Monday, November 7, 2016

Is Russell Buried In or Under a Pyramid?

There are many people who insist that Russell is buried under a pyramid monument; a few claim that he is buried in a pyramid tomb. This is often stated in the context of fostering other false claims that Russell was "into" some form of spiritism and/or pagan/heathen idolatry or occultism. Often this claim is associated with the false claim that Russell was a member of the Mason's organization, and it is thought that in some way such a pyramid must be Masonic, or in some way evil, sinister, etc. They speak of Russell's pyramid tombstone, pyramid grave marker, pyramid gravestone, as though Russell was either buried in or under a pyramid.
Below, we present two pictures of Russell's grave and its gravestone to see if it is in the shape of a pyramid.

Russell's Original Gravestone
The above is a picture of Russell's original gravestone. That certainly was not the shape of a pyramid.

Russell's Gravestone
The above is a picture of the Russell's gravestone as it is now. This also is certainly not in the shape of a pyramid. The most one could find wrong with this gravestone is that Russell himself never claimed to be "The Laodicean Messenger".
What many misrepresent as being Russell's gravestone, pyramid tomb or tombstone, grave marker, etc., is the pyramid monument that Joseph Rutherford had constructed in the year 1919, about five years after Russell died.

Rutherford's Pyramid Monument
This pyramid monument is not Russell's gravestone, tombstone, or grave marker. Rutherford had this monument constructed in the middle of the plot owned by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, not just to honor Russell, but to honor many others who died while working at the Watch Tower headquarters. There are numbered spaces for many names that were to be inscribed on that monument, not just Russell's. Rutherford, however, abandoned the witness of the Great Pyramid before very many of the names could inscribed, so that the pyramid shows a lot of numbered blank spaces. Nevertheless, there is no one buried in or under that monument.
It was claimed that Bohnet, before Russell had died, received authorization from Charles Taze Russell for the building of such a monument. Russell's written instructions, however, never mentions the building of such a monument, so it may be that Russell never actually authorized such a monument. Such an extravagant use of funds would seem to be out of harmony with the character of Russell; on the other hand, Rutherford came to be known for his flamboyant methods.
Whether Russell was buried in or under a pyramid, however, is not as important as realizing why many wish to have Russell buried under such a monument, that is, to further the false claims that Russell was an occultist, or that Russell was into some kind of spiritistism, Satanism, demonism, etc. In reality, the Biblical study of the Great Pryamid has nothing to do with such.
Other than the extravagance, however, we find nothing concerning Rutherford's monument to be objectionable, although many, by use of imaginative fanaticism, seem to see "occultism", "Masonic symbolisms", "astrology", "spiritism", and many other evil things regarding Rutherford's monument, as well as in or on the books and publications of Charles Taze Russell. It is not that the graphical symbols, such as the "cross and crown", are actually "Masonic", or "occultic", etc., but this is what many are being led to believe through imaginative assumptions that they are; and what is being imagined is then presented to be fact and proof, for instance, that Russell was a member of the Masons, and/or that Russell was, as they usually put it, "into" some kind of occult/spiritistic/demonic/evil/devious/deceptive "practice" and/or "plot".
One states that it does not matter that Russell was a member of a Masonic Lodge, or that he was buried under a pyramid in a Masonic cemetery. We agree that it would not really matter, but the fact is, however, that Russell was never a member of any Masonic Lodge. The fact is is that he is not buried in a Masonic cemetery. The Masonic Center across the street from the Rosemont Cemetery was built many decades after Russell died and has nothing at all to do with Russell. Russell did borrow many phrases from many different sources, not just Masonic, to provide illustrations of Biblical matters.
One asked:
You showed two pictures of grave markers. If you acknowledge that it has changed, have you looked to see if any other grave markers were used prior to the one presently there? How often do people update tombstones?
We have found no evidence of any change of Russell's gravestone except for the one time. It would mean nothing to us, however, if the WTS leaders had decided to change tombstone again.
It was asked:
Also, you provided a picture produced by the Bible Students Convention Report of 1919. Was he the only one buried in the gravesite?
If by "gravesite", you mean the plots owned by the Watch Tower Society in the Rosemont Cemetery, yes, there are other Bible Students who were buried in the WTS plots that surround the pyramid monument.
