|Author||Topic: W. H. CONLEY: First Society President|
posted 5/30/01 4:18 PM
According to the PROCLAIMERS Book, page 576, Charles Taze Russell was NOT the first President of the Watch Tower Society!
"... Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was formed on February 16, 1881, with W. H. Conley as president and C. T. Russell as secretary and treasurer.
"... In 1884, Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society was legally incorporated, with C. T. Russell as president..."
When the ZWTTS was legally incorporated in 1884, not only was W. H. Conley NO LONGER the President, but he was not even included as another Officer, nor even a Director.
Very little additional material is available on Conley, but the following ZWT Excerpts do tell us more:
The following Excerpt is taken from the April 1880 Zion's Watch Tower. With respect to W. H. Conley, it says that the Allegheny group met at Conley's home to celebrate the 1880 "Passover", because his home was the most "commodious". To have the largest home of anyone in the group would seem to indicate that Conley was someone of financial means.
CHRIST OUR PASSOVER.
Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast." (1 Cor. 5:7). The passover was one of the most important of the types given to the Children of Israel, and was ever observed by them as one of their most solemn feasts. They kept it in remembrance of the passing over of their first-born when the tenth plague was visited upon the first-born of Egypt. They commemorated it every year on the anniversary of the event, slaying a lamb each year on the fourteenth day of the first month. They saw only the type: We, instructed by the Holy Ghost through the apostles, are able to recognize the antitype as "Christ our Passover Lamb slain for us"--"the Lamb of God." Death would pass upon us, were it not that our Lamb's blood is sprinkled upon us, but in Him we have life.
As the typical lamb was put to death on the fourteenth of the first month, so our Passover Lamb was put to death on the same day. No other day would fulfill the type, and so it was, as we read, Luke 22:7. As they feasted on the typical lamb, we feast on our Lamb. It was on this same day that Jesus gave to the apostles the symbols of His broken body and shed blood, saying: "THIS do in remembrance of me;" i.e., keep this feast hereafter, thinking of me as your Lamb.
It has for several years been the custom of many of us here in Pittsburgh to do this; i.e., remember the Passover, and eat the emblems of our Lord's body and blood, and it has ever been an occasion of solemn pleasure and communion, and was particularly so this year. We met on the night of March 24th, as usual, at the house of Brother and Sister Conley (it being the most commodious); and ate together the unleavened bread--eating, meantime "the truth" which it symbolized, viz: That Jesus was unleavened (without sin), holy, harmless, undefiled, and therefore food "of which, if a man eat, he shall never die." We said, with Paul, "Christ, our Passover is slain; therefore, let us keep the feast." We saw clearly that because we had Christ within, therefore (soon, we believe), all the church of the first-born will be passed over, and spared, as it is written: "I will spare them, as a man spareth his only son that serveth him," and we said one to another, "Watch that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things coming upon the world, and stand before the Son of Man." We read, also, how that if we are Christ's, we are part of the same loaf; to be broken as He was; to die, as He did to the flesh --crucifying the flesh. "The loaf, which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one loaf and one body." (1 Cor. 10:17.) We saw, also, that if we would count ourselves parts of that loaf, and be broken, we must first "purge out therefrom the old leaven" of sin, that we may be like our Master, "who knew no sin."
After supper, we took the cup--the wine. As we took it, we remembered that it was not represented by the type, the passover supper, but that it was the symbol of joy and life. After supper, He took the cup,... saying, "Drink ye all of it," and we realized that, when the present night of eating the Lamb with bitter herbs (afflictions) has passed, our Lord will give us the new life and new joys, saying, "Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord," And we realized, even now and here, a foretaste of those joys of Paradise.
Thus, the wine of our feast was but typical of the joys of the kingdom, when we shall drink it new with Him, in our Father's kingdom--"after supper."
The following Excerpt is taken from the April 1881 Zion's Watch Tower. It says that the 1881 observance of "The Lord's Supper" would again be held at the home of W. H. Conley, and this article gives Conley's address. I wonder whether the house still exists?
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast. 1 Cor. 5:7.
The Passover was a Jewish feast kept annually (and is still observed by them) as a commemoration of their remarkable deliverance under the tenth plague upon Egypt--the Passing-over or sparing from death of their first-born.
The circumstances as narrated in Ex. 12 --the slaying of the Lamb, the roasting of the flesh with fire, and the eating of it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread while the eaters stood, girded and shod, and with staff in hand ready to depart out of Egypt for the Land of Promise-- Canaan--are doubtless familiar to most of our readers. Also, the meaning of these things which were but types: How that Jesus came-- "The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and "Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us"--how the door posts and lintels of the household of faith are sprinkled (typically) with the blood of our Lamb which speaketh better things, and saves in a higher sense all that are in that house--how that we are to be pilgrims and strangers, not making Egypt (the world) our home nor resting there, but with staff in hand--how that the "bitter herbs" represent the bitter experiences and trials of this life, which are needful to us and tend to sharpen our appetite for the unleavened bread, (truth in its purity; leaven being a type of corruption or error,) and for the eating of our Lamb, who said unless you eat my flesh...you have no life in you: Thus we partake of our Lamb and have Christ formed within, the hope of Glory. Thus during this night of more than 1800 years, since our Lamb was slain, the one true household has been eating--waiting for the morning of deliverance--the early dawn of which we believe has already come.
When Jesus died on the very same day, and in fulfillment of that part of the type- the Lamb- how fitting it seems that all Christians should commemorate the day on which our Lamb died. We certainly have much more interest in the day than has "Israel after the flesh," who recognize only the type. Then, while we keep the feast daily -partaking of Christ and His word of truth, would it not be a great pleasure and a beautiful way, to commemorate our Lord's death on its anniversary?
We understand that it was our Lord's wish that this day be observed annually as a remembrance of Him, and that he instituted what is termed, The Lord's Supper, of bread and wine--emblems of His body and blood, our Passover supper --as a substitute for the Jewish observance of the type.
Everything connected with it seems to show that this was His intention. He kept the Passover regularly every year, and at the last one, the night in which he was betrayed, he said:
"With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." What Jesus commemorated was the killing of the Passover (Lamb;) and not the "Feast of Passover," which followed it for seven days. The Jews at that time kept both, but particularly the latter, (the feast). They do not now, and have not for a long time commemorated the killing of the Passover, but the feast only.
Jesus commemorated (the last time) the killing only and then gave Himself as the real sacrifice. When he had instituted the new supper--remembrancers, (the bread and wine) instead of the old type (the lamb) he gave to his disciples and said: "This do in remembrance of me." (Keep no longer the type or shadow but use these new emblems to commemorate me--the anti-type.) "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death, (not the typical lamb's) till He come," the kingdom be established and the type completed by the passing over, or sparing of the first-born (overcomers) and the ultimate deliverance of the entire "household of faith."
The Passover killing--Christ's death, can be remembered at no time so appropriately as on the regular anniversary, the fourteenth day of the first month. Jewish time which this year falls on April 14th (commencing at 6 o'clock P.M.) The feast of seven days eating unleavened bread, which followed representing in type the continuous, perfect and everlasting feast which we enjoy after and because of our ransom; (seven being typical of perfection).
We are aware that some christians observe the Lord's supper every Sunday, and claim that their custom is based upon the oft repeated mention in Acts of the "breaking of bread," and "upon the first day of the week when the disciples were come together to break bread." (Acts 20:7) etc. They evidently overlook the fact that bread-breaking, was of necessity a frequent occurrence but that there is no mention of wine in any of these instances which constitute as important a feature in the ordinance as the bread, nor are any of these meetings on the first day of the week ever called the "Lord's Supper" or by any name that should lead us to such a conclusion.
There are several reasons why "The Lord's Day" would not be at all appropriate for the commemoration of His death, the principal one being, that "the first day," or "Lord's day" was instituted and used to commemorate an event the very opposite in its character, viz: The resurrection of our Lord. The one was in the "night" and called a supper, the other was observed in the day. The one was a night of weeping and sorrow, the other a morning of joy and rejoicing, saying--"The Lord is risen indeed." The one was a type of the present night of suffering--the Gospel Age-- the other a type of our gathering together and communion in the bright Millennial day--after the resurrection of the body "very early in the morning."
