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The Four Presidents of the Watch Tower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) Paperback – 16 Dec 2003

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4 out of 5 stars 11 reviews from Amazon.com us-flag |

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little about THE FOUR PRESIDENTS and some other stuff 22 Feb. 2013
By Mike B of Syd - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I purchased this publication without reading any of the detail available through Amazon as to its content; clearly I could expect it to cover the 4 presidents of the Watch Tower society but, beyond that, I didn't have any real idea about its content. What I did find was the content is very brief in its material related to the 4 presidents and so, if what you're after is a collation of all that is known about the psychological and theological background of the 4 presidents, this book is perhaps going to leave you looking for more elsewhere.

The book is written by a former Witness who remains a dedicated Christian. That's fine although again I didn't buy the book to necessarily have interjected a secondary theological position that was supposedly more accurate than that of the witnesses. I appreciate the author has a hard task here in that working through the JW theology without some reference to mainstream views on the same positions is difficult and potentially isolated but the asides from the author created a view that the book was again really a book where the four presidents were used as a means for de-conversion of Jehovah's Witnesses rather than the focus of the book.

The book also detracts by using what I consider to be some unnecessary scare tactics to again push the line that the JWs are bad. Maybe they are and another book title "The JWs are Bad" is the place to put that content. Here, when the author pushes his case for the JWs to be considered a cult, he makes reference - and I don't have the content in front of me - to a woman that escaped the Jim Jones cult and was 'assassinated' some years later. It's all very dark and threatening. Someone left a cult and was hunted down. The JWs are a cult... could the same occur? However, my cursory glance through Wikipedia (happy to be corrected on this since I appreciate it's not the final word on anything) is that the police determined the murder of this woman was unrelated to her previous involvement in the Jim Jones cult. Now that analysis is perhaps for a later edition of the book since it's just been released or, possibly, the author has used it to cast a pall of the foreboding over any cults (and hence the JWs.) Data didn't support the presentation and I think it adds to an overall weakening of the book's purported main purpose.

Summary: there's little here you're going to find (biographically) that you can't find through a search on each of the presidents. Russell wasn't nice to his ex-wife, Rutherford was likely an alcoholic, Knorr was a modern-day Frederick Winslow Taylor and not much more and Fred Franz was a troubled individual who drove much of the JW theology for a number of decades. All those pictures have been painted before.

The second and final thirds of the book are much more focused on scriptural change which do much to impact the JW's position that they've largely held to a constant scriptural position. More damaging is the changes to key dates such as 1914 and its meaning. But again, it's not new information. The final third are index and notes. Some quite good.

The value you get from this is going to depend what you're after: detailed biographies of the 4 presidents? It's not here. Material to work with JWs to present enough detail to show their founding fathers were failed men and often theologically unfit? It's closer to that. References enough to create doubts in the mind of current JWs? That's a harder task but it's here. Understand that that is where the book shines and you'll be OK with the content.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOPSIDED President(S) = collapsing structures ! 24 Oct. 2013
By abran paso - Published on Amazon.com
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SIMPLE / SIMPLE / SIMPLE.
It's all S-I-M-P-L-E to know that if a President(S) is LOPSIDED, then his/her admin. / supporters / structures / agendas etc., are bound to collapse. - This scientific connection is kindergarten. IE., remember the co. Enron ?

Charles Taze Russell (1879-1926) was a good BUSINESS MAN (* the MIND of any good Business man requires an acute objective of constant $$$ CASH FLOW / GOOD PROFIT MARGIN $$$ etc. It's no wonder why Russell expanded his business / healthy returns ( " financial success") - p. 13) with a BIG PLAN. - It's the NATURE of a (any) Businesses man (BM) to have an open mind, and to heed its peers trend / style / marketing techniques etc., in order to compete / stay alive ( Bus. 101).

To be con.
46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing 21 Feb. 2004
By RR - Published on Amazon.com
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This book is edited by Edmund Gruss, based on anonymous informants who combine have over 75 years within the Jehovah's Witness movement, from the days of Rutherford to the present.
Having read it and if I must describe it in one word ... it would be "DISTURBING".
The book focuses of course on the characters and motivations of the first four presidents of the Watchtower Society.
The book is disturbing to say the least, delving behind the scenes of the personal lives and motivation behind presidents Russell, Rutherford, Knorr and Franz. Showing how from the very beginning of Rutherford's hostile takeover after the death of Russell, with the help of MacMillan and VanAmburgh, that the main thrust of the movement was selfish and self-pleasing.
The book is well-documented, why anyone would want to stay in this cult after reading this book is beyond me ... it shows the hold the leadership has on these poor people.
This book is not doctrinal, but deals with personalities, and shows without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt that the Society is nothing more than a pubishing house, and the Jehovah's Witnesses are its salespeople. The leadership is not about "truth", but about control. sad!
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less than anticipated 9 Aug. 2007
By Plato Camus - Published on Amazon.com
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As a former Jehovah's Witness of 35 years, I viewed this book in terms of the accuracy and bias of the authors. This author has a deep bias in his presentation. It colors his selection of words and evidence. Having said that, this has many accurate and revealing facts within. The treatment of an old rumor was more a dip into gossip - although he disclaimed the rumor. The actual biographies (which I had expected) were very brief and needed more detail, considering the pivotal role these people played in the development of Jehovah's Witnesses.
16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valueable book for all Jehovah's Witnesses 22 April 2004
By Passionforlife - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Before we put our confidence in an organization, we need to evaluate the men who run it. After all it is only as good as the fruitage of their behavior and sense of justice and good.
Do the presidents of the Watchtower Society reflect the high asperations of the God they say they Worship? I think each and everyone involved with Jehovah's Witnesses in it now or out of it now need to read this.
I found it valuable reading. Thanks to Edmond Gruss who was willing to finish this piece of work and get it to book form.
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