Talk:Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

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Move from Brooklyn?[edit]

Discussion of any Watch Tower move from Brooklyn should be handled accurately, with a view to the careful language typically chosen by Watch Tower and other Jehovah's Witnesses agencies.

So even if something called quote-unquote "Headquarters" is moved from Brooklyn to upstate New York, that doesn't necessarily equate to closing of the Brooklyn complex (their current tour information labels it simply "Brooklyn Bethel"). Local newspapers may infer and imply that, but frankly, it seems that editors here should be more cautious about jumping the gun on such matters. Right now, it seems likely to me that Jehovah's Witnesses will eventually have five complexes in New York State:

  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bethel
  • Wallkill: Watchtower Farms and Printery
  • Patterson: Watchtower Education Center
  • Warwick: World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Ramapo: Watchtower Administrative Complex

--AuthorityTam (talk) 21:40, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. Do you agree the Warwick development is worth noting in the article, and if so, would you like to write it so it's presented accurately? LTSally (talk) 23:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I have reworded the Watch Tower announcement to note its description of the "World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses". The presentation to the Town of Warwick Planning Board said the world HQ was "right now located in Brooklyn", and the subsequent story The Witnesses Leave. Then What? describes it as a move, or transfer of operations. However I'll leave it as stated. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle article makes no statement about the fate of the remaining Brooklyn buildings including the current headquarters.LTSally (talk) 20:56, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
On the one hand, Wikipedia is not news. On the other hand, news of the proposed move seems notable, verifiable, and interesting.
Yesterday I edited the recent pertinent additions to the article, but my edits didn't last long.
I'd prefer editors to correct their own contributions on the matter anyway.
So. Clearly, JWs plan to "move" something called "World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses". Will they move it to Warwick regardless of whether or not their project there is ever constructed? JWs never said that, so certain recent edits have unwarranted language. Furthermore, there seems no basis upon which to conclude that 850 people will be moved, or that the end of WT's presence in Brooklyn is imminent. It's even more ludicrous if the paper suggests that all Witnesses (100,000? more?) are leaving Brooklyn. Look at the WT quotes, and note the JWs' measured words. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle isn't exactly the New York Times; editors here do well to remember that while forgiving the newspaper if its headlines primarily communicate "Pick this paper! Read these ads!".
Incidentally, just four months ago, the same paper said WT's Brooklyn staff was 1500; even if 850 of them did move directly from Brooklyn to Warwick, it seems entirely reasonable to think 650 might stay in Brooklyn. That same article noted that JWs "started using the Bossert again”; reportedly, the use is for their School for Congregation Elders, which could continue indefinitely.
So, to reiterate: even if a sensational newspaper headline claims 'Witnesses are leaving Brooklyn' or 'WT is pulling out of Brooklyn', that doesn't change the actual reported facts (which are far less sensational).
--AuthorityTam (talk) 23:27, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Confusion on my part ... I saw your edit summary that said you'd undone my edit, so didn't notice that you had actually edited rather than reverted it. There was no big deal with your edit, but I rewrote what I'd initially written anyway. I don't know that "sensationalist" is the word to describe the article, but what's here is the basic facts drawn from the WTS presentation to the local council. They want to build something, they want to call it something, there'll be that many people there. That's about it. LTSally (talk) 23:53, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Since this is years future and dependent on much, I edited article to clarify that the new complex and move are "proposed" and "planned". --AuthorityTam (talk) 19:36, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

At the Tuxedo, NY site I have a friend preparing a site to build a 500 member temporary site for construction workers for the Rampo and Warwick construction sites for their 1600 or so capacity.Juleon11 (talk) 03:16, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Spinout article[edit]

I have created a spinout article, Watch Tower Society presidency dispute of 1917, which is pretty well the content of the lengthy sections repeated in this article, Bible Student movement and Joseph Franklin Rutherford. The events of 1917 are now just a summary pointing to that article. If everyone's happy with the summary I'll do a similar trim on the other two articles as well. If anyone can improve on the name of the new article, please feel free to discuss it on that article's talk page. BlackCab (talk) 12:33, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Financial reports and publication activites[edit]

Financial Reports ZWTS under President Conley

1881 Society organized less than 6 months before Jan/Feb 1882 ZWTS issue
Total amounts of cash received: 35,391.18
Expenditures in print: 35,336.18
January and February 1882 ZWTS

1883 and 1884:
Total Expenditure for Publications: 2366.10
Voluntary Contributions: 2491.43

The January 1885 Watch Tower announced incorporation and total expenditures. 1881 and 1882 Expenditures were not spoken of duing incorporation.

Why is 81 and 82 ignored. Is their anyhting significant about these dates. Did Conley drop out in 82? What were the expenditures for the rest of te 1880s?

It would be interesting to see the financial reports for the rest of the 1880s in order to see what was happening in the initial society and the corporation. BradSp (talk) 14:27, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposed additional text re ZWTS early years: Please add suggestions or correctionsto to the proposed langauge.
In 1881, the societies founding year, Zions Watchtower and Tract Society obtained doanations of and spent 35,391.00 (the equivalent of $713,801.07 today.) Total expenditures in the final year of the William Henry Conley presidency and for several years under the presidency of Charles Taz Russell were significantly less.
Thx BradSp (talk) 21:43, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
This might be ok (if the appalling spelling and grammar is fixed). It is unclear what point is being made about the lower contributions in the later years, and there seems no specific reason to correlate the difference with the presence or absence of Conley.
Perhaps something to the effect of: In 1881, the year it was founded, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society received donations of $35,391.18 (current equivalent $918,828.26), with significantly fewer contributions in subsequent years Perhaps add, as a result of [some significant sourced information].--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:21, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
You were appalled? :)
That looks fine but showing that the society had a low distribution and limited finances should not make you feel appalled. The presidency or Rutherford is not the presidency of CTR. These are distict periods which have a flavor of their own. Efforts to blur the founding society presidency from the second just serves a history centered around Russell again. And I think those days are pretty much over or at least coming to an end.
BradSp (talk) 16:02, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Huh? It was the spelling and grammar in your suggested text that was appalling. I have no emotional investment in the society's finances or distribution.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:40, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Distrust between Wikipedia members[edit]

The purpose of Wikipedia is not to hunt down information to support existing theories. It presents information from reliable sources. You have your theories about the relationship between Conley and Russell, but I don't see that the information you've just dropped in here adds to any knowledge of the subject. It also doesn't seem to have any bearing on your push to have a separate article for the society under its former name. BlackCab (talk) 00:47, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Blackcab if you refuse to participate in adding content or you believe everything is already known then please do not hinder the efforts of others. You have me completely wrong when you make these accusations. I just want a reliable history of Allegheny City and its prominent families. This does not need to be so adversarial and you really have nothing to fear from the truth. The first president did not leave the spociety that gave birth to the Jehovahs Witness in case that is what you think I am getting at. We need to build the history beyond the single sentence you seem to impose on Wikipedia about ZWTS. BradSp (talk) 14:19, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Fine. Provide sources.--Jeffro77 (talk) 14:32, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Images of historic places[edit]

I thought it would be appropriate to post images of the historic homes of Charles Russell and William Conley during the founding of the society. The homes were frequently used for society business. In fact there appears to be no physical business address outside of Russell and Conleys home. Let me know what you think.

