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Brother Russell Founded the Bible Students, not Jehovah’s Witnesses

This early Bible Student history book is written by Bro. Ken Rawson, a Bible Student elder who knew more Bible Students from Pastor Russell’s and JF Rutherford’s time than any other Bible Student elder alive today.

After the death of Pastor Russell in 1916, the purpose of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society changed drastically. Joseph Rutherford, whom Pastor Russell had recently dismissed from his staff, seized legal control of the Watch Tower, dismissed the majority of the Board of Directors, and established dictatorial authority. The Watch Tower became the central head and authority over all congregations willing to yield their sovereignty. Basic doctrines of the “new society” seriously digressed from the teachings of Pastor Russell as the writings of Pastor Russell were discarded. The methods of conducting the evangelistic work were altered. The more sensational digressions, such as refusing blood transfusion and saluting the flag, caught the public’s eye.  But many individuals and whole congregations refused to surrender their Christian liberty or accept the new teachings. As early as 1917, the exodus from the newly declared sovereign headquarters
began. By 1918 one-fourth of the Bible Students left Judge Rutherford and remained true to the teachings of the late Pastor Russell.

To read more click on the pdf file below.

Bible Students not Jehovah Witnesses.pdf final

75 comments to Brother Russell Founded the Bible Students, not Jehovah’s Witnesses

  • Roy Robert S

    Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in the below.
    1. Jesus’ ransom sacrifice did not include Adam.
    2. Jesus did not die on a cross but on a stake
    3. Only their church members will be saved,
    4. Only the 144,000 may take communion.
    5. Blood transfusions are a sin
    6. The Cross is a pagan symbol and should not be used
    7. Bible Students do not believe in a centralized organization.
    8. Bible Students believe that most of the prophecies regarding the restoration of Israel are actually to be fulfilled on literal Israel. Russell was a strong Zionist. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that God has abandoned fleshly Israel in favor of the anointed JW class, which they view as “spiritual Israel.”
    9. Many of the peculiar doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses were introduced in later times; therefore Bible Students have no problem with celebrating birthdays and holidays, voting, saluting the flag or accepting blood transfusions

    The above is not the teaching of bro Russel. The JW modified some of the basic doctrines which Bro.Russel never said in his teachings.

  • Where can I get in contact please with the followers of the original Religion that was the ‘ International Bible Students ‘ (of whom my Grandmother was one) as it is very confusing and misleading that J.W s still utilise as their Headquarters the International Bible Students ‘ original address in London ? !

    I will be obliged for a relephone number and postal address with email if possible please. Thank you !

    • Richard Tazzyman

      Dear Allen,Good to hear from you.If you let us know where you are based,e.g,country,city etc we will be able to point you in the right directrion.Your Brother,Christian Love ,Richard Tazzyman,Australia.

    • Peter K. (admin)


      I am Peter K., an elder annually elected by the Chicago Bible Students Congregation. The Chicago Bible Students is just one of many Bible Student congregations worldwide. We are the original Bible Students because most of our congregations existed in the early 1900s when Br. Russell died in 1916. There is much information on the history of the JWS and Bible Students on this site. It takes a while to absorb. Basically JF Rutherford forced a hostile takeover upon Russell’s death. By 1931 75% of the original Bible Students had left the free association which had transformed into a controlling and oppressive organization. You can find Bible Student websites in the right column of this site. You can email us at BibleStudents1@GMail.com.

      I will email you with my personal email address and provide my phone #.

      • Ellis Green


        Happy New Year! Please forgive my curiosity, but who was going to be President after Bro. Russell if Rutherford hadn’t stepped in? I found that Rutherford was on the Writing Committee but never found who the official successor was. And what really happened to Bro. Russell’s wife?

        • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

          Hi Ellis, I am sure bro Peter will answer but here is the link to the answers you seek. Bro. Rutherford had been dismissed from Bethel when Br. Russell passed and go down the list until you get to the “Will” part and you will understand that he was the lawyer that drew up the will. Take Care
          PS. Perhaps you can come on out testimony meeting for Australia, Europe or North America, we would love to hear from you.

