Military Service Objection: What was the motive of the Watchtower Society?

by james_woods 23 Replies latest jw experiences

  • james_woods

    OK - Jourles first: I had to go into a kind of "star commission" supreme draft board back in 1968 to ask for a deferment. I know that I had one heck of a time finding really "SOLID" support for the NT antiwar issue. It seemed that it just pretty much skipped over the point, with of course the "turn the other cheek" generality. The WTS had some weird historical comments like "no historian says a christian ever served in the army", and such.

    I was not impressed with my arguments much myself at the time and ended up getting classified 1A. I was such a shook up 19yr old kid that I let the Marine Corps guys grab me on the way out of the building. When they found out I had a pilot's license, they did a job on me better than any used-car salesmen I have ever seen. We'll fix you up with a commission, teach you to fly a chopper, send you back to college, blah blah blah...

    I will confess here and now that having visited my older buddies in El Reno Federal prison, at that point I would have willingly flown a chopper over the VietNam mess rather than do the time. However, things dragged on for a while and finally the Nixon lottery saved me with a lucky number.

    Gary - I am still a blank. You have to know that even though I left right at the beginning of the Ray Franz / Ed Dunlap thing that his book did not come out until I was already gone, and I only skimmed "Crisis" out of general interest and have never read the later one. Actually, Ed loaned me a first release copy and I gave it back after a weekend. Anyhow, from what I know about Ray, I would probably say he knows more about the subject than I do and can be presumed right in most cases.


    Edited it to add - thanks, Jourles...yes, I remember that. Ray is relating the old society argument, which sucks in the light of "rendering to Caeser"...IMHO. I suppose I could used the reverse of this to say that the pilot of the chopper is not the door gunner, eh? The thing I would note about this is that as I recall it, this whole draft/prison/CO thing was really being felt 1966 to about 1972 and was essentially over after that. With no help from the Governing Body at all.

  • Clam

    James this whole issue is both bizarre and difficult to fathom. Incarceration for refusing alternate service to military service. How senseless was that?

    I wasn't aware of this until I read C of C. I just thought brothers had gone to prison for refusing the draft!

    So if I believed that,. . . then maybe many "worldy" people believed that. All they saw was JWs going to prison instead of going to war.

    "Good ethical strong people those Jehovahs Witnesses."

    Were they that tuned into the public's perception?

    Skimming to the last part of your post, is there talk of the draft being reintroduced over there in the USA?


  • NanaR

    I don't suppose the WTS provides any explanation of the fact that the first Gentile convert, Cornelius, was a Roman Army officer. He received the Holy Spirit BEFORE being baptized and then was baptized, and there is absolutely no mention in the Bible that he stopped being an Army office AT ANY POINT. (Acts chapter 10) This came to my attention at some internet site, I'm sorry I do not remember which one.

    I know I had read the account of Cornelius MANY times in the past, but it never occured to me to question how Cornelius' status as a military individual DID NOT affect his receiving Holy Spirit and being baptized.

    Guess it didn't occur to the WTS either...

    So much for the alleged NT condemnation of military service for Christians.


  • james_woods

    Yes, Clam, on the modern-day draft - I hear it sporadically.

    Strangely (or maybe not so strangely, depending on your outlook), it is being promoted most strongly by anti-war legislators. They are supposedly making the case (like John Kerry slipped out) that mostly disadvantaged people are going into the military. Their idea seems to be that a real (fair) draft would be a better deal as it hits everybody equally. And, I suspect, that it would cause such an uproar as to give them more antiwar support. Not bad tactics, I guess.

    Except that having lived through this I think they are forgetting special national guard nominations, money enough to hire lawyers forever, running away to Canada, etc. The opposing argument is that the better-paid and better-trained volunteer force is a better deal for all.

    On a personal note, I have an all-around bigredass with the society over this. For my witness buddies who did 5 years in the fed (and one of whom died prematurely last year), for my 2 or more regular high-school buddies that did not come back from Nam, for another witness buddy who joined the coast guard and got the DF, and for myself for feeling the guilt trip of basically dodging the draft for the Witnesses and not doing my part at all. Even if it was bedpans in a VA hospital, rather than the controls of a chopper.

