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  1. Did Malachi Have Teenagers? - a Russian Thread

    Excellent point, by the way, although "Western" here would mean mostly the meddling by Germany. (Which is why some Russians still say they lost to the losers when referring to Finland, Ukraine, etc.)
  2. Did Malachi Have Teenagers? - a Russian Thread

    Sorry to change the subject, but just can't pass up a chance to name-drop. I know John Taylor Gatto very well, and we even stayed in his apartment in Alicante, Spain for 5 weeks, jumping off to Ibiza and Mallorca for part of the time. My wife worked in a special experimental school in NYC with him (Lincoln Academy), a wonderful experience for her and all of the others there, too, especially the students. I wrote my first AI program for an Apple II computer for this school, which was a 'fake news' detector for learning journalism. It actually allowed kids to "gossip" about each other (within limits, of course), but internally produced a percentage likelihood that the gossip was true, based on: The weight/relevance given to a person who initiated an item of "gossip" The weight/relevance given to a second witness who independently initiated the same piece of gossip The lower (but nevertheless additional) weight/relevance given to a random student who agreed with a certain piece of gossip The weight/relevance given to a denial by the the person about whom the gossip had been initiated The weight/relevance given to a denial and/or 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down' by the editor-in-cheif, aka the classroom teacher With some settings, not even the teacher could completely override the chance that a piece of gossip was "true." In many school environments such a program would be used by students to shame and embarrass other students who they might not like. (Which is either too dangerous, or requires constant monitoring by a teacher.) But kids at this school loved these kinds of things and didn't want to lose access by abusing them. John Gatto is still a writer, speaker and consultant. He even wrote some of those old semi-anonymous "Monarch Notes"/"Cliff Notes" which allow students to "cheat" by only reading the summaries and overview discussions of famous works of literature. Most of his politics are abysmally wrong-headed, imo, but he's willing to think completely "outside the box" to make his point. He hates the Board of Education, for most of the right reasons, and would revamp the entire U.S. Department of Education. The school mentioned above, was started by another one of our friends who still sets up these experimental schools in California now. The success of these schools essentially proved Gatto's point by producing highly qualified students without any concern for test-taking.
  3. Coincidence or Correlation?

    Thanks. And sorry to make you repeat yourself. You have said a lot of these things before. And, of course, I have my own way of dealing with the WTS historical problems. Just as Israel went through experiences they could learn from, I think the association of Witnesses can learn from these experiences, too. In the spirit of love and forgiveness we should not rehash this history except in the context of a loving, but stern reminder, when we see a dangerous signal that some similar experience awaits us again if we haven't learned from past mistakes. It's easy to understand why someone would leave the 'organization' and say it's not for them, and they might go so far as to tell others to stay away. And some take it to a further extreme and say it's a den of false prophets and a lurking place of demons and hated birds, etc. But I don't expect any of those persons to also say that every member of the anointed remnant will be found passing through such a "despised" organization at one time or another. It makes a paradox out of the message that everyone should "get out of her" if it's also a place that all the anointed must pass through. What if your preaching keeps an anointed person from ever going through Satan's "test" organization in the first place? It's also a problematic theory, from your perspective I'd think, for those who are born into the organisation, and who leave before their anointing is sure.
  4. Cop Stop

    You are probably white right. But there was a case about two years ago where the officer finally admitted to harassing an African-American driver because he thought he saw that the man had made eye contact with him before making a turn, and this made him suspicious. Although the driver was going under the speed limit and used his turn signal well in advance of the turn, the officer claimed that the turn signal was not turned on at least 200 feet before the turn was made. We know a (white) Witness who was former police officer in Los Angeles, under the direction of Police Chief Gates, who claims that Gates' unwritten instructions were to 'harass every black man in your precinct until they were all in the system for something.'
  5. You only consider 25% of Witnesses today to be your spiritual brothers? A bit harsh, no?
  6. Coincidence or Correlation?

