revised: July 14, 2002

 

The Golden Age's Review and Endorsement of

Angels and Women

 

Ken Raines

 

 

 

 

 

Angels and Women

is, supposedly, an automatic writing book recommended by the Watchtower Society in 1924. It is a revision of a novel written in 1878 titled Seola by J. Gregory Smith.[1] Seola was revised and published as Angels and Women by a Bible Student who was identified as being "a personal friend of Pastor Russell and one who was close to him in his work." [2] This revisor said the woman who wrote it was "impelled to write it after listening to beautiful music." [3] He believed the spirit that "dictated" the novel to Mrs. Smith was not one of the "holy angels" (of the kind that supposedly transmitted information and Biblical interpretations into J. F. Rutherford's mind), [4] but was one of the fallen angels who desired to return to God's organization. [5]

The Society at the time believed that some demons or fallen angels were honest and could be saved and return to God's organization. [6] Angels and Women, they believed, was channeled or "dictated" to the author by one such fallen angel who was honest and told the truth about pre-flood conditions on earth. They said he shed some "light" on the subject. They therefore claimed to receive new "light" from a demon according to their published statements. This is unusual as all the automatic or channeled writings I have researched claimed to be from good spirits whether angels, extraterrestrials, or highly evolved spirits. The Society appears to be unique in claiming to receive new light from an evil spirit or fallen angel.

 

The Golden Age Review

In the July 30, 1924 Golden Age the Watchtower Society reviewed the book Angels and Women.

The Society earlier claimed that they normally did not review books in the Golden Age except when they believed in the book enough or thought it was an important work. For example, In a 1920 Golden Age they said:

THE GOLDEN AGE does not make it a practice of reviewing books, but "The Brass Check, a Study of American Journalism," by Upton Sinclair, Pasadena, California, contains facts that should be widely known.[7]

Similarly, The Golden Age four years later reviewed Angels and Women because they believed in it and believed that it shed some spiritual and historical light on pre-flood conditions on earth.

The review in full stated:

Review of Book

"ANGELS AND WOMEN" is the title of a book just off the press. It is a reproduction and revision off the novel, "Seola" which was written in 1878, and which deals with conditions prior to the flood.

Pastor Russell read this book with keen interest, and requested some of his friends to read it because of its striking harmony with the Scriptural account of the sons of God described in the sixth chapter of Genesis. Those sons of God became evil, and debauched the human family prior to, and up to, the time of the great deluge. We call attention to this book because we believe it will be of interest to Bible Students, who are familiar with the machinations of the devil and the demons and the influence exercised by them prior to the flood and also now in this evil day. The book throws light on the subject and is believed, will aid those who carefully consider it to avoid the baneful effects of spiritism, now so prevalent in the world.

The book is revised and published by a personal friend of Pastor Russell, and one who was close to him in his work. It is published by the A. B. Abac Company, New York city.

The publishers advise that the regular price of the book is $2.00; but to all subscribers to The Golden Age, it will furnished at $1.00 per volume, when ordered in lots of ten or more. This is not an advertisement, but a voluntary comment. [8]

No mention is made here of the fact that they believed it was "dictated to the women who wrote by one of the fallen angels who desired to return to divine favor", [9] that is, by a demon who wanted to repent. This is a serious omission as they said reading the book would help one "avoid the baneful effects of spiritism"!

[Imagine the Awake! magazine today endorsing an automatic writing book such as Oahspeas shedding new light [10]

This favorable review of Angels and Women apparently lead to letters being sent to the Society by readers of the Golden Age on the propriety of their endorsing the book when they learned of its origin, despite the Society clearly saying at this time that some demons were honest.

 

The Golden Age's Second Endorsement

In the December 3, 1924 Golden Age they printed one such letter of concern as well as a more enthusiastic letter supporting the book. In their published response to these they brushed aside concerns about the spiritistic origin of the book and once again endorsed it. The article said in full:

Angels and Women

WE PRESENT some letters regarding this book (a review of which recently appeared in our columns) which we feel sure will be of interest to our readers:

TO THE GOLDEN AGE:

Pardon me for taking this much of your time on what may be so simple a matter; but I was approached about going into a club to get a certain book called, "Angels and Women". I made some inquiries, and was told that it was a book that a fallen angel dictated to a women, showing a desire to come back into harmony with God; and that Pastor Russell approved of the book. I had never heard of the book before; and as we are to shun anything akin to spiritism I should like to know positively whether the book has your approval before buying one; so if it is not asking to much would like a reply.

(Mrs.) W. S. Davis, Los Angeles, Cal.

 

TO THE GOLDEN AGE:

With much pleasure and profit has the book, "Angels and Women" been read by Truth friends. It contains much to encourage one to loyalty and faith in God.

Do you think that it would be a real service to purchase these books in quantities of ten or more copies at a time so as to get the special $1 per copy rate that you have so kindly secured for us, and thus to have them on hand as Christmas and birthday presents or for other gift occasions to give to our relatives and friends, whom we have been unable to otherwise interest in Present Truth or only slightly so?

Would not some be disposed to read a fascinating novel of this kind, who might not be able to get first interested in "The Harp" or STUDIES?

Would this not be considered one way of instructing the people about matters concerning which there is so much ignorance, and direct them to the real Bible keys, the WATCH TOWER publications?

Should we send such orders to THE GOLDEN AGE?

