Jehovah`s Witness/JW splinter groups
First, I would like to thank those people who have taken the time to write either me, Derrick, and even Eddie and the other JW experts regarding my most recent posts. There is clearly interest in these topics, so over time I plan to expand on them. While there are a few select sites that I keep up with, it is not necessary for me to "troll the internet" to find this information. Remember, the Watchtower printed most everything that I submit. It condemns itself much to the dismay of those who follow blindly. My concern with those who read these things and continue to rationalize that their organization is the one true religion despite the evidence otherwise.
I do appreciate the reader who wrote Eddie and remarked that I am writing using logic. I would argue that DW never addressed me with the whole logic discussion, only Derrick. I would also say that my remarks are consistently logical and did not just begin once DW left. I only realized that he left recently, and I do wish him well.
Over time, my plan is to address each subject with a little more depth. Of course, I accept any logical discussion to refute my claims. The discussion, after all, should be two-sided.
I will begin with the concept of splinter groups.
It began with Henry Grew, a Baptist preacher who felt that the Bible did not teach the Trinity, immortal soul, and eternal torment in hell. He left the Baptist church as a result of his new viewpoint and left quite a few writings behind. One of those writings, a pamphlet, was found on a train by George Storrs who proceeded to take in those beliefs over time. Storrs became one of the leaders of the Second Advent movement and became affiliated with William Miller (the Millerites). The Second Advent focus began adding in the belief that Jesus was coming in 1874.
Charles Taze Russell, being strongly influenced by the writings of the Millerites, began paying attention to the statements of Nelson Barbour. Thus Russell began promoting the imminence of the rapture and the second Advent of Christ. After the predicted 1878 rapture didn't occur, Russell and Barbour had a parting of ways. Russell printed his own beliefs in Zion's Watchtower and Herald of Christ's Presence
. He formed the Zion's Watchtower Society in 1881, got incorporated in 1884, and changed the name to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society in 1886. Thus was the beginnings of the Bible Student movement.
In early 1917, shortly after Russell died, Rutherford, the new president of the WTBTS, took over and quickly changed organizational practices, doctrinal interpretations, and congregational practices. Over the 1920's, a huge amount of the Bible students rejected Rutherford's changes and left. They began forming their own groups such as the Standfast Movement, the Layman's Home Missionary Movement, the Dawn Bible Students Association, the Pastoral Bible Institute, the Elijah Voice Movement, the Concordat Publishing Concern, the Paul Johnson Movement, Berean Bible Institute, the Angel of Jehovah Bible and Tract Society, and the Eagle Society. I repeat, these are all splinter groups of the Bible Students (or pre-Jehovah's Witnesses). In 1931, he renamed the group "Jehovah's Witnesses" so that he could differentiate himself from the multi-faceted Bible Student groups.
There are too many doctrinal changes to list. Let's just suffice it to say that he disagreed with Russell on a number of things and demanded adherence to his differing beliefs.
Nathan Knorr became president after Rutherford's death in 1942. In my opinion, Knorr was one of the better leaders by starting the Gilead School and the increase in branch offices around the world. However, he did institute the ban on blood transfusions. Unrelated to that, Jesse Hemery, who had served the Watchtower as an overseer from 1901 to 1946 was disfellowshipped by Knorr in 1951. Hemery began his own group called the Goshen Fellowship.
During WWII, many German Bible Students lost connection with the WTBTS in New York. Once the connection was revived, too many changes had occurred, and they separated from the Watchtower.
The splinter group that I find the most interesting is the Theocratic Organization of True Faith Jehovah's Witnesses. They began in Romania and rejected the change in doctrine regarding "superior authorities". The reason that I find them so fascinating is because they do all six things that the WTBTS claims the one true religion does the same way the WTBTS does it. Those six things are:
1. Godís servants base their teachings on the Bible
2. Those who practice the true religion worship only Jehovah and make his name known
3. Godís people show genuine, unselfish love for one another
4. True Christians accept Jesus Christ as Godís means of salvation.
5. True worshipers are no part of the world.
6. Jesusí true followers preach that Godís Kingdom is mankindís only hope
The major doctrines are all the same. They even say that they are "A United Association of Christian Brethren Worldwide". But the WTBTS will not recognize them, so they will be destroyed at Armageddon.
There are other recent ones led by people who used to be under the Watchtower:
- The Lord's Witnesses started by Horace David Ritchie in 2004
- The Christian Witnesses of Jah led by Greg Stafford in 2009
- God's Kingdom Society led by Gideon Urhobo - read in over 50 languages with 49 branches in 7 countries in Africa and North America, and an estimate of 3 million followers.
- True Friends of Jehovah's Way - found the Watchtower to be apostate after a period of not receiving literature due to communism. The new literature changed too much.
- Yah Our Righteousness Worldwide - led by Donald Burney, a former elder and Presiding Overseer for the Watchtower
- Divine Truth / God's Way of Love - led by Alan Miller, a former elder who now claims to be Jesus.
Now, I will be the first person to say that some of these organizations are ridiculous. However, many simply did not accept the changes that MEN made for them. Thus they have removed themselves from the Watchtower and begun their own splinter organization.
The purpose of all the information regarding Grew, Storrs, Russell, Rutherford, and Knorr was simply to show that all of them and their various beliefs were just branches off a bigger tree. With each person and his new doctrines, the branches multiplied. Clearly they continue to multiply. I firmly believe that Grew, Russell, Rutherford, Knorr, Franz, etc. would highly disapprove of the WTBTS as it is today as it doesn't resemble their vision for the organization.
"The Watchtower, November 1 (2009) p.19 article "Are Jehovahís Witnesses a Protestant Religion?" "...unlike the Protestant movement, which has splintered into hundreds of denominations, Jehovahís Witnesses have maintained a united global brotherhood."
So, not only is this statement not true. They are just one of those denominations that splintered from the Protestant movement. From Baptist to Second Adventist to Bible Student to re-naming as Jehovah's Witnesses.