I find it strange that he was denouncing the catholics so much while at the same time he was imitating their medieval style of administration by imposing a totalitarian regime on the dubs and and ill treating all those disagreeing with his doctrines.
Golden Age Goodies
I have just now gone through the entirety of the FBI file, and find no reference to Rutherford-- hardly surprising, since no one in their right mind would take that nonsense seriously. (It is possible that any letters forwarded to the FBI concerning Rutherford's theory of the Black Legion would have been placed with the others about the Catholic "Fifth Columnists.") One does find, distressingly, the same thing one finds when researching Hoover's FBI investigations into the Klan: endless foot-dragging, and failure to act. The Black Legion were such an abomination that when Rutherford was claiming its actions were carried out by Catholics, it was an accusation that went beyond slur and into pure hate.
An example of the Black Legion's protection of America:
As far as the popularity or circulation of this conspiracy theory goes, there is the vile R. E. Robertson flyer claiming the Black Legion were really Jews (found at blackl1d, P. 39-41), which Leolaia already mentioned, and which bears some resemblance in its stupidity and hate to the Rutherford Catholics in disguise scenario. Here's a New York Post (Hearst paper) column from 27 July 1936 (found at blackl3a P.29,30), trying to make a "subtle" link between the Black Legion and Catholics, which was mirrored in the Golden Age of that November, in even cruder terms:
The other mentions of anything similar come from-- surprise-- Communists!
blackl1f p.12, from the Labour Party:
blackl2e p.37,38, from the Communist Party:
blackl3b p.5, and from the Daily Worker:
In blackl2f p.5-7 there is an odd letter from a Mason with an odd name, Lloyd Paradise, alleging something to do with Coughlin and unmasking the fifth column. There is also an anonymous letter in blackl2f p.8 with a list of pro-Nazi, pro-fascist persons and organizations, including the Black Legion, Coughlin, the KKK, Pelley, etc, which seems to be entirely accurate in its assessment.
Another Detroit newspaper link about the Black Legion, from the Google archive:
Other Curiosities from the FBI file:
black1a p. 14, reporting on a Black Legion meeting:
On April 20th the speaker at the meeting was a peg-legged
man, his left leg being amputated, also his right thumb. This man
derided both political parties, all fraternal organizations, and
all churches. This meeting was attended by about 175 men, and
about 25 candidates were initiated.
[Isaac "Peg Leg" White-- possibly taking the Pirate theme of the Black Legion to an extreme.]
blackl1a p. 30, reporting on Black Legion initiation rites:
LECTURE BY CHAPLAIN
"This organization is one of chivalry and daring, following footsteps
of the gorilla [sic] bands of the south and is based on southern chivalry;
by our enemies we're classed as outlaws and oulaws we are, indeed; we
have no charter; if we were chartered, our roster would have to be
available at all times. You hgave already signified your willing-
ness to join such an organization. We class as our enemies all
negroes, Jews, Catholics, and anyone owing any allegiance to any for-
eign potentate. We fight as gorillas [sic] using any weapon that may
come to our hand, preferably the ballot, and, if necessary, by bear-
ing arms. The Republican party are in the grasp of the rich,
while the Democrats seem to be in the clutches of the Pope. ..."
One other curiosity which has been nagging at me-- what on earth was Rutherford referring to when he spoke of " 'open' Catholics " being the disguised German Communists and/or Black Legionnaires? What is an "open" Catholic supposed to be, in Rutherford's mind?
dilaceratus....Thank you for taking the trouble to read all that stuff and post those intruiging clippings! The New York Post editorial is particularly interesting for linking the Black Legionnaires with the Molly Maguires. It makes me wonder all the more what Woodworth's reading material was, or Rutherford's for that matter, since he was the one who set the doctrine.
The fact that Father Coughlin was from Michigan would also not have been lost on Rutherford or Woodworth, as well as the fact that his Christian Front had violent and terroristic tendencies. What do you think about J. Edgar Hoover's determination (following several arrests) in 1940 that the Christian Front was planning an attack on the US governemnt? That was the same year Rutherford published his Judge Rutherford Uncovers Fifth Column booklet. I would not doubt that the Judge took the FBI's discoveries to be a major confirmation of the correctness of his conspiracy theories -- and vindication over Father Coughlin.