The question was given to us:
Plus, you don’t agree with the neaw tombstone. Why would the WTBTS (if they are the ones who authorized it) put that on his tombstone if that’s not a) who he claimed to be, or b) who they believed him to be?
Rutherford was using his claims for Russell to bolster support for his own claims to power and his new organization. (By 1928, the greater majority (more than 75%) of the Bible Student movement had rejected Rutherford's new organization and his gospel connected to that organization.) Rutherford made many false claims concerning Russell. Rutherford also claimed Russell was a prophet, when we KNOW Russell never claimed such an idea, and he totally disclaimed being a prophet. Anyone who has actually studied Russell's works know that he never claimed to be the Laodicean Messenger, even if Rutherford promoted him as being the Laodicean Messenger. Thus, in answer to a), yes Rutherford claimed Russell was the Laodicean Messenger even though Russell never made such a claim; and to b) yes, Rutherford did indeed promoted the idea that Russell was the Laodicean Messenger, at least until about 1928.
Another Question:
Now, you also point out the pyramid that Rutherford built. Isn’t it true that this wasn’t just to honor those who died, but to honor the Great Pyramid that Russell used to calculate the end of the gentile times?
Yes, the pyramid monument is indeed meant to be a minature replica of God's Stone Witness in Egypt. (Isaiah 19:19) However, to say that Russell used the Great Pyramid to calculate the end of the Gentile Times is misleading. N. H. Barbour calculated the end of the Gentitle Times based on Bible prophecy; the measurements of God's Stone Witness simply confirm, or corroborate, the date 1914.
See Russell's studies:
The Times of the Gentiles
Chastened Seven Times
Times of the Gentiles (sermon)
Zionism in Prophecy (sermon)
I do not necessarily agree with all of Russell's conclusions.
See my resource page:
Focus on the Great Pyramid
See also:
Russell and the Great Pyramid (category links)
The following was asked:
You said that it is erroneously presumed that the cross and crown were masonic or occult symbols. If they are not, then why do JW’s believe that those who use them are involved with pagan worship?
Rutherford, in effect, claimed the cross itself to be a pagan symbol. We cannot answer the question for a certainty regarding the JWs, but we can give our own thoughts as we read Rutherford's writings that he wrote back in 1930s. Rutherford wanted the focus of his new organization to be -- not on being joint-heirs with Christ -- but rather on an earthly class, which he called "Jehonadabs". He probably saw the cross and crown symbol to be detractive to his purpose, since the cross and crown signifies bearing one's cross to receive the crown in order to be joint-heirs with Christ. A second point is concerning Rutherford's sectarian attitude, which was totally the opposite of Russell's beliefs concerning sectarianism and organization. His attitude appears to have been to find any many ways as possible to distinguish his organization from the churches, and even the Bible Students movement that had rejected his new organization. It appears to me that by identifying the cross typology to be, of itself, pagan, he thought to further effect his sectarian spirit.
See our studies:
We were asked:
Why the double standard? He wasn’t involved in satanic worship even by having a cross, but the churches are because they have a cross….
We do not believe that churches are necessarily involved in Satanic worship simply by using the cross, nor did Charles Taze Russell. If anyone, however, makes an idol of the cross, their worship of the cross would, in effect, go to the demons, not to God.
The statement was made:
Either the cross is used by those involved in pagan or occult worship or not.
Pagans have used the sun, the moon, stars, mountains, trees, and even the Bible, in occult worship; what they do does not automatically make what they are using, of itself, to be occult or idolatrous.
For more information, see:
I Am a Free and Accepted Mason (Charles Taze Russell's alleged statement that he was a member of the Freemasons' organization)
The links provided below provide some good information, but we do not necessarily agree with all conclusions or statements given.
If any man serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. -- 1 Peter 4:11, World English.


  1. Estas informações reforçam as minhas suspeitas de que havia alguém, além dos homens, por detrás do interesse em difamar o irmão Russell. Mas jeová é grande! Ainda hoje, 100 anos após a morte do irmão Russell, a obra dos Estudantes da Bíblia prossegue. É será assim, até que sejamos revelados juntos com nosso Senhor Jesus.

    1. Translated via Google:

      This information reinforces my suspicions that there was someone besides the men behind the interest in defaming Brother Russell. But Jehovah is great! Even today, 100 years after the death of Russell brother, the work of the Bible Students continued. It will be so until we are revealed together with our Lord Jesus. on Russell Is Buried In or Under the Pyramid