    There is no included "assimilate" definition. "Influence" and "assimilate" are two different words, according to your own dictionary evidence. (And according to common sense, too, for that matter.) What you did there is sometimes called "moving the goal posts." When you see that you are losing, you just change the goal. So now you are again resorting to the very powerful Pee-Wee Herman-esque argument: "I know you are but what am I?" (see I know you are but what am I - YouTube) You keep twisting and flailing because you want to change the topic from "influence" to "direct influence" then to "direct, positive influence" then to "assimilate." To me, this is an indication that you only wanted to win an argument, no matter what it cost you in terms of your credibility. You didn't care whether you kept it honest. In your typical blame-shifting fashion you do exactly what you try to blame on others. Notice what you yourself said a few posts back: As I said before, you have often proven yourself to be merely contentious, divisive, sniping, etc. As I said a few posts back: However, I don't mind at all having a conversation with you or anyone who can add value to a discussion. You are obviously capable of adding a lot of value to any discussion about Russell and other Bible Students. It's possible that no one here knows as much about the Bible Students as you do. Most of the Bible Student material that I have read came through the Watch Tower Society, and only a couple of additional sources (the Brothers Edgar, and some "Herald of the Morning" issues by Barbour, etc.). But most of what I read was back in 1976-1982 while researching at Bethel. I took a lot of notes, but I've forgotten a lot. Also, I was mostly looking for specific things that would be useful for quoting, which means I know I must have missed quite a few things, too. I love the discussions. I'm just trying to keep them honest.
  7. Coincidence or Correlation?

    It seems that I believe Russell was influenced by Adventists ex-Adventists and others, and you believe he wasn't. I don't think we can get much further in the discussion because you don't seem willing to accept your own dictionary definition. It turns this whole discussion into a semantic game for you instead of a search for the truth, in my opinion. The definition of "influence" that you yourself offered from a dictionary source, included concepts like: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. You included synonyms like: "effect," "guidance," "direction" "have an impact on" "sway" and "put ideas into one's head." Every one of these items shows up in Russell's own discussions of what happened between himself and Wendell, Storrs and Barbour for instance. I grant you that Russell was very careful not to admit dependence on anyone else during almost all his recountings of his own early history. Note this piece of the July 15, 1906 Watch Tower: Among other theories, I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, where I had heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches. There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists, the preacher being Mr. Jonas Wendell, long since deceased. Thus, I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations. Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked. What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading; for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the Truth." It's better, as you say, to read more of the relevant Bible Student literature, to see what Russell was saying especially during times that he wanted to distinguish himself as independent from Barbour, and again, especially after he began cultivating the idea that he was personally and individually the only person on earth who held the office of the "faithful and discreet slave." Russell's wording of his own history is itself influenced by his goals. In "Separate Identity," p. 136, B. W. Schulz reads the information about Storrs to mean the that the Russells relied heavily on him: The Russells and their associates relied heavily on Storrs: “The Lord gave us many helps in the study of His word, among whom stood prominently, our dearly beloved and aged brother, George Storrs, who, both by word and pen, gave us much assistance; Schulz, as you know, speaks often of the various people who influenced Russell. It's obvious too that, just as Grew influenced Storrs (ex-Millerite Adventist), that Joseph Seiss influenced many Adventists. Seiss' influence on Russell is well documented by Russell himself. Paton was also a very influential Bible Student before he became friends with Russell and a contributor to the Watch Tower until 1881. And then, of course, we have the Watchtower publications, which I'm sure you have seen: The October 15, 2000 Watchtower, p.31, includes beliefs of Henry Grew and George Storrs, for example: ------begin quote from https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2000766#h=50 ------------ What Henry Grew Believed Jehovah’s name has been reproached, and it needs to be sanctified. The Trinity, immortality of the soul, and hellfire are fraudulent doctrines. The Christian congregation must be separate from the world. Christians should have no part in wars of the nations. Christians are not under a Saturday or Sunday Sabbath law. Christians should not belong to secret societies, such as the Freemasons. There are to be no clergy and laity classes among Christians. Religious titles are from the antichrist. All congregations are to have a body of elders. Elders must be holy in all their conduct, above reproach. All Christians must preach the good news. There will be people living forever in Paradise on earth. Christian song should be praises to Jehovah and Christ. What George Storrs Believed Jesus paid his life as the ransom price for mankind. The preaching of the good news has not yet been done (in 1871). Because of that, the end could not be near at that time (in 1871). There would have to be a future age in which the preaching would be done. There will be people who inherit everlasting life on earth. There is to be a resurrection of all who died in ignorance. Those accepting the ransom sacrifice of Christ will receive eternal life on earth. Those rejecting it will be destroyed. Immortality of the soul and hellfire are false doctrines that dishonor God. The Lord’s Evening Meal is an annual observance on Nisan 14. -------------end of quote from jw.org---------------- And, of course, the "Proclaimers" book, includes the following wording on page 45: But did Russell and his spiritually-minded associates gain these truths from the Bible unaided by others? Influence of Others Russell referred quite openly to the assistance in Bible study he had received from others. Not only did he acknowledge his indebtedness to Second Adventist Jonas Wendell but he also spoke with affection about two other individuals who had aided him in Bible study. . . . . One, George W. Stetson, was an earnest student of the Bible and pastor of the Advent Christian Church in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. The other, George Storrs, . . . Without a doubt, Storrs’ strong Bible-based views on the mortality of the soul as well as the atonement and restitution (restoration of what was lost due to Adamic sin; Acts 3:21) had a strong, positive influence on young Charles T. Russell. Yet, another man who had a profound effect on Russell’s life also caused his loyalty to Scriptural truth to be put to the test. Have you written to the Watchtower Society to tell them they are wrong to use the word "influence" here?
  8. Coincidence or Correlation?

