The Amazing “Judge” Rutherford of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Joseph Franklin Rutherford. President, 1917-1942

Joseph Franklin Rutherford (November 8, 1869 – January 8, 1942) was aloft by a acreage ancestors in Missouri. He was the additional admiral of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the third, or the first. Depending on whom you ask. We’ll alarm him the second…

Rutherford began a career in law, adjoin the wishes of his family. He served as a cloister stenographer, balloon lawyer, and prosecutor, and was appointed a “special judge” forth the way, in the 14th Judicial District of Missouri, in the backward 1890’s. Hence the appellation “judge” is added to his name in the history books. The acceptation of the chat “special” notwithstanding, this was a actual accustomed appellation for those who did acting backup plan on the bench. Nevertheless, the appellation of “Judge” ashore throughout his career, giving the man an ambience of importance.

One day, as is the case for so abounding of us, some “Russellites” came calling. This was 1894, and Rutherford was absorbed abundant over time with these affiliation as to acquirement the aboriginal three volumes of Russell’s 7-volume set, Studies in the Scriptures.

Rutherford was afflicted by Russell’s artlessness and his sentiments appear religion, which were abundantly his own. He and his wife began captivation Bible classes in their home. He abutting the students’ accumulation that was belief the Bible together, and was baptized, in 1906. Anon his acknowledged talents were alleged upon, and he became the acknowledged admonition for the Watch Tower Affiliation in 1907.

The acceleration to power

By 1916 he had become one of the seven admiral of the Watch Tower Society; if Russell died afterwards that year, he was allotment of a three-man controlling committee.

Russell’s afterlife instigated some of the affliction instincts of man’s animalism for power. One thinks of the Popes and their affirmation to the head of Rome… absolutely animal activities accepting annihilation to do with the Kingdom of God.

Here in this aboriginal JW history, there was abundant jockeying for the alone appointment of the presidency. To be fair, at atomic one man, an abettor to the controlling committee, a Mr. Macmillan, said, “Rutherford did not apperceive what was traveling on. He absolutely didn’t do any backroom or campaigning for votes, but I assumption he was accomplishing some worrying, alive if he was adopted he would accept a big job on his hands… There is no agnosticism in our minds that the Lord’s will was done in this choice. It is assertive that Rutherford himself had annihilation to do with it.”

Give him the account of the doubt? Addition angel comes to apperception of a assertive Saul, of Old Testament times, shy and apprehensive and alert at first, again a near-monster of a man if ability shaped him. This transformation seems to accept been Rutherford’s, by accounts accessible to us now.

On January 6, 1917, Rutherford, age-old 47, was adopted Admiral of the Watch Tower Society. No one adjoin him. He was the natural, obvious, choice. At first.

But anon the amusement ended. Four associates of the lath of directors, larboard in abode by Russell, accused him of accepting way too authoritative, even autocratic. They approved aboriginal on to abate his powers. A ability attempt ensued which was amenable for bags of defections from the movement.

Rutherford’s appearance is that these men artlessly basic the ability for themselves, and approved to yield over. But there were affidavit they did not like the administration the “Judge” was headed.

Go anon to jail

His autograph abilities were immense, even added so than his predecessor. One of his aboriginal best-sellers was a book alleged The Finished Mystery. It independent anti-establishment sentiments that were so able that Rutherford and those about him were accused by the U.S. government of sedition, and beatific to jail!

They were “charged beneath the Espionage Act that came out in 1917, of attempting to could could cause insubordination, disloyalty, abnegation of assignment in the armed armament and obstructing the application and application account of the U.S. while it was at war, and bedevilled to 20 years’ imprisonment.”

It was not the aboriginal or endure time that bodies of this movement would becloud the doors of chastening institutions. Not alone for anti-government propaganda.

In the book he claimed that the world’s religions and the governments of the “beast”could not appeal our loyalty. Patriotism was accordingly a apparition to him. Canada banned the book altogether.

During this period, Rutherford gave a allocution advantaged “The World Has Ended-Millions Now Active May Never Die”. Afterwards the “may” became “will” and the allocution became a book. He was assertive that there would be advancing anon a accepted awakening of Old Testament saints!

Recall, these were the War years. WWI was advancing an end, and spies and traitors were absolutely present. One couldn’t be too careful.

From the “Movement’s” point of view, it was a abundant way to become a agonize for the cause. Indeed, his ability broadcast at the end of the bastille sentence, which affronted out to be alone a amount of months afterwards all. By May, 1920, all accuse were dropped.

The agonize emerges

After his release, Rutherford began in ardent to change the appearance of the Movement, both in alignment and in doctrine. It is this transformation of things that causes bodies in the movement today to abjure Russell’s allotment in the history of their accumulation altogether. Russell’s acceptability had become a ascetic problem. It was bright he did not accept the appearance that bodies accepted of one who would allege for God. And Rutherford adjoin abundant of what Russell had proclaimed. But not all. Abounding of the basics remained.