I notice some historic pictures are already posted here. I think we need more. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bradsp (talkcontribs) 14:33, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Such images might be suitable on the articles about Russell and Conley, but probably aren't necessary in the scope of this article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:23, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

We currently have a picture of Russell adn one of Rutherford and the old NY headquarters. This article contains too much modern JW information adn pop culture pictures. If we approach the article as historians I think we will find the need to expand on our section on history and pictures play a vital role. I think we need to get to that point. BradSp (talk) 15:06, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

The article is to present notable information about the subject of the article. There is a lot of documented material about Russell's and Rutherford's actions related directly to the society. At the moment, there is very little information about Conley and even less about how he contributed to the society. If more information about Conley is found, it should be added, in which case a picture of him might be more pertinent to the article.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:09, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
So do you agree or disagree with adding images from Pittsburgh and Allegheny City re historic sites? It appears you would delete an image associated with Conley. I don't want to obtain and post these if they will lead to threats, administrators and all kinds of Wikipedia warnings etc.
BradSp (talk) 04:42, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with adding a suitable number of images that are relevant to the article and that do not infringe copyright.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:20, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Your opinion that I "would delete an image associated with Conley" seems to be based mainly on your 'pro-Russell, anti-Conley' conspiracy theory. The benchmark is whether the picture is relevant and of benefit to the article, not whether it relates to Conley.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:23, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia does not have spray paint for an editor to spray "Russell was here" on a historic images so I imagine this will be contentious. My images are taken by me and are owned by me. I am still unsure which historic sites images you would agree to include. Do you want no more images? BradSp (talk) 12:14, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Your tone is contentious, and I don't know or care what you're own about in regard to painting "Russell was here" on them. If you have images relevant to the article, add them. If they're not relevant, I'm sure someone will remove them.--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:14, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

Proof that Coney was First president (Removing references from paid Jehovahs Witness authors)[edit]

This material is not referenced. Could someone please provide this original reference. People are using a modern Jehovahs Witness publication by Penton which provides no reference to the claim that Conley was first president. I think this fails to be a suitable reference.

We can not continue to allow for modern day Jehovahs Witness paid writers to dictate history without providing the original source.

BradSp (talk) 20:06, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Huh? Are you now claiming Conley wasn't first president? Or do you just not like the source that's saying it? Of course, as previously requested, if you have alternative sources, present them.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:07, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I believe he was president because JW did release this info. What they did not provide is a reference for this. I am asking for the reference because the public never obtained this. All we have is an unreferenced rewrite from a modern day JW writer. I want the proof becaue I also want the aditional details that comes from the source which is not be disclosed. BradSp (talk) 15:19, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes, it would be good to have more infromation. (I have previously requested that supply source material for their claims about the early WT society, but they deleted the request without responding. Twice.) I don't have an original reference. If you find a reliable original source, feel free to add it.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:09, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I assume you are referring to a lady named --BA-- who apparently stumbled upon this information when researching the history at the Bethel archive. If you REALLY want to know this you would not ask a web site and if you had researchded further you would know --BA-- could not take this historic parchment out of the Bethel archives.
You would request the origin of this reference from the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization Jehovah's Witnesses: Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (Watchtower, 1993), p. 576.
I bring this up because someone at the JW has proof that Conley was first president and this is not being provided to the public. This a dangerous precedent considering we are writing about only the history the JW organization allows us to write about.
We can ot quote her in the article but she looks like a normal enough person to make me really want to see the Proclaimers source.
BTW - In case ohers care to know the article I think you are speaking of is
I get the impression that the majority of people on the site are either JW or exJw - these are the hardest people to discuss JW history with.
BradSp (talk) 22:52, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I am under no obligation to take further action, and the (lack of) availability of sources is not my fault. You are welcome to take whatever measures you like to learn more of the matter, as it seems that it is you that "REALLY" wants to know—I have only a passing interest for the benefit of the article, and not the personal investment in the subject that you apparently have. Regarding whether "someone at the JW has proof", I'm not sure what the benefit is of complaining about that here.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:12, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

This issue needs to be brought up for the reasons I listed above. We have a reference that is not reliable. The tertiary Britanica reference you use is also pretty sketchy. Can you find other references or stop using it? Thx BradSp (talk) 04:16, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

You have not provided any source for your claims about the history that is accepted not only by Watch Tower Society literature, but by other historians. If there are historians who offer alternative views, provide those sources. You have provided no verifiable evidence for your claim that the reference is not reliable. On what do you base your claim about the available sources being unreliable, particularly sources other than those from the Watch Tower Society?--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:41, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

ZWTS Early meetings[edit]

Russells first mention of meetings in his/fathers home is written in the January 1881 Watch Tower. Meetings were held at No. 80 Cedar avenue, Allegheny. I assume these are Bible study classes held at is house. There is of course no mention that he was a pastor or leader in any way at this point.

The Curry Hall meetings appear to to have started in Curry Institute hall in January as well. A pastor is not mentioned here. I have not researched this bulding yet. If anyone wants to research this it would be good.

According to the Watchtower April 1880 marks the year of the passover meetings held at the Conley house. These spiritual meetings appears to predate the Watch Tower tract.

It appears Janaury 1881 appears to mark the year of meetings. I imagine if other meetings were being held it would have been published in earlier Watch Towers. Maybe we should have a section describing the grassroots startup of the society based around church or the meetings of people for spiritual matters. Any suggested language for this?