    These people have a lot more to answer for than that little lame let-down in 1995.

  • Clam
    These people have a lot more to answer for than that little lame let-down in 1995.

    Too true. Unfortunately to make any sense of it, even from a scriptural perspective is impossible. It's simply perverse Society logic.

    Like Ray Franz says in C of C.

    "They (the brothers) suffered two years of imprisonment, not because of a decision based on personal conviction, but because of adherence to a humanly originated ordinance." (p 127-128)


  • blondie

    The wicked thing the WTS does is to say that it has always been a conscience matter whether one accepts alternative service or not. Yet these following articles show how that was not the case. JWs before 1996 knew if they chose alternative service they were choosing to DA themselves, violating "christian" neutrality. Does it remind you of the "apology" about 1975--blaming the rank and file.

    *** w98 8/15 p. 17 Strengthening Our Confidence in God’s Righteousness ***

    Feelings of Having Suffered Needlessly


    In the past, some Witnesses have suffered for refusing to share in an activity that their conscience now might permit. For example, this might have been their choice years ago as to certain types of civilian service. A brother might now feel that he could conscientiously perform such without overstepping his Christian neutrality regarding the present system of things.


    Was it unrighteous on Jehovah’s part to allow him to suffer for rejecting what he now might do without consequences? Most who have had that experience would not think so. Rather, they rejoice that they had the opportunity of demonstrating publicly and clearly that they were determined to be firm on the issue of universal sovereignty. (Compare Job 27:5.) What reason could anyone have to regret having followed his conscience in taking a firm stand for Jehovah? By loyally upholding Christian principles as they understood them or by responding to the proddings of conscience, they proved worthy of Jehovah’s friendship. Certainly, it is wise to avoid a course that would disturb one’s conscience or that would likely cause others to be stumbled. We can think in this regard of the example that the apostle Paul set.—1 Corinthians 8:12, 13; 10:31-33.


    In order to please Jehovah, the Jews were required to obey the Ten Commandments and also a wide variety of about 600 additional laws. Later, under the Christian arrangement, obedience to these laws as such was no longer a requirement for serving Jehovah, not even for fleshly Jews. The laws no longer binding included those dealing with circumcision, keeping the Sabbath, offering animal sacrifices, and observing certain dietary restrictions. (1 Corinthians 7:19; 10:25; Colossians 2:16, 17; Hebrews 10:1, 11-14) Jews—including the apostles—who became Christians were released from the obligation to keep laws that they were required to obey when they were under the Law covenant. Did they complain that God’s arrangement was unrighteous in having formerly required of them things that were no longer necessary? No, they rejoiced in the broadened understanding of Jehovah’s purposes.—Acts 16:4, 5. (so was this God releasing them or the WTS)


    In modern times, there have been some Witnesses who were very strict in their view of what they would or would not do. For that reason they suffered more than others. Later, increased knowledge helped them to expand their view of matters. But they have no reason to regret having earlier acted in harmony with their conscience, even when this possibly brought extra suffering. It truly is commendable that they demonstrated their willingness to suffer in faithfulness to Jehovah, to "do all things for the sake of the good news." Jehovah blesses that kind of godly devotion. (1 Corinthians 9:23; Hebrews 6:10) The apostle Peter wrote with insight: "If, when you are doing good and you suffer, you endure it, this is a thing agreeable with God."—1 Peter 2:20.

    *** g74 12/8 pp. 22-25 The Netherlands Frees Imprisoned Witnesses ***

    By "Awake!" correspondent in the Netherlands

    BACK in 1936 Johan Akkerman was the first Witness to hear the gates of the Veenhuizen Penal Institution close shut behind him. As one of Jehovah’s witnesses, he had conscientiously refused to do military service. Thirty-eight years later, on July 19, 1974, the last of Jehovah’s witnesses was released from that same prison.

