Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement

A Christian movement focused on the study and dissemination of biblical prophecies and teachings, distinct from mainstream denominational beliefs.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Bible Student movement
Founder: Paul Samuel Leo Johnson
Founded: 1919
Location: Originally based in the United States
Offshoot of: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society

The Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement (LHMM) is an interdenominational, non-sectarian Christian religious organization that emerged in the early 20th century. Founded in 1920 by Paul S.L. Johnson, a former member of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and a close associate of its founder, Charles Taze Russell, the LHMM represents a distinct strand of the Bible Student movement that sought to continue Russell’s theological and organizational principles after his death. The movement originated as a response to internal disputes within the Watch Tower Society, leading to a schism and the formation of several independent Bible Student groups, including the LHMM.

Paul S.L. Johnson, born Paul Samuel Leo Levitsky in 1873 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, was a notable scholar and clergyman who played a significant role in the early development of the Bible Student movement. Johnson’s academic background, including his studies in Greek and Hebrew, enabled him to contribute significantly to the theological discourse of the time, and he remained a leader of the LHMM until his death in 1950, laying the groundwork for the movement’s ongoing activities and publications.

Under Johnson’s guidance, the LHMM developed a non-sectarian approach to Christian doctrine, emphasizing the importance of lay participation in the dissemination of the gospel. This ethos continues to define the movement’s operations, which include the publication of theological texts, the organization of study groups, and the conduct of missionary work both in the United States and internationally. The movement is notable for its commitment to spreading biblical knowledge without soliciting financial contributions, relying instead on voluntary donations to fund its activities.

Following Johnson’s death, leadership of the LHMM passed through several hands, including Raymond G. Jolly and August Gohlke, who both played pivotal roles in the continuation and expansion of the movement’s mission. The movement’s publishing arm, known as Bible Standard Ministries since 2005, has been instrumental in disseminating the writings of both Charles Taze Russell and Paul S.L. Johnson, including the multi-volume “Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures” and “Studies in the Scriptures,” along with periodicals like “The Bible Standard” and “The Present Truth.”

Despite the changes in leadership and the evolution of its activities, the core mission of the LHMM remains focused on fostering a deeper understanding of the Bible among lay Christians and promoting a non-denominational approach to faith. The movement’s emphasis on lay participation, its historical roots in the Bible Student movement, and its dedication to publishing and missionary work continue to characterize its unique position within the Christian religious landscape​​​​​​.

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