Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
"Is not the W.T.B. & T. Society the one and only channel which the Lord has used in dispensing His Truth continually since the beginning of the Harvest period?" [See the entire paragraph from which this quotation is taken.] Again, Z. 1919, p. 107, last paragraph, "In view of these things [those of Ezekiel and Revelation] which have been made plain to us through the only channel which the Lord has been pleased to use in the end of this Age for serving Truth to His household, who can doubt that it is indeed the Lord who has placed upon His table the exposition of these two prophetic books of the Bible, which have never been previously understood by His Church?" Vol. VII, p. 145, "This [the Angel taking and filling the censer with fire of the altar] is a plain intimation of God's purpose to use the Society in further unfolding of His Truth as it becomes due." These quotations suffice to prove that it is officially taught that the Society has been and is the Lord's exclusive channel for giving the meat in due season to the priesthood.
That these brethren teach that the Society is the channel for conducting the Lord's work among His people is manifest from the following quotations: Z. 1917, p. 327, par. 1, "In the Lord's Providence a body corporate is essential to the work of the Harvest, until it is completed. We have no doubt that the Lord directed the organization of this corporation for the purpose of carrying on His Harvest work." Again, in Z. 1916, p. 390, col. 2, from next to the last paragraph to the fourth paragraph of next page, this thought is given in answer to the question, "How, then, may the Harvest work be thus conducted, since our Pastor is no longer in our midst?" In the answer, among other expressions, the following is given: "The W.T.B. & T.S. … is … strong, because it has been and still is used of the Lord for the carrying out of His work." Their interpretation of part of Rev. 14: 18 (Vol. VII, p. 227) contains the statement that the
Society has "authority over the publication and distribution of expositions of Ezekiel and John, the Revelator, symbolical coals of fire." These quotations prove, as all will grant, that officially the Society claims (1) that it is the exclusive channel of the Lord for giving meat in due season to His people and (2) that it is His channel for conducting His Truth work among and apart from His people.
There are certain results flowing from this doctrine of the channel that should be considered in order properly to estimate what the doctrine involves. While it does not involve the thought of the channel's infallibility, it does involve the thought that its adherents exercise a meekness toward it that should predispose them to receive its teachings with considerable trustfulness, that they be not suspicious of its teachings, but be inclined toward them; that they do not take toward them a critical but a believing attitude. In practice this theory manifestly results in a mental attitude like the credulity of the average Catholic. It does not put one sufficiently on one's guard against the many admittedly erroneous teachings that have flown through this channel. Hence Society adherents have been finding themselves rejecting not a few things that, shortly before, they insisted were "meat in due season." This theory, therefore, in practice works against the principle of proving all things and holding fast that which is good (1 Thes. 5: 17). This effect of the channel doctrine can make and has made its adherents subject to deceptions, and is, therefore, dangerous to their spiritual safety. Another result of this theory of the channel is that its adherents look upon its direction of affairs as of the Lord; or, as Vol. VII puts it, that every detail of its work is being managed by that Servant from beyond the vail. This, of course, has the effect of making its thorough adherents unquestioningly fall into line with its policies and activities. Indeed, so strongly does this thought prevail that many even fear
to examine in a rational and Scriptural manner the methods and policies of the Society, lest, as "murmurers," they lose their crowns. All sober-minded brethren will recognize that such an attitude is like that of the Catholic laity rather than that becoming to priests of God. All must admit that this attitude has caused some acts that are most regrettable.