I am unsure what exactly Edwin C. Hill was going for with the Black Legion column turning into the Molly Maguires column. Hill was primarily known as a newsreel commentator, but also covered a lot of genuine news stories as a journalist. He wrote a column for Hearst, but, like the headline suggests, it was "human." It could be that he had an evergreen on the Molly Maguires sitting around, and tacked on a few paragraphs to the front about the Black Legion to make it more topical. (The Hearst papers being so rabidly anti-union, and anti-immigrant, a Molly Maguire story would always be acceptable.) In this case, the attempted connection between the Black Legion and the Molly Maguires might have been mostly laziness.
More sinister would be an attempt to link the terrorism of the anti-union Black Legion with the terrorism of the pro-union Molly Maguires in the public's mind, as if they somehow canceled each other out. Hearst papers were always anti-immigrant, and, toward the 1940s, pro-Nazi, but not especially anti-Catholic that I know about.
What is amazing, though, is a few months after this association in a crappy column in a tabloid, the Golden Age has twisted this story into:
The Black Legion, once known as the "Molly
Maguires", and sometimes called the Ancient
order of Hibernians...
Where they could have possibly conceived of this idea, except having seen it in the Post I can't imagine, since, based on the FBI files, it has no basis in fact-- or even speculation. (Actually, Hill's column about the Molly Maguire's is riddled with errors, too.) Like all of their Catholic Hierarchy theories, it seems to have been the work of the psychotically deranged.
The entire midwest in the late 1920s and 30s was filled with violent groups, whose common denominator was an intense hatred for communism. These groups thrived due in large part to support from Detroit manufacturers who were anti-union. As I mentioned a while back, Henry Ford first published the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion in the Dearborn (MI) Independent, and later had published under his name a book entitled The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem, which Hitler read while in prison, and praised in Mein Kampf. (Allegedly, Hitler had a portrsit of Ford in his Munich office, and kept copies of The International Jew to give visitors.) At any rate, Coughlin, the Black Legion, and the Klan were only the most recognizable out of dozens of hate groups running from Pennsylvania to Kansas, but mostly centered in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Hoover's own racism and obsessive anti-communism kept the FBI from running check on these-- in some cases blatantly-- seditious groups. When they finally did, they took out Coughlin, Brinkley, Pelley, Smith (to some extent), and a few others. I believe the Christian Front was planning to take over the government no more than the Black legion's claims that they had six million members or that--with a single phone call!-- they could hold every place of importance in the State of Michigan in "51 minutes."
I forgot to say earlier that I have actually seen The Black Legion with Humphrey Bogart, as a child late one night on Channel 62, in Michigan. I thought it was incomprehensible, but that could have been from the hacked editing, or from the fact that, having been made in 1937, not much needed to be explained to the audience of the time. I suspect it was just awful.
One film featuring the Black Legion in action that a lot of people will have seen is Malcolm X-- the scene at the beginning where the Little family are chased out of their home, and then it was set on fire, happened in Lansing, MI, and was the work of the Black Legion, not the Klan. The Black Legion then later murdered Malcolm Little's father.
Just to wrap up the bow of my thoughts:
Somewhere on this site (although for the life of me I cannot find it) there is a thread with some information claiming that Malcolm X's mother, Louise Little, became a Jehovah's Witness during the many years she was in the state mental institution at Kalamazoo, MI.
And The Nation of Islam's founder, Wallace Dodd Fard, apparently used Rutherford's recordings, encouraged his followers to listen to his radio broadcasts, and incorporated some Watchtower theology into his nascent beliefs.
Not a Golden Age gem, but of the same era. Notice this is all one paragraph, and thus supposedly all one thought:
1930 CRIMES AND CALAMITIES, THE CAUSE THE REMEDY
by J. F. Rutherford
If the prohibition movement were God's rem-
edy to clean up the world, it would succeed.
The fact that the prohibition movement has
failed is conclusive proof that it is not God's
remedy. During the last ten years there has
been a great increase of all kinds of crime.
