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Monday, November 30, 2009

Alexander H. Macmillan (1877-1966)


Regular readers of The Watchtower will recall that just a few weeks ago, in the August 15 issue, they read an account entitled “Doing God’s Will Has Been My Delight,” as told by A. H. Macmillan. On August 26, in the late afternoon, Brother Macmillan finished his earthly life, at the age of 89. Since 1900 he had been active as a dedicated servant of Jehovah God, and for the past sixty-five years he devoted himself full time to Jehovah’s service. In 1918 he was one of the eight principal members of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society who were unjustly sentenced to long terms in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, only to be exonerated and released the following year. He was the last survivor of that group of eight. In later years, during World War II, he visited and spiritually upbuilt others who had been similarly imprisoned because of their stand as Christian neutrals. Funeral services for Brother Macmillan, held at 3 p.m. on August 29, were conducted by the Society’s president, N. H. Knorr, and then the earthly remains of Brother Macmillan were interred at the private burial plot of the Brooklyn Bethel family on Woodrow Road, Staten Island, New York. Brother Macmillan had firm faith that credit for the faithful service of those anointed to the heavenly kingdom with Christ would “go right with them,” because they would continue right on in their Master’s service, but now in the heavenly realm. (Rev. 14:13) We rejoice with Brother Macmillan in his obtaining of that reward.

Additional Reading:

Doing God’s Will Has Been My Delight

As told by A. H. Macmillan

AFTER living sixty-six years trying to do God’s will, I wish to say that it has been a delightful life. I feel like that Judean, David, who said: “To do your will, O my God, I have delighted.” (Ps. 40:8) I have seen Jehovah’s organization grow from a small beginning, when I dedicated myself to God at the age of twenty-three in September 1900, to a worldwide society of happy people who are zealously proclaiming his truths.

Few men in Jehovah God’s organization have had the privilege that has been mine. I have lived and served as one of Jehovah’s witnesses in three distinct eras of its history. I have had close association with three presidents of the Watch Tower Society and have witnessed the advancement of God’s people under their administrations. Although each era was as distinctly different from the other two as it is possible to imagine, each has fulfilled its purpose in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose; and I am convinced more than ever before, as I see the end of my service to God on earth approach, that Jehovah has directed his people and given them just what they needed at the proper time.

I have seen many severe trials come upon the organization and testings of the faith of those in it. With the help of God’s spirit it survived and continued to flourish. I have seen the wisdom of patiently waiting on Jehovah to clear up our understanding of Scriptural things instead of getting upset over a new thought. Sometimes our expectations for a certain date were more than what the Scriptures warranted. When those expectations went unfulfilled, that did not change God’s purposes. The fundamental truths we learned from the Scriptures remained the same. So I learned that we should admit our mistakes and continue searching God’s Word for more enlightenment. No matter what adjustments we would have to make from time to time in our views, that would not change the gracious provision of the ransom and God’s promise of eternal life. So there was no need for us to let our faith be weakened by unfulfilled expectations or changes in views.

I remember the time I was a speaker at a convention at Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1914. I spoke on the subject “The End of All Things Is at Hand; Therefore Let Us Be Sober, Watchful and Pray.” I believed it myself sincerely—that the church was “going home” in October. During that discourse I made this unfortunate remark: “This is probably the last public address I shall ever deliver because we shall be going home soon.”

The next morning 500 of us returned to Brooklyn, where services would conclude the convention. Quite a number of conventioners stayed at Bethel. Friday morning we were all seated at the breakfast table when Brother Russell came down. As he entered the room he usually hesitated a moment and said cheerily, “Good morning, all.” But this morning he briskly clapped his hands and happily announced: “The Gentile Times have ended; their kings have had their day.” Brother Russell took his seat at the head of the table and made a few remarks, and then I came in for some good-natured twitting.

Brother Russell said: “We are going to make some changes in the program for Sunday. At 10:30 Sunday morning Brother Macmillan will give us an address.” Everybody laughed heartily, recalling what I had said on Wednesday at Saratoga Springs—my “last public address.” Well, then, I had to get busy to find something to say. I found Psalm 74:9 (AV), “We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.” Now, that was different. In that talk I tried to show the friends that perhaps some of us had been a bit too hasty in thinking that we were going to heaven right away, and the thing for us to do would be to keep busy in the Lord’s service until he determined when any of his approved servants would be taken home to heaven.

Although our expectations about being taken to heaven were not fulfilled in 1914, that year did see the end of the Gentile Times, as we had anticipated. So not all our expectations for that year went unfulfilled. But we were not particularly disturbed that not everything took place as we had expected, because we were so busy with the Photo-Drama work and with the problems created by the war.


Brother Russell realized that even though some individual members of the spiritual flock were left on earth, this would not alter or affect the time schedule for bringing an end to the uninterrupted rule of the nations, or Gentile Times. He continually emphasized, “The next thing now in order is the establishment of the glorious Kingdom at the hands of this great Mediator,” the Son of God. This view caused many questions to come into our minds. One of which was how Matthew 24:14, about the worldwide preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom, would be fulfilled.

In this connection I recall an incident that occurred just a short while before Brother Russell died. He always spent the forenoon from 8 a.m. until noon in his study, preparing Watch Tower articles and doing any other writing he had to do that called for Bible research. Nobody ever went near the study during those hours unless they were sent for or had something very important. About five minutes after eight, a stenographer came running down the stairs and said to me: “Brother Russell wants to see you in the study.” I thought, “What have I been doing now?” To be called to the study in the morning meant there was something important.

I went to the study and he said: “Come in, brother. Please walk into the drawing room.” It was an extension of the study. He said: “Brother, are you as deeply interested in the truth as you were when you began?” I looked surprised. He said: “Don’t be surprised. That was just a leading question.” Then he described to me his physical condition, and I knew enough about physical diagnosis to know that he would not live very many more months unless he had some relief. He said: “Well, now, brother, what I wanted to tell you is this. I am not able to carry on the work any longer, and yet there is a great work to be done. O there is a worldwide work to be done.” I stayed there for three hours, and he described the extensive preaching work I see Jehovah’s people doing today. He saw it from what he read in the Bible.

I said: “Brother Russell, what you are talking about doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make good sense.”

“What do you mean, brother?” he asked.

“You going to die and this work going on?” I replied. “Why, when you die we will all complacently fold our arms and wait to go to heaven with you. We will quit then.”

“Brother,” he said, “if that is your idea, you don’t see the issue. This is not man’s work. I am not important to this work. The light is getting brighter. There is a great work ahead.”

I was wrong about our folding our arms and quitting when he died. The work continued, and as time passed we began working harder than ever. The extent of the work Jehovah’s people are doing today proves how wrong I was. Indeed, this is not man’s work.

After outlining the work ahead, Brother Russell said: “Now, what I want is someone who will come in here to take the responsibility from me. I’ll still direct the work, but I’m not able to attend to it as I have in the past.” So we discussed various persons. Finally, when I left and passed through a sliding door into the hallway, he said: “Just a minute. You go to your room and talk to the Lord on this matter and come and tell me if Brother Macmillan will accept this job.” He closed the door without my saying anything more. Well, I think I stood there half dazed. What could I do to assist Brother Russell in this work? It required a man that would have some business abilities about him, and all I knew was how to preach religion. However, I thought it over and came back later and said to him: “Brother, I’ll do anything that I possibly can. I don’t care where you put me.” So he put me in charge while he went on a trip to California from which he never returned.

On Tuesday, October 31, 1916, Brother Russell died while traveling by train to Pampa, Texas. What a shock that was! When I read the telegram regarding his death to the Bethel family at breakfast the next morning, there were moans all over the dining room. Well, we went along the best we could, not knowing what to do. I tried to explain to them what Brother Russell said to me about the great work ahead, but they said: “Who’s going to attend to it?”


Well, we formed a committee, an executive committee: The treasurer, the vice-president and I, along with Brother Rutherford, who was made chairman. This committee kept things going until election of officers came in January of 1917. The question as to who would be put into the office of president of the Watch Tower Society now came up. Brother Van Amburgh came to me one day and said, “Brother, what do you think about it?” I replied: “There is only one person, whether you like it or not. There is only one man who can take charge of this work now, and that is Brother Rutherford.” He took me by the hand and said: “I’m with you.” Brother Rutherford did not know what was going on. He did not do any electioneering for votes. When the election came he was elected president, and he continued as such until his death on January 8, 1942.

I first met Brother Rutherford in 1905 when Brother Russell and I were making a trip across the United States. At Kansas City the brothers were preparing to entertain us. They asked Judge Rutherford in Missouri to come and help them. All they knew about him was that he had the Studies in the Scriptures. He came and entertained Brother Russell and myself and, as a result, we became well acquainted with him. A little later I was going back that way, and I stopped to visit with Judge Rutherford for a day or two. Because he served for a while as a special judge in the Fourteenth Judicial District of Missouri, he was commonly called “Judge.” So I said to him: “Judge, you ought to be preaching the truth here.”

“I’m not a preacher,” he said. “I’m a lawyer.”

“Well, now, Judge,” I replied, “I’ll show you what you can do. You go and get a copy of the Holy Bible and a small group of people, and teach them about life, death and the hereafter. Show them where we got our life, why we came into the condition of death and what death means. Take the Scriptures as a witness, and then wind up by saying, ‘There I have fulfilled everything like I said,’ just as you would to the jury in a court trial, and drive it home in conclusion.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” he said.

There was a colored man that worked on a little farm that was next to his city home, close to the edge of town. About fifteen or twenty colored people were there, and he went over there to give them a sermon on “Life, Death and the Hereafter.” While he was talking they kept saying, “Praise the Lord, Judge! Where did you get all that?” He had a great time. That was the first Bible talk he ever gave. As president of the Society he gave many more to the world by radio.

