Rutherford and Elevators -- All Others Use the Stairs

by VM44 21 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • VM44

    During the Olin Moyle court case, some of the "Jehovah's Witnesses" witnesses were asked on the stand if they knew if the elevators were held at ground floor at lunchtime so that Rutherford would not have to wait to use them when he returned to the building.

    Other people had to use the stairs; the elevators had to be kept ready for Rutherford.

    The JW witnesses denied knowing anything about this. But in reading the transcript of the trial, one gets the impression that none of the JWs wanted to admit anything negative about Rutherford, for instance, that Rutherford would give "trimmings" (verbal scolding) to individuals at lunchtime was not readily admitted by even Clayton Woodworth, a person who had direct experience being reprimanded by the "Judge"!

    Trying to get info from the witnesses appeared to be like squeezing water from a stone! Instead of "Jehovah's Witnesses" they all should have been called "Rutherford's Witnesses", but even then, one can read from their testimonies that they did not want to give truthful information about Rutherford on the stand.

    If people who knew Rutherford back then did not want to talk about Rutherford and tell how he truly behaved, imagine how difficult it is today for someone to write a biography about him, when most of the people who directly knew the person are no longer living.

    Now, back to the elevator story, one wonders if it was a rule made by Rutherford that the elevator was to be kept waiting for his return from lunch, or if it was the elevator operator who decided on his own to do this, we probably will never know for sure.

    One thing though, it does show the attitude towards "The Judge" during this time, that he was "The Boss", "The Ruler", and "The Head Honcho" of the Organization, and that he received special consideration from the "brethren".

    All the other peons had to use the stairs!


  • VM44

    Here is what The Saturday Evening Post wrote about Rutherford in the "Armageddon, Inc.", article by Stanley High, published September 14, 1940.

    Those words were penned in the first flush of grief. They reckoned without the all-too-human certainty that others, who once had been satisfied to touch the hem of Pastor Russell's garment, would aspire to wear it. The one on whose shoulders it finally came to rest was Joseph Franklin Rutherford" Judge" Rutherford to his following; plain "J. F." by his own signature.

    The story of Judge Rutherford's rise to prophetic stature is not part of the literature of the movement. By birth he is a Missourian. He studied law. As a young man, in several small Missouri towns, he practiced it. His judicial handle, like Pastor Russell's ordination, appears to be synthetic. On an occasion or two so one of his associates told me he was called to sit in something which approximated a judicial capacity. That was a long time ago, and, so I was told, he never uses the title when speaking of himself. Among his multitude, however, he is always Judge Rutherford, or just "the Judge."


    His associates are as loath to talk about him as they are to open the way to his presence. The movement, they say, is not of man but of God, and the less said about personalities the better.

    One or two personal items were unearthed. Apparently there is a Mrs.Rutherford. There is also a son. Whether they are Witnesses, no one seemed prepared to say.

  • hamsterbait


    Where did you get the transcript of the trial?

    Come to think of it the court transcripts of the trail in 1917 was also available - somebody posted about it last year.


  • Bonnie_Clyde

    There was unabashed creature worship back then. I have some Watchtowers from the late 1930's and he loved to print letters from the rank and file telling how wonderful he was.

    One thing I remember off the top of my head was his "suggestion" that everyone get at least 60 hours a month in. Some people commented that they realized that this "suggestion" was really from Jehovah.

  • VM44

    Hi Hamsterbait,

    Witnessinc is the source for the court transcripts.

    From their online catalog:

    #286 RUTHERFORD V. UNITED STATES: Read the exciting case of Joseph F. Rutherford, the leader of Jehovah's Witnesses who was found guilty in 1918 of "conspiracy to violate the espionage law" and sentenced to 20 years in the federal penitentiary in Atlanta, GA. All the dramatic court testimony is presented in two large volumes. Here is one of the most controversial trials in the history of American religion. $24.95. PLUS ANY 3 FREE AUDIO TAPES #OM1 THE OLIN MOYLE COURT CASE (1943): In 1943, former Watchtower Society attorney, Olin R. Moyle sued the leaders of JWs and won! Some 2,000 pages of court testimony exposing Watchtower corruption, lies, coverups and immorality at Bethel headquarters and much, much more! It reads like a book. More exciting than Perry Mason! $14.95.


