beliefs false, if one does not come to understand who he is and what he believes? [Could it be that perhaps out of fear that one might actually learn matters of truth, thereby reducing the organization numbers of help (field service) and financial support?]
    8) Is it really wrong to honor your father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, in a *special* way, on a special day, even if you honor them in many ways and many days of the year? And what if you do not have opportunity to honor them in other ways on other days? Is such a practice of observing father’s day or mother’s day really a worldly matter that should be avoided; or is it one of control thus hindering the Commandment to honor one’s father or mother, whatever religion they may be, and especially if they be a [believer] outside the organization itself? [Though I concur with the teachings of Easter, Christmas and Halloween as being avoided as pagan.]
    9) Have you considered that the promotion of the organization to its followers to NOT read from any other literature or other websites, that discusses other beliefs in scriptures contrary to that of their own, is that of one to suppress any upheaval in the organization, perhaps leading to the truth, and thus again, reducing their numbers of servants and finances? [Are they really concerned for members to come into contact with false teachers, or is the basis ‘fear’ (as listed in this question and above under 7); because ultimately TRUTH will prevail, and thus why should members be discouraged from reading literature (regarding scriptures and beliefs) other than their own, knowing without fear, that those who go outside their organization searching for truth, will with certainty return if seeking truth, and that Jehovah will provide?] [Also note that I am not allowed to pray at the Bible study with the ladies even after discussing the fact (with their agreement) that one could ultimately agree or disagree with each and every point in the prayer. Why is this that I am not allowed to pray? Should we fear evil, if that’s what they think might come from the prayer, or should we boldly face it?]
    10) Are you encouraged to seek the *truth* with your whole heart, in prayer, scriptures, and all else; or are you encouraged that you have already found the Truth and that you should apply all those teachings to your life?
    11) In former years, if that purported as the *truth* was really not the truth, can it also be said at present, (because of words that you yourself stated here), that what is really being taught now (regards some matters) is error or even a lie? [I myself agree with certain teachings of the organization; however, disagree with others.] And if there is error or lies in their teaching, how long will this take to be proven, and should you yourself not be looking for any errors contained within from outside sources, especially because of past errors?
    12) Should man conform himself to *religion*, or truth itself?

  19. Michael W. Gephart


    When a JW calls himself a “Christian”, he should spell it with a small letter “c”
    (the same way they spell God with a small letter “g” in John 1:1 and Daniel 3:25!

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