There have been many calamities, such
as floods, fires, earthquakes and tidal waves, all
of these being brought down by the operations
of Satan and wrongly charged against Jehovah
God. The people are thereby deceived and
blinded to the truth.
Dear Leolia and dilaceratus,
Have you find something concerning the claim of Rutherford in one of the Vindication Book, concerning the Rothshilds
The Rothshilds were european banker, it is surprising that Rutherford cited some of letters of Rothshilds to a banker in USA, as a proof of a conspiracy of the Big Business. At this time, even if the Rothshilds made money in USA, it was not their area of work.
I still believe that we can find where Rutherford took his idea concerning the catholic's conspiracy, if we can find where he has found this letter's extracts.
"I still believe that we can find where Rutherford took his idea concerning the catholic's conspiracy, if we can find where he has found this letter's extracts. "
I think I may have found a new lead on this very question, and am on that search right now.
Thank you again for posting your Golden Age scan.
It is hard to determine whether this is a deliberate con aimed at the most mentally deficient of Rutherford's listeners (and readers), or whether this is just batshit crazy. I love the idea of an ecumenical conference coming together in order to select a single person to defend their satanic purposes against the blazing truth of J. F. Rutherford. And having to go Dutch treat, too!
Again, from a contemporaneous booklet, 1933s The Crisis, which is available at www.reexamine.org.
1933 The Crisis, explained in Three Bible Treatises
by J. F. Rutherford
I therefore invite the organization known as
the Federation of Churches of Christ in Ameri-
ca, together with all Catholic and Protestant
organizations, to confer together and to jointly
agree upon and select one man to be their
spokesman in a nation-wide debate by radio.
Let them pay one half of the expense, Jehovah's
witnesses will supply supply the money for the other
half. Jehovah's witnesses will select a man to be
their spokesman in this debate. Give the people
a fair opportunity to hear and to determine for
themselves what is the truth. I charge that the
clergymen and hindering the people from learn-
ing the truth, and I therefore name the follow-
ing issues for debate, to wit:
RESOLVED, (1) That the clergymen, both Cath-
olic and Protestant, do not represent Jehovah
God and Christ, but they do represent and
serve Satan the Devil;
[... blahblahblah ... P.42 ... sputter ...]
(4) That those who are opposed to the mes-
sage which Jehovah's witnesses are now carry-
ing to the people by radio and in printed form
are fighting against God and will receive a just
recompense at the hands of the Lord for so
I ask this radio audience to demand that the
clergymen accept this challenge and arrange
for this debate or else admit to the people that
they are wrong and cease for ever from the per-
secution of Jehovah's witnesses. Let all who
are for or against Jehovah's witnesses write a
letter to me, in care of your station, demanding
that such public discussion be had in the inter-
est of the people. I will furnish these letters to
the public press, that the people may know what
is being done.
This post will be somewhat lengthy, but I would like to lay out quite deliberately what is contained in the first few pages of Rutherford's 1933 booklet The Crisis, as it relates to the interesting confluence of above posts regarding Rutherford's rantings about a Catholic "Hierarchy" conspiracy, and the possible influence of other conspiracy minded groups (such as the Ku Klux Klan) on Rutherford's views.
All quotes are from
1933 The Crisis, explained in Three bible Treatises
by J. F. Rutherford
The entire 64-page booklet is available at
To frame how Jehovah's Witness readers were expected to view this work, and the place Rutherford set for himself, notice the Preface, p. 3:
. . . It discloses the
reason for oppression and suffering, why it
must end, and why it will be succeeded by a
better condition. It is not the expression of
a man's opinion. Based upon the indisputable
evidence it shows that the crisis of the Ameri-
can government is now at hand.
On page six, however, we find something which, if factual, is news to almost everyone:
Big Business has no regard for the rights
of the common people. The Civil War of 1863
was fomented and carried forward for the pur-
pose of creating a condition by which Big Busi-
ness could obtain a strangle hold upon the na-
tion. To free the land from the traffic of hu-
man flesh and blood was the ostensible reason
for that war, but the real reason was to enable
a selfish company to control the finances and all
the business interests of the nation. . . .
