Read the following and think about it. Why the need for a coded message? Also, Rutherford had been dismissed from Bethel by Russell just that year and was working as a lawyer for a department store in Los Angeles when Russell conveniently just happened to die. Was Russell poisoned? It has never been clear exactly what was the cause of Russell's death. --VM44
As 1916 began, Christ’s ransom and .the restitution hope for mankind were ..being preached far and wide. About eight million volumes of Studies in the Scriptures had already been circulated worldwide, colporteurs were distributing them on every continent, and Pastor Russell’s sermons were published weekly in over a thousand newspapers. But overseas work was being impeded by the war in Europe. Pastor Russell made no trips abroad that year. He was slightly ill as he began what turned out to be his last railroad trip, with destination Los Angeles. His discourse in that city was delivered with a weak voice and while seated, rather than with his usual ambulatory presentation. Afterward Joe Brown drove him and Menta Sturgeon to the railroad station for the return trip. On October 31 on the train near Pampa, Texas, the pastor died. The body was removed from the train in Oklahoma. A Presbyterian minister offered his home for the viewing of the body, although it was taken to the only mortuary in town. Helen Noah (later Williams, Swanson) and her carload were the first on the scene a few hours later.
Menta Sturgeon wired his wife that Pastor Russell had died. A. H. MacMillan intercepted the telegram at the Brooklyn Bethel home and wired J. F. Rutherford, then at a convention in Oakland, Maryland: “The old man is dead."(1) Rutherford came immediately to Brooklyn and took over.
Footnote: (1). It is perhaps possible the wording was a coded message, rather than simply disrespectful.