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.”

 

 

 


Comments

C. T. Russell Was Never a Freemason — 2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for all the information you’ve provided, I really appreciate it!

    The question about CT Russell being a Freemason is a tricky one, and I completely understand you are reporting what you were told by the Freemasons, but it IS interesting that although the Freemasons denied that CT Russell was a Freemason, he clearly had detailed insider knowledge of their most hidden beliefs and doctrines. Also, do you not find it ‘coincidental’ that they just happened to be ‘conserving’ the records of that time when you made your request for information? Could it have been that they simply continued the deception by removing his name from their official records, and lied about it, for the purpose of hiding the true roots of the JW religion? I certainly wouldn’t put it past them to lie, after all, Russell was publicly adamant that he was a ‘free and accepted Mason’ and declared that his followers were too. Is it possible that those who were baptized as JWs were automatically considered to be ‘free and accepted Masons’ because the founder was (although it is denied I dispute their claims), a 33rd degree Freemason?

    The Freemason’s were the first to consider the name Jehovah important as is recorded in their encyclopedia.
    Quote from Encyclopedia of Freemasonry – 1886 ed:
    “JEHOVAH is, of all the significant words of Masonry, by far the most important. Reghellini very properly calls it ‘the basis of our dogma and of our mysteries.’ There is a sovereign authority in this name : it governs the world by its power…it alone, of all the Divine names, distinctly explains or declares what is the true essence of the Deity .”

    However, the Jehovah’s witnesses have practically trademarked the name in their religion and claim that they were the first to use it, when, as you see, it was used in Freemasonry prior to this… How would CT Russell have known such things if he were not a Freemason? I have no doubt that the Freemason’s claims that Russell wasn’t a Freemason is simply a lie, the man chose to be buried in a Masonic cemetery after all, another fact that cannot be ignored when all put together.
    Imagine what would happen among the JW’s if it could be proven without a doubt that he was a Freemason! Sadly though, even when faced with the truth if we were ever able to prove it to them, they would still call us apostates and liars… it’s just so sad that they think they have the ‘truth’…

    • All very good points. Also why did he request to be wrapped in a Roman toga? Why the pink granite? When does something stop being just a coincidence? What about the Assembly Hall in Denmark? Of course they will deny he was one of them. It would bring the whole organization down.

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