Another effect of this theory is giving the channel the same official powers in the eyes of its adherents as our dear Pastor had as (1) the dispenser of the meat and (2) the ruler of the Lord's household, with the addition that the channel has assumed a threatening attitude that he never assumed, e.g., it claimed that brethren would lose their crowns, if they did not engage in "the Big Drive." This effect of the channel doctrine has put J.F.R. as "the [supposed] Steward" in our Pastor's place, if not always in the theory, yet in the practice of those who have heartily accepted this theory. Again, this doctrine brings with it the thought that it is impious to criticize the policies and management of the Society. Even those who exercise the right of sober criticism are regarded as "murmurers" who will fail of the Little Flock, while others who go further in their criticism are regarded as in danger of the Second Death. Hence criticism of the channel is considered as coming from an evil source, just as papists think of those who criticize the papacy. This effect of the doctrine can easily be and has been used to the disadvantage of Truth and Righteousness. Another effect of the channel theory on its adherents is to cause them immoderately to suspect teachings that do not come through the Society. Another of its effects on them is to make them refuse to read religious literature that does not come through the Society, e.g., we learned recently that the members of a certain Ecclesia have subscribed to a written vow not to read any religious literature except what comes from the Society. Surely this is papistical. Another
effect of it is to make the Society leaders a hierarchy, tyrannizing over the flock, as they have done. Another unhappy effect of this doctrine is the practice of the Society adherents to avoid those of their brethren who cannot conscientiously submit in these respects to a business corporation. And in imitating the teaching and example of the Society leaders they have "avoided" some of their brethren in drastic forms, quite out of harmony with the Lord's Spirit; yea, some of the leaders have even advised their adherents to avoid certain ones as they would "a snake," which advice, we are glad to note, they for a while recalled. How easily the effects referred to in this paragraph can result in one's shutting his mind to light and opening it to error, as these things work among Catholics!
Having considered some of the natural effects of the channel theory, we now ask ourselves the question, is this view of the Society true? A number of reasons seem to call for a negative answer to this question. We present them to our readers for consideration. Certainly sober-minded brethren, schooled in the spirit and teachings of that Servant, ought to conclude that a doctrine producing such effects as the above cannot be true, but ought to be suspected as coming from an evil source. This theory puts into the Church, as a controller of its work and as the teacher of its members, a corporation or an organization which was not a part of the original organization of the Church; and therefore is a wrong theory. We are all agreed with the teaching of Vol. VI, chapters 5 and 6, that as God originally constituted the organization of the Church it was complete, needing no organizational additions. This our Pastor showed in detail. We condensed his argument above on the Church completely organized. All will admit that Jesus and the Apostles did not arrange for a corporation to be the means of giving the meat in due season, nor of directing the work of "the Church which is His Body," though there
were corporations in their days. Therefore no organization absent from the original constitution of the Church can be inserted into it, to be its teacher or the director of its work, without violating its perfect organization and working mischief to its members. The Bible (2 Thes. 2: 1-8) shows us that another organization, the papacy, would be grafted upon the Church; it nowhere warrants, but condemns such a procedure. Hence while God arranged for the W.T.B. & T.S. to do a Divinely intended work among some of His people, He did not intend that it should do the twofold work that it claims to be its functions in and for the Church which is Christ's Body. And the attempt to cause it to do such a work as teacher and controller is an imitation of the papacy and rests under the same Divine disapproval, as it also has wrought like injurious works.
Again, this theory is wrong because it claims the office functions of that Servant for the Society, He had two office functions, as shown above. These functions were his as an individual. They were never given to him by virtue of his being connected with the Society; for he had these functions before the Society existed. In harmony with these texts he, under the Lord—and not the Society—gave "the meat in due season" and directed the Truth work until his death. All who know the situation during his life know this. These official functions, therefore, were his exclusively. They never before had been given to any other individual apart from Jesus, nor have they been given to any individual or corporation since. But these office functions, the Society leaders, without any authority whatever in Scripture, Reason or Fact, ascribe to the Society, even as Catholic theologians ascribe similar functions to the papacy. The will and charter never transferred our Pastor's exclusive office functions to the Society, nor could he have done so, had he wished; for these were not his to give, but
the Lord's. Nor do the Scriptures. The claim is a mere assumption. Will the channel advocates tell us where, when and how the Lord transferred these functions to the Society? If so important powers were transferred from our Pastor to the Society, surely the Bible would indicate this as clearly as it shows that the Lord gave him his office functions (Matt. 24: 45-47; Luke 12: 42-44). The absence of such teaching in the Bible should be a complete deterrent from making such claims for the Society among those who regard it as the sole source and rule of faith and practice. We ask those who make this claim for the Society to give us book, chapter and verse that clearly teaches their view. They all must admit that there is no literal passage that so teaches. Hence we say that if God stated the same official functions to be our Pastor's in literal passages, which He did not allow to be understood until the history of about 20 years proved that our Pastor exercised these functions; how much more would he have stated this in a literal passage of a Society in whose interests these claims were advanced within a month after our Pastor in death ceased to exercise them, if He granted them to the Society? Again we ask, Where is the authority for transferring that Servant's individual functions to the Society, which was not the Lord's special representative while our Pastor lived?
