TIME MAGAZINE -Cult article - singles out Judge Rutherford

by Terry 17 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Terry


    Big, blue-eyed Judge Joseph Frederick Rutherford, 60, lives in a ten-room Spanish mansion, No. 4440 Braeburn Road. San Diego, Calif. Last week he deeded No. 4440 Braeburn Road, an adjacent two-car garage and a pair of automobiles to King David, Gedeon, Barak, Samson. Jephthae, Samuel and sundry other mighties of ancient Palestine. Positive is he that they are shortly to reappear on earth. Said he: "I have purposely landscaped the place with palm and olive trees so these princes of the universe will feel at home when they come to offer man the chance to become perfect."

    Judge Rutherford's deed can scarcely be considered eccentric, for his conviction that the sunny boulevards of San Diego are soon to be trod by men with the light of ages in their eyes is presumably shared by the 1,000,000 members of the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, of both of which Judge Rutherford is President. In 34 nations these members have read his declarations as editor of both the Watch Tower and Golden Age magazines.

    Judge Rutherford was born on a Missouri farm, practiced law at Boonville, acquired a circuit judgeship, continued practice in St. Louis, Kansas City. He accompanied the late William Jennings Bryan on his first Presidential campaign tour, announcing him as "appointed by God to straighten out the problems of the world." Mr. Bryan's example inspired Judge Rutherford to wear habitually a black bow tie. In 1916 he succeeded the late Charles Taze Russell of Brooklyn, founder-president of the International Bible Students Association.

    Members of this organization designate themselves as Bible Students. Their creed holds that Biblical prophecies govern all earthly events. By careful scrutiny of Holy Writ, the Bible Students have discerned that three periods of time, termed "cosmos," prevail in human affairs. Cosmos I began with Adam, ended with the Flood. Cosmos II began with the Flood, ended with the World War. Cosmos III, begun in 1914, will end in 2874, when "The Kingdom of God" will fill the whole world. An erroneous prophecy that the year 1928 would provide a cataclysm— ''Nations will battle; the dead will be dung on the earth"—upset considerably the Bible Students' calculations, but the major tenets of their belief are as yet unshaken.

    Newsmen last week asked Judge Rutherford whether he would not be troubled by bogus Davids applying for admission to consecrated No. 4440 Braeburn Road. Said he: "I realized the possibility of some old codger turning up bright and early some morning and declaring he was David. The men whom I have designated to test the identity of these men are officers of my societies. . . . They will be divinely authorized to know impostors from the real Princes."

  • Terry

    1931 A gaunt unshaven tramp has been the lone claimant for the $75,000 Southern Californian mansion of David, king of Israel since it was deeded to the Biblical character a year ago.
    This was revealed today by Judge James Rutherford, temporary owner of the luxuriantly furnished Spanish-type mansion at 440 Braeburn Rd in the exclusive Kensington Heights district. In one of the oddest deeds ever recorded, Rutherford, president of the International Bible Students Association and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, has placed in trust the magnificent estate of ancient kings and prophets of Israel The slayer of Goliath and his companions may occupy the 10 room modern home with it's landscaped gardens and patio as soon as their credentials are approved by Rutherford and officials of his societies, divinely authorized to recognize them.

    One morning as I was going from the house to the garage, a queer-looking creature approached me, tipped his dirty hat, and cried 'Howdy Judge, I'm David'
    'Go and tell that to the winds', I told him and he left without arguing the matter.

    I could see at a glance that he was not David. He didn't look like I knew David would look.' Asked how he expected David and his distinguished brethren to look, Rutherford, without hesitation, opened his huge Bible and pointed to a verse that said that the Princes of the Universe would have risen from the dead 'as perfect men'.
    'I interpret that to mean, the tall dignified Judge declared, 'that David, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, Joseph, and Samuel will be sent here to wrench the world from Satan's grasp, clothed in modern garb as we are, and able, with little effort, to speak our tongue.'
    Rutherford pictured the arrival of the biblical delegation perhaps in frock coats, high hats, canes, and spats.

    At Beth Sarim (House of Princes) as Rutherford has named his mansion, David will find the most modern appliances that science has devised. When the distinguished guests walk up the circular stairway to the second floor, they will find a large office with red leather chairs and a shiny flat-topped desk with inverted lighting.

    Even French telephones await the touch of the princes. Opening a wide door, the native sons of Palestine will behold a large bathroom, resplendent in shiny black tile with a needle shower and an amply filled medicine chest. What a thrill giant-shouldered Samson, who wrecked a palace with his bare fists might find in the gold safety razor and strop! Rutherford built the second-floor bedroom, which he temporarily occupies, large in order to accommodate several of the expected owners. With wide pane windows that look out on the purple Cuyamacas to the East and California's first mission to the north, the bedroom is almost severe in its furnishings. The rulers of the universe will have simple tastes, the judge apparently believes, although the austere end tables sported gaily-covered fiction magazines.
    Rutherford has imported some Koniach, and Wasser from Cologne, Germany to freshen the princely faces after shaving. A black skull cap hangs over one of the bedposts. The coming of David and his companions will be the greatest news story of the ages, Rutherford predicted. 'I am not a publicity seeker,' Rutherford said with a twinkle in his kindly brown eyes, 'but I feel that the world should know about their arrival. It will be a great news story.'