  • Atlantis

    From the "Globe Democrat" 1941--Rutherford article:


    Article is typed out here: Associated With Witnesses in East in 1910 Joseph F. Rutherford, leader of the obedient multitude of Jehovah's Witnesses here for their national convention, began his career as a "follower of Jesus" in St. Louis 37 years ago, he disclosed to the Globe-Democrat yesterday in the first interview he has given a news-paper-man in three years. "One night in 1904," he said,"I wandered into a meeting of 150 Bible students on Grand avenue and came out so impressed and delighted I returned to Boonville, Mo., where I was practicing law, and formed a Bible study group there." Six years later, in New York, he became associated with Jehovah's Witnesses as a lecturer and subsequently traveled every state in the Union and spoke in many large cities in Europe and Asia. BACK IN CITY
    His present five-day visit to St. Louis during the convention is the longest since "that Bible meeting, which was the turning point of my career."
    Although his word is absolute among the more than 500,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in United States, Judge Rutherford objects to being called their leader--"Im just a follower of Jesus like the others, fighting alongside them"--and prefers to be known only as president of the three corporations which do the Witnesses publishing. "The many thousands that have come to St. Louis have not come on my account, but only that we together might bear testimony and encourage people who have been mislead and deluded by false doctrines in order that they might see that the theocratic government is the hope and only hope of the human race." he said. LAWYER 17 YEARS
    "For 17 years I practiced law in the courts of Missouri, including the courts of St. Louis, state and federal. The title "judge" some people still apply to me comes from my service as special judge under the provisions of the Missouri statute. But Christian people are not interested in men, but their interest is centered in the theocratic government and the truth concerning that government is proclaimed by men in all walks of life and one does not stand above the other. "To me, titles mean nothing." he laughed. "It doesn't matter whether I'm called Judge or jackass." But from the Witnesses Rutherford is accorded a mixture of reverence due a divine agent, and honor and gratitude that would go to a teacher and way-shower.
    Conventionites deny they fear for his safety, but the tall, soft-spoken man is guarded with a thoroughness rivaling the Secret Service ring about President Roosevelt. His place of abode in St Louis is a secret which officials preserve with a polite "I don't know."
    When he arrives at the Arena a double line of husky well-instructed men link arms to shield him. Efficient flying squads block any approach near him in the building, while at least two guard are on duty at each of four landings in the arena stairway leading to the fourth-floor administration offices. The Judge takes the elevator. Others must walk, explaining their mission four times en route. Few survive the gauntlet. Rutherford said he tries to make himself available to any Witness, but his subordinates explain they are seeking to conserve his strength.
    Before and after addresses from the speakers' platform, the guard is even tighter. He arrives only seconds before he begins to talk and is whisked to an automobile before the concluding applause dies out. The audience is cautioned not to whisper. Ushers have turned back everyone seeking to enter the auditorium with a pop-bottle in his hand. No one not wearing a "convention servant" ribbon is permitted within 50 feet of the platform. Asked to explain the basic differences between beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses and other religions, Rutherford said: "They are diametrically opposed and therefore can't be classified together just as you can't add a man and a house and have two men or two houses. Christianity, as opposed to "christianity" means doing the will of Almighty God. Religion is the doing of anything that is contrary to the will of God." NO HUMAN LEADER
    Along the same lines, Rutherford explained, Jehovah's Witnesses could be called neither a sect, cult, church, nor organization. "The first two imply a human leader, which I am not," he said. "The latter two definitions are improper because our work is an individual mission, individuals serving God in their own way."
    As to the literal interpretation of the Bible he asserted "we simply do what it says and don't try to twist out interpretations that will serve our agenda. There are no contradictory parts of the Bible. Rutherford was reluctant to talk of international affairs, since he (continued on Page 4A, Column 5. )

  • VM44


    Thanks for typing that out.

    Where did you find that article? It is great.

    It certainly shows how Rutherford was isolated, and only surrounded by "Full time Servants" as one yearbook experience put it.

    What Rutherford says about titles not being important to him rings false, as when he spoke he was always called "Judge Rutherford" in the notices. He well knew how he was being advertised, and could have stopped the usage of the title "Judge" before his name.

    Good article, would you happen to have the next page of it?


  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    I have a personal theory about the reason that ol' Joe enjoyed the title "Judge."

    I think he was playing off the Bible Students' knowledge of the history of ancient Israel, who knew that when Israel came out of bondagein Egypt they were not given a King, but Judges. I think that back at that time, the expectation was that the "King" was soon to arrive. How fitting that Jehovah's people have a Judge lead them until that time.

    I have absolutely no objective evidence upon which to base this opinion, but it is one I like for right now.