    It's not a deflection when I can provide evidence. It's deflection when you make an empty assertion without evidence. It shouldn't surprise you to see some of your typical methods and claims be challenged. I see no reason to let you get away with empty claims all the time. Most of the time, yes, I'm sure you can get away with it. Just because I've let hundreds of these bickering, sniping, divisive, contentious, snide remarks go unchallenged, it doesn't mean it should always be so. Now and then you should expect false or empty claims to be exposed for what they are. True. That's exactly what I was complaining about. You are giving a meaningless meaning to the word "influence" because you don't like the idea that Russell could have been influenced by anything except "to fully understand scripture . . . by his own understanding." Although this would surely sound ridiculous to anyone who reads all of Russell's publications, that's how you put it: [emphasis mine] Russell clearly admitted that he was influenced by others, especially in the area of Biblical Chronology. Are you saying he was lying? And because you claim an awareness of all he wrote, I'm sure I don't have to point out the references for you. That is a completely illogical non sequitur, bordering on word salad. Another non sequitur. What does it matter how great you might think the University of Cambridge is? You showed a couple of book covers. If you had looked inside you would have seen that one was irrelevant and one provided multiple ways to understand how Russell had been influenced by others. Actually, you're the one who found the good definition. The dictionary definition. I'm not arrogant for accepting the dictionary definition. You're the one who doesn't utilize the very definition you provided. Indeed. Sounds arrogant. Just sayin'. That sounds good. The only problem is that when you simply present the facts straightforward, you often pick facts that are irrelevant to the topic. What Russell thought of Miller for example and what he thought Miller did wrong, was lifted nearly verbatim from Barbour's words about Barbour's own "epiphany" of sorts when he figured out what Miller had done wrong with the starting dates. You really thought that Russell came up with this by "his own understanding of Bible Chronology"? And what would be the point of such a claim? You are saying that, on his own, Russell came up with exactly the same foolishness that Barbour came up with, which the Watchtower has now dropped completely as false doctrine. Russell claims that initially he didn't understand the chronology issues, he even expressed some disdain for them, and rejection of them. But after spending some time, especially with Barbour, he was convinced that he should join Barbour's campaign to announce the great events of 1878. He ended up accepting all of Barbour's false doctrines about 1874 and 1878 which were based on Barbour's starting dates for the 1260, 1290, 1335, etc. You are claiming that Russell came up with Barbour's exact same false doctrine with no influence from Barbour? It's not possible to make such a claim without manipulating the meaning of the word "influence." I have no need of a cheering section. This is why I don't create any alternate accounts. I think you have created about a dozen alternate accounts that you have utilized in order to provide a voting bloc that up-votes your own posts to cheer them on. And you have also used your alternate accounts to down-vote or laugh at posts with evidence you aren't able to respond to. So who's the one who apparently thinks you need a cheering section? I'm not concerned here with some of the ways in which he was not influenced. We already covered the idea that many people think Russell was influenced in more ways than he actually was. I'm still stating the obvious, by Russell's own admissions, that there were ways in which he was influenced. Two of the topics that have come up here, for example, are teachings about the "Great Pyramid of Giza" and it's relationship to the chronology teachings Russell got from Barbour. Those are a couple of the more obvious examples, although there is evidence for a couple others, too. I'm not going to worry about what other people are doing, unless they'd like to come to the forum and ask. I know who Barbara Anderson is, of course, but I haven't read what she says about "influence." (I notice that you also mentioned a Commodus in an earlier post. I have no idea who this is.) I am not here concerned about influences among and between Storrs, Grew, and competing religious ideologies or phrenology reports. I noticed that what you quoted directly followed from Storr's phrenology report. Phrenology, of course, is based on the conclusions of an "expert" (usually a racist) who feels the bumps on your skull, especially around the brain area: A Phrenological description of Mr. Storrs, given in 1849, may conclude this account of the author of the Six Sermons. It is as follows: [And what followed was the report that you just quoted!] Was Russell influenced by this debunked and false teaching about phrenology because Storrs evidently believed in it? Note this about Russell, based on Russell's visitation with His Majesty's Phrenologist, Professor Dall: I have much pleasure in giving a sketch of the genial and fatherly head and physiognomy of Pastor Russell. He is just one of those men whose appearance, suavity, wit, goodness of heart and soundness of head do credit to his profession. Well up in years, he has a youthful, kindly, and sympathetic nature, fatherly and benign in counsel, moral and spiritual in his influence. In religion his "doxy" is broadened by the effulgent light of Bible study. His temperamental development is very even. If there is a predominance of either, it is found in the motive, which supports an intense energy of mind that cannot dream life away, but must be practical. I find the head of Pastor Russell to be a large one, and the brain gifted with an uncommon degree of activity. A full basilar region is accompanied by the powerful endowment of the moral, intellectual, and spiritual natures. ... Did Russell decide on his own that this false teaching about reading the bumps on one's head was worthwhile? Is it possible that others influenced Russell to believe that phrenology was useful?
  9. Coincidence or Correlation?