As a matter of fact, this is the sort of thing you are likely to hear from those who have had fairly close and friendly contact with the Ku Klux Klan. Moving onward to page 7, another conspiracy awaits...
Today Big Business owns practically every-
thing visible. . . . A few ultrarich men
fix the prices of the food produced. . .
Typical conspiracy theory boilerplate, not that uncommon during the Depression of the 1930s. At times in his writing, when Rutherford says "Big Business" he clearly means "Jews," but at other times he does not, so it's hard (I think purposefully) to pinpoint who he means here. Any listener of an hysterical mindset could apply the code words to whichever nighttime menace most appealed to their venom.
Big Business, which is composed of a very
few big men, owns and controls the telegraph and
telephone lines, the radio, the electric and pow-
we lines, and it owns and controls the mines that
produce the fuel and the building material
which all the people are compelled to use. It
owns and controls the banks, and most of the
money that is in them. It is in possession of the
greater portion of the gold that rightfully be-
longs to the government. . . .
Don't forget Rutherford started out for W. J. Bryan.
. . . Big Business has... the most astute lawyers... controls the
army and the navy, the guns and the ammunition, and the
police power of the nation.
And so on. This is all generally Populist fare.
Big Business... owns or controls almost all of
the newspapers and magazines.... The same selfish
interests own and control the professional clergymen. . .
And so on. Big Business surely was Big. But then--
...In 1917 the pred-
atory element that rules the nation created the
slogan, "The war that will make the world safe for
deomcracy," and then caused its propaganda
press and hypocritical clergymen to sound
this false slogan throughout the land.
This could be a veiled reference to E.L. Bernays (Jewish-- Freud's nephew) and the Committee on Public Information (CPI), who coined the phrase. Bernays is found throughout
conspiracy works as the inventor of propaganda, mind-control, and advertising, and the one who conned the public into accepting the horrors of fluoridation.
after fourteen years democracy has disappeared
from the earth. There is at this very time a
concerted movement by those few men who con-
trol the commerce of the land to have America
ruled by a dictator,
Although one might leap to the conclusion that this has to do with the "dictatorship" of Roosevelt that is still being claimed by many far-right types, and the overwhelming percentage of the Jewish vote he received, it doesn't. This radio address was made in 1932.
which means the setting
aside of all constitutional law and the putting
into force such orders as the dictator may deem
necessary. The public press has been instructed
to diplomatically educate the people as to the
necessity of a dictator before the step is ac-
tually taken and the dictatorial power disclosed. . . .
And now the really interesting part:
. . . Big Business maintains paid
lobbyists at Washington, which lobbyists con-
duct also a bureau of information for the spe-
cial benefit of their employers. Each week a
letter goes from that bureau of information to
the executive heads of Big Business corpora-
tions. From one of these communications, dated
May 14, last, I quote the following:
It is beginning to be apparent that some substitute
for a coalition government will have to be formed to
handle the situation after adjournment of Congress.
. . . There are several plans, but one revolves about
the idea of assembling in Washington, or subject to
quick call, a group of a dozen or more men . . . Dic-
tatorship, which is being advocated more from week
to week, would be avoided, but some of the practical
merits of dictatorship would be obtained. At least
this is the hope behind the idea, which is an adapta-
tion of the set-up represented by the war-time Council
of National Defense. . . . One practical objection is
that the public might be unduly alarmed by implica-
tions in the summoning of a council of advisers. . . .
We have reason for believing the plan will materialize,
and we advise you [executive business heads] in ad-
vance to consider it a good sign.
First off, this is not just crackpot dementia, it is grade-D. Secondly, this story of the secret communications has to have a source (I am unaware of any point of Watchtower history where they actually invented something--their habit has been to borrow, cobble, and distort). Thirdly, Rutherford actually quotes something to support his assertions. Although published in 1933, this radio address was broadcast 26 June 1932. Therefore, this secret letter "dated May 14, last" would have been 14 May 1931. Unless Rutherford actually wrote it himself, he cribbed it from somewhere else, and that somewhere else could be extremely revealing.
Unfortunately, I have spent this day searching, and have yet to come up with even a clue as what that source might have been. Any help? Suggestions? At present, I do not have online university library access.