  • Atlantis

    VM44: I will be happy to type out the rest of the newspaper article for you. If you should want a scan of this newspaper article, then just send me a [pm]! This was the newspaper article that Rutherford told newspaper reporters that it was the [Watchtower Society] who actually owned [Bethsarim], and that he (Rutherford), did [not] own any property. It is also the newspaper article that Rutherford admits that {Bethsarim] was actually for the [preceding] presidents of the Watchtower Society to inherit, and Rutherford mentioned [nothing] about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Rutherford Got Start in St. Louis ending from First Page, (typed out above) Rutherford was reluctant to talk of International affairs, since he Continued from first page, felt an expression of personal opinion might be construed as reflecting of members "who must, in all things, follow their own consciences." "We naturally are neutral in the European crisis," he said. "Jehovah's Witnesses are fighters, but not with carnal weapons. It's truth that makes people free, and we are fighting with truth as our weapon. We couldn't conscientiously fight for the German, Italian or such governments, since we are devoted to fighting for the theocratic government. CALLS HITLER CRAZY "Hitler," he commented, "Is as crazy as a bedbug. He is under the control of demons as sure as the sun shines, but there isn't the remotest chance he will succeed in his purpose of dominating the world." Jehovah's Witnesses, as ordained ministers, are exempt under the Selective Service act, he said, and have been specifically covered in an exemption order by Gen. Hershey, Selective Service director. Rutherford, often rumored to be wealthy since he took up residence in "Bethsarim," $75,000 mansion near San Diego, Cal., laughed at a question pertaining to his personal income. "If I died tomorrow," he said "I wouldn't have money enough to buy a coffin. I imagine though, I would depend on the society buying me one. I haven't showed a net personal profit in anything all my life." NO COLLECTION TAKEN Collections are never taken among Jehovah's Witnesses, he added, and they never ask for money. "As the scriptures declare, all the wealth belongs to Almighty God," Rutherford declared. "We are engaged in His work and He sees to it that a sufficient amount of money is provided to carry on the work. He does not beg nor do His faithful followers. "Every one of Jehovah's Witnesses serves freely and without hire. Every person attending this convention, who is able, pays his own expenses and if he has a little surplus he joyfully gives that to help pay for the expenses of the poor, and here we are feeding many poor people free of charge." He declined to disclose the society's income from literature on the ground that the "religions never submit a public statement on theirs." The California mansion, he went on, is not his property. "It was bought and is owned by the Watchtower Society," he added. "I have no property myself. Even the copyrights from my books and pamphlets are held by the Society. "I occupy Bethsarim only by virtue of being president of the society, and succeeding presidents will be entitled to do the same." CERTAIN UPHEAVALS Judge Rutherford at one point elaborated on references many convention speakers had made to the end of the world being near. Asked for a date prediction and probable first manifestations of destruction of the world, he said: "It isn't wise to try to fix biblical prophesies to a calendar, but there are certain upheavals in civilization predicted in the Bible after which the final stage then will begin. The word "then" is not amplified, but there are many indications the trend toward Armageddon began in 1914. Coincidentally, that marked the beginning of Hitler's evil career. "The earth will not be destroyed physically. There will always be an earth and there will always be men on it because God put them there. It simply means the triumph of Christ's will over evil. The destruction will be a displacement of evil in the same way that light displaces or dissipates darkness. DIFFERENT MANNER Judge Rutherford's quiet voice and friendly manner is wholly unexpected in view of the unquestioning promptness with which he is obeyed by subordinate officials. As Rutherford's spokesmen, the commands of his subordinates are likewise law to members. Their obedience is astounding. At one night session the chairman inside the Arena announced over the loudspeaker the Arena grounds were badly littered with the refuge of a thousand tincan meals and beds made of newspapers. He requested it be cleaned up. Instantly every person within hearing sprang into action and the debris vanished in seconds. In the lobby of the Arena, during speeches, booth attendants growl a firm "Be quiet," if any stranger has the effrontery to interrupt their listening. Throughout the convention, no smoking has been permitted. end of article 1941.

  • Atlantis

    Internal Database (Watchtower Observer)-Kent Olin R. Moyle Olin Moyle was an attorney who was asked to come to Bethel in 1935 to help the Watchtower Society in its freedom-of-worship legal cases. He discovered that Bethel was anything but the "spiritual paradise" the Society claims it is.His letter of resignation is a very revealing one, particularly in light of the fact that when Jehovah allegedly pronounced that the Watchtower Society was in a "cleansed" condition and worthy of His selection as His sole mouthpiece, the one man in charge of everything done or said by of the Watchtower Society was none other than Joseph F. Rutherford himself. This letter reveals much about what kind of a man Rutherford was and what kind of an environment he fostered at the worldwide headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    This letter is written as dignified and reasoned tone that could be expected, considering what subjects it is addressing.