Thanks - BradSp (talk) 22:29, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

No one contended that Russell was called 'pastor' when the Bible study group in Allegheny first formed. Russell was at Bible study groups attended by Adventists such as Storrs and Stetson as early as 1870. Whether he led those groups at that early stage is unlikely, but quite irrelevant.
Russell began publishing the Watch Tower in 1879, which obviously predates 1880. (However, the statement in the 1880 Watch Tower about meeting at the Conleys' doesn't necessarily mean that was the first year they'd met there for the passover either.)
It is entirely reasonable that Russell was attending, if not teaching, Bible study meetings at least as early as he was publishing a religious journal, so it unlikely that those meetings only started in 1881.
I see no reason to rewrite history simply because you don't like Russell, and your imagined view of other 'pro-Russell' editors is outweighed by your own quite obvious anti-Russell views. If you have other sources, provide them.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:26, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure the date and location of Bible Student meetings has great deal of relevance to this article. Russell explained that the society was formed as a business convenience to publish and distribute tracts. Is there any direct connection at that early stage between the society and the church meetings? Information on meetings might better be written into the Bible Student movement article. BlackCab (talk) 11:53, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. The meetings of the early Allegheny Bible students, later formally called 'Bible Students', were never 'ZWTS meetings'.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:03, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
I think we are losing track and conetext of history when applying later terms like Bible Students to the early ZWT Society. Russell sems to have defined Bible Studnts around his life story. The current Bible Studet article on Wikipedai at least describes the movement from when Russell was a teenager. This is the aggrandizement which needs to be cleaned up. Below is the early usage of the words as I have stated before and my stance on the issue of applying the Bible Students concept to early history.
First recorded use of Bible Students. First use of this proper noun in connection with Charles Russell and within the Zion’s Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence is below. The word was not used when Conley was president and it was not used in the 1885 issue during CTRs first year. Hope this helps those trying to date “Russell’s” movement.
1. October 1886. page 7. Kind words of Commendation.
2. January February issue Plan of the Ages page 8
3. June 1896 issue
4. September 1st 1904 - Letters to editor signed by Bible Student
5. February 1st 1905 - Letters to editor signed by Bible Student
6. August 15th 1905 Bible Student Convention mentioned.
7. February 1st 1906 clearly established
I would place the start of the Bible student movement when the participants are aware of the movement. I guess if I were receiving the Watch Tower between August 1905 and February 1906 I would know that I was part of a movement. For those more suspicious eyebrows would be raised in September of 1904 and then again in February of 1905.
BradSp (talk) 15:17, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
As previously explained, use of the term Bible Student movement to describe the group's early development doesn't require that they were yet using the specific term Bible Students. Movements in general are seldom referred to as such when they are first forming, because their early development is inherently informal.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:09, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
As explained it is not appropriate to apply perspectives like the Bible Student Movement to a history between 1881 and 1884. There is no way we will be able to understand this time period with your claims from Russell many many years later. The Ruselll pastor language did not appear in a mountain of historic docs between 1881-1884 adn beyond. Also your claim that the church meetings were Bible Student Meetings and not Society meetings are plain speculation based on what you would like to believe. There is no basis for these assertions Jeff.
BradSp (talk) 23:06, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Whether Russell was called 'pastor' at the time is irrelevant, and I don't know why you keep raising this. Regardless of whether they were using the term "Bible Students", the foundation for the movement started before 1881, and includes the period of the original publication of Zion's Watch Tower. The same group, irrespective of who might have led them, were conducting Bible study meetings prior to the formation of the Watch Tower Society, so they cannot logically be considered "Society meetings", particularly since the 'Society' was a corporation, not a religious group. All this is based on the available sources, and a proper understanding of the concept of a movement, not 'speculation'. I also don't understand the expression "your claims from Russell"—I have made no original claims about the matter, and have no association with Russell.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:21, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I think we agree for the most part. You can write about the Bible Student Movement in the articles; it is valid and we agree. The problem I have with the usage of this information is that it is being overused for the purpose of detracting from the article or section which should be the focus. Particularly Bible Student Movement language used to describe the 1881-1884 society during the Conley presidency is a problem. The Bible Student Movement does not allow us to understand the 1881-1884 ZWTS it just allows us to understand a history in retrospect according to Russell. As I have said above the people around the early society did not think Russell a leader and did not consider themselves part of a movement. You have no source proving otherwise. There is a place for your content but it can not be used to the detriment of other articles and time periods.
BradSp (talk) 04:27, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
You are making claims about the history, including claims about the views of people living at the time. The burden of proof is on you to provide sources for your claims. What is your source for your claims about how Russell was viewed at the time? What is your source regarding your view of the order of events of the development of the Bible Student movement?--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:38, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

My sources are not conflict of interest statements from Russell made during times of malicious attacks between Russell and the people who you claim were part of His movement. Russell published material from many editors and the material was common Adventist thought shared by many. Bible Study was a common activity. Organizational development and funding built the early society.
The problem is not that I do not provide a burden of proof, the problem is that you feel your burden of proof has been satisfied through the clearly inconsistent, untrue and malicious self aggrandizing statements from Russell.
The issue is further muddled by JW and exJw believing this is significant to whatever cause or opinion they may have. Many people of the 19th century are not credited with the great work which led to the present day JW and other Bible Student groups due to the autobiographical Russell claims. It is a shame.
BradSp (talk) 20:47, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Please provide reliable sources in support of your claims that the available sources are "clearly inconsistent, untrue and malicious self aggrandizing statements from Russell" and that there were "malicious attacks between Russell and the people who you claim were part of His movement". You are also welcome to provide further information about the "many people of the 19th century" who "are not credited with the great work which led to the present day JW and other Bible Student groups".--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:04, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Overview and Foundation sections[edit]

There is a quite a bit of duplication in the Overview and Foundation sections of the article. I recommend that the Overview section be removed, with information distributed to the lead and the Foundation section as necessary. Additionally, I recommend that Foundation be renamed History.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:29, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

I've gone ahead with this. No information has been deleted, only moved.--Jeffro77 (talk) 10:55, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Sounds good. The order in which this is presented I think still needs adjustment. For example History should be ahead of things like large section on criticism and large sections on property sales etc. After a very limited overview I would like to see history in an encyclopedia article. History of course should be chronilogical. BradSp (talk) 15:09, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

No problem with having the History section first.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:09, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Proposed History section structure[edit]

I propose the following chronilogical order for the first four paragrahps. They dont need to be labeled as such but the content should reflect this. This structure creates distinct periods and rejects the blurring of the first two presidencies. This will save all of us a bunch of time later on and allow us to focus on developing content instead of spin.

Paragraph 1: ZWTS under President Conley. No Bible Students and no overly Russell centric info. Content regarding the writers, editors, financials, board members an any other goings on duing this time.

Paragraph 3: Transitional information and reflective statements on the society by Russell or others. Bible student info, lack of obituary announcement, etc.