It was in May of 1919 that addition aloft advertisement was announced. It would be the advertiser of the accepted Awake magazine, alleged The Golden Age.

Shortly thereafter, the “Bible Students” were told they accept to deliver this journal door-to-door.

Then came the amplification of the Society’s press facilities, and the awakening of the affairs of books and Bibles. Rutherford’s own publications accomplished a complete press of 36 actor copies. He was absolutely prolific, even added so than Russell. He wrote twenty-one books and was accustomed by the Affiliation in 1942 with the administration of about 400 actor books and booklets.

But the asphyxiate about “God’s People” was tightening. In 1920 all admonition activity had to be appear to him. Branch offices were re-organized according to his liking.

He accepted of the huge crowds that came to his meetings, that they accept to yield the bulletin far and wide, that they accept to become publicity agents to accomplish Jesus’ commission. Aperture to aperture was to be the method.

In 1925 he in actuality acquired abounding ascendancy over what doctrines would be accomplished in Watch Tower Affiliation publications.

He had been aggravating to broadcast a certificate alleged “Birth of the Nation”, which apparent bright capacity amid Russell and himself. He was opposed. Rutherford afterwards claimed that the devil himself had “tried to anticipate the advertisement of that article… but bootless in that effort”. In 1927, as appear above, the Watch Tower Affiliation accomplished the press of Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures.

Next, 1924, appear 15-minute radio broadcasts. On 480 stations. Eventually, NBC and BBC would ban his broadcasts due to his ceaseless attacks on the clergy, whom he abnormally hated.

1931. At a Bible Apprentice accumulation in Ohio’s capital, Rutherford proposed a new name for the organization, “Jehovah’s Witnesses”, to differentiate them from the added groups that had breach off in favor of Russell’s teachings. (And hopefully to escape the characterization always of “Russellite.”) For some the escape was and is actual important. To this day, the avant-garde “Witness” is not top in his attention for Russell. But abounding are still alleged “Russellite” in animosity of their abhorrence to him. I accept acclimated the appellation myself on occasion. History demands that Russell’s access was monumental.

Rutherford’s alleged name for his army apparently comes from Isaiah 43:10, “You are My witnesses,” a access announced by God Himself to the bodies of Israel, His assemblage of His abundant works through the years. Israel absolutely has witnessed, through Moses, the miracles of the Exodus and the cruise through the wilderness. Through the added prophets, Israel is a attestant of the acceleration of a nation in the average of boilerplate that exists to this day. Israel is attestant to the advancing of Messiah and the alpha of the Church.

Israel has apparent it all. That’s what “witnesses” do. They see things and address what they see. How this access could administer to a 19th-century band which has re-written the Scriptures, and has apparent nothing, is harder to say.

More and added power

Rutherford’s brilliant connected to rise. The time came when, to argue him, was the aforementioned as opposing God. He in actuality claimed to be the advocate of Jehovah, aback Russell had departed.

In a few years, all the meeting-houses were re-named “Kingdom Halls”. In 1937, Rutherford accepted that those traveling door-to-door would do aggregate accessible to alarm aback at homes and alpha approved Bible studies there.

He, in 1938, labeled the movement a Theocracy, a anatomy of government area God Himself – through the “Judge” of advance – was in charge.

Rutherford died in 1942, abrogation abaft an abundantly organized and able alignment with tens of bags of adherents. Though there had been losses due to the doctrinal changes he instituted, added than an abounding accretion fabricated up for them.

About those changes, and conflicts with Russell.

One affair Rutherford began to do was casting as idolaters those who basic to admire Russell’s memory. It didn’t bother him that he had himself taken the abode of God in the people’s thinking. This was just a afflictive necessity.

In July 1917, Rutherford had a book alleged The Finished Mystery put advanced as the seventh aggregate of the Studies in the Scriptures series. In actuality the book independent article not captivated to by Russell. New dates for prophecies were included. The alpha of Christ’s administration was now 1914, not 1878, for example. The awakening of the “sleeping saints” was to be 1918, aswell not 1878.

A book that Russell had completed in 1881, showed up in a revised edition. Abounding of his article had been changed.

Russell, for example, accomplished the cycling down of animal affiliation to the point area Armageddon would be a accustomed outcome. Rutherford claimed it would be absolutely a God affair if it happened, not brought about by man at all.

Before that 1931 change of the Society’s name, came a new accent on God’s Name, “Jehovah.” This was to be the primary commodity of Christianity now, the absolution of God’s Name, not God’s adroitness to humanity.

Gog and Magog (Ezekiel) would somehow now be apprenticed up with the animality of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It would advance to God antibacterial at Armageddon all those who adjoin them.

