Pamphlets by Christian Leaders Exposing Charles Taze Russell during His Lifetime, Part 2b
We will explore the libel suit Russell brought against Rev. Ross, plus more suits Russell brought against others, which will give us much insight into Russell the man from his contemporaries, including his wife, and from portions of the transcripts of his testimony during his lifetime. You will find a link below to download Ross’ later pamphlet which includes the information we’ll share below.
We shared some of the contents of a pamphlet by Charles Cyrus Cook in Part 1.
We then covered the introduction to a second pamphlet written by Rev. J. J. Ross, “Some Facts and More Facts about the Self-Styled ‘Pastor’ Charles T. Russell.” Rev. Ross had written a pamphlet more simply entitled “Some Facts about the Self-Styled ‘Pastor’ Charles T. Russell,” which is the introduction, that caused Russell to sue Ross for libel and defamation in Part 2a.
Charles Taze Russell’s Libel Suit against Rev. Ross
This is covered in pages 8-45. Russell “issued a summons against me [Rev. Ross] charging me with criminal, defamatory libel” (p. 9). The case came before a magistrate in late 1912 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Because of a ruling, Russell had to again travel to Hamilton to issue a second summons and this finally came before the court in early 1913, but Russell was not present. It was determined that the case could continue in his absence. (p. 9)
The first hurtle Ross faced was the absence of Russell. While Russell had been present at his case against The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper for damages in the amount of $100,000, he refused to take the stand which would have put him available for cross examination. Russell lost this case.
Ross’ attorney wrote a letter requesting Russell’s presence. The reply was that he was “had left the United States” and the date of his return was unknown. (p. 9) So Rev. Ross wrote Russell a personal letter, reproduced on pp. 11-13, urging him to be present. The proceedings had been delayed while his presence was sought. Ross even offered to pay his round trip fare from Brooklyn. Russell did not reply until he was ordered to present himself for cross examination.
Russell traveled to Hamilton, Ontario, and took the stand for nearly five hours. He immediately returned to Brooklyn and wrote Ross a letter urging him to apologize and then Russell would drop the suit. Russell had already extracted an apology from W. R. Bradlaugh, editor of “The Christian’s Armoury in London (although he continued to dog Russell with exposés) and from the editor of “The Megaphone,” an American church paper. However, Ross was having none of it, and said no in the polite, long-winded manner of the early 20th century. (p. 15)
In March of 1913, with Russell’s five hours of previous testimony, the jury found no grounds for libel. One of the witnesses prepared to take the stand was Russell’s ex-wife. She had successfully fought him in court for five years over alimony, finally winning increased alimony and had all costs levied to him. (pp. 15-16)
“Russell before the Courts”
This section includes various times Russell found himself being cross examined. Rev. Ross researched the cases and includes some restating of primary materials. We will simply whet your appetite:
Charles Taze Russell vs. Rev. J. J. Ross, libel and defamation, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (pp. 17-20)
- Admitted to attending school for about 7 years, leaving at age 14
- Did not know the Greek alphabet after testifying that knew Greek, then admitted he did not know it
- Did not know Latin or Hebrew
- Claimed to have been ordained and was finally made to admit that he was not
Charles Taze Russell vs. Mrs. Russell, payment of alimony, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (pp. 20-31)
- Mrs. Russell divorced him because he had made life intolerable for her, “his ‘conceit,’ ‘egoism’ and ‘domination.'”
- Mrs. Russell had to petition the court for payment of alimony because Russell had transferred many of his holdings so as to defraud her of the correct amount of alimony.
- Russell then tried fleeing from one state to another.
- Five pages of quoted testimony regarding Russell’s marital improprieties
Charles Taze Russell vs. Brooklyn Eagle, damages of $100,000 for libel, Brooklyn, New York (pp. 31-37)
- Several financial frauds exposed
- Russell owned so many shares of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, with previous entity names, that he was fully in control and was always president.
- Claimed to be many times a millionaire, yet Ross couldn’t find a cent in his name (p. 37)
Rev. Ross states, “He [Russell] claims that he is the only one who has the proper understanding of the Scriptures, and condemns, without exception, the translators of the Bible and all ministers as untrue and deceitful. He does this only to attract attention to himself and his cult” (p. 38).
He continues on about Russell’s self aggrandizement and then says, “If you have any doubt about the absolute truth of what I here state, look to the Watch Tower for January 1st, 1912, and you will find him speaking of himself a hundred and seventy-four times, and the Lord and Master but seven times” (p. 39).
Ross accuses Russell of interfering between husbands and wives. (pp. 39-40)
He charges Russell with “defamatory libel” (p. 39) and “blasphemy, or slander of God and his Word” (p. 41).
Rev. Ross’ pamphlet wraps up with Russell’s response concerning his libel suit against Rev. Ross in Zion’s Watch Tower, along with Rev. Ross’ critiques on the matter. His final sentence is, “The both courts have pronounced against him, and he stands before the world still covered with the many sins charges against him” (p. 45).
To download this pamphlet: “Some Facts and More Facts about the Self-Styled ‘Pastor’ Charles T. Russell,” by Rev. J. J. Ross
If you missed any of the previous blogs, you may use these links to read them:
Pamphlets by Christian Leaders Exposing Charles Taze Russell During His Lifetime, Part 1
Pamphlets by Christian Leaders Exposing Charles Taze Russell During His Lifetime, Part 2a
Pamphlets by Christian Leaders Exposing Charles Taze Russell During His Lifetime, Part 2b