Paragraph 3: Incorporation information and announcement of new president. Jeffro - you can go wild here. :)

BradSp (talk) 16:36, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Conley receives an appropriate mention at the moment. As your poor work with the Zion's Watch Tower Society article indicated, there is an utter paucity of information that indicates anything other than that Conley was briefly president of an unincorporated association. BlackCab (talk) 21:22, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Do you agree with the Structure? Paragraph 1 will not contain anything about Conley beyond what is know. There is limited information anyway.
BradSp (talk) 00:53, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
If and when there is more information about Conley from reliable published sources, it should certainly be added to the article. At the moment there simply isn't enough information about Conley or his specific involvement to support the structure you suggest.
Irrespective of how details have been coloured by the histories written by modern JWs and Bible Students, what is known is that the society was started at least partly by Russell, that Russell was involved in a Bible study group in Allegheny, and that the society was used to publish a periodical Russell started in 1879. Your understanding of the term movement is also incorrect, as use of the term doesn't required that they were using the specific title "Bible Students" at the time.
Your statement "Jeffro - you can go wild" seems to be based on some agenda that exists only in your mind. Actually, I have simply improved presentation of existing material rather than add anything about Russell. If new reliable sources show information about Russell to be false, I have no problem with removing it; but unless and until that happens, the article must, by Wikipedia policy, simply report what is stated in available sources.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:09, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
I looked at your edits for the introductory section. I think it looks fine however including the Bible Student movement in the same sentence as the formation of the ZWTS is off topic and not cited. It was similarly rejected when an edit stated that ZWTS was created for Russell's tracts - these are examples of a continued effort to market Russell. It will be a contentious issue when an editor envelopes the first presidency with a Russell movement or a leading role is claimed for Russell pre 1884. Also I think this area should be scaled down a bit and we should just identify the first and last society using presidency or eras of time. I suggest removing reference to the "movement" because people at the time certainly did not subscribe to this. Stating the facts and not a synthesis of the facts is best. I suggest the following sentence as a compromise - "The organization was formed in 1881,[5] as Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society, for the purpose of publishing and distributing religious tracts."
The history section again appears to inappropriately market Russell. I see that you have adjusted your language from saying Russell founded the Society to saying Russell founded a movement in context with the basic description of the society. This is leading. At this early point we should stick to the facts about the people invloved and not make attempts to claim a role outside of their position regardless of our opinions. Russell was secretary and Conley was president - if you would like to dispute this then a reference should be provided.
Also you removed content I wrote by deleting Russell from the list of Watch Tower writers. Can you not remove properly sourced and important material.
BradSp (talk) 16:25, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
You are wrong about your claim that the Watch Tower Society wasn't associated with the Bible Student movement, but I'll leave out the extra wording as a concession for now until a more agreeable reference can be found. However, you still seem to suggest that you don't understand the general way in which 'movements' develop from an informal foundation; people seldom subscribe to a formally-named grouped when a movement is first forming. Your claims of "a continued effort to market Russell" are humourous, but I will remind you to assume good faith anyway.
I deleted the extra statement about Russell being a writer, because he was already mentioned as one of the writers above. Saying it again is redundant, and I clearly indicated that there were also "other" writers.
And I've just noticed that when you moved the History section, you only hacked out the part that interests you. I have re-amalgamated the History section and fixed some problems with chronological order. Please be more careful.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:05, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
Jeffro - It appears paragraph 3 in the history section is a historic controversy. Why not just move this to the section titled "Leadership Dispute" and out of the History section? the facts clearly do not line up with Russells claims about his role.
BradSp (talk) 16:53, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
The Leadership Dispute section is about a well-documented schism from 1917 onwards. There is no basis for putting an undocumented controversy in the 1880s in that section. If sourced information outlining specifics of the supposed conflict between Russell and Conley are provided, it may later be suitable to also have a section about that separate information earlier in the History section.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:09, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to come to agreement on the layout. The article is becoming unreadable. You created a section for 1884 called incorporation and you "acidentally forgot" :) to add the Founding Society era. Maybe we should have distinct eras with strong concise well developed topic paragraphs. We can follow this with the more seemingly mundane information in subsequent paragraphs for the respective era. Is this OK?
BradSp (talk) 22:28, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
I didn't 'accidentally forget', and don't care much if the 'Incorporation' subheading is removed. There isn't enough information at this point to warrant a separate subsection for the 'founding era' because it's naturally the beginning of the History section anyway. Your suggestion also depends a great deal on what you consider "seemingly mundane" in contrast to what you would like in the "strong concise well developed topic paragraphs". In what manner is the article unreadable?--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:27, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, the history section of the 1885+ section is getting a little cumbersome. As afar as the 1881-1884 area is concerned it is short and truthful. Dont mess it up. BradSp (talk) 04:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
The changes you made to the History section were clearly out of order. Zion's Watch Tower didn't become the primary journal of the Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society only in 1885 as implied by your alternative history, but was in fact its primary journal from the beginning of the Society's formation, and had been published even prior to that point. If you do not provide sources for your claims about an alternative history, your changes will not be kept. Your behaviour is disruptive, and if you will not either work with what is in the available sources or provide sources supporting your alternative views, then you will be reported.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:45, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Please do not threaten me Jeffro. My edits were meant to build consensus and not to force a view point as you seem to be doing now. There was no alternative history in my minor edits it simply corrected or moved unsourced claims by you. You are increasingly making this a personal issue and you are not building consensus. Their are numerous outstanding questions yet your answers appear alarmingly aggressive and personalized. Stay on topic.

BradSp (talk) 14:36, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

I haven't threatened you. I have told you what will happen if you continue to assert a viewpoint that disagrees with available sources without any sources supporting your own views. Your speculation in the section about finances above is evidence enough that you have not merely suggested minor edits without unsourced claims. This has included speculative edits in Conley-related articles themselves as well as at Talk, such as here. As previously pointed out to you, many times, either work with the available sources or provide other sources. No amount of discussing your own unsourced speculative views will create a consensus.--Jeffro77 (talk) 15:11, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Jeffro is right in this regard. It is incumbent upon anyone who seeks to add material to provide independent reliable sourcing, particularly when what is asserted disagrees with other available sources. No amount of talk page comment is sufficient to alter article content except in cases of obvious grammatical errors and the like, only reliable sources. To date, no such sources have been produced by you. Please produce the reliable sources, as you have been repeatedly asked to do, Bradsp. John Carter (talk) 16:35, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I have made many many edits. Major material is well referenced. It is really fishing to point out one instance that has a speculative sentence and then make threats like you have done above. John you should not go along with this kind of behavior because it is not building consensus. Using available and reliable sources (we are all using the same sources)I have made minor edits to the article where exaggerations are being made in support of Russell and the Bible Student Movement. This is not an issue of me or you supplying new sources it is a matter of finding consensus regarding placement of information about the sources we have.
If you care at all for history please try to keep this conversation productive and free of persuasion that is not about historic debate. This is not about winning - if it is you have been using Wikipedia for too long and have forgotten how to enjoy this site as an editor. Stop personalizing the disagreement and stick to the debate and work in good faith.
BradSp (talk) 15:17, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Of course other editors will point only those edits of yours which are problematic. There would be no point in complaining about edits that are properly sourced.
If the so-called 'pro-Russell' history is disputed, you should be able to provide notable and reliable sources that indicate such a dispute.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:45, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Lets deal with this issue. You seem to think that I need to provide a source to an opinin that I have. I have no opinion and really do not understand what you are taking about. Lets be specific adn resolve this issue. I am creating a new section for us to decide 1881 - 1884 issues. Lets have this out once and for all and find concensus on the issues. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bradsp (talkcontribs) 16:12, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

1881 - 1884 Zions Watch Tower and Tract Society under President W. H. Conley[edit]

I created this section to explore what is relevant material for 1881 - 1884 during the societies first presidency of William H Conley.

