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IMPORTANT NOTICE

"Due to the lack of public interest in sincere encouragement and a personal perspective of life as one of Jehovah's Witness, I am ceasing my work on this cite. It is clear to me that in today's ambivalent and emotionally numbing world that my responsibility lies with my own family and it is towards my own family that I now will focus. While this site was never brought forth in order to reap the applause of men, it has also failed to reach those who sincerely wish to make informed decisions about any religion they may join. Most individuals would rather allow others to make their decisions for them, or be swayed by the opinions of others: it neither is nor ever was the intention of this site to do either. Enabling others to make their own decisions, and then trusting that their Bible-trained conscience would guide them in the correct path should be a goal we all have in common, directing no person to anyone but Christ and our heavenly Father, Jehovah God-- never to any organization or church that originates with men."

--Timothy B Kline, October 19, 2000

A working chronology of the movement known today as Jehovah's Witnesses

  A Chronology of Jehovah's Witnesses  
  (C) Timothy B. Kline  
     
YEAR EVENT PAGE
  THE RUSSELL ERA  
1852 Charles Taze Russell born, second son of Joseph L. and Ann Eliza (Birney) Russell, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania HS-5
1868 Russell, '…a consecrated child of God for some years, and a member of the Congregational church and of the Young Men's Christian HS-5
  Association, began to be shaken in faith regarding many long-accepted doctrines. Brought up a Presbyterian and indoctrinated from the  
  catechism and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell an easy prey to the logic of infidelity as soon as I began to think for myself. But that  
  which at first threatened to be the utter shipweck of faith in God and the Bible was, under God's providence overruled for good, and merely  
  wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of misrepresentation of the Bible.  
  "Gradually I was led to see that though each of the creeds contained some elements of truth, they were on the whole misleading and  
  contradictory of God's word. Among other theories I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident one evening I dropped into a dusty,  
  dingy hall where I heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds  
  of the great churches. There for the first time I heard something of the views of Second Adventism, the preacher being Mr. Jonas Wendell, long  
  deceased. Thus I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations. Though his Scripture expositions were not entirely  
  clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient under God to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine  
  inspiration and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked." [WT 7/1906]  
  In the evening, a 17-year-old Russell happens upon "Pastor" Jonas Wendell's address and is introduced to adventism. ST-19
1870 Charles Taze Russell and a group from Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., begin systematic study of the Bible. P-718
1872 Charles Taze Russell founds the movement in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania CB-359
1876 January: Russell receives copy of Herald of the Morning P-718
  Summer: Russell meets with N. H. Barbour, editor of Herald of the Morning, in Philadelphia, PA P-718
1877 The book Three Worlds is published, as a result of joint efforts of N. H. Barbour and Russell P-718
  Russell publishes booklet The Object and Manner of Our Lord's Return, in Rochester, New York P-718
1879 May: Russell withdraws all support from Herald because of Barbour's attitude toward the ransom P-718
  July: First issue of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence P-718
  July: Russell establishes Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence magazine (monthly publication). Russell is editor till 1916 HS-7
  Watch Tower magazine is started MC-51,61
  Charles Russell marries Maria Ackley MC-63
  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence is established CB-360
  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence is published. 6,000 copies ST-7
c. 1880 Russell publishes his early views in Food for Thinking Christians, spending a reported $40,000 of his own money. HS-7
  Food for Thinking Christians is published. CB-360
  Russell sends a representative to England to begin the work there.  
1880 Russell sends J C Sunderlin to England to open up a branch office for the distribution of literature in that country. [WT 10/1881] HS-7
1881 First tracts published by Bible Students P-718
  Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society is organized. P-718
1884 December 15: Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society is legally chartered in PA P-718
  Russell organizes and founds Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society MC-61
  Zion's Watch Tower Society founded HS-7
  Zion's Watch Tower Society is established. CB-360
1886 The Divine Plan of the Ages is published P-718
1888 "By 1888 "the word" was being preached throughout the United States and England and in such distant places as China, Africa, India, Turkey, HS-7,8
  and Haiti." [WT 12/1888]  
1889 The Bible House is constructed on Arch Street, in Allegheny, PA, as headquarters for the Society P-719
1891 First "Convention" of Bible Students in Allegheny, PA (April 19-25) P-719
1893 Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence magazine becomes a bimonthly publication. HS-169
1895 First mention of "the truth" in the [2/1895 WT]  
1897 Charles and Maria separate MC-63
  Russell and his wife, Maria, separate HS-9
1900 First branch office is opened in London, England P-719
1903 June: Maria Russell files for legal separation MC-63
1906 April: The Russells go to court MC-63
  Russell writes of the experience he had in founding the new movement. [WT 7/1906] HS-5
  Trial for legal separation begins between Maria Russell and Charles Russell ST-26
1908 Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence magazine becomes The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence. HS-169
1909 April: Headquarters of the Society is moved to Brooklyn, NY P-719
  The Society is moved to Brooklyn, New York, and incorporated as the People's Pulpit Association. HS-8
  First mention of J. F. Rutherford in ZWT 1/1909 as having been appointed chairman by Russell HS-13
  Headquarters is moved to Brooklyn, chartered under the name "Peoples Pulpit Association." CB-360
1912 April: WT prints an experience concerning a Witness using the Ouija board to verify that the organization is True (verify w/ WT May 1918)  
1913 Maria (Ackley) Russell sues Charles Russell for divorce on four grounds HS-9
  a "cure for cancer was sold only to those "in the truth." [WT 7/1913] HS-37
  OTHERS: 'The famed "Millenial Bean' was an earlier offering--a bean seed which Witnesses were promised would outgrow all other varieties.  
  'Later, the "Wonderful Cotton Seed" was guaranteed to "revolutionize" the production of cotton.'  
  'The Society has also sold through the Companies a cure for appendicitis.' Santonine [WT 1/1912]  
1914 January: First showing of "Photo Drama of Creation" in NY P-719
  International Bible Students Association incorporated in England HS-21
  The International Bible Students Association is incorporated in England CB-360
1916 October 31: Russell dies at 64 years of age. P-719
  October 31: Charles Taze Russell dies en route to Kansas HS-11
  Russell dies on a train in Texas CB-361
     