    This was ‘big news’ for the press. Headlines like "JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES GO HOME" made the front pages of prominent papers of the land.

    To many officials this marked the end of a problem that had bothered them for a long time—that of putting decent, clean-cut young men into prison alongside hardened criminals simply because they refused to violate their Christian conscience. To Jehovah’s witnesses it was another victory in the fight for the freedom to worship God in the way the Bible commands.



    What led up to this sensational news? To understand, one must realize that when a Netherlander turns eighteen he must submit to a medical examination. Should he prove to be physically and mentally sound, he is subject to call for military training when he turns twenty. If he conscientiously objects to the use of weapons he may apply for noncombatant service.

    But Jehovah’s witnesses in the Netherlands have refused, not only military service, but also any noncombatant work offered as a substitute. The Scriptural reason for their stand will be considered later in this article.

    Before World War II, the problem of conscientious objection involving Jehovah’s witnesses was small. But during the war the problem grew, and it continued afterward. Since Dutch law provided exemption from military service for those who held the office of a regular minister of religion and for those preparing for that office, it was deemed wise to enter the courts of law to try to obtain this right.

    Such exemption was granted to the ministers of those organizations whose names appeared on a special list. However, the name of Jehovah’s witnesses was not included on this list. But the law provided also that the Minister of Defense could grant exemption to ministers of a religion whose name was not listed if he chose to do so. Jehovah’s witnesses, therefore, tried to move the Minister toward granting exemptions in some cases.

    For about ten years, beginning in 1949, scores of cases were argued before the Council of State, whose duty it was to counsel the government on the advisability of granting exemption. But in time it became clear that exemption would depend on the personal willingness of the Minister and not on proving a legal right. So these efforts were abandoned.

    This decade of effort was not altogether without some good results, however. Favorable comments appeared from time to time in the press. For example, a public prosecutor stated: "I have committed the accused to the house of detention, but I realize he does not belong among criminals."—HetVrijeVolk, November 11, 1955.

    During this period it was chiefly the Ministry of Justice that took steps to ease the conditions of imprisonment. From 1950 on, an overseer of Jehovah’s witnesses from the Amsterdam branch office was permitted to visit the imprisoned once a month. Then in 1956 permission was granted to visit the prisoners without the presence of a guard. Also, the duration of the visits was lengthened.

    From 1958 on, Bible literature for private study was permitted to enter the prison. In time, the imprisoned Witnesses were moved to barracks adjoining the Veenhuizen Penal Institution and given comparative freedom of movement. Finally, they were allowed to visit their homes on weekends and were also allowed out to attend conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses. But still the Witnesses were being sent to prison, a fact that stirred the conscience of many in the nation.



    On March 26, 1971, three representatives of Jehovah’s witnesses met with a forum representing the ministries of Defense and Justice. The discussion lasted two and a half hours.

    One of the first points of discussion presented by the forum was this: "That you wish no part in performing military service is clear and needs no further explanation. But what really is your objection to civil, alternative service?"

    The Witnesses explained that it is not that they are opposed to civil service as such, but, rather, it is a matter of strict neutrality. Therefore, any work that is merely a substitute for military service would be unacceptable to Jehovah’s witnesses.

    Other questions narrowed the issue down still further. "When a person objects to military service," the government’s agents declared, "he passes from military jurisdiction on to civil jurisdiction and from that moment has nothing at all to do with the military. Why, then, is the accepting of such civil service still so objectionable?"

    Willingly accepting such work is objectionable to the Christian because of what God’s law says about the matter: "You were bought with a price; stop becoming slaves of men." (1 Cor. 7:23) Civilian servitude as a substitute for military service would be just as objectionable to the Christian. In effect, he would thereby become a part of the world instead of keeping separate as Jesus commanded.—John 15:19; 17:14-16.

    The discussion now took a new turn. "What suggestion would you like to give as to the handling of cases involving Jehovah’s witnesses?" the committee asked. The answer: Exemption for the full-time as well as the part-time preachers of the Gospel, as the law provides. It was pointed out that members of certain religious orders in the Netherlands enjoy exemption, yet they do nothing more than live in an institution and brew beer.