Their claims that the Society was throughout the Harvest the Lord's channel for giving the meat in due season and conducting the Harvest work is gratuitous assumption and brazen propaganda without basis in Scripture, Reason or Fact. He himself (D 613, especially the last paragraph; Z '96, 47) says that he was the Lord's channel for these two activities; and the facts prove his teachings on this subject. A third time we ask, Where is the authority for teaching that the Society is the Lord's channel in these two respects? The Society leaders, conceding that there is no literal
passage that so teaches, refer to Rev. 8: 3-5 as a proof, claiming that the angel who offers the incense is the Society. We reply that a mere babe in the knowledge of Tabernacle Shadows should know better; for during the Gospel Age it is the exclusive function of the High Priest to offer incense, while the Society is a business corporation, created by the civil power, and therefore cannot be in the Holy. How desperate are the straits of those propagandists in search of Scriptural proof for their position when they are forced to lay hold on a passage that refers exclusively to the World's High Priest, and use it to substantiate their unprovable claims of Society powers! Again, they refer to Rev. 14: 18 as another proof of these powers for the Society, saying that it teaches the same thing as Rev. 8: 3-5. If it does teach the same thing (which we deny) as Rev. 8: 3-5, it does not teach that the Society has these powers; for it would then explain actions and powers of the World's High Priest, and not those of a state-created business corporation. Hence neither of these passages refers to the Society. We repeat that a doctrine so important as the channel doctrine as applied to the Society must have a literal Scriptural passage to prove it; since they teach it as a matter of faith and practice; even as the Bible doctrine of the real channel for these things, our Pastor, has literal Scriptures to prove it. Hence, just as there is an utter lack of Bible proof, e.g., that the Pope has succeeded to St. Peter's Apostolic powers, so is there an utter lack of such proof of its kindred doctrine, that the Society has succeeded to that Servant's powers and privileges. The same necessity for any one having such powers does not exist now, after the reaping is finished, as existed for such powers as resided in that Servant while the reaping was going on. Such powers were necessary for the reaping period only. Hence our dear Pastor, since John's death the sole possessor of these powers this side the vail, passed
away shortly after the reaping was finished; and these powers, with his passing away, have logically and Scripturally ceased to be.
