C. T. Russell Was Never a Freemason

Back in 2001, I requested historical information from the ANCIENT ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE OF FREEMASONRY, VALLEY OF PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, asking if Charles Taze Russell, his father, Joseph Lytel Russell, and his uncle, Charles Tays Russell, were Pennsylvania Freemasons. This is the answer I received in a letter:

“AFTER A SEARCH OF OUR RECORDS, WE DETERMINED THAT THE THREE RUSSELLS WERE NOT MEMBERS OF OUR ORGANIZATION.”

In their letter, the Pittsburgh Chapter recommended that I send an inquiry asking for further research into this question to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania located in Philadelphia – which I did. On April 27, 2001, I received this reply:

“THE RECORD BOOKS IN THE GRAND SECRETARY’S OFFICE ARE UNAVAILABLE AT THIS TIME AS THEY ARE BEING CONSERVED AND SHOULD BE BACK SOME TIME IN THE FALL.”

Inasmuch as I was very involved with other, more pressing things then, I did not follow-up and eventually my desire for resolution of this question faded out of my mind, that is, until September 2005 when I sent a follow-up email to the Masonic Temple, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Shortly thereafter, I received this reply:

DEAR MS. ANDERSON,

CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL WAS NOT A PENNSYLVANIA FREEMASON. NOR DOES HE APPEAR IN THE RECORDS OF ENGLAND OR IRELAND.

I SHALL CHECK THE RECORDS FOR THE OTHER TWO RUSSELLS.

BEST,
GLENYS A. WALDMAN
LIBRARIAN

I never checked back with Ms. Waldman to see whether the other two Russell’s were Pennsylvania Freemasons, but there has never been any evidence they were, so I didn’t bother.

In any event, I would hope the answer from a search of the original records will forever put this claim to rest that Charles Taze Russell was a Pennsylvania Freemason because he absolutely was not.

Further Information:

Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon – Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions – Section 3, Version 2.9 http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/anti-masonry03.html#russell
Charles Taze Russell“Claims have been made that “Pastor” Russell” (1852/02/16-1916/10/31), founder of the International Bible Students Association — forerunner of the Jehovah’s Witnesses — was a freemason; that the banner on the front of early issues of the Watchtower contained masonic symbols; and that Russell’s gravestone bears a masonic cross and crown symbol.”Russell was not a freemason. Neither the symbols found in the Watchtower nor the cross and crown symbol are exclusively masonic. And the cross and crown symbol does not appear on his gravestone in the Rosemont United Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — it appears on a memorial erected some years later.“In an address delivered in a San Francisco masonic hall in 1913, Russell made positive use of masonic imagery by saying, “Now, I am a free and accepted mason. I trust we all are. But not just after the style of our masonic brethren.” He further develops this idea: “true Bible believers may or may not belong to the masonic fraternity, but they are all masons of the highest order, since they are being fashioned, chiseled and polished by the Almighty to be used as living stones in the Temple Built Without Hands. They are free from sin, and therefore accepted by the God of Heaven as fit stones for the heavenly Temple.” Later in this address, Russell stated quite clearly that “I have never been a mason.” Those who claim Russell was a freemason quote this address out of context without noting the rhetorical imagery.“Although Russell wrote about the pyramids and the Knights Templar, the pyramids are not a part of Freemasonry and Russell’s understanding of the relationship between the modern Knights Templar and Freemasonry displays an outsider’s ignorance of both organizations.”

 

 

 


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