Only a short time later, in 1906, I had the privilege of baptizing him at Saint Paul, Minnesota. He was one of 144 persons that I personally baptized in water that day. So when he became president of the Society, I was especially pleased.


In 1918 I came face to face with some real trouble. The Department of Justice pounced on us and hurried eight of us off to the Raymond Street jail in Brooklyn. We paid the bail and waited for our trial. The charge against us was violation of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917. Because of our Bible educational work we were charged with conspiring to hinder the United States in raising an army.

During the trial the government said that if a person stood on the street corner and repeated the Lord’s prayer with the intent of discouraging men from joining the army, he could be sent to the penitentiary. So you can see how easy it was for them to interpret intent. They thought they could tell what another person was thinking, and so they acted against us on that basis even though we testified that we never at any time conspired to do anything whatsoever to affect the draft and never encouraged anyone to resist it. It was all to no avail. Certain religious leaders of Christendom and their political allies were determined to get us. The prosecution, with consent of Judge Howe, aimed for conviction, insisting that our motive was irrelevant and that intent should be inferred from our acts. I was found guilty solely on the basis that I countersigned a check, the purpose of which could not be determined, and that I signed a statement of fact that was read by Brother Rutherford at a board meeting. Even then they could not prove that it was my signature. The injustice of this helped us later in our appeal.

We were unjustly sentenced to eighty years in the penitentiary. All sentences were on four counts, twenty years for each, to run concurrently. That meant I would be in the Atlanta penitentiary for twenty years. The prejudiced judge denied us bail while our case was on appeal. So, we had to go to prison. Nine months later, at the direction of the United States Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, our attorneys once again made application to the Circuit Court of Appeals at New York for bail. It was granted on March 21, 1919, and then on May 14, 1919, the court reversed the decision of the lower court. In his opinion Judge Ward said: “The defendants in this case did not have the temperate and impartial trial to which they were entitled and for that reason the judgment was reversed.” The effort of our enemies to frame mischief by means of the law did not succeed in putting us away for twenty years or in destroying the Lord’s work.

When we entered the Atlanta penitentiary the deputy warden said to us: “You gentlemen are in this prison for a long time. We are going to give you some work to do. Now, what can you do?”

I told him, “I’ve never done anything in my life but preach. Have you anything like that here?”

“No, sir!” he said. “That’s what you are in here for, and I tell you now you are not doing any preaching here.”

Well, after a while they started a Sunday-school class and grouped up different inmates. I was given a class of Jewish prisoners, about fifteen, and Brother Rutherford had a class. We each had one. The class was following the Quarterly Sunday lessons. Our lessons began with Abraham, the promises made to him and Isaac and Jacob, all the way down. That was just fine for me. One day I met the deputy warden out on the field and he said: “Macmillan, those lessons you are having there are wonderful. I attend them all and I think that in time you will take all those Jews into the Promised Land.”

“Well,” I said, “when I came in here you told me I wasn’t to do any preaching.”

“Oh, forget that,” he said.

So then the flu came along and our Sunday school was discontinued. But before we left the prison, Brother Rutherford talked to the class for about three-quarters of an hour. We had a number of prison officers there, and many of the men had tears running down their cheeks. They were deeply impressed. We left a little group in there that remained faithful.

Another incident of interest that took place in the prison was regarding the reelection of the Society’s officers. When the day arrived for it, Brother Rutherford expressed concern that disgruntled persons in the organization who had helped our religious and political enemies to put us in prison would try to take over the Society and destroy it. I told him that, since we could not be there to influence the election by our presence, this would be a chance for the Lord to show whom he wanted to have as the Society’s president.

The next morning he rapped on the cell wall and said, “Poke your hand out.” When I did, he handed me a telegram that said he had been reelected president. Later that day he said to me: “I want to tell you something. You made a remark yesterday that is working in my mind about our being put in Brother Russell’s place and we would have influenced the election if we had been in Pittsburgh and the Lord would not have had the chance to show whom he wanted. Why, brother, if I ever get out of here, by God’s grace I’ll crush all this business of creature worship. What’s more I’ll take the dagger of truth, and I’ll rip the innards out of old Babylon. They got us in here, but we’ll get out.” From the time of his release down to his death, he carried out this promise by exposing the wickedness of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion.

The prison experience and the trying time we had with certain self-seeking persons who had turned away from the organization and had caused trouble for us did not weaken my faith. My faith was getting stronger all the time because I knew from the Bible that Christ’s followers would have difficulty and trouble. I knew the Devil was trying to interfere with the Lord’s work, but he failed to stop it. So the trials that came upon us and the hatred shown us by persons who were once our brothers did not disturb me. This was to be expected. It did not shake my faith in the truth and in Jehovah’s organization.


It has been my privilege to do a great amount of traveling for the Society so as to encourage the brothers and to stimulate interest in the truths of God’s Word. On August 12, 1920, I went with Brother Rutherford and others from the Society to Europe on board the S.S. Imperator. It was Saturday afternoon, August 21, when we arrived in England. We toured England, giving talks in a number of halls that were crowded to overflowing. Five years later, in 1925, I joined him in Europe on another trip, at which time I visited the brothers in Poland.

Because of our interest in carrying the good news of God’s kingdom to the Jews, I had the pleasure of making a special trip to what was then called Palestine, leaving on the President Arthur, March 12, 1925. There I was able to talk about God’s purposes and visit places where Jesus had preached.

With the passing of the years I did a lot of traveling in the United States for the Society. For a while I had a circuit of twenty-one prisons to visit during World War II. Traveling 13,000 miles on the circuit, I visited them every six weeks to encourage our brothers who were confined there because of their refusal to violate their Christian neutrality. It was a strenuous task, but the joys it brought me more than compensated for the inconveniences I experienced.


For the last twenty years I have had the pleasure of working with the third president of the Society, Brother Knorr. Unfortunately, advancing years have cut down on the amount of work I am able to do. Before I began visiting the prisons I engaged for several years in the pioneer work, becoming a special pioneer in 1941. After Brother Knorr became president in 1942, I began visiting the prisons, and then, in 1947, I was made a district servant. I came back to Bethel in 1948 and began broadcasting over WBBR, the Society’s radio station, in December of that year. I had a daily program in which I discussed a portion of the Bible with a young girl, who was portrayed as my niece. We went through the entire Bible discussing each verse.

It has been a real test on me in recent years not being able to be as active in the Lord’s work as I was, although I am still regular in attending meetings. I have a constant fight against discouragement. Because of my physical problems it seems at times that the Devil is trying to test me as he did Job. But I know I must hold fast to my integrity as Job did right to the end. It has been hard for me to see the others that were with me in the Atlanta penitentiary receive their heavenly reward while I have been left behind. I am the last of that group.

At the age of ninety I can look back on my life and say that I would not choose a different occupation if I could live it over again. Instead, I would work harder and more diligently.

With the passing of the years I have had many trials and have had to make a number of adjustments in my understanding of God’s Word, but I saw no reason to permit such things to disturb my faith. Such adjustments are necessary in the spiritual growth of a Christian as God allows more light to be shed upon his Word with the passing of time. Whatever changes in views were made did not alter such fundamental truths as the ransom, the resurrection of the dead and God’s promise of eternal life. They did not alter the surety of God’s promises that are clearly recorded in his Word. So my faith is as strong today as it ever was.

Although my desire constantly has been to be in God’s service, there have been trying times in which I have needed encouragement. A scripture that has given me such encouragement is what was written by our beloved brother Paul at Philippians 4:6, 7, “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.” It has been my experience that we can have peace only when we rely on God and trust him and his Word.

When I consider the great work God’s people are doing today, I find new meaning in Psalm 110:3, which says: “You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.” God’s people are like refreshing dewdrops that gently nourish a dry land as they teach God’s truths in frequent visits. Evangelists I have known, on the other hand, were like a torrential rain on dry land that quickly runs off, leaving the land dry again. They would deluge a community and then leave.

The wonderful expansion that I have seen in Jehovah’s organization and the worldwide preaching of the good news of the Kingdom that I see going on today bring my own years of preaching to a marvelous climax. It has been a privilege to work with the Society’s three presidents and to have had a part in this expansion. I can truly appreciate now Brother Russell’s remark in his last conversation with me when he said: ‘Brother, this is not man’s work. This is God’s.’ Doing God’s will for the past sixty-six years has indeed been my keenest delight.

- August 15, 1966 Watchtower, WTB&TS

To the reader:

A. H. Macmillan is known to Jehovah's witnesses all over the world. His long and prominent association with the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and his faithful record of service as a Christian minister have endeared him to his many friends.

Toward the end of 1955 Mr. Macmillan asked permission to use the Society's files to write an account of his experiences in the ministry. Since he is a trusted member of the headquarters staff, he was granted permission. A few months ago he informed me the work was finished, and at his request I agreed to read the manuscript for technical accuracy. I soon found myself engrossed in the story which the account of his life and association with Jehovah's witnesses had produced.

This book is more than the story of one man's growing faith. I believe Mr. Macmillan has made a sincere effort to capture and portray the very essence of the religion that he acknowledges has given meaning to his life. He reveals Jehovah's witnesses as human. He admits their mistakes and explains why no human organization can be infallible. At the same time he reveals their hopes, and presents sound Scriptural reasons for the appeal of these hopes to all kinds of men.

The book is a straightforward and truthful account. It is unique only in the personal experiences of A. H. Macmillan. In many other respects it could be the story of any one of hundreds of Jehovah's witnesses whom I have known.