        • Richard Tazzyman

          Hello Ellis,To answer your question,Bro Russell was grooming Bro McMillian(who later wrote a book called faith on the march).He was the one who sent the telegram to Judge Rutherford Informing him of Bro Russells Death.He stayed with the Witnesses & his nick name was always Mac

        • Richard Tazzyman

          Ellis, the book was written in 1957,& his full name was A.H. Macmillan.Sorry for misspelling his name.Regards,Richard

        • Peter K. (admin)


          Brother Russell had “directed that a self-perpetuating Editorial Committee of five, the names of whom he supplied along with possible alternates, be set up to have full charge of the religious aspect of the work.” See more by clicking here:

          Where did you find Rutherford to be on the Writing Committee? I believe that is not correct, however I am ready to stand corrected if you have good evidence.

          Brother Russell’s wife lived with here niece and died Mar 12 1938 – Saint Petersburg, Pinellas, Florida, USA. You can find more by clicking here:

          • Ellis Green


            Thanks for your replies; I’ll look them up tonight. I saw a copy of Bro. Russell’s will that someone had shown me and Rutherford’s name was on the proposed list for the writing dept. But I wasn’t paying much attention at the time as my phone went off so I could easily have been mistaken. So I asked as my knowledge is limited, so your info is more accurate. Thanks again.


  • George Loumbardas

    I agree

  • Anonymous

    JWs do not claim that they are founded by our Lord Jesus Christ either.

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      I see the point you are making anonymous. Jesus is the founder of Christianity and not men. Point taken. Thanks

  • Wyatt

    Hello Greg and thanks for ur input…
    I can only sit here and imagine your journey as a survivor. To say I understand would reflect my own lack of empathy. All strength and courage to you!
    Yes, after looking into the history of Rutherford I have to agree with you. He shaped the current lack of true empathy evident. The only reason I looked into and researched the organization a bit (and I have just started) was because of my experience with df and reinstatement 4 yrs ago. I had no problem with the decision to discipline me through the judicial process because I believed it was underpinned by love and mercy and it reflected Jeh qualities and I also was guilty of a pattern of wrongdoing in a relationship which was tumulteous and destructive over a period of 7 yrs. Thankfully I am free of that and since met a wonderful woman whom I married in mere months from meeting.
    Getting back to the subject…
    The lack of support and follow thru on promises made by the committee after reinstatement caused disillusionment in me and then anger. The anger took me over the edge. I never missed one meeting during the period I was out. I had gone forward with my wrongdoing of my own accord. And I believed and trusted the process.
    What I found is that there is NO process. One is left on ones own and I even found the shunning to continue, albeit unspoken, after reinstatement. The people who showed understanding were the people who have always been my friends or connected to my immediate family anyway and who by nature are that way and have always been that way toward me due to the history I have with them.
    As far as deliberate and direct extensions of mercy toward me by those ‘reflecting Jehovahs decision’ (as I was told my df represented) …there was nothing. Except one elder asked me to be an informant on other wrongdoing in the cong. because as he said it ‘I must know of others’ since I obviously mixed with other people in the same boat. When he said I must not worry because ‘this is how Jeh works’ I told him politely that it was not how Jeh works. It was how he works and I have not spoken to him since.

    Bottom line is: for the first time in my life (witness since birth) I am taking a step back to look at truth… not ‘the truth’ as a term that is thrown about so ficklely by Jw’s but simply what is right and what is wrong. What is really being said and on what basis it is being said and with what support. And I am astounded at what is being revealed to me.

    A small Eg. Did Rutherford as a person qualify to be handed the mantle by Christ in 1919 of Faithful and DS (if that ever even happened scripturally)? What does the evidence really show?
    Well, he overturned Russell’s will with a legal loophole, appointed his yes men as directors, took sole control, bullied and slandered and expelled many faithful bros who tried to respect Russells legacy, he wrote a while bunch of unscriptural mumbo jumbo in the Finished Mystery which led to imprisonment for all the top boys and all this while he was slugging down the booze in a seperated/divorced state with his estranged wife.
    And this is the ‘humble christian beginning’ i must believe in and show unquestioning obedience toward, of an organization directly appointed by the son of God that has never apologised for anything, despite changing guise more than Houdini and its intepretations of whats written more than the average African state…..in 100 yrs???

    How many straight jackets shall I order along with that?