    I'll start with the conclusion of your post. I looked over the two books. Both books can easily be found in their entirety although possibly copyright-infringed, so I won't share the links. I have access to one of the complete books through a college library account. And both books are previewed in Google Books. So, after looking them over, I don't make assumptions with your writing, that it is somehow in agreement with what I am saying. However, these books that look scholarly and have the word "influence" in the title are very much in agreement with what I am saying. And they are very much in disagreement with how you are evidently trying to twist the meaning of the word "influence." This shouldn't have surprised anyone. You've tried this dozens of time with me, and rarely have you ever responded to an argument with a book cover where the conent of the book actually supported your theories. (Even when you sometimes have pulled long quotes from the books, those quotes have often hurt your argument.) So I can see why you might be concerned with the exposure of "trickery." But the books don't matter. It turns out that just because they both had the word "influence" in the title, that neither book has much relationship to this context . The dictionary definitions you supplied, on the other hand, are exactly in line with the correct usage of the word "influence." And yes, unfortunately, it completely demolishes your theory, because none of the definitions would allow you to avoid the obvious -- that Russell was "influenced" by Second Adventists. But you did go to a lot of trouble to respond, and I appreciate that, even though your claim suggests one thing and the only evidence you have provided indicates that your claim is wrong. This suggests that you might have had some other prejudicial reason to avoid the word "influence" with respect to Russell. I think that this might be the best place to start, then, in order to understand what you are trying to say. In other words, the new question, is as follows: Why would anyone provide evidence that Russell was influenced by Second Adventists while at the same time claiming he was not influenced by Second Adventists? This is just a guess, but my theory is that you won't realize the cognitive dissonance due to the strength of your overriding belief that Russell was somehow too good to be influenced by ideas and people who turned out to be wrong. You evidently hold to an ideology that Russell was above influence by anything or anyone that could be wrong or false. And you do give several evidences from your own words that this is your belief. Just as no one would ever say that Jesus was "influenced" by any man or group of men, you also can't abide an ideology that Russell could have been influenced by Second Adventists. Since this appeared to be the same reasoning behind previous attempts that you have made, you can probably see why I went to the trouble of discussing the dangers of creature worship, personality cults, false claims, and historical revisionism that invariably results from elevating the status of a man as if he were some kind of "prophetic figure." Note the implication of the references here on jw.org: [emphasis mine] https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102014241 Who, though, was the other “messenger,” the first one mentioned at Malachi 3:1? This prophetic figure would be on the scene well before the Messianic King’s presence. In the decades before 1914, did anyone “clear up a way” before the Messianic King? . . . . Those taking the lead among them—Charles T. Russell and his close associates—did, indeed, act as the foretold “messenger” . . . . Can you name one of the other persons "in the decades before 1914" (i.e. prior to 1895) who would have to be included in that "prophetic figure"? Anyone?
  10. Coincidence or Correlation?