President, Watch Tower Bible
and Tract Society of Pennsylvania
Brooklyn, New York

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Going on the Offensive

IN 1894 twenty part-time Watch Tower representatives were trained and sent out week ends from the Pittsburgh head office to conduct public meetings and to build up new “ecclesias.” This practice was changed in 1897 by confining such visitation service to three full-time representatives known as “pilgrims,” who traveled on set route from congregation to congregation, spending one or two days with each group to bring spiritual refreshment. As the number of congregations or classes of Bible students increased, more pilgrims were sent on the road to maintain organizational contact. In 1905 there were 25; by 1917 there were 93 serving in this way as forerunners of the Society’s present-day earth-wide “circuit servant” arrangement. Since no record was kept of the number of interested persons comprising the respective individual groups in those early times, the only indication we have is from their annual Memorial reports sent to the Pittsburgh headquarters. In 1899, for example, there was an incomplete report from 339 congregations reporting 2,501 participants. In 1900 it is recorded that 280 groups (being only two thirds of the entire number) reported 2,600 attendants at the annual Memorial service. Increases in number of associates were mounting fast, the 1902 Memorial report showing that in only 175 congregations the total attendance exceeded 4,700, representing an individual-congregation average of more than twice that for the preceding year. Finally, by 1903 there were over 20,000 Watch Tower subscribers—an impressively sizable society standing in defense of truth.

Clergy opposition to the Watch Tower Society gradually became increasingly manifest as thousands upon thousands of Bible tracts and pamphlets were constantly being distributed farther from the Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) fountainhead. No longer were the Society’s representatives permitted to speak from church pulpits as in the 1870’s. Among the Protestant clergy, in 1846, a sort of preachers’ union, officially called the “Evangelical Alliance,” had been organized for limiting recognition of ordination to those of the major sects already operating theological schools. Its members began to ridicule C. T. Russell, president of the Watch Tower Society, objecting particularly to his being designated “Pastor,” and certain unscrupulous newspapers were used as tools to concoct and spread scandalous lies about Russell’s private differences with his wife. Like their Pharisaical prototypes who had defamed Jesus by calling in question his authority and the legitimacy of his birth, so these modern apostate leaders of religion stooped to attack the person when pained by the sound Biblical information that was being published.

Something new was started that stimulated the dissemination of Bible truth through tract distribution. It was destined to take the clergy by storm. Zion’s Watch Tower for April 15, 1899, proposed what was called “Volunteer Service.” Volunteers were called from all the Christians who attended the Society’s meetings, to undertake a mass free distribution of 300,000 copies of the new booklet The Bible vs. Evolution to people as they left the Protestant churches on Sundays.

“The preferable plan of operations is for the friends who will so engage in each city or village to lay out a program which will insure that no congregation be omitted and that none be served twice. All large congregations require at least two or three for proper rapid service as they come out. And generally the effect is better if the distributors locate half a block away from the church building in each direction in which the people go.”—Pages 93, 94.

In the United States, Canada and Europe this work was taken up enthusiastically by thousands of volunteers. The first year 948,459 tracts were so delivered. Then for years afterward such organized tract-distribution or volunteer work was kept up, especially on Sundays, being expanded in time to include house-to-house distributing, placing the tracts under home doors Sunday mornings. Two or more times each year new tracts were released and these so delivered by the millions to church attenders. Now a flood was reaching even to the church doors, overflowing the religious pastures. The hostile reaction of the clergy became more intense. They tried repeatedly to have the publishers arrested for standing on the street distributing free tracts, as though sidewalk approaches to churches were indeed specially ‘consecrated’ ground. Legal counsel was rendered from time to time because of interference by public officials who were trying, at instance of the clergy, to ‘frame mischief by law’ to discourage and hamper or entirely suppress such street distribution of tracts.

On March 10, 1903, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh ministerial alliance, Dr. E. L. Eaton, minister of the North Avenue Methodist Episcopal church, formally offered to C. T. Russell a six-day debate on agreed Biblical subjects. (Later it appeared that this was a subtle attempt on the part of the associated clergy publicly to discredit Russell’s scholarship and teaching.) Within two days Russell in good faith accepted the offer, and the debates were finally held in the fall at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Hall before packed-out audiences.

(1) Sunday afternoon, October 18, Eaton debated affirmatively, that the Bible teaches that divine grace for salvation has been exercised since man’s fall and that there will be no probation after death. Russell Scripturally denied. (2) Tuesday evening, October 20, Russell affirmed that the Bible clearly teaches that the souls of the dead are unconscious while their bodies are in the grave. Eaton denied. (3) Thursday evening, October 22, Eaton affirmed that the Bible teaches that all of the saved will become spirit creatures, and after the General Judgment will enter heaven. Russell denied. (4) Tuesday evening, October 27, Russell, affirming that the Bible teaches that only the “saints” of this Gospel age will share in the “First Resurrection,” also held that vast multitudes will be saved in and by the subsequent resurrection. Eaton denied. (5) Thursday, October 29, Russell affirmed that the Bible teaches that the object of both the second coming of Christ and the Millennium is the blessing of all the families of earth. Eaton denied. (6) Lastly, on Sunday, November 1, with Eaton affirming that the Bible teaches that the divine penalty for sin eventually to be inflicted upon the incorrigible, will consist of inconceivably great sufferings, eternal in duration, Russell vigorously denied this hell-fire doctrine.

Interesting side lights: During the debates several of the local clergy were on the platform with Dr. Eaton to give him textual and moral support, while Russell, alone, stood his ground as a sort of Daniel in a lions’ den. On the whole, Russell came off victorious for each of the six debates and especially the last one, on “hell.” It is reported that one of the attending clergymen, acknowledging that victory, came up to Russell after the last debate, saying, “I am glad to see you turn the hose on hell and put out the fire.” Soon after this exposure of the false doctrines of the “Babylonish” church systems quite a number of Eaton’s Methodist congregation became Bible students. Other debate challenges were accepted, but at the last minute the opposition would get afraid and call off the engagements. However, within twelve years after the Eaton-Russell debates of 1903 two other major duels between Watch Tower Society representatives and leading religious groups did take place. L. S. White of the Disciples denomination engaged with Russell for six debates February 23-28, 1908, at Cincinnati, Ohio, attended by thousands, to observe easy victory again for Russell. The Baptists’ challenge for a debate series in Los Angeles, California, was undertaken by J. F. Rutherford on behalf of the Watch Tower Society against Rev. J. H. Troy. This was before a total audience of 12,000 (an estimated ten thousand being turned away) for four nights in April, 1915, at the Trinity Auditorium. This too turned out to be a signal victory for the Watch Tower Society’s spokesman standing in defense of Bible truth.

During 1905, 1906 and 1907 Russell toured the entire United States and Canada, conducting a series of one-day conventions. His public lecture was the famous “To Hell and Back,” one which he gave before packed houses in nearly every large city of both countries. In this striking lecture he took his audience on a humorous, witty, imaginary trip to hell and back, which proved to be a devastating exposé of the false doctrine of hell-fire. Before the Eaton-Russell debates Russell and a party made a second tour of Europe in 1903, establishing a branch of the Society in Germany at Barmen-Elberfeld. Then in 1904 another branch of the Society was set up in Australia. By this time seeds of truth were falling into good soil in South Africa, Japan and the British West Indies, where a convention was held in Kingston, Jamaica, attended by 400, and with 600 at the Sunday public meeting.

For the American field the largest convention to that time was held at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, August 29 to September 7, 1908, with an estimated peak attendance of 4,800. In this period from 1890 to 1908 the literature continued to be distributed by the millions, and there were now more than 30,000 Watch Tower subscribers, thousands of whom shared in this organized continuing effort to bring Bible truth to eager Christians. To such a helping hand was given to come out of Babylon and become devoted servants of Almighty God and Christ Jesus. Despite the Protestant “lion’s” angry attempts to destroy the Samson-like Society, the members of its ranks, energized by Jehovah’s spirit, were operating ever stronger.

- 1955 Watchtower, Feb. 15th, WTB&TS

The Midnight Cry!

MILLER, William, founder of the sect of Adventists, or "Millerites," born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 5 February, 1782; died in Low Hampton, New York, 20 December, 1849. His father, Captain William Miller, was a soldier of the Revolution and of the war of 1812. His mother was the daughter of Elnathan Phelps, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a popular Baptist clergyman.

Religious meetings were often held in his father's house, and the zeal of the exhorters and revivalists had much to do with shaping the boy's career, who had little else to break the monotony of his farm life. The few books he could borrow were mainly religious, stimulating the morbid tendency of his mind, but he earned copies of "Robinson Crusoe" and "The Adventures of Robert Boyle" by chopping wood.

He became a prosperous Green Mountain farmer, was a recruiting-officer at the beginning of the war of 1812, and a captain at Plattsburgh. He owned a farm of 200 acres unencumbered, and was a justice of the peace, constable, and sheriff. He was a ready and smooth versifier, and was called the "poet of Low Hampton." In his early manhood he read Hume, Voltaire, and Tom Paine, and advocated their teachings.

He afterward professed faith in Christianity, uniting with the Baptist Church at Low Hampton, when his absorbing study of the Bible began. "I lost all taste for other reading," he wrote of this period. He began with Genesis, and left not a sentence unstudied, accepting no help or direction beyond the concordance and the reference of his polyglot Bible. He was guided in his interpretation entirely by his private judgment, and ultimately concentrated his attention upon the prophecies, particularly those of the second coming.