    The committee voiced its concern over this suggestion by the Witnesses. It feared that this would open the gates for all kinds of persons whose only purpose was to avoid military service. But Jehovah’s witnesses assured the committee that it would be nearly impossible for pretenders to get by the screening process that takes place in the local congregations of the Witnesses.



    Less than four months later a witness of Jehovah was sentenced to twenty-one months in prison on the military issue. His lawyer, Mr. Spermon, pleaded the case on the ground that his client was a minister of the Gospel. Then he issued a public statement in which he said, among other things: "Catholic and Protestant theology students obtain exemption from military service as well as alternative civil service simply due to the fact that they attend a recognized theological school. Because Jehovah’s witnesses in the Netherlands do not have a theological college and, moreover, their religion does not enjoy legal recognition as a religious denomination they do not come in line for the possibilities provided for in the law governing conscientious objection."

    To this Mr. Spermon added: ‘This criterium does not please me much. It reeks too much of the authorities’ meddling in the internal matters of church societies. According to the Law on Religious Societies of 1853, the regulation of church society is taboo for the state because that is left up to the religious society itself.’—DeTijd, Thursday, July 22, 1971.

    These statements triggered off other action. A member of parliament, Mr. D. A. Th. van Ooijen, wrote to the ministers of Defense and Justice, asking: "Are statesmen willing to voice their opinion as to the following statement by Mr. W. Spermon to the Supreme Military Tribunal . . . ?" He then set out the substance of Spermon’s above-quoted statement.

    Then the parliamentarian asked other pointed questions: "Is it true that Jehovah’s witnesses in the United States, Sweden and Germany enjoy exemption from military and alternative service if they can provide evidence that they spend a sufficient amount of time in the preaching work?" "Are statesmen willing to expedite matters so that the Law on Church Societies which leaves it up to the church society to determine who should be recognized as its minister of public religious service, also thus applies to the witnesses of Jehovah?"



    On October 25, 1973, the three representatives of Jehovah’s witnesses were sitting at a table with the committee representing the Ministry of Defense. The committee took time to be thoroughly informed on the organizational structure of Jehovah’s witnesses and their procedure in appointing their "full-time ministers."

    As this meeting progressed it became quite apparent that internally the Ministry of Defense had already taken steps toward recognizing "full-time ministers" as such. Then, unexpectedly, one of the members of the committee posed the possibility of also exempting those who were preparing to be "full-time ministers." Since it was seemingly only a suggestion, the representatives of Jehovah’s witnesses treated the proposal rather cautiously. However, the committee pursued the subject and even insisted on it.

    The result of this meeting was that the Netherlands headquarters of Jehovah’s witnesses was authorized to pass this information on to the congregations. In this way all those preparing for the "full-time ministry" would know of these new developments. From now on, all those in this category would receive indefinite postponement from military and alternative service, pending a final passage of law in this regard.

    You can imagine how welcome this good news was after so many years of effort! And it was thought that this would be the end of the matter. But yet another chapter was to be written into the history of the fight for freedom of worship in the Netherlands. On June 11, 1974, the same representatives of Jehovah’s witnesses met with the same committee from the Ministry of Defense. This proved to be the shortest session to date, but one with far-reaching consequences.

    On this occasion the Defense representatives announced that in the future all baptized witnesses of Jehovah, on recommendation by the body of elders in their respective congregations, would be exempted from military service pending the definite passage of law. The procedure for handling these cases was then satisfactorily worked out. The plea for exemption in each case, signed by the congregation’s body of elders, would be routed through the branch office of Jehovah’s witnesses. There the signatures of the elders would be certified before being forwarded to the government. In this way the credibility of each plea would be confirmed for the Ministry of Defense.

    The Ministry of Justice, in harmony with this decision of the Ministry of Defense, acted quickly by releasing all the Witnesses then imprisoned. Twelve days after the last Witness had been released, on July 31, 1974, people in all parts of the country were surprised to read in their daily papers such headlines as "JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES GO HOME."