Russell’s accent on appearance development, that is, sanctification, was now discredited (1926).

And the aberrant teaching extracted from Matthew 24 that Russell was the “faithful and astute servant” Jesus was discussing, was no added to be captivated by accurate Bible Students.

In 1927, Christmas was declared to be of agnostic origin, again Mother’s Day was accursed in 1931. Before this was all over, even altogether celebrations were not allowed!

Truly the changes were advancing one on top of the other.

Rutherford and Israel and Adolf

Whereas Jews were adored by Russell as accepting acquired God’s favor, Rutherford claimed that the Jewish business leaders of his day were “arrogant, aloof and acutely selfish.” The abstraction of God abating the Jews to Palestine was discontinued.

It was during Rutherford’s administration that the afterward letter, translated for our purposes, was beatific to one Adolf Hitler, cozying up to the absolutist for his approval, that the Assemblage of his acreage would escape persecution.

Dear Reichskanzler…

The Brooklyn headquarter of the Watchtower Affiliation is pro German in an admirable way and has been so for abounding years. For that reason, in 1918, the admiral of the Affiliation and seven associates of the lath of admiral were bedevilled to 80 years in prison, because the admiral banned to use two of the magazines appear in America beneath his administration for war advertising adjoin Germany. These two magazines, “The Watchtower” and “Bible Student” were the alone magazines in America which banned to appoint in anti-German advertising and for that acumen were banned and suppressed in America during the war.

In the actual aforementioned manner, in advance of the contempo months the lath of admiral of our Affiliation not alone banned to appoint in advertising adjoin Germany, but has even taken a position adjoin it. The amid acknowledgment underlines this actuality and emphasizes that the bodies arch in such advertising (Jewish businessmen and Catholics) aswell are the a lot of accurate persecutors of the plan of our Affiliation and its lath of directors. This and added statements of the acknowledgment are meant to abandon the calumniating accusation, that Bible Researchers are accurate by the Jews.

The appointment of 5 thousand assembly aswell acclaimed – as is bidding in the acknowledgment – that the Bible Researchers of Germany are affronted for the actual aforementioned top ethical goals and ethics which aswell the civic government of the German Reich proclaimed apropos the accord of bodies to God, namely: bluntness of the created accepting appear its creator.

The appointment came to the cessation that there are no contradictions if it comes to the accord amid the Bible Researchers of Germany to the civic government of the German Reich. To the contrary, apropos to the absolutely religious and unpolitical goals and efforts of the Bible Researchers, it can be said that these are in abounding acceding with the identical goals of the civic government of the German Reich.

We are searching advanced to your affectionate approval, which we achievement to accept soon, and wish to assure our accomplished account to you, atonement Mr. Reichskanzler.

Yours faithfully,

Watch Tower Bible and Tract Affiliation Magdeburg

And more

Also gone in the new Rutherford administration would be the Pyramid annex for God’s revelation. To Rutherford, the accomplished abstraction was Satanic.

In 1930 came addition estimation of the Book of Adumbration in which he adapted his own aloft views, and alone absolutely those of Russell!

And anon after, a Rutherford book accursed the women’s movements of his day as Satanic.

1935. School acceptance are not to address the flag. If they do, they are accusable of death! Yes, that was what he said. In 1940 alone, accouchement in 43 states were kicked out of schools for aggravating to obey this mandate. The courts saw abundant of the Witnesses. By 1943, the allegation adjoin the acceptance were antipodal by the courts. This, afterwards affronted mob scenes afflicted the accessible into action.

In 1938, Rutherford alleged a arrest to singing at congregational meetings. (Oh dear!) The bodies were at atomic astute abundant to put singing aback into the calendar anon afterwards he died.

In that aforementioned year, 1938, he began advancement his followers to overlook about accepting affiliated and accepting kids until afterwards Armageddon. This accomplished attitude produced a bent adjoin marriage, acceptance the bachelor to yield a aloft attitude against the “weak” brothers and sisters who just had to tie the knot.

Farewell to the cantankerous and to abounding people

It was Rutherford aswell who alien the abstraction of Jesus accepting been crucified on an cocked stake, and not on a Roman “cross.” The accepted attribute of Christianity appropriately became doubtable in his growing account of angry things.

It becomes bright from this consistently growing accumulating of issues, why abounding alone his anew formed Bible association. Abounding were angrily loyal to Russell. But Russell had laid the foundation of acumen as accepting the a lot of important abundance a man can accept in accession at truth. And acumen is a actual claimed thing. My acumen and your acumen are different. So if a new man with a new faculty of acumen came along, a lot of of the sheep followed. Some, abandoning acumen evidently, split.

A adoration of animal origin

It is so important for us to accretion from this altercation of the two altered men with two altered sets of beliefs, that this Attestant adoration did not appear from Heaven, but rather from men and their connected admiration to amount out the Scriptures in their own “reasonable” way.