In 1831 he rose from his prolonged study under a solemn conviction that to him had been given the key unlocking the prophetical numbers, and that he must go forth and proclaim to a doomed world that in twelve years, at longest, the end of all things would come; that some time between 21 March, 1843, and 21 March, 1844, Jesus Christ would appear in person to judge the world.

He was licensed to preach by the Baptist church at Low Hampton, but was never ordained. Multitudes pressed to hear him wherever he went, and he could not respond to the numerous invitations he received to lecture upon the prophecies. He paid his own expenses as a rule, and there was no admission-fee to his lectures. Churches were thrown open to him everywhere at first--excepting those of the Episcopalians and Roman Catholics--and many prominent clergymen became advocates of his doctrine.

The tide of his popularity turned when some of his converts fastened the name of "Babylon" upon the churches, calling upon "believers in the blessed hope" to "come out of her" if they would be saved.

Father Miller's lectures were illustrated by great charts, upon which were depicted the apocalyptic beasts, Nebuchadnezzar's image, etc. These charts presented a mathematical demonstration of the mystical problem of the 2,300 days of Daniel's vision, showing just when "the third woe" must be sounded, and the seventh trumpet, and just when the stone must smite the image, etc.

The vital point of his argument was the connection between the seventy weeks of Daniel and the 2,300 days, and therein was the revelation of the exact time of the end. The grand culmination of the fanaticism was 24-25 October, 1844, "the tenth day of the seventh month" excitement.

The mistake in fixing upon 1843, it was shown, grew out of a neglect to consider the difference between Roman and Jewish time; 1843 Jewish time was 1844 Roman time, and the new revelation had given not only the year but the month and the day, "and probably the hour even." The clue had been found in the fact that the tenth day of the seventh month was that of the great day of the atonement. The literature of the "tenth-day excitement" may be found in the many publications of the sect at the time, and is by no means discreditable to its authors.

Naturally there was intense excitement among the believers, until not only the month of October but that of November had passed. They gathered themselves together in great multitudes, and hundreds were baptized by immersion. They did not array themselves in ascension-robes, as has been universally believed. The offshoots of the fanaticism were many, each founded on some interpretation of Scripture according to private judgment.

One Mrs. Miner, of Philadelphia, went to Palestine to make ready that land for the tarrying Messiah. There was a "shut-door" faction, which asserted that Christ came spiritually on the tenth day, and had "shut the door" against all unbelievers. The "Feet-Washers" were another phase of the reaction from disappointment. There was a marked drift to the Shakers, while many went back to "Babylon," thankful for the refuge.

But the majority of Father Miller's converts, 50,000 or more, did not forsake their leader, nor give up their faith in the speedy appearing. On 25 April, 1845, he called a convention of his followers, a declaration of faith was agreed upon, and the name of "Adventist" was adopted by the new sect, which, under various names, has been increasing ever since. Father Miller published many sermons and lectures, and his "Dream of the Last Day" had a large circulation. See "Memoirs of William Miller," by Sylvester Bliss (Boston, 1853).

- Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

Sylvester Bliss (1814-1863)


During the year 1842, -while the ministers who had embraced the doctrine of the Advent near, were preaching it with much success, others were writing books and tracts, reviews, criticisms and correspondence and instruction in the papers. Among theso writers, Bro. Sylvester Bliss, of Hartford, Ct., a lay member of the Congregational church, soon became known as a young man of more than ordinary ability. He had become awakened to the subject of Christ's immediate advent, and investigated it until fully convinced of the great truths underlying the message which was being preached. He was liberally educated, of fine abilities to critically examine and analyze theological questions: becoming a believer and reading the books, sermons and papers which contained the efforts of the chief opposers he was more confirmed in its truths, his zeal for the Lord was throughly awakened to review the works of some of these champions who had entered the field of theological combat.

He wrote a few articles for the columns of the "Signs of the Times," in which his gifts and qualifications were so manifest to the manager of the paper, that his services were secured as an assistant editor, and he entered upon that relation in Nov., 1842. He sustained that relation for several years and then became the responsible editor of the paper, changed to "Advent Herald," and business agent of the publisher; which relation he sustained until his death in 1863.

The paper was conducted with much ability, and was the medium through which very much important biblical, historical, theological and critical information and Christian experience has been communicated to its readers, while under his charge, and since. He was a devout, conscientious Christian, and endowed with a discriminating mind which enabled him to select, generally, the best intellectual, moral and spiritual food for the readers of the paper, which is one of the chief qualities of a good editor. lie was an able theologian, a good logician, and generally very reliable in his references to authors, history, or the events of the day. He was studious to avoid sensational, unreliable, fabulous floating articles and speculative, groundless opinions of political and religious novices and erratics; perhaps too much so to accept of some truths which had been long buried beneath papal dogmas and but just exhumed, for this has been the danger of all able men of great caution. But he was an excellent writer and editor.

The very reverse of his qualifications have been those of some who have attempted to edit papers for the Adventists, and have led parties into strange and speculative vagaries, as idle and as eager as the Athenians of Acts xvii. 21, to whom Paul once preached.

Bro. Bliss reviewed with much ability and great candor, the "lectures of Dr. N. Colver," against the views of Miller. The sermon of Rev. O. E. Daggett, preached to overthrow the faith of those who were looking for the Lord; the work of Dr. Weeks, which seemed to be prepared to weaken the faith of the people. The work of Dr. Jarvis, who had a better motive, but seemed out of the track of truth. The work of Prof. Geo. Bush, who denied the personal advent and the literal resurrection of the dead. The work of Prof. Sanborn, who denied the personal advent, the visible reign of Christ, the doctrine of the restitution, and nearly everything else which the Scriptures promise the Christian church. Bro. Bliss also prepared a "brief commentary on the Revelation," "Time of the End," an "Analysis of Sacred Chronology," and several smaller works. " The Analysis," and the " Time of the End," should be reprinted and in the market.

Although Bro. B. never embraced the views concerning the naturo of man, his state in death, and the final reward of the wicked, which the great majority of his co-laborers have, and which we think his writings and reasonings helped some of them to find in the Sacred Word (though he opposed them and wrote against them), yet we remember him with much affection for his sincere Christian integrity, faithful labors and fellowship in the work of the gospel. And we cherish the blessed hope which animated his heart, causing him to toil and endure opposition, scoffs and derision for the truth's sake, expecting to see him redeemed from death, and to enjoy his society with Christ and the blood-washed church in a little while, on the new earth filled with the glory of God.

- History of the Second Advent Message and Mission, Doctrine and People, By Isaac C. Wellcome, 1874

Sylvester Bliss (1814–1863) was a Millerite minister and editor. He served first as assistant editor, then editor, of the Millerite journal, The Signs of the Times. Originally a Congregationalist from Hartford, Connecticut, he obtained a liberal education and was a member of the Historical Society of Boston. He was also an editor of the Advent Shield and later edited the Memoirs of William Miller (1853). He remained until his death the editor of the Advent Herald (the continued and renamed publication of Signs of the Times), which remained the organ of the group of Millerites who did not accept the conditional immortality of the soul. His books include Commentary on the Revelation, The Time of the End, and Analysis of Sacred Chronology.

- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 11/28/2009

Memoirs of William Miller, by Sylvester Bliss

Originally published in 1853, Memoirs of William Miller still remains the most comprehensive biographical study of the founder of Adventism and the instigator of one of the most dramatic episodes in American religious history. Thus, the Adventist Classic Library is proud to announce the publication of this most "classic" of all Adventist classics. In the early 1830's, Miller, a farmer and lay Baptist preacher in upstate New York, began preaching and writing that the second coming of Christ would occur about the year 1843. By the fall of 1844, most of America was very aware and significantly agitated that the "Millerites" had finally named the day: Jesus would return, and the earth would be destroyed by fire, on October 22, 1844. Memoirs has remained useful for more than 150 years, and still provides the foundation of all other popular and scholarly studies of Miller. It was written by those who worked most closely with Miller from the early 1840's until the end of his life and is based on significant primary source material, some of which is no longer extant. The Adventist Classic Library edition of Memoirs of William Miller includes two other important contemporary biographical accounts of Miller's life. The first comprises two short essays from Views on the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology, Selected from Manuscripts of William Miller, a work published by Himes in 1841. The second is Miller's own Apology and Defence, first published in 1845 as Miller's explanation of the "Great Disappointment" of October 22, 1844. Historian Merlin D. Burt, director of the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University, provides an insightful introduction to the content and relevance of this enduring Adventist classic.

Sylvester Bliss was the ablest of the Millerite editors. He was first assistant editor, then editor, of the Millerite journal The Signs of the Times. He was a Congregationalist from Hartford, Conneticut, with a liberal education and was a member of the Historical Society of Boston. He was also an editor of the Advent Shield and later edited the Memoirs of Miller (1853). Among his works are Commentary on the Revelation, The Time of the End, and Analysis of Sacred Chronology. He remained until his death the editor of the Advent Herald (a later name of The Signs of the Times), which remained the organ of the group of ex-Millerites who did not accept the doctrine of conditional immortality.- Source: SDA Encyclopedia

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pastor Russell and the Convention Train

As time passed, requests for personal appearances by C. T. Russell increased. In fulfilling some speaking engagements, he sometimes had traveled aboard a special railroad “convention car,” a small group accompanying him. But larger parties were organized in “convention trains,” as many as 240 traveling with Russell on one occasion. Several railroad cars were linked together and the party traveled from one city to another according to a prearranged schedule. Arriving in a particular city, Russell’s assistants advertised the public meeting by distributing handbills. At the meeting they greeted individuals, obtained the names and addresses of interested ones and, when possible, would visit these and establish congregations. It was not uncommon for these “convention trains” to be used in visiting large cities in the United States and Canada.