    You must think you defined what "influence" really is, in the post that starts out: I can't see it in that post or anywhere else in your previous comments. Perhaps others can see it. If you can create a sentence or two, or even a single paragraph that defines what meaning you are giving to the word "influence" then perhaps this would help, especially if no one else can see it either. Of course, if you can't produce a definition of the word, then you might find that this is the reason that you think Russell wasn't influenced as stated. Of course, it's always easy to claim anything you want if you think you can arbitrarily change the meaning of words to whatever you prefer them to mean. Perhaps that explains why you have made multiple previous claims in this thread that seem absolutely absurd when compared with the evidence. Perhaps these claims aren't absurd to you because you have redefined the terms so that dictionaries and language don't matter to you?
  11. Coincidence or Correlation?

    Can you give an example of what initial truth is presented by the organization which you call "bait"? It just seems to me that if there is sufficient initial truth to bring in the anointed ones, then why are you treating this organization as something that everyone should leave? I'm sure it's clear to you, so I'm not asking for further clarification. It's just that I have trouble with the concept of an organization set up by Satan I guess, that all the anointed remnant appear to be required to get trapped into, which makes it part of Jehovah's plan for all the anointed to get baited into it. It's like you are saying that there is this "bad" thing out there that all the holy saints must participate in.
  12. Coincidence or Correlation?

    Done! Sorry, it's just as clear to me as before. So I must be missing something. Are you willing to provide a definition of the concept that you think should be applied to Russell? If you are serious, you should be able to do this.
  13. Coincidence or Correlation?

    I wasn't stating it that way to complain that I had corrected you before. After all, no matter how strongly worded anything comes out in a discussion, these are all just our opinions. What I was saying was that when I gave my previous opinion, I was stating that Russell absolutely did not get the date 1914 from the pyramid. The reason I revisited the topic was that I didn't provide much evidence for my opinion that last time. It was just an assertion, mostly. This time I wanted to offer some of the evidence for that position, but also to soften it somewhat by noting that there could have been a little more to Russell's thinking than what shows up in the usual evidence. That's why I wanted to bring Seiss's influence back into it, because we can't know for sure how much Seiss influenced Russell to solidify his view of 1914. Of course, it was possible to see a number extending out past 1874 in Seiss's charts, but for a while Russell still used the pyramid only to point to 1874, not 1914. You can see this from the link already mentioned above: https://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/davinci-freemason.php Thy Kingdom Come p.342 1891 Edition Thy Kingdom Come p.342 1911 Edition "We find it to be 3416 inches, symbolizing 3416 years from the above date, B. C. 1542. This calculation shows A.D. 1874 as marking the beginning of the period of trouble; for 1542 years B.C. plus 1874 years A.D. equals 3416 years. Thus the Pyramid witnesses that the close of 1874 was the chronological beginning of the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation-no, nor ever shall be afterward." "We find it to be 3457 inches, symbolizing 3457 years from the above date, B. C. 1542. This calculation shows A.D. 1915 as marking the beginning of the period of trouble; for 1542 years B.C. plus 1915 years A.D. equals 3457 years. Thus the Pyramid witnesses that the close of 1914 will be the beginning of the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation-no, nor ever shall be afterward."
  14. Coincidence or Correlation?

