1917 - What REALLY happened?
Regarding what happened post Russell in 1917, if you ask a JW, they'll say it was the fault of the ousted board members who were 'self willed'. If you ask an ex-JW, they'll say it was a 'power grab' by Rutherford. The latest yearbook elaborates on the situation:
"Shortly before Brother Russell died, he had arranged to
send Johnson to England as one of the organization’s traveling representatives. . . . Sadly, the adulation he received began to warp his judgment, and he became convinced that he should be Broth-
er Russell’s successor.
Without authority, Johnson dismissed some Bethel family members in England who opposed him. He also tried to
seize control of the organization’s bank account in London,
at which point Brother Rutherford recalled him to the United States.
Johnson returned to Brooklyn, but instead of humbly accepting the correction he had been given, he repeatedly
tried to persuade Brother Rutherford to let him return to
England to continue his work there. Failing in this endeavor, Johnson tried to influence the board of directors, four of
whom sided with him. Anticipating that these men would try to seize the organization’s funds in the United States, as Johnson had attempted to do in England, Brother Rutherford acted to remove them from the board of directors. The law required
that each member of the board of directors be elected annually by members of the corporation. However, at the annual meeting of the corporation on January 6, 1917, only
three members of the board, Joseph F. Rutherford, Andrew
N. Pierson, and William E. Van Amburgh, were elected.
They filled the positions of president, vice president, and
secretary-treasurer, respectively. No election was held for
the remaining four positions on the board of directors. The
men who had held those positions, the four opposers, had
been elected to the board in the past, and it was understood by some that they would hold those positions for life.
However, because they had not been reelected at the annual meeting, they were actually not legal members of the
board at all! So in July 1917, Brother Rutherford exercised
his right to appoint four faithful men to fill the vacant board
Also, one thing I've heard over and over through anti-JW sources is that the Bible Students lost most of their membership to splinter groups. However, the yearbook goes on to say:
"While some Bible Students sided with them
and formed other organizations, the vast majority of the Bible Students stayed faithful"
"the results of a referendum of the congregations,
which were published in The Watch Tower, showed that the
vast majority of the brothers supported Brother Rutherford
and the faithful men at Bethel"
I know there's two sides to every story and I'd like to read more if anybody has info or links. Thanks.
Crises of Conscience sheds clearer light on this. Can't remember the details but Rutherford used his legal knowledge to wrangle control of Russell's organisation despite Russell naming a successor (and it wasn't Rutherford). Even going so far as to ignore Russell's last will and testament, declaring it null and void.
It kinda reminds me of how Hitler took over the Nazi party despite Anton Drexler founding it.
And as for that Johnson selfishly self appointing himself, do. they mean kinda like the GB today? I don't remember voting for them, do you?
Rutherford was a lawyer and found a legal way to get control of the corporation,
It involved a trip to Pennsylvania and coming back with the extra
vote needed to wrangle control and oust his enemies,
He celebrated his victory by prophesying the earthly resurrection of the
prophets in 1925 in the 1918 Booklet "Millions Now Living Will Never Die"
(If you'll allow me some sarcasm here:)
What a fine humble brother and example for us all!
All but banned marriage in his writings and speeches
The FIRST member president of the "Faithful and Discreet Slave Class"
Set the example for the modern day GB of NEVER apologizing for
destroying people's lives
I've read CTR's will, Boozerfraud took over, acted like a complete douche, that's why "spiritual" people left, leaving "legalistic" assholes to begin their reign of douchebaggery.
Fast-forward to 2017.... Lawyers fight to keep Pedo files from the courts and the GB double down on cult tactics..
If your researching an easy place to start is Wikipedia: Joseph Franklin
Check your library system for Apocalypse Delayed -James Penton
It is the classic story of power struggle. The founder dies. Successors clamor to seize control. History is written by the victors.
It was a predictable power grab that occurs in both politics and religion when a leader dies. JW organization can tart it up as much as it likes but this was little more than men with human-directed "authority" telling other men what to do and using the "vote" of a board to legitimate decisions. Nothing at all unusual or wrong with that - as I said, a predictable power grab - but tarted up with the language of "God's direction" (a strange claim given the current official view is that said God only chose these men after 1919).
Still, the stories religious leaders spin to gain and then stay in power never lack audacity.
I used to have some of P.S.L. Johnson's books, and he went on and on about that time period. I don't remember a whole lot, but one thing I recall that struck me as almost funny, was that Rutherford waited until Johnson left the building at 124 Columbia Hts, and then locked the door and wouldn't let Johnson back in. That's how he 'expelled' Johnson.
Men and their politico/religious power games tarted up to appear 'God ordained' - how it possesses some men until their dying day and, in retrospect, looks so damn stupid in its vanity.
And legal maneuvering was what was going on here,
If there is a god
I wonder if this is what he wants
For his humble worshippers
This is what happens in the world of autocratic organized religion