    • greg (Bible Student)


      I’m still laughing when I read “How many straight jackets…”

      We all experience challenges that seem acutely tuned to our “Achilles’ Heels”.

      In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl wrote: Suffering ceases to be suffering when a) one forms a clear and precise picture of it, and b) one finds meaning in it.

      I can confirm that such has been true for me and my family in our life.

      I hope, pray, and trust that you will find meaning, purpose, and relief (eventually) in your own struggles. I also hope you will reach out to others and actually receive truly helpful support when you need it most. Above all, be reassured that “God cares for us” even as Jesus cared about (and healed) lepers. -Luke 5:12,13; 1 Peter 5:6,7

      Perhaps you wanted empathy, and not advice? Then I beg you to try and hear my empathy even if my words sound like advice. I want to say that I find it very comforting to know that God empathizes with me, you, all of us, and knows those that love him. 1 Corinthians 8:3 says, “But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.” (NLT)

      Never forget Biblical persons like Joseph, Job, David (while a fugitive from Saul) and many others, who loved God, and were despised and/or falsely accused by others, even those who claimed to represent God. We’re in good company when we suffer for righteousness’ sake. -1 Peter 3:14


  • WyattEarp2nd

    Hi and thanks for response…

    It struck me that he did not really know very much when pushed for specifics. He was also vague and evasive when it suited him. Understandably he could not talk on behalf of the body and obviously he wasn’t going to agree to any policy changes. I accept that as reasonable. But he said repeatedly when pushed for a committed answer that ‘your honor, that’s not really my field of expertise’ to some questions that I could have answered when I was 15.
    How can such serious matters not be your expertise as a brother of Christ destined for heavenly glory, when u sign off final approval on policies and procedures that directly impact the lives of millions of well intentioned people?
    The dilemma they face is that regardless of personal knowledge or lack thereof of what’s going on at congregational level, because they are determined to enforce that they are the F&DS and speak for Christ and Jehovah God,they are directly accountable for any and all results and consequences.
    The conclusion I came to after the testimony is the same conclusion I came to after my committee case some years ago: when u get past the mumbo jumbo of ‘we are directly appointed by God’ and take a step back, look and listen to what is really being said, then u realize how ridiculous the claim is.
    Jesus kept things very simple. He said ‘by their fruits’ you recognize true from false.
    It appears that the results of the commission may lead to policy changes in a few areas and women may now play a more active role in the findings of a judicial procedure. If this were to happen, this means that the policy change toward protection of a child would have been initiated by the ‘uncaring Satanic world and it’s legal commissions acting only for selfish interests and the demise of JW’s’, and not the JW’s themselves who advocate such a caring loving attitude toward the human race. Unless the rest of the world brought this abuse issue to everyone’s attention, the GB would have been quite happy to let things carry on as normal. How is this possible if they have special insight as an appointed slave to ‘care’ for the spiritual needs of the flock?
    Pray tell?

    • greg (Bible Student)

      I agree with your sentiments. From my own personal experience, I know the kinds of issues I’ve faced, and the countless times I pleaded with the local elders for assistance, only to discover that it’s “satan’s world” that offers the care, support, healing, and assistance that I now understand JW’s could NEVER DO because they have been taught to fear their hearts and emotions, and have thus turned their hearts completely off. All me and my wife and children ever needed was compassion and understanding. And there is none to be found in an organization that claims love to be their defining characteristic. Blech! When I see the kind of love that does exist in the organization, I think to myself, I don’t like their definition of love.

      And these events that are finally making the news only confirm to me the absolute lack of spirit and truth that Jesus talked about as being necessary if one wants to please God.

      I guess that’s what stands out to me most of all, is that ever since Bro. Russell died and Rutherford took over, love died too. Along with compassion. So did Spirit of the Law, being instead replaced with an ever increasing attempt to split hairs regarding the letter of the law. And the more they split hairs, the more they bog themselves and others down with confusing details, oppressive rules, head games, suspicions, and intellectualized (heartless) prescriptions that endeavour to strain out gnats while requiring the gulping down of camels.

      See: John 4:21-24; John 9:40,41; 1 John 3:17,18; Romans 2:12-16; 2 Corinthians 10:18; 1 Corinthians 4:5


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