Below are some questions to get us started: They should be discussed individually and any sources should be scrutinized.

1. Who attended the first Zion’s Watch Tower B. T. Society Eucharist?
2. In a Conley article about his participation in Zion’s Watch Tower B. T Society what is appropriate material?
3. Does Zion’s Watch Tower B. T Society deserve mention of a section describing its history?
4. When quoting Russell how reliable is Russell and how should we word is quotes. Especially when Russell is writing about contentious issues in which he makes specific claims or attacks on other people.
5. When did the Bible Student Movement start?
6. Who is considered a part of the Bible Student Movement?
7. Who founded the Bible student Movement.
BradSp (talk) 16:45, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
1. The 1880 Watch Tower doesn't specify that 1880 was the first time they held the 'passover' at Conley's, and says they held the event "as usual". It was simply the first time the Watch Tower mentioned it. It was attented by the members of the readership of Zion's Watch Tower in Pittsburgh in association with the Bible study group attended by Russell and others. Unless an available source indicates that that readership was significantly distinct from the readership of the same journal post 1884, there is little reason to attempt to distance it from the early Bible Student movement.
2. This isn't "a Conley article", it is the Watch Tower Society article. Additional sourced information about Conley in relation to the Watch Tower Society would be required to warrant a special section about him beyond what is already in the introduction of the History section.
3. Either the answer is exceedingly obvious, or I don't understand your intent. The article already indicates the history of the Society.
4. If Russell's veracity is challenged in reliable sources, those sources should be presented.
5. According to the available sources, the Bible Student movement had its foundation in the 1870s. If the available sources are challenged by other reliable sources that state otherwise, they should be presented. (Whether Russell was specifically called 'leader' or 'Pastor' when the movement was in its early stages, or whether they at first used the specific name 'Bible Students' are red herrings.)
6. In the context of the development of the early stages of the movement, the movement's foundation would include the Allegheny Bible study group unless indicated otherwise in reliable sources.
7. Reliable sources state that Russell founded the Bible Student movement. If you disagree, provide reliable sources that challenge the accepted history.
--Jeffro77 (talk) 10:26, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

Discussion regarding Sources[edit]

Below is a partial list of the sources we use: How they are used is an issue needing discussion.

1. Penton (our most reliable secondary source) does not indicate the existence of President Conley. 1884 under President Russell is indicated as the start of the society. Penton also states that Russell’s life is used to describe the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
2. Charles Russell has provided two types of primary source material.
a. Material written (by Russell) during 1881 and 1884 while organization was under the control of Conley.
b. Material written (by Russell) post 1884 while organization was under the control of Russell.
3. Tertiary material like Britannica which is a mixed bag of information I think we all would agree is in some cases incorrect. Some of this material would serve the purpose of a Penton based understanding of Russell.
BradSp (talk) 16:43, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the above is mistaken. Penton says Ruseell and five associates were involved in the foundation. He simply doesn't go into detail who those five associates were. And I very much have to challenge the assertion (2a) "while the organization was under the control of Conley". To the best of my information, absolutely no information has been provided to verify this alleged "control" by Conley. Simply having the title "president" in no way in and of itself indicates that party has any form of "control". The sources I have seen indicate that Russell, who wrote the articles of incorporation himself, also provided at least a disproportionate amount (I think the majority, but I would have to check that) of the group's operating funds. It is very reasonable that the person paying the bills be given the title "treasurer" rather than "president" if he is, in effect, supplying the treasury. I seem to be forced to once again ask the above party to provide any sourcing to support this contention. John Carter (talk) 00:06, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
If you believe a puppet presidency occurred then you should provide sources. As it stands without sources you must accept the generally defined definition of a president.
Actually, the general definition of president is just someone who presides at meetings, as per the lead of that article. It is you are making the unfounded assumption that being a president also implies a significant role in the development of policies, procedures, guidelines, and what not. All that is, in fact, irrelevant to the duty of presiding at meetings. And it isn't even always assumed that a "president" makes such decisions, despite your implicit statement otherwise. You are yourself violating WP:OR and/or WP:SYNTH by assuming that the term had further meaning than it does. John Carter (talk) 19:07, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Russell does not mention who the original Bible Students are. Because Russell stated the Bible student movement was created in 1870 he could be referring to anyone. Primary autobiographical sources extracted from Russell’s self published hate letters where he condemns everyone around him including directors and partners are completely inappropriate. You need to stop citing this material and where you do cite stop exaggerating what was said.
Out of respect for and well being of other familes involved at the time please refrain from including EVERYONE in the Russell Movement unlesss you have proof. It is your WP:BURDEN to provide reliable sources. Even the primary sources make it clear Russel was not a pastor or leader and others did not se him as such in 1881-1884. There is also proof that Russell did nto spend his own money participating in ZWTS. Read Harvest Siftings if you have not. I see no problem claiming Conleys first presidency and other information as appropriate but I will have a problem when you extend this to a Russell centric moement. The JW and other Bible Students were spawned from the non denominational efforts of the founding society in which Conley presided. This is all you know about William Conley and his wife Sarah. BradSp (talk) 16:42, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
You clearly do not understand WP:BURDEN.--Jeffro77 (talk) 23:17, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Your personal opinion that the existing sources are unreliable does not make it my responsibility to find other sources. If you believe the existing sources to be unreliable, please, as previously requested, present reliable sources that dispute the accepted history.--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:53, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Have to agree with Jeffro. What I see is Bradsp saying that, exclusively based on the title alone, he has the right to change material. WP:BURDEN applies here. I do not believe, one way or another, anything about the presidency or any other offices. However, the sources as they have been produced indicate that whatever his title Russell was the driving force. It can be and fairly often is the case that the titles of individuals do not reflect their actual contributions, particularly for small organizations, like this one was initially. It is you who are making the apparently WP:OR assumption that the title must necessarily be a reasonable indicator of the level of input of the person or persons involved. We can only repeat what the sources say, and the sources seem rather silent on whether anyone but Russell had real significant involvement in the early stages of the Watch Tower Society. Bradsp's whole argument seems to be based on the conclusion that Conley must have had some significant influence, given his title as president. That assumption is very likely a violation of WP:OR and WP:SYNTH. I repeat Jeffro's request that the sources which clearly and specifically support the contention that Conley and whomever else are to be regarded as significantly involved in the Society be produced. To date, Bradsp seems to have been basing his arguments on a conclusion he has drawn based on the limitied evidence available, which is another thing entirely and falls well short of being the sourcing required to change content. John Carter (talk) 15:09, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Tower Publishing Company[edit]