When Jesus had risen from death He appeared to the disciples frequently, if not invariably on the "first day" of the week, and on several occasions made himself known to them in the breaking of bread at their ordinary meal. Upon the organization of the church what would be more reasonable, than to suppose that they would set apart that first day, as especially a day for meeting with each other and with Him, and that coming from distances as well as because He thus revealed Himself first, they would arrange for the having of their food in common on that day? But this was always a day of joy as the other was properly a night of sympathizing grief. The proper observance of this ordinance like that of baptism, seems to have been lost sight of during Papacy's reign: This one doubtless, was made void, to allow for the deathbed administration of the "Sacrament" to keep the dying from purgatory, etc. Protestants have not generally given the subject much attention, using the words--"As often as ye do this--"as authority for any convenient time, and not seeing that "this" referred to the Passover, as oft as ye do commemorate this event do it in remembrance--not of the type but of the anti-type--Me.
We do not say that a sin is committed by an untimely observance, nor that the non-observance, is sinful; but we do say that the observance of it as instituted is much more suggestive, appropriate and commemorative than any other.
We have so observed it here in Pittsburgh for some years and it has ever been a blessed occasion. We will celebrate it this year at the residence of Bro. W. H. Conley, No. 50, Fremont street, Allegheny City, Pa. April 14th, at 8 o'clock P.M., and cordially invite all who can do so, to be present and join with us. Brethren and sisters from a distance will be entertained by the friends here. If possible please send a postal card to "WATCH TOWER" office, No. 101 Fifth avenue, Pittsburgh, and call there on your arrival.
The only remaining reference to W. H. Conley, which I have been able to locate, is again in Zion's Watch Tower, but not until 13 years later, in the June 15, 1894 issue. The Excerpt below is a "Letter From Reader", written by Conley to C T Russell.
It is somewhat strange that Russell must introduce Conley to his 1894 ZWT readers, as well the fact that CTR refers to Conley as merely "another brother who was a member of the early Allegheny Bible Class", without any mention that Conley had served for almost 4 years as Society President.
What was Conley doing during this 13 year gap? What were the rumors to which he refers? The tone seems to indicate that he and Russell remained on good terms, but that communication between the two may have been infrequent at this point in time.
[Another brother who was a member of the early Allegheny Bible Class writes as follows:]
MY DEAR BRO. IN CHRIST:--I have read carefully pages 92 to 119 of A Conspiracy Exposed and Harvest Siftings with special interest, and must say my recollection of events named by you are very much like your own; and while there are details, in some cases, of which I know nothing, and hence cannot speak as to them, yet I do know there were such transactions as you name, and at the dates given. I am quite conversant with some of the dealings, and am surprised at the very merciful manner in which you speak of those with whom you were associated. "The servant is not greater than his Lord." "If they have done these things in a green tree, what will they do in the dry?"--"Perils among false brethren," etc., etc.
As to myself, you can rely on one thing; viz., All reports stating that I deny the ransom are absolutely false. The no-ransom people may talk, but they "have nothing in me." As ever,
Yours in Him,
W. H. CONLEY.
posted 2/9/02 11:09 PM
Conley was one's of the board of director of the 3rd national bank in Pittburg. he was also invloved in various charity organisation.
[This message has been edited on 04/01/2014]
posted 2/18/02 6:57 PM
Thanks for posting the above.
This confirms that W. H. Conley was a prominent, wealthy gentleman in the Allegheny-Pittsburg community.
He was a member of the Board of Directors at the Third National Bank of Allegheny, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of The Home For Colored Children and St. John's General Hospital.
posted 2/1/03 7:22 AM
W. H. Conley was a long time friend of George Stetson and met Russell through Stetson. Conley died in 1897.
posted 2/1/03 3:21 PM
posted 2/2/03 9:50 AM
W. H. Conley was an Advent Christian. He knew Stetson through that association. Stetson and Wendell were well known among Advent Christians. The Advent Christian movement was quite small in the 1870s. In The World's Crisis the active evangelists were periodically listed. The list is quite short. You can find both Stetson and Wendell listed in the April 21, 1869, issue. Most knew each other, even when separated by some distance. Conley's obituary is in the World's Hope (1897). For an understanding of Advent Christian history during the period you may wish to start with Johnson's Advent Christian History.
