Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Millennial Bean

Many times, false accusations are spread concerning Russell and the “Millennial Bean.”  One site states: "he marketed a fake cancer cure and what he called a 'millennial bean!' (Beans, beans, good for the heart!!)."

An author on one site claims:
Russell was an inventor, of a peculiar sort. His earliest work led to such creations as Miracle Wheat ("this is not your father's wheat!"), a cure for cancer, and the Millennial Bean (which one joker said took a thousand years to sprout). It was his research into the Bible, however, that led to his own reinvention as "prophet."
Russell never claimed to "invent" anything; he did not create the Miracle Wheat, he did not create any cure for cancer, nor did he create the "Millennial Bean." Russell consistently disclaimed being a prophet.

On another site, we read:
In 1911 a Brooklyn newspaper exposed a "Miracle Wheat" scam run by Russell. Other Russell get rich quick schemes included a fake cancer cure and what he termed a "millennial bean".
The reality is that no Brooklyn newspaper actually exposed Stoner's "Miracle Wheat as being a scam. It was not Russell who discovered this wheat. Russell originated no claims for the wheat, nor did give the wheat the name "Miracle Wheat." Many farmers attested in court to the validity of the claims that Stoner had made for the wheat. Russell lost the case because he was not able to prove intent in the false claims being made by the Brooklyn Eagle.

There was certainly never any "get rich scheme" involved in either Stoner's Miracle Wheat, nor in the cancer cure, nor in the millennial beans.

On another site, under the title, "Jehovah's Witnesses  and Magic Beans," we find the following false information concerning Russell:
Later he came up with a fake cancer cure and what he termed a "millennial bean" (maybe it took a thousand years .to sprout) 
Again, Russell himself did not come up any cure for cancer, and he himself did not term the beans spoken of as "millennial bean." He certainly never spoke of any bean as taking a thousand years to sprout.

The author of a book entitled Brothers Silenced  states the following concerning Brother Russell:
He also used his literature to promote several moneymaking schemes. They included: pet ideas, a miracle cure for cancer made from chloride of zinc, a millennial bean, and wondrous cottonseed.
To say that any of the above were "moneymaking schemes" is misleading. To say that any of the above things mentioned were "pet ideas" of Russell is definitely highly deceptive.

Another claims that Russell was "involved with a Millennial Bean to cure cancer." The truth is that Russell was never involved with any kind of bean that was supposed to cure cancer.

There used to be articles on several sites that claimed that Russell was convicted of fraud for selling Miracle Wheat and Millennial Beans. The site pages that contained this false statement appear to have been removed. The real fact is that Russell was never convicted of fraud at all; indeed, no government agency ever filed charges against Russell for fraud, as some of the authors had claimed.

Regarding the alleged "fake cancer cure," please see our research: A Cure For Surface Cancer.

Regarding Stoner's Miracle Wheat, please our research regarding Russell and Miracle Wheat.

Regarding the idea of Russell as being a prophet, please see our research regarding: Was Russell a Prophet?

Regarding the cottonseed, see: The Miracle Wheat Story Part 4

In this writing, however, we are concerned with the "Millennial Beans." What are the facts concerning this “Millennial Bean”. How is it that Russell “marketed” this bean? The actual articles reproduced from the Watch Tower provide the answers:

The Watch Tower
January 1, 1912
Sister Smith of Nebraska recently discovered one stalk of beans which she declares yielded so prolifically that she calls it the Millennial Bean. She desires to get the beans into the hands of others, and at the same time to make a donation to our Tract Fund for the sending forth of free spiritual food to the hungry. Accordingly the beans have been sent to our office.
We believe the project quite a proper one, and if the beans be as prolific elsewhere as in Nebraska, we would be glad to purchase them at the rate of five beans for one dollar. (We have heard of seed wheat selling at one dollar per grain.) However, in view of unfriendly criticism of enemies, we think it best not to sell these beans, but to give them free to our subscribers who have gardens, and who will request them –five beans each.
Sister Smith writes that they should be planted one bean to the hill, and the hills six feet apart. They should be planted in April. They keep bearing right along for weeks, and five should supply a small family. They will be ready to ship in February.

The Watch Tower
March 1, 1912
The requests for five of the prolific beans for seed by far exceed the supply donated by Sister Smith. We have filled the orders first received.
In reply to various inquiries from those who requested these seed beans, we are informed by Sister Smith that there are advantages in planting them in an onion bed or row– at a distance of six feet. An insect, which proves destructive to the bean plant, seems to dislike the onions, and is thus kept away. After the onions are harvested, the beans grow very fast, if the ground is kept loose on the surface. It is also suggested that great care should be exercised in gathering the pods, not to injure the bushes, by pulling, or breaking off the leaves. If the first crop of beans is allowed to remain on the bushes until fully ripened, there will be no additional yield and the bush will die. If they are to bear repeatedly, the pods must be removed as soon as large enough to eat, we are told, and then new blossoms take the place of the first crop.

As can be seen, Russell was not the one who named the bean “Millennial Bean”, nor did he himself make any claims concerning the bean. We find no reference in his works to any "Magic Beans." He did report what Sister Smith had stated, and offered the beans “free” to any subscriber who requested the seeds. And this is the way these beans were "marketed." As is often true, the real facts do not match the twists and distortions that many like to present of Russell. 

However, many churches have been involved in many schemes to create revenue, including bingo, raffles, and many other things. Most who profess to be Christian do not seem to object to these money-making schemes, and yet when it comes to Russell, they often use whatever small event in his life to distort to make him appear to have been an evil money-hungry fraud. The reality is, however, any donations the WTS of Russell's day received from the "marketing" of these seeds were used to fund the gratis distribution of tracts, to praise of the Heavenly Father!


  1. It is likely bad netiquette to plug another blog here, but there seemed to be no other way to make contact. But if you take this comment down I will quite understand. I have enjoyed some of the details in your many posts on Charles Taze Russell. You may find an item or two of interest in this new blog that also covers the history of that era.

  2. Hi Ron
    You don't publish a contact button - perhaps wise - so this is the only way to make contact. You might be interested in research that has revealed the story of Pastor Russell's Aunt Mary Jane, who is buried in the family plot in Allegheny Cemetery. Here is the link: