William Schnell: The Confession of a Converted Jehovah’s Witness

THIRTY YEARS A WATCHTOWER SLAVE

The Confession of a Converted Jehovah’s Witness

Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1957

William J. Schnell was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1905. He was taken by his parents on a trip to their homeland, Germany, and there stranded by the outbreak of World War I. Schnell was from Lutheran parentage and was converted in that church at an early age.

In gratitude for God’s protection during World War I, Schnell resolved to spend his life in God’s service.  He associated with the Bible Students, and with them fell under the sway of the Watch Tower Society under the direction of the ambitious new president, Judge Rutherford.

Schnell worked in the headquarters of the German branch of the Watch Tower Society at Magdeburg and helped organize the work in Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. He was Service Director and helped subjugate the German Bible Students to the Society’s dictatorial rule. Disgusted with the procedure and inner workings of the Society, he immigrated to the United States in 1927.

In 1933 Schnell re-entered the Society’s employ as Pioneer. He became Company Servant then Unit Servant in Manhattan. He was placed in charge of the Pioneer desk in the Service Department at the Society’s New York headquarters. Later, Schnell became Exactor (or Zone Servant) of Zone 1 (Northeastern Ohio and Northwestern Pennsylvania).

Amazingly, Schnell helped foment riots in Hubbard, Ohio, and elsewhere, and fought in more than five hundred court battles, some even to the United States Supreme Court.

The Watch Tower Society ordained Schnell a “minister.” He baptized 463 new converts, and organized about eighty-four congregations. In time he came to a growing realization of the error of the Watch Tower Society as he returned to personal prayer and study of God’s Word. In 1954, he returned to a life of freedom in Christ through an agonized night of soul struggle and prayer. As morning light broke he arose with peace in his soul, and a song in his heart.

For the first time in thirty years Schnell was a free man. For three decades he had been enslaved in one of the most totalitarian systems of the twentieth century. That morning he stood up with the firm determination that with God’s help he would reveal to the world the inner workings of the Watch Tower Society. The result was an entrancing book, Thirty Years A Watch Tower Slave, The Confessions of a Converted Jehovah’s Witness.

Like a giant octopus the Watch Tower Society has spread its tentacles to the far corners of the world. In spite of its denial of most of the major Biblical truths – including the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the physical resurrection of Christ, the physical return of Christ – it poses as a Christian movement. It yearly lures thousands into its fold with its ingeniously devised system of proselyting.

It is the inner workings of this organization which Schnell lays bare in his book and exposes to public view for the first time in history. Every previous effort has been successfully thwarted and the author book subjected to pressure. But his vow of gratitude to God for opening his eyes and for delivering him from this vicious network gave him courage and carried him through.

Although Schnell pulls no punches, he displays no rancor or bitterness. His book is his life’s story as a Jehovah’s Witness. It is his confession of wrongdoing to God and his fellow men. In so doing he reveals that Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society for what they really are.

His book is a powerful warning to any and all who may be approached by the misnamed “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” It is likewise Schnell’s appeal to his former brethren to throw off their shackles and to return to “the liberty which is in Christ Jesus.” Schnell advises that you owe it to yourself to be well posted on this aggressive movement. Sooner or later you will be confronted with its message of perversion.

3 thoughts on “William Schnell: The Confession of a Converted Jehovah’s Witness”

  1. The immoral life of William Schnell led to his expulsion. He did not escape –like others who violate Bible commands –he was expelled. Just as commanded at 1 Corinthians 5. It is typical of those expelled to to tell the public how “corrupt” the organization was that disciplined them.

    1. I see no evidence that William Schnell was immoral, or was expelled due to violation of Bible principles. Many have expelled themselves due to discovering the corruption of the organization, and have never been disciplined. Many have been expelled because they were themselves corrupt, but have come right back in and continued to practice the same immoral corruptions. And I have known some brothers who were corrupt and who remained undisciplined all their lives. This type of corruption was recently exposed and proven at the Australian Royal Commission over the past two years with their investigation of institutional child abuse. One of the worst offenders was the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Just look up Australian Royal Commission and JWs in any online search engine if you are not aware.)

      Something else we noticed at Bethel in 1980 which was disheartening was the fact that when people were disfellowshipped for learning that certain doctrines were false, their fellow Bethelites were very quick to start rumors that they might have been immoral and violated Bible commands. Believing that the Bible taught a doctrine that was different from what the Watchtower taught was not enough of a reason for the kind of hatred and name-calling that these brothers went through. This is the only possible explanation for why, almost immediately, rumors cropped up that these same people who were loved for their humility and friendliness the day before, were suddenly accused of homosexuality and wife-swapping and crazy untrue accusations the day after the announcement. It shows to me that we JWs didn’t really want to believe that merely accepting a different view about a Bible teaching was enough to warrant the kind of hatred we were dishing out to these same people. I am pretty sure that this is related to why people are still looking to spread rumors about persons like William Schnell. It’s a form of character assassination. The Scientologists do the same thing. It’s similar to what the Mafia does, too, although the assassinations can prove all too real with them. But the similar feeling of wanting to assassinate must be there in the heart of some of the brothers in order for them to participate in the cruel practice of character assassination.

    2. 1 Corinthians 5 talks about not keeping company with immoral, greedy, extortioners, etc. That does not mean pretending that they don’t exist. Christian treats others with dignity and respect whether in the congregation or not. Hardened criminals are also treated with respect. WT goes beyond the congregation and judges people not “in” the congregation. Just as were the infamous pharisees of the first century, the WT takes an extreme and twisted view of Bible principles. The inconsistencies of WT are truly shocking where elders are never dis-fellowshipped for being greedy extortioners. Yet the Bible advises not to keep company with greedy extortioners as these are just as immoral as sexually immoral people (1 Corinthians 5). WT uses many terms that are not in the Bible. They continually misapply and twist Bible verses. I haven’t read about William Schnell but I am very interested to read his story. Was he really immoral or did he uncover the truth about the truth?

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