The Case of C.J. Woodowrth and Demon Possession

by RR 14 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • RR

    Upon request here is the talk by C.J. Woodworth, given in 1913, where he admits to be demon possessed.. Seems to me those demons came back, as he was the sole editor of the Golden Age magazine with all their scientific quackery. C.J., I have been told was the cousin of Norman Woodworth, who created the "Frank and Earnest" radio program in the early 1920s for the WTS. He left in 1928, and took the radio program with him, which is still aired today throughout the world in various languages. Norman, formed the DAWN Bible Students Association in 1932, while his cousin C.J. stayed with the Society living at bethel. til his death in the 1950s. ( Excuse any typos, below . I have scanned ALL the convention reports 1904-1919 )

    THE VOW.

    By Brother C. J. Woodworth

    I WISH to speak to you of something that I certainly never intended mentioning at this convention.

    I presume you have all taken the VOW, but perhaps some of you have not. The Lord has placed something upon my heart I would rather not tell you about, for I do not like to talk about my troubles, but the settling of this simple little matter of the Vow has probably caused me a hundred times more suffering than all the other experiences of my life put together.

    With me, the vigorous opposition to the Vow was not a case of having any "grouch" against Brother Russell, or anybody else, but a case of having too much confidence in myself, in my own judgment. When it first came out certain matters were said to me in such a way as to place the Vow in an unfavorable light, I looked up what Scriptures I could find on the subject and they slid not appeal to me. I said, This is something Brother Russell has brought up of himself, and 1 will never accept it unless I find it in the Scriptures.

    Then began my troubles. I began to pray and to fight it in my own way with the Scriptures. After a few months the Scriptures apparently began to open up more and more on this subject, demonstrating its unscripturalness. I thought that this was to he a great test upon the Lord's people and that Brother Russell was wrong and I saw clearly wherein he was wrong. I wrote letter after letter to him, not less than fifty pages on the subject.

    When I now think how patient he was, I condemn myself and I know it will be a lesson that will last me certainly to the end of the harvest time. I must have made the brother suffer, for naturally I am quite pointed in my correspondence, and never spared the point.

    Well, the matter went on. There was a time for five consecutive nights when I never slept a wink; then came a time when the strain was too much; my mind became unbalanced, and I came directly under the influence of evil spirits, so much so that for three days I was as completely under demonical control as was Mrs. Eddy when she wrote "Science and Health."

    Previous to this time I had prepared a 36-page book against the Vow, printed in double column, in which all Scriptures which seemed to be directly or indirectly against the Vow were arranged. I know now that all these Scriptures were suggested to my mind by the evil spirits. One of the suggestions was that Brother Russell was doing this to compel the Truth people to do just as he said in everything; another was (and this I believe was a truth, for these "lying spirits" do sometimes tell the truth) that in the fifteenth chapter of Numbers where it mentions the "Ribband of blue," it had reference, anti-typically, to the Vow, but then these lying spirits turned the truth into a lie by claiming that the Vow had been suggested to Brother Russell by the evil spirits. See how clever they were!

    It is not necessary for me to go into details. Brother Russell came to my house. I was sane on other matters, but not on this, notwithstanding I had walked in the light for fifteen years. We talked for an entire day, and he pointed out about half way through the book where I had made a mistake. Until then, I was so blind and deceived and foolish as to imagine the Lord had raised me up to set Brother Russell straight way down in the end of the "harvest!" But in the middle of this book, which I intended to give out to the different congregations, I found a mistake, and though I could not even then comprehend that I had been misled by evil spirits. I knew there was something wrong somewhere and took the books all out to the banks of the river and burned them -- that was a good burning.

    For two years or more I suffered in my fellowship with the brethren almost the tortures of the damned. Those were trying times in the Church, not only for me but for others, but the Lord helped me in connection with the Comments in the back of our Bible, for when other brothers and sisters went to pieces on doctrine I did not go with them. In connection with the Covenants, I remembered matters which helped to keep me straight. I tried to hang on until finally at the Celeron Convention I said, "Here, all these people look the same as in the past; they seem to be enjoying the Truth as much as ever, and here 1 am, putting up a bluff, for in my heart I am unhappy. I know what I am going to do, if I feel the same a week later I am going to take the Vow anyway. It could not make me feel worse than I do now. It is worth trying, anyway."

    Until then I had never settled in my mind that Brother Russell was "That Servant." I said, if the Scriptures do refer to a special individual servant in the end of the age, then Brother Russell must be that servant, but I never settled the matter until I yielded and took the Vow which he has advised all the Lord's saints to take.

