In an earlier thread reference was made to a court case in which Fred Franz stated that Jehovah God was editor of the "Watch Tower". As this quotation is often used to support the allegation that JWs believe the WT is inspired of God I thought it would be of wider interest to provide the relevant court record for general consideration.
The court case itself was in 1940 and was Olin Moyle against Fred Franz and others and the WTBTS. Just so that you know who is who, Hayden Covington was attorney for the defendants and Walter Bruchhausen was attorney for the plaintiff. The relevant part of the case was the direct examination of Fred Franz by Covington (columns 794 - 795) and cross-examination by Bruchhausen (columns 865 - 867).
In the direct examination Fred Franz had just started to explain the purpose of the Watchtower magazine. The examination continued -
Q. Is the "Watch Tower" magazine a one man magazine?Fred Franz was cross-examined on this by Mr. Bruchhausen -
A. It is not.
Q. Who was the editor of the magazine in the days from 1900 to 1916?
A. Pastor Russell was the Editor, the sole Editor of the "Watch Tower" down to his death in 1916.
Q. Who became the editor of the magazine upon the death of Pastor Russell?
A. Pastor Russell left a will designating five gentlemen to serve on an editorial committee, three of which must agree as to an article.
The Court: He asked you who they were.
Q. Do you remember who they were?
The Court: Do you? If you don't remember, tell us.
Q. The names, and if you don't remember the names-You say there were five?
A. Judge Rutherford was one of them. Mr. Van Amburgh was another, and Fred Robison was another.
Q. Was there any provision in the Charter of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society for such editorial committee?
A. No, that was the Will of Pastor Russell.
Q. Who subsequently became the Editor of the magazine, the main editor of the "Watch Tower" magazine?
A. In 1931, October 15th, as I recall, the "Watch Tower" discontinued publishing the names of any editorial committee on the second page.
The Court: He asked you who became the editor.
The Witness: And it said-
The Court: Who became the editor?
Q. Who became the editor when this was discontinued?
A. Jehovah God.
Q. And who wrote the magazine under the direction of Almighty God?
A. Various individuals contributed to the magazine, Judge Rutherford, and others.
Q. Who passed on what went into it?
A. Judge Rutherford, primarily, and he also called in associates-
The Court: Who had the final say?
The Witness: Judge Rutherford supervised everything that went into the magazine, sir.
Q. I understand that you say that in 1931, the Watch Tower discontinued naming the editorial committee, and then Jehovah God became the editor, is that correct?Each one must conclude for themselves just what Fred Franz was claiming for the Watch Tower magazine. To me it seems quite clear that he qualified his meaning of the expression "editor" to mean that God was guiding the course of the paper and no more than that. You may well disagree with his viewpoint but it is a far cry from saying the Watch Tower is inspired.
A. Jehovah's editorship was indicated thereby citing Isaiah 54:13.
The Court: He asked you if in 1931 Jehovah God became editor, according to your theory.
The Witness: No, I wouldn't say so.
Q. Didn't you say that Jehovah God became the editor of this paper at some time?
A. He was always the One guiding the course of the paper.
Q. Didn't you state that on October 15, 1931, the Watch Tower discontinued the naming of an editorial committee and then Jehovah God became the editor?
A. I didn't say Jehovah God became the editor. It was appreciated that Jehovah God really is the One who is editing the paper, and therefore the naming of an editorial committee was out of place.
Q. At any rate, Jehovah God is now the editor of the paper, is that right?
A. He is today the editor of the paper.
Q. How long has He been editor of the paper?
A. Since its inception he has been guiding it.
Q. Even before 1931?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why did you have an editorial committee up to 1931?
A. Pastor Russell in his will specified that there should be such an editorial committee, and it was continued down till then.
Q. Did you find that the editorial committee was in conflict with having a journal edited by Jehovah God, is that it?
Q. Was the policy in opposition to what your conception of an editing by Jehovah God was?
A. It was found on occasions that some of these on the editorial committee were preventing the publication of timely and vital, up-to-date truths and thereby hindering the going of those truths to the people of the Lord in His due time.
By the Court:
Q. After that, 1931, who on earth, if anybody, had charge of what went in or did not go in the magazine?
A. Judge Rutherford.
Q. So he in effect was the earthly editor-in-chief, as he might be called?
A. He would be the visible one to take care of that.
By Mr. Bruchhausen:
Q. He was working as God's representative or agent in running this magazine, is that right?
A. He was serving in that capacity.
Q. Didn't he have his name on it as editor?
A. No, sir.
"Beware the Jub-jub bird and shun the frumious bandersnatch" - Rev. Charles Dodgson