1914 saw the beginning of WWI, which had the Bible students convinced of their imminent rapture but 1914 came and went. In 1916, Russell died, whilst on a Bible tour. Then, in 1918, upon the the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, WWI ended, with the Armistice. The good ship Russell, along with its captain, had sunk! Inevitably, the failure of Russell's prophesy wasn't the end of the Watchtower Society. The Society admits that, while many did leave, some remained. This is how a current, Governing Body member sees those events (transcribed from the Out of Darkness video):
[47'50"] 'This is not a work of man. This is a work of Jehovah God. It's evident that Jehovah had already chosen this organization bacause of the faithfulness and the sincerity of the men behind it. It's obvious that Jehovah had already chosen this organization to get his work done. There were enough honest-hearted men, hungering for the truth, desirous of doing the will of God, to prevent the organization from collapsing.'
Apperently, it's obvious that God had chosen the Watchtower Society to get his work done. That's quite a claim! Although God's truth had been absent from their message, especially with regards to the important matter of the coming of Armageddon, God chose the Watchtower Society upon the basis of the zeal of its members. So! God loves zealots, irrespective of the errors within their beliefs. I disagree!
That some remained, within the Watchtower Society, following the 1914 failure, isn't difficult to understand. Imagine that it's 1880 and, as a 30 y.o., with a young family, you accept Russell's teacings. By 1920, when it's absolutely clear that Armageddon hasn't happened, you're 70 y.o. and your offspring have known nothing else. Forty years have elapsed. Do you stay with the lie or do you let it go? You stay, of course, as you've invested far too much of yourself to start over. Thus begins Watchtower 2, under Joseph Franklin Rutherford (1869-1942). The Watchtower Society admits that Rutherford was, in character, very different to Russell. While Russell may be described as a misguided, Gnostic, amateur theologian, Rutherford simply enjoyed being top dog and comes across as a company man.
It was during Rutherford's tenure, as 2nd President, that the Watchtower Society evolved into the very controlling organization which we see today. Increasing light, which Russell had attrbuted to periods of history, suddenly became an ever more frequent expediency, as Rutherford struggled to maintain a theology, using Russell's failed model as a foundation. It's of little wonder that Rutherford had to turn the Watchtower Society into one within which decision-making power involved only a few people and dissent, among the sheep, could no longer be tolerated. Welcome to Rutherford's Jehovah's Witnesses.
Watchtower 2 has also sunk. In 2010, the Watchtower Society explaained that the word generation meant two, overlapping generations. Outside of the organization, nobody bought it. Within the organization, it's difficult to say if any baulked. The teaching, of Watchtower 2 became that Jesus returned, invisibly, in 1914 (not 1874) and that some of those who witnessed (understood, so b.~1900) those events would be alive at Armageddon. Even those born in 1914 would, in 2018, be 104 y.o. The nonsense is dead! Long live the nonsense!
A final thought. The following, again transcribed from the Out of Darkness video, demonstrates the odd relationship which the Watchtower Society has with the concept of truth:
[27'36"] '.. Russell began to publish books containing the results of his Biblical research, eventually writing six volumes. These books came to be known as Studies in the Scriptures. As people read these books, they were moved to share with others what they learned. "Obviously, people who were honest-hearted could hear the ring of truth. They just saw that this is the truth and it was quite different from what other Christian denominations were teaching. The impact of these volumes on the people was really that some immediately made changes in their lives'.
Does the Watchtower Society really believe that Russell's Studies in the Scriptures are the truth? (I understand that publishing ceased in 1927). There's certainly no link to these volumes, on the JW Org website. So! I await Watchtower 3: The Return of the.. Return of the Watchtower Society. Methinks that God's Visible Organization belongs to God's adversary, as that which appears to be a continually moveable feast is always portrayed as the truth. Meanwhile, the Holy Bible remains unchanged.
What greater gift than the love of a cat.
- Charles J.H. Dickens (1812 - 1870).