Carefully chosen words
deserve to be considered
*** Watchtower April 1, 1920, pp.99-104 ***
[Scans available: Page 99 , 100 , 101 , 102 , 103 , 104 ]
Let Us Dwell in Peace
[...] If the Society was the channel for the beginning of these publications, is there any evidence indicating that the Lord has since chosen another and different channel? If the Society is not the channel for the transmission of this message of truth to the people, then why has the Lord permitted it to have the exclusive control of the publications? This includes the Watch Tower, which has at all times been recognized as the official organ of the Society.
It is the conclusion, therefore, of the Editorial Committee--and in this the officers of the Society concur--that the Society is the Channel the Lord is using to carry on his work; that it has a divine commission, a work to perform, and which it is endeavoring, by the Lord's grace, to perform. If others have a different view, let them enjoy that view, but let us dwell together in peace. There is no occasion for controversy. We have no quarrel with any one who holds a different view.
The above words are taken from The Watchtower magazine four years after the death of its founder, C.T.Russell.
Those were difficult years for many reasons. Not the least of which was the transition from one leadership (meaning one thing to the readers of the magazine) to an entirely different leadership under one J.F. (Judge) Rutherford.
Rutherford's task was essentially that of wresting power and authority from a charismatic (dead) leader and assuming legitimacy for himself. He set about that task with brutal efficiency.
1.Rutherford needed control of the corporation and business interests of the Watchtower as sole leader. His obstacle was that Russell had already decided who would occupy that position and had named those men. Rutherford disagreed. Through legal manuevers better known to Rutherford he was able to overturn Russell's arrangement and replace it with his own.
2.Rutherford needed to explain the transition of leadership in biblical terms using Russell's familiar style and own peculiar brand of logic without damaging any of the cherished belief orthodoxy which had sprung from Russell's exegesis of scripture.
3.Once Rutherford achieved sole authority over the Watchtower as a means of disseminating doctrine he could change willy-nilly whatever he liked. In the meantime, it was vital that he not paint his predecessor as anything but a beacon of divine revelation.
At first this was achieved using the explication of the book of Revelation which C.T. (Pastor) Russell had been working on before his death in 1916. A ghost writer completed it and it was released two years into the unsettled time of WWI.
It is important to note that many complicated events took place in this interim period which sealed the fate of J.F.Rutherford and the leadership of the Watchtower Society as a legal corporation.
There was, as a result, a schism. Those who chose not to accept Rutherford's leadership and tactics as a divinely approved resumption of Watchtower leadership fell away and remained International Bible Students.
Those who opposed were a LOYAL OPPOSITION. And, as a loyal opposition they wanted matters discussed openly and arbitrated in regards to the finances and policies which Russell had provided.
Rutherford, characteristically chose to launch ad hominem attacks against this LOYAL OPPOSITION and label them as an Apostate group.
Many Watchtower articles would deal with defensive postures relating to this group's criticisms of Rutherford as a person. The above article is one of many.
As a person trained in the law, Rutherford was skilled at presenting a defense which had the plausible deniability and courtroom tactic-logic which might convince a jury a felon was not guility.
It is interesting to parse his words and especially his reasoning from premise to conclusion.
Let us take a moment to do just that!
The audience he is speaking to is like a jury of peers who already believe that C.T.Russell was the divinely selected conduit of end times understanding. His task is to link himself as a Russell replacement.
[...] If the Society was the channel for the beginning of these publications, is there any evidence indicating that the Lord has since chosen another and different channel?
What do we discover here in this chain of reasoning?
Rutherford wants to use a premise (already accepted) to establish a logical conclusion. It begins with the word "IF". Rutherford knows the only people reading the Watchtower are persons who cherised belief in C.T.Russell as God's channel of communication. So, Rutherford does not need to actually PROVE the premise and assumption that the Watchtower Society was, indeed, that channel. ( Important!)
[...]If the Society is not the channel for the transmission of this message of truth to the people, then why has the Lord permitted it to have the exclusive control of the publications?This includes the Watch Tower, which has at all times been recognized as the official organ of the Society.
This is tricky and elusive reasoning. Rutherford is slyly inserting a red herring alternative and presenting it as the ONLY possible alternative. He is forcing the reader to ASSUME "The Lord permitted it" to have the exclusive control of the publications. This cut and paste logical (?) alternative serves to short-circuit actual logical reasoning. It omits the OTHER alternative: The Lord had nothing whatever do do with either C.T.Russell or the Watchtower because all of its date-setting scenarios and Great Pyramid proofs were nothing but crackpot notions!
It is the conclusion, therefore, of the Editorial Committee--and in this the officers of the Society concur--that the Society is the Channel the Lord is using to carry on his work; that it has a divine commission, a work to perform, and which it is endeavoring, by the Lord's grace, to perform.
This is a most absurd representation of fact. Rutherford took steps to remove the editorial committee and disallow them a say in anything he wrote. However, he used their names as though they were still in power until 1931!
What are we to conclude from this?
Rutherford was not above misrepresentation of fact. Rutherford was manipulative. Rutherford was able to transfer a set of unproven beliefs by naive people into a kind of mandate to control a large and influential corporation, its assets and manpower.
The final statement is the most disturbing because it is an outright lie.
. If others have a different view, let them enjoy that view, but let us dwell together in peace. There is no occasion for controversy. We have no quarrel with any one who holds a different view.
From that harrowing beginning the Watchtower began a series of unrelenting attacks on any person or organization which opposed Rutherford. His self-righteous indignation was bold, scathing and couched in terms of divine wrath.
The Watchtowr has never strayed from his policy of excoriating any who disagree!
No Loyal Opposition has ever been allowed to exist. There is no mechanism of dissent or discussion about hurtful policies. The grandiose rhetoric of personal attack and lofty exemption from responsibility resulted in what the organization most suffers from today: Bunker Mentality.
Instead of a religious organization concentrating of effective messege dissemination and public discourse; the Watchtower leadership has gone underground while hurling epithets of "Apostacy" and "Satanic opposition" whenever they are called to account for errors, misrepresentations of fact or policy waffling which results in harm to its membership or the reputation of the God they claim to witness to: Jehovah.
Ask any person on the street what Jehovah's Witnesses stand for and the list will include crackpot ideas about blood transfusions, flag salute, holiday celebrations and notably FALSE PROPHECY about the end of the world.
This legacy plagues the rank and file because the leadership never had and never will address their culpability.
It all began with Rutherford's legal skills in setting the template for illogic dressed up as logic.
without ever actually establishing the "if", but, merely asserting it as fact. The Watchtower presents what is normally viewed as Exegesis. Instead, however, what they really present is EISEGESIS. (Define: eisegesis (wikipedia): eisegesis occurs when a reader reads his/her interpretation into the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective. An individual who practices eisegesis is known as an eisegete, as someone who practices exegesis is known as an exegete.