The article briefly mentions the Tower Publishing Company, a company Russell owned which was later transferred to the WTS. Prior to 1898, it was apparently used for publishing the Watch Tower Society's literature "for an agreed price". (1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 42) If the TPC was producing the literature prior to 1898, did the WTS actually produce literature during that period? Can anyone elaborate on the distinction? Based on this information, it doesn't seem appropriate to say that the Watch Tower Society was first started for the publication of biblical literature, but rather, only for the distribution of such literature. (Centennial of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania 1884-1984, page 8)--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:02, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Some early books, including The Time Is At Hand (1889) state that they were published by Tower Publishing Company. However The Day of Vengeance (1897) was published by Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society.
Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose (1954, page 27) notes that article two of the Society's 1884 charter stated: "The purpose for which the corporation is formed is, the dissemination of Bible truths in various languages by means of the publication of tracts, pamphlets, papers and other religious documents, and by the use of all other lawful means which its board of directors, duly constituted, shall deem expedient for the furtherance of the purpose stated." (emphasis mine). That wording indicates that the WTBTS did indeed publish material (just as a major book publisher will today publish books but outsource the printing to a separate company). Page 26 notes that "at first printing was done almost entirely by commercial printing houses". In 1889 the Bible Students headquarters staff moved into a new, purpose-built building at 56-60 Arch St, Allegheny, where for the first time they printed material. That building (footnote, p.27) was originally owned by the Tower Publishing Company, "a private concern personally managed by C.T. Russell. In April 1898 ownership of this plant and real estate was transferred to the legal corporation WTBTS when the Society's board of directors accepted the donation of title to this plant."
I'm open to correction on this, but it looks like Russell's books and tracts were published by both the WTBTS and TPC. The building that housed the WTBTS headquarters was initially owned by Russell through his TPC, but later donated to the WTBTS. Therefore it would be correct to state that the Society did publish and distribute material. BlackCab (talk) 10:48, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
The WTS did not own any printing facilities until the late 1890s and even then they were limited to the production of single tracts (technically one-page leaflets). Prior to this time all material was produced by local printers. The Tower Publishing Company was not a printing house, but rather a means to facilitate the distribution of printed materials. The first three volumes of Millennial Dawn have "Tower Publishing Company" on the title page. Pastorrussell (talk) 21:59, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
So... WTBTS and TPC both 'published' stuff, but neither of them did any printing (prior to 1898)?? When Russell donated his TPC to his WTBTS, it apparently already had "tons of valuable electroplates of various publications in a number of languages" (The Watchtower, 15 July 1950 p. 215) and by 1889 it apparently had "printing works, shipping rooms, an assembly place for about 200, an office, an editorial department and a store front" (The Watchtower 1 February 1955 p. 77). However, there are also various references to separate external companies doing the printing. If TPC was only "a means to facilitate the distribution of printed materials," how did its purpose differ from the WTBTS? I think the article could benefit from a couple of sentences of clarification.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:31, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Those references from The Watchtower are correct. At the Bible House they assembled the type for the ZWT magazine, then sent it to the printer who made the plates and proceeded with printing. The printed matter (and the plates in most cases) was then delivered to the Bible House and went to the "mailing department" where volunteers folded, wrapped, and labeled each issue. Once that was finished, everything was dropped off at the post office for mailing. I have several period photographs of these departments and the workers in them. The WTS itself was a legal organ for carrying out business which was primarily religious in nature. But the TPC was merely a means to facilitate publishing and distribution. Russell had invested his own money in oil wells and made a fortune from it, but concluded that it was more efficient and economical to have material printed by others rather than purchasing such equipment. Pastorrussell (talk) 01:05, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
But wasn't ZWTS, in line with its charter, also only "a business association [with] no creed or confession" to facilitate publishing and distribution rather than a religious entity? Until 1898, donations to Russell's public company were paid to Russell's private company (at an agreed price based on Russell's majority vote) for the purpose of arranging the publication—but not the printing—of Russell's writings, which was the same as the stated purpose for the public company. I suppose that's ultimately why the two were eventually merged, but the practical distinction still seems a little unclear.--Jeffro77 (talk) 12:46, 8 March 2011 (UTC)
In the beginning the ZWTS may have actually printed its own material. W H Conley was a master printer with a massive carriage house behind his house at 50 Fremont St. After his death and when Sarah Conley moved away the house and carriage house (located in a residential neighborhood) was purchased by a printing company. Something to think about. BradSp (talk) 02:36, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
They may have done any number of things. Wikipedia articles require sources. This is not a forum.--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:57, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Many statments were made in your discussion above. The following sourced facts should be considered.
1. The Conley house was in a residential district of row houses however the house appears to house the Thomas G state printer - Printer business was located at 1532 Fremont See census records of 1902 for the address specifed. Sarah Conley appears to have sold the property. This may mean that the carriage house (it was huge) housed printing machinery. 50 Fremont = 1532 Fremont = 1532 Brighton Pl BTW.
2. Conley’s uncle trained him in the printing business. This appears to be the first career of Conley and what he was being primed for. Records state he was trained for ten years. I think this may qualify him as a master printer. National Cyclopedia of American Biography volume 14, part 1, James Terry White, 1910
BradSp (talk) 04:43, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I have made relevant statements, most of which consisted of asking you to provide sources.
As for what you have provided here, we can't use what 'appears' (to you) as a source. It can be stated at the Conley article that he was trained in the printing business. I'm not seeing sufficient sourcing to state anything else from what you've just supplied. However, if you have sources linking Conley with the WTS's printing, please provide them.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:52, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
I submitted the above in response to your statement that ZWTS was created for distribution and not publication. For discussion purposes I would suggest you consider that the ZWTS may have printed, published and distributed earlier than Tower Publishing. When exactly did Tower Publishing come into existance and how do we know it was an instrument used to further the efforts of the early (pre 1884) ZWTS. Downtown Pittsburgh printer shops seem to be the first printers (that can be sourced from somewhere) The society may have printed and published its own material so you may not be able to say with certainlty that the early society only distributed. I agree this material may not belong in the article yet however it is worth fully exploring. Respectfully - BradSp (talk) 03:22, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
If you imagine there is value in this speculation, then you do not understand the purpose of Wikipedia Talk pages. Please return when you have sources.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:39, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
You did ask for feedback about your assertion that ZWTS was created for distribution and not publication. I dont think you can prove this and you certainly wont get there by being nasty to people who, in good faith, provide feedback about your theories about why ZWTS was created. BradSp (talk) 04:17, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Where and when did Tower Publishing start? How and why did it come about? Before 1884 there was no building to do all this work. CTRs house on Cedar Ave was consistent with the housing types lived in by the poor of Alleghney City. It was abnormally skinny and actually worse off than much of the housing for the poor. The who/how/why and where regarding the ZWTS and the Tower Publishing is a mystery. We do know massive amounts of early publication and _some_ of its early printing did occur. I am not saying that Charles was working in Conleys garage but I know Conley was certainly not working in Charles house. TP was a private business of CTR and it appeaars to have split from ZWTS at some point. BradSp (talk) 13:52, 8 November 2011 (UTC)