If not, will you kindly give us the complete address of the A. B. Abac Company? There are many who would like to get a little more information regarding these items.

An Appreciative Reader

 

Reply

TO BOTH above letters we reply as follows:

When Pastor Russell was here, he read a book dealing with conditions that obtained prior to the flood. He requested some other brethren to read it. It was so much in harmony with the Bible account of the fallen angels that he regarded the book as remarkable. Under his supervision it was revised, and later published by one who was formerly his confidential associate. The new book is published under the title "Angels and Women". Scriptural citations are given. An appendix is added. Pastor Russell remarked that at some opportune time the book, revised, should be published.

As to its being a violation of the Vow to read this book, such an idea is not worthy of consideration. It would be no more wrong to read it than to read "What Say the Scriptures about Spiritism" or "Talking With the Dead"; for both these books quote much as to what the evil spirits do. Many have derived much benefit from reading "Angels and Women" because it aids in getting a clearer vision of how Satan overreached the angels and overreached the human race, and caused all the havoc amongst men and angels. It helps one to a better understanding of the devil's organization.

The book is published by the A. B. Abac Company, Madison Square, P.O. Box 101, New York City, N. Y.

THE GOLDEN AGE does not handle this publication; but all who desire it should write directly to the publisher at the above address. [11]

The Society's endorsement apparently received mixed reviews from Bible Students. Some viewed this book as spiritism, pure and simple; others apparently took the Society's position that some demons were honest and could repent and come back to God's organization to heart. They accepted this new light as from an "honest," repentant fallen angel. It is interesting to me that the Society's writer here brushed aside Mrs. Davis' concern by simply saying it was not worthy of consideration to think it was a violation of the Bible Students' "Vow" [see below] to have nothing to do with spiritism.

 

 

 

 

References and Notes:

1. The Golden Age, July 30, 1924 p. 702. "Automatic writing" refers to writing that is done "automatically" under the control or direction of a spirit or spirits. Coming issues of this journal will compare and examine various automatic or channeled works such as Oahspe and Communication With the Spirit World of God with Angels and Women, Seola, and Rutherford's 'angelic channeling' claims. Rutherford was to me a "medium" similar to others who produced automatic writings if his claim for the inspiration of his writing is true.

2. Ibid.

3. J. G. Smith, Angels and Women, A.B. Abac Co., 1924, pp. 3, 5.

4. JW Research, vol. 1, #2, Spring, 1994: Angelic Channeling.

5. Angels and Women, p. 5.

6. JW Research, vol. 1, #3: Fallen Angels) .

7. The Golden Age, Oct. 27, 1920 p. 35.

8. The Golden Age, July 30, 1924 p. 702.

9. Angels and Women, p. 5.

10. Oahspe is a automatic writing or "channeling" book dictated by "angels" to its author in 1882. See 'Oashpe: The Gospel of Angels An Examination of a New Age Scripture' by Joel Bjorling in The Quarterly Journal (by Personal Freedom Outreach), Vol. 11, no. 4, Oct.-Dec., 1991 pp. 1, 7-9.

11. The Golden Age, Dec. 3, 1924 pp. 150, 151.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vow

When Angels and Women was endorsed by the Society the Bible Students took what was called The Vow. This was instituted during the Russell period. The vow said in part:

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name....

I Vow to thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to spiritism and Occultism, and that, remembering that there are but two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways, as being of the Adversary...[1]

 

The taking of this vow was considered a serious matter, though it was not required that one take the Vow, nor was it to be a test of fellowship. [2] Potential Elders who did not take the vow were not excluded from the position for example, but those who had taken it were to be given the first consideration. [3] The Vow was to be taken daily. [4] Given all this, and the Society's numerous writings against spiritism, one can appreciate Mrs. Davis' concerns about reading an automatic writing book to receive some new light from the demon and that this would help one avoid the baneful effects of spiritism!

It is amazing to me that that they made the following statement in defending their endorsement of Angels and Women:

It would be no more wrong to read it than to read "What Say the Scriptures about Spiritism" or "Talking With the Dead"; for both these books quote much as to what the evil spirits do.

With this they put the new light from a demon alongside the "faithful and discreet slave"

C. T. Russell's booklet on spiritism and Rutherford's similar booklet! Reading what an "honest" demon says when channeling "light" on pre-flood conditions on earth and his "quoting much as to what the evil spirits" did is just as appropriate as reading Society literature for new light!

This reminds me of the statement about truth by Russell in the first issue of Zion's Watch Tower which stated:

A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God.... Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts, and rely for ability to afterwards harmonize it with others upon "the spirit of truth, which shall guide you into all truth,"... [5]

I guess this would include the "honest" truth as told by demons. I believe that this was a violation of the Vow as getting a clearer vision, a better understanding, and new light from a demon who "impelled" J. G. Smith to write it is surely spiritism by definition.

An irony in this is that the Vow was published in numerous forms including a book-mark. [6] This could have led to the situation where Bible Students like Mrs. Davis could have gone into a spiritistic "club" or bookstore, purchased a copy of Angels and Women on the Society's advice, gone home and read the book to receive this latest "light," inserting the Vow book-mark as they went!

 

References:

1. Watch Tower Reprints, pp. 4383.

2. Ibid., p. 4249, 4299.

3. Ibid., p. 5794.

4. Ibid., p. 4780.

5. ibid., pp. 8, 9.

6. Ibid., p. 4383, 4960