     
  The Rutherford Era  
1917 January: Rutherford is elected to presidency of the Society HS-13
  January: Rutherford is elected as president  
  January 6: Rutherford becomes president P-719
  July 17: The Finished Mystery is released P-719
  Four serving on the Board of Directors display opposition P-719
  Many congregations split P-719
  July 17: The Finished Mystery is released MC-85
1918 February 24: The discourse "The World Has Ended--Millions Now Living May Never Die" is first delivered in Los Angeles, CA P-719
  March 31: In Boston, MA, the talk is entitled "The World Has Ended--Millions Now Living Will Never Die." P-719
  May 7: Rutherford and close associates are named in federal arrest warrants P-719
  June: Rutherford and seven others begin serving their sentence in the Federal Penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia HS-17
  All but Giovanni De Cecca are sentenced to twenty years on each of the four counts  
  Giovanni De Cecca is sentenced to serve 10 years  
  Charges included 'conspiracy to cause insubordination,' 'conspiracy to obstruct the recruiting and enlistment services,' and the 'Espionage Act.'  
  America enters the World War ST-38
  May 7: Rutherford and seven others are arrested on charge of sedition ST-38
  June 5: Trial begins P-719
  June 21: (One on July 10) they are sentenced to a federal penitentiary P-719
  August: Brooklyn headquarters are closed. Operations are transferred back to Pittsburgh for over a year P-719
  June 22: New York Tribune publishes story on Rutherford and six others' sentencing to prison MC-90
1919 March 26: The Society's officers and associates are released on bail P-720
  May 14: the court of appeals reverses decision of the lower court and a new trial is ordered P-720
  Coming publication of the magazine The Golden Age is announced P-720
  Bulletin is published for field service purposes P-720
  March 26: Rutherford and others are granted bail from prison MC-95
  March 25: Rutherford and seven others are released ST-40
  March: Rutherford and the seven others are admitted to bail from prison. HS-17
  May: a higher court orders a new trial, but the matter is later dropped.  
  October: The Golden Age magazine is founded. HS-169
1920 May 5: the government withdraws from the case P-720
  Watch Tower Society undertakes its own printing operations, in Brooklyn P-720
  May: Attorney General withdraws case against Rutherford and six others MC-95
  Those involved in case: Joseph F. Rutherford, William E. Van Amburgh, Robert J. Martin, Fred H. Robison, George H. Fisher, Clayton J. MC-91
  Woodworth, A. Hugh Macmillan  
1922 February 26: Radio is first used by J. F. Rutherford in California P-720
  The Watch Tower magazine becomes the basis for study in the congregations, eventually replacing Russell's Study in the Scriptures ST-41,42
1924 February 24: WBBR begins to broadcast P-720
  The Society begins operating a radio station as WBBR ST-42
1924 Rutherford announces his favor of "the Prohibition Act." [11/1924 WT]  
1928 Bible Students begin to be arrested for breaking sabbath laws ST-45
1929 Rutherford officially condemns Russell's interpretation of the Great Pyramid in Biblical chronology [p. 14--The Kingdom] HS-15
  Another schism develops in the Society HS-15
  Rutherford was married to Mary, had a son named Malcolm G. but little mention is made of either. HS-16
  In England, Witnesses form the Junior Bible Students Company for child Witnesses, but by 1945 it ceased functioning HS-120
1930 Beth-Sarim is built in San Diego, California. CB-379
1931 The name "Jehovah's Witnesses" is adopted P-720
  The name "Jehovah's Witnesses" is adopted ST-48
  J. F. Rutherford suggest the name for the Society become "Jehovah's Witnesses." CB-359
c. 1932 Rutherford is "still delivering talks" on the subject of the Rutherford's impending predictions, including 1925 resurrection HS-55
1932 Arrangement for "elective elders: is terminated for reasons given in Watchtower Aug 15 and Sep 1 P-720
1933 Jehovah's Witnesses are banned in Germany P-720
  Transcription machines are used by Witnesses to broadcast Bible lectures P-720
  The use of portable phonographs begin to be used by Witnesses ST-50
1934 Portable phonographs are used by Witnesses to play short recorded Bible discourses P-721
  The name "Pioneer" is introduced  
1935 Meeting place is called "Kingdom Hall" for first time P-721
  About 20,000 are present at the international convention held in Washington, D.C. [Yearbook, 1935] HS-27