Moreover, the blundering course of the Society, since it became an independent and self-acting corporation, which it was not during that Servant's life, proves that it is not the channel for directing the work of God's priesthood. The ambitious course of its leaders was a gigantic blunder, as well as a great sin. Their course with the British affair, with the board, with Vol. VII, with "Harvest Siftings," with the 1918 election "campaign," with the military question, which brought about their imprisonment, with the "avoidthem" policy, etc., etc., etc., was marked with most stupid blunders. Surely God has more wisdom than to choose such a blundering channel for directing the work of His Priesthood! Its blunders alone unmistakably prove that the Lord is using it to attract a class with whom blundering is the natural and usual activity—the Great Company, the Epiphany Levites. Further, its many errors of interpretation prove that it is not sufficiently qualified to be the Lord's channel to His Priests to give them meat in due season. Even according to the admissions of its own supporters very many misinterpretations are given in Vol. VII and "The Tower." There are multitudes of misinterpretations in that book that the Society brethren do not yet see. There is scarcely anything properly taught in the book where it interprets things not explained by our Pastor. Additionally, when we consider the interpretational and doctrinal mistakes made in connection with Elijah and Elisha—with the end of the reaping—with the closing of the door—with the deliverance of the Church and with the destruction of Babylon (all of which were expected in 1918)—with the death of the firstborn of Egypt—with a majority vote as being invariably the Lord's will—with the Society as the channel—with the Penny parable—with
the seven years of plenty and famine, and with literally thousands of other items, we are forced to the conclusion that the Lord would not select as the channel for giving the meat in due season to His Priestly class a body so lacking in spiritual insight, and so given to unreasonable speculations and guesses boldly advanced as "meat in due season." In justification, they claim that "that Servant" made mistakes. It is true he did make a few; but in the forty-two (42) years that he taught the Church he did not make one hundredth the mistakes of interpretation that the present alleged channel has made. Here and there he altered a small detail in the great system of Truth that he gave through that long period of time. They will have to alter almost everything new that they have given out, since they assumed the office of "the channel." Moreover, he was almost always the one who discovered and corrected his mistakes, while they as a rule do not see theirs until they are pointed out to them by others, or fulfilled events disprove their views. We know of but two of their many forecasts (and one many a natural man forecast) to have been fulfilled, while his usually were fulfilled. He had, while they lack, that balance of mind and clearness of vision necessary to be the channel to give the meat to the household. Hence it is self-evident God would not choose them as such a channel (Lev. 21: 20; 2 Tim. 2: 15; 1 Tim. 3: 2; Tit. 1: 9).
The channel doctrine is wrong because it makes its adherents over-reverence a good institution, which has been put to bad uses, and therefore fail to scrutinize its teachings and policies with sufficient care to secure themselves from great blunders, wrong policies and consequent spiritual dangers (Ps. 146: 3). In justification they allege that it is the Lord's concern to keep the channel pure; and thus they fail to watch properly; and leave themselves open to accept rather unquestioningly and credulously what "the channel"
offers them. Such an attitude is tempting God (Matt. 4: 7), who guarantees no such thing, but disapproves of it by exhorting us to be sober and vigilant, and to prove all things (1 Pet. 5: 8, 9; 1 Thes. 5: 21; 1 John 4: 1). This course produces in its adherents a spirit similar to that of the members of the Catholic Church, a worshipping of messengers, a failure to test their teachings and a swallowing of error and a blind obedience. The channel doctrine is wrong, because it makes God's people subject to an institution to which they should not be subject (1 Cor. 7: 23). In practice this doctrine has made the bulk of the Society adherents as subject to it as the adherents of the papacy are to it. The same line of argument is used in each case; "to be out of harmony with the channel is to be out of harmony with the Lord." This thought has spread the spirit of fear among its adherents. They fear to get out of harmony with the Society lest they lose their crowns and opportunities of service and fellowship. Thus they fear properly to weigh its teachings and policies, thereby encouraging priestcraft. These considerations make them subject to a business corporation with a spirit of servile fear unbecoming to Priests of God.
Additionally this theory is responsible for the fact that since our Pastor's death the Society leaders both in print and orally, have been teaching, like many of the denominations regarding their systems, that the Society is not simply a business but a religious organization, which one "joins by consecration," something which "that Servant" did not teach, but consistently and Scripturally avoided. Such a teaching makes the Society an Antichrist with the Society officials as head and Society members as body, as J.F.R.'s second "new view" of Elijah and Elisha proves. This doctrine has made many of the Lord's people support policies and acts in violation of principle. There is no question but the matters of principle lying at the
root of the difficulties in the Society since our Pastor's death were not decided on the basis of Truth and Righteousness by the Society adherents, but on the basis of the thought of LOYALTY TO "THE PRESENT MANAGEMENT" as the controllers in the affairs of the Society. Hence those who stood for Truth, Righteousness and the Lord's arrangements given through "that Servant" were set aside, while those who with a high hand over-rode these were supported on the plea that they were "the channel," and that the Board's majority was not. A wide correspondence and many discussions with a large number of brethren who hold this channel doctrine prove that it is not so much principle as partisan loyalty to "the channel" that determines matters of faith and practice with the average channel adherent. This is gross sectarianism. Yea, it is precisely the course of Roman Catholics: that the papacy is to be supported, even if principle is violated; that it is not the business of the laity to do their thinking, nor to regulate their conduct on principle; but that it is their duty to stand by the papacy as the channel of the Lord!
