Info needed on M.A Howlett, prominent Bethelite from the 1920's and 30's

by VM44 13 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • VM44

    Goodrich says the Abram's machine was used at Bethel.

    Howlett says the the Abram's machine was not used at Bethel.

    How can we determine who was telling the truth?


  • VM44

    William F. Hudgings, another prominent Bethelite of the time, operated an Abram's clinic only "a stone's throw" away from Bethel. But Hudgings suddenly closed his clinic one day and stopped using the Abram's machine altogether. Why? According to Hudgings it was to spend more time doing the Lord's work.

    Very mysterious!


  • VM44

    William Hudgings was pretty high up in the Watchtower organization. He was director (president?) of the Watchtower's People's Pulpit Association!

    I think that Hudgings found out that the Abram's device was a fraud and dropped it like a hot potatoe!


  • Merry Magdalene
    Merry Magdalene

    For those curious about the machine itself:

    This is an interesting article for those, like me, previously unaware of what you are talking about:

    Goodrich learned in the early 1940s that E.R.A. treatments were still being administered at Bethel by a Dr. M. A. Howlett. Howlett used the method of stroking a glass plate until he got a "reaction" by his fingers sticking. It was the same "yes" or "no" ouija board principle he had complained about before. Goodrich again sent letters, this time to Dr. Howlett, the Society's board of directors and to the Society's president N. H. Knorr.

    In Goodrich's first letter to Howlett, he mentioned that he heard from a "Bethel boy," Chester Nicholson, that Howlett used a "radio-clast" to treat him. Chester's description of the procedure convinced him it was the same as the oscilloclast of Dr. Abrams. Howlett's only response was the following sent on a post card:

    You have evidently been misinformed regarding my connection with E.R.A. I know nothing of it and have never used it. There is none such at Bethel. [12]

    Goodrich responded with a letter to Howlett dated June 9, 1943, saying he had Chester Nicholson's description of his treatment by Howlett in writing. He also later pointed out that the E.R.A. was used by Work at Bethel since 1922 and Howlett came to Bethel years before then so his comments that he had never even heard of the E.R.A. as a Bethel doctor was absurd. Goodrich therefore believed that Howlett lied to him. He 'took it to the church' by writing a very lengthy letter to the Society's board of directors also dated June 9 and an "Open Letter" to the Society's president, Nathan Knorr.

    I find Goodrich's response to Howlett and the Society fascinating at times. Goodrich, as a JW in good standing at the time, wrote to Howlett confronting him with his use of what he called a "Rahab technique." This is what JWs now call "theocratic war strategy" which involves "misdirecting" the "enemy" with false information. Most people would call it lying, and Goodrich, once convinced he was thus "misdirected" as to the truth of the matter, called Howlett on it. He said in his June 9 letter after quoting Howlett's response to him:

    The one possible import of those words conveys an impression entirely contrary to the fundamental facts as I know them. I must believe, however, that your motive in writing them is the highest, -- a desire to honor Jehovah's name. Remembering Rahab's approval and the statements at the top of page 177 in RICHES, you have seemingly clear and logical justification, no doubt, in your own mind.

    Page 177 of Riches says(Emphasis mine):

    A LIE is a false statement made by one to another one who is entitled to hear and to know the truth, and which false statement tends to work injury to the other. A false statement made for the purpose of deceiving and working injury to another is a deliberate and malicious lie.

    This implies there are some who simply are not "entitled" to know the truth and that if a person makes a false statement without intending to "work injury" to another, it isn't a lie, but what Goodrich called a "Rahab technique." Otherwise, why didn't Rutherford simply say a lie is a knowingly false statement, period. Goodrich viewed it this way and this is way the Society has since defined lies versus using "theocratic war strategy." [13] Goodrich continued his letter by saying:

    Your words above quoted could be a malicious lie, in case Satan has gained a sufficient foothold in your mind, by this subtlty [sic]. Those words could tend to work very great harm to yourself and others. The only alibi is the one above suggested; and love can only hope that you did in fact intend a faithful Rahab technique. In this instance, however, such technique becomes a dragon to devour your position, and leaves your last state worse than your first.... In all kindness then, Bro. Howlett, the inescapable logic of the fact is that your postal to me, must be one or the other of the two following things, to wit: (1) a potentially malicious lie; or (2) an admission before the Lord that you have been practicing demonism and "fibbing" out of it. There is just one divinely provided way of escape both for yourself personally, and for the Society, from the two horrible and deathdealing horns of this dilemma. The sin, - - no matter how innocently and ignorantly committed, - - must be recognized, repented of, turned from and renounced, confession made and forgiveness sought.... A spirit medium in Bethel is a "sick" man. (Emphasis in original.)

    Goodrich's 13 page letter to the Watchtower Society's board of directors and his letter to Nathan Knorr were equally direct. As a result of charging "God's organization" with "demonism," Goodrich was disfellowshipped.

    However, ten years later, the Watchtower Society began printing material on the E.R.A. that made the same claims about the E.R.A. for which Goodrich had been disfellowshipped.


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