1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses,
Foes of C. T. Russell used not only his domestic affairs but other "weapons" against him. For instance, his enemies have charged that he sold a great quantity of ordinary wheat seed under the name of "Miracle Wheat" at one dollar per pound, or sixty dollars per bushel. They have held that from this Russell realized an enormous personal profit. However, these charges are absolutely false. What are the facts?
In 1904 Mr. K. B. Stoner noticed an unusual plant growing in his garden in Fincastle, Virginia. It turned out to be wheat of an uncommon kind. The plant had 142 stalks and each bore a head of fully matured wheat. In 1906 he named it "Miracle Wheat." Eventually others obtained and grew it, enjoying extraordinary yields. In fact, Miracle Wheat won prizes at several fairs. C. T. Russell was very interested in anything related to the Biblical predictions that "the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose" and "the earth shall yield her increase." (Isa. 35:1; Ezek. 34:27, AV) On November 23, 1907, H. A. Miller, Assistant Agriculturalist of the United States Government, filed in the Department of Agriculture a report commending this wheat grown by Mr. Stoner. Throughout the country the public press took note of the report. C. T. Russell’s attention was drawn to it, and so in Zion’s Watch Tower of March 15, 1908, on page 86, he published some press comments and extracts from the government report. Then, in conclusion, he commented: "If this account be but one-half true it testifies afresh to God’s ability to provide things needful for the ‘times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.’—Acts 3:19-21."
Mr. Stoner was not a Bible Student or an associate of C. T. Russell, and neither were various other persons who experimented with Miracle Wheat. In 1911, however, Watch Tower readers J. A. Bohnet of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Samuel J. Fleming of Wabash, Indiana, presented to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society the aggregate of about thirty bushels of this wheat, proposing that it be sold for one dollar per pound and that all the proceeds be received by the Society as a donation from them, to be used in its religious work. The wheat was received and sent out by the Society and the gross receipts from it amounted to about $1,800. Russell himself did not get a penny of this money. He merely published a statement in The Watch Tower to the effect that the wheat had been contributed and could be obtained for a dollar a pound. The Society itself made no claim for the wheat on its own knowledge and the money received went as a donation into Christian missionary work. When others criticized this sale, all who had contributed were informed that if they were dissatisfied their money would be returned. In fact, the identical money received for the wheat was held for a year for that purpose. But not one person asked for a refund. The conduct of Brother Russell and the Society in connection with Miracle Wheat was completely open and aboveboard.
Because Charles Taze Russell taught the truth from God’s Word, he was hated and maligned, often by the religious clergy. But then, Christians of modern times expect such treatment, for Jesus and his apostles were dealt with similarly by religious opposers.—Luke 7:34.
Next article: Clerics Lash Out! (1979 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pp. 93-4)
Last revised: 97/11/09. Copyright © 1997 by Jehovah's Witnesses—Setting the Record Straight. All rights reserved. This web site is not affiliated with or sanctioned by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. However, every effort has been made to adhere to the current views published by the "faithful and discreet slave" (Matthew 24:45; Luke 12:42) through the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. The "Official Web Site of Jehovah's Witnesses" can be found at http://www.jw.org, and should be recognized as the authoritative source about the beliefs, teachings, and activities of Jehovah's Witnesses.