    Rutherford responded to this letter in the October 15, 1939 Watchtower. Rutherford's response in what was supposed to be a "Bible-based" religious journal further confirmed just what sort of man he was. Moyle responded with a lawsuit for libel. After Rutherford's death he collected $15,000 plus court costs from the Society.

    The letter as reproduced below was "Exhibit 4" in the libel lawsuit against Rutherford and the board of directors of the Watchtower Society.

    Here Is his letter:

    OLIN R. MOYLE Counsellor
    117 Adams Street. Brooklyn. New York
    Telephone Triangle 5-1474
    July 21, 1939
    Judge J. F. Rutherford, Brooklyn, N. Y.
    Dear Brother Rutherford:

    This letter is to give you notice of our intention to leave Bethel on September 1st next. These reasons for leaving are stated herein and we ask that you give them careful and thoughtful consideration.

    Conditions at Bethel are a matter of concern to all of the Lord's people. Nowhere among imperfect men can there be perfect freedom from oppression, discrimination and unfair treatment, but at the Lord's headquarters on earth conditions should be such that injustice would be reduced to the minimum. That is not the case here at Bethel and a protest should be made against it. I am in a good position to make such protest because your treatment of me has been generally kind, considerate and fair. I can make this protest in the interests of the Bethel family and of the Kingdom work without any personal interest entering into the matter.

    Treatment of Bethel Family

    Shortly after coming to Bethel we were shocked to witness the spectacle of our brethren receiving what is designated as a "trimming" from you. The first, if memory serves me correct, was a tongue lashing given to C. J. Woodworth. Woodworth in a personal letter to you stated something to the effect that it would be serving the devil to continue using our present day calendar. For that he was humiliated, called a jackass, and given a public lambasting. Others have been similarly treated. McCaughey, McCormick, Knorr, Prosser, Price, Van Sipma, Ness and others have been similarly scolded. They have been publicly called to account, condemned, and reprimanded without any previous notice. This summer some of the most unfair public reproaches have been given. J. Y. McCauley asked a question which carried with it a criticism of the present method of Watch Tower study. For that he was severely reprimanded. Your action constituted a violation of the principle for which we are fighting, towit, freedom of speech. It was the action of a boss and not that of a fellow servant. Securing an efficient mode of study with imperfect study leaders is no easy task, and no method yet produced has proved to be one hundred per cent perfect. You stated that no complaints had come to you concerning this method of study. If that be the case you have not had all the facts presented to you. There is complaint in various places that the Watch Tower studies have degenerated into mere reading lessons. It may be that the present method is the best that can be used, but in view of known limitations honest criticism should not be censored nor honest critics punished.

    Brother Worsley received a public denunciation from you because he prepared and handed to brethren a list of helpful Scripture citations on fundamental topics. How can we consistently condemn religionists for being intolerant when you exercise intolerance against those who work with you? Doesn't this prove that the only freedom permitted at Bethel is freedom to do and say that which you wish to be said and done? The Lord certainly never authorized you to exercise such high handed authority over your fellow servants.

    Since the Madison Square Garden meeting there has been a distressing condition of restraint and suspicion at Bethel. The ushers were placed in a tough spot but did an excellent piece of work. They exercised care and diligence in watching arrivals at the Garden, and prevented a number of suspicious characters from entering. They were on the job immediately when the disturbance started and quelled a disturbance which would have otherwise reached serious proportions. But for two weeks following the convention there has been constant criticism and condemnation of them from you. They have been charged with dereliction of duty and labelled as "sissies". To see some of these boys break down and cry because of your unkind remarks is, to say the least, saddening.

    The brethren at Bethel have thoroughly demonstrated their loyalty and devotion to the Lord, and do not need to be berated for wrong doing. A suggestion or a kindly admonition from you would be more than sufficient to check any wrongful action, and would eliminate resentment and induce greater happiness and comfort for the whole family. You have stated many times that there are no bosses in the Lord's organization but the undeniable fact cannot be evaded that your actions in scolding and upbraiding these boys are the actions of a boss. It makes one sick at heart and disgusted to listen to them. If you will cease smiting your fellow servants Bethel will be a happier place and the Kingdom work will prosper accordingly.


    We publish to the world that all in the Lord's organization are treated alike, and receive the same as far as this world's goods are concerned. You know that is not the case. The facts cannot be denied. Take for instance the difference between the accommodations furnished to you, and your personal attendants, compared with those furnished to some of your brethren. You have many homes, to wit, Bethel, Staten Island, California, etc. I am informed that even at the Kingdom Farm one house is kept for your sole use during the short periods you spend there. And what do the brethren at the farm receive? Small rooms, unheated thru the bitter cold winter weather. They live in their trunks like campers. That may be all right if necessary, but there are many houses on the farm standing idle or used for other purposes, which could be used to give some comfort to those who work so long and so hard.