The Watch Tower Affiliation is a absolutely animal organization. But it does not see itself that way, as is accurate of a lot of cults and band associates until it is too late.

His Appearance and Personality

As you accept seen, Rutherford and Russell were two altered bodies altogether. It is said that Russell had warmth. Rutherford had a admeasurement of that but was aswell actual abrupt and complete in his access to people. He believed he bare this complete touch, to bouncer what was committed to him. He could be edgeless and offensive, abnormally as his ascendancy grew. He had an atomic temper.

We see a little if not a lot of that King Saul affection I mentioned earlier. Who was it that said that ability “corrupts” and complete ability “corrupts absolutely”? It was accurate of Judge Rutherford.

He banned to accommodation the positions at which he had arrived. At least, for a time. I mean, there were changes. In fact, he absolutely generally afflicted his positions on his ideas: For archetype at one point he said that the bribe of Jesus was for all. Then, not for all. Awakening would appear during the 1000 years. Again it would not. Jesus would acknowledgment in 1874. Again 1914.

Change, yes. But during the abbreviate or continued time that he entertained a view, that appearance was “Bible”. Not to be messed with! He self-righteously declared that those with whom he disagreed were of the Devil. Period. If he was appear from bastille he claimed that all who had beatific him there were in Satan’s organization. How abroad could a “man of God” absolve accepting abaft bars?

Dogmatic. Insensitive. Obsessed with his own importance. That’s what they said about him.

Rutherford himself said, “Jehovah never makes any mistakes. Area the apprentice relies aloft man, he is assertive to be led into difficulties.” He batten of Russell, no doubt. But he was clumsy to accumulate bodies from depending on his own person.

He could accept abstruse that bodies are amiss and accomplish mistakes in their abstracts (as his aloft “boss” had done often, to apprehend Rutherford acquaint it). Instead, he affected that the greater “light” that was his, was the final word. And he accepted all of his followers to accept the same.

But abounding would not follow. And these he vilified especially, labeling them “despicable.”

Though Rutherford preached acerbity to his people, it would accept he was not practicing such a life. Though ascetic segments of his adventure do emerge.

In agreement of his marriage, Mary and he afar afterwards the “Judge” became Admiral of the Watch Tower. She remained an alive “Witness” but could not reside with Judge Joe.

For bloom affidavit he was told to move to a added favorable climate, and congenital himself a alcazar in San Diego. A actual big-ticket villa. Some would say luxurious. His life-style began to draw criticism. He spent his winters there, his summers in Europe.

Corruption sets in

After 1925, if the “princes” to whom he deeded the aloft villa, namely, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, did not show, he was changed. He drank to excess, and was manipulated by leaders Franz and Knorr to body a abode in San Diego. The abstraction was to get this collapsed man out of Brooklyn…

The villa, two Cadillacs, the whiskey, the brandy, and added liquors, alleged into catechism just what this man’s activity was about.

The acknowledged advocate for Mr. Rutherford and the Affiliation accommodated in 1939 over all of this august way of living, that included, according to him, barbarous analysis of the staff, discrimination, and barnyard language. It was appear by others that it was harder to get the Judge to the belvedere on some canicule due to his accepting over-done it with booze just antecedent to the occasion.

No respecter of persons

Rutherford died at age 72, from cancer. His burying was delayed for several months due to one added apocryphal teaching that he and Russell agreed upon. It had to do with the alarming convenance of ambience dates. In this case, the date for Armageddon.

In the book referred to above, Millions Now Active Will Never Die, he in actuality said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be adored in 1925, and would of advance charge a abode to stay. This was to be, in his thinking, that San Diego alcazar (named by him, Beth Sarim, the “house of the princes”) in which he himself lived until 1942! That’s why the acreage was deeded to these three men.

Though it was deeded to them, he adapted to be active on that acreage himself. I accept the will alleged for it.

So, abject to the falseness of this movement and to the man who now represented it, followers began to assemble a tomb on the acreage afterwards his decease. That’s if the city-limits of San Diego stepped in. Acreage ethics in that adjacency were traveling to collapse if a tomb was in the bosom of it. They said no to the venture. A action ensued.

Characteristic of Assemblage in every generation, the “persecution” agenda was played. But they absent the case in animosity of their whimpering. Months afterwards Rutherford was buried. Elsewhere.

Nathan Homer Knorr succeeded the Judge as admiral of the Watch Tower Society.

Rutherford’s activity from a animal angle was a admirable success. Membership in the Watch Tower assorted by 6 in his 25-year presidency. His writings were apprehend abounding times added than were Russell’s, and Russell’s were a abnormality on their own. One hundred books and pamphlets, as of 1941, 80 languages.

But beheld from Scripture’s perspective, his activity was an bottomless failure, for all the aforementioned reasons.