The founding of the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society gave birth to several aberrant movements in Christianity. While aberrations have abounded through the history of the church, these movements still exist today. And when you ask some Jehovahs Witness, he or she would tell you good reasons to the question why I am not a Bible student.
WBTS was founded by Charles Taze Russell, who was in tight control of the organization throughout his lifetime. The members then where named differently, like the Dawn, Russellites, and Bible Students, and the last is still used among direct line descendants to the teachings of Russell. A year after his death, a power struggle ensued within the WBTS hierarchy.
Russell taught a gospel that countered most if not all the major articles of faith of both Roman Catholic and Protestant dogmas. The scripture based studies and beliefs he and his followers upheld were too literal. They do not believe in the Holy Trinity, life after death, and believed the resurrection occurred in the late nineteenth century.
The man was a charismatic teacher and many flocked under his standard when he and his followers created the traveling show called The Photo Drama. The movement they propagated had millions of followers after the show debuted and traveled the country. Thus it became a significant religious item in the history of this country.
The power struggle created the major branch of Russellites called Jehovahs Witness, but it later parted from the main tenets of its founder. Bible Students became a splinter group, or a loose gathering of splinter groups from WBTS communities. They did survive, and these days are trying to come back strongly into the picture.
Faith, however or whatever it is based on, is still a real and powerful item in society. Religions are still guiding and even dictating how people think and act throughout the world. Bible Students are coming back through the internet and radio or TV, and they are gaining ground among the millions of viewers, listeners or browsers in these media.
That for many in other denominations make them start viewing Bible Students as potential players in the religious game. But games are not what the more serious religions or churches and sects are all about. The nature of God, of forgiveness and sin, all these are things that the Students turn around on their own behest.
For many it is about another kind of schism within the churches nominally labeled Christian. And while there are differences between Christianity and other religions, the difference between the students and other denominations within the Christian world are as great if not greater than those between Christianity and the major religions. For authorities, it is a schism that can be destructive.
Changing the nature of what Christians believe in may be done through the introduction of new ideas. But these ideas are not checked by the public when they are presented with excellent concepts. Or that they might be too tempting for some who have questions about Christianity.