    The report in one of the newspapers concluded with these remarks: "The Ministry of Defense is working on legislation whereby all of Jehovah’s witnesses who are baptized will be exempted from military service. In anticipation of the processing of this law by the States General all prosecution of objecting Jehovah’s witnesses has been suspended. The Ministry of Justice deemed that under the circumstances it was not just to hold in prison any longer those of their co-members who already had been prosecuted."

    So it was that a quarter of a century of struggle for freedom to worship God according to the dictates of one’s own conscience ended with the release of twenty-eight Witnesses. And just in time—a few days before the "Divine Purpose" District Assemblies of Jehovah’s witnesses this past summer in the Netherlands.

    We hope and pray that as individuals the men responsible for this wise decision will, in harmony with the Bible’s exhortation, "kiss the son [Jesus Christ]," acknowledging him as earth’s King, and thus come in line to receive of the grand blessings that his glorious Kingdom rule, so near at hand, will bestow on all obedient mankind.—Ps. 2:12.

    *** g71 1/8 pp. 13-15 German High Court Rules on Full-Time Ministers ***

    By "Awake!" correspondent in West Germany

    JEHOVAH‘S WITNESSES are well known in Germany for not having compromised for the sake of expediency during Hitler’s Reich. People of other religions, including clergymen, heiled Hitler, saluted the Nazi flag, and supported Hitler’s armies in their aggressive warfare. Nearly all Catholic priests and Protestant ministers were guilty of compromising with Hitler’s regime. These clergymen were granted exemption from military service during that time.

    But Jehovah’s witnesses steadfastly refused to heil Hitler, salute the Nazi flag, or support his armies. They too claimed exemption as ministers of religion. But they were refused exemption and were persecuted. Thousands of them were sent to Nazi death camps and many were killed.



    After World War II, military conscription was again introduced in Germany, in 1956. Catholic priests and clergymen of other religions were again given exemption. At first, Jehovah’s witnesses were also exempted. But then alternative service requirements were introduced, and Jehovah’s witnesses were not granted exemption from this service.

    In 1962 the first sentence under this new law was pronounced upon a young minister of Jehovah’s witnesses. He had refused to report for service alternative to military conscription. But since ministers of state churches and other denominations were not required to perform this service, this minister of Jehovah’s witnesses claimed that he was also eligible for exemption under the West German constitution. However, his appeal was rejected. He was sentenced to four months in prison.

    Many similar cases followed, with jail sentences given. Among those sentenced were ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses who devoted full time to ministerial activities. An appeal for constitutional rights was submitted in an attempt to reverse these decisions and obtain legal recognition as ministers exempt from all conscription.

    In October of 1963 further evidence was submitted to the court. This outlined in great detail the fact that full-time ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses are ordained ministers entitled to the exemption provided by the constitution.

    The appeal was not acted upon. The case remained pending for seven years. During all that time full-time ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses continued to be sentenced to prison for periods of from one to sixteen months.

    Also, a new situation arose. Upon release from prison, these ministers were again called up for alternative service. When they refused, they were imprisoned a second time. Some were imprisoned a third time. Hence, a further appeal for constitutional rights was submitted to the Federal Constitutional Court of West Germany. The appeal contested the constitutionality of repeated convictions for the same violation.



    On March 7, 1968, the Federal Constitutional Court handed down its decision. It declared that repeated sentencing in these cases was indeed unconstitutional. It noted that no one can be punished twice for the same act according to basic law.

    Yet, this did not entirely solve the problem. Jehovah’s witnesses continued to be jailed the first time for refusing conscription and alternative service not required of ministers of other religions.

    Finally, on December 11, 1969, in Berlin, the 8th Senate of the Administrative Court of the Federal Government handed down a decision. It was of great significance regarding the status of full-time ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses serving as special pioneers and overseers of Christian congregations.

