Blizard’s site makes the following assertion:
Russell recommended his followers read the book, Angels and Women.He personally supervised its editing and said it was beneficial because it throws light on certain Biblical subjects.
What are the facts?
In 1878, a book by the name “Seola,” written by Mrs. J. G. Smith, was published. It was evidently written as a fiction novel, but some state that Smith claimed to have written it in under the influence of the spirit world. In view of what is reported to be in the book, this is very probable, since it is reported that Mrs. Smith would probably not have had the knowledge presented in the book except by such an influence. Thus, it is claimed that Mrs. Smith wrote the book through what is often called “automatic writing,” which is a form of spiritism in which a spirit actually does the writing through a human being.
In 1924, another book was published by the A.B. ABAC Company, of New York, entitled “Angels and Women,” which is based on the earlier book by J. G. Smith. As far as I have been able to determine, contrary to what is being stated on several sites, this book was never published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, nor by the International Bible Students Association.
This later book was not exactly the same as the book “Seola,” but the book “Angels and Women” is an edited version of the earlier book. I am still not sure who edited this later book, but there is a reference to a “Bible Student” who was “a personal friend of Pastor Russell.” This comes from a review of the book as presented in The Golden Age magazine (this magazine was not printed in Russell’s day), thus the “Bible Student” was probably actually a follower of Rutherford and Rutherford’s new teachings and organization. Of course, Rutherford himself had been a personal friend of Russell’s before Russell died, but we know that after Russell died, Rutherford rejected and often misrepresented what Russell taught. One author, Ken Raines, claims that a JW told him that the revisor was “Ed Brenisen,” who was indeed a follower of Rutherford, and what became “Jehovah’s Witnesses” leadership. (See Reference 1 below.)
The “Angels and Women” book has been reproduced on the Rutherford Rainbow CD-ROM. This CD-ROM may be obtained from Amazon by clicking on the locales below:
A new version of the 1924 editon has been released by Jim M. Rizoli (not associated with the JWs or the Bible Students).
This book may be obtained from Amazon by CLICKING HERE:
(referenced for research purposes, not recommendation of content.)
There is nothing in any of the writings of Russell that speaks of a book called “Angels and Women.” Indeed, this book did not exist in the days of Russell. There is no evidence at all that Russell personally supervised its editing. However, it is possible that Russell did come across a copy of the book “Seola,” written by Mrs. J. G. Smith, as a novel, and it is also possible that he might have suggested that some of his co-workers might read the book to see what, if anything, it might have to do with the dawning of the millennium. Russell several times in his writings showed how the demons will present truths in order to get people to accept a greater lie and he sometimes quoted material written by others to show this, and he could have had such an interest in this book similarly. This does not mean that he was “recommending” the book for general approval, since he often sought to get the opinion and suggestions from others concerning if and how such items might be utilized in the pages of the Watch Tower. Evidently, Russell decided against any use of the book, since the book is never mentioned anywhere in any of Russell’s writings. However, the only book that he could possibly have recommended to his associates would have been the earlier book, “Seola,” since the later revision did not exist in his time. Surely, however, if he had done so, there would be some record of such a recommendation in his writings, but there is no such recommendation. I could find no mention of either book in the Bible Students DVD Library. As a whole, I would say that Bible Students have nothing to do with either the “Seola” book or the “Angels and Women” book.
The Golden Age, in 1924, claims that Russell personally supervised the editing of the later edition, and wished that it be published at an opportune time. I personally do not put much faith in what was being said by the leadership of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1924, since there were many statements being made after Russell died that have been proven untrue.
References (I do not necessarily agree with all the conclusions and/or statements made by these authors):
1. “Angels and Women,” Ken Raines
2. “The Golden Age‘s Review and Endorsement of Angels and Women,” Ken Raines
3. “Angels and Women” threads on the “Present Truth” forum:
4. “Anne Eliza Smith”, article in Wikipedia: