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He called it and Herald of Christ's Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879.

In the beginning it had the same mailing list as The Herald of the Morning and considerable space was devoted to refuting the latter on points of disagreement, Russell having taken with him a copy of that magazine's mailing list when he resigned as assistant editor.

They will often respond that theirs is the most ancient religious group, older than Catholic and Protestant churches.

In fact, they assert that "Jehovah's witnesses have a history almost 6,000 years long, beginning while the first man, Adam, was still alive," that Adam's son Abel was "the first of an unbroken line of Witnesses," and that "Jesus' disciples were all Jehovah's witnesses [sic] too." ( An outsider listening to such claims quickly realizes, of course, that the sect has simply appropriated unto itself all the characters named in the Bible as faithful witnesses of God.

Then, in 1987, David Koresh took over the leadership position, and the tragedy that followed is public knowledge.

Jehovah's Witnesses, likewise, trace their roots back to the Adventists.

The formation of a distinct denomination around Russell was a gradual development. were often church members who saw the magazine as a para-church ministry, not as an anti-church alternative.

Jehovah's Witnesses are accustomed to defending themselves against the charge that they are a new religious cult.

For some years after that Russell continued to study Scripture with and under the influence of various Adventist laymen and clergy, notably Advent Christian Church minister George Stetson and the Bible Examiner's publisher George Storrs.

He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour's group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept presented in The Herald captured Russell's attention.

Houteff died in 1955, and in 1961 his wife businessman Benjamin Roden took over the real estate.

Roden died in 1978, leaving behind his wife Lois and his son George to lead the group.

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