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1916: How were the Jehovah’s Witnesses Founded?

1916: How were the Jehovah’s Witnesses Founded?
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  • historical event:
  • The "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" was key for the founding of the Jehovah's Witnesses. The society's founder was American Charles Taze Russel.

American Charles Taze Russell, founder of the movement which became the Jehovah’s Witnesses, died on this day in 1916. Charles Taze Russell was born in the town of Allegheny near Pittsburgh (Allegheny is today part of Pittsburgh). Pittsburgh was one of the centers of Russell’s activities, and he was even buried there.

Charles Taze Russell was of Scottish-Irish origin, and grew up in a Protestant family. In time, he developed his own interpretation of the Christian religion. According to the year of his birth (1852), Russel was roughly contemporary to Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Thomas Alva Edison, and Nikola Tesla.

Russell inherited a significant sum from his parents, so that he could invest in printing works on Christian topics. As early as the age of 27, he published his own newspaper, called “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence”. He soon founded an organization dedicated to distributing printed matter, called “Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society”, and later renamed “Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society”.

In 1908, Russell moved the headquarters of his organization to Brooklyn in New York. The organization still exists there today, under the name “Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania” and is the most important organ of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the world in the legal sense.

By printing a large amount of material, Charles Taze Russell became influential in the USA in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He died in 1916, during a tour across the USA, at the age of 64.

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