These many considerations clearly prove that this channel doctrine is dangerous, unscriptural, unreasonable and unhistorical. For power to deceive God's people and to exalt priestcraft, for power to suppress Truth and Righteousness, and to exalt usurpers, for power to make God's people servile and uncharitable, and God's faithful servants seem deceivers and injurersfor such powers "the channel" doctrine is well adapted and has been much used.
We now proceed to expound, largely in our Pastor's language, the third and true view of the Society as a channel. We give the following lengthy excerpts from a booklet that he published in 1894, entitled "A Conspiracy Exposed" (pp. 55-62):
"The Society was formed in 1881, at the time of the free distribution of 1,400,000 copies of the pamphlet,
'Food For Thinking Christians'now out of print. It consisted of five of the Lord's children, and its affairs were entirely in my charge. Later, in 1884, … the Society applied for a charter … The object in taking out a charter is succinctly stated in 'The Watch Tower' for January, 1891, page 16, as follows: 'This is a Business Association merely. It was chartered as a corporation by The State of Pennsylvania, and authorized to hold or dispose of property, in its own name as though it were an individual. It has no creed or confession. It is merely a business convenience in disseminating the Truth. Anyone subscribing to one copy or more of the Society's quarterly, styled Old Theology Tracts (6c. a year), is considered an active member of this Societybut not a voting member. Any one subscribing for $10 worth or more of the O.T. Tracts, or any one donating $10 or more to the funds of the Society for the spread of the Truth, is a voting member, and is entitled to one vote for each $10 he or she may have donated. [Therefore one does not 'join the Society by Consecration.'] The affairs of the Society are so arranged that its entire control rests in the care of Brother and Sister Russell as long as they shall live. In fact, the only objects in having the corporation are: First, to provide a channel or fund [not therefore the channel to give meat in due season, nor to control the work] through which those who wish can employ their money talent, whether small or great, to better advantage for the spread of the Truth than if each interested one acted and published independently of the others. Secondly, the corporation was called for by reason of the uncertainty of the lives of those at present managing the fund. … The Society owns nothing, has nothing, pays no salaries, no rent or other expenses. Its policy is to use in the work every dollar received, to the best advantage, and as speedily as possible. … It will be seen from this and other mentions of the subject in 'The Watch Tower' that I have never intimated otherwise than that the management of the Tract Society would probably rest entirely in the hands of myself and Sister Russell so long as we live, as provided by the regulations of the charter—that the majority of voting shares elect the executive officers. … Having, up to Dec. 1, '93, thirty-seven hundred and five (3,705)
voting shares, out of a total of sixty-three hundred and eighty-three (6,383) voting shares, Sister Russell and myself, of course, elect the officers, and thus control the Society; and this was fully understood by the directors from the first. Their usefulness, it was understood, would come to the front in the event of our death. But, he assured, we shall take pleasure in sharing the responsibilities of the place we occupy with any one [not many] whose interest in the mission of the Tract Society shall by his donations to its funds relegate our voting shares to the place of a minority. And such a one would, no doubt, be well qualified to direct in the expenditures, etc. [This proves that 'that Servant' never expected that the Society during his lifetime would be controlled by any number or combination of individuals who might own more voting shares than he, but that he would be willing to share in the responsibility of his position with a single individual who would contribute more than he.] … In the foregoing extract from our issue of January, 1891 (which appeared in eight issues of 'The Tower' for 1891), we say, 'This Society owns nothing, has nothing, pays no salaries, etc.' Lest some should misunderstand this, we will explain. The Tower Pub. Co. (which in a financial way represents myself) owns the Bible House, buys the paper, pays for the printing, binding, electroplates, etc., and keeps a large stock of 'Dawns' and Tracts on hand and fills the orders of the Tract Society at any time, and at much lower prices than any worldly firm would