The list of current directors was added when this article was created, and no sources were ever cited. According to a quick search in Social Security Death Indices, Richard Abrahamson died in 2004, yet he was still listed as a director. Is there any reputable source for finding out what the present membership of the board of directors is?

Also, I made a slight edit to Alexander Macmillan. He is not mentioned in reports of the annual meetings after the 1936 yearbook; it appears that when his three-year term expired in '38, his seat on the board was replaced. (talk) 04:00, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Page 3 of the June 15, 2010 Watchtower explains, "In 1976, all activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses were brought under the supervision of the six committees of the Governing Body." And on chapter 15, page 234 of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom book it reads. "In the early 1970’s, careful thought was given to further reorganization of the Governing Body. Ever since the incorporation of the Watch Tower Society in 1884, publishing of literature, supervision of the global evangelizing work, and arrangements for schools and conventions had been cared for under the direction of the office of the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. But after careful analysis and discussion of details over a period of many months, a new arrangement was unanimously adopted on December 4, 1975. Six committees of the Governing Body were formed." There has been no director or president since 1976. The Governing Body collectively manages the organization. Gorba (talk) 07:16, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Please don't copy and paste the same chunk of text under two separate sections of the Talk page.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:29, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
The "Proclaimers' book refers to the society's board of directors; these directors in turn select the society's officers. You're wrong. BlackCab (TALK) 08:32, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Current WT President?[edit]

The Watchtower of December 2013 lists "L. Weaver, Jr." as President, if I am reading it correctly. I have downloaded the pdf from I do not have much experience with editting Wikipedia, thus I will defer to other editors to follow this up. Randyg271 (talk) 03:50, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

Page 3 of the June 15, 2010 Watchtower explains, "In 1976, all activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses were brought under the supervision of the six committees of the Governing Body." And on chapter 15, page 234 of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom book it reads. "In the early 1970’s, careful thought was given to further reorganization of the Governing Body. Ever since the incorporation of the Watch Tower Society in 1884, publishing of literature, supervision of the global evangelizing work, and arrangements for schools and conventions had been cared for under the direction of the office of the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. But after careful analysis and discussion of details over a period of many months, a new arrangement was unanimously adopted on December 4, 1975. Six committees of the Governing Body were formed." So to answer your question there has not been a president since 1976. Gorba (talk) 07:13, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
The Watch Tower Society does indeed still have a president, and his name is L. Weaver, Jr. The change Gorba refers to is that the Governing Body are no longer the directors of the corporation. Weaver is essentially a figure-head under the control of the Governing Body, but he is the corporation president nonetheless.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:35, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Voting shareholders[edit]

The line references this paragraph from page 229 of the Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom book. "Hence, at the business meeting of all shareholder-voters of the Society on October 2, 1944, it was unanimously voted that the Society’s charter be revised and be brought into closer harmony with theocratic principles. Membership would not now be unlimited as to number but would be between 300 and 500, all of whom would be men chosen by the board of directors, not on the basis of monetary contributions, but because they were mature, active, faithful Witnesses of Jehovah who were serving full-time in the work of the organization or were active ministers of congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses." Voting within the organization is what Witnesses did in 1944, but that 70 years ago. Jehovah's Witnesses today no longer vote either within the organization (appointments) or outside the organization (elections). Wikipedia prides itself on being current with information in an unbiased manner. I asked that this line please be removed since the use of it is extremely out of date. Gorba (talk) 06:46, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

The "Proclaimers" book definitely says the shareholder-voters voted on the proposal. That's how the decision was made. What are you suggesting is wrong? BlackCab (TALK) 08:29, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
The sentence is simply presented as "The number of voting shareholders of the corporation is limited to between 300 and 500 "mature, active and faithful" male Jehovah's Witnesses." The word "is" is used instead of "was". "Is" implies present tense. Also the date October 2, 1944 is omitted. The grammar of the entire sentence makes it sound like this is what happens today not something that happened 70 years ago. Witness's today do not vote or hold elections within the organization. So the information is misleading. Gorba (talk) 06:35, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
The body of the article notes that the charter was altered in 1944, which is what the Proclaimers book also refers to. There is nothing in the Proclaimers book to suggest there has been any subsequent change in that arrangement for shareholders of the society. Are you aware of any more recent changes? The Watchtower used to (and possibly may still) publish a notice calling members to attend the annual meeting and members were reminded to return their proxies if they could not attend. Proxies are used when voting takes place. When I attended JW meetings a show of hands was often taken for resolutions on distribution of funds and, on a couple of occasions, decisions about new kingdom halls. That's a form of voting and I presume the same holds true at the annual meeting of the society. BlackCab (TALK) 07:27, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
RE: "Are you aware of any more recent changes? The Watchtower used to (and possibly may still) publish a notice calling members to attend the annual meeting and members were reminded to return their proxies if they could not attend." I have been with Jehovah's Witnesses for 39 years. I have NEVER seen such a thing in any of the Watchtower issues. Again this is something that was done 70 years ago. It is no longer practiced today. This date, a critical piece of information about this "voting activity", is - as you say - is buried in the article and omitted from the sentence I am referring to. In order for the information to be timely and unbiased the date needs to be presented in the same sentence or the sentence itself needs to be removed because it is out of date. Raising a hand in support of a resolution isn't voting and here's why. Each congregation has a bank account that is used to care for needs like paying the water, sewer, electricity, and other things. Each congregation determines its financial decisions. The decision never falls to one person or a small group of people. Every member of the congregation matters. So before any large sum of money is committed to anything whether they be improvements to the Kingdom Hall property, providing financial support for travelling circuit overseers, or sending large donations for the world wide work all of this is presented to the members of the congregation. Members of the congregation then raise their hand simply to acknowledge support for the resolution. This is not the same as voting. Anyhow back to the the original comment. I am formerly asking the either the date "October 2, 1944" be added to the sentence to add context or the sentence be removed because the practice is obsolete. Gorba (talk) 01:21, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Raising hands to show support for a motion is a vote. I know JWs don't vote in political elections because they are deemed "worldly", but they can and do vote in such things as union elections, union votes and school parents' associations. There would thus be nothing odd about shareholders or members of the WTS voting at an annual general meeting of the society. Re your "I have NEVER seen such a thing" comment: I found a reference to proxies in a 2001 Watchtower on the online Watchtower Library (WT July 15 2001, page 28). So until at least 13 years ago, votes were very clearly taken at those meetings. That being the case, the situation probably exists today, so the article is still correct. But if you have anything to contradict that (other than "I have never seen such a thing") please let me know. BlackCab (TALK) 03:19, 2 September 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. I will find out more information and get back to you. Gorba (talk) 16:17, 3 September 2014 (UTC)