Why not board a “convention train” and ride with a happy company of Christians? In June 1913 a special train was engaged for over 200 Bible Students who would accompany C. T. Russell from Chicago, Illinois, on a trip that would take them to Texas, California, Canada and then to a convention in Madison, Wisconsin, with a side-run to Rockford, Illinois. Malinda Z. Keefer supplies these details: “Our train was to leave from the Dearborn station over the Wabash Railroad at noon, June 2. The friends began to arrive about ten o’clock, and it was a happy and exciting time, meeting old friends I had not seen for a long time and getting acquainted with new ones. It didn’t take long to realize we were one big family. . . . and the train was our home for a month.”

Finally, it is time to leave. “As the train pulled out of the station on its 8,000-mile journey,” continues Sister Keefer, “the friends who had come to say good-bye sang ‘Blest Be the Tie That Binds’ and ‘God Be with You Till We Meet Again,’ all the while waving hats and handkerchiefs until we were lost to their view, and were on our way for a most memorable trip. We picked up some friends in St. Louis, Missouri, and some in a few other places until we finally numbered two hundred and forty. Brother Russell joined us at Hot Springs, Arkansas, where an eight-day convention was in session.”

It truly was a spiritually upbuilding journey. Says Sister Keefer: “At every stop on the trip there were conventions being held—most were for three days, and we stayed one day with each convention. During these stops Brother Russell gave two talks, one to the friends in the afternoon, and another to the public in the evening on the subject ‘Beyond the Grave.’” As to her own feelings about the trip, Sister Keefer says: “My appreciation for the fellowship of the friends all along the way and the spiritually upbuilding talks and instructions I had received during that trip cannot be expressed in words. I was grateful to Jehovah for having had such a privilege.”

At those early conventions of God’s people some things were a little different from what they are today. For example, take the “love feast.” What was that? Recalling this feature of the early assemblies, J. W. Ashelman states: “Some practices not needed or continued did seem a blessing at the time, such as the speakers lining up in front of the platform holding plates of diced bread as the audience filed along the line partaking of the bread and shaking hands with each speaker and joining in singing ‘Blest Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts in Christian Love.’” That was it—the “love feast.” And it was a moving experience. Edith R. Brenisen readily admits: “The love for each other filled our hearts to overflowing, often running down our cheeks in tears of joy. We were not ashamed of our tears nor did we try to hide them.”

Early Christians sometimes held “love feasts,” but the Bible does not describe them. (Jude 12) Some think they were occasions when materially prosperous Christians held banquets to which they invited their poorer fellow worshipers. But the Scriptures do not make “love feasts” obligatory, whatever their early nature, and so they are not in vogue among true Christians today.

- 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, WTB&TS


Departing from New York on October 16, 1916, Brother Russell and his secretary, Menta Sturgeon, traveled to Detroit, Michigan, by way of Canada. The two men then went on to Chicago, Illinois, down through Kansas and on into Texas. His condition of health was such that his secretary had to substitute for him at several speaking engagements. On Tuesday evening, October 24, at San Antonio, Texas, Russell delivered his last public talk, on the subject “The World on Fire.” During this discourse he had to leave the platform three times, while his secretary filled in for him.

Tuesday night, Brother Russell and his secretary and traveling associate were aboard a train en route to California. A sick man, Russell remained in bed all day Wednesday. At one point, taking the ailing man’s hand, Russell’s traveling associate said: “That is the greatest creed-smashing hand I ever saw!” Russell replied that he did not think it would smash any more creeds.

The two men were detained one day at Del Rio, Texas, because a bridge had been burned and another had to be erected. They pulled out of Del Rio on Thursday morning. On Friday night they changed trains at a junction point in California. All day Saturday Russell was in severe pain and experiencing great weakness. They arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 29, and there that evening C. T. Russell gave his last talk to a congregation. By that time he was so weak that he was unable to stand for the discourse. “I regret that I am not able to speak with force or power,” said Russell. He then beckoned to the chairman to remove the stand and bring a chair, saying as he sat down, “Pardon me for sitting down, please.” He spoke for about forty-five minutes, then answered to questions for a short time. Dwight T. Kenyon says of that occasion: “I had the privilege of attending Brother Russell’s last talk in Los Angeles on October 29, 1916. He was very ill and remained seated during his discourse on Zechariah 13:7-9. How his good-bye text, Numbers 6:24-26, impressed me!”

Realizing that his severe condition would not allow him to go on, Russell decided to cancel the rest of his speaking appointments and return quickly to the Bethel home in Brooklyn. On Tuesday, October 31, C. T. Russell was on the verge of death. At Panhandle, Texas, a physician summoned earlier by telegraph temporarily boarded the train and observed Russell’s condition, recognizing the critical symptoms. Then the train was under way again. Shortly thereafter, in early afternoon of Tuesday, October 31, 1916, sixty-four-year-old Charles Taze Russell died at Pampa, Texas.

- 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, WTB&TS

William Miller's Death (1849)

Mr. Miller continued to travel and preach at intervals, as bis failing health would permit, with his usual earnestness and success up to the spring of 1849, when he wrote to the brethren assembled in the Annual Conference in New York: " My multiplied infirmities admonish me that the time of my departure is drawing nigh." During the following summer he was visited by very many of the ministry and laymen to onjoy their last interview in mortality with that faithful man of God. On the 20th of December he " fell asleep " in the joyful hope of being soon awakened to eternal life by the coming of the Lord for whom he had so confidently waited and faithfully labored. The religious, political, and secular papers, throughout this country and in Europe, gave extended notice of the good man's death, and appended many comments, according to their fancies, prejudices, or judgment, of the character of the man and bis work. We append a few as illustrations of the popular mind :

"william Miller.—The celebrated Wm. Miller, distinguished as the founder of the sect known as ' Second Adventiats, or Hitlerites,' recently died at his residence in the State of New York, at an advanced age. Mr. Miller was one of the remarkable men of the age, and his character, acts, opinions, and ministrations are destined to live and be canvassed by this and succeeding generations. That he was a sincere, devoted, and a good man, we have not a shade of doubt . But in his views he embodied that which was really in advance of much of the learned theology of the day."—Christian Repository.

" Father Miller Dead.—Mr. William Miller, familiarly known as ' Father Miller,' and as ' Miller the Prophet,' died at his home in Hampton, Washington County, on tho 20th inst., aged about sixty-eight. Mr. Miller was a native of Pittsfield, Mass., and during the last war with England served as a captain of volunteers on the northern frontier. He began to speak in public assemblies upon the subject of the Millennium in 1833, and in the ten years which preceded the time which he had set for tho consummation of all prophecy he labored assiduously in tho Middle and Northern States, averaging, it is said, nearly one sermon a day for more than half that period. He was uneducated, and not largely read in even the common English commentaries; his views were absurd and supported but feebly; yet he succeeded in building up a sect of some thirty or forty thousand disciples, which disappeared rapidly after tho close of tho ' day of probation,' in 1843, after which time Mr. Miller himself did not often advocate or defend his views in public."—N. T. Tribune.

In reply to this a correspondent sent the following, which appeared in the Tribune of Dec. 29:

"the Late William Miller.—Sir: I saw in your paper of Tuesday a short, incorrect notice of Mr. Wm. Miller, which I presume you will correct, on better information, as you wish others to do so to you when misrepresented.

"You call him 'the Prophet.' In tho usual sense of the term he was not, nor over pretended to be. The only grounds for it was his explaining the prophecies, historically and chronologically, which Bishop Mede, Vitringa, Daubuz, Wesley, Fletcher, Clarke, tho Newtons, and somo scores of other able, pious, and learned divines of the Episcopal and dissenting churches of England and America have done, with nearly the samo manner and result; i. e., they show the prophecies mostly fulfilled, and the chronological periods to terminate near this time, and tho Millennium begin. And many, as Dr. Duffield, Dr. Lord, President of Dartmouth College, and President Weethee, of the United States, and Dr. Clinton, Elliott, Birks, Brooks, Cunningham, Noel, etc., of England, that it is in this generation or age they terminate, and the Lord personally comes at the Millennium. Are their views absurd ?

" You say ' he was not well read in commentaries,' etc. This is a mistake. In his early life, for many years, he had a great thirst for reading, and had access to several large libraries, as Hon. Matthew Lyon's, Judge James Witherell's, and Alexander Cruikshanks', esq., and in commentaries and history few men were better read. -To grammar and the exact sciences he made no pretensions.

" You say he drew for a time 30,000 or 40,000 followers, but they soon disappeared. There were more than 100,000 a while; there are about 50,000 now.

" You say his views were absurd. They appear so to most, we admit, and so do yours on Fourierism, but does that make them so ? You call to the test of reason; he to the Scriptures."

"death Of William Miller.—From the manner in which some of our contemporaries, religious as well as secular, notice the departure of this distinguished advocate of the Advent doctrine, we must think they have little of the delicacy of feeling which inclines most men to ' tread lightly on the ashes of the dead.' They speak of him sneeringly as ' Miller the Prophet.' They say he was ignorant, fanatical, feeble, etc., etc. To say such things of a dead man, even though they might be true, would be no proof either of courage or of good taste. But in this case they are not true. Those who knew Mr. Miller knew that, however limited may have been his early educational advantages, he was by no means an ignorant man. He was neither fanatical nor feeble. As a strong and sober reasoner, he proved himself not inferior to many who had enjoyed far greater facilities of mental culture. As to the prophetic character, he never made any pretensions to it. True, he sought earnestly to obey the divine injunction, 'Whoso readeth, let him understand' (Matt. xxiv. 15), and to secure the blessedness pledged to ' him that readeth, and to them that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written therein.—Rev. i. 3. After diligent efforts to discover the significancy of the prophetic numbers, he believed, and hesitated not to declare his belief, that the point indicated by them as that of the second Advent was ' about the year 1843.' But when the passing of that point had proved him to be in error, he was equally frank in acknowledging his mistake."— Western Christian.