    You work in a nice air conditioned room. You and your attendants spend a portion of the week in the quiet of country surroundings. The boys at the factory diligently work thru the hot summer months without such helps, or any effort made to give them. That is discrimination which should receive your thoughtful consideration.


    Here again is shown unequal and discriminatory treatment. One brother left Bethel some time ago for the purpose of getting married, and, so I am informed, was refused the privilege of pioneering in New York, apparently as an official disapproval of his action in leaving Bethel. On the other hand when Bonnie Boyd got married she didn't have to leave Bethel. She was permitted to bring her husband into Bethel in spite of the printed rule providing that both marrying parties should have lived there for five years.

    Harsh treatment of one and favoured treatment of another is discrimination, and should not have a place in the Lord's organization.

    Filthy and Vulgar Language

    The Biblical injunctions against unclean, filthy speaking and jesting have never been abrogated. It is shocking and nauseating to hear vulgar speaking and smut at Bethel. It was stated by a sister that was one of the things you had to get used to at Bethel. The loudest laughter at the table comes when a filth or near filthy joke goes through, and your skirts are not clear.


    Under your tutelage there has grown up a glorification of alcohol and condemnation of total abstinence which is unseemly. Whether a servant of Jehovah drinks alcoholic liquor is none of my business, except in giving a helping hand to a brother who is stumbled thereby. Whether I am a total abstainer is nobody's business but my own. But not so at Bethel. There appears to be a definite policy of breaking in newcomers into the use of liquor, and resentment is shown against those who do not join them. The claim is made, "One can't be a real Bethelite without drinking beer." Shortly after we arrived it was arrogantly stated, "we can't do much with Moyle, but we'll make a man out of Peter." A New York brother intimated that I was out of harmony with the truth and with the Society because I didn't drink liquor. A New York sister stated that she had never used liquor or served it until some of the Bethel boys insisted upon it. A brother who used to drink liquor to excess became a total abstainer after getting the truth. He knew that a single drink of liquor would start him off to his former drinking habits, but in spite of that brethren from Bethel insisted upon his imbibing liquor and inferred that he was out of harmony with the organization through refusing. Total abstainers are looked upon with scorn as weaklings. You have publicly labelled total abstainers as prudes and therefore must assume your share of the responsibility for the Bacchus like attitude exhibited by members of the family.

    These are a few of the things which should have no place in the Lord's organization. There are other more grievous injustices but I have had no personal contact with them and therefore do not discuss them.

    It hasn't been an easy or pleasant task to write these things to you, and it's still harder to make this protest effective by leaving Bethel.

    We sold our home and business when we came to Bethel and fully intended to spend the rest of our lives at this place in the Lord's service. We leave in order to register most emphatically our disagreement with the unjust conditions related in this letter. We are not leaving the Lord's service but will continue to serve Him and His organization as fully as strength and means will allow.

    Neither am I running away from battling the Devil's crowd in the courts. I expect to return to the private practice of law, probably in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and hope to be in the fight in every way possible. With this letter I am enclosing a statement of the major cases now pending in which I am actively participating. It would be unreasonable and unfair to drop these matters into your lap without further assistance or consideration. I am ready and willing to press these issues in the courts just as vigorously and carefully as though I remained at Bethel, and will do so if that is your desire.

    We have considered this action for some time, but this letter is delivered to you just as we are leaving on a vacation trip for very specific reasons. First: It is desirable that you take time for thought and consideration of the matters herein set forth before taking any action. Hasty and ill considered action might be regrettable. Second: Frankly I have no desire for a verbal argument with you over these matters. I have had plenty of occasion to observe that a controversial matter does not receive a calm and reasoned discussion of the facts. Too often it turns into a denunciation of some person by you.

    I am not interested in that kind of a wordy battle. These statements are the reasons presented by Sister Moyle and myself for leaving Bethel. If we speak erroneously or wrongfully we are responsible before the Lord for so speaking. If we speak truthfully, and we stoutly content that everything here related is the truth, then there is an immediate responsibility on your part to remedy the conditions necessitating this protest. May the Lord direct and guide you into fair and kindly treatment of your fellow servants is my wish and prayer.

    Your Brother in the King's service,

    Olin R. Moyle.

    P.S. Should you desire to write to me concerning these matters during vacation a letter will reach me at Ticonderoga, New York, General Delivery after July 29th.

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