charge for much poorer service. To do this requires that thousands of dollars lie idle continually, in electroplates, books, colporteurs' dues, tracts, etc.; and as a consequence the Tower Pub. Co. is now a borrower to the extent of over twenty thousand dollars (the interest on which is over $1,200.00 yearly), all of which, however, is amply secured by other property which I own. The Tract Society's funds are usually spent before received, as under the 'Good Hopes' plan we know about what to expect. It runs a yearly account with the Tower Pub. Co., paying over moneys as received and balancing the account at the close of the year. Is it asked why the Tract Society does not do its own publishing? We reply, because it has neither capital nor credit. No banks would want the Tract Society's note. There are two
ways in which it could do its own publishing: (1) By doing no work for a while, it could save up the yearly donations until it had a capital with which to purchase or rent a building, buy type, make electroplates, and pay in advance for paper, printing, binding, and have capital with which to give colporteurs some starting credit, etc.; but this surely would not be so advantageous a way as the present one. (2) I could make a donation to the Tract Society of a part or all of the Tower Pub. Co.'s outfit, and take that many more voting-shares. This I no doubt would have done had it not been for the greater caution of my esteemed helpmate, Sister Russell. Her advice was: That would be no real benefit to the work, and you may be sure that, if the Society really had any assets or property, some would soon begin to interfere with its management, or at least to try to. So long as we live we had best keep matters as they are, and at our death put the Tract Society and the Lord's work in general on the best possible footing, and in most consecrated hands we can find. I followed this advice rather reluctantly; but now, in the light of the slanders herein discussed, I see it to have been the very essence of wisdom."
From this lengthy quotation we see that the W.T.B. & T.S. was simply a "financial channel or fund" for the gifts of the Lord's people, i.e., a channel of financial cooperation whereby our Pastor, controlling everything, paid the bills that he made in directing the work of the general Church. Considerably after 1900 he made over to the Society all of his properties, his copyrights, etc., expressly stipulating with the directors that not only must he, during his life, control all the business and affairs of the Society, as well as the interests of all that he gave, but also by his will, charter, etc., dictate the Society's policies, etc., after his death. Consequently the Society was not during his life the instrumentality whereby the Harvest work was done. As for its place in the Lord's work since his death we would remark that neither the charter, nor the will, nor any of the writings of "that Servant" sets forth the Society as the channel of giving the
meat in due season to the household, nor of controlling the general work of the Church. They all unite in showing that it is intended to be an instrumentality helpful in carrying the Truth to those outside of the Truth, and additionally that "The Tower" editors, as mouthpieces of the Society, should be instruments of edification to Truth people—not however having "that Servant's" power of being the Lord's special mouth, eye and hand, without whose sanction and direction no new truth was to be given to the Church by others, and through whose instrumentality all new truths were first presented to the Church. Consequently the Divinely intended powers of the Society lack totally the two special functions of that Servant's office. In using that Servant to form the Society the Lord did not reveal to him exactly what the uses of this corporation in the Lord's work after his death would be, it not being then due to be understood, as its understanding would have interfered with the trial whereby the Lord was pleased to separate the antitypical Elijah and Elisha. (See Chap. II, Vol. III.) The Lord has since shown us this; hence we now see that the Society is the antitype of one of the wagons, chariots, used by the Merarite Levites (Num. 7: 3-8; Ps. 46: 9) to help them perform their service in connection with the tabernacle (Num. 3: 36, 37; 4: 31-33). It will be noticed that God gave the priests no chariots for their work. Therefore antitypical Priests should not be identified with any organization for the performance of their service apart from the Church as an organization. Nor should they accept any organization as their teacher, or executive, or manager, much less as the controller, of their work.