    Well, I went home from that Celeron Convention and wrote myself a letter, twenty-eight arguments, in favor of the Vow and put it in the vault and left it for a week, to see whether I would still feel like taking it, and I then took the Vow.

    For two years I had practically been cut off from any service in connection with the harvest work.

    The very next Sunday, as I was unexpectedly down in North Carolina on a business trip, the friends at Henderson asked me to speak. I had some notes in my pocket I had been carrying for about two years. I used those notes. The next Sunday I was in New Jersey, and a committee came to me from the Camp Meeting Association, asking me to give an address, and I used those same notes. The next Sunday I was at Knoxville, Tenn., Brother Russell was to have been there, but did not arrive in time, and the dear brethren asked me to give the opening address, and I used the same notes. The next Sunday I was back in Dover, N. J., and used the same notes, and since then I have been as busy in the Lord's work as I could wish.

    Does this experience appeal to you?

    I want to urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to carefully note Numbers 15:39, and put on the "Rbbband of blue," the pledge of faithfulness, and not suffer as I did in going a whoring after your own wisdom. I firmly believe that this "ribband of blue" is the Vow and inspired of God for His people in this evil day.

    If you have not taken it, take it, for a great blessing will come to you from taking it. If you have not taken it, there is grave reason to fear that some of the fleshly mind is still there.

    God would be a poor Shepherd to bring us into the Truth and then allow that one whom He has raised up as a faithful and wise under shepherd in this evil day to go into darkness -- it is not like God. It is like God to stand by His servant as in the past. He has always stood by those He has specially used.

    I hope the Lord will bless this testimony.

    A Vow Unto The Lord

    Our father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. May Thy rule come into my heart more and more, and Thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of Thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this vow. Daily will I remember at the Throne of Heavenly Grace the general interests of the harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear co-laborers at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel, and everywhere.

    I vow to still more carefully if possible, scrutinize my thoughts and words and doings, to the intent that I may be the better enabled to serve Thee and Thy dear flock.

    I vow to Thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and that remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways, as being of the Adversary.

    I further vow that, with the exceptions below. I will at all times, and in all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in public -- in the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people.

    And, so far as reasonably possible, I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open.

    Exceptions in the case of Brethren -- wife, children, mother, and natural sisters; in the case of Sisters -- husbands, children, father, and natural brothers.

  • cabasilas

    Fascinating reading! Thank you for posting this RR!!

  • VM44

    Some threads about C.J. Woodworth. --VM44

    C.J. Woodworth - New historical information

    Clayton J. Woodworth, A Remembrance


  • VM44

    Another Woodworth thread. --VM44

    Clayton J Woodworth, "Son" of Rutherford!

  • Leolaia

    This is awesome, RR....Thanks for making this available!!

    For a good survey of the wackery and quackery that Woodworth printed in his Golden Age (which was also an outlet for some of Rutherford's writings as well), please see my series:

    For an example of Woodworth's obsession about demons, see GAG #8 in which three separate news items were attributed to the work of demons in a single issue of the Golden Age.

  • restrangled

    Those vows sound vaguely similar to the recent vows at the district assembly this year, I wonder if this is where they got the idea.

    It is also fascinating to discover after reading the Golden Age Goodies thread and this one that so many of the thought patterns and beliefs are in practice today with in my own family. For instance the vaccinations. My grandmother was against them and my mother made sure we missed as many as possible.

    There seemed to be an obessive hatred of the Catholic Church. Now I know where it came from.

    Thanks for starting these threads.


  • greendawn

    Didn't they carry on using ouija boards at Bethel until Rutherford died? Both Russell and Rutherford were fascinated by the occult.

  • Leolaia

    I personally think that it is misleading to refer to the E.R.A. oscilloclast used to "diagnose" disease as a "ouija board". Most people picture a common ouija board when they hear the expression, but that is not what the Rutherford-led Bible Students used. They used a device very similar to a ouija board that followed similar principles of operation (e.g. utilizing the ideomotor effect), but it wasn't a board with letters and numbers and a planchette.

  • Invetigator74

    RR question: Do you still have a library of WT publications? You appear to have a large substantial collection of the older publication(ex. scanning Convention Reports 1904 - 1919). Just curious , that's all.

  • RR
    Didn't they carry on using ouija boards at Bethel until Rutherford died? Both Russell and Rutherford were fascinated by the occult.

    I don't know where you got your information from, but Russell had no fascination with teh occult. Although Rutherford sure was. RR

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