posted 2/3/03 8:40 PM
posted 2/4/03 9:13 AM
When Russell gathered interested parties around himself for "independent" Bible study, there were initially five individuals, including himself. These included himself, his father, his sister Margaret, and brother and sister Conley. They were strongly influenced by Wendell and by Stetson. Wendell died in short order, and Stetson moved to Edenboro. In 1874 Russell, his father and his sister we baptized. This came as a result of conversations with Storrs, and, I believe, from reading Horace Hastings' tract on Consecration. In various places Russell says that his views, and, hence, the views of the growing group, were the same as those entertained by Advent Christians generally. He was never a member of that Church in a formal way, but adopted many of their views–Especially those of the non-Trinitarian party in the AC church.
When Russell met Barbour and Paton in 1876, he met men who had been for some years active in the Advent Christian Church. Paton was a well known AC evangelist in the Michigan area, and is mentioned for that work in Isaac Wellcome's history. Barbour's association with the Advent Christians went back to the 1850s. By 1876 Barbour had modified certain AC views. He no longer saw the earth as the destiny of the Bride of Christ, but had come to understand Heaven as the intended home of the 144,000. This was a significant departure from Advent Christian teaching. He had read James Relly, and was influenced by him to a great degree. This lead to other slight departures from AC teachings too. This was not particularly unusual in Advent Christian circles, where there was a far greater diversity than usual in a denomination. This continued in that body until after 1903.
When Russell met Paton in (if I remember correctly) February 1876, he was readily convinced by him of the correctness of their views on the heavenly hope. (We taught as they did until 1934-1935.) In the meantime Barbour was expelled from the New York Conference of the AC church. This is reported in the World's Crisis. Partly this was due to his failed predications, and partly this was due to his very abrasive character. In Barbour's obituary in World's Hope, Paton recalled him as having an odd mixture of the Lion and the Lamb about him.
Russell took to the teachings of Barbour and Paton where they differed from standard AC teachings. Most if not all of the Allegheny-Pittsburgh group (now numbering somewhere between 20-30) did as well. Russell became a ready participant and evangelist in the new movement represented by the Herald of the Morning (formerly Midnight Cry and Herald of the Morning) and its prime financial backer. They were not totally distinct from the AC church. Barbour and Russell both attended the AC conference at Alton Bay in 1877. Yet, a new movement was developing. The Advent Christian Times issued a warning against Russell and Barbour's activities, and the rift grew. Things became more complex in 1878 with the failure of some expectations in that year. The movement fragmented. The Watch Tower started. Some groups that had been associated with Barbour's activity since 1869 began to call themselves Retitutionists. Most of these were left on their own and eventually became part of the Church of God of Abrahamic Faith. Certain long time associates of Barbour–Paton, Keith, Mann, Sunderlin and many others– associated with Russell and Zion's Watch Tower. In 1883 in ZWT Russell remarked that most of the magazine's readers were formerly associated with the Advent Christian Church. Conley stayed with Russell through the many fragmentations that followed. Conley, however, kept up friendly relations with some who drifted off into Universal Salvationism with Paton. In the special number of Zion's Watch Tower (June 11, 1894 Extra) a letter from Conley to Russell appears in which he made a point of saying he had no sharing with them in their false teachings. Of course, by the time Zion's Watch Tower was started, Conley was no longer an Advent Christian. It seems that age and health were the factors that kept Conley from being more active. Russell, however, did not note Conley's death in 1897, and what his final standing with the readers of Zion's Watch Tower was may be indicated by that. Conley was not an active Advent Christian when Zion's Watch Tower was started, but an associate of Russell and the others.
posted 2/4/03 9:42 AM
posted 2/4/03 2:03 PM
posted 2/5/03 0:40 AM
posted 2/5/03 7:35 AM
Again, thanks for the documented baptism info.
Can I assume then that the folks that say Storrs or Stetson performed such are "speculating" based on CTR's relationship with these two men?