    This highest administrative court of Germany declared these full-time ministers exempt from military service and alternative service as well. This reversed the decision taken by the 7th Senate of this same court several years earlier.



    Previously, the 7th Senate had contended that such full-time ministers of Jehovah’s witnesses did not merit exemption because they did not fill a position similar to that of ministers of other religions. It upheld a lower court’s decision that the positions did not "correspond" because of the differences in study and instruction given Catholic or Protestant ministers.

    The court had also maintained: "A minister is only deserving of protection, according to the law, when his position before the congregation of believers stands out in that he alone is allowed to perform the ceremonies of the religious cult and he is conferred a special dignity, which belongs exclusively to the profession of minister; in contrast to this, the religious group of Jehovah’s witnesses do not recognize any class as laity, nor any clergy class."

    The court had also stated: "Decisive is the image that a denomination normally has of a minister; this image is in the larger denominations the position of a minister who as a pastor of his flock does a pastoral work, without which the ceremonial life practically succumbs."

    Hence, these previous decisions had maintained that Jehovah’s witnesses who were serving full time did not have the "image" of a clergyman. That was, and is, certainly true. And Jehovah’s witnesses do not want that "image." But this did not mean that they were not ministers in the true sense of the word.



    In its final decision of December 11, 1969, the 8th Senate disagreed with these previous interpretations. Instead, in the case at issue of a special pioneer and overseer, it upheld the rights granted by law to other ministers serving full time regardless of their religion. It stated: "The neutrality of the State toward the religious comprehensions of its citizens prohibits the State from evaluating the teaching and institutes of religious associations and other denominations."

    The court showed that the accepted "image" was not the important thing, but the duties performed were. It said: "From the principle of religious parity, however, it is inferred that here, for reasons founded on constitutional rights, the ‘pattern’ or ‘vocational image’ of a minister of both large ‘Christian denominations [Roman Catholic and Evangelical] as developed through their church order and theological interpretation may not be used as a measuring rod for the ministers of other denominations. Differences in faith and dogmas, which are understood as peculiar to the self-representation of both large Christian denominations, are not to be taken into consideration."

    Thus, the court declared that it would not be possible to force a minister of a religion other than the two large denominations to conform to a certain standard that these churches had built up for themselves. Religious equality and exemption could not be made dependent upon any particular religion’s idea of the office of minister. With Jehovah’s witnesses, it is not an "office" of "title" or "image" that is vital in establishing their ministry, but the spiritual services that they perform.

    In regard to what constitutes a full-time minister, the court said: "Whether a ministerial activity . . . ‘corresponds’ to the activities that are assigned to the [Roman Catholic and Evangelical] ministers can only be decided upon according to outward characteristics, without taking into consideration a certain ‘pattern’ determined theologically or by church law." It was pointed out that ministerial activity would be considered a "full-time" activity when the minister devoted his full labor to ministering.

    Nor should just one type of schooling or preparation be the determining factor. The court decided that "what preparatory instruction and verification are required when someone is assigned to a permanent full-time activity as a minister and how this assignment is made is also of no special significance. The State leaves it up to the religious convictions and teachings of all religious associations to determine under which circumstances duties are assigned, the same as these are correspondingly attended to by the named ministers of the large churches."

    This firm decision by the German high court for freedom of religious conviction is commendable. It is similar to the noteworthy decisions of other countries where the rights of the individual are highly held.

    However, long before this decision was handed down, Jehovah’s witnesses had shown that they are indeed ordained ministers of the Most High God Jehovah. They have long been known throughout all of Germany for their zealous ministerial work. That activity has helped tens of thousands of righteously disposed persons in Germany to gain a knowledge of God’s Word, the Bible, and has enabled them to serve their Creator.

    Nevertheless, the court’s decision is a fine legal acknowledgment of the God-given ordination of such full-time ministers of Jehovah.