We are all familiar with our Pastor's teachings that in the end of the Age the Great Company as such would, as antitypical Levites, be revealed apart from the Priests (Mal. 3: 2, 3; 1 Cor. 3: 11-15; Z 1916, p. 264, par. 1). As such some of them are antitypes
of the Merarite Levites; and thus have four symbolic wagons, chariots, organizations, to assist them in their work. We understand that three of these symbolic wagons, chariots, are the following organizations (1) The W.T.B. & T.S., (2) the P.P.A. (The People's Pulpit Association) and (3) the I.B.S.A. it seems that the Mahlite Merarites (Num. 3: 20, 33) type those members of the Great Company who partisanly support the clericalistic leaders of the Society. These, accordingly, have three of the four symbolic chariots of the antitypical Merarite Levites, the fourth being in the possession of the Mushite branch of the antitypical Merarites, Elijah-Voicists. Hence we understand that the W.T.B. & T.S. is a Divinely arranged channel for doing the work that certain members of the Great Company have to do in connection with the antitypical Tabernacle, the true Church; that its work is not to give the meat in due season to the Priests, nor to direct their work; but it is to assist the Priests by bearing the antitypical boards, pillars, posts, etc. (Num. 3: 36, 37, etc.); to labor for their Great Company brethren, i.e., to edify those of them who are in the Truth; to reach with the Truth those of them who are yet in Babylon; to help the Youthful Worthies; and to give the world a testimony of the coming Kingdom, as well as to reprove it for sin, righteousness and judgment to come. As long as the Mahlite Merarites limit themselves to these activities, their Society will be honored by the Lord as a channel for such services; but He will, as in the past He has done, oppose their organizations in their interfering with the work of the Little Flock. The Lord bless them in their Divinely appointed service, a Levitical service; for in such a service the Society is [was, is so no longer since 1920] a channel of the Lord!
At the annual shareholders' meeting in Pittsburgh, Jan. 3, 1920, the Lord's will on Society arrangements, as expressed in the Charter was in a number of ways
violated. We wish that the shareholders had voted the directors in, not for three years and ten months only, but for life, subject to removal at any time by two thirds vote of the shareholders, as the Charter provides. At any rate what they did as to the directors was a partial recognition of the wisdom of the Charter in providing that directors hold office for life, subject to removal by two-thirds vote of the shareholders, and the unwisdom of an annual election of directors, which has given opportunity for "politics." What was done also demonstrates the insincerity of the plea made during 1917 that there were vacancies on the board, because directors must be elected annually! No honest lawyer who knows the law on the subject would say that there were vacancies in the Directorate for years up to July 17, 1917.
The passing of by-laws changing the term of the Society's officers, directors and the time of annual meetings is certainly illegal; and such by-laws are null and void for the simple reason that when the state grants a corporation a charter, it empowers the corporation to act along those lines alone which are laid down in the charter. A by-law that changes a provision of a charter is in reality an amendment of that charter; and only the state granting it can amend it. Hence the by-laws passed at the shareholders' meeting, Jan. 3, 1920, are entirely null and void, even if the directors, who alone have the right to make by-laws for the Society, later passed them; even as a by-law passed by J.F.R.'s Board in Oct. 1917, making the share holders' certificates forfeitable, is null and void; because the Charter makes such certificates "non-forfeitable." If to change the title of the Society by omitting the word "Zion" from and by adding the words "Bible and" to the Society's original name required a special decree of the Court in 1896, when the change was made; much more would this be required, when the powers that the state grants in and by the
Charter are changed. An opinion of lawyers, who usually for filthy lucre say what their clients want, does not have the necessary authority to make such changes, which require a court decree. No honest lawyer who knows the law on the subject would say that shareholders or directors can legally pass binding bylaws that change the state-granted, state-sanctioned and state-limited provisions of the charter. The only legal way that this can be done is to appeal to the state courts to change the provisions of the Charter. But to make such an appeal would be Revolutionism, the Sixth Slaughter Weapon, as what was done Jan. 3, 1920, was also Revolutionism. This action of the Shareholders, therefore, is another example of disobedience to the Lord's arrangements as given in the Charter, and will surely prove a hindrance to success in service. When will we learn the lesson not to rebel against, but to keep the Lord's arrangements (Ps. 107: 11)?