1936 London: An "Information March" sets record by being six miles long ST-50
1937 120 Witnesses are jailed 24-48 hours before the Newark, New Jersey, convention begins. 66 are detained until the convention closes, because HS-27
  "the city authorities considered them an active threat to the peace." [p. 29 ---Armageddon, Rutherford]  
  October: The Golden Age magazine becomes Consolatation. HS-169
  Portable phonographs are introduced by the Society  
  The expression "Religion is a racket" is put into use by the Society. HS-152
1938 Theocratic arrangements replace democratic procedures P-721
  The Society adopts the "Theocratic" structure of rule MC-106
1939 Start of numerous bans of Jehovah's Witnesses in 23 nations P-721
  February: The organization is renamed Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. MC-73
  Zion's Watch Tower Society becomes "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" CB-360
  Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society incorporated in United States HS-21
  Jan and Feb: The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence magazine becomes The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Kingdom. HS-169
  March: The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Kingdom magazine becomes The Watch Tower Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom HS-169
  August 8: Olin R. Moyle is dismissed as head counsel of the organization by the Board of Directors "by reason of his unfaithfulness to the HS-25
  kingdom interests and to those who serve the kingdom." The background of his "unfaithfulness" seems to have been a letter which he wrote  
  to protest some faults in the organization as he saw them."  
  Rutherford is reported to have made over 109 different recordings, some translated into other languages. HS-57
  First usage of "the theocracy" in the Society's literature.  
c. 1940 Rutherford takes to living at Beth-Sarim, the West-coast headquarters of the Society, possibly because of illness. He "left the actual work of HS-19
  the organization to Mr. N. H. Knorr, the then vice president."  
1940 Rutherford claims to have written 99 books and pamphlets in the previous twenty years. His writings have appeared in 78 languages, and HS-18
  over 300,000,000 items have been distributed. [pp. 3-4 ---Judge Rutherford Uncovers the Fifth Column] After 1940 he published several more  
  pamphlets and at least one more book.  
  A writer for the New York Evening Post has the Society's twenty-five cent books appraised for actual costs. The publisher estimates actual HS-39
  cost to be eleven cents. Rutherford issues an angry response. The writer's name is Mr. Logan [p. 73]  
1942 January 8: Rutherford dies in San Diego, CA P-721
  January 8: Rutherford dies MC-107
  January 8: Rutherford dies, 72 years of age, at Beth-Sarim. CB-363
  January 13: N. H. Knorr becomes third president of Society P-721
  January 8: at age 72, J. F. Rutherford dies  
  Fall: Olin R. Moyle enters suit against Rutherford and the other members of the Board of Directors for libel. HS-26
     
  The Knorr Era  
1942 Watch Tower Society prints the complete Bible, King James Version, on its own press P-721
  January 13: Knorr is elected as president ST-52
  Gilead School is established ST-54
  Spring: N. H. Knorr is elected to president HS-22
1943 February 1: Watchtower Bible School of Gilead holds its first class P-721
  April: Course in Theocratic Ministry introduced (TMS) P-721
  Theocratic Ministry School is established  
  February: The Watch Tower Bible College of Gilead is founded at South Lansing, New York. CB-367
1944 Late 1944: Moyle suit is decided in Moyle's favor; he is awarded $25,000 damages HS-26
1945 October 1: The Society's Board of Directors is no longer selected by voters who qualify because of monetary donations P-722
1946 Awake! Magazine replaces The Golden Age and Consolation P-722
  Consolation magazine is renamed Awake! MC-95
1950 August 2: New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures is released at a NY convention P-722
  The Society begins to release its own Bible translation MC-73
1953 September 1: Witnesses begin to get trained in house-to-house preaching P-722
c. 1957 A Kingdom Ministry reveals that 80,000 have left the organization since 1953 ST-56
1961 New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, the complete Bible in one volume, is released P-722
 

 

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