From my book, The Monorails of Mars:
"Joe Rutherford had been warned no more sass would be tolerated. His father had cautioned him with a steely red glare in his eyes. But as a young man growing up in Missouri, in the Bible belt, he just couldn’t get his mind around the crazy ideas his church insisted were true.
“God loves us—so why would he throw us in a lake of fire forever and ever? It just makes no sense to me!”
He’d been born four years after the end of the Civil War at home in his parent’s bedroom and from the start, his strong inclination to debate landed him in trouble. His mother tried to take his side by saying,
“The boy’s just got a sense of justice, that’s all.”
His father took a contrary view.
“That ain’t it—he just can’t stand being wrong and won’t quit till he gets his way.”
Those who knew him as he was growing up on the farm would shrug.
“That’s why he wanted to become a lawyer and a judge—when you have the law on your side you can pretty much have your way.”
His mother would tell her friends, “Joe can be like hot peppers on your ice cream—not likely to please most people’s taste.”
Joe put himself through Law school as a door-to-door book salesman. Long hours knocking doors proved difficult, but his gift of gab won the day. He swore to himself, “No matter what—any book salesman who offers me a book can count on a sale! “ Joe was quick to find advantages in learning shorthand; taking verbatim notes of lectures as well as quick-drafting his own jury presentations for handy reference with little effort.
He was so fast and accurate he landed a job as court stenographer which proved to be a tremendous learning experience. Listening to court proceedings carefully, word by word, Joe absorbed the parlance of debate, law and adjudication in a way few other law students could acquire without many years of practice.
Old Judge Edwards had taken a shine to the boy. Joe would join him in his chambers and split a bottle of booze with the jurist, asking questions and getting advice five days a week. The old judge was a lonely man whose fondness for the bottle had chased all his family and loved ones away. But Joe seemed to see E. L. Edwards as a hero. Edwards fostered a strong sense of kinship for young Joe.
“Judge a man by his questions and not by his answers.” The old Judge had said to him. “That’s how I got to see your burning ambition and keen mind, young man.”
When the old jurist got pretty deep in his cups the raw side would come out and he’d lay dark and troubling wisdom upon his protégé’.
“The weak man seeks to understand others rather than judge them. The strong man bends the will of others to himself.”
Young Rutherford could keep up with the heavy drinking without a wobble, but in so doing he’d adopted the iron will and caustic philosophy of his mentor.
On May 5th, 1892 he earned the right to practice law in the state of Missouri. His two-year tutelage under Judge Edwards gave him the leg up he had needed. He went to work right away at the legal firm of Draffen and Wright as a trial lawyer in the quaint little town of Booneville, Missouri.
Four years as public prosecutor honed his skills. When appointed Judges fell ill or went off on vacation, which fellow got the substitute appointment? Judge Rutherford did, of course. Joe liked the title, too. He would call himself “Judge” whenever introductions were made. Eventually, he was simply, The Judge.
On a hot summer’s day in the Missouri District Attorney’s office, Joe was chatting with the D.A. when a traveling colporteur (book salesmen) came to call with a large book bag filled with religious offerings. Joe listened to her quirky message and thereafter he could not stop himself from purchasing the set of books authored by a man named Charles Russell.
Sister Beeler opened the cover and demonstrated a Chart of the Ages, explaining how each epoch of human history connected to prophecies. At her close came the call to action.
“Did you know the Bible tells us, Mars will invade us in 1914?”
Captivated by the unusual nature of the message, and her smile, Rutherford purchased the set of books. He soon fell ill with fever. He read and read until the fever made him delirious with weird visions. He fell unconscious. In three days, Rutherford recovered and returned to the law office a changed man.
A meeting was arranged between Pastor Russell and the Judge; they were joined by another man named MacMillan. In an hour’s time, MacMillan and Russell confronted Rutherford, moving in close to him, intimately coercing him.
“Judge, you are a man gifted by the Lord with a powerful force of intellect—He wants you preaching His message.”
“I’m not a preacher—I’m a lawyer and a Judge.”
“Well, now, Judge, Just listen to me. I’ll show you what you can do. You go and get a copy of the Holy Bible and a small group of people, and teach them about life, death and the hereafter. Show them there is no hellfire, there is only destruction or the reward of Paradise. Tell them about Mars and its role in prophecy.”
The Judge stood between the two persuasive men as they lay hands upon him, and in his heart he stood convicted.
“Well, that doesn’t sound too bad. It is a matter of life and death rather than heaven or hell. I guess I’m in!”
In 1907 Rutherford became Tower Society’s legal counselor. To do this, he made application and was admitted to the New York bar, becoming a recognized lawyer for that state. On May 24 of the same year, Rutherford was also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Rutherford visited Egypt and Palestine, and in 1913, accompanied by his wife, he traveled to Germany, where he addressed audiences totaling 18,000.
Within three years, Rutherford had positioned himself comfortably for the takeover of the worldwide organization with himself as its sole Presidential dictator. But first, Russell had to be in a better place, somewhere far, far away."
Note: The biographical statements are accurate. Naturally, the inserted "Mars" parts are fiction inasmuch as my book is Science Fiction.