    LOL! What is a "Nebuchadnezzar IV member of the Watchtower"? It's a good point that a lot of JWs and non-JWs alike just sort of assume that Russell was under the complete influence of Second Adventists, or they even assume that all of Russell's close associates were Second Adventists. I think several of the major influences on Russell came throught the writings of Joseph A Seiss, who was not a Second Adventist, nor were several of the other people who clearly influenced Russell. Russell himself had never been a Second Adventist either. He understood that there was a lot of shame among Second Adventists (especially because of the "great disappointment" of 1843 and 1844). Russell spoke about that shame. He did not want to be associated with it and sometimes spoke of his disdain of their chronology. Yet, in spite of his progress in some doctrinal areas that progressed beyond the doctrines of Second Adventists, he never totally gave up on their chronology. Whenever there is a tendency to elevate a man for the purpose of elevating a religion or a body of men who claim to be his "legacy," there will likely be: "creature worship," a personality cult, cover-ups, false claims by the contemporary followers, false claims and presumptuous behavior by the leader himself, and dishonest historical revisionism by later followers. To avoid this dangerous and unscriptural tendency, an honest assessment of the man himself should be promoted. To the extent that a man is elevated above what faithfulness and discretion would call for, it's a good thing when people tell the unvarnished truth about the man himself. This is no doubt why we know the unvarnished truth about the guilt of King David: a murderer, adulterer, and a man whose actions resulted in the unnecessary deaths of thousands of his own people. If someone knows that Russell was dishonest at times, or manipulative, or haughty, or egotistical or unfaithful, then this would normally not be important, since love covers a multitude of sins. But if he is being promoted as the primary fulfillment of a Bible prophecy such as the "angel to Laodicea" or "the messenger" of Malachi 3:1, then it becomes proper to consider the Bible's priority here: (Romans 2:29-3:4) . . .That person’s praise comes from God, not from people. . . . 3 What, then, is the case? If some lacked faith, will their lack of faith invalidate the faithfulness of God? 4 Certainly not! But let God be found true, even if every man be found a liar. . . Rather than a smearing campaign, I would recommend a historical honesty campaign. It's false, in my opinion, to take it that far. Russell was highly influenced by Adventism, just as he was also highly influenced by persons who were not Adventists. But there were more Adventists among his formative associates than non-Adventists. His own views adjusted somewhat over time, too, which creates a complexity here. Also, Russell wasn't completely honest about his own avoidance of Adventism. It was apparently wishful thinking on Russell's part that he would differentiate himself far enough from the shame of Second Adventism. It's also my opinion that even careful historians like, B. W. Schulz, have gone too far in positioning Russell's doctrinal eclecticism as far away from Adventism as possible. I think it's partly in order to hold a more unique contrary position that Schulz emphasizes the differences instead of the similarities. Pre-1876, and post-1909, one could argue with some good evidence that Russell held more non-Adventist positions than Adventist ones. But he continued to give great importance to the teachings that were most influenced by Adventists, until his death. Also, from 1877 to nearly 1909 he was constantly working through (and sometimes out of) these Adventist influences.
  15. Did Malachi Have Teenagers? - a Russian Thread

    It's far from the same story, but several elements of that story can be found in Isaac Bashevis Singer's: "A Friend of Kafka" Try page 277-286 here: https://books.google.com/books?id=B0_ws1gwux8C It's not the only story where he speaks of playing chess with Fate (or God) or uses similar analogies. He has written about 200 stories and I have only read about 10 of them. Elsewhere, I guess, he (or another person) could have boiled down that theme into the comedic scene you referenced.