It will be recalled that, while writing in our Dec., 1919 issue on the Golden-Age Revolutionism, we announced that fit-man experiences would surely follow such a pointblank violation of the Will. Seemingly before arousing the fit man to act the Lord waited for the next outbreak of Revolutionism, that which occurred at the shareholders' meeting, Jan. 3, 1920, against a number of the Charter's provision; for ten days thereafter the Government announced that it would reopen the case against the Society leaders, whom we pity, but who apparently have not learned the lesson that their former fit-man experience should have taught them.
For the profit of our Society brethren we take this occasion to tell them of an incident that was brought to our attention in Sep., 1917. An unconsecrated Truth friend learning early in August of the ousting of the four directors, at his own initiative and without the knowledge of any of the Truth people, wrote to an
old-time friend of his, the then Assistant Attorney-General of Pennsylvania, asking if J.F.R.'s course of ousting the directors was right. First, in a short opinion this Official replied that J.F.R.'s course was neither morally nor legally right. Later, angered at J.F.R.'s usurpation, as he continued to consider it, the same Official wrote out for his friend a lengthy opinion with numerous citations of legal authorities as proofs to the same effect. Further, he claimed that J.F.R.'s course was an offense against the State of Pennsylvania, which granted the Charter. This official then told his old-time friend that he was going to institute proceedings to annul the Society's Charter; but at the earnest entreaty of his Truth friend, who, as a condition precedent to telling us the incident, committed us to confidence as to his identity, that Official desisted from his purpose. Our object in telling this incident is not to threaten, but to apprise our Society brethren (who, deceived as greatly as they have been, are yet seeking to be loyal to the Teachings, Arrangements, Charter and Will that the Lord gave through that Servant) of the disastrous results that violations of the Charter are likely to bring. These violations are liable to lead to disannulling of the W.T.B. & T.S.! While the power-grasping course of J.F.R. and the group that under him are controlling the Society, moves us to believe that they would not regret such an event, we feel sure that the bulk of the Society brethren would feel it one of the worst imaginable calamities. Hence to safeguard these brethren against such a disaster, we have written this article, and have told this incident. The Priests, whether in or out of the Society, we earnestly exhort to resist to the end the by-laws revolutionism, and thus co-operate with our Head in leading Azazel's Goat to the door of the Tabernacle. It is His, and not our part in the High Priest's work to see that the fit man lays hold of Azazel's Goat for its repeated and unfavorable
experiences at his hand. And He will do this out of love for them, as moral suasion and previous fit-man sufferings seemingly have been insufficient to work in them that "godly sorrow that worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of."
The April 1, 1920, Tower contains an article entitled, Let Us Dwell In Peace. This exhortation all of the Lord's people, subordinately to purity (Jas. 3: 17), should strive to practice. We have decided to discuss in a kindly spirit and plain manner the said article, and to point out the only solution for real peace and unity among the Lord's people. Nobody strove in harmony with Truth and Righteousness harder than we to prevent in 1917 the rupture of peace and unity; and we trust not to be behind others now in 1920 in seeking to restore a peace and unity in harmony with Truth and Righteousness. May the Lord give all of us as His people the necessary help through His Spirit, Word and Providence to seek a Divinely pleasing peace and unity! The article tells us of some British brethren and the Society's president corresponding on certain propositions involving the relation of the W.T.B. & T.S. and the Church. We note that the article without mentioning The Present Truth replies to its views on various subjects, some directly, others not directly involved in the propositions of the article. As in the case of the Tower's articles: Blessed are the Fearless that told of Elijah becoming Elisha, and those which are entitled, Worthies, Ancient and Modern, and Justification, so this article seems not to be aiming at any one; but from our knowledge of J.F.R.'s "tactfulness" we are satisfied that he, its writer, had our views in mind in all four articles above referred to. We are the recipient of accurate information on Society conditions, and are well aware that our views are arousing against J.F.R.'s teaching and practices many brethren in the Society. Hence the article, "Let Us Dwell In Peace,"