    *** jv chap. 14 p. 194 "They Are No Part of the World" ***

    As of the 1990’s, in a few countries, such as Sweden, Finland, Poland, the Netherlands, and Argentina, the government was not pressing active Witnesses to engage in military service or in alternative compulsory national service, though each case was carefully examined

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Yesterday I was going through a long list of WT literature

    As I was working my way down the list it struck me how Rutherford ranted on and on about worldly governments. He went so far as to get himself put in jail.

    Now Rutherford was a pretty shrewd man (to get what he wanted regardless of who got run over) If young men were being drafted to go to war then that meant less men available to peddle his alcoholic rants at government. Rutherford would have considered his colporteurs leaving to join the army an act of rebellion. He wanted this taken to the courts so he could claim persecution. He fought his battles in the courtroom whiule his followers were selling his magazines and getting arrested for the Judge's "cause"

    I don't think the position of the WTS has ever changed. Gotta keep those publishers out there at all costs

  • garybuss

    Rutherford was undoubtedly psychopathic displaying an anti-social disorder marked with delusions of grandeur. He had a messianic complex with paranoid delusions. His behavior was marked by rants, rages, alcohol use and profane outbursts. Rutherford displayed some classic schizophrenic symptoms such as when he wrote that spirits were installing thoughts in his mind. He thought that was how God was communicating with him. Unfortunately Rutherford had access to printing presses and a large established audience. Some of the audience were rational and they quit wasting their time with his rants. Unfortunately, others, like my relatives, lacked the will or the ability to challenge that which they read.

    Rutherford saw himself as a king, the Society's buildings were his empire, and the Witness people were his subjects. The reason he hated all (other) business and all (other) governments, is he saw them as competition. Rutherford behaved as though he were alcoholic, paranoid, delusional, with psychotic episodes. He had periods of almost manic activity in travel and writing, and he had times of isolation and withdrawal.

    I've read Rutherford's writings and listened to his rants he called speeches, and he was not a sane man. Rutherford had an agenda and he discovered through religion he could accomplish all that he wanted . . . except he went too far and got his corporation shut down in the United States and Canada and got himself and all the directors working for him thrown in Federal prison.

    Rutherford continued his battle but he learned not to make himself the target of the government again after his stay in the Graybar Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, so he took his fight with the Government down to the school age Witness children with the flag salute issue. He also took his personal (by proxy) fight with the Government to the draft boards and he encumbered the draft age adolescent children of his followers to refuse offered alternative military service and he made them take the same punishment that he (unwillingly) endured, hard prison time.

    But during Rutherford's personal time in prison he used every resource the Society had available to get himself out of prison. He (or Knorr or Franz) didn't do that when the Witness boys went to prison and they did their time. Then he banned Christmas so he didn't have to send them all Christmas cards.

    The issues of the flag and draft, and the riots he provoked with his slander and insults aimed at the Catholic people provided Rutherford with sufficient legal cases to keep him satisfied. By putting his people up front on the lines Rutherford himself never went back to prison.

    By his later years Rutherford was so paranoid he surrounded himself with an army of goons armed with cattlemen's wooden canes when he made a rare public appearance. Rutherford was more of a Buffalo Bill's Wild West showman than he was a religious leader.

  • BabaYaga

    I can't stop thinking of the endless barrage of tales where the Old Testament Jehovah waged blood-thirsty and diabolical massacres all over the place. Jehovah was all ABOUT blood-splashed armies...

    JeeZus. (Ooooh! No pun intended! ha!) Are they Christians or not? Are they followers of Bloodthirsty, Jealous, and Schizophrenic Jehovah or not?

    Oh! The pain, the pain, William, the terrible pain.


  • Abandoned
    6 In the past, some Witnesses have suffered for refusing to share in an activity that their conscience now might permit. For example, this might have been their choice years ago as to certain types of civilian service. A brother might now feel that he could conscientiously perform such without overstepping his Christian neutrality regarding the present system of things.

    I'm speechless. I'm convinced that while the rank and file may sincerely believe they are doing god's will, doubts and all, the governing body know how duplicitous and hypocritical they are. I'm not sure why they don't care. I'm not sure why they think they can get away with it. The motive for doing something to blatantly deceitful escapes me.

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