- History of the Second Advent Message and Mission, Doctrine and People. By Isaac C. Wellcome, 1874

Enter the cemetery and you will find William Miller’s grave just about in the center of the left half of the cemetery. It is a monument nearly six feet (1.8 meters) tall with a scroll-type design on the top of it. Buried beside him are his wife, parents and other members of the Miller family. Find a Grave:

Also See:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Joshua Vaughan Himes (1805–1895)

Joshua Vaughan Himes (1805–1895) was a Christian leader and publisher. He became involved with the followers of William Miller and later became a prominent leader in the Advent Christian Church.

Himes was born in Wickford, Rhode Island. His parents intended for him to become an Episcopal priest, but when a business deal went sour he was unable to complete his education and was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker in New Bedford, Massachusetts. At 18 he joined the Christian Connexion church in New Bedford where he was licensed as an exhorter. In November 1825 he married Mary Thompson Handy, and the following year was ordained to the ministry. Over the next few years he pastored several districts in Massachusetts, before becoming pastor of the First Christian Church in Boston in 1830. There he rose to prominence, reviving a church that was near death, and becoming active in the educational, temperance, peace, and abolitionist reform movements of the day.

Himes met William Miller in 1839 at Exeter, New Hampshire. Impressed, he invited Miller to speak at the Chardon Street Chapel. From these lectures Himes became convinced of the soon return of Christ, and sought opportunities for Miller to preach. In 1840 he published and edited the first Millerite newspaper, the Signs of the Times, in Boston. He led in organizing general conferences and camp meetings, and published hundreds of pamphlets as well as the second and third editions of Miller's lectures. He organized extensive lecture tours for Miller and himself as far west as Cincinnati, brought about the manufacture of the "great tent," at that time the largest tent in the United States, for use on these tours, and established a network of agents, book depots, and reading rooms from Boston to St. Louis. He also published the Thayer lithograph of the first Millerite prophetic chart, designed by Charles Fitch and Apollos Hale. In 1842 he started a second newspaper, the Midnight Cry, in New York City. Himes' promotional work brought Millerism to the attention of the world.

Like Miller, Himes at first opposed the setting of October 22, 1844 as the exact date for the return of Christ, but accepted it shortly before the date arrived. After the Great Disappointment when Jesus did not return on this day, he played a leading role in trying to reorganize the disappointed Adventists around the original Advent faith at the Albany Conference in April 1845. When this failed he became a leader of the Evangelical Adventists and their American Millennial Association (1858), opposing Sabbatarian Adventism and their understanding of the sanctuary as well as those who believed in conditional immortality and the re-establishment of Israel before Christ's Second Coming.

In 1863 Himes accepted the doctrine of conditional immortality, joined the Advent Christian Church, and moved his family west to Buchanan, Michigan, assuming a prominent leadership role among Advent Christians and starting a newspaper, The Voice of the West (later Advent Christian Times). In 1865 he was the founding president of the American Advent Mission Society, and was further planning to start a college in Illinois.

- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 11/24/2009

The Reverend Joshua V. Himes, the pastor of the Chardon Street Baptist Chapel of Boston, happened to hear Miller preach at a religious conference. Himes immediately accepted Miller's millennial ideas and became Miller's publicity agent, manager, and promoter. Himes happened to be a religious entrepreneur par excellence, and he invited Miller to speak at his Chardon Street Chapel in December of 1839. The Chardon Street Chapel is remembered today primarily because of a comment Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote after a November 1840 meeting there when the Chapel housed a "Convention of Friends of Universal Reform." Emerson described it in these words:

If the assembly were disorderly, it was picturesque. Mad Men, Mad Women, Men with beards, Dunkers, Muggletonians, Come-outers, Groaners, Agrarians, Seventh Day Baptists, Quakers, Abolitionists, Calvinists, Unitarians, and Philosophers, all came successively to the top and seized their moment, if not their hour, wherein to chide, pray, or preach, or protest.

With functions such as this in his Chapel, it is understandable why Himes loved crowds, revivals, camp meetings, particularly the exhibition of fear and repentance which were the trappings of emotional religion.

Himes not only arranged Miller's revivals for him, but he edited journals which promulgated Miller's ideas such as the Boston Sign of the Times, the New York Midnight Cry, the primary papers of the Millennial movement. In 1836, sixteen of Miller's lectures appeared in book form as Evidences from Scriptures and History of the Second Coming of Christ About the Year 1843. As with the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, Miller's writings needed editing by a more literate individual, a service which Himes provided for William Miller.

By 1842 at least fourteen itinerant lecturers, urged on by Himes, were swarming over the Burned-Over area of New York State promulgating Miller's ideas. Then, as a confirmation of Miller's predictions, from February 18th until April 1, 1842, a brilliant comet burned nightly on the horizon of the sky. It fulfilled the prophecy that the Lord would be "Revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not the Lord." Miller grew even more inspired as 1843 neared, lecturing more than three hundred times in six months on the theme: "Are You Ready to Meet Your Saviour?" In the summers of 1842 and 1843 there were one hundred and twenty camp meetings whose preaching centered on the coming Millennium.

Miller was not a ranting revivalist, for his sermons were given in a serious and convincing tone. Thousands had to be turned away from his tent rallies as interest in his preaching and predictions surged during what was evidently the last year of earthly existence. In 1843 as Time neared an end, Himes moved their headquarters to Rochester, New York, to be in the heart of the Burned-Over District. On June 23rd of that year Himes had a great tent erected in Rochester, one which could hold three thousand potential converts to Millennialism. Two weeks of meetings, prayers, preaching, and forecast of the coming Millennium proceeded.

Not everyone believed as Miller and his followers did, and books and pamphlets both for and against the prediction of the imminent Millennium poured from the presses. Many clergymen of more moderate persuasion condemned Miller's ideas as erroneous, and at times mobs even tried to break up the meetings at which he spoke, and Miller was pelted with rotten vegetables. But still his converts increased. Himes, ever the public relations man, estimated that one million people had been converted to Millennial beliefs. This is the usual problem with such estimates made by those most concerned with the success of a movement in which they are involved. At best, there may have been some 50,000 individuals who succumbed to Miller's predictions, and most of them remained within the churches to which they had previously adhered.

- from Saints, Sinners and Reformers The Burned-Over District Re-Visited, by John H. Martin, 2005

Skilled in methods of promotion, Himes took Miller out of the rural areas and small towns and placed him in the great cities — the communication centers of the nation. Operating chiefly out of Boston and New York, Himes established strategic outposts in such places as Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Rochester. Newspapers were established in each of the above cities, most notably "The Signs of the Times" (later " The Advent Herald") in Boston and "The Midnight Cry" (later "The Morning Watch") in New York. Books, pamphlets, tracts and other publications flowed from the presses in the thousands. Preaching and lecture tours for Miller and others were organized. Conferences, tent and camp meetings were employed to promote the cause and the message. Book depots and reading rooms were opened from Boston to St. Louis. J. V. Himes was the chief promoter, organizer and publicist of the Adventist cause—the man whom William Miller said did more than any other 10 persons to arouse the world to his message of warning and hope.

- Jenks Collection at Aurora University

Other than Miller, the man who likely contributed most to the success of the Millerite movement was Joshua V. Himes. Pastor of the Second Christian Church of Boston when the advent message came to him in 1839, Himes soon threw all of his many talents and energies into the task of propagating the advent message. Himes was a powerful preacher, and a man of deep spirituality and perfect integrity. His personality was attractive and he had a gift for popular, appealing presentation of his message. His ability in the pulpit was outshone only by his unusual gifts as an editor and an organizer. Soon some of the best publishing facilities in the country were enlisted for the publication of the numerous papers, tracts, books, pamphlets, songbooks, charts, broadsides, and handbills issued under his direction. When an evangelistic series was conducted in New York City, Himes started a daily newspaper, the Midnight Cry, to publicize the advent teachings. For a time ten thousand copies a day were sold or given away on the streets.

It was Joshua Himes who was responsible for drawing Miller out of the small towns and villages into the large cities, and his promotional ability provided more openings for sermons than could be filled. Tens of thousands of persons attended the camp meetings Himes organized and managed, and more thousands were added as the movement spread beyond his personal supervision. “In approximately 130 camp meetings held in 1843 and 1844 between 500,000 and 1,000,000 were estimated to have attended—and the total population of the States was only 17,0000,000.”


Joshua V. Himes became the leading voice among the open door Adventists. He rapidly concluded that nothing had happened on October 22, 1844. Holding that they had been correct as to the expected event (i.e., the second coming of Jesus), he reasoned that they had been wrong on the time calculation. On November 4, 1844, Himes wrote that “we are now satisfied that the authorities on which we based our calculations cannot be depended upon for definite time.” Although “we are near the end, . . . we have no knowledge of a fixed date or definite time, but do most fully believe that we should watch and wait for the coming of Christ, as an event that may take place at any hour” (MC, Nov. 7, 1844, 150). Under Himes’s leadership this group took steps to organize itself into a distinct Adventist body at Albany, New York, in April 1845. By that time, in order to escape the fanaticism of some of the shut door Adventists, Miller had moved to the open door camp (see MF 267-293). - by George R. Knight

Adventists pay homage to early leader while celebrating mortgage milestone

The headstone was covered with 115 years of moss and lichen. The old, pitted surface, now scrubbed clean, was inscribed with faint words: Who shall roll us away the stone. Mark 16:3. Joshua Vaughan Himes, Born May 19, 1805. Died July 27, 1895.