What are your source(s)/reference(s)/logic for:
Conleys being the first 2 Bible Students besides the Russells?
Conleys introducing Stetson to Russells (considering that CTR's 1869 exposure to Wendell)?
Conleys were AC prior to joining CTR's bs group?
Conleys ceased being AC at some point prior to 1881 (considering that it appears that they continued "some association" with Paton after his split from CTR, and based on what appears to be minimal association with CTR thereafter. Are you basing your thought that CTR, Paton, Conley, etc were not AC because the AC governing body warned against Barbour in 1878[?]? Maybe the proper characterization is that Paton's group, Barbour's group, CTR's group were all offshoots from the ACC????)
Russell says that brother Conley was a member of the early study group. In
the letters to the editor section of the June 11, 1894, Zion's Watch Tower
(special issue) entitled Voice of the Church, Russell appends
a note to a letter from Conley's describing him as "another brother who was
a member of the early Allegheny Bible Class." That is on page 176 of that
Stetson introduced Russell to Conleys, if Conleys hadn't met him earlier
through Wendell. Conley did not introduce Stetson to Russell. Stetson and
Conley were long time friends. I base this on correspondence with a Watchtower
Russell was never formally an Advent Christian, though he shared many of
their beliefs, particularly before 1876. Paton's new doctrine was so different
from AC doctrine, that it would be difficult to characterize it as such.
Barbour, during the period Russell assocaited with him, certainly could no
longer be characterized as Advent Christian, though he continued to have
a sympathetic hearing among some of them. Barbour, Russell, Storrs, and Paton
are better characterized as "restitutionists." Paton was a universal
salvationist, or became such in 1881. He had been reading books on restitution
that also taught universal salvation. Among those who influenced him was
Andrew Jukes, who had written the book The Restitution of All Things.
A new edition had come out in the late 1870s, and Paton read it and began
writing to Jukes. They corresponded for some years. (I have a copy of Jukes
book, signed by him as a gift to a John Rising).
When Russell wrote of those associating with him who had been Advent Christian,
he made a point of saying that's what they WERE. He differentiated between
himself and "Second Adventists." Russell felt Advent Christians (second
adventists) had disgraced themselves by their frequent prophetic failures.
(see ZWT, August 1883) He, consequently, never counted himself as one of
their number. Conleys stopped being "second adventists" sometime after
associating with Russell in the early Bible study group or "class." They
viewed themselves as independent. Those who had been AC, no longer saw themselves
as part of that body.
You have to understand, there was a body of believers in the second advent
who shared similar beliefs, but were not all formally affiliated with the
Advent Christian Church. Restitutionists, Rellyites and others had nearly
identical beliefs. The differences, from our standpoint over a century later,
seem small. They loomed large in the 1860-1880s. The most one can accurately
say is that Russell was influenced by Advent Christians, and by those of
similar beliefs. He read their works, but he also read the works of others.
What he did read is an amazing study. Non Adventists who influenced his thinking
certainly include J. A. Seiss, Bickersteth and others like them. He was
influenced by Bishop Thomas Newton, and quotes from Newton's book. Advent
Christians derived some of their thoughts from the same sources. Newton's
book was circulated by Horace Hastings both before and after he left the
Advent Christian Church.
In the February 1881 issue of ZWT, Russell writes: "Looking aback to 1871,
we see that many of our company were what are known as Second Adventists,
and the light they held briefly stated, was that there would be a second
advent of Jesusthat he would come to bless and immortalize the saints,
to jude the world, and to burn up the world and all the wicked. This, they
claimed would occur in 1873, because the 6000 years from creation of Adam
were complete then." In the rest of Russell's review of their history to
that date, the speaks of their transition to other views.
Later, when recalling his early association with people such as Wendell,
he wrote: "What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care
than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for the leading; for though
Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning
of errors, and thus prepare me for the truth."
I'm both amazed and delighted with the "education" that you are graciously providing to myself and others (re this thread and the other threads).
Would you mind posting the notice from World's Crisis of Barbour's expulsion from the ACC, as well as the Advent Times' warning against Barbour's/CTR's teachings.
Thanks, as always.