Introduction to the archives of the
Smith Discourse Service
A short biography of Brother Theodore (Ted) A. Smith is included in some biographical sketches. Late in 1969 he proposed to transcribe and share notable discourse lessons from Bible Students that were well researched. These lessons were numbered from 1-705. They were hand typed, copied and freely sent by regular mail to over 300 subscribers until Brother Ted’s death in 1983.
#1 Was an introductory letter from Brother Ted titled: Letter of Introduction to the Discourse Service. Then item #200 was circulated in 1973 simply titled: Discourse Service. This explains how it got started and has a fuller explanation of the purpose and scope of the service. He called it a “Discourse Service.” But it was much more than transcribed talks and discourses. It also included studies, reviews, signs of the times, scholarly treatises, charts, newspaper articles, early Bible Student materials, reprinted Bible Student convention discourses before 1916 both by Brother Russell and many others.
In order to digitally preserve these resources, the paper versions have been scanned and saved. Some (but far from all) of these lessons have been used elsewhere. However these files have been proof read with original sources. Scanning and typographical errors (which Brother Ted admitted occasionally occurred) have been corrected. While no work of our hands is perfect, yet this collection is much improved over other transcripts.
It should be noted that some numbered items were re-issued in later years with a new number. This collection retains only one copy. Additionally certain lessons that had never been published, such as Brother Seklemian’s discourses, have subsequently been published and are readily available. These numbers were omitted except for items that were not published. Otherwise some numbered items are grouped together into a singular authored file such as Benjamin Barton discourses and a series of 34 Smith articles on the “Harvest Message History” file. This accounts for some omitted number notations in these files.
Knowing that Brother Ted selected the subjects and lessons carefully, yet allowing for some diversity of thinking, we commend these in the spirit he wished:
1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”