Is not this the logo of this organization? (talk) 08:10, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

It is a logo of the corporation. No context has been supplied to indicate whether it is current.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:15, 3 August 2015 (UTC)


I would like to see the source for the claims about alleged subsidiaries of this corporation.

IBSA UK database don't mention about a parent corporation. WATCHTOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY OF NEW YORK, INC US database don't mention about a parent corporation --Roller958 (talk) 19:11, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

You have already been provided a Watch Tower source that explicitly identifies the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, which supervises the worldwide activity of Jehovah’s Witnesses" (Our Kingdom Ministry, December 1984, page 4).--Jeffro77 (talk) 13:40, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
That doesn't prove its a legal subsidiary. I recommend to remove that word. There is no legal binding. The world wide activity is supervised by Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses. (including administrative activities). Governing body may be using the letter head of this corporation, other than that there is no legal binding. That's what the KM meant. Show me the proof otherwise. The charter of IBSA found in link above states clearly that its independent and no other corporation is supervising it. Period. --Roller958 (talk) 21:19, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
Irrespective of any formal 'legal binding', the source I already provided explicitly indicates that the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania ... supervises the worldwide activity". No claim has been made that that applies to the setting of doctrine. If you don't like the word subsidiary because of legalistic implications of the term, it could be replaced with subservient.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:22, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Citing company searches that don't show parent corporations for any company is not compelling evidence of anything.[1][2]--Jeffro77 (talk) 02:09, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

1980 Yearbook, page 257: "The first of these, formed in 1881 and incorporated in 1884, is known today as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. It is the parent of similar religious corporations formed world wide. Among such are the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., and the International Bible Students Association in a number of British Commonwealth nations."--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:07, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

I highly question if parent religious corporation does mean they are legally binding. Its simply suggesting that other corporations were created in a similar line, with the similar name with the original corporation in Pennsylvania. They are managed independently and run independently. For example corporation charter of IBSA, of Watch Tower Society UK, of Watch Tower Society of Australia all clearly shows they are managed by Jehovah's Witnesses in respective countries. Amendments where done according to history. If you look at the details New York Corporation is registered as "Domestic" (which is the home). If its a foreign corporation of Pennsylvania, it should show foreign. Compare that with New York WTS extension in Florida. --Roller958 (talk) 03:33, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
It doesn't really matter that you 'question' the explicit statement. It is a direct statement, and there is no indication anywhere to the contrary.--Jeffro77 (talk) 04:39, 7 November 2015 (UTC)

Development of doctrines[edit]

I am intrigued by this edit by Fusioninc, who takes exception to the opening statement of the article and states that the WTS "does not develop doctrines for the religion". Trawling back through the article's history, I confess that it was me who added that statement some years ago, but I am now having second thoughts about it. Although Fusioninc's complete edit is unnecessarily florid, I wonder if he has a point. Does the society actually develop doctrines? In broad terms it certainly did so in the past, when there was no clear delineation between "the society" and the Watch Tower leaders such as Rutherford and Knorr. Those men were the president of the Watch Tower Society and also fulfilled the role of head of the church, creating and altering doctrine at their whim. Now? The Governing Body are not strictly speaking the society, though the common reference to the upper echelon as "Watchtower" blurs that distinction. It may be better to state that the society administers the religion and develops policies. BlackCab (TALK) 12:17, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

I don't think it's necessarily incorrect myself. If you look at the 2003 Charter, it says, in the Statement of Purpose at the end, that "As stated in it's charter, Watch Tower's corporate purposes are: ......... [to] do any and all other lawful things that its Board of Directors, in accordance with the spiritual direction of the ecclesiastical Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, shall deem appropriate in harmony with these purposes". (available as a PDF here, pg 65 of the 67 pages). If the society, including its Board of Directors, is under the control of the GB, which is what it states above, then in a real sense the GB is the society, and therefore makes the changes. My opinion only of course. Vyselink (talk) 20:15, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
I did have similar thoughts. It would probably be more accurate to say the Society disseminates doctrines rather than develops them. That said, when Geoffrey Jackson testified at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, he was very quick to assert that even publications such as Shepherd the Flock of God are written by Society staff and then the publications are put before the Governing Body for approval. However, that (and the formal separation of the 'Governing Body' from 'the Society' itself) seems to be more about avoiding accountability.--Jeffro77 (talk) 21:51, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

Current president[edit]

I have updated the article to reflect the fact that no specific year is available for the start of Ciranko's tenure as WTS preisdent. The only available source says Ciranko was already incumbent in April 2016.--Jeffro77 (talk) 09:54, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

Watchtower's Reddit Subpoena Regarding User Post[edit]

I'm trying to decide whether or not it would be of note to add a line or a section to the 'criticism' section mentioning Watchtower's Bible and Tract Society's subpoena to Reddit to obtain user Darkspilver's identity after he posted a copy of an ad from their magazine and an internal spreadsheet on a former/anti-JW subreddit. I think that the event is somewhat notable, but I'm having trouble finding mainstream sources and wanted to get a consensus/second opinion. These are the two articles I've found that could be used as a source, but I'm uncertain as to their reliability per WP:RS.

Thanks guys. Praefect94 (talk) 23:29, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

Seems non-notable to me. Also, neither of those sources actually give the case name or which court it was, so that information would be needed at the least. In my opinion, it is both not-notable and also, as of now, not properly sourced. If you can find better sources and make a good case for notability please do so. Vyselink (talk) 11:56, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
My biggest problem was finding any sources that weren't the EFF, who are a party to the case. There is the YouTuber/lawyer Leonard French who has done videos on the lawsuit, but I don't think that would be enough to meet RS requirements, or to prove notability. Thanks for your input, though! Praefect94 (talk) 14:21, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I also searched a few large papers but found no mention. —PaleoNeonate – 09:04, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I'll keep an eye out for it becoming more prevalent, but I'll hold off on adding the section. Thanks guys. Praefect94 (talk) 22:28, 9 July 2019 (UTC)