Watchtower and Eisenhower

Watchtower and President Eisenhower

Watchtower Conflict

Although, Dwight’s family was steeped in the beliefs of Watchtower, it was not without conflict. The River Brethren released a leaflet attacking Watchtower, entitled The Blasphemous Religion that teaches the Annihilation of Jesus Christ.  This leaflet advertised itself as the “best yet publication against Russellism”. Indeed, even Dwight’s uncle Abraham, a River Brethren Minister, stated that Russellism was fool-hearted nonsense, the devil’s asbestos blanket to cover up the realities of a hell fire judgement.

Dwight’s father, David actively served as an elder for Watchtower. But, unlike Ida who remained faithful to Watchtower until her death, David’s commitment to Watchtower waned by 1919, until he openly became an opposer of the religion. He renounced the doctrine of Russell before his death in 1942.  This disillusionment was due to Russell’s failed prophecies of 1914 and 1915. Although David left Watchtower, he continued to be a reader of the bible.

David died in March 1942 and had a Jehovah’s Witness funeral despite making it clear that he was no longer a follower. Though he left the religion in 1915, he continued to accompany his wife Ida to Watchtower activities primarily to to appease her.

Pyramid Chart of the Ages
C.T. Russell’s Chart of the Ages

The Pyramid Chart, specifically the Pyramid of Gaza in Egypt, was a central teaching of Watchtower in 1898. It was first published in Millennial Dawn Vol 1. A large Wall Chart version was later published by Watchtower. This chart played a prominent role in Watchtower teachings for 35 years.  The pyramid in this chart was central to Charles Taze Russell’s prophecy surrounding 1914. The Eisenhower’s had this chart prominently displayed in their home as late as 1944. It was obviously discarded or destroyed some years later to reduce the family’s embarrassment of their parents involvement with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

None of the Eisenhower boys ever got involved in the Watchtower or any other fundamentalist church. Their association with Watchtower is not well known. This may be due to the antagonism people had then and now towards Watchtower and Watchtower teachings. Eisenhower family history prefers to claim that their parents were associated with River Brethren rather than Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many articles and statements have been made about the Eisenhower’s strict religious upbringing but very few mention Watchtower. Some writers wanted to clear the family name of any affiliation with Watchtower.

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