With a tiny brush, a painter refreshed the etching Friday while half a dozen members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church talked in hushed tones nearby about the man buried there, an organizer who helped lay the groundwork for what became the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The forgotten and neglected grave marked with two boulders on a grassy knoll in Sioux Falls is a modest recognition of a charismatic life, said Don Johnson, pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sioux Falls. He studied Himes in college and located the grave a few years ago on the advice of Kathie Gulk, an elderly church member. Renewed interest in Himes was generated by the upcoming mortgage burning and dedication of the church Saturday. Himes, a minister, was active in the Millerite movement of the mid-1800s. William Miller, leader of the movement, thought that Jesus was coming to cleanse the Earth by fire on Oct. 22, 1844, Johnson said.

Miller's teachings gained momentum, and the movement swept the country, attracting followers even in Europe. Himes was fascinated by Miller and helped spread the word by organizing speaking engagements for him and arranging huge camp meetings. At least 54 revivals were held in 1844, captivating thousands of followers, according to Himes holds the record for organizing the biggest tent event. The tent was 120 feet in diameter with a 55-foot-tall pole. It seated 4,000 people, with another 2,000 who crammed in the aisles. As fall approached, Miller's teachings reached fever pitch. When Oct. 23, 1844, dawned and the world was still here, disappointed believers drifted back to their own churches or turned away from religion completely. Still others became Adventists. "Twenty years later, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination formed," Johnson said.

Now 16.3 million strong, they believe in the second coming of Christ and honor the Fourth Commandment to rest on the seventh day, Johnson said. "We attend church on Saturday." Not to be waylaid by a scrubbed second coming, Himes migrated west and ended up in South Dakota as pastor at an Episcopal church in Elk Point. He also was a prolific author and publisher and developed several magazines and newspapers throughout his lifetime. Himes died of cancer at 91 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery on a bluff facing west and overlooking the city. "We were really excited to find that a part of our history was in Sioux Falls," said Cathy Cottingham, church secretary. "If it wasn't for this person, our church may not have developed as it did.
We're so pleased to be able to pay back our respects."

- Dorene Weinstein, - September 19, 2010


Saturday, November 21, 2009

William H. Conley (1840-1897)

William Henry Conley (11 June 1840 – 25 July 1897), was a Pittsburgh philanthropist and industrialist. He was married to Sarah Shaffer (1841-1908). Together, they provided organizational and financial support to religious institutions in the United States. William Conley was trained by his uncle in the printing business for ten years. Conley was co-owner of the Riter Conley Company, which provided steel and manufactured goods during the Second Industrial Revolution.

Bethel Home Mission

The Conleys frequently held prayer meetings and events in their home ministry. Adventist minister George Stetson lived for a time with the Conleys during a prolonged period of illness until his death. The Conley home was sometimes kept open for weeks at a time in support of religious and charity efforts. According to Zion's Watch Tower, annual celebrations of the Memorial of Christ's death were held at the Conleys' home. Conley's home mission was described as Bethel (literally, "house of God"). The first recorded mention of Bethel in association with Conley appeared in 1890, in reference to the missionary house of Miss Lucy Dunne, established by William and Sarah Conley in Jerusalem.

Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society

From 1881 until 1884, Conley was the first president of Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society. Charles Taze Russell, who initially served as the Society's secretary-treasurer, had been publisher and editor of the Society's flagship periodical, Zion's Watch Tower (now known as The Watchtower) since 1879, and later claimed that the Society was started in 1880 and had been functioning informally even before that. In December 1884, the Society was incorporated with Russell as president. In 1896, the Society was renamed Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, and later became associated with Jehovah's Witnesses.

Conley provided practical assistance to other religious publications, including the three-volume series, Theocratic Kingdom by George N. H. Peters; Peters dedicated the work partially to Conley, claiming to be "deeply indebted for sympathy and pecuniary aid in the prosecution and publication of the work."While Conley was still president of the Society, the May 1883 issue of Zion’s Watch Tower criticized Peters' work, recommending that readers not purchase the title.

In 1894, Russell introduced a letter from Conley as written by "a member of the early Allegheny Bible Class" rather than the Society's first president. Following Conley's death in July 1897, Zion's Watch Tower provided no obituary, nor any statement of Conley's involvement with the Society.

In an obituary for Conley in the unrelated publication, The World's Hope of August 1897, Zion's Watch Tower correspondent J. H. Paton wrote of the Conley home, "I have shared the generous hospitality of that Christian home. Often has the spacious parlor been opened for the purposes of praise and prayer, and for the proclamation of the good tidings. It has been to many a Bethel—the house of God and the gate of heaven." The previous month, Zion's Watch Tower had used the phrase, "Bethel, House of God, a gate to heaven", in connection with the apostle Paul.

Christian and Missionary Alliance

Conley was a member of the board of managers of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA), and was instrumental in funding and organizing it at local, state and national levels through the International Missionary Alliance (IMA). In 1889, Conley funded and organized the CMA mission in Jerusalem under control of his home mission which would later come under the auspices of the IMA and eventually the CMA. In the same year, the International Missionary Alliance was legally incorporated with W. H. Conley's $5000 contribution. The Pittsburgh branch of the Christian and Missionary Alliance was formally established in 1894. Conley was elected president of both the Pittsburgh branch and at the state level, an office which he retained until his death in 1897.

Business and charitable interests

William Conley worked his way from bookkeeper to co-owner of the Riter Conley Company, a worldwide supplier to the drilling, mining, manufacturing, and marine industries. Conley was also director and a stockholder of the Third National Bank of Allegheny.

William and his wife were active in several Pittsburgh charities, including an orphanage and school for African-American children, as well as a local hospital.


William Henry Conley contracted influenza (indicated in one obituary as "La Grippe") early in 1897, from which he never fully recovered. His health was relatively stable until June, at which time he suffered a relapse, after which he seldom left his home. He became bedridden in the last week of his life; on the evening of July 25, 1897, his health rapidly declined, and he died at about 8:30pm. A funeral service was conducted at his home in Pittsburgh.

William Conley was survived by his wife Sarah. After a period of prolonged illness, Sarah Conley died October 1, 1908. In honor of her husband's memory, Mrs Conley left much of her estate—estimated at a value of nearly $500,000 (current equivalent, about $12.18 million)—to the Wylie Avenue Church and the Pittsburg Bible Institute.

- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 12/13/2010

Providing Literature for Early Bible Students

One of the first articles written by C. T. Russell was published, in 1876, in the Bible Examiner, edited by George Storrs of Brooklyn, New York. After Brother Russell became associated with N. H. Barbour of Rochester, New York, Russell provided funds for publication of the book Three Worlds and the paper known as Herald of the Morning. He served as a coeditor of that paper and, in 1877, used the facilities of the Herald to publish the booklet The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return. Brother Russell had a keen mind for spiritual matters as well as business affairs, but it was Barbour who was experienced in typesetting and composition.

However, when Barbour repudiated the sin-atoning value of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Brother Russell severed relations with him. So, in 1879 when Russell undertook publication of Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, he had to rely on commercial printers.

The following year the first of an extensive series of tracts designed to interest people in Bible truths was prepared for publication. This work quickly took on immense proportions. In order to handle it, Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was formed on February 16, 1881, with W. H. Conley as president and C. T. Russell as secretary and treasurer. Arrangements were made for the printing to be done by commercial firms in various cities of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, as well as in Britain. In 1884, Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was legally incorporated, with C. T. Russell as president, and its charter showed that it was more than a society that would direct publishing. Its real objective was religious; it was chartered for “the dissemination of Bible Truths in various languages.”

With what zeal that objective was pursued! In 1881, within a period of four months, 1,200,000 tracts totaling some 200,000,000 pages were published. (Many of these “tracts” were actually in the form of small books.) Thereafter, production of Bible tracts for free distribution soared to the tens of millions year after year. These tracts were printed in some 30 languages and were distributed not only in America but also in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and other lands.

Another aspect of the work opened up in 1886, when Brother Russell completed writing The Divine Plan of the Ages, the first of a series of six volumes that he personally penned. In connection with the publishing of the first four volumes in that series (1886-97), as well as tracts and the Watch Tower from 1887 to 1898, he made use of the Tower Publishing Company. In time, typesetting and composition were done by the brothers at the Bible House in Pittsburgh. To keep expenses down, they also purchased the paper for printing. As for the actual printing and binding, Brother Russell often placed orders with more than one firm. He planned carefully, ordering far enough in advance to get favorable rates. From the time of the publication of the first book written by C. T. Russell down through 1916, a total of 9,384,000 of those six volumes were produced and distributed.

The publishing of Bible literature did not stop at Brother Russell’s death. The following year the seventh volume of Studies in the Scriptures was printed. It was released to the Bethel family on July 17, 1917. So great was the demand for it that by the end of that year, the Society had placed orders for 850,000 copies in English with commercial printers and bookbinders. Editions in other languages were being produced in Europe. In addition, that year some 38 million tracts were printed.

But then, during a period of intense persecution in 1918, while officials of the Society were unjustly imprisoned, their headquarters (located in Brooklyn, New York) was dismantled. The plates for printing were destroyed. The greatly reduced staff moved the office back to Pittsburgh to the third floor of a building at 119 Federal Street. Would this bring to an end their producing of Bible literature?

- Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, 1993 WTB&TS

The Jehovah's Witnesses and Bible Students, view Charles Taze Russell as the first president of the Watch Tower Society from the date that the Society was legally incorporated in 1884, not the date that the Society was formed in 1881. Some within the ex-JW community and other faultfinders have a difficult time comprehending the term legally incorporated.

"It was in 1881, during the early development of these activities, that Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society was formed as a non-incorporated association, to provide funds and direction for expanding the preaching activity through distribution of Bible literature. In 1884 it was decided to incorporate it under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so that, as a legal instrument not dependent upon the life of any individuals, it could better carry on the work of expanding distribution of Bible literature. This was finalized by the Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1884."

- Jehovah's Witnesses Centennial Brochure, 1984, WTB&TS

William Henry Conley’s association with Russell was short-lived but significant. Conley was born June 11, 1840, in Pittsburgh to George Washington Conley and Matilda Balsley. His father died about 1852, when Conley was twelve years old, and Conley went to work in a woolen mill in Alleghany.[i] In 1855 he was apprenticed to an uncle, a printer in Blairsville, Ohio. In 1857, he moved with his uncle to Plymouth, Ohio, where he met Sara Shaffer (also spelled Shafer), two years his junior and a transplanted Pennsylvanian. They married in 1860.

Significantly, Conley associated with the Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Ohio. There is little documentation for Conley’s life in Ohio, but it is into this time that one can fit his first acquaintance with George N. H. Peters, later the author of the massive three volume Theocratic Kingdom. Peter’s obituary as found in The Lutheran Observer of October 22, 1909, notes his service to the Plymouth, Ohio, church.[ii] Another source shows him serving as pastor in Plymouth during the years of Conley’s residence.[iii] While it is possible that Russell met Peters through another, it is likely that he met him through Conley. It is also extremely likely that Conley’s interest in the Lord’s return and last-times events derived from his association with Peters.

There are three William Conleys listed among Civil War soldiers from Ohio, but none of the biographical notices of William H. Conley list Civil War service. At or toward the end of the war the Conley’s moved back to Pittsburgh where he joined a commission house, a brokerage firm. Later he became a bookkeeper for James M. Riter whose company, established in 1861, worked in sheet metal and copper. The business seems to have been prosperous though not large. Riter supplied major portions of the iron work for the Escanaba furnace in 1872.[iv]

Riter died in 1873 Conley “took a half-interest in the business with Thomas B. Riter, the firm name being changed to Riter & Conley; he attended to the financial and office work while Mr. Riter attended to the outside and mechanical part.” Eventually Riter & Conley “became the most extensive of its kind in the world.” [v] That Conley focused on a major business venture that year is a strong indicator that he did not take the predictions of Jonas Wendell, Nelson Barbour and others seriously.

- Watch Tower History Blog - by Bruce W. Schulz, 9/18/2008

From The World's Hope, August 1, 1897, pages 235


On reaching home today (July 28.)–the day appointed for Bro. Conley's funeral–this word from Bro. Mann was handed me, and the sudden feeling of sadness that filled my heart cannot be expressed. And at the very hour of the funeral service, when brothers and sisters are gathered to mingle their tears of grief and sympathy, I am at my desk writing these lines. Had it been possible, I should have been with the friends in the house of mourning. I loved Bro. Conley, and none who knew him will wonder at this. For over twenty years he has been my faithful friend. Many times during these years I have shared the generous hospitality of that Christian home. Often has the spacious parlor been opened for the purposes of praise and prayer, and for the proclamation of the good tidings. It has been to many a Bethel–the house of God and the gate of heaven.

We cannot but mourn. Tears unbidden starts. But they are not hopeless. Our blessed Lord said, ‘Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.' May the Holy spirit bring needed consolation to the hearts of Sister Conley, the aged mother, and the many who have learned to think of the departed one as beloved in the Lord. And while we wait a little longer, until we shall follow him through the vail, may we be encouraged to faithfulness by the memory of his devoted life.."

Editor (J. H. Paton)

Also See:

From TheWorld's Hope, August 1, 1897, pages 234-235

Brother Conley At Rest

Dear Bro. Paton: Our very dear friend and brother, Wm H. Conley of Allegheny, passed behind the vail at about 8:30 this evening. (July 25). "his end was peace," as became a good soldier of Jesus anointed. You know much of his faithfulness, but we think no one but the Heavenly Father in whose love he lived, and loved and walked, knew how true, and kind, and good a friend he was. He has not been well for a long time, and had been running down for several months. He had an attack of La Grippe four or five months ago, from which he never fully rallied. He has been but twice out of the house in six weeks,–to the house of prayer on both occasions. About noon today, a few of his dearest Christian brothers and sisters had a season of prayer with him, and afterward sung some sweet trustful verses and choruses that he liked. For the first time in weeks his sweet bass voice went out in unison with ours, and he joined in the prayer and praise. You know what a splendid voice he had. I was certainly surprised today–knowing of his shortness of breath, etc.–to hear it once more. It was his last notes of praise in the flesh to the One he loved so well. Toward evening he sank rapidly. His wife, his dear old mother, some other relatives, and Christian friends stood around his bed as he passed over. There was a heavenly atmosphere. One sister said it seemed to her as if angels filled the room. And while there were many tears,-- for human love and sympathy must manifest itself,-- yet there were hallelujahs in loving hearts for the victory that only the faithful win.

He will be greatly missed. His clear cut testimonies as to the faithfulness of God, the integrity of His word, the doming of our Lord, and the restitution of the ages to come, will ong be remembered by many. "Christ in me the hope of glory," was one of his favorite hymns, and typical of the songs he loved to sing. He expected to be a member of the cabinet (as he so often expressed it) of the King of Kings, in the rule of the nations in power and blessing. "This honor have all His saints," Ps. cxlix. He gave liberally, counting himself only a steward of the wealth the Father placed in his hands. He counted himself a part of that Seed who is to bless all the families of the earth, and he began to practice down here with that which was put in his hand.

We believe fully that in this feature his work has only begun, and that he will share in the glory and exercise of that which he so dearly loved to do.

He rests in the blessed hope. Remember dear Sister Conley in this hour of bereavement and trial. In Christian love,

W. I. Mann,

Pittsburg, PA.

When Russell gathered interested parties around himself for "independent" Bible study, there were initially five individuals, including himself. These included himself, his father, his sister Margaret, and brother and sister Conley. They were strongly influenced by Wendell and by Stetson. Wendell died in short order, and Stetson moved to Edenboro. In 1874 Russell, his father and his sister we baptized. This came as a result of conversations with Storrs, and, I believe, from reading Horace Hastings' tract on Consecration. In various places Russell says that his views, and, hence, the views of the growing group, were the same as those entertained by Advent Christians generally. He was never a member of that Church in a formal way, but adopted many of their views–Especially those of the non-Trinitarian party in the AC church.

When Russell met Barbour and Paton in 1876, he met men who had been for some years active in the Advent Christian Church. Paton was a well known AC evangelist in the Michigan area, and is mentioned for that work in Isaac Wellcome's history. Barbour's association with the Advent Christians went back to the 1850s. By 1876 Barbour had modified certain AC views. He no longer saw the earth as the destiny of the Bride of Christ, but had come to understand Heaven as the intended home of the 144,000. This was a significant departure from Advent Christian teaching. He had read James Relly, and was influenced by him to a great degree. This lead to other slight departures from AC teachings too. This was not particularly unusual in Advent Christian circles, where there was a far greater diversity than usual in a denomination. This continued in that body until after 1903.

When Russell met Paton in (if I remember correctly) February 1876, he was readily convinced by him of the correctness of their views on the heavenly hope. (We taught as they did until 1934-1935.) In the meantime Barbour was expelled from the New York Conference of the AC church. This is reported in the World's Crisis. Partly this was due to his failed predications, and partly this was due to his very abrasive character. In Barbour's obituary in World's Hope, Paton recalled him as having an odd mixture of the Lion and the Lamb about him.

Russell took to the teachings of Barbour and Paton where they differed from standard AC teachings. Most if not all of the Allegheny-Pittsburgh group (now numbering somewhere between 20-30) did as well. Russell became a ready participant and evangelist in the new movement represented by the Herald of the Morning (formerly Midnight Cry and Herald of the Morning) and its prime financial backer. They were not totally distinct from the AC church. Barbour and Russell both attended the AC conference at Alton Bay in 1877. Yet, a new movement was developing. The Advent Christian Times issued a warning against Russell and Barbour's activities, and the rift grew. Things became more complex in 1878 with the failure of some expectations in that year. The movement fragmented. The Watch Tower started. Some groups that had been associated with Barbour's activity since 1869 began to call themselves Retitutionists. Most of these were left on their own and eventually became part of the Church of God of Abrahamic Faith. Certain long time associates of Barbour–Paton, Keith, Mann, Sunderlin and many others– associated with Russell and Zion's Watch Tower. In 1883 in ZWT Russell remarked that most of the magazine's readers were formerly associated with the Advent Christian Church. Conley stayed with Russell through the many fragmentations that followed. Conley, however, kept up friendly relations with some who drifted off into Universal Salvationism with Paton. In the special number of Zion's Watch Tower (June 11, 1894 Extra) a letter from Conley to Russell appears in which he made a point of saying he had no sharing with them in their false teachings. Of course, by the time Zion's Watch Tower was started, Conley was no longer an Advent Christian. It seems that age and health were the factors that kept Conley from being more active. Russell, however, did not note Conley's death in 1897, and what his final standing with the readers of Zion's Watch Tower was may be indicated by that. Conley was not an active Advent Christian when Zion's Watch Tower was started, but an associate of Russell and the others.

- 19th Century Pioneers of Jehovah's Witnesses Board, - by Bruce W. Schulz, 2/4/2003