    Word of his 'House of king David' has reached into every corner of the world, the judge stated. 'Everywhere I went people asked me about this place,' Rutherford said. 'In Chicago, a millionaire manufacturer offered to build another house for David, but I declined the offer. 'Literally, thousands have driven here to see this place,' Rutherford continued.
    'Many have come to the door and my secretary has shown them about the place.' The patio with its silver pool and olive and palm trees is gay with flowers. Down toward the canyon, paths have been landscaped to allow David and his friends to walk in meditation. Many of the fruits and trees, native to Palestine, will greet the rulers when they arrive. In the two-car garage, next door stands a new, yellow 16-cylinder coupe which will be turned over to the rulers along with all the personal property on the place. 'Everything will be theirs, the house, the land, the furnishings, and even the clothes if they need them,' Judge Rutherford said. 'What will I do? Oh, don't worry about me. I'll manage somehow.' the judge smiled.
    He had another 'Watch Tower' residence on Staten Island and practically an entire floor at Bethel.
    The seven famous men will not have long to rest at their San Deigo estate because they soon will lead the forces of the Lord to vanquish the minions of Satan at the battle of Armageddon, Rutherford believed.
    'But they will win out. The Lord will punish the devil and will show that the preachers and the politicians have been giving the people false counsel,' Rutherford said confidently. Rutherford will sail on May 9 for Europe where he will speak before conventions in Berlin Paris and London.

    (San Deigo Sun Newspaper report, Jan. 9, 1931)

  • waton

    how about a modern day Abishag for the returned david? should be easy to find among the budding new stars in Hollywood just up route no. 5. so

    he can shack up with Abishak again, keep warm at night

  • road to nowhere
    road to nowhere

    David had his chance. I want an Abishag. Did it ever occur to them that a telephone would terrify the old guys? Not to mention a car.

    What came of the cadillacs? I would like to have one for assemblies. Park it with a proper historical placard.

  • Vanderhoven7

    Time Magazine was on the ball. Great find Terry!

  • Terry

    As seen through the eyes of sanity, our Watchtower history is the wrong end
    of a carnival peep show.
    The kindest way of framing these early leaders would be to say they were freaks, geeks, and sneaks. The unkindest thing of all would be to say they were outliers who could out-lie the worst of them; sociopaths, and scoundrels.
    There's nothing like an old newspaper article to snap the grid tight around the fact we all were once patients in an asylum who escaped to tell a fantastical tale of narrow minds and wasted youth.
    Are we even sane now? One wonders.

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    Thanks for finding this Terry!

    A couple of observations/ comments:

    I didn't know TIME was around back in 1930, but sure enough, it started in '23.

    The TIME author states that there were 1 million members of the IBSA and WT back then. Maybe that's what Rutherford told him, but I think by any measure it was nowhere near 1M in 1930.

    TIME categorized the Bible Students as a 'California Cult' even then. Pretty smart!

  • truth_b_known
    There's nothing like an old newspaper article to snap the grid tight around the fact we all were once patients in an asylum who escaped to tell a fantastical tale of narrow minds and wasted youth.

    Are we even sane now? One wonders.

    The fact that we ask that proves we are sane. What is insane is that there are still plenty of practicing PIMI JWs who know the full story of Beth Sarim in the context of Rutherford and the Watchtower who let it go in one ear and our the other. I remember as a child my parents telling me about it. They, like everyone else at that time, just laughed it off. So, as a child, I didn't think it was that big of a deal. After all, I trusted my parents like most young children do.

    Now I look at it and think everyone in the Watchtower is nuttier than a squirrel turd in a Texas pecan grove. JWs donated their money to build a mansion in San Diego, California so that when the Princes of Paradise received their early resurrection they would have some place to stay. Rutherford just made sure the beds were warm and the liquor cabinet was stocked. Meanwhile, if you bring this up to JWs of today they will just look you in the eye and say, "So what?" They just file and forget under the heading "Old Light".

    It is as if the cognitive dissonance has them looking back at Old Light with found memories. It is like an old person smiling and saying, "We were so young and naïve back then." It is downright scary.

  • ozziepost
    It is as if the cognitive dissonance has them looking back at Old Light with found memories. It is like an old person smiling and saying, "We were so young and naïve back then." It is downright scary.

    Well said! It IS a scary thought, especially for those of us with loved ones still entrapped.

  • Terry

    I've got a close JW friend I was in prison with back in the late sixties and he is very intelligent and aware of the frayed edges around the border of Watchtowerland.
    But - after over fifty years of service - where else would he go? All his connective ties and friends are inside that kill jar. It is a sad and claustrophobic life inside and those who hang in there are drained of life like zombies. Their happiness is a lived-in depression still waitin' on Jehovah.

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